Parents are increasingly turning to foreign language classes for kids in an effort to prepare their children for the jobs of the future.
In 2008, 64 percent of business executives spoke two or more languages. People who are bilingual in Spanish and English are in particularly high demand for business executive positions in the U.S. due to the large Latino population across the country. To prepare the next generation for success in a globally-oriented marketplace, parents are exposing their children to foreign languages and cultures at an increasingly younger age. Lango, a foreign language program for kids, has seen interest in its language classes grow dramatically in the last four years.
“The jobs of the future will demand foreign language skills and increased cultural awareness,” said Michael Fee, managing director of Lango. “Our globalized society demands a globalized workforce – and that means being comfortable working with multiple cultures and speaking multiple languages.”
Becoming multilingual can be a life-long process, one that best starts from childhood. Linguists have reported that the human brain is wired for learning and retaining new information during childhood, as children are more open than adults to the new sounds found within foreign languages. Copying unknown sounds can be difficult for adults, which is one reason why they are less likely to develop a second language and native accent as proficiently as children. Adults tend to translate, whereas children speak a new language naturally.
Parents are taking advantage of their children’s natural ability to learn and retain a new language by enrolling their children in foreign language education classes such as Lango. Lango offers engaging Spanish, Mandarin and French classes for children ages 18 months to 11-years-old in more than 70 communities across the U.S.
“I have a two-year-old and want her to be exposed now, not when she is 14,” said Jessica Murrell, owner of Lango in Durham, North Carolina. “My goal with Lango’s foreign language courses is to expose children to foreign languages at an early age so they will be able to travel, work abroad, and be competitive in a global job market.”
Careers where bilingual skills are especially valued, both now and in the future include:
- Jobs in health care are expected to increase by 22 percent by the year 2018. In addition, the Census Bureau reported that the U.S.’s Hispanic population has grown 43 percent since the year 2000. As the U.S. Hispanic population continues to grow and health care jobs increase, more Spanish-speaking health care professionals will be in demand.
- As China’s influence in the U.S. continues to grow, Mandarin is being referred to as the business language of the future.
- Major cities and tourist destinations attract visitors from all over the world. Hotel and restaurant employees need the ability to communicate with guests to guarantee customer satisfaction.
- Public school teachers are increasingly faced with students who do not speak English, especially in states with large Hispanic populations such as New Mexico, California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Colorado. In addition, bilingual teachers often earn higher salaries than teachers who only speak English.
- The U.S. government’s National Security Education Program (NSEP) works to strengthen national security through critical language and culture expertise. The NSEP finds more than 70 languages critical for working in national security, one of which is Mandarin.
Lango (http://www.langokids.com) was established on the belief that every child should learn a second language. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Lango teaches children ages 18 months to 11 years new languages in full immersion classes through Adventure Learning©, an innovative approach that combines stories, music and movement, playacting, and game-playing in an engaging format that kids love. Lango is a division of Intrax, a family of organizations that provide a lifetime of high quality educational, work and volunteer programs that connect people and cultures, with operations in more than 100 countries worldwide.