Why it matters
Healthy brain — A multilingual student gets a good cognitive workout, stimulating brain development in ways monolingual children may never experience.
Cognitive elasticity — A multilingual mind is highly ﬂexible and is proven to have greater abilities in task-switching (which is a great skill to have in daily life!).
Advanced problem-solving — Stronger critical thinking skills and a higher aptitude for complex problem solving and mathematical abilities.
Heightened social awareness — Proven to resolve conﬂicts easier, higher empathy towards others and heightened ability to read social cues (verbal, non-verbal).
It is widely known that “the earlier the better” is true when it comes to learning a second language. It is important to know that while sometimes learning in a bilingual student plateaus or that one of the language develops slower, the student does not experience “brain overload”. It’s a symptom of ﬁguring it all out. Yes, code switching (language mixing) may occur, but incremental growth spurts are typical, even for a monolingual. We understand that every learner has a different path and it’s our job to provide individualized and differentiated support to optimize each students’ academic experience.
The “Linguistic Interdependence Hypothesis” by Jim Cummins describes the “dual iceberg” of language learning. The languages share a base, they come from the same place in the brain. This also explains why bilinguals acquire an additional language more easily.