As the world gets more and more connected, knowing English has become super important. There are, of course, practical implications of being able to speak English in a globalised world, but that’s not all! Beyond the social and professional advantages of English, bilingualism – the ability to speak two languages – can be a considerable advantage for kids.
Recent studies have even shown that bilingual children can be better at understanding other people’s thoughts and feelings. This helps them develop important social and emotional skills, as well as making them more efficient and attentive.
Plus, learning two or more languages as a kid can help them pick up even more languages later in life. And who knows, maybe your child will end up travelling the world or working in a multilingual environment where speaking several languages can be a game-changing advantage.
So, if you want to give your child a head start in life, consider the benefits of bilingualism. It’s not just about being able to speak multiple languages – it’s about unlocking a whole world of opportunities and developing skills that can set your child up for success in both their personal and professional lives.
In this article, we’ll go over all the great things about bilingual education and why you should motivate your kids to learn English along with their mother tongue.
But first, let’s dig a little deeper into what it means to be bilingual.
What is bilingualism?
In simple terms, being bilingual means you can speak two languages like a pro. People who are bilingual can switch between two languages like it’s no big deal. Meanwhile, if you’re ‘monolingual’, you just use one language to talk to people. And ‘multilingualism’ means you can use more than two languages comfortably!
It’s pretty impressive to think that around half of the world’s population is bilingual. This diversity is reflected in the UK school system, with around 20% of pupils speaking English as an additional language. In London schools, more than 300 different languages are spoken!
So whether you’re fluent in multiple languages or just starting to learn a second one, being bilingual (or multilingual) opens up a whole new world of opportunities to connect with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
What are the biggest benefits of bilingualism?
So many people all over the world are using two or more languages in their everyday lives, which is why there’s a really good argument for bilingual education. If you encourage your kid to learn another language, it’ll help them fit in better in a global community and stand out in a job market that’s getting more competitive by the minute.
Let’s take a look at some other advantages of bilingual education for your child.
1.It improves cognitive function
So being bilingual can actually make your brain work better. Bilingual kids can easily switch between languages, which helps them solve problems faster than their friends who only know one language.
Additionally, they can think through problem-solving approaches in both languages to develop creative solutions. Research also shows that bilingual children are better at noticing visual changes in their surroundings and focusing on different things at once.
There is now a sizable body of evidence to suggest that children who speak two languages are smarter, have better cognitive skills not related to language processing, and are more resistant to dementia and other age-related symptoms associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Bilingual students perform better academically
Speaking of being smart, bilingual kids do better in school too. A study at York University in Canada found that they’re good at processing language and weeding out irrelevant information. This ability associated with bilingualism results in better performance in school in general and improved grades in particular.
3. It improves social and emotional development
Speaking a second language or even just receptive bilingualism (the ability to understand but not speak a second language) makes it easier for children to make new friends outside their linguistic communities. It helps them fit in with different groups and use both languages to connect with other children on an emotional level. This automatically improves their social skills and gives them the confidence to participate in social situations with ease.
Naturally, children in a cosmopolitan setting who are not held back by their lack of English language skills will be able to adjust to new situations more easily and be more outgoing in general.
4. It facilitates professional success
With English emerging as the dominant language in diverse fields such as international business, diplomacy, politics, science and technology, research, aviation, and even the internet, its use as a second language can boost your child’s professional success. From being able to communicate with colleagues and clients more effectively to articulating their ideas easily, English language skills are an absolute must in today’s globalised world.
Plus, loads of companies these days prefer employees who speak more than one language, especially when it comes to dealing with foreign clients.
5. It increases awareness of different cultures
When children learn a new language, they consume a lot of information about the culture it comes from through books, films, music, cuisines, and even humour. This helps them develop a deeper appreciation of other ways of life, making it easier to connect with people from all sorts of backgrounds.
6. Picking up a third language becomes easier
Once you’ve mastered two languages, picking up a third or fourth one becomes much easier. Research suggests that multilinguals are quicker at learning new languages than monolinguals because they can employ the brain processes they already use for their first two languages. So understanding how different languages work can help bilingual children learn more languages later in life.
7. It makes travel more fun
If you can speak the language of the country you are visiting, your travels can become that much more enjoyable, without the inconvenience of having to mime important questions to unsuspecting locals. Plus, with fluency in the English language, you will be able to travel to many countries around the world and interact with their populations since English is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet.
There are more than 1.4 billion English speakers around the world, of whom 373 million are native English speakers. The majority of native speakers are concentrated in the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. That makes for a large portion of the world where you can travel comfortably without communication issues.
Watch as Helen Doron, Founder and CEO of Helen Doron Educational Group speaks about the benefits of bilingualism :
Learn English with Helen Doron
Are you keen to give your children a gift that will last a lifetime? Look no further than the gift of the English language! Not only does it have a positive impact on children’s development, but it can also set them up for major success in their professional lives.
At Helen Doron English, we take a fun and practical approach to teaching English. Our centres are located all around the world, and we use activities like games, songs, stories, and dance to create a playful learning environment that kids love. Plus, our lessons are customised to each child’s learning style, skills, and age, so they can get the most out of every session.
With the Helen Doron method, children learn essential language skills naturally, without even realising they’re doing it! Our educational material comprises apps and books that make learning to speak and read English a joyful experience.
Founded with the mission of teaching English as a “second mother tongue,” Helen Doron English is a global leader in children’s education. So sign your child up for a Helen Doron English course today. It’s the perfect way to set them up for a bright future full of possibilities.