French Language Day

It’s always good to have more than one language in your arsenal. It opens up all sorts of opportunities, both in this country and overseas, so any chance you get to teach kids another language should be jumped at.

March 20th is designated French Language Day by the UN so it’s a great time to introduce your kids to different languages if they haven’t been already. And, as you can imagine, there are thousands of online places you can go to for resources.

As most of you must already know, the earlier you start to teach kids a language, the easier it is for them to pick it up. And that’s not the only benefit the kids get out of learning a language either. Research shows that learning a second language has a range of benefits. These include:

• Improved literacy skills – a study carried out by York University showed that kids who had learnt a second language learnt to read quicker.

• Better creative and cognitive skills – scientist James Flynn commented in the New Yorker that “The mind is much more like a muscle than we’ve ever realised… It needs to get cognitive exercise. It’s not some piece of clay on which you put an indelible mark.” and learning a language provides just that kind of exercise. Further research by Ellen Bialystok, published by National Network for Early Language Learning discovered that the ‘cognitive skill that seems to be the most enhanced by learning a second language is critical thinking, or problem-solving’.

• Higher test results – in a report published in 2007, Lord Dearing showed that kids who did better at GCSE level had studied languages at a young age.

• Talking like a native – when you learn a language as an adult it’s very hard to lose your accent. This is not a problem when you are a child. Many young speakers of other languages speak like a native, which can be very beneficial for future opportunities.

So, now that we know just how beneficial learning a second language can be, here are some suggestions for fun ways to start.

The BBC have a great section on learning French on their website. You can listen to songs, watch videos and there are plenty of vocabulary games. And French Games has a wealth of ideas you can try to adapt to suit you class. You could also have a day of eating French food. A simple way to start would be by making croque monsieur – here’s an easy recipe.

I know it’s a bit early, well actually it’s never too early to be prepared, so why not have a little look at our fab Easter section.

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