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Grande Prairie Public School District
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Second Language Programming

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Second Language Studies:  Opening Doors to the World

Much research has been done over time to demonstrate the value of a student learning a second (or third) language, Alberta Education provides information on the benefits of second language learning:

The Impact of Second Language Education study shows the benefits of learning a second language are much broader than simply the ability to speak in another language. It reports on research that affirms the importance of second language education on intellectual potential, scholastic achievement, first language skills, citizenship and the economy.

The research conclusions in each area are as follows:

Intellectual Potential

    • Students fluent in two language score higher in both verbal and non-verbal intelligence.
    • Students studying a second language are superior in divergent thinking tasks and in memory ability and attention span.

Scholastic Achievement

    • Second language students have higher test scores in reading, language and mathematics.
    • Each additional year of second language training created a greater positive differential compared to students not receiving a second language.

Effect on First Language

    • Second language education significantly strengthens first language skills in areas of reading, English vocabulary, grammar and communication skills.
    • The earlier the start, the greater the positive effect on the first language.

Citizenship

    • Students studying a second language have superior cross-cultural skills and adapt better to varying cultural contexts.
    • Students studying a second language display greater cultural sensitivity.

Economic Potential

    • There is an urgent requirement for qualified speakers of languages other than English in areas of science, technology, medicine and global commerce.

(Alberta Education taken from their research study "A Review of the Literature on Second Language Learning, 2006: https://education.alberta.ca/media/616813/litreview.pdf)

As a result of our belief in the value of second language learning, students in GPPSD are expanding their horizons through language learning in English (for non-English learners), French, Spanish and German.  They are proud to be bilingual and are using these skills to travel, to access a greater variety of employment opportunities and to communicate with a greater number of individuals.  The Board supports these initiatives by supporting mandatory French as a Second Language classes from grades 4-6. French, along with other language choices are offered as options from grades 7-12 at all schools in GPPSD.