There is more evidence than ever of the benefits of a bilingual education which has been prove to ‘supercharge’ a child’s learning. There’s even some evidence that it can change the structure of the human brain. There are plenty of benefits to consider if you are thinking of sending your child to a bilingual school.
Learning a second language has been proven to give a boost to the brain’s capacity. A review of studies by the National Education Association found many benefits for young children learning a second language. Among these was improved creative thinking, pattern recognition, and problem solving. Those who knew a second language consistently performed better.
With the cognitive benefits brings advantages where it counts, giving a child greater chances of achieving academically. Bilingual students’ brain functions improve and the cognitive flexibility can make bilingual children better at thinking critically and analysing complex scenarios. A study by Thomas and Collier from George Mason University backed this up. Research from Journal of Experimental Child Psychology found benefits to memory as well.
And these cognitive improvements come with advantages later in life. A study from the University of York in Canada found that those who spoke multiple languages experience dementia symptoms an average of five years later. It even found that they can deal with a higher level of brain dysfunction.
But it’s not just in the brain. Someone who speaks more than one language has given themselves opportunities others could only dream of. We live in an increasingly connected world and though that has been on hold for a couple of years, it’s clear that speaking more than one language pays dividends when it comes to the job market.
China in particular is becoming one of the most important economic powerhouses with industries and opportunities in many different fields. The demand for bilinguals is always on the rise and a child with a bilingual education has been given a head start.
And related to that, travel would be much more enjoyable to those who can converse with the locals. While those in the tourist hotspots are likely to speak English, being able to speak their language lets you get off the beaten track and find hidden gems you won’t find in any guidebook. That’s not to mention literature. From Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to the works of Alexandre Dumas, there are prose and puns lost in translation.
In a globalised world, the benefits of speaking more than one language are becoming clearer every day. Sending your child to a bilingual school can open doors that many had no idea about.
Image: Leon Gao