Important of Bilingual Education

Singapore International School

Language recharges our brains, stimulates our thinking, and enables human communication in different cultures and countries. Words, expressions, and idioms in different languages largely define how we see and understand the world. If you’re someone who only speaks one language, chances are your world has clear boundaries. So is bilingualism or even trilingual what we should strive for? In this era where Google and Baidu can be translated at any time, can mastering different languages bring us more convenience? Will it lead to higher salaries, happier lives, and satisfying social interactions? In particular, we often hear people say but are uncertain: Is bilingual teaching useful at all? Are children who learn more languages really smarter?

A major feature of Singapore’s education system is bilingualism. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a public speech: “In the context of the global “Chinese language fever”, Singapore cannot lose its bilingual advantage, and in order to seize the opportunities brought by China’s development, it must master this language. A linguist at the National University of Singapore has said that the benefits of knowing a foreign language, while not often discussed, are considerable.

What is bilingual education?

Bilingual education refers to the use of two languages as the medium of instruction, through the study of subject knowledge such as geography, history, mathematics, etc. to achieve the purpose of mastering a new language. That is to say, bilingual education does not achieve the purpose of language education through language courses, but helps students master and become familiar with two languages through other subjects in the school education syllabus. The basic principle of bilingual education is that teachers insist on using the target language of their students.

bilingual education

Learn about the culture

Bilingual education not only helps to communicate better with others, but also contributes to cultural understanding. With their unique language system, bilingual speakers can also understand the relationship between other people’s languages and cultures. In managing their vocabulary and grammar attention, bilingual users will focus on cultural differences between languages. They constantly combine and integrate aspects of the culture in which they live, making linguistic and cultural choices based on the needs of their environment. Just like a habitat for third culture children. Third-culture children are children (often referred to as foreigners) who grow up outside their parents’ home country. They will be part of a third culture, rather than simply mixing cultures from home and host countries.

Improves concentration and creativity

Bilingualism can enhance several important mental functions. Foreign studies have shown that the experience of learning bilingualism helps us to understand information quickly. When asked to focus on one thing and ignore other information, bilingual children show greater attention. Bilingual children also do so more effectively when asked to shift their attention elsewhere. Focus is important in our lives, he can help us learn and process information quickly, and play well in school and other settings.

In addition, bilingual children show greater mental resilience. They will be better positioned to adapt to new environments and situations. Greater resilience also makes bilingual children more creative. In other words, bilingual education can cultivate children’s “intellectual innovation”. That is, bilingual children can see the same situation from multiple perspectives. This ability to think divergent helps bilingual children solve complex problems. Similarly, when asked to solve problems they had never encountered before, bilingual children outperformed monolingual children in finding new solutions. Researchers have shown that these traits are extremely advantageous in solving academic problems, including developing mathematical skills.

Does bilingual learning promote language development?

Many families in our country advocate a bilingual environment for children to learn Chinese and English, believing that the level of two languages will improve. However, research by professors at Stanford’s School of Education found that the impact of bilingual instruction on language mastery and overall development varies from person to person. For children from middle-class families, the mastery of both languages is at the same level, and only in this way can they reinforce each other. If the two language levels in the home environment develop independently, then one plus one is likely to be less than two. For example, Hong Kongers, Malaysians and Singaporeans have long been in a multilingual environment, so they have become practitioners of simultaneous bilingualism and are not lagging behind in the development of multilingualism. Therefore, if you want children to develop bilingualism, we must first look at the environment in which the child is located, rather than forcing the child to learn.

Does age affect learning a second language?

Most parents believe that if they develop a second language after puberty, children will lag far behind their mother tongue. However, research in recent years has overturned this theory. The study found that language learning does not have an absolute advantage in the critical period and does not affect language understanding and grammar. But it has a great impact on spoken English, so for children who only begin to learn a second language after adolescence, no matter how hard they study and how the environment affects them, their accent is still not as good as that of children who learn English from an early age.

Should children be taught bilingually?

There is no doubt that learning a new language can help children broaden their horizons and increase the ease of language communication in the future. In addition, bilingual education brings huge cognitive benefits that are visible and meaningful to the naked eye. At HWA Singapore International School, these children are greeted with a world of opportunities as they approach the end of primary school. They have good skills in both Chinese and English, and there are many schools to choose from in English-speaking Singapore, even in Western countries, they can choose to study in English. In the future, they can embark on the path to the International Baccalaureate Diploma, a passport to universities around the world. Or they can continue their bilingual studies in a bilingual secondary school while assessing what country or institution they should study in the future.

Comments are closed.
Designed by SBWD.