In lieu of the United States’s Hispanic Heritage Month and the cutback of many dual-language programs in Florida, California, and Texas, VOXXI, independent journal for Hispanic America, explored the affects of bilingual education on children.
Nate Cornish, the Director of Clinical Services for Bilingual Therapies, supports the application of bilingual education and said to VOXXI, “we’re finding from an educator’s perspective, kids who are in more of immersion type bilingual programs tend to catch up to their English speaking peers, and at the same time they seem to have greater access to the curriculum because they’re receiving instruction in their native language while they’re learning English.”
Cornish’s studies also revealed that bilingual education promotes a sense of pride and positive self-image in students as Spanish speakers. Additionally, dual-language education supports family life by encouraging and maintaining the native language. Cornish explained “I’ve had tearful conversations with parents who are saying, ‘I’m losing my ability to communicate with my child, what do I do?’ That’s kind of a hard thing to address. There are a lot of social pressures involved in that none of us can really control.”
Sarah Roseberry Lytle, Translation, Outreach, and Education Director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, said bilingual-focused curriculum increases brain activity and flexibility as related to memory and symbolic reasoning. “Solving math problems is a great example of one way to employ your flexibility thinking skills because you have to think about different ways you might solve a problem, in the same way if you’re growing up in a bilingual household you need to think of different words. If you can’t activate a word in one language, you need to think of a different way to describe the word,” explained Lytle.
According to international school YCIS, bilingual students also have a deeper understanding of linguistics, tend to think be creative thinkers and problem solvers, and “academically outperform and score statistically higher on standardized college entrance exams than those who only speak one language.” Consequently,YCIS asserts that bilingual education provides the potential for students to become bi-cultural members of a globalizing world.
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