Celebrating languages week – the benefits of learning languages

Languages Week is held on 6-12 August each year and is designed to raise awareness of the benefits of learning a second language and highlight the linguistic diversity in our community. Language learning helps us to broaden personal, social, cultural and employment opportunities as well as providing some long-lasting benefits. When a student can be exposed to new cultures, new ideas and new ways of thinking it stimulates their curiosity in a unique way. It can help students gain a better understanding of other culture’s values and attitudes, whilst also informing their own.

More than 240 languages and dialects are spoken in Western Australia today and Languages Week provides an opportunity to explore and celebrate language learning. At Guildford Grammar School alone there are staff members who can speak Arabic, Dutch, German, Zulu, Afrikaans, French, Croatian, Spanish, Japanese, Latin, Indonesian, Malay, Chinese and Welsh! This is reflective of our wider community and the multiculturalism we experience today. By familiarising students with other cultures and ideas they hadn’t considered, they take on a new world perspective that is thoroughly more well-rounded than if this had not occurred. 

The benefits of learning languages include:

  • Useful when travelling
    Knowing how to speak more than one language comes in handy when travelling. Planning a holiday is also a great incentive to learn or practice a new language!
  • Improves attention levels and multi-tasking
    Research shows that people who speak more than one language are better at task-switching and generally have a higher level of attention.
  • Improves conflict resolution skills
    Research also shows that multilingual people often perform better in tasks that require conflict resolution.
  • Looks great on your resume
    Speaking more than one language is a valuable skill in the workplace. It also illustrates to employers that you have the motivation and commitment needed to learn a second language.
  • It keeps our brains active for longer
    Research shows that bilingualism is protecting the brains of older adults by as much as four years. The mental workout involved in keeping languages separate seems to have lifelong benefits.

As part of our Catalyst junior secondary curriculum, Year 7 students must study one core language, selecting from Chinese or French. From Years 8-12 students can choose to continue their study of languages. You can learn more about our language offerings by downloading our Catalyst Handbook or our Year 11 Course Selection handbook.