Before the 1960s, being bilingual was not seen as a positive thing. Experts believed that speaking two languages was confusing for the speaker, and theorized that it may even hinder development and lower IQ. But a lot has changed since the ‘60s! Experts today believe that the benefits of English as a Second Language (ESL) programs far outweigh any possible drawbacks. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education finds that “ESL programs are the fastest-growing component of state-administered adult education programs.”
We all know that there are many advantages to children learning English as a second language early in life. For example, it enhances their cognitive development. There are also cultural advantages, as a child may remain tied to his or her native tongue while embracing English – the most widely spoken language – early on. But there are also some benefits of ESL for adults, which we explore below.
Just as there are neurological benefits for bilingual children, there are also cognitive advantages for bilingual adults. As we age, we lose the ability to perform complex tasks efficiently. However, according to researchers, adults who are bilingual often outperform those who only speak one language, when it comes to executive function of the brain. For example, bilingual people are more likely to focus without being distracted, and have a stronger ability to switch from one task to another.
There are also scientific studies to support the claim that bilingualism may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. “Brain scans showed that lifelong bilinguals have stronger connections between certain brain areas compared to those who only speak one language – this appears to allow their brains to cope better with damage before they start to show outward signs of dementia,” says Dr. Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society.
Of course, there are also many cultural, personal, and professional benefits in pursuing ESL for adults. Adults who learn English may be able to better relate to American and English culture. They may be able to better connect with friends and family who only speak English. If living in an English-speaking country, like the U.S., they may find they have more opportunities in their career if they learn the language. It is known as “The land of opportunity,” but the fact remains that more doors will open to those who learn to speak English in the U.S.
If you are pursuing “the American Dream,” you may be thinking about pursuing a program that offers ESL for adults. The main goal of an ESL program, like the one at Goodwin University, is to enhance the English-language proficiency for non-native speakers of English. Courses focus on reading, writing, speaking, and grammatical accuracy of English as its used in personal, vocational, or academic contexts.
Some of the benefits of ESL classes for adults at Goodwin include:
- Flexible Day, Evening, and Online Classes. Students that are working and/or caring for a family may need some flexibility in their schedule. We understand this and do our best to accommodate the busy world you live in. Courses start 3 times per year so you can get started sooner and move toward your certificate.
- Diverse Student Population. Students from around the world study ESL for adults. This program will introduce you to students from nearly every pocket of the world, giving you a chance to converse and practice English with those who are at the same speaking level as you, while giving you a chance to get to know a variety of classmates. Most of the students at Goodwin University are also adults. 68 percent of our student population is over age 25.
- Experienced Faculty. Our professors also come from various parts of the world, who also understand the difficulty in learning a new language. Their passion and worldly experience can help you master English and get out there to pursue your own goals.
- Financial Aid Opportunities. Goodwin University has one of the lowest tuition costs for private, nonprofit colleges in the state. We are committed to finding financial aid opportunities that make attending college more affordable. During the admissions process, we’ll sit down with you to design a personalized financial aid package that meets your needs.
- Free Tutoring Opportunities. We’re here to help you learn, and when it comes to learning a language that’s different from your own, you may need a little extra help. ESL students interested in extra conversation, pronunciation, and speaking practice can sign up for free one-hour workshops.
- Small Class Sizes. If you want to learn ESL, you don’t want to get lost in the crowd. This program offers small class sizes for more personalized attention and speaking practice.
There are many benefits in pursuing ESL for adults. If you’d like to learn more about the program at Goodwin University, click here. You may also call 1-800-889-3282 for more information.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.