Nowadays, the use of foreign languages, especially English, is an essential requirement for the development of society. Many parents have enrolled their children in language classes from an early age to enable them to be proficient in a second language. Parents can consider the benefits of bilingual education through this article.
What is a bilingual education?
The term ‘bilingual education’ refers to the use of two languages throughout the course of a student’s education. Bilingual education not only involves practicing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills but also requires students to be able to communicate and participate in cultural activities of the respective country. In Vietnam, many parents enroll their children in English classes to help them acquire English as a second language. English-Vietnamese bilingualism requires both languages to complement each other in terms of language development.
Recent scientific studies have shown that Bilingual education is a secret weapon in supercharging children’s learning and even changing the structure of the human brain.. Using two languages simultaneously helps the child’s brain function more efficiently.
While some parents want their children to have an early bilingual education, others have concerns about language confusion. However, these concerns are unfounded and lack empirical evidence. Parents can learn more the following benefits of an early bilingual education:
Top benefits of an early bilingual education
Improved communication skills and confidence
Engaging in daily interactive activities and regular conversations with parents, teachers, and peers in a bilingual environment is the most effective way to teach bilingualism to children. Through these activities, children experience real-life situations, explore the world, and connect with others using a second language. Consequently, their communication skills are enhanced, and they become confident in expressing themselves in both their mother tongue and the new language when conversing with others.
Early development of accurate listening and speaking skills
Children have a natural ability to mimic language, especially intonation and pronunciation, and they are eager to practice and achieve the most natural reflex. Parents can witness this phenomenon when children effortlessly sing songs after hearing them a few times, even before they can read. Therefore, if guided correctly from an early age, children can develop listening and speaking skills like native speakers.
Increased cognitive development
From a scientific perspective, learning English increases the amount of gray and white matter in the brain, making it more sensitive and intelligent. Dr. Viatcheslav Wlassoff’s research at the University of Cambridge has revealed that “efforts to speak two languages and translate between them exercise the brain, thereby increasing the flexibility of the nervous system.” Dr. Ellen Bialystok from York University also affirms that children who learn a foreign language have better logical reasoning and problem-solving skills than those who are not exposed to a second language.
Hence, parents can be assured that early language learning does not lead to language confusion but significantly enhances their child’s intelligence.
Empowering confidence in communication
One of the significant benefits of early bilingual education is that it helps children become more confident and adept at communication. During early childhood, children are not overwhelmed by the information they need to absorb, and learning English from an early age provides them with ample “space” to naturally absorb the language. Moreover, learning English through fun activities makes it more enjoyable for children compared to studying through textbooks like adults.
More time and opportunities for other learning
By starting English language learning early, children have more time to develop their language skills. If parents enroll their children in language classes from preschool to grade 12, they will have more than 12 years of language learning. As they grow older, the time available for language development decreases due to the increasing workload from other subjects such as math, physics, and chemistry. Consequently, children need to allocate their time reasonably, which may limit their opportunities to further develop their English proficiency.
In conclusion, parents can consider the numerous advantages of early bilingual education for their children. It not only improves communication skills and confidence but also fosters accurate listening and speaking abilities. Additionally, it enhances cognitive abilities and provides children with more opportunities for language learning and development.
Enhancing critical thinking and analytical skills.
When the brain switches between two languages, it helps expand a child’s thinking over time. This, in turn, helps children easily absorb knowledge in other subjects. English is a universal language, so if children learn it early, they will be exposed to a wide range of information from various sources. Learning English requires the use of thinking and analytical skills, so the more children use these skills, the better they will develop them.
Expanding the perspective of diverse cultures around the world.
Learning a new language, either English or other languages, involves not only listening, speaking, reading, and writing but also learning about culture, countries, and people of the respective country . Therefore, learning English early helps children engage with movies, literature, music, and other sources of information from English-speaking countries. As a result, children will expand their global cultural perspective.
Increased economic opportunities
Early education in bilingual and international environments, which are highly regarded and of high quality will help them be fluent in English. Furthermore, as they grow up with a strong command of English, they can work in foreign environments and in large companies, which expands their career and advancement opportunities.
Better academic achievement
One of the benefits of early bilingual language learning for children is that they achieve better academic results. Many parents believe that when children learn English, they won’t have time to study other subjects, which may affect their academic performance. However, the reality is different. Children who learn foreign languages tend to absorb lessons better and develop critical thinking skills. Particularly, learning a foreign language helps children perform well in analytical and logical subjects. According to a report from Bound University in 2007, students who have studied a foreign language for more than 4 years scored higher on university entrance exams in all subjects: Mathematics, Science, and Essay Writing.
Westlink International School – The Best Bilingual School in Hanoi
After learning about the benefits of early bilingual education for children, parents surely want to find the best international schools for their children to attend from an early age. Currently, Westlink International School is the international school that parents trust to provide bilingual education for their children.
When children attend Westlink International School, they will receive a top-notch education that meets international standards. The school offers the following advantages:
Westlink International School is built on a 2.5-hectare campus located in the Tay Ho Tay urban area,. Xuan Tao, Bac Tu Liem, Hanoi. This area has an advantageous geographical location with easy access to major roads such as Phạm Văn Đồng, Võ Chí Công,… Moreover, there are many foreign communities from South Korea and Europe in this area, creating a multicultural community.
State-of-the-art Learning Space
Learning at the International Westlink School not only involves passive reception of knowledge but also benefits from the environment and campus landscape. At Westlink, students have the opportunity to study in a large and world-class campus with plenty of green spaces, creating a spacious and comfortable atmosphere for them. The school’s infrastructure system is invested and meets the standards of a 21st-century international school.
All classrooms at Westlink meet international standards with complete lighting systems, air conditioning, UV-resistant windows, and high-tech interactive screens. In the corridors, there are insect repellent systems.
The school also has various dedicated functional rooms to optimize student learning and explore their potential, such as STEM rooms, Food Technology rooms, Laboratories, Computer rooms, Music rooms, Recording studios, Digital technology studios, and Visual Arts classrooms.
Currently, Westlink International School offers two educational programs:
International Baccalaureate (IB) Program: Students studying the IB program have many advantages when applying to domestic and international universities because the IB program is based on the academic standards of the United States and the prestigious international standards of IB.
Bilingual Program (Westlink International Academy – WIA): Westlink International Academy blends the curriculum issued by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) with the US curriculum. Students will divide their time between specialist subjects taught in English and MOET subjects taught in Vietnamese.
Highly qualified teachers and staff at Westlink International School
A strong point of Westlink International School is gathering a team of many doctors, masters, and bachelor’s degree holders as the school’s principal and teachers who hold high-level education degrees and meet the standards of countries like the UK, the US, Canada, Australia etc. Teachers not only impart lessons but also serve as bridges to promote unity and love among students. They help students discover their strengths and facilitate their overall development..
Emphasis on soft skills development
The school not only helps students acquire knowledge from textbooks but also designs extracurricular programs to develop soft skills such as communication, negotiation, teamwork, etc., enabling students to easily adapt to various environments in the global context.
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Therefore, providing children with bilingual education at the young age not only helps them be good at English but also gives them more opportunities for their future career.