The Multiple Advantages of a Multilingual Curriculum

There have been a number of studies in recent years that suggest people who speak more than one language are in fact more intelligent. An article written by the New York Times highlights that learning multiple languages could improve cognitive skills beyond those related to language, which is a considerably different viewpoint than previously thought.  Educators and researchers had considered a second language to be an obstruction that would distract the child and ultimately hinder his or her academic development.

As more research came out, the opposite turned out to be true. Over the years, we have seen that knowing two or more languages improves the brain’s executive function. This part of your brain essentially controls the processes that we use for problem solving, planning, and other internal tasks which enable us to stay focused.

More Than Just Cognitive, It’s Social

In addition to these increased cognitive and academic skills, two new studies have demonstrated that exposure to multiple languages can also improve a child’s social abilities.

Earlier this month, Katherine Kinzler of the New York times wrote that “a study from [her] developmental psychology lab — conducted in collaboration with the psychologists Boaz Keysar, Zoe Liberman and Samantha Fan at the University of Chicago, and published last year in the journal Psychological Science — showed that multilingual children can be better at communication than monolingual children.”

In the study, they had taken a group of children in the United States, ages 4 to 6, with different linguistic backgrounds and presented them with a situation in which they had to consider someone else’s perspective in order to understand their meaning.  

It was rather obvious that the multilingual children would succeed at this task since understanding someone who is speaking a different language not only requires an understanding of the words themselves but the context as well. Children who are immersed in multilingual environments have amassed social experiences that require them to consider how others may perceive things. According to Katherine Kinzler, “They have to think about who speaks which language to whom, who understands which content, and the times and places in which different languages are spoken.”

Both of these discoveries are precisely why Cedar Hill Prep has focused so heavily on integrating World Languages as a regular part of our Academic Curriculum. Beyond the traditional offerings of Spanish and French, we also teach our students Arabic, Hindi, and Mandarin (upcoming). It has always been our goal to graduate students who are truly at ease beyond their borders, and second language instruction is integral to achieving this goal. Guided by the most current research on language acquisition and evidence showing the significant social and cognitive benefits of learning a second language, we have created an immersion curriculum designed to educate students who can converse comfortably on subjects ranging from the everyday to the academic with a focus on global awareness.

To learn more about our World Languages Program, or to see the other programs we have to offer, please feel free to contact us at any time or even schedule a private tour.