English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Naomi Flynn, Chris Pim and Sarah Coles| View as single page| Comment/Feedback

The benefits of learning in more than one language

There are a range of studies commenting on the potential benefits of bi/multilingualism, but there is some controversy around their assertions. Thus, while we acknowledge that there may be a benefit in engaging with this research (for an overview see Adesope et al, 2010), the list below refers to commonly accepted benefits for teachers to consider. Central to these is the recognition that multilingualism is an asset.

  1. Multilingualism is an asset that affords potential to engage with multiple communities and access to a wider world view.

  2. Maintenance of heritage languages protects and celebrates individuals’ sense of identity(ies).

  3. Multilingualism supports inter-generational harmony; for example where children live in countries other than their grandparents’ home country, and need to keep heritage languages alive in order to communicate with them.

  4. Multilingualism is an asset in an increasingly globalising world where travel and work opportunities may be outside a home country.

  5. Multilingualism affords language learners insights into how languages work.

  6. In the classroom, multilingualism supports greater cross-cultural appreciation and the potential for a deep sense of school belonging that protects attainment and well-being.

Original guide sponsored by the University of Winchester, this revision sponsored by The University of Reading and Hampshire EMTAS.

Tags: