As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, bilingualism has become the norm. According to recent United Nations figures, up to 80% of the world’s population speaks at least two languages, and three languages is not uncommon. 1/5 of the population in the United States describe themselves as “bilingual”. Bilingualism is a hallmark of the twenty-first century.
In the past 50 years, neuroscientists and psychologists have uncovered a wealth of scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that learning another language at a young age strengthens cognitive and linguistic development in children.
As a result of these cognitive "boosts" received early in life, students who are bilingual perform highly in academic settings. The list below highlights some of the many benefits of being a bilingual student:
- They acquire strong analytical and critical-thinking skills at an earlier age.
- They are able to focus more intently and for longer periods of time, and can switch between tasks more efficiently.
- Becoming bilingual at an early age increases vocabulary, knowledge of grammar and recognition of sounds and visual signs. This leads to better writing and speaking skills.
- Bilinguals develop flexible problem-solving abilities which strengthen their math and science skills.
- Bilingualism also fosters cross-cultural interaction; in the classroom, it is the most effective tool for promoting an open-minded and global worldview for students and creating a multicultural context for learning.
- Learning another language is the most fundamental aspect of becoming fully immersed in another culture.
- Bilingualism has been linked to lower the risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia in adults.
FASPS parent Aurelie McKinstry wrote a fabulous article about her experience with bilingual education as a parent at FASPS (click here
And for even more information about bilingualism, we have collected some of our favorite articles from recent years below.
Articles on the Benefits of Bilingualism: