The Importance of Learning a Second Language and Teaching About Cultural Diversity

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    Learning a second language is very beneficial and can help your children excel later in life. With the world being so globalized, being able to speak read or write a second language can help tremendously with college applications as well as jobs. Knowing more than one language allows you to communicate and connect with more people than if you were to only be able to speak one language. According to a blog by leadwithlanguages.org, “People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills.” They  also state that learning multiple languages can help with memory later in life.

    Also, once you have learned a second language, learning more languages after that becomes much easier. Unfortunately, schools in America do not always teach a second language or they do not start teaching any until high school. Younger children can pick up a second language much faster, while they are still learning their first language. Many other countries start teaching a second language much earlier in school. Though younger children can learn a second language much faster, it does not mean that a second language is impossible for older children or adults. While it can seem like a daunting task, there are so many resources available to help you and your child learn a second language such as games, apps, programs, videos, classes, and tutoring sites. It is important to keep up with the second language as well after they have learned it to help them remember it long term. It is easy to forget how to speak another language if you do not use it often.

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Having a pen pal from another country, knowing someone who speaks another language, or using tutoring sites with people who speak another  language as their first language can be very beneficial. You can also use words from the language they are learning around the house to help them learn, change your television language, or listen to music from that language to help them hear it often. Another reason learning a second language can be beneficial is that children who learn another language simultaneously learn about the culture that speaks the language they are learning. Learning additional languages can lead to

them having more appreciation for other cultures. In a global world, it is very important for your child to have an appreciation for a diverse group of people which leads me to my second topic, cultural diversity.

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Teaching your child, a second language can be difficult, but you do not have to teach them another language to teach them about cultural diversity. Teaching your children about different cultures and diversity is extremely important, especially when there is so much racism and prejudice in the world today.

Children are not born hating those who are different from them, they learn it from their parents and those around them. It is important to look at your own beliefs and ideals and see what you are teaching your children and what you were taught growing up. Even if you grew up in a racist or prejudice environment does not mean you have to keep believing in those same beliefs. You can be where the cycle stops. Educate not only your children, but yourself, and be the change the world needs to see right now. Let your children know that just because someone is different from them, it doesn’t make them any less of a human and they deserve the same equality and respect as everyone else. When children learn about other cultures, it helps them to understand them better and have more respect for those cultures. “Even more importantly, learning about a


 

new culture cultivates an enthusiasm for understanding and appreciating diverse ways of living, facilitating positive regard and sharing an implicit message: Our differences are valuable and honorable,” says Jennifer Katzinger, program manager at the Northwest Language and Cultural Center.

 

Below, I listed each of the months that celebrate a specific heritage and which it celebrates in America. I found this list on Indiana State University's website.

 

During those months, you could teach your children about that heritage and make it fun by watching movies shows and documentaries about that culture, reading books about the culture or written by someone from the culture, try new recipes from the culture, or visit a museum that teaches about the culture. During months that do not celebrate a specific culture you and your child can find one together to learn about.

 

February

  • African American History Month

 

March

  • Irish-American History Month

  • Greek-American Heritage Month

 

April

  • Arab-American Heritage Month

  • Scottish-American Heritage Month

 

May

  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

  • Jewish American Heritage Month

  • South Asian Heritage Month

  • Haitian Heritage Month

 

June

  • Caribbean Heritage Month

 

July

  • French-American Heritage Month


 

September

  • National Hispanic Heritage Month

  • German-American Heritage Month

 

October

  • National Italian-American Heritage Month

  • Filipino American Heritage Month

 

November

  • National American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month

 

While learning another language can be beneficial for your child, teaching them cultural diversity is even more important. You as their parent, can help shape them so they become an empathetic person that has an appreciation for a diverse world. Open their minds, promote their curiosity, and let them soar.

 

Thank you for reading! Let me know what you thought and comment below other ideas you have that can help promote diversity at home.

 

Submitted by Courtney Weaver, Copywrite editor Nova X-STREAM Learning Solutions Novaxstream.com

Info@novaxstream.com

 

Sources:

"Top Ten Reasons to Learn Languages."Lead with Languages Blog, https://www.leadwithlanguages.org/why-learn-languages/top-ten-reasons-to- learn-languages/

Katzinger, Jennifer. "8 Ways to Help Children Value Cultural Diversity." Parent Map, 26 November 2019, https://www.parentmap.com/article/cultural- diversity-race-family-activities

Alferez, Susy. "How to Teach Your Kids a Second Language Even if You Suck at It." Life Hacker, 18 August 2017, https://offspring.lifehacker.com/how-to-teach- your-kid-a-second-language-even-if-you-suc-1797978172

"National Heritage Months." Indiana State University, https://www.indstate.edu/sites/default/files/media/Documents/PDF/msp- National%20Heritage%20Months.pdf