A bilingual education can be transformative in the life and direction of a child, and early exposure in a bilingual immersive environment is crucial. Early exposure capitalizes on a child’s innate language-learning abilities and natural enthusiasm and curiosity for learning.
BENEFITS OF A BILINGUAL EDUCATION
Decades of research have shown positive benefits to those children exposed to bilingual learning. As a school dedicated to bilingual immersion, we stay informed on the research! Read more below about key findings in recent years regarding bilingualism at an early age.
Advantages of Immersion Education
> Improves mental flexibility and problem-solving skills
> Improves test scores in math, reading, and vocabulary
> Improves high school graduation rates
> Reduces the achievement gap
> Expands employment opportunities in adulthood
> Delivers lifelong cognitive benefits
> Favors the learning of a 3rd or 4th language
> Intellectual stimulation resulting from the use of two languages enhances the potential for abstraction, symbolism, conceptualization, and problem solving
> Multilingual children score 15 to 20 points better on IQ tests, have larger vocabularies than their peers, have more self-confidence, read sooner, and have fewer reading problems than their peers. (Dartmouth Study)
in the United States
Immersion is a well-established and acclaimed technique used in bilingual education in which two languages are used to teach academic content including math, science, and social studies. In an immersion classroom, students acquire a second language in a way similar to how native speakers learn their first language.
Foreign language immersion programs are designed to enrich the education of English-speaking students by teaching them all of their academic subjects in a second language. The goal is for students to become proficient in the second language and develop increased cultural awareness while reaching a high level of academic achievement. Students develop proficiency in the second language by hearing and using it to learn all of their school subjects rather than by studying the language itself.
Cognitive Benefits of Bilingualism
The rigor of language acquisition combined with content acquisition has enormous cognitive benefits for native and non-native speakers, raising achievement particularly in language arts and math in every student demographic: affluent, low income, native speakers, and English native speakers.
Statistics show that dual-language students not only catch up from the (sometimes) initial lag as the second language is introduced, but surpass English-only students.
Immersion Programs Teach more than Another Language
Studies have shown that bilingual individuals consistently outperform their monolingual counterparts on tasks involving executive control. The research linked below reviews some of the evidence for this conclusion and relates the findings to the effect of bilingualism on cognitive organization and to conceptual issues in the structure of executive control. Evidence for the protective effect of bilingualism against Alzheimer’s disease is presented with some speculation about the reason for that protection.
Economic Advantages of Bilingualism
“…. As English usage proliferates worldwide, it’s becoming less of a differentiator or advantage. In fact, it’s making ‘bilingual’ the new prerequisite. Imagine a world in which everyone speaks English. You just graduated with an accounting degree. Congratulations. Prepare to compete with accounting graduates fluent in at least two languages. Given equal technical qualifications, who do you think will get the job? The same argument holds for a 20-year seasoned business executive. Do you really think your experience is enough? Brazil, Russia, India, China—and a host of European, Latin American, and Asian nations— are producing expert executives with outstanding resumes and multilingual fluency.” Michael Schutzler, Forbes Insights, 2011
In this information age, language and culture are the new “soft”ware. Adding an additional skillset in response to market conditions is exactly the type of challenge that America has risen to historically. . . . Pivoting education to support academic fluency in multiple languages gives American workers new competitive advantages, at home and in global markets.
Advantages of Bilingualism
"We have a growing body of research that makes clear that students who are bilingual have advantages, not only in their literacy development, but in the development of problem-solving skills and other areas of cognition. What we see now is that bilingualism is a gift that we can give to our students and to our communities. And that is a powerful shift in our historical perspective on bilingualism… We know that our competitiveness as a country depends, in part, on advancing that goal. A recent survey of California employers showed that a majority of employers, across all sectors, small business, large business, want and prefer bilingual employees. We know that our international competitors often do a significantly better job of preparing bilingual students. And so, we’ve got work to do as a country to ensure that we embrace bi-literacy and multi-literacy.”
– Former Secretary of Education John King (2016-2017)