Should my child be learning another language? This is a question that many parents ask themselves? The answer is a resounding yes. South Africa is a country full of diversity and beautiful cultures.
The easiest way to connect to others and learn about their culture can be made easy by simply being able to communicate in their own language. As the world moves to globalisation, learning another language can be an advantage. Research has found that children who are bilingual gain reading skills quicker than those who only speak one language. According to an article by WaterForg.org, people who speak more than one language have stronger cognitive skills, are good at multitasking and are creative.
Exposure to diverse cultures
Being bilingual also exposes children to other cultures, which helps them learn about different cultures and helps expand their knowledge.
“As the world moves toward globalisation, it is important to expose learners to more than their immediate environment offers,” says SPARK Primary School Assessment Lead Ziphindile Mbiza.
Another advantage of learning an additional language is that children can see beyond the familiar and learn to engage with people different from them.
Improved brain function
Learning an additional language is most important when children are younger as it is easier for them to grasp the various languages.
According to research, bilingual people are good at problem-solving and have improved cognitive skills.
Here are some ways you can teach your child an additional language
Communicate with them in your language
Encourage your child to speak their native language at home. Speaking their mother tongue at home will build your child’s vocabulary in that language. It will help them develop the language skills required to communicate in that language. Even better, if the parents speak two different languages, both parents can share their languages at home will help your child become multilingual and improve their communication.
Read books that are written in their mother tongue
Reading books in your mother tongue will help your child familiarise themselves with their mother tongue. A 2016 study by the Progress in International Reading Literacy revealed that 78% of children in South Africa could not read for meaning. The study also revealed that children were not only struggling to read in English, but they couldn’t even read in their mother tongue.
Learning another language offers many benefits, and the younger a child learns a second language, the better it will be for them to know.