What is a bilingual school?
When it comes time to choose the best school for their children, many parents opt for a bilingual school because of the opportunities offered by having a second language, such as English. However, is bilingual learning the same as teaching English? Keep reading and discover how to choose a truly bilingual school, which also allows your child to connect with the world and become an agent of change.
Characteristics of a bilingual school
A bilingual school is characterized by working on the different areas of learning in two languages, usually English and Spanish.
It is important to differentiate between the teaching of English as a medium of instruction and its teaching as the content of instruction. A class where you learn English is not the same as a math class taught in English.
Getting children to think in English and not just translate their ideas into Spanish is what we call native bilingualism; in other words, it is to make them assimilate English as a mother tongue. This is possible thanks to a complete immersion, where not only the classes are in English, but it is the language of communication during recess, in communications with their teachers and in all spaces within the school.
How to choose the best bilingual school for your children?
It is essential to incorporate the second language into the child’s life from an early age so that it is acquired naturally, just as they do with their own language.
The team of teachers is, without a doubt, the most important aspect when choosing a bilingual school. Having native teachers is a fundamental aspect. These, in addition to the knowledge and experience in teaching, manage to teach classes naturally in the language.
For bilingualism to be effective, teaching hours in English are not enough. Students should also have the opportunity to interact with native teachers and teachers from various countries.
Advantages of studying in a bilingual school
There are many advantages to studying in a truly bilingual school. Let’s review a few:
Cognitive and linguistic benefits
Mastering two languages at an early age has important cognitive benefits. There are studies that show the physical differences between the brain of a person who speaks only one language and another who speaks several.
Increased language skills of students. Thinking in two or more languages simultaneously increases brain power and gives children more open thinking.
This ability translates, in adulthood, into faster information processing when making decisions.
Connection with other cultures
In addition to being able to speak another language, students get to know and connect with other cultures. In this way they become global citizens and develop values such as respect for diversity, openness to change, tolerance, among others.
In many professional fields, mastering English is the best letter of introduction to apply for a qualified job.
In the business sector, our children will be able to access jobs with greater responsibility if they certify a high level of English, both spoken and written.
Much more than teaching English
As we have seen, bilingual learning is much more than the teaching of English, as it has a positive impact on children from early childhood and benefits that will accompany them until their adult life. But, what is better for my child, a bilingual school or a normal one, in our next article you will learn about the characteristics of each one, so that it is easier for you to make this important decision.