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We offer bilingual education.

Bilingualism at Tessa International School

As communities worldwide become more interconnected, bilingualism has emerged as a crucial asset, enriching individuals’ lives in myriad ways. Bilingual instruction is also unparalleled compared to other learning strategies and has proven tremendously beneficial to students. 

At Tessa, bilingualism is one of the three core pillars of our school philosophy that craft our educational approaches. We challenge our students in English, French, Mandarin, or Spanish, empowering them to reach their full potential. 

Benefits of Bilingualism

Beyond facilitating cross-cultural communication, early exposure to bilingual education also offers a wealth of cognitive and academic advantages. 

  • Bilingualism improves executive functioning and builds cognitive connections in the brain – the parts responsible for multitasking, memorizing, focusing, and planning. Findings show that bilingual children are on average 6.5% more efficient in their thinking skills than monolingual children. 
  • Researchers at American University show that by the end of middle school, students in dual-language programs were performing one grade level higher on reading assessments than their peers who were not enrolled in these programs. 
  • In a large-scale study of Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and Grade 1 students, bilingual students outperformed monolingual students in mathematical reasoning and problem solving.

Learn more about advantages to have a bilingual brain through the video below:

Our Immersion Progression Model

Bilingualism is integral to every stage of the education experience at Tessa. To ensure that our students develop strong language skills in both English and the target language, the Immersion Progression Model is strategically designed and applied. For an overview, our 80:20 immersion (Preschool) and 50:50 dual-language (Primary School) teaching approach is designed to promote students to become fully bilingual and biliterate. 

80:20 Immersion Stage: From Nursery through Kindergarten, the majority of instruction (80%) is conducted in the target language, allowing students to build strong, life-long foundations in the language.

“Bilingualism is an experience that shapes our brain for a lifetime.”

– Dr. Gigi Luk, the associate professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education

50:50 Dual Language Stage: Starting in Grade 1, students will receive instruction and absorb knowledge in English and the targeted language equally in order to gain proficiency in both. 

To meet this ideal, different language teachers – all of whom are native speakers of the language they teach – regularly collaborate to exchange their classroom observations and enhance the learning experience. Our teachers not only teach the language but also teach content through the target language, which enables students to gain linguistic competence while making academic progress in core subjects, including Science, Social Studies, Language & Literacy, and Math.

 

Check out this short video of our students talking about bilingualism: 

 

The power of bilingualism is undeniable, conferring a multitude of advantages that improve individuals’ lives and enhance society as a whole. By embracing bilingualism, our students are prepared to navigate the complexities of the globalizing world with confidence and proficiency.

 

Are you ready to explore the only international leading private school in Hoboken? 

Contact Tessa International School to learn more! 

A boy is reading a book.

How Bilingual Children Learn to Read

It is a common misconception that bilingual students might lag behind their monolingual peers in reading proficiency. In fact, decades of research have proved that bilingual students may become advanced readers and show advantages over their peers in a single-language learning environment. With encouragement and practice, bilingual children are able to achieve full biliteracy! 

How Bilingualism Puts Readers at An Advantage

A bilingual student is reading.

Bilingual education enables students to develop key components of successful reading.

Metalinguistic Awareness Development

Research has shown that bilingual children possess more elaborate reading strategies than monolingual children, presumably due to higher metalinguistic skills. 

Metalinguistic awareness refers to the ability to reflect upon and manipulate the structure of language. It is a set of skills that are related to multiple linguistic elements, including phonological, morphological, syntactic, and lexical awareness. To some extent, bilingual children can transfer these skills involved in learning one language to another, consequently accelerating their language learning.

Literacy Acquisition

As bilingual children develop their metalinguistic skills and language proficiency, they can gain further advantages in literacy acquisition. Exposure to multiple languages from a young age enables them to better understand the word structure and build a broader vocabulary range. These foundational capabilities could explain the finding that bilinguals tend to spell more complex vocabulary words in later grades.

Students in dual-language immersion programs perform as well as, or better than, their peers in core academic content areas by late elementary school. […] By the end of middle school, students in dual-language programs were performing one grade level higher on reading assessments than their peers who were not enrolled in these programs.”

Researchers from American University, 2016

Cognitive Development

Bilingualism fosters cognitive development, providing students with a robust cognitive reserve. Bilingual individuals typically exhibit stronger working memories and attention spans, contributing to academic and behavioral enhancements. Moreover, their ability to switch between languages cultivates flexible thinking and problem-solving skills. By navigating between different linguistic systems, bilingual students become adept at critically evaluating and resolving complex tasks.

How to Help Bilingual Students Gain Reading Fluency

Our teacher helps students in literacy acquisition.

With sufficient support, students can boost their reading abilities in both languages.

Even though bilingual education can provide students with many unique strengths, without proper instruction, their literacy in one language may become stunted. Here is a list of possible methods that adults can use to promote their students’ reading skills:

  • Recognize differences between the languages that may confuse emergent bilingual students. For example, extra support may be necessary for English-speaking students learning the Chinese writing system. 
  • Select strategically between the simultaneous and sequential dual-language programs for students. For instance, the Immersion Progression Model at Tessa International School facilitates a smooth transition from full immersion to balanced bilingual education, ensuring optimal language development.
  • Assign reading tasks in both languages to reinforce literacy skills across all languages in a student’s repertoire.
  • Encourage students to read aloud to each other, providing opportunities for collaboration and confidence-building.
  • Engage families in students’ bilingual language development by providing take-home library books and other resources to strengthen language skills outside the classroom. 

 

Fostering positive attitudes toward bilingualism, biliteracy, and biculturalism is essential for creating optimal learning environments. While the journey may differ from traditional monolingual learning, bilingual education offers unique advantages that empower bilingual children to excel in reading and language skills for a lifetime.

 

Are you ready to explore the only international leading private school in Hoboken? 

Contact Tessa International School to learn more!

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.

The Effects of Early Educational Bilingualism on Cognitive Development

The Effects of Early Educational Bilingualism on Cognitive Development

When it comes to the topic of bilingualism in early childhood education, many parents often find themselves questioning when – and if – to introduce a second language to their children. The question being, whether or not the additional language studies would serve to benefit or inhibit their child’s cognitive developmental process. For some, the subject may be less of a choice and more of a necessity or way of life (think homes with bilingual family members already), but for many, the decision can bring many questions as far as how bilingualism will affect the cognitive development of their little one.

With decades of research devoted to studying these effects, scholars and researchers have been focused on the correlation between multiple language learning and developmental processes for quite some time now. In fact, many of these studies may seem a bit contradictory to others, making the outcomes somewhat confusing and raising even more questions for concerned parents. The truth is, however, as with all studies, new findings are possible every day and are revised to reflect the most recent and relevant information based on the latest comprehensive research. In other words, the more it’s studied, the clearer the picture becomes. So, what does this mean in terms of the effects of bilingualism on cognitive development?

Bilingualism and Cognitive Development

The number one concern for most parents considering a bilingual educational tract for their child is whether or not introducing a second language at a young age will cause confusion during a critical language learning time. Since understanding communication skills is critical to the successful development of virtually all other cognitive learning processes throughout their lives, it’s easy to grasp the basis for parental concerns for something that could potentially inhibit language mastery. The question becomes then, are these concerns for cognitive delays warranted, or are they part of some outdated research findings?

In order to answer that question, we must first take a look at the full picture. That is, we need to understand that there have been multiple studies done on the topic over the years, which inevitably leads to different findings. The key is to examine the most recent and comprehensive studies available in order to ensure you’re not looking at older information that has since been rendered essentially irrelevant. It’s also important to consider all contributing factors involved with the success rates of bilingual children such as parental involvement and cultural influences on the overall cognitive development process.  

Previous Studies and Findings

Many of the earliest studies are what are behind the apprehension of today’s parents who are considering bilingualism for their children. Studies from decades past had showed a potentially slower learning rate for children who were learning two languages simultaneously – a rate which they attributed to the “confusion” of studying dual communication processes. It was believed that children were showing signs of inhibited learning because they were using both languages simultaneously – or “mixing up” the language of choice.

What these previous studies failed to do, however, was take into consideration the familial and socio-economic factors that helped determine a child’s overall understanding of communication. They also didn’t fully grasp the degree of focus and ability these children were exhibiting by simultaneously mastering the concepts of not just communication, but compartmentalization and empathy as well. Essentially, in the earliest studies, what was once viewed as confusion has later become better understood as a heightened sense of cognitive development and overall communication mastery by young children.

Recent Studies and Findings

In contradiction to earlier research, the latest studies today have shown immense cognitive development benefits in bilingual children. Not only has the theory of confusion been discredited, but researchers have found that children who are introduced to a second (or third) language during early childhood educational stages have a much higher level of overall learning comprehension as well as a more developed sense of values and problem-solving abilities than their monolingual counterparts.

“Research has shown that, contrary to what many people once believed, bilingualism does not trigger confusion, has no inherent negative impact on children’s development and even has some socio-cognitive advantages,” explains the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development (EECD). These advantages come in the form of a more developed level of intellectual focus, higher overall test scores, greater problem-solving skills, a heightened understanding of non-verbal context, and more flexible cognitive abilities in general. In other words, recent studies have shown that bilingualism, when introduced in early childhood, not only has no negative associations with cognitive development, but also comes with a large number of invaluable benefits instead.

Overall Benefits to Developmental Process

Since the brain function of a child learning dual languages requires that child to not only communicate, but correctly choose which language to communicate with, it forces bilingual children to fine-tune their ability to focus and concentrate. It also requires a sense of compartmentalization – a skill which will be crucial in later development. Essentially, young children who study multiple languages are getting a more well-rounded cognitive development than single language children because they are inherently learning multiple lessons at once.

“…Bilingual children show some advantages in understanding the beliefs of others and the communication needs of their conversational partners, picking out the important variables to solve a problem and entertaining two possible interpretations of the same stimulus at once,” writes the EECD.

It is important to remember, however, that these findings are largely dependent upon the outside factors involved in your child’s bilingual learning process. In order for your child to be truly bilingual (and not just a second language learner), requires a great deal of immersion studying and being surrounded by both languages – not just in the classroom. In order for young children to gain the greatest benefits from studying multiple languages, their learning process must be continued at home and on a regular basis, as well as during in-class studies.

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 Bilingual Student Advantage in STEM Learning

The Bilingual Student Advantage in STEM Learning

It’s no secret that language and literacy are the cornerstones to education. The more communicatively proficient your child becomes, the greater their overall educational experience becomes. This is because knowing how to communicate effectively is the basis for all learning subjects.

It goes without saying then, that by increasing your child’s language and literacy skills – say by adding a second language – you’re increasing their cognitive ability overall. In fact, more and more studies have discovered that bilingual children show signs of significantly higher comprehension across all academic subjects than their monolingual counterparts.

The Bilingual Advantage

According to NPR.org, “People who speak two languages often outperform monolinguals on general measures of executive function.” In layman’s terms, bilingual children are adept at deciding when to use each language, giving them a higher level of focus and cognitive abilities than children who speak one language.

Executive function control allows children to decipher speech – the basis for all learning – at a much greater level of authority. Since they are forced to consider each individual speaking circumstance to determine which language to use in each situation, bilingual children gain greater insight. This insight transpires into skills such as problem-solving, decoding, focus, and the ability to read social and environmental cues – all of which are prime skills for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning.

STEM Learning

STEM learning has long been a focus of educators and professionals across the globe. Studying the areas which are responsible for things such as medical advancements, scientific discoveries, pharmaceutical breakthroughs and global structural components are clearly an important set of studies.

There is a reason these areas are so important – they are complex and critical to the advancement of civilization as a whole. With such a complex set of subjects, many parents ask if there is any way to give their child an advantage as they introduce STEM subjects to their little ones.

Bilingual Bonus

You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that bilingualism is a fantastic way to prepare your child for future STEM studies. Going back to communication and language as the core for all learning, it’s easy to understand how a child who is highly proficient in literacy and language studies would have a smoother time picking up complex STEM studies.

“Bilingual children are able to focus more intently on the topics at hand and avoid distractions from academic pursuits. They are also able to demonstrate higher levels of cognitive flexibility, or the ability to change responses based on environment and circumstances,” reports TheAdvocate.org.

This ability to change responses and remain focused easily translates to better understanding things like scientific hypotheses and mathematical equations. The cognitive flexibility gives way to a deeper academic experience across all STEM studies in general.

Overall, the bilingual child is equipped with brain functions more powerful than others. This allows them to continue grasping more complex subjects and concepts throughout their lives. Their puzzle-solving, highly focused minds will pick up STEM subjects on a level high enough to sustain years of continued study and understanding.

Teach Them Young: International Language in Early Education

Teach Them Young: International Language in Early Education

When it comes to language learning, most educational professionals agree that it’s never too early to begin bilingual teachings. While you may think introducing a second (or third) language to your child as they are still mastering their primary language could be confusing, the opposite is actually true. In fact, studies have found that there is no better time to begin bilingualism than during early childhood development stages.

“Between the ages of 0-3, the brains of young children are uniquely suited to learn a second language as the brain is in its most flexible stage,” according to researchers at Michigan State University.

In fact, researchers have found that children begin picking up multiple languages and discerning between them within the first few months of life. It is something that is learned with the same level of ease as any other major milestone during the early years.

International Language Learning

International language learning, or bilingualism, is the process of absorption and comprehension of different languages simultaneously. Since language learning forms the basis for all other learning avenues throughout life, it makes sense to consider the benefits of expanding the language learning process.

In layman’s terms, we use language to communicate every imperative process. Whether it be conveying our feelings or teaching any range of subjects, we use language to progress through life. For this reason, language learning is considered one of the most important areas of a child’s education. By extension, learning additional languages only serves to further this core educational commodity. In short, the more proficient a child is with their language skills, the easier it will be for them to excel in other areas as well.

Learning Bilingualism Early

Knowing that bilingualism is the key to unlocking learning potential throughout your child’s education is only the first part of the equation. Many parents question when to begin teaching their children, afraid an early introduction will lead to confusion.

According to researchers at Michigan State University, however, the earlier you introduce children to a second language, the better off they will be. In fact, it has been shown that children are able to pick up bilingualism much faster than adolescents and adults. Yes, kids will learn faster (and more efficiently) than anyone else when it comes to bilingualism.

“As adults, we have to consider grammar rules and practice, but young children absorb sounds, structures, intonation patterns and the rules of a second language very easily. Up until the age of 8, young learners benefit from flexible ear and speech muscles that can detect differences between the sounds of a second language.” – www.canr.msu.edu.

Cognitive Flexibility

It is this flexibility during the early education years that makes children excellent bilingual sponges. Their ability to pick up on the subtleties of different languages are unparalleled at any other age.

Beyond their ability to learn international language much quicker than their older counterparts, the benefits of childhood bilingualism are astounding. By pushing children’s language limits, we are essentially giving them critical tools to help with virtually every aspect of cognitive reasoning later in life.

Learning Control

Essentially, when children learn second or third languages at an early age, they are also learning so many other valuable skills. What once was feared as confusion, researchers now say that children’s minds are being “tested” when bilingual children communicate. They are faced with two separate ways to verbalize what they want to say and must concentrate on which language is appropriate for their situation.

While this may seem trivial – or even confusing – in early childhood, the cognitive functions required for mastering this involve learning a high level of focus and control. Bilingualism teaches children to think before they speak; to choose their words carefully. These are skills that are critical to flexible thinking and learning all through their lives.

Object Permanence

Another critical aspect to international language learning in early childhood lies with object permanence. It may seem like a simple lesson, but while young children are learning about their surroundings and how to communicate, they also learn about physical attributes of their environments.

Part of this learning is object permanence – the knowledge that something doesn’t just “disappear” simply because it is out of sight. With bilingualism, children pick up this concept on a deeper level by understanding that the same object may have many different names, even though the object remains constant.

Cognitive Development Benefits

In addition to aiding in core learning milestones like object permanence, bilingualism in the early years also helps children’s cognitive development grow exponentially. The intricacies of mastering a second language help to sharpen the mind with things like problem solving and decoding puzzles.

“Bilingual children are also more adept at solving certain kinds of mental puzzles… the bilingual experience improves the brain’s command center, thus giving it the ability to plan, solve problems and perform other mentally demanding tasks.” – Michigan State University.

Additional Benefits of International Language Learning

According to research done by psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin-Rhee (as reported by Michigan State University), international language learning in the earliest years unlocks numerous skills in cognitive development. These skills are some of the greatest attributes your child will carry with them and will aid them in improving every aspect of their education along the way.

In fact, MSU states, the improved performance of bilingual children has been directly linked to the “workout our brain receives while switching back and forth between one language and another when deciding how to communicate.” This cognitive workout has even been linked to lower rates of mental illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life.

Overall, the problem-solving skills that are mastered with bilingualism are a highly invaluable asset that will aid children throughout their learning careers. Combining the ability to focus on a task at hand with the ability to sort out pieces of a puzzle (both figuratively and literally), bilingualism is one of the greatest learning tools you can give your children.

Focus on International Baccalaureate: The Teaching Differences

Focus on International Baccalaureate: The Teaching Differences

The benefits of International Baccalaureate (IB) programs are unparalleled during primary and secondary education, as well as post-graduation. IB programs give students a unique learning experience they will carry with them throughout their educational careers and beyond.

According to the IB organization’s website, the programs are gaining momentum collectively. Their latest annual statistics bulletin, published in March 2019, showed an increase of 39 percent in global IB program participation.

So, what is it about IB teaching programs that is garnering so much attention in the educational world? To put it simply, it’s an educational curriculum that’s focused on individual thinking with global responsibility.

To understand its effectiveness, we must first understand its differences. In other words, how does IB teaching differ from traditional teaching methods?

The IB Program

The International Baccalaureate program is one that was founded in Switzerland half a century ago with the purpose of broadening global learning and responsibility. As such, the teachings have since expanded immensely and developed methods that promote this multicultural educational experience.

Since its creation, the IB program has grown exponentially and is now incorporated in thousands of educational facilities worldwide. It is also offered across four different educational program levels ranging from early childhood education up through adult career programs. Each level focuses on different aspects of multicultural learning, but the techniques share the same basis. They are also distinctly different from traditional teaching methods.

IB Teaching Differences

IB programs are focused on giving students the ability to expand their knowledge outside the four walls of their homes and classrooms. The teaching is based on global communities and critical thinking that impacts larger-scale communities. In other words, it is focused on tearing down the cultural divides that separate us with traditional learning.

The cornerstone of IB teaching lies with bilingualism and multilingualism. In order to break down cultural barriers, we must first be able to communicate with other cultures. For that reason, foreign language is an integral part of all IB programs.

IB learning is about so much more than bilingualism, however. Course offerings in foreign languages alone do not qualify an educational facility for IB learning credentials. The IB learning experience is about using those courses as one part of a multi-faceted teaching approach.

Multi-Faceted Teaching

According to the International Baccalaureate Organization’s website, there are specific criteria that define an IB program and differentiate it from standardized teaching. The teaching approach must include the following:

  • An emphasis on critical thinking and encouraging students to challenge their knowledge
  • Key teachings on procuring credible, quality research on all inquests
  • Encouraging students to think on a global scale – outside of local and national levels and agendas
  • Focus on developing multilingual skills to expand global communication opportunities

Overall, the difference between IB teaching and traditional standardized teaching approaches lies with the bigger picture. The focus of IB teaching is to give students a solid foundation for learning that will drive them in their educational careers for years to come. It is to give students a sense of purpose measured well beyond localized issues and test results. IB teaching instead, focuses on arming students with tools to break down international barriers, and the drive to actively participate in the world around them. It is a method that instills a feeling of multicultural connectivity and global responsibility – one which will follow them throughout their lives.

Language Spotlight Series: French - Boosting Your Child's Future Opportunities

Language Spotlight Series: French – Boosting Your Child’s Future Opportunities

For the final segment of our Language Spotlight Series, we are taking a look at the benefits of choosing French as a bilingual study program for early education. While we’ve thoroughly covered the immense benefits of bilingual learning in previous sections of the series, for this portion we will be focused solely on the advantages of introducing your little one to French.

If you’re considering enrolling your child into French lessons, you’re not alone. With over 220 million French-speaking individuals across the globe (according to diplomatic policy resources), it’s quite evident that French is much more than just a beautiful romance language.

Spotlight on French

Diplomatie.gouv.fr states France is “the world’s fifth biggest economy and a leading destination for foreign investment.” As such, learning the language of such an economic powerhouse is certainly a valuable skill to acquire – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here is a look at five of the most important benefits to adding French to your child’s educational curriculum:

1 – French Economic Investment

As mentioned previously, France is a major player in world economic development and investment as well as endless other areas. You may think of France as a place for delicious food and romance, (and you’d be right, for sure), but it’s much more than that. The companies and interests rooted in French industry are major players in the world economic picture, so it goes without saying that learning the language is a huge plus for future economic opportunities.

2 – Rich Cultural Experience

If you’re looking for your child to gain more than simply a linguistic advantage, few languages open more cultural doors than French. French culture is deeply rooted in the arts, cooking, and theater – all of which offer immensely enriching experiences for those who open themselves to it.

“French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theater, 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.” – Diplomatie.gouv.fr.

3 – It Opens Doors Linguistically

Another major benefit of studying French is the linguistic similarities it shares with other languages. While it’s certainly not an exact translation, there are many benefits to picking up the similarities between English and French. In other words, learning how the two languages have developed and share certain key components helps to understand other languages even more. In short, by picking up French, it helps students learn even more languages later in life with ease due to the ability to recognize those base components and transfer them to other cultures.

“The knowledge you gain about your own language equips you with a plethora of tools you can use to learn further languages, and if you choose to learn another romance language – Portuguese, Spanish or Italian, for example – then you’ll recognize a host of grammatical and lexical similarities.” – Babbel.com.

4 – International Connections

The United Nations recognizes French as both a “working language and an official language” (diplomatie.gouv.fr). As such, its presence can be found worldwide in organizations such as the Red Cross, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), global embassies, and even the Olympic committee. What does this mean for your child? Well, it means it’s opening up a world of fascinating opportunities in practically every avenue of adult life.

5 – The World’s Top Travel Destination

It’s hard to consider French language and culture without considering the immense travel and tourism attached to it. According to French statistics, “France is the world’s top tourist destination and attracts more than 87 million visitors a year” (diplomatie.gouv.fr).

By introducing French to your child, you’re opening doors to not only economic and career opportunities, but opportunities for travel, higher education, and culture as well. Speak with educators to discover even more benefits to adding French to your child’s curriculum!

Language Spotlight Series: How to Choose a Second Language for Your Child

Language Spotlight Series: How to Choose a Second Language for Your Child

Language Spotlight Series: How to Choose a Second Language for Your Child

So, you’ve done your research and you’ve seen the benefits of bilingual education for children… now what? If you’re not already a bilingual household, deciding which second language your child should begin learning can be a difficult decision.

Chances are, you have decided to expand your child’s language learning because you’ve seen the immeasurable benefits that come along with it. And because of this, you now want to ensure your child is not only getting the best bilingual education, but firstly, chooses the right bilingual education option.

Understanding that there really is no “wrong” choice here, deciding which language to introduce to your child boils down to essentially what’s right for them. As such, there are a plethora of options and factors to consider before making a final decision. When you’re trying to choose which language is best for your child to begin learning, you’ll want to weigh the following:

Common Languages

One of the biggest considerations is to take a look at what languages are the most common and the most widely-used. While there’s (unfortunately) no way to predict what career path your child will follow when they become adults, you can try to equip them with the broadest set of language skills, or you can choose a more specific and isolated language.

According to USNews.com, “the three most commonly spoken (foreign) languages are Mandarin (898 million), Spanish (437 million), and Arabic (295 million).” Based on this alone, you may choose to select a language that is widely used across the globe to give them a greater opportunity to utilize their language knowledge later in life.

What if, however, you live in an area dense in French or Chinese culture and an education in those languages would be highly useful locally? In these cases, you may choose to select a language that may not be one of the most widely used but would give your child a huge communication benefit in your own community.

Marketability

If your main concern for teaching your child a second language is to give them a leg-up on the job market competition upon college graduation, then you need to take a look at marketability demands. What does this mean? Essentially, it’s researching what languages are behind the most successful career trends and basing your decision on what would give your child the greatest “marketability” later in life.

It’s no surprise that learning a second language improves a child’s prospects for their career advancements. That in mind, teaching them the most in-demand languages can help them even more, according to Readers Digest at RD.com.

“Proficiency in a second language opens the door to new markets for businesses and allows them to create new relationships with prospective partners,” they explain.

What’s trending? Well, if you go by RD, they suggest introducing your child to either French, German or Mandarin as a second language. Those three are the top choices for what is expected to give the greatest growth opportunities in the foreseeable future.

Cultural Aspects

On the flip side, you may not be looking to groom your child to be the next CEO of a multi-national corporation. Perhaps your reason for adding a second language is closer to home.

Many parents choose to incorporate a language that has cultural or familial meaning to them. Some households may even have the added benefit of teaching through immersion language learning if they are already a multilingual home. The beauty of learning a second language is that it’s highly versatile and multifaceted. Being a melting pot of nationalities and heritages, many in the U.S. choose to embrace their cultural beliefs and extend the teachings to new generations.

While adding a second language certainly gives children an advantage they can carry over into the career world, it isn’t the only reason parents choose to incorporate bilingualism. No matter what your reasoning may be, your child will surely benefit from (and have fun learning) whatever second (or third!) language is chosen!

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Tessa International School

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