Should you teach your kids a second language or a coding language?

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Should you teach your kids a second language or a coding language?

Gone are the days where knowing only English will be enough to communicate effectively with everyone around you. The world is becoming smaller and smaller thanks to the internet; companies are going international with their international customers calling you from Shanghai; yearly vacations to exotic countries are the norm for most middle-class families. Each of these situations and dozens more are made so much easier with the appropriate language under your belt.

Learning language is built into young children’s brain chemistry, which is one big reason why they pick up languages so much easier than adults do. In fact, the younger they start, the more adept they are at being bilingual. It’s important to start your children off at a young age.

Now the question is raised, what should be my child’s second language? French? Mandarin? Sign Language? All of these are valid second languages, but have you considered other alternates? JavaScript? HTML? Programming languages are also very useful skills! Sorry if I just complicated your decision-making process, let me help you decide.

1) Is there a specific reason for wanting this second language?

Some examples that might dictate what kind of language the child learns include: Living in Quebec, Canada (as an example) almost requires that children learn both French and English in school. A grandparent that only speaks Italian would suggest that it would be nice for them to talk to their grandmother. Living in a neighborhood that speaks Mandarin, or a deaf sibling? All of these give good reasons to pick a communication language over a coded language.

If any of these conditions exist: Advantage Communication

2) Are both parents monolingual?

Teaching language that you don’t know, especially pronunciation of a language, is insanely difficult. Likely, even if you are successful, the child will have poor grammar and a strange accent. There is no pronunciation in code. As long as the child is old enough to read, there are experts on the internet and communities (both online and offline) to support your child. These experts could help solve a problem, or explain the thought process behind a line of code. There are beginner coding programs like Scratch that color code blocks of code to help a child visualize what they’re doing. If the child is too young, games like Cargo Bot can help a child visualize telling a machine what to do, and help open their mind to the idea that machines only do things you tell them to do, exactly how they tell a machine to do it.

In this situation: Advantage Coding

3) Are you concerned about future job prospects?

Programming jobs, and other computer related jobs, are expected to grow exponentially in the next decade. Jobs in the computer science sector pay very well, and it will only get better as new technologies get developed.

Australian jobs are also becoming more global, with over 30% of businesses holding positions that require a multilingual candidate. As more and more businesses expand, this number will only increase, boosting the value of multilingual employees.

No advantage for either type of language.

On a personal note

My children are learning French and Armenian as second and third languages, because we’ve got two situations in option 1 that is valid. They started picking up Armenian at the tender age of 2, and French at 3. My son, who’s now 6, has just begun sitting with me and playing Cargo Bot on our iPad… which has got me asking the question: why not teach them both types of languages!

Reserve you Squaggle tablet now!

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