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Language Classes: Does My Child Need Them?

by on 06/02/2024 4907

One of our greatest strengths as Malaysians is our cultural diversity. Many of us are bilingual and can converse in either Malay, English, Mandarin, or Tamil, which makes for a harmonious and tolerant society. 

When it comes to our children, however, is it too much to have them learn two or more languages at once? Studies suggest that because children have greater mental flexibility at a younger age, picking up a new language comes easier to them. It can also have multiple benefits, such as enhancing their cognitive, communication, and intercultural skills. 

Here are five reasons why you should consider language enrichment classes for your little ones: 

Leverage on the ‘critical period’ 

The saying that children absorb knowledge like sponges is rooted in truth. Experts have differing opinions on the ‘critical period’ of language acquisition, with some stating it starts from two up until the age of 18.

Language Classes Does My Child Need Them

However, the longer you wait for your child to learn a second language, the less likely they are to achieve native-like fluency, according to the BBC. The general consensus is to start learning languages before the age of 10, when the brain is at its most heightened plasticity. 

Enhance your child’s executive functions

Bilingualism has been linked to better cognitive control, which is responsible for regulating executive functions. Executive functions are defined as a set of mental skills and processes that help us plan, focus, recall instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. 

Language Classes Does My Child Need Them

Building on these functions from an early age can significantly impact a child’s development later in life. For example, research has found that there is a strong correlation between being bilingual with enhanced creativity. In some studies, bilingual individuals were found to outperform monolinguals in areas such as problem solving, or tasks that require conflict management. 

Reading is fundamental to language comprehension and improving their vocabulary. It also strengthens one’s writing ability and helps broaden the mind. You can book an assessment with I Can Read! locations at Puchong Jaya or Sri Hartamas. They specialise in programmes that utilise techniques such as special codes to identify possible sounds in each letter, phonemic awareness, phonics, and phonographenmic blending sequences to help students progress comfortably and flourish in their reading skills.

Improve their communication skills

Communication is vital in our daily life, and proficiency in languages can open the door to various opportunities.

Language enrichment classes can help your child to enhance their verbal and written communication skills, articulate their thoughts effectively, and build their confidence when speaking and writing, which is crucial for academic success and social interaction. 

Language Classes Does My Child Need Them

Foster cultural awareness

Language classes expose children to different cultures, traditions, and perspectives. Understanding other languages fosters empathy, cultural sensitivity, and a broader worldview, preparing them to navigate an increasingly globalised world. This is especially important in Malaysia, where we are a multicultural society made up of people from all walks of life. 

Language Classes Does My Child Need Them

BM World, Subang Jaya offers a fun-filled approach to learning Bahasa Melayu for students aged five to 17 years old. Spanning preschool, primary, and secondary programmes, modules are designed to fit the needs of both national and international schools. Students sit for a placement test before joining the programmes, so that educators have a grasp of their current level of BM proficiency. The ultimate goal is to support learners in scoring good grades in exams and help them express themselves confidently in BM.

Improve their academic performance 

Strong language skills can positively impact academic performance across different subjects, which is why the Malaysian government has the Dual Language Programme (DLP) initiative in selected primary schools, where students can learn subjects such as Mathematics and Science in both Bahasa Melayu and English.

Language Classes Does My Child Need Them

Encouraging proficiency in multiple languages can give your child a head start when they move on to higher institutions of learning, as they will have a stronger foundation and can grasp concepts in different languages more easily.  

Manchester Language Centre, Mont Kiara is an English language centre dedicated to enhancing language skills and cultural understanding through tailored English courses. With small groups or 1:1 classes led by native-speaking teachers, students receive personalised attention and guidance. Innovative teaching approaches incorporate interactive activities such as creative writing, storytelling, and language games, ensuring an effective and enjoyable learning experience.

For a comprehensive list of language enrichment classes, click here.