The recent inclusion of the subject "Mother Tongue" in the K to 12 education system have been putting the fear in many of us since our kids are already struggling with their Filipino subjects (some even failing). But here's news that should motivate us to encourage the kids to work harder on the subject.
Justin Bariso, founder of Insight, a company based in Germany that helps organizations and their leaders to think differently and communicate effectively, wrote about how learning at least two languages can contribute to increased intelligence in children.
He cited a New York Times article "Why Bilinguals Are Smarter" where Yudhijit Bhattacharjee wrote: "There is ample evidence that in a bilingual's brain, both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn't so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles."
Bhattacharjee adds that knowing two languages helps a child perform mentally demanding tasks such as planning, solving problems, and staying focused. According to research led by Katherine Kinzler, associate professor of psychology and human development at Cornell University, bilingual kids are also more socially adept and more in tune with others compared to kids who only speak one language.
"Children in multilingual environments have social experiences that provide routine practice in considering the perspectives of others: They have to think about who speaks which language to whom, who understands which content, and the times and places in which different languages are spoken," she wrote in her New York Times piece entitled "The Superior Social Skills of Bilinguals." Kids who are just exposed to other people who speak another language (but they don't speak it) get the same perks when it comes to improved social skills, but not the cognitive benefit Bhattacharjee talked about.
In his article, Bariso says he is living proof on how being raised around multiple languages and cultures played a pivotal role in his development. He experienced firsthand how a simple news article would elicit different responses from the people around him: his family, from his Portuguese mother and his Filipino father, for starters, and his American friends. "I learned to see the world through different sets of eyes from a very early age. These types of experiences helped me to realize that everyone's perspective is different, and these perspectives are shaped by a myriad of factors."
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
If you think about it, Filipinos should already have a head start since our kids are taught both Filipino and English in school. In fact, with the kids outside Metro Manila already speak a third language, their own provincial dialect, we are a country built to be a multilingual.