Why a Multilingual Education

"To have another language is to possess a second soul” Charlemagne (748 to 814 AD)

IFS is a genuinely multilingual international school. Our distinctive and unique bilingual and multilingual approach to education puts our students at a considerable advantage compared with their no-bilingual peers.

Focused and structured by the French National Curriculum, an IFS education stresses language acquisition and proficiency, thereby providing our graduates with a head start in life.

There are several reasons to choose a multilingual education for your children.

First, the rise of international travel and trade encourages the spread of language learning.

Second, the multiple developmental, (e.g. communication, cultural, cognitive, curriculum, and career) advantages of being bilingual is a great help to students.

Third, the potential societal and community benefits of bilingualism such as continuity of heritage, cultural vitality, empowered and informed citizens, improved school achievement, social and economic inclusion, social relationships and networking all contribute to our student’s success.

All of these traits make multilingual education increasingly useful and attractive.

Cognitive

benefits - better multi-tasking, decision making, problem solving

Career

opportunities - stand out from your peers among prospective employers

Cultural

advantage - grow up more open minded & understanding

Connect

cultivate - intercultural communication & intellectual curiosity

PURSUE A MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION

1Positive effects on the brain

Students who are embedded and learning in a multilingual environment have shown to have improvements in the executive function of their brains (the part that controls basic cognitive processes). According to several studies, this provides students with a superior ability to concentrate, solve problems and focus. They exhibit better mental flexibility and multitasking skills. This leads to confident students, with more self-esteem.

Lots of studies on different student age groups have shown that bilingual students have better attention and task-switching capacities than their monolingual counterparts. This is due to their developed ability to inhibit one language while using another. Bilingual students often perform better on tasks that require conflict management as they can better manage and ignore irrelevant information. Bilingual students are better at discerning the essential from the non-essential.

2An educational advantage

It has been shown that bilingual education is correlated with better academic achievement. Bilingualism has been associated with improved metalinguistic awareness, (the ability to recognize language as a system that can be manipulated and explored), as well as with better memory, visual-spatial skills, and even creativity. This leads to a number of improvements in learning.

Bilingual and multilingual students are better able to manage multiple tasks, solving problems across verbal and nonverbal domains as they capitalise on what they know in one area to address another. Bilingual students come up with more ideas, are more creative in their thinking across more categories of possibility when problem-solving. Students have shown a far greater pool of vocabulary and ideas to draw from and hence are better communicators of their ideas.

3Becoming more open-minded

As much as 66 per cent of the world’s children are raised bilingual. This brings a number of social benefits into the community. Being bilingual, children have a greater ability to explore a culture through its native tongue or talk to someone with whom they might otherwise never be able to communicate. This creates greater cross-cultural appreciation.

Learning more than one language enables new conversations and new experiences, and this is at the centre of an IFS education. A recent study showed that bilingual students exhibit greater empathy in communication with others. This comes from the perspective they gain in not only speaking another language but learning to interpret meaning through subtle cues. As a result, bilingual students outperform monolinguals in a range of cognitive and social tasks. They can read other people better, creating greater empathy and are thus open-minded to new experiences.

4Increased cognitive development

An adaptable mind is an essential tool for navigating today’s ever-changing world, as yesterday’s solutions won’t solve tomorrow’s problems. At IFS, we see it as fundamental to our mission to prepare our students for the challenges they will face.

We have seen at IFS our students developing agile and adaptable minds through our enriching bilingual programmes. Fostering young confident, compassionate and committed global citizens.

The experiences of learning in two languages within the IFS system leaves our students with mental flexibility, a superiority in concept formation, and a more diversified set of mental abilities.

For our students, being bilingual has positive effects at both ends of the age spectrum. Bilingual children as young as three can better adjust to environmental changes, while by the time they become bilingual seniors, they can experience less cognitive decline.

In conclusion, what studies have shown is lifelong experiences in managing attention to two languages reorganises specific brain networks. Thereby creating more effective cognitive control and sustain better mental performance throughout their lifespan.

Quote

The rigour of an immersive multilingual environment balanced with the non-academic merits of IFS life has holistically developed our daughter, especially nurturing her emotional well-being.

PARENT
Grand Section
Quote