Author: Wallin, Jamie
Hosted by: www.researchgate.net
Submitted by: yorkfsl
Date Submitted: April 12, 2021
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This paper analyses recent research findings which reveal some non-linguistic benefits children acquire by learning a second language. And, it is argued that such benefits not only benefit children and their families, but contribute to the social wellbeing of communities and nations.
The purpose of this paper is to share relevant findings of non-linguistic benefits of learning a second language for readers everywhere, particularly for those who live and work in Southeast Asia as teachers of second languages, parents and educational policy advisors. Among the benefits that are described in this paper are: benefits that aid learning in general, executive functioning, memory retrieval skills, and higher levels of empathy, or concern for others. The key recommendation is that language learning opportunities should be expanded to include even members of remote areas of the member countries of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Even a minimal level of competence in either English or Chinese should be a policy objective of their Ministries of Education. Second language learning enhances executive functioning, IQ, breadth of vocabulary and reading skill, creativity, memory retrieval skills, and decision-making skills. Bilinguals also seem to have ‘brains that grow’. Non-linguistic benefits of being bilingual are found to aid in the wellbeing of communities and nations as bilinguals demonstrate greater empathy for others and help to strengthen their family bonds and first language. This also can support family cohesion, promote respect and understanding among diverse cultures and create a gateway to other cultures.