The Cognitive, Social, and Cultural Benefits of Bilingualism



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 fifty 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.

For more about the benefits of multilingualism, watch this short video created by one of our sister schools in New Jersey. [Check it out here.]

FASPS parent Aurelie McKinstry wrote a fabulous article about her experience with bilingual education as a parent at FASPS. Read it here.

And for even more information about bilingualism, we have collected some of our favorite articles from recent years below:
Bilingualism opens many cognitive and cultural pathways for young students. These benefits rest at the heart of what we accomplish at FASPS.