Bilingual education is the practice of teaching a child, from preschool to high school, in two languages (English and Spanish, for example).
It allows for cultural awareness and more options for people who have an interest in traveling.
A bilingual program can work in several ways, from spending 30 minutes a day teaching minority languages to establish fully bilingual schools in which all subjects are taught in two languages.
Bilingual education programs have been shown to have many benefits for children from all kinds of backgrounds, including those who speak English as their first language.
Wondering if it is worth it? Yes, it absolutely is.
There are several benefits, including improved academic achievement, higher self-esteem, and several other factors that go a long way toward making sure they have a brighter future.
Top Benefits of Bilingual Education:
The benefits of a bilingual education program are many.
Are you unaware of its benefits? Well, that’s true for most of us.
Researches show that bilingualism and multilingualism help children develop greater cognitive skills, such as self-control, executive function, and attention, compared to monolingual children.
Bilingualism also helps kids learn to think about language differently than monolinguals, known as “metalinguistic ability.”
With that said, here’s a clearer rundown of the benefits of bilingual education for children.
Let us dive in right away!
Better Development of Communication Skills
Bilingual children have better communication skills than those who are monolingual.
This is because they learn how to use two languages in their everyday lives, which helps them understand how each language works and how it relates to others.
A child who speaks a second language may also be able to communicate more effectively when using that other language because they’ll know what’s important and what isn’t when speaking with someone from another culture.
Developing a child’s communication skills early helps them do many things, including making friends, being confident in themselves, performing better in school and at work, and many other things.
Increased Academic Achievement
Studies have shown that students who are educated in a bilingual program tend to score higher on standardized tests than students who are educated in a monolingual program.
They also tend to perform better on the SATs and ACTs.
This is because bilingual education better prepares students to learn how to think about language in a more complex way.
This can help them become better writers and readers since they are able to understand the nuances of different languages.
Enhanced Cognitive Development
A study published by the American Psychological Association found that bilingual children develop better executive function skills than children who only speak one language.
This means bilingual students can better focus on tasks at hand and delay gratification, leading to greater success in school and later in life.
The study also found that bilingual children were better at problem-solving and planning, leading to higher achievement in school.
A second study published by Psychological Science found that bilingual children scored higher on intelligence tests than those who only spoke one language.
Improved Executive Functions
If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the fact that bilingual children have been proven to develop better executive brain function than monolingual children.
Executive brain function refers to being able to focus on something, multitasking efficiently, and inhibiting distractions and impulses.
These children also have the advantage of developing a heightened attention span, which helps both in a classroom setting and in professional settings.
How young do they start developing these superior brain functions?
As young as just four years old!
That means if you sign your child up for learning a new language while they’re still in the phase where they can soak up anything, you will be helping them be their best selves in a world that demands nothing else.
A Better Understanding of Other Cultures and People From Different Backgrounds
Because bilingual students have been exposed to two languages at an early age, they have developed an awareness of differences between languages, cultures, and traditions of different groups of people around them.
This can help them understand other cultures and people from different backgrounds.
A study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that bilingual children showed more empathy than monolingual kids when hearing about the pain of others.
That means if you choose bilingual education for your child, it will contribute directly to making them an overall better human being.
Better Economic Opportunities for Employment
Bilingualism can be beneficial for the job market.
Bilingual employees are more readily employable in industries that require communication with workers who speak other languages, such as translation and customer service jobs.
In addition, bilingual students may have a head start on their career paths due to their ability to work in teams with people from different cultural backgrounds.
This can be especially beneficial if you’re looking to work in an international company or travel abroad.
Resistance to Brain Dysfunction Conditions
Bilingualism has been shown to affect the brain’s cognitive functioning positively.
According to a study by the University of Edinburgh, people who speak two or more languages are less likely to develop dementia and other conditions that affect memory.
The study suggests that being bilingual may help slow down the onset of such conditions as Alzheimer’s disease by up to five years.
Improved Social Skills and Integration
Bilingualism helps you develop social skills and easily integrate into a new culture.
It’s been shown that children who speak two languages communicate better with others and have an easier time making friends than monolingual kids.
This is because they can communicate with a broader range of people, which helps them build their social network.
In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that bilingualism can boost your ability to empathize with others and consider other people’s perspectives.
Readiness for a Globalized World
Bilingualism is also an asset in today’s globalized world.
More and more companies are looking for employees who speak multiple languages, especially working with clients from different countries.
This makes it easier to communicate and collaborate with them—especially important when working on international projects requiring high communication and trust between teams.
This advantage also translates into a smaller scale.
Since they have better communication skills and can work in teams better, bilinguals perform better in a team-based setting.
This way, they can easily integrate themselves into things like work groups or project groups.
Boosts Your Applications for Jobs and Educational Institutions
Monolinguals are at a significant disadvantage in a world that’s rapidly coming closer by the day.
This is because the Communications sector, one of the fastest-growing parts of the IT industry, clearly prefers monolinguals able to communicate with customers and clients from all over the world.
For example, if somebody knows English and French, that’s more than 10 English-speaking countries they can find a job in, plus French-speaking places like Louisiana, Canada, France, etc.
Even if the position you’re applying to doesn’t require a second language, just knowing one can significantly boost your resume.
The best part is you don’t even have to speak it masterfully.
Just learning it to a degree of fluency counts!
Plus, if you’re applying to a prestigious college or a postgraduate degree, your bilingualism might be what gets you chosen instead of somebody with the same qualifications.
Did you know?
You might be surprised to know that learning a new language doesn’t just give you the ability to speak another language.
In reality, it has many benefits that range far and wide.
One of the best things about learning a new language is that it helps you dive into a completely different culture and learn about their way of life.
It also improves your communication skills, as you can talk with more people fluently in their own language.
And it’s not just personal growth where learning a new language can help you.
Most companies in the InfoTech sector, the Communications sector, and even the Customer Service sector prefer bilingual candidates over monolingual ones.
Knowing a second language can give your CV the boost it needs to shine over the thousands of others submitted to the same company!
What is bilingual education, and how can it help your child?
That’s what we hope this guide helps you to discover.
Whether you’re seeking information about early childhood education, elementary-level studies, or secondary-level learning, bilingual education helps students enhance cognitive skills, emotional development, and social interaction through learning a second language.
As schools worldwide shift towards individualized learning styles, bilingual education becomes an obvious choice to help students succeed in their home and academic lives.
In short, if you can ask a foreign-born citizen if they speak your language, the answer is probably yes—and all this is thanks to bilingual education.