Bilingual education provides advantages in thinking and learning skills (cognition), language skills, and social skills. At Bayswater South Primary School, we are proud to offer the benefits of English/German bilingual education to all children.
Why a bilingual education? Why not!?
Cognitive advantages (thinking and learning skills)
• divergent (outside the box) thinking
• creative thinking
• convergent (logical, analytical) thinking
• critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Baker, C. (2014), A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism (Fourth Edition), Multilingual Matters, Bristol, UK, pp50-51.
- Bialystok, E. (2018). Bilingual Education for Young Children: Review of the Effects and Consequences. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 21(6), 666–679. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2016.1203859
- García, O. (2011). Bilingual education in the 21st century: A global perspective. John Wiley & Sons.
Research consistently shows that learning an additional language enhances a student’s first language development (Baker, 2014). This is because the student’s brain is constantly comparing the similarities and differences between the two languages in relation to vocabulary, grammar, spelling rules and sentence structures. This creates a better understanding of both languages, no matter how different the languages are from one another. The greater the understanding of the second language (German at BSPS), the greater the benefits and enhancement towards English and any other languages students use at home or in the community.
Does bilingual education harm students’ learning in subjects like Maths and Science, if this is taught through the German language?
Zum Glück, not at all! Learning another language increases and enhances students’ deductive and problem-solving skills. Having frequent practice in working out meaning, making links, and drawing conclusions in the language class enhances these skills in a broader sense in other areas of the curriculum and in life in general. Research involving scientific analysis of brain activity in bilinguals compared to monolinguals strongly supports the assertion of language enhancing cognition. Students exposed to a bilingual education do as well, if not better, in other subjects (Maths, Science etc) compared to students only taught in a single language.
“Bilingual education has the potential of being a transformative school practice, able to education all children in ways that stimulate and expand their intellect and imagination, as they gain ways of expression and access different ways of being in the world.”
(Garcia, 2011, p.11)