Often people assume learning a language (like Chinese for kids) is only about communication — speaking to people who haven’t shared the same linguistic and cultural background. While this is as the obvious objective, language learners find the journey is richer than this. Here are three cool ways Mandarin will benefit any child beyond communication.
1. Greater Sense of the World and Cultural Understanding
While this could be true for any language, Chinese language learners have a unique opportunity to understand better how 1/6 of the world lives and thinks. When we see and seek to understand a bigger world, we naturally dream bigger, see more possibilities and show a willingness to look at situations from a multitude of perspectives.
Chinese helps kids become richer in their vision for their life and increases their potential to be successful and compassionate human beings.
2. It Will Engage Your Brain Massively
Yes, it’s true! Research by Dr Sophie Scott has shown that due to Mandarin’s tonal nature, Mandarin activates both left and right sides of the brain. In essence, Mandarin requires more brain power than English. Not only that but learning languages has been known to raise test scores across a multitude of subjects. Learning Mandarin simply makes kids smarter!
I have to say it: learning Chinese will open your eyes to some pretty awesome food. Chinese cooking has had 5,000 years to perfect itself, and it certainly has! So much of Chinese culture centers around sharing food, it’s inevitable learners find many eye-opening culinary experiences. While in Taiwan, I often marvelled how children casually ate dried salted seaweed. American kids love candy and more candy, while these kids just loved munching on seaweed! After trying it, I could see why. Dried seaweed has a great delicate texture which wonderfully leaves melted sea saltiness in your mouth.
While there is a fair amount of food which I’m sure any Westerner will find disgusting, learning Chinese will expand taste buds in unimaginable ways!
So, while people think of kids learning Mandarin as merely an exercise in communication, it is indeed something much more than this!