Why should your child be bilingual?

Why Should Your Child be Bilingual?

Arguments against bilingual education abound, and there are many positive reasons to choose it as the method of instruction for all children as well. In the end, it is your family’s personal decision about whether to pursue a bilingual education for your child. In the end, however, it is likely that the benefits of being bilingual outweigh speaking only one language.

Depending on your child’s situation as a majority- or minority-language speaker, your view as her parent about the role of bilingual education in her school career will be different. Here are some advantages of being bilingual, no matter which side of bilingualism your child falls.

1.) Globalization

English is the new lingua franca, yes, but there are many other languages on the rise that are used in business and academia as well. For example, Chinese and Hindi speakers are growing in number, according to OccupyTheory.org. To give your child an edge in the international business and scholarly worlds, it will be helpful for him to know another language that many of his colleagues are likely to speak.

2.) Personality

Children who are bilingual are less likely to have anxiety problems and are usually less lonely than monolingual children. Learning to speak two languages and being able to communicate in two languages is a self-esteem booster and opens up the door to new friendships that would be closed to a monolingual person. Bilingual children are also less likely to be aggressive, but they are better able to solve problems logically, according to research, states OccupyTheory.org.

3.) Better for English-Language Learners

Speaking from the perspective of education in the United States, students who do not speak English as their first language typically learn English as well as other core subjects better when they are taught in a bilingual atmosphere. This helps improve students’ overall academic abilities and helps them stay up to grade-level standards, which is often difficult for children who do not receive English language learner education in school or who are in some other  type of ELL program (like “pull-out,” where students are instructed in the English language during a core subject time in their regular classrooms).

Bilingual education is not the cheapest way to educate children, but it is effective and beneficial for their futures. It does not necessarily stigmatize students or help them resist assimilation into the dominate culture. If anything, it helps bridge the cultural gap by teaching majority-language speakers a minority language and helps prepare students for an internationally-focused career.