This idea that you see the world differently with every language you speak, that you understand the culture differently when speaking different languages, is a profound one and is at the heart of the French/English Bilingual Programme at our Rayyan Campus at Compass International School Doha. The programme is fully immersed into the heart of the campus and has been successfully running for four years with experienced bilingual teachers; students will have a French native teacher and an English native teacher, with an equal split between the two.
A bilingual education has been shown to strengthen functions of the brain, from the constant switching between languages, which improves attention and working memory.*1 This brain development builds into a student that is better at multi tasking, decision-making and problem solving. Studies have proven that bilinguals outperform monolinguals in a range of cognitive and social tasks, from verbal and nonverbal tests to emotional intelligence. Multilingualism has been shown to have many social, psychological and lifestyle advantages. Moreover, researchers are finding many health benefits from speaking more than one language, including faster stroke recovery and delayed onset of dementia.
Parents want their schools to equip young learners with the skills required for tomorrow. They want them to be global citizens and have great social skills. What is the power of bilingual education? How do you make the right school choice? At Compass International School Doha, we believe that by offering parents the option of a bilingual education, we are offering the ‘right’ choice.
Our bilingual education, utilizing the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), prepares young people for tomorrow. Science, technology, history, maths, music, drama, dance, art and languages require children to be reflective, critical thinkers, applying their knowledge to solve problems and learning to be empathic and work socially with their peers in a bilingual environment.
In many parts of the world, this is already being done: many Chinese children, for example, will use a different language in school from their mother tongue. In English-speaking nations, it is less frequent. Nevertheless, there is a growing movement towards so-called immersion schooling, in which children are taught in another language half the time. Compass International School Doha already has great success within our languages department, from our hugely popular Dutch Programme instruction by LanguageOne for native Dutch speakers at our Gharaffa campus, our school pioneered flourishing dual immersion programme for French/English and Dutch/English.
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Author, Amandine Goffart, was born and raised in France, and furthered her education in Belgium. She has a passion for teaching and obtained her higher education of Pedagogy: Primary General Teacher in 2002.
Read the article in French.
*1 - M Muñoz, M.A (23 June 2014) https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/does-being-bilingual-make-you-smarter