Is fluency the end goal?

By Tina Mira | LinguaKidz

Inspired by a plenary session presented by Dr Angie Knaggs at the recent MLTAQ Biennial Conference, the value and purpose of language learning was something I began to question and reframe. Many may consider fluency the end goal, but is it?

Of course, when we put our children into classes to learn languages, we would love for them to reach fluency or communicative heights, but many of us have had experiences of learning a language at school, or in our youth and not reached that level, or time has passed and it has become rusty, or sitting somewhere at the back of our bank of knowledge and we think, if I went to a country that spoke that language, I’m sure it would come back to me!

But let’s reframe the purpose of learning a language! 

I’m here to reassure you that even just a dabble or short course of a language carries its own value!  Let’s compare for a moment registering our kids into sports when they are young.  Do we do it with the goal that they will be Olympians or superstars in that sport? Do we let the knowledge that they will likely not pursue that sport all the way deter us from putting them into a whole heap of sporting experiences? No! Because we see the value of teamwork, being active, sportsmanship and gross motor skills that sport can bring, no matter which sport and for how long they may do it.  All those transferrable skills will help their next endeavour or indeed shape them as people.

So many transferrable skills!

So, let’s consider the value of language learning and cultural discovery like in terms of the bigger picture.  The transferrable skills of learning a language are very well researched and accepted –

  • cognitive development
  • pattern recognition
  • development of a framework to help make connections

All of these skills help shape the brain to learn more effectively, in any subject!  But, let’s also couple these with:

  • development of communication skills & interpersonal skills
  • understanding and appreciating difference
  • developing an awareness of the struggles of learning a new language, which can help us understand others
  • seeing the world through a new perspective. 

Even just knowing that the order of the ways of saying things in a different language may be different to our first language, this can help us see that there are different ways of doing things.  All of these skills are also transferrable skills that help to shape us, and our children into true global citizens with an appreciation, respect for and inspiration from our multicultural world.

So, let LinguaKidz add value to your child and help shape them as life-long learners with cultural agility.  With options of continued online language programs and in-person holiday camps, there is something for everyone!

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