For young people these days, learning a second language is more important than ever.
From 2020 to 2021 alone, demand for bilingual employees increased by 30% according to research from Tech Republic. Leading insurance group Schwartz, meanwhile, reports that workers who speak two languages can earn up to a staggering 20% more than monolingual employees.
Plus, the benefits of learning a second language aren’t just financial. “Bilingualism is an experience that shapes our brain for a lifetime,” says Harvard associate professor Gigi Luk. Research correspondents for NPR Ed explain that people who speak two languages have better focus, a greater ability to switch between tasks, a head start on empathy in childhood, and more.
If you want your child to learn a second language, look to online schooling. While you may not expect it, virtual schools offer several advantages over traditional schools when it comes to language learning — here are just a few of the top benefits.
Innovative learning technologies
Many students have long considered languages to be some of the most difficult subjects to grasp in school, but new educational technologies are turning that around. While traditional schools don’t always have the tech resources to make use of these tools, digital language platforms fit right into the online classroom.
At top virtual schools, students can make use of software and apps designed to teach a new language in the most effective way. These platforms often include features such as gamification (which turns learning into a game), voice recognition to improve speaking skills, and multimedia teaching. Many language learning tools can also adapt to each learner’s individual progress and fully track areas for improvement. In conjunction with high-quality instruction from dedicated, fluent online teachers, innovative technologies give children a real boost in picking up a new language.
Classrooms that build confidence
Does your child get shy in their language classes? If so, they’re not alone. Numerous students suffer from nerves and anxiety when it comes to speaking in a foreign language in front of their classmates. For many learners, fear of getting a question wrong in English can be bad enough; the thought of pronouncing a word incorrectly or forgetting the right vocabulary in another language is, unsurprisingly, is even more stressful.
One study published in the European Journal of Educational Research showed that a student’s shyness and anxiety towards language learning predicts over 25% of their achievement. As such, if you have a shy child, it’s important to find a language learning method that works for them.
Virtual classrooms in online schools can be a great solution to building language confidence. In a top online school, you’ll find that live lessons offer multiple options for communication. While children are encouraged to participate via audio and video if they want to, they can also share their answers with their teacher using a text chat box. At some online schools, you may even find the option to type answers directly to a teacher without classmates seeing.
Typing in a foreign language is a far less intimidating first step for shy learners. As your child’s teacher confirms that they’re getting answers right and reinforces their successful progress, you’ll soon find that your child feels far more confident about saying them out loud.
Flexible pacing for each student
Regardless of confidence, every student learns languages at their own pace. Many children have a natural aptitude for picking up vocabulary and grammar, while some may have already learned the basics of their chosen language before choosing it as a school subject. For other learners, the task can be far more difficult.
The beauty of great online schools is the flexibility they offer. When choosing a school, look out for one with a library of recorded lessons as well as live classes. That way, if your child is struggling to pick up their new language, they can always go back and rewatch a lesson until they feel confident in the material.
A global community of classmates
Last but not least, what better what to enhance your language abilities than to chat with native speakers? While meeting native speakers isn’t an opportunity most children can find in traditional schools, it’s a far more common occurrence online.
Since students can take part in internet-based lessons from anywhere in the world, online schools attract rich and vibrant global student communities filled with a wide variety of first languages. Your child may befriend classmates from France, Spain, Germany, Arabic-speaking countries, and many more, giving them the freedom to practice at any time in a comfortable setting.
Language learning at King’s InterHigh
Su King’s InterHigh, our expert teachers use cutting-edge language learning platforms that make picking up a language fun and efficient. Students can participate in live lessons via video, audio, or text chat, and all classes are recorded for 24/7 viewing so students can progress at their own pace. King’s InterHigh teaches foreign languages from primary school through to A Levels; to learn more about joining this thriving global community, visit the website.