4 Advantages of Bilingual Education Programmes

At Swiss International School in Dubai, we’ve always prided ourselves in our top-quality bilingual education programmes. SISD holds bilingualism at the core of our academic values. We believe that bilingualism, as studies have agreed with us, leads to better students with improved social skills, temperament, and cognitive performance. This commitment has its roots not only in our community’s diversity, but in the Swiss education system itself – after all, Switzerland has four national languages!

How SISD’s Bilingual Curriculum Works

SISD is the first private school in Dubai to offer multiple-language education in French, English, German and Arabic. This comes in the form of several study streams with English as a main language: English with additional languages (Arabic and French or German), bilingual English-French, and English-German.

Depending on the programme, a student at SISD may have a minimum of one lesson in the second language every day. In PYP, Grade 1-5 students also take a repeating cycle of one week taught in English, and one week taught in French or German, along with core subjects such as Mathematics and Science taught in both languages.

Studying at SISD also makes graduates eligible for the Bilingual Diploma in the International Baccalaureate programme.

Why Should Students Be Taught In Bilingual Curricula?

There are very real and distinct advantages for students who participate in bilingual education programmes. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important ones.

Bilingual Students Have Cognitive Advantages

The studies have clear results: Bilingual students have better executive function and focus, social skills, and even general academic performance, compared to monolingual students. Many of the skills that bilingual education naturally improves are considered some of the soft skills that students will find useful in the future workforce.

Bilingualism Leads To Collaboration

Bilingual students naturally leave the comfort zone of their mother tongue and must explore other cultures and practices outside their own, in order to thrive. By being pushed out of the nest and into a diverse marketplace of ideas, they are provided with better opportunities to learn from, and learn with others, in a variety of collaborative scenarios. This leads to better teamwork and an improved worldview, as well as a reduced reliance on nationalistic ideologies.

Bilingualism Breaks Down Language Barriers

It sounds prodigiously obvious, but being able to speak another language allows you to speak to more people, and read more literature. This is tremendously important, as communication and literature of all languages has become far more commonplace due to the explosion of the Information Age, and being able to process these things and talk to more people from other countries is going to be a critical advantage no matter what field you’re in.

Financial Benefits

Bilingualism and all its benefits are something that employers will watch out for, and they’re willing to pay extra for it. Research shows that bilingual employees are paid several percentage points more than their monolingual peers.

Implementation Is Everything

At Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai, we want our students to be learning constantly, day in and day out, and not just in the classroom.

Multilingualism is at play every day you walk through SISD’s halls, with a staff and student body from dozens of countries speaking a melting pot of languages. Our boarders get to experience this 24/7, with a pastoral care environment that nurtures them and encourages them to explore other cultures.

It’s also not just the studying that matters. You’ll see it in how we have musicals that are written in as many as four languages; in how we celebrate Mother Tongue day and the diversity of languages and cultures that make up our community.

We also have bilingual education plans that we execute at the same time, all within the same student body. While officially we only teach three languages, exposure to many more is

happening through our Mother Tongue Programme where we provide the option of studying Italian, Spanish or Russian and our After-School Activities (ASAs) with Language Support courses, Mandarin and more to come!

It doesn’t stop there. With bilingual education, fluency is just as important as diversity. That’s why we have a rigorous selection process for our teachers that ensures every mother tongue teacher is a native speaker.

It doesn’t stop there. With bilingual education, fluency is just as important as diversity. That’s why we have a rigorous selection process for our teachers that ensures every mother tongue teacher is a native speaker.

And ultimately, we ensure that teachers and students interact as partners in their education, with both sides learning from each other and collaborating. Bilingualism is at its heart a collaboration: Between multiple cultures, between individual humans communicating from different origins in the world, between languages interplaying within a student’s mind.

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