As a parent raising a child in an English-speaking culture, in a world that is quickly adopting English as the universal language, you may ask yourself if there is any value in having your child learn Russian. Actually, there are many benefits to children learning a second language that will give them advantages as they continue to learn, grow and become adults, and Russian is a good choice for many reasons. The benefits and advantages are diverse and can include such subjective factors as a well-rounded life, but the bottom line is that they can ultimately spell greater career opportunities and possibilities for financial success.
Learning a second language stimulates growth and connections in the language centers of the brain
The kinds of complex connections that a child’s developing brain makes when learning a second language have a spillover effect in other aspects of his or her cognitive development. A child’s ability to make connections, draw parallels, identify similarities and differences, and even to see the world from an entirely different perspective or paradigm is all enhanced by learning a second language. In the case of Russian, where not only are many of the language constructions significantly different from English, but even the alphabet is distinct, the brain is encouraged to stretch even further. Ultimately, this mental exercise facilitates the development of creativity and the ability to see “outside the box,” increases problem solving skills, and of course makes learning other languages that much easier. Learning a second language can increase general academic performance in children and therefore the spectrum of choices available to them in terms of career paths that they may eventually choose to follow.
Learning Russian can broaden career opportunities later in life
Russia as a country has always been a major economic force in the world, with its vast hold of resources, expertise and industry. It will likely continue to be so well into the future, and in fact may become increasingly significant in the global economic playing field as other resource bases diminish and Russia’s stronghold experiences increased demands. Regardless of your child’s inclinations and eventual career path, there will always be a need for bilingual experts in a broad range of professions that involve interaction between Russia’s economy and that of the English-speaking world. So, having the Russian language under their belt will give children potentially lucrative options within industries that require functionally bilingual professionals.
Learning Russian can help children to understand different cultures, and is vital to understanding their own cultural origins, if they happen to be Russian
Language is much more than a means of communication. In many ways, it’s a document of a people’s history and cultural development. Language defines parameters and determines ways of thinking and viewing the world. Learning different languages gives a child the blessing of alternate ways of seeing things, allows for the cultivation of a broader range of ideas and increases the possibility for making connections between different points of view. If they happen to be of Russian background, learning their mother tongue will help them to understand where they come from and give them a broader scope for where they could go with their lives. If they have the opportunity to travel to Russia in the future, they will have the possibility for a much deeper and richer experience, both in terms of understanding the country and its people, and also in terms of the potential for social interaction, forging friendships and generally cultivating deeper relationships with Russian-speaking people.
Here is a story about one of former students of TRIO, school of Music, Dance and Languages ( www.trio-school.com) , where Russian is taught by native speaker of this language, who got their linguistic and music education in the former USSA and have been teaching in the US for more than a decade.
The young man, our former student of the Russian language and music, is the living proof of the benefits that can come from giving a child the opportunity to learn Russian as a second language. Although he was raised in a typical USA environment, his parents of Russian origin made it a priority for him to know his mother tongue. When he was growing up, his academic performance was always at the top of the class, and in university he not only continued his studies in Russian language and literature, but also challenged himself with a third language and became proficient in Spanish. He found learning a third language to be much easier, and was able to make connections between Spanish and both the Russian and English languages. As a result of his Russian proficiency, he not only has been able to better identify with his own culture, but also has been more adept at understanding other cultures. He has had many rich experiences traveling to Russian- and Spanish-speaking countries, making friends and generally having a deeper experience of the cultures in which he found himself. He also has had more choices in terms of job opportunities that require the knowledge of Russian.
Do not hesitate to give your children the same blessing he was given. The proficiency in Russian will enrich their lives in so many ways.