At BVIS, a bilingual education is an essential part of our curriculum, setting your child up for long term educational benefits and a lifetime of learning. Being bilingual, it turns out, has a profound effect on the brain and can even make you smarter.
The term ‘bilingual education’ refers to the use of two languages throughout the course of a students’ education. A bilingual education course syllabus helps students master a second language throughout their academic studies, enabling comprehensive abilities in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, while ensuring complete fluency in their first language.
Bilingual education has been proven as a secret weapon in supercharging children’s learning and even changing the structure of the human brain. We explore some of the advantages that a bilingual language curriculum can provide your child.
The main benefits of a bilingual education are:
1. Increased cognitive development
Bilingual education has many cognitive benefits. Children that know a second language perform better in tasks that call for creative thinking, pattern recognition and problem solving. Young learners develop greater linguistic awareness and a more complex understanding of their native language.
2. Better academic achievement
Bilingual students’ brain function is improved as the mind is challenged to recognize, find meaning and communicate in multiple languages. A thirty-two year study by Thomas and Collier from George Mason University indicated that students who had a bilingual education and that spoke multiple languages had greater achievements than their monolingual peers, especially in maths, reading and vocabulary.
3. Improved memory
Children who learn a second and third language have better memories and are more cognitively creative than single language speaking counterparts. Research has indicated that bilingual people are usually better at remembering names, directions and items than those who speak one language.
4. Resistance to dementia
A recent study has shown that people who speak more than one language develop dementia symptoms an average of five years later and are able to cope with a greater level of brain dysfunction than their monolingual counterparts.
5. Increased economic opportunities
In an interconnected and rapidly changing world there is an increased need for a multilingual workforce and the ability to conduct business in more than one language is becoming more critical. Bilingual people often hold higher positions and earn better incomes than their monolingual counterparts in the same industry.
7.Cross cultural appreciation
The exposure to two languages assists students in developing an appreciation for the differences in cultures. Students are able to engage with languages through folk tales, songs, idioms and other primary sources of information without requiring translation leading to more meaningful cultural exchanges.
8. Improvements in the executive function of the brain
The executive function is a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems and performing other mentally demanding tasks. Bilingual people are better able to sort out relevant information from irrelevant information, meaning they can focus better and be more effective thinkers and decision-makers.