“Why have you chosen to write about bilingual children and languages, surely there are more important things in the world – why don’t you write about how important science is?” – this is a question I once got in a comment. The simple answer is – I believe I know quite a lot about bilingual kids and have been able to help parents and teachers, so this is what I write about. Science is very important, but not my forte, so I leave it to those in the know.
The more I have thought about that question, the more I have realised that there are other reasons as well. I believe that this world needs more people who can speak more than one language. Someone who knows two (or more) languages can act as the bridge between cultures and countries. And boy (and girl!) do we need bridge-builders in this day and age. Okay, I will step down from my soap box, but I hope we agree!
Whether you grow up with more than one language or become fluent in another one later in life, the same thing applies: not only do you learn a new way to communicate, but you get a deeper understanding of another culture. You are no longer just watching a culture through the glasses of a translator, but you are in it, you can participate. You learn that there are more ways than one to look at things – and all of them can be just as right. You become more open-minded and learn to appreciate the wonderful diversity of our common world.
I support all kind of language learning. It will come as no surprise to you that I am a strong proponent of passing on family languages to the next generation. I also take my hat off for monolingual parents that take it on to raise their children bilingual. I think that children should be exposed to other languages at an early age at school – and that they should be introduced to them in a way that engages them and sparks their interest to want to know more and use their language skills.
However, you do not have to be fluent in a language to use it to your advantage when raising your own little global citizens – you can start with a language you do not know at all!
The above is the topic for my presentation which will be part of Multicultural Kid Blogs first ever online summit on Raising Global Citizens at Home. The free summit runs from Monday the 11th to Sunday the 17th of April and you are in for a treat with the line-up of authors, experts, bloggers, educators and parents all sharing their best ideas on how to raise world citizens in your own home and without too much expense.
REGISTER now and you will be receiving daily summit emails with links to videos and resources on the different topics: music, arts & crafts, travel, food, language, books and media. You will also receive a workbook which you can use at home with your kids to help you implement the ideas in your own family.
See you there!