The Benefits of Having a Bilingual Brain

Benefits of Teaching Children a Second Language

  • It improves academic progress in other subjects, e.g. language arts, social studies, and math.
  • It helps to narrow achievement gaps between students regardless of race, gender, or academic level or socioeconomic background.
  • It helps basic skills development – better memory, sharper listening skills, improved reading scores.
  • Children are more creative, they are better problem solvers, greater cognitive flexibility and higher order thinking, and greater skills in divergent thinking and figural creativity.
  • It enriches and enhances cognitive development.
  • It enhances a student’s sense of achievement.
  • It helps students score higher on standardized tests.
  • It promotes cultural awareness and competency.
  • It improves chances of college acceptance, achievement and attainment.
  • It enhances career opportunities.
  • It benefits understanding and security in community and society.
  • It helps children develop better self-control

Further details on the benefits of learning a second language
Why Learn a Second Language?

What Science has found out about Bilingualism:

1. Bilinguals of two spoken languages have more gray matter than monolinguals:

Individuals speaking two languages have more gray matter in the executive control areas of the brain. Executive control is important for managing memory, reasoning, planning and problem solving.

2. Bilingual brains better equipped to process information

Bilingual speakers process information more efficiently and more easily than those who know a single language. The benefits occur because the bilingual brain is constantly activating both languages and choosing which language to use and which to ignore.

3. Bilinguals are better able to resist distractions

The act of juggling two languages strengthens the brain system that helps people pay attention. That strong capacity to focus might be what leads to better academic performance in some children who grow up bilingual or attend language immersion programs.

4. Bilingual children are more likely to develop growth mindsets

Most young children are essentialists: They believe that human and animal characteristics are innate. That kind of reasoning can lead them to think that traits like native language and clothing preference are intrinsic rather than acquired. Bilingual kids, however, are more likely to understand that it is what one learns, rather than what one is born with, that makes up a person’s psychological attributes.

5. Children can learn two native languages as easily as they can learn one, therefore it is better to allow children to be exposed to multiple languages early.

6. Bilingualism delays the onset of Alzheimer’s by more than four years.

Resources for Teaching a Second Language

Teaching Children Sign Language

Why teach children Sign language? Because it is an easier way to learn a second language and it offers many of the benefits of having a verbal second language. Here are some of the benefits:

  • More rapid development of language skills compared to children who do not learn to sign
  • Helps to establish critical social skills
  • It acts as a second language which provides bilingual advantages in future
  • Facilitates communication between parent and child and improves cooperation
  • Provides infants with a means of communicating their needs and thus reducing frustration and tantrums
  • Enhances bonding between parent and child
  • Fun physical activity that helps to develop self-esteem in children
  • Provides additional benefits when taught to special needs children
  • Increases IQ points between 8 to 13 points which has long lasting effects

See also:

Why Signing Time?Signing Time DVD of the Month Club

Signing Time teaches parents and infants to sign by displaying the written word, a picture of the word, the sign and a demonstration of the word.  The lesson is then reinforced through music and movement.  Children are learning through a multi-sensorial approach – they see the word, hear the word, say the word and model the word using their hands. Signing Time show many examples of young children signing which help babies gain confidence.  Being able to watch children signing, parents learn the possible variations of signs due to a child’s dexterity limitations which helps them recognise their own child’s attempts to communicate through Sign. Signing Time not only enhances speech development, but it also helps to develop spelling, writing and reading skills. Get started now.

Free Sign Language Resources