The advantages of bilingual education for your child

The advantages of bilingual education for your child

Is a bilingual education right for your child? Discover the many advantages of bilingualism, from improved cognitive abilities to increased cultural awareness, and find out if a bilingual programme is a good fit for your child, today!

What does bilingual actually mean?

Bilingual refers to a person’s ability to use two different languages fluently. Bilingualism is an expectation in today’s increasingly competitive and globalised world, and with CIS’s world class bilingual programme your child can gain valuable 21st century skills.

More than just learning a second language

A bilingual education has many benefits. Aside from teaching an additional language, it also nurtures global citizens who are interested in global issues, understand their place in the wider world, appreciate diverse values, play an active role in their community and work with other people to create a more peaceful, sustainable and fairer world. By learning a second language, students are able to understand a culture different from their own and gain valuable insights at the same time. These global citizens are employable and future-proof graduates as well, because they are able to cross cultural borders and gain access to new opportunities with their communication skills.

How can a bilingual education give your child a competitive edge?

But there’s more to it. Research shows that bilinguals perform better in stroop tasks than monolinguals. This means they are better equipped to multitask, focus on high level tasks and solve complex problems creatively. The reason for this is simple. Although it sounds like a chore for your brain to juggle different languages, it actually improves brain regions that are responsible for cognitive functions. This helps bilinguals (or multilinguals for that matter) to have better memory, come up with innovative solutions and become more perceptive of their surroundings.

Starting your child early in bilingual education also makes it easier for him or her to master fluency in a second language. After all, children’s brains are not as cluttered with complex information such as grammatical rules so they are able to absorb knowledge more quickly.

Slows down age-related cognitive decline

If you want just one good reason to raise a bilingual child, then this is it. Learning an additional language is believed to slow down age-related cognitive decline. It may not be able to stop Alzhiemer’s disease altogether but this study finds that speaking two languages could delay the onset by up to five years.

Bilingual education in the classroom

As the name suggests, a bilingual education involves the learning of two languages in the classroom. It can be taught in three ways:

  • Total immersion: the entire lesson is delivered in the second language
  • Partial immersion: half the lesson time is spent learning the second language
  • Dual immersion: English and the second language are used as the language of instruction; subject matter is not repeated across content delivered in different languages

If you think that dual immersion is the best way to go, you are right. Students do not take a class to specifically learn a language in small increments; they also learn subjects like science and math at the same time. The Chinese-English and French-English bilingual programmes at CIS, for instance, are fully aligned with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) and they take the transdisciplinary route. This means that students are not only mastering a second language, they are also making real-world connections by building new concepts and skills across different disciplines.

A proven track record

With Chinese and French being among the top 10 languages spoken globally, it's no surprise that we offer two world-class bilingual programmes: Chinese-English and French-English.

Our Chinese-English bilingual programme was one of the first to be introduced in Singapore by an international school. Students are given equal exposure to both English and Chinese with two qualified teachers—one native English speaker and one native Chinese speaker. With no translation or repetition, our students are fully immersed in the language they are learning. The same goes for our French-English bilingual programme.

CIS’s established track record makes us one of the most experienced and trusted international schools in the region. Our goal is to educate our students to become fluent communicators in two languages, and we have a proven track record of achieving this.

Book an in-person or virtual tour with our admissions team to find out more about bilingual education at CIS.