According to the Chinese Proverb “to learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.” At SISD, bilingualism is one of our four core values as we understand why learning another language will play an important role in a child’s development. Pre-KG pupils start their bilingual programme with a native-speaking teacher in English/French or English/German. From KG1 we introduce Arabic lessons as part of our international baccalaureate curriculum. Languages are also included in our after-school activity programme.
Here are eight key benefits of learning languages.
We define bilingualism as “the regular use of two or more different languages in daily life.” Children who are bilingual have better social skills, greater understanding and empathy when interacting and socialising with other nationalities.
We currently have students from 75 different nationalities in our school and this multi-cultural environment exposes our pupils to other languages at a young age. This early awareness of other languages creates understanding and more positive attitudes towards other cultures and their religions.
We have found there are many benefits of bilingualism on the brain. Cognitive benefits to learning another language include an improvement to the child’s listening skills and their pronunciation. It focuses concentration and improves memory. Bilingual children are also shown to have increased multi-tasking and problem-solving skills.
Learning a second language will also enhance the child’s understanding of their own language including grammar and sentence structure. It will improve their reading skills and increase their vocabulary as they understand the historical context of words.
Learning another language will boost your child’s creativity. Different languages have different rules for sentence structure and use of grammar. Synonyms are often used when conversing in a second language, enabling the student to think creatively.
Whilst initially speaking a second language may be out of a child’s comfort zone, the ability to understand and speak another language will give a child confidence, especially when they can converse and understand other students from different nationalities. It will help them develop friendships and widen their social circles.
If your child is planning to go into higher education, many universities expect a second language as part of their entry requirements. Bilingual students are effective at problem solving and are critical thinkers, ready to analyse and challenge.
Speaking a second (or third) language increases choice of job and career opportunities. Employers of global companies look for staff who can communicate across their international networks to expand their businesses. As well as travel opportunities, bilingual employees can also expect to be rewarded with a higher salary than those that only speak their native language.
We believe that for your child to benefit from a second language, they should be enrolled in a school that has bilingualism as part of its curriculum and is set in a multicultural environment. Our parent testimonials show the benefits of our bilingual programme:
“We mainly speak English at home and through the English/ French bilingual program at SISD, my daughter is now also fluent in French and increasing her vocabulary weekly” Grade 4 Parent.
“The Swiss International School in Dubai is the school of more than 75 nationalities and our children study alongside Emiratis, Chinese, French, English, and German students. They are not only following a bilingual English/French curriculum but also have the opportunity to continue studying Chinese at the school” Parents of KG2, Grade 3 and Grade 7 pupils.