Being bilingual can open up a child’s beliefs

Child reading

Being bilingual can open up a child’s beliefs

The majority of children believe that we are born with certain characteristics and preferences rather than learning them as we get older. However, new research has shown that bilingual children will be more inclined to see that we can learn certain behaviours. This change in the thought process can have an impact as kids develop into adulthood, making them more accepting of those from different backgrounds.

Learnt behaviour

The study was carried out by a team at Concordia University. It took groups of monolingual and bilingual children and analysed their answers to a series of questions and educational games. The study highlighted that monolingual children generally showed an essentialist view of the world; they think that we are born with certain traits and characteristics. However, those children who were exposed to a second language during their early learning years were more likely to understand what we can learn and change about ourselves.

More accepting society

The experience of learning another language can affect many of a child’s beliefs and understandings. This provides them with numerous educational and social benefits as they become older and find their way in society. The knowledge they gain from being bilingual can have an impact in later life, as those people who have less essentialist ideas are more likely to be accepting of physical and social diversities. Therefore, if early second language instruction is used more widely in the education system, it could help to reduce the issues of prejudice and stereotypes.

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