In part one of this blog series, we discussed two of the main benefits of learning English as a second language: improved communication and greater job opportunities, which often come with financial benefits and job security. However, there are many other benefits of taking ESL classes, which have to do with cognition, memory, and diversification of skills. But why exactly is learning a new language so good for the brain? Continue reading to find out, and enroll in one of our language learning programs at La Paz Language Academy today to experience the benefits of learning a foreign language for yourself!
Learning a new language, such as English as a second language, has proven benefits for memory function, especially short-term memory. When we engage our brains in language learning activities, such as reading, writing, and speaking a foreign language, we are able to retain information for longer periods of time, as these exercises employ parts of the brain that are often neglected. You may have heard the phrase, “use it or lose it,” with regard to brain plasticity, which is the brain’s ability to develop and mature, just like any other muscle in the body.
Learning another language is a great way to exercise the brain and keep it in tip-top shape, which is especially important for adults who have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. ESL classes offer the perfect solution for adults who are looking to improve their English skills while exercising their brain for optimal memory function later in life, as our language teachers engage them in fun activities that are great for brain health and memory retention.
Improved Cognitive Functioning
Hand-in-hand with improved memory is improved cognitive functioning, as the brain works more efficiently when it is exercised and challenged on a regular basis. In many ways, this concept is similar to physical workouts — as you work out, your body becomes stronger and more resilient than ever before, which enables you to push your limits to accomplish even more the next time. When you learn Spanish, Chinese, English as a second language, or another foreign language of your choice, you are stretching your brain’s capacity and allowing it to be more flexible when absorbing new information.
With this comes better attention and focus, improved listening skills, and a greater ability to multitask, as learning a new language allows the brain to function more efficiently when new information is presented. When you exercise cognition through language learning activities, such as phrase repetition, reading, and writing, you are able to absorb more information and retain it for longer periods of time, due to the fact that multiple thinking processes are activated. This translates into an easier time switching between target languages (such as English and Spanish), sharper focus skills, and the ability to truly listen, rather than simply hearing information as it passes through one ear and right out the other.
Better Problem-Solving Abilities
In addition to enhanced memory and cognitive functioning, learning English as a second language can help you become a better problem-solver. Just think about it: when you learn another language, you are constantly challenging your brain to stretch its capabilities and absorb new information, which in itself is like a puzzle that needs to be solved in order for communication to happen. This is especially true for ESL students learning English grammar, as the rules and their exceptions pose challenges that are often difficult to overcome, but are extremely rewarding when they are solved.
At La Paz Language Academy, our ESL teachers know firsthand the benefits of learning English as a second language, or learning another language, such as Spanish, Arabic, or Italian, with regard to brain functioning and memory retention. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of learning a new language, and enroll in one of our language learning programs in El Paso today!