Multilingualism, multilingual learning and culture tribes
Learnlife favours the development of multilingualism in children. There is much research that highlights the positive impact multilingualism has on a child’s brain development.
Multilingualism differs from being bilingual and monolingual in several respects. Research has shown, for example, that multilingualism demonstrates superior metalinguistic and metacognitive abilities, such as the ability to draw comparisons between different languages and to reflect on and employ appropriate learning strategies.
The idea that language and learning could be enhanced through the regular use of ‘culture tribes’ is a strategy that will enhance the child’s ability to understand, interpret and respect different cultures.
Language learning depends on the processing of sounds. All the world’s languages put together comprise about 800 or so sounds. Each language uses only about 40 language sounds, or “phonemes,” which distinguish one language from another.
At birth, the baby brain has an unusual gift: it can tell the difference between all 800 sounds. This means that infants can learn any language that they’re exposed to. Gradually babies figure out which sounds they are hearing the most.
Intercultural language learning:
focuses on the act of learning: student learning, teacher learning, community
learning; recognises teaching and learning as social (both intrapersonal and interpersonal),
cultural (both intracultural and intercultural) and cognitive; highlights both participation/action and reflection on the part of students as participants in communicating in the context of diversity
This intercultural orientation shapes the three key concepts that inform Languages education: language, culture, learning, and focuses on developing capabilities that are essential in the 21st century.
Learning multiple languages isn’t only about increasing brain mass, it improves memory as well. [In research contexts], Bilingual children outclassed their monolingual counterparts in all test conditions. In short, people who grow up bilingual have faster, more accurate and more robust mental capacities ... They have brains that need to recognize, distinguish and analyse the different linguistic patterns, intonations, vocabulary, grammatical rules and idiomatic expressions of different languages
In the Learnlife context, multilingualism and language proficiency is very important from two perspectives. First, language use within a group of speakers who can communicate in the same language is an excellent way in which to strengthen language proficiency and develop cultural awareness of that language and society. A ‘language tribe’ will help educate a community about the history and practices of a culture.
The second context for multilingualism or multilingual learning is via language immersion when learning an additional language. While a language might not be a speaker’s native language, learning that occurs using that language within a wider group, will help advance proficiency in the language. Appreciation for different cultures will strengthen as well when a learner is connected to a language-specific community.
Multilingualism is one of the 25 learning methodologies in the Learnlife learning paradigm toolkit. Learn more about the different ways to engage learners through the different learning methodologies.