What are the Benefits of a Robust Foreign Language Program?

Andrew Passinger
Andrew Passinger
Middle-Senior High School Assistant Principal/Pandemic Coordinator; M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, Gifted Certification

Education is constantly evolving, but a strong foreign language program can add stability and enhance student learning and success. Numerous benefits exist to support a growth mindset in school culture, and there are multiple opportunities for students to explore varying lifestyles beyond their own.

Strengthens Academics

Students who take a foreign language focus more strongly on comprehending and applying language rules. This reinforces their reading and writing abilities in all courses. Students must apply their original language rules to manipulate the vocabulary and grammatical concepts for a second language. This supports a stronger performance in both classes and on standardized testing, such as the SATs and ACTs.

This is exclusively important in the development of multi-tasking skills for students. Those in rigorous courses, including foreign language programs, need to understand how to multi-task. People who can transition between languages develop their multitasking capabilities, reducing stress and using time more efficiently when completing projects, studying for multiple tests, or simply juggling life tasks.

Career Benefits

With the increase in access to employment globally, students involved in bilingualism have more access to job opportunities throughout the world. Knowing other languages and cultures can enhance chances to gain higher-paying jobs while offering opportunities to travel and experience the world. Even if students choose not to travel, with so many different languages in varying neighborhoods throughout the United States, they can secure competitive employment.

Sturdy foreign language programs in schools often include travel to other countries for a fully immersive experience in the culture. As a visitor, this involvement opens a world of comprehension of different cultures’ importance, offers a global training experience, and opens intriguing job doorways. And the most robust foreign language programs may even include an exchange program, which allows students to live in the country with a native family to build their background. This can be a set-up for success in many different career choices.

Cognitive Development

Educators focus on providing the deepest levels of knowledge whenever they can, and a successful foreign language program supports those lesson plans. Concentration levels are increased by studying a second language, and attention spans may lengthen due to cognitive exploration, especially in the initial stages of study.

Students are more engaged in processing the information, and they may focus for more extended periods. Students who begin studying another language at a young age will build their abstract and creative thinking. It will support their mental flexibility while building upon their processing capabilities, which will follow them throughout their lives.

Intensive foreign language programs provide higher-level thinking, conceptual comprehension, advanced abilities to process and apply new information, and even open new areas of the brain, according to research from Yangyang Cheng.

“Learning a foreign language increases concentration and develops new areas of the brain, in addition to boosting the brain’s natural ability to process information” (Kennedy, 2019).

Improves Soft Skills

Contemporary students can struggle with interaction skills due to an increase in online communication with the pandemic. Because foreign language programs require verbal communication to assess abilities, students become more comfortable with speaking and listening, which heightens their awareness of the significance in social situations.

Foreign language programs require students to process others’ opinions and appreciate their actions, demonstrating flexibility in networking. With the help of a strong language program, students can take the time to understand other viewpoints and enhance communication skills.

Sharpens and Improves Memory

Those students participating in a hearty foreign language course will pick out mistakes or strange patterns more easily than single-language peers. These studies consistently keep students processing their environments and the surrounding details, which exercises the brain, thus sharpening all elements of cognition. Recall and application of knowledge will be keen and active.

Additionally, because of this heightened understanding of details, students demonstrate an improved problem-solving skillset. They become more versatile in processing information to resolve issues and apply experience to reach success. Again, this is a necessary skill in the world today.

Confidence Boost

Finally, students who complete a rigorous and relevant foreign language program will be more confident in all of their abilities as they depart from high school or college. They are more adaptable to the job search which supports their success, makes them more multi-dimensional, and even makes them more intriguing. Students will learn resiliency and persistence as they weave through obstacles and overcome them, which builds character. All of these traits will be beneficial in life.

There are no disadvantages in students taking a foreign language, and research shows the earlier, the better. Students will experience positive changes, maintain a healthy and active brain life, and open themselves to a world of possibilities. Offering a robust foreign language program in schools has distinct advantages in producing successful employees in the global market and intelligent and confident citizens.

graduate program favicon

Looking for a graduate program?