8 Benefits of English Language Learning (ELL/ESL)
1. The ability to communicate in a new language
The main benefit a person gains when committing to learning English (or any language) is the ability to communicate with the language itself and create connections with a wider range of the world’s population.
2. The brain undergoes a change in electrical activity
Before this study, it was believed this change in brain functioning only occurred when students had obtained a high level of language ability in the new language, but this study revealed this change may occur at the earliest stages of language learning.
3. “Superior memory function”
Language learning showed an increase in memory capacities, this was especially strong in short-term memory. This is a huge benefit because it allows the brain to keep information in the brain for longer durations while thinking processes are activated.
4. Increased mental flexibility
The article explains this keeps mental pathways “opened up” which allows a person to use “differing avenues for thought.” Language learning helps “exercise” the brain to keep it flexible and agile.
5. Increased problem-solving abilities
A person also benefits from language learning by gaining increased problem-solving abilities in all of the following areas: abstract thinking skills, concept formation, creative hypothesis formulation, strengthened capacity to identify, understand and solve problems; the ability to focus on a task by filtering out distractions and extraneous information and an increase in multi-tasking ability.
6. Greater comprehension for how language works and is used
Language acquisition also benefits a person by creating a greater comprehension for how language works and is used. The study found individuals with multilingual communication were able to better read and interpret social situations, which improved their performance in social settings.
7. Prevents the deterioration of brain functioning over time
The study reports that individuals who were multilingual had a decreased rate of 2 to 4 years in the development of age-related cognitive problems such as dementia.
8. Increased ability in digital literacy
The culmination of all these advantages results in one last benefit: an increased ability in digital literacy. Because of these quickened mental abilities, individuals who are multilingual have a noticeable ability to stay up to date with modern technologies. Reading about this benefit reminded me of this quote: “Our intelligence tends to produce technological and social change at a rate faster than our institutions and emotions can cope with…We therefore find ourselves continually trying to accommodate new realities within inappropriate existing institutions, and trying to think about those new realities in traditional but sometimes dangerously irrelevant terms.” (War: The Lethal Custom, p. 441). Clearly having increased mental agility due to language acquisition helps the average language learners better stay atop all of the technological and informational changes constantly evolving in today’s world.
Help students gain these skills through an effective ELL reading program.
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Article: “Languages Smarten Up the Brain”