Why your child should study a language at school

Dictionary page In many other countries, learning a language is compulsory until the final year of schooling. In contrast, Australian students may study a language other than English in primary or secondary school but few actually continue language study once they are able to tailor their subject choices in their senior years. With the federal government recently allocating $11.6 million to early years language education and working to improve the uptake of Asian languages, we take a look at the benefits of studying languages at school.

  • It broadens their horizons: Language study will not only provide your child with the skills to speak, write and read a foreign language, but will typically also give insight into the history and culture of societies where the language is used. This can broaden your child's view of the world and open their eyes to cultures and societies outside of Australia.
  • It can provide opportunities for international travel: Learning a second language can offer students a number of opportunities for international study. This may mean embarking on an exchange trip in secondary school (taking the opportunity to study at a sister school, for example) or completing a semester abroad or a student exchange program in tertiary years. These programs can be highly competitive, so speaking another language may not only increase your child's chances of selection but also means they are not limited to an English-speaking country or courses conducted in English.
  • It can boost their chances of tertiary entrance: Many universities recognise the benefits of language study and are willing to offer students ˜bonus points' for studying a language during school. This can see your child put in a more favourable position when they apply for a tertiary course, particularly in disciplines such as humanities, communications and business. The Group of Eight (Australia's prestigious research-intensive universities) also has its own language bonus points scheme.
  • It can improve job prospects down the track: It's no secret that speaking a foreign language can be beneficial when it comes time to find a job. Employers in service industries such as tourism and hospitality will favourably highly on those who speak a second language. The same can be said for businesses that deal with overseas clients and partners on a regular basis, as well as job roles that require overseas travel. Having the ability to communicate in another language will put your child in demand in the employment market especially if they've chosen to study an Asian language such as Mandarin.
  • There are links to intellectual and physiological benefits: Many studies have been conducted into the benefits of learning a second language, with research linking bilingualism to literacy development and improved cognitive skills such as memory, perception and the ability to multi-task. It has also been found that learning a second language can help improve the development of skills in an individual's first language.

Useful links:

Popular schools
Browse more schools

Become a member

Already a member? LoginForgot password?

Join the conversation