Here’s one thing you will never hear someone say: “I wish I knew fewer languages.” You know why? Because knowing another language is a key to unlocking parts of the world you couldn’t otherwise access, from conversations to literature to music to more. OK, so you might never become Ziad Fazah, who is reportedly able to speak 58 languages, but even two is pretty good. So, we thought it would be a great moment to highlight a few of the very many reasons why being being bilingual is beneficial.
1- Better School Performance and Engagement
Virginia P. Collier and her husband, Wayne Thomas, are professors at George Mason University who have been studying the impact of dual language education for decades. Their studies, which span 6 states and 37 districts, consistently showed that dual-language students outperform their English-only classroom peers. The dual-language students have higher test scores, better attendance, fewer behavioral problems, higher parent involvement and seem overall happier. They believe that dual-language education is the key to closing the achievement gap.
2- The Bilingual Advantage
When a child speaks more than one language she/he is constantly thinking in those languages. Many researchers agree that because of this the child is able to develop “enhanced executive control,” or achieve “higher cognitive processes.” This means they are better at problem-solving, memory and thought. They also develop a more flexible and agile mind. This is referred to as the bilingual advantage.
This may seem like an obvious one but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. Being bilingual helps you communicate and connect with more people. This becomes a priceless skill in the workplace. For example- let’s say your company decides to work with a company from a Spanish-speaking nation. If you are one of the few people in your office who speaks Spanish then the likelihood of you being involved in the project and elevating your profile within the company as a multi-dimensional employee would be almost inevitable. It makes you a more attractive and competitive employee in a global market.
4- Slows Brain Aging and Prevents Alzheimer’s
A study in the Annals of Neurology showed that no matter at what age you learn the second language it slows down cognitive aging. In 2013, the University of Kentucky, College of Medicine conducted a study where they had older people perform memory tests that consisted of activities like sorting through colors and shapes. During that study, they discovered that the bilingual adults performed better than the monolingual ones. Furthermore, the monolingual brains worked harder to complete to the tasks.
5- It Makes You Smarter
In the early 20th century, it was believed that speaking multiple languages wasn’t beneficial. It was considered a “cognitive interference” because of the constant toggling the brain does between the languages. However, now research proves that bilingualism actually makes you smarter (like our games!). Even when you are only using one language, the brain is using both. This in turn gives your brain a workout. The constant activity happening in the bilingual brain actually makes it more efficient.
There you have just five super interesting and informative reasons why being bilingual/multilingual is beneficial. And there is basically no negative to speaking multiple languages. Most importantly, as the professors from George Mason University believe, it can help reduce the achievement gap which is something all of us in the educational world strive to do.
We are very excited to be be releasing our first bilingual game in the coming months. Our game, AzTech, is for kids grades 6 and up. It focuses on statistics and measurement and data while teaching about Central American and U.S. Hispanic history. Furthermore, the game can be played in English or Spanish!
We always say our games make you smarter because they do, and now with AzTech we are adding another layer of learning to our already awesome products.
Check out our demo of AzTech below and don’t forget to check out our other cool games as well!