Knowing another language boosts other areas of your child’s learning

Speakers of the majority language who learn another language at school accrue a number of benefits (Baker 2012). Importantly, there is evidence suggesting that learning another language at school improves performance across the curriculum.

For example:

  • Students have been shown to perform better in mathematics and their first language in standardised tests after language instruction three times a week (Armstrong & Rogers 1997).

  • Garfinkel & Tabor (1991) found that students studying one or two years of a second language (Spanish) outperformed those not studying a second language in primary language reading tests (English).

  • A large study concluded that students who studied foreign languages for longer periods of time did better on American Scholastic Achievement Tests than students who studied less foreign language. In this study, the variables of verbal giftedness and socioeconomic background were controlled (Cooper 1987).

  • Learning another language improves the speed and level of intercultural skill acquisition in students (Byram 2012).

Taken from The Royal Society of New Zealand’s Languages in Aotearoa New Zealand paper, March 2013.

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