Benefits of Bilingual Education
Bilingual Education stimulates the sections of the brain which develop language competencies from an early age and has been shown to lead to other academic improvements. Researchers have shown that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching abilities than the monolingual brain. To achieve a balance between the two languages, the brain relies on executive functions as the bilingual brain’s language systems are always active, deciding which language to receive the information in and which language to produce the response in, leading to receptive and productive language abilities. Bilingualism has been linked with improved metalinguistic awareness (the comparison of language systems), as well as with better memory, visual-spatial skills and even creativity.
At Gruyere Primary School students are taught Japanese through the Victorian Curriculum - Languages. They are taught by immersion through a variety of engaging activities, songs, games and stories. Students complete various tasks each semester to demonstrate their ability to speak, listen to, read and write Japanese. They are encouraged to use Japanese as much as possible for classroom routines, social interactions, structured learning tasks, and language experimentation and practice. Students have opportunities to engage with members of the community (including in Japan) who speak Japanese, which in some cases are facilitated via digital technologies. English is used for discussion, explanation and reflection, enabling students to develop a language for sharing ideas about language and culture.
Japanese culture and traditions are also a focus of student learning. In the Languages curriculum area the focus is on both language and culture, as students learn to communicate meaningfully across different linguistic and cultural contexts. This process involves reflection and analysis, as students move between Japanese and their own existing language(s). It is a reciprocal and dynamic process which develops language use and intercultural awareness and understanding.