Thursday, September 13, 2012

Early Second Language Learning--Guest Post

As an adult, have you ever felt frustrated when you couldn’t communicate with another person due to a language barrier? Perhaps you then wished you would have studied a foreign language beyond the mandatory high school or college courses. In today’s society bilingualism and even multilingualism are a norm. As the demographics of our country rapidly change, it is vital to understand about foreign cultures and languages. Employers greatly value individuals who are bilingual and frequently applications who boast these skills stand out in a highly competitive job market.

 There have been a wide variety of research studies demonstrating the benefits of early second language learning . School systems all across the country continue to implement and improve their foreign language curriculum. Many schools now offer elementary language immersion programs where children are taught by teachers who speak fluently in the targeted foreign language. The goal of immersion programs are for students to become fluent in the foriegn language, as well as succeed in each of the regular academic subjects’ weather taught in English or the targeted language. As parents, we all want to provide our children with the most comprehensive education we can. When seeking out educational programs think about researching your options for second language learning programs through your local school district.

What You Should Know About Early Second Language Learning

1. Teaching a child two languages does not put them at risk of emotional difficulties or intellectual disadvantages.
2. In the early stages of acquisition of a second language, children learning two languages may show developmental lags in the area of language learning. These lags are small and do not last very long.
3. Research studies have shown that bilingual children can identify communication needs of their conversational partner earlier than monolingual children.
4. In regards to vocabulary development, bilingual children generally have a smaller vocabulary in each language when compared to monolingual children. When documenting how many “words” a child is using it is important to account for words in both languages.
5. Children who learn a second language most often receive higher test scores on many cognitive ability tasks including mental flexibility, non-verbal problem-solving, comprehension on the origin of names, distinguishing between semantic similarities and phonetic similarities and judging grammatically correct vs incorrect sentences.
6. A child who learns a second language before the age of nine is more likely to speak with a native accent. Visit the American Hearing Language Speech Association to find out more about second language learning . If your child is learning a second language that you don’t speak be sure to read this article on tips for helping your child learn a foreign language. 

Do you speak a second language? If not, what language would you love to learn?
Hi, I'm Mindi, a working mom of two boys crazy little boys, Xander and Noah. During the week I work at a children's hospital as a Speech-Language Pathologist, all while wishing I was at home playing with my boys. I blog over at Simply Stavish about my family, knitting, crafting and my latest passion, photography. Join me each Monday for my weekly feature, Words In the Sand, where I share information on topics in speech, language, voice and oral motor development. Are you concerned about your child's speech, language or feeding skills? Check out my post on how to locate a Speech-Language Pathologist. I would also love to connect with you through Twitter or Facebook.

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