Why a Bilingual EducationAkemi Ara2019-04-23T09:40:03+10:00
Why a Bilingual Education?
Research shows that children exposed to more than one language have a distinct advantage throughout life! Speaking two languages, rather than just one, has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalised world. By implementing bilingual options at SJIS, students stand to benefit long-term, both academically and in life.
Studies comparing bilingual children to their monolingual peers show that bilingual children:
Demonstrate higher levels of cognitive flexibility
Show improved executive function critical for problem solving and other mentally demanding activities
Are able to focus more on the topics at hand
Develop success in literacy and academic achievement in both languages
Multitask better, pick out key information faster and more effectively ignore surrounding distractions
Are better at communication, providing a social advantage
Show greater empathy and respect to those of other cultures/nationalities
Have an edge in the workplace
Display improved mental well-being
Research evidence indicates that children have a better chance of developing bilingual fluency at an early age, when language is acquired more quickly, naturally and effectively. For this reason, SJIS begins its program in Kindergarten. The program expands each year into Year 9, with a 45 minute daily language lesson.
Fostering cultural mutual understanding
SJIS Japanese and International Division classrooms of the same grade are located next to each other. Both classes participate in mixed lessons in the areas of Visual Arts, Music, PE and Coding. This mixed lesson environment provides the opportunity for students to utilise their foreign language skills, and promotes cross-cultural learning. Mixed lessons are co-ordinated and planned by both the International and Japanese Division teachers, resulting in lesson plans that are infused with both Japanese and Australian culture.
Cultural Exchange Opportunities
SJIS actively seeks to engage with other international schools to further expose students to the diversity of other cultures and languages.
Every year SJIS hosts the much-loved International Sports Day, opening its gates to other international schools in Sydney for a friendly athletics competition.
Further to this, SJIS students participate in inter-school debating competitions and excursions, further enhancing the students’ global perspective and understanding.
Events and Assemblies
Assemblies are a big part of SJIS student life. These are conducted in both Japanese and English, and are often attended by Japanese dignitaries.
The SJIS events calendar is full of weekly activities that celebrate Japanese cultural events and Australian cultural days. Further to this are full-school events that encourage participation from all students including the annual School Concert and the English & Japanese language festivals.
Excursions are also a big part of the school calendar for both the International and Japanese divisions. Excursions are an opportunity to put learning into action and while deepening friendships and offering a wider perspective beyond what can be provided in a classroom environment.