Perché è importante l'educazione bilingue?

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Bilinguismo is a difficult area to research, a dense forest of confounding variables, of which sampling, education levels, tasks used, variations in the languages themselves and different outcomes from different language combinations, are but a few. There is evidence, however, that expertise in more than one language provides cognitive benefits on top of increased opportunities. Findings in neurology have related language acquisition with structural changes in the brain that assist with executive functions such as cognitive flexibility, creative thinking and attention management.

Cos'è l'educazione bilingue?

Studiare il bilinguismo

Human behaviour and perceptions are mediated through our language; the codes that are unlocked when new languages are learnt help create a new level of perception. Leading Swiss academic and expert on bilingualism, Francois Grosjean, has shown how the bilingual child or adult is not simply the sum of two (or more) monolinguals; rather, he or she is the owner of a unique and specific linguistic configuration. The bilingual manages and manipulates attention to one language or the other, actively but often subconsciously. Their languages not only coexist; they interact to produce a complete system of its own. 

Vantaggi dell'educazione bilingue

Nel moderno mondo globalizzato l'educazione bilingue gioca un ruolo cruciale e offre vantaggi distinti specialmente per le giovani generazioni. 

1. Cittadini globali

Le persone bilingui sono inestimabili nel mondo di oggi. Troveranno che le prospettive di lavoro si aprono e gli orizzonti sociali si espandono. Il loro impegno con il mondo e la società umana che abitiamo è ricco; le loro menti sono agili.

2. Benefici psicologici

Furthermore, their attributes go beyond simply translating words from one code to another; to know another language well brings subtle psychological benefits. These include the ability to see both sides of the story, to appreciate extended meaning and enjoy a wide range of conceptual understanding. Such attributes are good for the individual involved and crucially, help towards that elusive goal of international harmony. Bilinguals act as bridge builders, the go-betweens who can explain one culture to members of the other and act as intermediaries between the two. 

3. Competenza linguistica

Scuola internazionale ha contribuito ad aumentare le competenze linguistiche. Poiché le famiglie diventano più globali e sempre più giovani viaggiano per studio e lavoro, potrebbero incontrare un futuro partner lontano dal loro paese di nascita, con il risultato di più famiglie multiculturali che condividono diverse lingue nelle loro famiglie internazionali. Mentre ci troviamo di fronte al predominio di una lingua in ampi settori dell'attività umana, con l'inglese come lingua 1 o 2 per molti, se non la maggior parte, di quegli studenti, è affascinante notare come ciò stia portando al riconoscimento di sempre più versioni dell'inglese. La popolazione di cittadini globali che condividono i benefici di varie forme di bilinguismo è in aumento.

4. Comprensione delle culture

On top of the functional benefits of language learning, bilingualism is about understanding cultures. With the creation of their unique language system, the bilingual is also making sense of his or her relationship to both of the cultures to which the linguistic code has given access.  At the same time as managing their attention to this code, its vocabulary and its syntax, the bilingual will be paying attention to the cultural variants between the languages. They are constantly combining and blending aspects of the cultures they are living, making linguistic and cultural choices according to the needs of the circumstance.

Il risultato è uno "spazio tra", come l'habitat dei Third Culture Kids. L'idea dei Third Culture Kids è stata sviluppata per riferirsi ai bambini che crescono fuori dai paesi d'origine dei loro genitori (che spesso erano essi stessi espatriati). Diventano parte di una terza cultura piuttosto che una che deriva da un semplice mix tra il paese d'origine e quello ospitante.  Francois Grosjean sottolinea che i bilingui a cui è permesso di essere ciò che sono, e di accettare le loro doppie (o multiple) esperienze vissute, sono membri inestimabili della società che colmano il divario tra le culture a cui appartengono. Questo è un ruolo importante svolto dal tipo di offerta educativa che si trova a Istituto Montana.

Strategia di insegnamento dell'educazione bilingue

La classe bilingue

The bilingual classroom is an inspiring place. Just seeing children’s school-work on display, with captions and labels exhibiting proficiency in two languages, is mind expanding. But it does not happen by itself and the pure quality of instruction is critical – every child must feel happy and confident to be open to the challenges as well as the benefits of learning bilingually. Research into the bilingual brain is guiding teaching methods. It is understood now that these children use both languages to make sense of the world; they are very adaptive, deepening their understanding of the first language while acquiring the second; and the process has important positive effects on other aspects of cognitive development, such as  attention management.  The Bilingual Elementary section of Istituto Montana ha la lunga storia di educazione internazionale della scuola a cui attingere, così come la dedizione e l'esperienza del suo staff. L'insegnamento nella classe bilingue richiede un approccio completo, con molta valutazione individuale e aiuto continuo. L'insegnamento di qualità deriva dall'uso di principi di istruzione basati sull'evidenza, come la modellizzazione e le verbalizzazioni dell'insegnante, la pratica guidata e il ritmo vivace della lezione per mantenere l'impegno degli studenti. 

The Montana Elementary school classrooms are tucked away in a pretty corner of the magnificent Institut Montana campus. As soon as a new child arrives, their language needs are quickly assessed and appropriate support organised. It might be that the child has some skills but needs in-class support to benefit fully from the lesson. In this case, teachers deploy the integrative EAL (for English) or DaZ (for German) programme where support is provided by an additional teacher within the normal classroom following the standard lessons. If the child would  benefit from more intensive language tuition, they receive help specially tailored to their needs. For half of the English or German language lessons, they work with an extra teacher outside the classroom so that they quickly learn the foundational skills to enable rapid progress in the new language and find the subject matter within their reach. For the other half they continue to participate in normal lessons so that they can interact with their peers. Peer interaction in the bilingual classroom takes on a special importance. One of the keys to language learning is motivation, and children who find themselves playing and forging friendships that transcend what would have been language barriers are very motivated. Social skills are finely tuned through the process of welcoming someone to the group and helping the new arrival to feel at home, whatever language gaps there might be. In this multi-lingual group of young learners, it is important not to hold up one language, and therefore cultural identity, as superior to another. Seeing one of the languages and its culture as the dominant one is counter-productive to the cultural harmony the bilingual classroom seeks to promote, even when the curriculum followed belongs to one of the languages. The Institut Montana Bilingual Elementary School follows the curriculum of its home country, Switzerland, but the balance between the two languages is scrupulously maintained. Teaching is distributed at 50% of the time for each language. Each academic year the groups change Class Advisors, swapping between German and English speaking, so there is a further balance in exposure to both languages.  

Efficacia dell'educazione bilingue

Un futuro luminoso

Non c'è dubbio che imparare una nuova lingua allarga gli orizzonti e aggiunge una competenza utile. Inoltre, porta grandi benefici cognitivi che, nonostante siano soggetti a troppe variabili da separare, sono reali e significativi. In Istituto MontanaQuando raggiungono la fine dei loro anni alla scuola elementare, questi bambini salutano un mondo di opportunità. Hanno le competenze avanzate in tedesco che aprono la porta alla maturità svizzera, accademicamente impegnativa, che possono scegliere di studiare in tedesco o in tedesco e inglese. Possono intraprendere il percorso verso la Diploma di Baccalaureato Internazionale, a passport to universities all over the world. Or they can continue their bilingual studies at the Bilingual Secondary School while assessing where their ambitions might take them. Children coming together to learn, to play and to collaborate in a space where two languages are common currency creates a hybrid space with a culture that belongs to neither one nor the other. The bilingual classroom is a space for inclusivity, where a new light is shone on ideas about cultural identity. Its students will be the global citizens of tomorrow, broad-minded and insightful adults who are adept at sharing and discussing knowledge in a multicultural environment and totally at home in an international Zoom meeting. For these bright children, the future is bright.

Scritto da

Istituto Montana Zugerberg

Institut Montana Zugerberg

Institut Montana Zugerberg is a fully accredited Swiss international boarding school for 90 years now and since 1987 an official IB World School. The School’s longstanding experience in academic excellence allows us to ideally prepare students as well educated and confident individuals ready for success at world-renowned international universities.