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Second language improves academic performance in areas of non-linguistic learning
By: Kidzone Education Pty Ltd
There is more to gain from foreign language learning than asking for directions or ordering a local dish in the native tongue when overseas.
Research run by universities in the US* has repeatedly shown that the bilingual brain is better at controlling high-level thinking, especially how we switch attention between opposing tasks.
In young children, the benefits of foreign language study can be profound. Research shows it can improve academic performance considerably in non-linguistic areas of learning, most notably mathematics.
Principal Richard Ang of Mandarin for Kidz believes this knock-on effect occurs because students are basically problem solving as they learn new vocabulary and rules.
“As kids progress though each stage in our learning program, they’re constantly switching between two languages, whether it’s speech or the written word. I’m not surprised these skills transfer directly to mathematics.”
Principal Ang believes multicultural Sydney is a marvellous city to learn a new language because it offers so many opportunities to practice what’s learnt in the classroom.
“The Eastern Suburbs has a thriving Chinese community and will embrace anyone who shows interest in the culture. Around 25 per cent of the world’s population speaks Mandarin and it’s essential for Australia’s future that the next generation has a world view.”
Mandarin for Kidz in Kensington has taught hundreds of beginners and near-native speaking children to speak Mandarin. It practices immersive learning with an emphasis on confidence building as kids learn through role play and fun games.
“We work like any other pre-school with a focus on sensory learning. The youngest students start from about 18 months, but can go right through to 10 years old,” Ang said.
The Newton Family has had all four children in the school after an Aunt visited China on a school excursion in the 1980’s and ignited the family’s passion for Chinese culture.
“Lara is nine and has been studying Mandarin since kindergarten. We’ve seen her love for the language grow as fluency improves with each passing year. She’s now taking ‘Mandarin Effort’ at Kensington Public School,” says Mother Corrie Newton.
Through Mandarin for Kidz, the children have become more conscious of other cultures. They also have a better understanding of the rich diversity in culture right here in Australia.
“Charlie and Grace have made friends at school with kids who’ve migrated from China and have little or next to no English. And it’s become normal for our kids to sing along to Chinese songs in the car as part of their learning experience. It makes for some fun car trips.
We think it’s great. As China grows in the future, who knows what opportunities may lay around the corner?”
*Source: Northwestern University, Illinois & Pennsylvania State University
Media contact: Kidzone Education Pty Ltd T/A Mandarin for Kidz
Principal - Richard Ang: (+612) 8006 9228, email@example.com
Chris Ball: 0402 165 533, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kidzone Education Pty Ltd
(+612) 8006 9228