How to Teach A Child to be Bilingual

teach a child to be bilingual

As you teach your child to be bilingual, many questions arise. Is this learning beneficial to my child? Will there be any language development concerns once your child starts school?

All these inquiries and more are valid questions. What is more challenging to address is how to incorporate a learning environment that complements with what your child learns at school? Even at the beginning stage of learning, babies initially start to gather information about the world around them. 

Babies Brain and Learning

As babies develop into infants and toddlers, the language skills they learn comes from direct relation with others. As you teach your baby new words and phrases, the brain continues to grow and gather more information. While this development stage is a perfect opportunity to introduce a new language, take into considerations on how to support the learning growth.

One aspect to consider is that babies will begin to prefer one style over another. As more adults and family members speak one dominant language at home, babies will acquire that preferred language. So, be mindful when you want to introduce a language that you speak and that language spoken by others at home.

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Bilingual education in elementary schools

Children reading books

Bilingual education in elementary schools is slowly integrating foreign language programs. Whereas high schools already have foreign language programs in place, elementary schools are still trying to educate their students in languages other than English.

Spanish, Mandarin, and other foreign languages are making the way into school systems and parts of the bilingual education in the United States. Yet, much needs to be done.

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Why being bilingual can improve language learning?

bilingual

Is being bilingual in diverse languages, besides the native one, an excellent way to improve your brain skills? The way you integrate language is a fantastic process. Children, younger than 3 years old, acquire words in many different languages.

“The brain has a perfectly good system whose job it is to do just that – it’s the executive control system. It focuses attention on what’s important and ignores distraction. Therefore, for a bilingual, the executive control system is used in every sentence you utter. That’s what makes it strong.” Ellen Bialystok explained.

Bilingualism

Many schools in the United States offer a foreign language program. However, many schools do not implement these programs until high school. But studies show the earlier a child learns another language, the better for a child’s brain. Until recently, scientific evidence suggests learning another language is better for your mind.

Between the 1880s and 1960s, educators believed learning a second language leads to literacy disruption, language delay, and confusion. The opposite is true. Many of the benefits include language improvement, logical thinking, and enhancement of cognitive abilities.

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