As the world becomes increasingly globalised, the ability to speak more than one language has become a highly valued skill. Bilingualism is at the core of SISD, and the majority of our students are in the bilingual pathways, which are offered from age 3-18 years.
Enhanced cognitive development
The first benefit of Bilingualism is the cognitive effect it can have on students. Bilingualism can enhance cognitive development in several ways. First, it can improve attention and concentration, essential skills needed in school. Bilingual children must constantly switch between languages, meaning they must focus on what they are saying to ensure accuracy in their speech. By practising this, they are developing these critical concentration and attention skills.
Bilingualism can also help to improve memory, as shown in a recent study where the cognitive difference between monolinguals and bilinguals was tested. Bilingual children must remember words and structures in two or more languages, consistently testing their memory. It can also help enhance executive function in planning skills, prioritising, and multitasking. All of which allow children to excel in school.
Improved academic performance
Schools in Dubai are renowned for encouraging high levels of academic performance. At SISD, we are no exception in academic achievements, with our students achieving higher than the world average assessment scores. Bilingualism has been shown to improve children’s academic performance; for example, bilingual children tend to have better reading skills, as they can recognise and process different letter combinations.
Bilingualism also enhances mathematic skills, improving the ability to manipulate numbers mentally. Additionally, Bilingualism enhances overall cognitive skills such as concentration, which leads to better academic performance across all subjects.
Increased cultural awareness
The benefit of studying at SISD is that, being one of Dubai’s most culturally diverse schools, we expose children to many different cultures and languages. The benefits of Bilingualism are that children can be fully involved with different cultures and nurture multiple ways of thinking. This helps children develop greater cultural awareness and empathy, as they can understand and appreciate people from different perspectives. In a multicultural city like Dubai, where people from all over the world come together, Bilingualism is especially important for building bridges across cultures and fostering a sense of unity. Being culturally aware can help children in their future careers, where they will likely be in a multicultural environment.
Greater Cultural Sensitivity
Leading on from cultural awareness, Bilingualism can encourage students to develop a greater sensitivity and appreciation for different cultures and traditions. This helps them become more open-minded to cultural diversity, essential in a multicultural city like Dubai. For example, the holy month of Ramadan is celebrated in Dubai, which can significantly impact students. For those who aren’t culturally aware, this may be something new to students, and ignorance can come with certain levels of naivety. It’s crucial to be sensitive to traditions and cultures to avoid offending anyone.
This can also open up opportunities to get involved with something new. Being aware and sensitive to cultures allows people to participate in traditions they might not have before, with respect and awareness, further developing their social skills and cultural diversity.
Better Job Opportunities
Bilingualism is a highly valued skill in today’s global job market. Being bilingual can open people up to more job opportunities globally, especially in international business, translation, and diplomacy. Living in a multicultural society means Bilingualism is a highly marketable skill. Speaking more than one language allows students access to other industries, such as tourism, hospitality, and education, as it allows individuals to communicate with customers and clients from different parts of the world.
Improved Communication Skills
Bilingualism enhances communication skills in numerous ways. First, it improves language proficiency, as bilingual individuals can express themselves more accurately and fluently in both languages. It also enhances listening skills, as bilingual individuals must be able to understand and process different accents and dialects. Being bilingual helps fine-tune hearing and helps to analyse linguistic sounds. Being a careful listener can have many benefits throughout school, listening to instructions and vital learning information. By encouraging listening skills in students, the benefits of Bilingualism can be seen in the communication between peers and teachers.
Finally, it enhances social skills, as bilingual individuals can better interact with people from different cultural backgrounds and communicate effectively in various settings. This sets students up to easily transition into our multicultural society today, allowing them to communicate effortlessly with employers, customers, and colleagues.
Bilingualism has been shown to enhance creativity; for example, bilingual individuals have more flexible thinking, as they can switch between different languages and cultural perspectives. It can improve problem-solving skills, encouraging individuals to think outside the box and find creative solutions to problems.
Having a creative mindset can be increasingly helpful throughout the school. Throughout their lessons, students have multiple opportunities to be creative, whether in an art subject or a creative project. Creativity can help increase success in all areas of study; students can take on projects they may not have a solution for immediately, but with problem-solving and an alternative-thinking attitude, they can produce excellent results.
Enhance problem-solving skills
Bilingual individuals are better problem solvers, as they can approach problems from different linguistic and cultural perspectives. This allows them to see issues from multiple angles, which leads to more creative and effective solutions.
Because bilingual individuals are often more confident and flexible in their thinking, as they are used to switching between different languages and cultural contexts, this can help them approach problems more open-mindedly and adaptively, leading to more successful outcomes. Being a good problem solver can have multiple benefits throughout school life, whether solving issues between friends or tasks set in the classroom.
Improved Multitasking Abilities:
Bilingual individuals are skilled at multitasking and can easily switch between different languages and tasks. This is because their brains are wired to process multiple streams of information simultaneously, which enhances their overall cognitive abilities.
Multitasking can help immensely throughout exam season. Students may need to adapt to multitasking to concentrate on many subjects to learn. Being bilingual nurtures this and encourages a multi-learning environment and success across many subjects and exams.
The final benefit of Bilingualism is the development of confidence in their school and personal lives. Bilingual individuals are more self-assured, as they can have the ability to communicate effectively in different languages and navigate different cultural contexts, giving them the confidence to express themselves. Developing confidence through communication benefits them in other areas of life, in spoken exams, future interviews and even personal relationships. This sense of confidence is valuable in a globalised world where cultural diversity and linguistic proficiency are highly valued.
At SISD, we are proud to say that our student body has an incredible, culturally rich environment with over 100 nationalities. With four different learning paths for secondary students that each encourage the development of Bilingualism, our students are more than prepared for their future in our multicultural society. If you would like more information on our bilingual approach to learning, please feel free to contact us.