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benefits of bilingual education

bilingualism


Benefits

ADVANTAGES OF BEING BILINGUAL;

Learning two or more languages has many advantages.  Some of these advantages currently publicised are:

COMMUNICATION:

  • Wider communication ability (extended family, community, international links, employment)
  • Literacy in two languages.

CULTURAL:

  • Broader understanding of cultures, a deeper multi-culturalism, and two “language worlds” of experiences.
  • Greater tolerance and less racism

COGNTIVE:

  • Thinking benefits (creativity, sensitivity to communication)

CHARACTER:

  • Raised self esteem
  • Security in identity

CURRICULUM:

  • Increased curriculum achievement (higher academic skills)
  • Easier to learn a third language

CASH:

  • Economic and employment benefits

These broad areas are more fully explained in Colin Baker’s book “A Parents & Teachers Guide to Bilingualism” 2nd Edition (See Reference List)

BILINGUALISM PROMOTES;
social justice 


WHY IS IT GOOD FOR MY CHILD TO BE BILINGUAL?

Being bilingual means:

  • Your child’s whole life will be different to someone who knows only one language

-  Your child has a better chance of understanding you … who you are and who he / she is and be proud of that

- Your child will better understand your extended family and its history

- Your child has two worlds – your first / home language world and the world of the second     language

- Language and culture are one … so your child will understand two cultures better

- Your child can better communicate with you and with older people in your family

- Your child gets the family’s language treasure or taonga

- There are more opportunities in education and jobs later on … bilingual people are valuable to employers.

- Your child develops an ‘elastic’ thinking brain

- Your child has a better feeling about him / herself … and about you

- Your child gets a warm, loving and enriched language from you, because it is your ‘comfortable’ language

- Your child understands language in a way that a one-language child can’t or doesn’t

Yes … being a bilingual person is a treasure!!!
                                                                                                                        J.van Hees 1997.

RESEARCH NOW SHOWS THAT:

  • When language learning is valued and truly believed to add to a person’s skill base (additive bilingualism) the bilingualism provides cognitive, social and educational advantage for students.  This is true whatever languages are involved. 
  • The best way a bilingual student can achieve educational success and at a high level of proficiency in a second language (L2) is through developing literacy initially in their first language (L1) and then going on to develop literacy in the L2.
 Franken,M., May,S. & McCornish,J. (2005)  
Pasifika languages research and guidelines project:
Literature  review. Hamilton Wolf Malcom Institute of Educational Research, School of Ed., University of Waikato
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