Multilingual education is the education that begins with a native language and transition into new languages. Multilingualism is coined from two Latin words namely “multi” which means many and “lingua” which means language. Thus, multilingual education is referred to as the speaking of more than one language with native-like proficiency.
Communication is vital to humans. As humans, we need an organized medium for effective communication. Language, as a means of communication, is diversified and each language is governed by rules and those rules are different and particular to each language.
The variety of languages gives rise to some terminologies like bilingual and multilingual. Multilingual education allows communication in both professional and personal contexts because it gives access to the vast amount of knowledge possessed by different people at different places through a specific language whether it is official or not. It develops the general acquisition of trans-cultural communication skills.
Learning, speaking, writing, and reading skills naturally take place in a multilingual environment. Multilingual education also influences the political order of society. This, directly or indirectly, creates minor and major language and the major language is given high preference over the minor language. Bilingual individuals can learn more language without difficulty.
Over a billion people in the world can speak more than one language with native proficiency. Multilingualism in some parts of the world is caused by colonialism and the slave trade. Languages such as English, French, Arabic, Spanish, and Portuguese are spoken as a second language by many people around the world. The size of the multilingual population is increasing and students should receive multilingual education starting from elementary school.
In this globalized society, it is imperative to be able to communicate in dominant languages across the global communities. It is also important to preserve one’s cultural identity by learning and speaking the local language in our community. Multilingual education reshapes our perspective about ideas that are not relevant in our culture but are socially required.
Effective communication in multi-languages makes students creative and intelligent because it requires intellectual ability and creative thinking. Multilingualism improves analytical skills and helps to process information reasonably. It helps the brain to focus, comprehend, and memorize reading materials.
Language development studies show that the exposure of children to different languages gives them distinct academic advantages such as inhibition, good memory, and attention switching.
Thus, students with multilingual abilities are good at multitasking, problem-solving, and decision-making. Children benefit from multiple language curriculum. Some studies also suggest that brain aging in adults with multilingual capacity is slower.
Also, employment opportunity is high for adults that can speak more than one language fluently. Multilingual education strengthens the intellectual function of the brain.
The effect of multilingualism is numerous and they range from social-political to linguistic. The linguistic effect of multilingualism includes the creation and growth of lingua franca due to the need for cross-group communication. Multilingualism enables cultural diversity.
It also enables respect and tolerance for different cultures and customs. When people learn in another language, they will respect cultural diversity and encourage peaceful coexistent.
Multilingual education develops language switching and communication strategy. Language switching can be found in India where natives switch from English to Hindu/Urdu. Language switching can also be found in countries where the official language is different from the local languages.
Early multilingual education helps students to embrace cultural differences and not be scared of them. It also increases strength and self-confidence. Having access to the global world and language helps people to know where they fit in society.
Multilingual education helps to build a long-lasting global relationship. Students with multilingual education can relate and communicate with people across the globe as language barriers have been broken.
Global relationships encourage global friendship and awareness. Students view the world and the people from other cultures, tribes, and backgrounds change when they are well-educated in the language other than their mother tongue.
Besides the professional and academic certificate, employers also look for proficiency in other languages as an added advantage. There are job opportunities for multilingual people depending on the language they speak.
Students that are educated in languages other than their normal language have an upper hand in job openings that require the other language they study. Many international companies search for employees who can speak multiple languages. Only those with multilingual capacity can apply for jobs like that.
Companies that have branches in different countries want to prioritize multilingualism. Multilingual education starting from the basic level of learning will produce people who will fit perfectly with this new job description.
Multilingual education improves the working memory of people with multilingual ability. It helps with brilliant information processing. It also exposes people to new ideas, real-life experiences, and concepts. Multilingual education protects the mental health of the people that engage in it.
Multilingual education makes it a lot easier to travel around the world. It helps in making hotel reservations, asking for directions, and requesting recommendations in a foreign country.
Diversity in language has a communication barrier between ethnics groups and nations far and near. Language hinders communication and the development of mutual relationships among nations. Multilingual Education Bridge the communication gap and gives a chance for effective communication across the globe.
Through multilingualism, people come together from all parts of the world to find solutions to pressing issues that can pose a threat to the world at large e.g. greenhouse effect. Multilingualism also helps in activities like sport.
People who can speak more languages have a corresponding rise in the number of friends they make. They can also study overseas, watch different television channels and programs, and they can also hold conversations with people in a different country that speaks the language they study.
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