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Electronic media, immigration, and ease of travel are making the world (and New Zealand) increasingly international and bringing us into contact with people from other cultures. This means that being able to communicate across cultural boundaries is more important than ever. The single most important step we can take towards doing this effectively is to learn another language. In many countries, learning more than one language is the norm.
Students often choose to study a language to which they have an existing cultural, family, or community connection. But there are many other possible reasons. For example, students might be interested in:
Learning a second language can bring a great deal of personal satisfaction and pleasure. It can also open up a much broader range of future work opportunities by:
Learning a language is not just about opening up opportunities for work and travel – it is likely to prove a journey of personal discovery. Experience of other cultures can help us understand and appreciate our own.
In the broad picture, young people who learn a second language acquire knowledge, skills, and understandings that are important for the social, cultural, economic, and environmental well-being of New Zealand.
Learning any language is worthwhile, but the rationale for learning a specific language (rather than other possible languages) will vary greatly.
Teachers are encouraged to work with colleagues and students to develop rationales specific to the language(s) they teach.
Last updated August 28, 2012