Language learning enables pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language, and to understand and respond to its speakers. It is clear that language learning is not only a matter of developing competence in another language, it is about the broader curriculum; about children exploring the relationship between language and identity; about developing an international outlook and an enhanced understanding of the world and their place within it.
As the opening statement of the Languages Programme of Study puts it: “Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures.” This has never been more crucial.
Learning another language is full of rich opportunities to develop pupils’ spiritual, moral and cultural experiences. Videos, songs, rhymes and stories all enrich pupils’ experience with cultural insights into other people’s lives. Pupils may try out aspects of another culture in their classroom, such as food, clothes or celebrations, building a positive understanding of key features of personal and national identity, values and beliefs.
Learning a language equips pupils to express themselves in new ways. This develops their immediate sense of belonging to the wider world and starts to prepare them for future opportunities in modern life. Learning another language develops an understanding and respect for diversity, removing barriers between cultures. It is also an opportunity to look at shared values and aspirations, such as personal liberty, democracy and the rule of law.