We often hear that learning a language is easiest when you start young and are immersed. That isn’t possible for everyone. But, contrary to popular belief or myth, learning a language does not have to be impossible if you are motivated and willing to put in the work.
Learning a language adds value to almost everything; from improving creativity and test scores to bolstering your resume for a college or job search.
Let us debunk a few of these myths:
1. You can’t learn a language using an online or virtual platform.
Contrary to popular belief, learning a language online is possible and in some cases can compete with face-to-face instruction. Online courses that have virtual meetings where learners and their instructor meet and collaborate can be highly successful. Just because you can’t find a teacher in your school does not mean you have to give up your dream of learning Japanese or Chinese. The World of Learning Institute allows lots of virtual interactions with a teacher and conversations with other learners. Being able to hear, speak and get immediate feedback in the target language in a virtual setting offers the same components of feedback – and the advantage of being able to rewatch the instruction and practice pronunciation and listening to concepts you struggle with.
2. World Language skills are more than just ‘good to have’.
Whether you want to boost your chance to get into the college of your dreams or find a job that you love, having world language skills is a good start. Despite the myths that world language learning is not necessary the contrary is actually true. More employers look for people who have the skills of speaking and learning in another language. Not only does it demonstrate your ability to try hard things, but it also shows that you have interest in expanding how you see and understand other cultures.
3. Not everyone speaks English.
Check out this fact, 75% of the people in the world do not speak English. That should be enough to convince you that learning a language is important. In Europe, 96% of all students take a second or third language. That compares with only 20% of United States secondary school learners taking a language.
4. Learning a new language doesn’t confuse or complicate learning English.
Another terrible myth is that learning a second language will confuse or complicate your ability to learn English. If you speak a second language don’t let anyone tell you that it will hamper your ability to learn. Contrary, speaking a second language improves your ability to think, be creative and you’ll probably be better at English, you’ll expand your knowledge of the arts, music, and humanities. Need I go on?
5. Google Translate is not all you need!
Google Translate, Ughh! While it might be helpful to find a word or two, it can in no way match the cultural and social cues needed to understand and communicate. Local idioms and other nuances of a language can’t necessarily be translated by a logarithm. Learning by talking with instructors in authentic experiences helps to mitigate misunderstanding caused by using translate. And, when you do visit another country you can really meet people who will be grateful that you took the time to learn about their language and culture.
6. Arabic, Japanese, Chinese? Yes, Please!
Look no further than our government to see the need for critical languages that are offered through the World of Learning Institute, such as Arabic Japanese and Chinese. Do we have the know-how in languages like Chinese and Arabic to ward off national security risks in technology and cyberspace? The National Security Education Program (NSEP) offers scholarships and support for people who speak languages from countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Check out the NSEP security project for more information about all the critical languages that our government looks to its citizens to help maintain our nation’s security.
7. Language learning is boring.
What! Learning a language is never boring. From new alphabets to new fashion, there is always something interesting. A funny idiom or a fancy building – you find them as you learn to navigate new cities and climb distant mountains. You might even ride a supersonic train in China or glide down a river in the Amazon jungle. Language classes today encourage lots of interacting and speaking. While you still need to learn some basic grammar to have those conversations, learning to listen and respond is fun and engaging.
With all these myths’ debunked why do you think you want to learn a language? For more reasons to take a world language check out this BLOG. (Link to either of these or both)
- 11 Reasons Your District Should Invest in World Language Instruction https://docs.google.com/document/d/19nSPfXqGRDZ8pIcWq6g35zPqeFrxT82Z3TD672m5m5E/edit?usp=sharing Interesting
- Stories About World Language Instruction https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OuL3_Eih3-8-duDLbm7ji7zE_O1AbM5ThKiPkezf9Co/edit?usp=sharing
NSEP link https://nsep.gov/content/critical-languages