Intellectual advantages of bilingualism Essay
Intellectual advantages of bilingualism, 500 words essay example
I was born in a family full of culture. I spoke Spanish before I was able to speak English. In school, I was not taught Spanish my second language, until the 9th grade, solely English. This is my six-year-old cousin Evelyn. She is enrolled in a dual language program at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Coachella, CA. She is a fluent (as fluent as a six-year-old can get) speaker and writer in Spanish as well as English though only one hour of the day is dedicated to English language learning. She, as well as other students have shown a significant jump in their academic levels (test, grades, and other measures of "smartness") and this has brought me to the question, what are the benefits of Bilingualism on education?
First, what is bilingualism? Bilingualism is the term used to reference someone who speaks two languages (Meriam Webster). Studies have shown that Bilingualism has led to intellectual advantages, higher test Scores, and a correlation between education and future. To better understand the benefits of bilingualism, we need to understand the effect it has on the brain. Bilingualism directly affects grey matter in the brain. Brain matter processes information in the brain. Specifically, structures in the grey matter process signals generated in sensory organs or other areas of the grey matter. This tissue sends sensory (motor) stimuli to nerve cells in the central nervous system where synapses then induce a response to the stimuli (Robertson). Bilingualism also affects specific areas of the brain. The front of the brain, frontal lobe, is involved in planning, organizing, problem solving, selective attention, personality and other forms of "higher cognitive functions" such as, behavior and emotions. The anterior (front) portion of the frontal lobe is called the prefrontal cortex (Johnson). The specific area for cognitive skills, "dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) a brain region associated with cognitive skills like attention and inhibition", is strengthened through bilingualism (Viorica).
Something that you may be asking yourselves is, why isn't bilingualism being more incorporated into our schools, through dual language programs and other programs? The reason, is that many plans and education as we all know is being defunded. The United States has not dropped in its world education ranking, but it is not to the standards that we hope it to be. The U.S. in 2012, was ranked seventeen in the world for best education, and in 2016, fourteen in the world. Then for most bilingual country, Aruba was first out of the nine countries in the running, and the U.S. not being one of the nine. An example of Education correlating with Bilingualism is Singapore. Singapore is currently number one in education and third in Bilingualism. Singapore has such a strong bilingual background due to the fact that there are many languages English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil, are the four official languages of Singapore. In Singapore, it is also a required subject in school that students are fluent in English, meaning that English would be their second language.