Teaching and learning through an additional language encourages understanding between cultures, improves students’ cognitive ability and prepares them for life beyond school.
If students’ language is sufficiently well developed and supported by the teacher, learning through an additional language can be cognitively stimulating. In contrast to many traditional language lessons, students are learning meaningful content through the language rather than simply learning the language itself. The language becomes a tool for critical thinking and communication and allows students access to authentic and relevant subject content and terminology.
Research suggests that the existence of more than one language in the brain leads to improved cognitive control. This has a positive effect on working memory, selective attention, processing information, and mental flexibility. Studies have demonstrated that bilingual children develop the ability to solve problems that contain conflicting or misleading clues at an earlier age than children who speak only one language.
The ability to use more than one language means we can communicate with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Knowledge of other languages encourages new ways of thinking and of perceiving the world. We live in an increasingly global world and language skills make travel easier, provide opportunities to study abroad, and improve career prospects.