The Bilingual Advantage for Teachers
The world has become a global village. Giant strides in information and communication technology have now made it easier for organizations to conduct businesses over a wide area, often cutting across several countries with different languages. This means that the number of jobs that require employees to know more than one language keeps increasing. Hence, a lot of people are now becoming more aware of the need to know more than one language. As an educator, knowing more than one language is highly beneficial in a system that is characterized by coworkers and students from increasingly racial and ethnic diversity. We take a look at some of the advantages of being bilingual as a teacher below.
Being Bilingual Helps You to Adapt
It is easier for teachers who know more than one language to blend to different situations. If you are bilingual, you will possess the ability to switch quickly between different language modes. Language modes refer to the mechanisms through which you process a language at a particular point in time. The modes are monolingual, intermediate, and bilingual. As a bilingual, you can adapt to the prevailing situation and pick the more convenient language for that occasion.
This skill, in addition to enhancing adaptability, also strengthens flexibility, making it an invaluable asset for social and interpersonal relationships and it is useful for a teacher in a school where students are from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.
It Makes Communication Easier
Teaching is a delicate job, and it can be tedious and frustrating, especially when you are trying to pass knowledge about a concept across to an audience whose first language is different from the language of instruction; for example, children of South American immigrants who are not highly proficient in English. However, if you are versed in Spanish, their first language, then you can easily explain whatever you want to explain to the kids in their language in a way that will make them understand quickly.
It Engenders Respect for the All Cultures
Being bilingual helps to know and respect the culture of other people. Being bilingual will enable you to identify with your own culture while remaining sensitive to the culture of people speaking the other language. This will go a long way in fostering mutual respect between yourself and your students whose first language is not English. The same is also true for your co-workers.
We have come a long way, and there is no gainsaying that bilingualism is now becoming essential in the educational system of the 21st century. Some states –California being one of them – are making more funds available for the training of bilingual teachers, and you could take advantage of this opportunity to secure training grants to learn another language. Therefore, if you are planning to learn a second language to increase your effectiveness further and enhance your career as a teacher, then do not hesitate. You will be glad you did.