Benefits of Bilingualism
1- CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION
For much of the twentieth century it seemed possible that English could become the world language, it is now clear that we are moving into a multicultural and multilingual world. We live in an interconnected world. With technology as the catalyst, our lives are changing continuously, and the ability to interact with people from diverse cultures is more important than ever. Being able to speak and write in only one language is no longer sufficient.
Today, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world.
Learning a language and becoming bilingual opens students up to other cultures, traditions, and religions with a global perspective.
2- COGNITIVE ABILITIES
In addition to facilitating cross-cultural communication, speaking more than one language also positively affects cognitive abilities. Researchers have shown that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain, thanks to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another.
Recent technological advances have allowed researchers to investigate the brain and how bilingualism interacts with and changes the cognitive and neurological systems. Research has overwhelmingly shown that when a bilingual person uses one language, the other is active at the same time. To maintain the relative balance between two languages, the bilingual brain relies on executive functions, a regulatory system of general cognitive abilities.
Maryel students have greater cognitive flexibility, advanced problem-solving skills, higher-order abstract thinking abilities, and increased creativity. They also show advanced abilities to connect meaning between languages and cognitively make “more room” in the brain for new information.
Children who study in two languages consistently outscore monolingual students on standardized tests. Maryel students have greater success in an educational setting and have the added benefit of greater ease in learning a third language.
3- IMPROVEMENTS IN LEARNING
Being bilingual can have tangible practical benefits. Bilingual people generally perform better on tasks that require the ability to ignore competing perceptual information and only focus on relevant data, and are better than monolingual people at switching between two tasks.
The improvements in cognitive and sensory processing driven by bilingual experience may help a bilingual person to better process information in the environment, leading to a clearer signal for learning. This kind of improved attention to detail may help explain why bilingual adults learn a third language better than monolingual adults learn a second language.