Why Early Bilingual Education Boosts Brain Function and Development

Why Early Bilingual Education Boosts Brain Function and Development

There has been an immense amount of discussion and research done on bilingualism in recent years. As scholars and educators dive deeper into the effects of studying multiple languages, more and more evidence is found to support international language learning.

Over the past two decades, researchers have focused specifically on the cognitive benefits gained by children who are introduced to bilingualism at an early age. Specifically, they have measured the ways in which children learn and react to various aspects of their education and found astounding results for multilingual children.

According to NPR.org, these results show benefits so great, they will be utilized and carried throughout your child’s entire life. It is a lifetime of learning in a way that is unparalleled to any other learning approach available.

Bilingual Education Benefits

While the benefits of bilingual education are exponential, there are several benefits that are so great, they should be considered priority in terms of learning. Among these benefits are invaluable skill mastery of things like problem solving, concentration and focus on any given task, and the ability to think critically and choose words with purpose and meaning.

“Researchers found that young adults proficient in two languages performed better on attention tests and had better concentration than those who spoke only one language,” according to LiveScience.com.

Problem Solving Skills

For starters, children who are introduced to a second language, are essentially challenging their brains to sort out multiple information and channel appropriate times to use each piece. By doing this, it is similar to solving riddles or puzzles – it forces the brain to consider information as a whole (call it “big picture thinking”) and sort out conflicting data. In terms of language learning, the child must sort out each language and decipher which language is appropriate to use at different times.

“Bilingual people often perform better on tasks that require conflict management… (because they possess) the ability to ignore competing perceptual information and focus on the relevant aspects,” explains the US National Library of Medicine.

Mastering Focus

Another benefit of bilingual education is the inadvertent mastery of focus and concentration. Since bilingual children must constantly think before speaking in order to ensure they choose the correct language to adequately communicate, they are naturally training their minds to reach mastery levels of focus and control.

“Because both of a bilingual person’s language systems are always active and competing, that person uses these control mechanisms every time she or he speaks or listens. This constant practice strengthens the control mechanisms and changes the associated brain regions,” the National Library of Medicine explains.

Critical Thinking

This level of concentration and focus that children with bilingual education will master, is what leads to an impressive critical thinking development. Essentially, by training their minds to pause before speaking and focus on what they wish to say, bilingual students learn the basis for a lifetime of critical thinking skills.

“Bilingual children as young as age 3 have demonstrated a head start on tests of perspective-taking and theory of mind – both of which are fundamental social and emotional skills,” reports NPR.org.

Overall, children who participate in bilingual education programs are proving to be more adept at communication in general, as well as having a greater cognitive ability and focus than their monolingual counterparts. Research continues to pour in on the benefits of bilingualism in early childhood education, but the results already reported have shown exponential plusses to international language learning.

 

Learn more about a bilingual education at Tessa International School here.

Learning Spanish at Tessa International School

Each child has their own way to learn. Some prefer to learn by seeing or hearing, others by doing, some by reading, and others by asking questions. One thing all students have in common however, is that they learn best when incorporating topics that interest them into their studies. Here at Tessa, we know and understand this. We strive to help our students develop the skills needed to face challenges at home, on the streets or in the classroom, through an additional  language.

Learning Spanish at Tessa International School

At Tessa, students learn in the language – rather than being taught the language as an independent subject. 

Our Spanish Teachers use the language in the most organic way possible to communicate with their students, using not only their voices, but also their body language, signs or objects. Research indicates that the brain circuits associated with language learning are more flexible at a young age. This flexibility allows students to grasp the language rapidly.  

Preschool: A Full Immersion Approach

Tessa’s unique language program begins in Preschool with an 80% immersion in the target language (here Spanish), ensuring students develop second language proficiency by the end of Kindergarten.

In PK2, students start expressing their basic needs using words like “agua”(water), “baño” (bathroom), “hambre” (hungry), and more. The learning journey starts with the most basic concepts of the language: listening and repeating. 

In PK3, they will be introduced to the Spanish Alphabet in uppercase and will practice to write. At the end of PK3 they will be able to express their thoughts into 4 word-sentences like “El carro es amarillo” or “Puedo ir al baño” (The car is yellow or Can I go to the bathroom?).  

In PK4 they will keep practicing the alphabet and are going to focus on the lowercase Spanish alphabet. They will also be introduced to the first phonics, guessing the beginning or ending sounds of the words. From listening to the language, they will be encouraged to use it more frequently in the classroom and in their daily activities. 

Our kindergarteners are ready to reinforce all the knowledge acquired through the years and put it into practice by expressing themselves. They will increase their vocabulary and be able to tell short stories of 3, 4 and 5 events using sequence words like “primero” (First), “luego” (then) and “finalmente” (finally). They will begin to read and write.

Primary: A dual language program

In primary school, the week is equally divided between English and Spanish. During this time, students will continue to develop their Spanish reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

They will be able to use the target language fluently, thanks to the skills gained throughout the years at Tessa. Students will learn how to identify sounds within words, and combine the sounds into complex words to read a variety of texts. They will start to explore the language, its spelling, rules, grammar and conjugation.

At Tessa, we teach language through content, and we teach content through language. Every situation, in and out of the classroom, is an opportunity to reinforce the learning of the target language. 

 

If you would like to learn more about our Spanish program, we invite you to schedule a private tour and meet our team. 

Learning French at Tessa International School

Preschool through the end of Primary School is a fundamental period of time in children’s schooling and development. They will learn how to socialize with other children, how to behave in society, how to understand their emotions, respect rules, understand them and even create them as soon as they are able to. They “learn how to learn” so that they become efficient when asked to work by themselves. On the academic level, they will develop a variety of skills on different subjects like fine motor skills, math, oral and written language, arts, sciences and physical education. They are building strong foundations for their whole school life and later, their adult life. 

 

Learning French at Tessa International School

 

The French program at Tessa covers all grades from PK2 to the end of Primary. Students learn in the language – rather than being taught the language as an independent subject. To lead them on their learning journey, we are using different methods : pretend play, free play, board games, construction games, logic games, hands-on activities, workshops, centers, problem solving activities… We try as much as possible to adapt to their needs. Our mission is to make sure they are happy to come to school, that they are curious and eager to learn, and that they can develop their own personality. 

 

Preschool: A Full Immersion Approach

 

Tessa’s unique language program begins in preschool with an 80% immersion in the target language (here French), ensuring students develop second language proficiency by the end of Kindergarten.

 

In PK2, the focus is on language immersion, developing oral skills, and learning basic vocabulary for the students to start being able to express their basic needs in the target language and make them explore and adapt to their environment. 

 

In PK3, emphasis is placed on building simple sentences, improving their pronunciation, learning age-appropriate thematic vocabulary, developing their understanding, entering the written language, discovering capital letters and vowel sounds. 

 

In PK4, they start building longer and more complex sentences, they refine their understanding in different contexts, they keep learning the alphabet through writing,  start working on syllables and use letters to write easy words. 

 

In KG, students will get ready for first grade by doing preparatory work in reading by studying the phonics and associating them to letters, playing with syllables, reading and writing easy words, copying sentences from a model. 

 

Primary: A dual language program

 

In primary school, the week is equally divided between English and French. During this time, students will continue to develop their French reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

 

They will learn how to read phonics, syllables, words, sentences, so that by the end of 5th grade, they are able to read books and write in both French and English. The focus is put on comprehension of written texts, as well as grammar and conjugation. 

 

Learn more about Tessa International School’s French program and discuss with our team by scheduling a tour: https://tessais.org/visit-tessa/

Learning Mandarin at Tessa International School

Tessa provides an immersive language environment, which is the best way to learn an additional language. There are numerous studies that show that students who are exposed to the language they’re learning in an immersive way exhibit higher levels of fluency, particularly when motivation to learn and absorb the language is high. The high motivation, in turn, is fostered by the desire to belong to or approximate the culture of the target language.

 

At Tessa, students are immersed not only in the language, but also in the many cultures represented at school, and linked to their target language. 

 

Learning a language is an invisible cognitive process. Our teachers at Tessa will provide as much input as they can to the child’s brain and the students will unconsciously filter it, and process the information. 

 

Preschool: A Full Immersion Approach

 

Tessa’s unique language program begins in preschool with an 80% immersion in the target language (here Mandarin), ensuring students develop second language proficiency by the end of Kindergarten.

 

In preschool years, students will focus more on speaking and listening. They will learn Mandarin from daily routines, IB PYP units, and a lot of conversation with the teachers.

 

Mastering the art of conversation is a skill – particularly when that conversation is not in our native tongue. Conversation practice enables language learners to assimilate their acquired knowledge, integrating a variety of cognitive skills at once to produce oral communication. In effect, this is learning by doing.

 

Students will learn through sensory activities, practical fine motor skills, physical education and games.

 

We teach Chinese characters every year, but at a young age, learning Chinese characters is like pieces of a puzzle in their brains. Teachers will decorate the classroom with all the target language characters and that way, they can be exposed to a lot of visualization of the characters, what they look like, and have an understanding of what they’re going to learn later in years.

 

Starting from PK3 and PK4, they will start practicing their fine motor skills by tracing, holding pencils, and using scissors to get prepared for the language learning process.

 

In the kindergarten year, they will start writing Chinese strokes, radicals and simple characters.

 

Primary: A dual language program

 

In primary school, the week is equally divided between English and Mandarin.

 

By the time they go to first grade, they have to be able to write characters by stroke orders. They will keep improving their writing skills with the help of practice books.

 

New characters to write and learn are based on the IB units and on their purpose. Students voice which character they would like to learn, and the teacher will take it into consideration.

 

In order to better accompany the students, teachers will differentiate the learning by their language level, math level,and other skills and topics learned in the classroom. 

 

In preschool years, we will focus more on listening and speaking skills, but in primary, we will practice all four skills: speaking, listening, writing and reading.

 

In the program each year, we will have different goals and different learning skills for students to reach. Throughout the years, from nursery all the way to 5th Grade, your child will be a really successful language learner through our Mandarin program.

 

Learn more about Tessa International School’s Mandarin program and discuss with our team by scheduling a tour: https://tessais.org/visit-tessa/

Why Do Children Learn Languages Faster than Adults?

 

It’s a well-known fact that children pick up languages more easily than adults, and research supports this claim. But why is this the case? In this blog, we’ll explore the various factors that explain why children are better and faster at learning languages than adults.

The Environmental Advantages Children Have When Learning Languages

 

 Children have certain environmental advantages when it comes to learning languages that most adults don’t have. Unlike older children and adults, children aren’t formally instructed in language. Instead, they learn by being immersed in multilingual environments and passively “absorbing” the language through contact. For adults, immersion can be effective but costly. Children, on the other hand, have more time and energy to devote to language learning, and aren’t inhibited by anxiety or self-doubt, they learn much faster through immersion.

In addition, children aren’t judged as harshly as adults when it comes to language competence. They’re also less likely to be tested and feel less pressure to perform. This allows the learning process to be more natural and playful.

The Cognitive Advantages Children Have When Learning Languages

Children also have a cognitive advantage when it comes to learning languages. Babies and children form neural connections at a rapid pace, which makes learning new languages easier. As the brain develops, it becomes more specialized and reinforces the neural pathways that are regularly used. This is why those who learn a language at a very young age have the accent of a native speaker. Later in life, the brain’s neural shortcuts force us to fall back on the sounds and phonemes of languages we already know.

It is because of the brain’s elasticity and rapid neural formation that babies and young children are able to learn languages at a faster rate. This is sometimes referred to as the “critical period”. It is theorized that if a child does not learn any language, including non-verbal languages, during this time period that they may never be able to learn any language, because the necessary neural foundation for it has been permanently damaged. We can’t know the answer to this question because testing it would be inhumane.

The Critical Period of Language Learning

It’s difficult to determine which factors contribute the most to children’s superior language learning abilities. However, we do know that the earlier a child is exposed to language, the better. It’s theorized that if a child doesn’t learn any language during their “critical period,” they may never be able to learn a language effectively and easily in the later years of their development, because the necessary neural foundation for it has been permanently damaged.


At Tessa International School in Hoboken, we offer fully immersive bilingual environments that allow children to learn languages naturally. Don’t miss the critical years for language learning – visit us today to learn more!

10 Reasons Why You Should Choose French Immersion For Your Children

Why encourage your child to learn French? So they can order pommes de terre at La Bouche Café with a perfect accent? Well, maybe. But that’s not the only reason. There are more benefits to learning French than showcasing your language skills in a fancy restaurant. French is a versatile language with wide-ranging benefits. Below are some of the top reasons your child should study French.

 

Foreign language study leads to improved academic performance in all subjects, improves a student’s ability to focus, and provides priceless opportunities to study foreign cultures. But you might ask yourself, “Why French?” Or rather, “Pourquoi le Français?”

 

1/It is a “world language”

More than 300 million people speak French on the five continents. The OIF, an international organisation of French-speaking countries, comprises 88 member States and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the fifth most widely spoken language in the world.

 

French is also the only language, alongside English, that is taught in every country in the world. France operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language courses for close to a million learners.

 

2/It is an asset on the international job market

The ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market. A knowledge of French opens the doors of French companies in France and other French-speaking parts of the world (Canada, Switzerland, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria and many other nations in Africa). As one of the world’s largest economies and a leading destination for foreign investment, France is a key economic partner.

 

3/It is an introduction to an incomparable cultural universe

French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs. French is the language of Victor Hugo, Molière, Léopold Sendar Senghor, Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alain Delon and Zinedine Zidane!

 

4/It is useful during travels

France is the world’s top tourist destination and attracts more than 87 million visitors a year. The ability to speak even a little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France, and offers insights into France’s culture and way of life. French also comes in handy when travelling to French-speaking parts of the world.

 

5/It guarantees a high standard of teaching

French teachers are renowned for their dynamic, inventive approach and high expectations. Since French has a reputation for excellence, students tend to be highly motivated and attain a high level of proficiency. France also plays an active role in providing in-service training for French teachers abroad so that the courses delivered are always of a high standard. Here at Tessa, our teachers are following additional training with the Mission Laique Francaise. 

 

6/It opens additional doors in higher education

Speaking French opens up opportunities to study at renowned French universities and business schools, ranked among the top higher education institutions in Europe and the world.

 

7/After English, it is the other language of international relations

French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.

 

8/It will increase job opportunities and salary potential

Knowledge of a second language is essential in over 60 occupations. According to Bloomberg Rankings, French is the second most useful language in the world for business. And if speaking French is an uncommon skill (as it is in the US), the person who speaks French becomes more valuable.

 

9/It makes it easier to learn other languages

French is a good base for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) as well as English, since a significant percentage of English vocabulary is derived from French.

 

10/Some call it the language of love and reason!

First and foremost, learning French is the pleasure of learning a beautiful, rich, melodious language that is often called the language of love. French is also an analytical language that structures thought and develops critical thinking, which is a valuable skill for discussions and negotiations.

 

Tessa International School’s mission is to prepare children to be bilingual, happy world citizens and productive leaders of the 21st century. At Tessa, children are introduced to other languages and cultures from Preschool (2 years old) and up to 5th Grade. Contact us now to discuss your child’s bilingual education!

Mandarin at Tessa

When you step into our Mandarin class, you’ll find our young students speaking with each other or singing songs in Chinese. Tessa’s unique language program begins in Preschool with an 80% immersion in the target language, ensuring students develop second language proficiency by the end of primary school. Teachers also collaborate closely across disciplines to deliver a cohesive curriculum that celebrates the culture behind the language.

Our curriculum has the same core objectives in every language program, however, each language has its own unique benefits.

Benefits of Learning Mandarin

Develop Accurate Hearing and Interpretation of Sounds

Learning tonal languages is easier for children, who are sensitive to the differences in sounds. The younger a child begins learning, the more accurately they can replicate these sounds. Furthermore, this familiarity with tones and sounds actually helps cultivate musical ability in children. A study at the University of California in San Diego found a strong correlation between fluency in a tonal language, and the development of perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is indicative of certain advanced cortical processes. So not only does Mandarin potentially benefit the brain, it potentially makes the child a better singer!

Better Interpretation of Symbols

Since Mandarin writing relies on thousands of character, learners of Mandarin Chinese have to read and interpret a vast number of visual symbols, activating more regions of the brain than English, which relies on a phonetic alphabet. Through learning Mandarin, children can become more adept at visual communication, more readily interpreting symbols in visual art and understanding nuances in symbolism and visual communication.

Improved Hand-Eye Coordination

While most Western languages are written in one direction, the act of writing Mandarin characters requires brush or pen strokes in multiple directions, with differentiating hand pressure. Writing in this way has been shown to improve fine motor skills and spatial recognition in children.

Stronger Math Skills

Yes, there is actually a scientific correlation between learning Mandarin and improved mathematical ability. Scientists theorize that because Mandarin representation of numbers is less abstract than Arabic numbers, and because the act of practicing handwriting requires repeated counting, young children gain greater familiarity with math and with numeric thinking. In learning Mandarin, the mathematical concepts are integral to the language fluency, and not a separate subject activating a different part of the brain.

Because Mandarin Chinese involves learning language, sounds, drawing, and math all at once, it activates more regions of the brain and improves cognitive development overall, even in adults. In fact, speakers of Mandarin use more of their brain more of the time, unlike English speakers who tend to alternate between left and right hemispheres. In theory, this more balanced brain could lead to greater overall creativity, enhanced problem-solving, and increased emotional intelligence.

 

Multiple Languages and Cultures at Tessa

Languages, their specificities and cultural awareness are gifts that will last them a lifetime.

At Tessa, it is exciting to watch students build fluency as they progress through academic material. We encourage you to watch this video below to see our Mandarin students in action!

Our students not only are receiving a bilingual education, but are being immersed in multiple cultures. As we have 3 language tracks, children see and hear the cultures of nations that speak Mandarin, Spanish and French. We consider our immersion curriculum to be a passport for our students, one that will open up new worlds, friendships and ways of thinking as they grow up and adapt to an ever-changing world.

With all these benefits for the mind and brain, Mandarin language learning for children is sure to be an asset for their whole life, regardless of their eventual interests or profession. Get them started today!

Does Bilingualism Lead to Language and Speech Delays?

Does Bilingualism Lead to Language and Speech Delays?

Chances are, if your child is actively learning a second language at a young age, it’s with high hopes that they will someday become proficient bilinguals. Let’s face it, parents don’t generally enroll children in dual language studies without the desire for them to one day become fluent in multiple languages. Along the path, however, are some key questions and even concerns that should be addressed in order to give a child the best chance at achieving true bilingualism.

Will Bilingualism Cause Speech Delays?

One of the biggest questions parents of young children face when considering a second language for their child early on is – will bilingualism cause speech delays? The concern is a valid one to address since no parent wants to inhibit the learning path of their child by any means.

While many children often display what appears to be speech delays when exposed to dual languages, it’s important to note these pauses are not delays in learning. On the contrary, when a child takes pause to consider which language to use at which time, they are actually beginning to show a mastery of both languages. The “pause” or “delay” is a sign their minds are processing the information and learning not only the language cues, but also, to problem solve and compartmentalize simultaneously.

Does Multiple Language Learning Cause Confusion?

Often times children who are learning a second language may pull words from both languages in regular conversation. This “mix up” may be seen as confusion to some, but it’s actually a sign of high cognitive functionality and impressive progress. Since children are operating on a smaller vocabulary than adults, they often need to rely on tried-and-true words to describe things they don’t yet understand. By pulling other words, they are showing they understand a cross-correlation which will help them to eventually pull together a more complete picture.

“One misunderstood behavior, which is often taken as evidence for confusion, is when bilingual children mix words from two languages in the same sentence. This is known as code mixing. In fact, code mixing is a normal part of bilingual development, and bilingual children actually have good reasons to code mix,” explains the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s National Institutes of Health.

Should You Wait to Introduce a Second Language?

Many parents consider postponing bilingual studies until their child is older and believed to be more equipped to study a second language. The belief with this is that they want their child to master one language first before introducing them to another. While this may sound plausible in theory, in order to have the best chance at fluid bilingualism, most researchers agree it’s actually best to introduce multiple languages as early as possible.

Since our brains are poised best for learning at an early age, it makes sense to introduce more learning possibilities early on. As we age, our minds evolve and begin to adapt to several environmental factors as well as physical determinants that change our ability to learn new topics. In other words, the older we get, the more our minds work against us in our ability to pick up new concepts as easily as we did when we were younger.

So, what does all of this mean? Essentially, if you’re concerned about inhibiting your child’s ability to learn by introducing a second language early on, don’t be. Research shows that the earlier and the more frequently children are exposed to dual languages, the higher their chance becomes of being fluent in both later in life.

The Environmental Advantages of Language Learning in Young Children

The Environmental Advantages of Language Learning in Young Children

As any adult who has ever attempted to learn a new language or skill can tell you, picking things up later in life seems to be much more difficult than it was as a young child. No matter how hard you study or how many times you try to master a new skill, the older we get, the harder it becomes to pick things up. So, do children really learn faster than adults or is there a trick to their ability to grasp language concepts and skills at a more effective and efficient rate?

Language Learning Differences with Age

You may assume that a younger brain is more conditioned to learn, much the same as a younger body is more physically able to compete in triathlons than an older body. While you wouldn’t exactly be wrong, the process of conditioning a brain for learning is much more complex than simply age. It’s true that we do lose brain power as we age – particularly reducing our ability to pick up new items and retain new information – a fact which has a direct result on the rate in which we learn (obviously). It’s not as simple as saying adults learn slower than children because of age, however. Understanding how our minds change as we age is key to grasping why we learn differently at various stages of our lives.

“As a person gets older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain. Certain parts of the brain shrink, especially those important to learning and other complex mental activities. In certain brain regions, communication between neurons (nerve cells) can be reduced… These changes in the brain can affect mental function, even in healthy older people,” explains the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

While our brains undergo degeneration and deterioration naturally over the years, this still does not account for a complete picture on learning differences over the ages. In other words, yes, aging minds are physically less capable of learning as younger minds, but not to the extent that thoroughly explains why children are able to pick up learning new languages and subjects so much faster.

Unconscious Learning Vs Conscious Learning

Outside of the physical difference of young minds versus older minds, there is another piece of the puzzle that helps to explain how children learn so much faster than adults: unconscious learning versus conscious learning. In the simplest definition, unconscious learning is that which takes place without even trying. Think of it as picking up a favorite line or phrase from a movie you’ve seen a few times – you didn’t intend to learn it, you just picked it up and remembered it while watching in enjoyment. Conscious learning then, is the opposite. It’s the intentional act of trying to learn a new task or subject. This form of learning is like trying to study for a test or memorize new policies or manuals for work.

So, how does this translate to language learning as children versus as adults? It’s really quite simple; young children tend to learn unconsciously while adolescents and adults lean more on conscious learning habits. Young children do not focus on studying specific grammar books, diagrams, or memorization – in fact, they don’t focus on learning at all. Instead, young children inadvertently pick up information like a sponge by simply absorbing what they see around them. Adults, on the other hand, spend hours poring over learning techniques and specifics, trying to memorize new information and, subsequently, absorb less information in the process.

Environmental Advantages of Language Learning

“(Children) are literally built to absorb information; they do this in an unconscious state of mind, like they’re learning, and they don’t even know it. Adults and older children, on the other hand, have to consciously learn the information which makes it harder because when we learn that way, information sometimes gets lost or disassociated,” explains the Instructor Blog for Penn State’s SC200 Course.

In addition to picking up learning cues unconsciously, the environments in which children learn are more conducive to information absorption as well. As children, we are encouraged and praised for the very concept of learning despite not picking up proper grammar cues or techniques. Children are met with smiles, accolades and support when they are able to communicate the basics of a new concept or language because they are not expected to learn all of the details all at once. This allows them to grow by picking up specifics a little at a time without fear of failure or sounding unintelligent if they don’t get something 100% correct.

On the flip side, older children and adults are often faced with (sometimes paralyzing) fear over sounding like anything less than a native speaker on their topic of study. In other words, adults have a fear of failing or making mistakes and being criticized for said mistakes which can (and does) inhibit the ability to fully absorb and learn through their environments.

Immersion and Bilingualism

Closely linked to the environmental advantages to learning – particularly with language learning – is the difference of learning through immersion. Immersion is the act of learning by being fully immersed in the topic of study for at least 50 percent of the time. In terms of bilingualism, it means learning by being in an environment which speaks the language being learned for at least half of your time awake each day. This is something which has benefits for both adults and young children, but again, there are differences in the rate at which each pick up the immersion learning cues.

While immersion is a highly productive method of learning, adults and children still pick things up at different rates. Referring back to the previous differences, despite being immersed in language learning, adults are still prone to cognitive degeneration inhibiting their ability to learn as well as holding on to the same fear of mistakes. It all boils down to a combination of both physical deterrents as well as environmental inhibitors that present as learning obstacles with age. It is the overall healthier cognitive functionality in combination with more favorable environmental stimulants (among other, more unique, criteria) that ultimately gives children the advantage when it comes to learning new languages and other topics more quickly than their older selves are capable of pulling off years later.

Tessa International School

Office: (201) 755-5585 | Location: 720 Monroe St. Hoboken, NJ 07030