When a child says, “That character is more like me than I thought,” or “I see how calculus works in the machines that keep me alive in a hospital,” she is on her way to adopting a window approach.
Happy New Year!!! This blog post is all about languages. How many of you always say you're going to learn a new language as a new year's resolution but never do? Well this is your chance to do it and include your child! Read below!
Deciding which language is best for your child to learn can be a complicated decision. Researchers believe that learning a second language comes with benefits, especially for young learners. Some researchers claim that new neuro-pathways are developed in the brain in order to learn the new language, and various studies have shown that individuals who speak more than one language are less likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. In addition to the added mental health benefit, a second language will allow your child to be more competitive for better jobs down the line.
Here are two important things to keep in mind!
- Mandarin and Spanish are Hot: By focusing on creating a love of learning and great learning environments, a child will best be served. That said, it's hard to go wrong with Mandarin or Spanish! Both languages have many speakers in the U.S. and across the globe. It is estimated that there are currently 34 million Spanish speakers in the U.S. Furthermore, since Spanish is a phonetic language with many similarities to English, it can be easier for children to learn. And perhaps more important, there is an abundance of learning materials for both the Mandarin Chinese and Spanish languages.
- Don’t Force the Issue: It's important to note that forcing a child who is not interested in learning a second language may backfire. If a child generally likes school and is learning at a good pace, then forcing that child to learn a language may be a little risky. Your number one goal where education is concerned should be to encourage a love of learning. However, sometimes forcing a child to learn a second language can interfere with that. So before pushing a second language, ensure that the child in question is onboard. Involve your child in the language selection process; children respond best when they feel that they are an active participant in their own lives.
Ultimately, the best language for a child to learn is one that he or she has a natural interest in learning. You may feel that having your child learn a new language is the best for his or her future career, but fostering a love of learning should always be the number one priority. A child that loves learning will achieve far more in school and life than a child whose love of learning was crushed, but speaks a “little French.”
The global economy has changed and so has how we think about education. It is, of course, difficult to predict the future, but it is quite clear that the marketplace has become global in nature and more competitive. This means that flexibility in approach and thinking is becoming increasingly important. Here are some things your child should be able to do in order to be competitive for the global economy!
Apply Information in a Flexible and Creative Way
In the past, a great deal of what was deemed to be successful educational outcomes depended on the ability of students to memorize and regurgitate facts. There will always be a need for children to know certain information. But in the future, being able to apply what is learned in a flexible and creative way will become more important. Solutions come from creativity and flexible thinking, and so expect them to take on an even higher level of importance.
Be Able to Adapt
Another important skill for the global economy is adaptability. Being able to quickly adapt to new realities is of paramount importance. As the global marketplace changes quickly, workers will need to be able to adjust to a faster pace of change than past generations. A key contributing factor to this is our rapidly evolving technology. We are rapidly becoming a tech-obsessed world and will likely become even more tech focused in the next few decades. Do your child a favor and make sure that they are tech savvy.
Dealing with people from different cultures around the world has never played a greater role in the economy than it does today. People are moving to different countries for work, and this means that your child will likely find themselves not just working with someone from the other side of the country, but also from the other side of the world. An inability to deal with, relate to, and respect people from different cultures and backgrounds will kill your child's career before it even starts.
At the heart of all three of these factors is change. The leaders of tomorrow will be the ones that are most comfortable with change and who can adapt quickly. Helping children become comfortable with our evolving world is one of the key steps that teachers and parents can take to ensure that children are both happy and successful in the future.