Head of School, Corinne Güngör, provides insights on the benefits of bilingual education and bi-literacy:
Article published in the PrincetonKIDS Magazine 2018-2019
As young parents, we were speaking with our first child’s pediatrician when he strongly advised us against speaking to him in our respective native languages. We looked at each other and smiled: we were going to disobey! That was 35 years ago.
Today, our four children are trilingual and proud to be so.
Their multilingualism has greatly benefited them in their social, professional, and intellectual lives. Their horizon is without limit; they find others to be a rich source of learning; and their ability to adapt is amazing. Here are the reasons:
When a child speaks, reads, or writes in two languages or more, his/her brain constantly passes from one mental structure to another. It undergoes a constant sort of gymnastics which habituates the bilingual individual to managing several tasks at once. What was once believed to cripple the brain in fact permits the acquisition and development of numerous competencies involving memory, reasoning, and problem-solving. The realms of perception and attention are widened. The bilingual/multilingual child is a better student, performs better than average, and acquires intellectual qualities which are valued by educational institutions as well as businesses.
Speaking, writing, and reading two or more languages facilitates communication and allows the student to meet and appreciate other people and cultures without fear or discomfort with encountering different ways of thinking and living. This unique and enriching experience promotes open-mindedness, a greater tolerance, and an increasing capacity for adaptation; these values and attitudes are indispensable in our rapidly-changing world.
Studying in two languages or more entails a different learning process that will benefit the child all his/her life. Over the years, the young learner assimilates linguistic structures which are often complex, sometimes contradictory. These structures are being built progressively and facilitate a more in-depth comprehension and more refined grasp of oral and written language. These two or three languages nourish each other. This sophisticated capability will be used in numerous fields throughout the years.
Speaking, reading, and writing in two or more languages is a long process. It takes as many years as acquiring one language. To choose a bilingual education for one’s child is a unique and challenging journey which requires continuity, an equal recognition of languages spoken at home and at school, and a particular link to adults who speak and teach these languages: the child must want to communicate with them. Finally, the family, even if the language is not spoken at home, should provide necessary support just as we do with other aspects of daily life with our children. Nothing good is built without affection and without encouragement.
Choosing a bilingual education for your child is a very good start in life.
Looking for more insights on the benefits of bilingual education?
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