Be Bilingual

Embracing our diverse community and individual bilingual identities

By having another language, you have an alternative vision of the world

Panos Athanasopoulos

From the beginning, our school made the conscious choice to create a full immersion French curriculum and school culture. As studies show, immersion programs tend to be more effective in terms of bilingualism and promoting cultural enrichment and multiculturalism, which, we know, is critical for our students to develop a deep and positive identity.

Learn more about the benefits of language immersion.

The Benefits of Bilingualism

Studies show that becoming bilingual, especially in a culturally immersive environment, opens children’s minds and leads to a more critical and flexible way of thinking.

1

Opens Children’s Minds

The multiplicity of cultures, languages, and socio-economic backgrounds provides constant learning opportunities for children. Through this exposure, students learn to understand themselves better, respect, and celebrate each other.

Bilinguals display great empathy in communication with other, thanks to the perspective that they gain being exposed to another language and culture.

By expanding their horizons, we give children the opportunity to develop their emotional intelligence and their cultural competence.

READ MORE:

The Superior Social Skills of Bilinguals (NYT)

2

Facilitates Cognitive Flexibility and Creativity

According to a study conducted by the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, “there’s a well-established positive relationship between basic thinking skills and being a fully proficient bilingual who maintains regular use of both languages. Fully proficient bilinguals outperform monolinguals in the areas of divergent thinking, pattern recognition, and problem solving. Bilingual children develop the ability to solve problems that contain conflicting or misleading cues at an earlier age, and they can decipher them more quickly than monolinguals.

READ MORE:

Language Mediated Concept Activation in Bilingual Memory Facilitates Cognitive Flexibility

The Bilingual Advantage

3

Provides Economic and Sociocultural Advantages

Studies show that students who are already proficient in English (likely by speaking at home) and attend school in a language immersion setting like EFGB are capable of performing on the same level as their “regular” public school peers. Consistent studies have shown that there is no detriment to the English skills required for performance in public school and, in fact, students who participate in this sort of programming gain advantages in cognitive skill development and critical thinking.

Furthermore, because second-language proficiency and intercultural competency are highly valued in some workplaces, students exposed to bilingual learning settings may see long-term economic benefits as adults: “Increasingly, proficiency in a second language and intercultural competency skills open up employment possibilities. Many sectors require increasing involvement in the global economy, from international businesses and tourism to communications and the diplomatic corps. High-level, high-paying employment will demand competence in more than one language.

There are numerous advantages in addition to these that bi- and multilingual individuals enjoy by being able to communicate with a much wider range of people from many different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Knowledge of other languages enriches travel experiences and allows people to experience other societies and cultures more meaningfully. Besides access to foreign media, literature, and the arts, bi- and multilingual people can simply connect and converse more freely. Becoming bilingual leads to new ways of conceptualizing yourself and others. It expands your worldview, so that you not only know more, you know differently.