ERIC Number: ED283368
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Oct
The Intellectual Power of Bilingualism.
Diaz, Rafael M.
While early research suggests that bilingualism creates a language handicap in individuals, more recent and methodologically better research clearly supports the advantages of bilingualism in promoting overall cognitive development. Three major explanations for this improved development are proposed: that (1) the bilingual-bicultural child experiences the world from two different perspectives, increasing his awareness and moving him away from a limited, egocentric point of view; (2) the code-switching process inherent in bilingualism facilitates development of a more flexible approach to cognitive problems; and (3) the bilingual's metalinguistic awareness or objectification of language promotes higher levels of abstract thinking and concept formation. The cognitive and academic advantages observed in bilingual children are usually the result of additive bilingual situations, in which the child's two languages are developing and functioning in parallel, rather than subtractive situations in which mastery of the second language is achieved at the expense of competence in the first. Bilingual education is not only a right, but also an excellent tool for enhancing the academic and intellectual potential of our children. (MSE)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Second Language Learning by Young Children; see FL 016 716.