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Advantages of Bilingualism

  • International research shows that there are cognitive, linguistic, academic agus social advantages to being bilingual.
  • Research conducted over the past few years show that the cognitive advantages last for the lifetime of the person and that it can delay dementia. (Bak, 2014, Bialystol, 2009, Luachkan, Parisi & Fadda, 2013).
  • By choosing bilingual education, the person experiences two particular cultures and the values pertaining to each.
  • Research conducted by Cenoz & Genesee (1998) showed that that bilinguals have better divergent thinking than monolinguals.
  • Children who are completely bilingual are more aware of the needs of the person listening to them than monolingual children (Lazaruk, 2007).
  • Cenoz (2003) showed that it was easier for bilinguals to learn an extra language and that metalinguistic awareness is better cultivated in multilingual educational settings (Cummins 1993; Lasagabaster 2001).
  • Tomas & Collier (2001) discovered that the pupils in bilingual programmes had better levels of attainment than the monolingual peers after 4 – 7 years of attendance in a dual language programme or in an immersion education programme.
  • Bilingual Children’s Mother Tongue: Why Is It Important for Education?

    Jim Cummins, University of Toronto, 2001

    Bilingualism has positive effects on children’s linguistic and educational
    Development:

    When children continue to develop their abilities in two or more languages throughout their primary school years, they gain a deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively. They have more practice in processing language, especially when they develop literacy in both, and they are able to compare and contrast the ways in which their two languages organize reality.

    More than 150 research studies conducted during the past 35 years strongly support what Goethe, the German philosopher, once said: The person who knows only one language does not truly know that language. The research suggests that bilingual children may also develop more flexibility in their thinking as a result of processing information through two different languages.

    Spending instructional time through a minority language in the school does not hurt children’s academic development in the majority school language:

    Some educators and parents are suspicious of bilingual education or mother tongue teaching programs because they worry that these programs take time away from the majority school language.

    One of the most strongly established findings of educational research, conducted in many countries around the world, is that well-implemented bilingual programs can promote literacy and subject matter knowledge in a minority language without any negative effects on children’s development in the majority language.

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