UNS Edutech

bilingual education

What is Bilingual Education, and How does it Impact Students Overall Growth?

This era belongs to technology. There are incredible advancements in all fields because of technology. And technology is proving to be immensely beneficial for the education sector. A lot of opportunities are cropping up because of globalization. Well-prepared students can grasp these opportunities and lead fulfilling lives. And bilingual education will serve as a strong foundation for students to make the most of these opportunities.

There are numerous benefits of bilingual education. The impact of bilingual education begins from elementary school helps students in every aspect of their life. The sooner we realize the benefits of bilingual education, the better it is for future generations. Bilingual education allows students to grasp the concepts of maths, science, etc., quickly. It helps them learn with ease and helps to change their brain structure. 

In bilingual schools, the native language is given due importance along with English. This approach enables students to stick to their primary cultural and linguistic roots. On the other hand, students become confident with bilingual teaching to move freely in a dominant English environment. Bilingual literacy and fluency are gaining a lot of importance these days. They can also compete in the job market and gain the upper hand to effectively speak and write different languages.

According to ilanguages.org, 40% of the world population is Monolingual, 43% of the world population is bilingual, 13% of the population is trilingual, and only 3% of the population is multilingual. One experiment also proved that bilingual children did better than monolingual children in verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests.

In this blog, let’s uncover what bilingual education is, how it works, its characteristics and benefits, and bilingual education in the world and India. Why is bilingual education in schools essential? Without any further delay, let’s dig deeper into it. 

What is bilingual education?

Bilingual education definition – Bilingual education is nothing but using two languages to teach the academic content to the students. Two languages are the medium of instruction to teach the students in native and secondary languages. With this approach, students who are less proficient in English can understand the concepts using their native language.

How does bilingual education work?

There are many models of bilingual education;  the additive and transitional models are the most common among them. Both languages are given equal importance in additive bilingual education programs. The use of these two languages is consistent in the entire schooling years. And the main goal is to learn and become proficient in both languages. In transitional bilingual education programs, mother tongue enables proficiency in the second language or the dominant one. Bilingual programs allow students to excel in mathematics, science, and social studies concepts. Bilingual teaching will develop excellent listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Bilingual instructions help students grasp the concepts of every subject and retain the information as both languages are used efficiently by bilingual schools.

Need for Bilingual Education in the Classroom

In this ever-changing world of globalization, one should know more than one language to succeed. As we all are globally interdependent, we require more than one language to communicate efficiently. For the overall economic, societal and educational success, one must be bilingual. As our world is getting smaller, we need bilingual global citizens. It not only help you succeed professionally but also keep you connected to your culture. It helps you to develop a sense of belonging both professionally and personally.

What is a bilingual classroom?

In a bilingual classroom, children speak the same native language. And the bilingual instruction medium for all the subjects is their native language and English. Because of the efficient use of both languages, there is no doubt or confusion in students’ minds regarding any concept.

Characteristics of Good Bilingual Education Programs

The different Characteristics of good bilingual education programs are complex sentences or meanings to the students is explained using mother tongue. Bilingual teaching emphasizes creating situations. The practice of sentences is essential. And the grammar rules are not taught separately. 

The Benefits of Bilingual Education

There are numerous benefits of being bilingual. With the help of bilingual education, you can have innumerable social, psychological, and lifestyle benefits. Jubin Abutalebi (Cognitive neuropsychologist, San Raffaele University, Milan) says you can distinguish bilinguals from monolinguals easily with their brain scans. Bilingual people have more grey matter than monolingual people. 

  • Bilingual children excel in creative activities, problem-solving, and pattern recognition tasks. It helps them improve their confidence.
  • Bilingual children have enhanced memory than monolingual children.
  • Bilingual students perform well academically. They have improved brain function, and they can communicate efficiently. 
  • According to a study published by Alzheimer’s Society, bilingual brains are more resilient to dementia than is caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Bilinguals have increased connectivity in some regions of the brain that helps them protect from dementia.
  • Because of the global interconnection, one needs to be fluent in more than one language to succeed. Bilingual people get more economic opportunities than their monolingual counterparts.
  • Bilingual children have a sense of appreciation for differences in culture. 
  • Bilingual children are more focused and are better decision-makers because bilingual students have improved brain executive function.

Bilingual Education around the World

As per Wikipedia, a few countries have adopted bilingual education in the African region. In 

Hong Kong English and Cantonese are official languages; both are the medium of instruction. In Japan, there is a bilingual system of education. The Middle East follows both dual and triple language programs. Israel also has a few bilingual schools. 

There are different education models in Thailand and Malaysia. In Australia, there are different types of bilingual education systems. European countries provide multilingual and multicultural education. Canada also follows the bilingual education system. The main focus of bilingual education in the United States is English language learners.  Most of the countries in the world have adopted bilingual education in schools. 

Bilingual Education in India

The two languages, Hindi and English, are the official languages of India. Twenty-one other regional languages hold the status of co-official languages. In India, the education system follows the three-language pattern where one language is the medium of instruction, either English or any other language. The second language is the official language of the particular state in non-Hindi states. And Hindi as a second language in other states. In a few states, a few schools offer choices for the students between second language and Hindi. However, there is an exception for Tamilnadu, where only Tamil and English are the schools’ mediums. Moreover, parents in India prefer English as the medium of instruction because of its global dominance.

Bilingual Education in Tamil Nadu

Tamilnadu follows the two-language education policy. It has a bilingual education system with Tamil and English as the two languages. With bilingual education, Tamilnadu is achieving significant positive social and economic changes. Aspiring students who wish to excel in various competitive exams like NEET, JEE-IIT can enroll in bilingual foundation courses for  8, 9, and 10 classes. With the help of bilingual lectures, students can grasp the concepts quickly and have command over them.

Conclusion

You can now make the most of bilingual schools as you have understood the importance of bilingual education programs. Help your children become future-ready with the numerous bilingual education benefits. Make them the curators of their life journey and encash the innumerable benefits of globalization.