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The Advantages of Learning English Early

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Topic description: An article explaining why learning English is more easy for children and what the cognitive, academic and professional advantages are to learning English early, as well as the cultural and personal benefits. 

In our increasingly digitised and interconnected world, proficiency in English has become a key asset as it opens doors to various academic, professional, and personal opportunities. 

Why learn a second language at a young age? 

Learning a second language early is advantageous simply because it is easier for children to learn a new language than for adults. This is due to several factors, the first being neuroplasticity. Children’s brains are more adaptable and flexible than adults’, giving them a natural advantage in learning new languages.

When children learn a second language alongside their mother language, they can better mimic and replicate the sounds of said second language. This is because their vocal apparatus is still developing and allows them to better pronunciation, sometimes even at a native-like level. 

Lastly, most children are less inhibited and self-conscious about making mistakes when learning a new language, which can facilitate language acquisition. They are more willing to take risks and experiment with language without fear of embarrassment.

Cognitive Development

Studies have shown that learning English as a second language at a young age improves childrens’ cognitive abilities such as critical thinking and problem-solving. Children who learn English early also have greater creativity. Parallel to that are enhanced linguistic skills as young learners who engage with English from an early age have better phonetic awareness and vocabulary acquisition skills, two abilities that are important for language proficiency. 

Being bilingual at a young age, meaning you can speak at least two languages, has been shown to improve cognitive flexibility. This means you are able to adapt more readily to new situations and faster understand new concepts. The above-mentioned cognitive abilities are important for any child’s development and progress later in life, thus stimulating these abilities via language learning sets young children up with a better chance at (academic) success. 

Academic success

Language learning is a valuable skill for anybody, but especially young learners. Proficiency in the English language opens doors to various educational opportunities both in your home country and internationally. High-ranked universities and educational institutions worldwide operate in English. This makes proficiency in English essential for accessing the highest quality of education. 

It has also been shown that early English language learners have a higher chance of excelling in standardised tests and general academic assessments due to their strong linguistic skills and greater understanding of the nuances of the English language. It is a given that such skills give an advantage in English language courses, but these skills facilitate better comprehension and communication of other subjects taught in English. 

Lastly, having excellent English language skills are crucial for various academic assignments, such as understanding and writing your own research papers, textbooks, and scientific articles. Today’s digital world offers many translation services, but highly specific research articles are better understood in their original language, which is often English. 

Careers

After education comes work, and here too are many advantages to learning English early. Many international jobs require English proficiency as international companies conduct their business in English, and fluency in the language is essential for effective communication with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders from diverse linguistic backgrounds. As an early language learner, you will have an advantage over your competitors thanks to your strong language skills and cultural competence from an early age. 

A good understanding of the English language is also crucial for networking and attending international conferences, seminars, and workshops. Networking is important in any stage of your career, but especially in the beginning, as it can open doors that would be otherwise closed. 

Cultural exchange

Language learning is more than understanding grammar and studying vocabulary, especially when you are learning a second language. Exposing yourself to English-language literature, films, and other cultural artefacts is an important part of learning English. For example, the BBC is a great resource for learning English. Therefore, early English language learners develop a broader understanding of the world and a deeper appreciation for cultural diversity. Secondly, language learning often happens with the help of day-to-day examples or culturally significant events, thus broadening your understanding of the English-speaking world. 

Learning English at an early age doesn’t always have to be in a classroom as many international exchange programs offer a truly immersive language experience. By participating in an international exchange program, you’ll not only work on your language skills, but you’ll also have the opportunity to discover a new country, culture, and meet new people around the world. 

Personal confidence

Learning English early is not only good for academic and professional success, but also for your confidence. Learning English early instils a sense of accomplishment and pride in one’s linguistic abilities. Having such an experience at an early age fosters a positive attitude towards language learning and personal development. As children learn new language skills and overcome challenges, they build resilience, self-esteem, and confidence in their ability to tackle future obstacles and achieve their goals.

Knowing you can express yourself in another language, especially if that language is English, can give you confidence in social situations as you can connect with people from other linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Whether interacting with peers, making new friends, or engaging in cultural exchanges, early English language learners develop social skills and confidence in navigating different social contexts and building meaningful relationships.

Conclusion

The benefits of learning English at an early age are undeniable. From bolstering cognitive development and academic success to enhancing career opportunities, cultural understanding, and personal confidence, early English language acquisition gives young learners an advantage in life. By embracing the opportunity to learn English from a young age, individuals not only gain valuable language skills but also develop the resilience, adaptability, and cultural awareness needed to thrive in our increasingly interconnected and diverse world.

Are you inspired to teach young learners all over the world? Then, getting a TEFL certification is an excellent way to start. Here, you can find more information about affordable TEFL certification programs

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