Contrary to popular belief, only about 15 to 20 percent of Americans are bilingual (Franklin). Implementing bilingual education can change this. The world is growing and English is no longer the international language. Therefore learning more languages can only help. In fact, learning languages is one of the brain’s source of nutrition (Schwartz). There are many misconceptions about raising children with two different languages at the same time. Some think their children will not be able to handle the pressure of juggling two languages at the same time while others think neither one of the languages will be fully dominated. Others think it will cause them confusion leading to poorer school results (Western). However, it is the total opposite. Giving children the opportunity to expand their linguistic horizons has the power to open many doors. Bilingual education is a beneficial form of learning because it allows cultural understanding, boosts intelligence, AND HELPS WITH EARLY BRAIN DEVELOPMENT has advantages in the fields, and is beneficial to the mental health.
Bilingual education is teaching using the native language as well as a secondary one. It immerses the two languages in one single learning environment. For example, a student might have their English class be taught in English while their math class might be in Spanish.In this way students are able to get a first hand experience of both languages and apply them to their daily life. There are different programs in schools that are for the purpose of bilingual education such as ELL and ESOL. ELL and ESOL both helps students whose native language is not English to learn it.
Parents want to the best education for their kids which is understandable why many have shifted towards schools that offer these programs. Being taught two languages at school has benefits in regards to intelligence. For instance, “Bilingual children are better at multitasking” as stated in the article “Bilingual Education Is Good for the Brain.” This is a result of the brain constantly going back in forth, switching from one language to the other (Bilingual Education Is).Therefore when it comes time to multi-task, they are better equipped and skilled from changing from one task to the other. Although scientists nor doctors completely know what exactly causes bilingualism to increase intelligence, they blame is on the brain choosing the correct language for a situation (Schwartz).
The part of the brain in charge of learning languages is also responsible for avoiding distractions, focusing, and retaining certain pieces of information while solving a problem (Bilingual Education Is). As a result, the child’s brain is more trained to concentrating and canceling out diversions while being able to focus only on what is necessary and important. Therefore, it can also help with attention disorders suffered in early childhood (Schwartz). Bilinguals also have better cognitive skills in some regions than monolinguals (Western). For instance, it is proven that they are quicker at solving mental problems (Swift). In Canada, a French immersion in education system was put into place, and the results of standardized testing showed that at first (grade 3) there was a slight delay in English skills however later on (grade 6) they were outsmarting mainstreams (Swift). Another way it advances the intelligence is that once a bilingual, it becomes even easier to learn new languages in comparison to monolinguals ( Schwartz).
Using bilingual education from an early age at home can also have positive effects. As a matter of fact being taught two languages or more can improve early brain development (Schwartz). Young babies who are raised bilingual can decipher languages that they have never heard before in addition with their native one (Bower). They also have the skill to be attentive to grasp and sort out the language they see and here (Bower). In other words, they are able to correlate what they see and here to the language it is being done in. Already from a young age, learning two tongues is beneficial. In addition this form of learning paves the path for higher other thinking in the future (Bower).
The current society is very narrow-minded and very quick to judge on anything that is not within the normal realm. However, opening up their horizons with the implementation of multiple languages taught in school can change their perspective. It will make them more understanding toward other cultures. As Schwartz says, “Speaking more than one language is to inherit a global consciousness that opens the mind to more than one culture or way of life.” In other words, they get a better idea of what other people’s worlds look like and are exposed to them. The students are able to learn more about other cultures as well as become aware of their customs and traditions. Language diversity gives them a sense of richness that cannot be bought (Western ). A student can read all they want about different countries and their customs however, experiencing and learning them at first hand is a much more effective form that books could never accomplish. Furthermore, they will realize that there is more than one correct way to do something and it depends on where you are from however it is no reason to judge or discriminate.
Students are constantly being told the more you know, the better. This is very true and applies especially to languages. Being bilingual, becomes an advantage in the work field. Employers want to hire people who can help expand their businesses and the way to do that is communicating internationally. When it comes time to choose between two similar applicants, the language factor is the determining factor. In 2006, Canadians who spoken more than one language had more jobs than those who only spoke one (Swift). Furthermore, the bilingual employees are able to ask for higher salaries such as those in Canada in 2006 (Swift). However, if that person does not receive a bilingual education, than they are amongst those whose position was taken by that of a bilingual.
Additionally to its advantages intelligence wise, bilingualism and its education can improve mental health. Studies show that it can help prevent or reduce the chances of getting dementia (Swift). Because the brain is working with two different languages, its executive- control system enhances (Swift). It also helps combat symptoms of Alzheimer’s in older people (Bilingual Education Is). A study shows that 400 and more adults who suffer from Alzheimer’s and speak two tongues, are 4 to 5 years older when they are diagnosed (Bower).
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