Why and How You Should Learn a Second Language
The International Business Times found that jobs for interpreters and translators in the United States is expected to continue growing over the next four years. And even for people who are interested in a different line of work, the article they published stated that “for those completely bilingual in Spanish and English, these highly marketable language skills open doors to new careers.”
Lots of Mental Benefits to Learning a New Language
In today’s job market, gaining a significant edge may be all the motivation you need to start learning a second language. But regardless of the reason you decide to go down this path, you will also reap a wide range of mental benefits. According to Jeremy Dean, who wrote 10 Superb Psychological Advantages of Learning Another Language for PsyBlog, this pursuit can trigger brain growth, stave off dementia, improve listening skills, increase language sensitivity and boost memory. It can also improve multi-tasking, increase attention spans, double mental activation, provide new ways to see the world and improve your primary language.
How Should You Go About Learning a Second Language?
For individuals who speak Spanish and want to learn English, ESOL online classes from Keiser University are an excellent option. What’s nice about taking an online class is it provides the right mix of flexibility and structure. While you will be able to balance existing obligations thanks to not needing to commute anywhere, being part of an actual class provides the accountability needed to stay consistent. Not having to worry about falling off track will significantly boost your ability to learn in a timely manner.
Another advantage to this option is it provides a blended learning format. You will build your listening, grammar, reading and writing skills at the same time. A big reason why this is possible is you’ll have the guidance of an experienced teacher. And even though you won’t be in the same room with them, you’ll still be able to collaborate and practice with your classmates.
If you want to learn a different language that’s not covered in a structured online class, there are a variety of strategies you can utilize to make your learning as efficient as possible. The first strategy is to not follow a common misconception. Although some people believe that trying to “learn like a child” is the best way to go, most language experts agree that this is actually counterproductive. Once you’re an adult, you need to utilize a different approach to learning.
Part of the approach you should utilize is experimenting with different programs to see which one is the right fit for your lifestyle and learning goals. Since consistency is arguably the most important component of learning a new language, what defines a “good” program is one that makes it possible for you to practice and learn at least a little every day.
Although self-paced programs don’t automatically provide the same level of interaction as an online class, it’s still vital to practice your skills with real people. If you’re worried that where you live is going to make that a challenge, the good news is there are plenty of online resources and services that make it easy to connect with others in order to practice actually speaking. Taking advantage of those options and speaking with multiple people will also benefit you more than only ever speaking the language you’re learning with just one person.
Finally, if you’re trying to decide what to put at the top of your priority list, make it vocabulary. While grammar is definitely important, it will come with time. Even if what you say isn’t perfect, focusing on having a large vocabulary will give you the confidence to start having real conversations with others.
Regardless of the method you ultimately choose, just remember that learning a language takes time and lots of practice. So if you’re ever tempted to pay for a program or “learning aid” that promises fast results, remind yourself that the only thing fast about that type of program is how quickly money will leave your wallet. Additionally, if you ever feel embarrassed when you’re trying to speak or stupid because you can’t think of the right word, remind yourself that you have nothing to be ashamed about. On the contrary, you should be extremely proud of the fact that you’re learning something that’s going to continue benefitting you for the rest of your life!
Brian Parker is a blogger and language enthusiast. Although he is by no means a polyglot, he has managed to learn three different languages over the past five years. His love for travel and getting to experience different local cultures are what drives his continued language learning.