The Unparalleled Benefits of a Bilingual Education at FISW
Barbara Greiner, Head of School
Our world is more and more interconnected and globalize. As a result, many parents and educators have come to recognize how important being bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural is for their children. At the French Immersion school of Washington, we have educated bilingual students for twenty years. We deliver an excellent education because our teachers are well aware of the benefits of a bilingual education and rely on these benefits to make their teaching more effective.
Our teachers are cognizant of the unparalleled benefits of a bilingual education. They know by experience that:
Bilingual students are resilient. School is harder for them because they learn through two languages. As a result, they welcome challenges and know better at a younger age how to face difficulties.
Bilingual students are flexible and adaptable, as they evolve in two cultures and have to adapt to both at a very early age.
Bilingual students understand concepts with ease, as they have multiple words in their mind to express the same concepts.
Bilingual students have two ways to process ideas. By learning through two languages, they acquire the thought process uniquely characteristic to each language. They have two different ways to think, to process concepts, and to approach problems. The French thought process is very analytical, and the American way is very creative. As a result, bilingual students are excellent problem solvers
Bilingual students make connections easily, as they make connections between what is taught in English class and what is taught in French class.
Bilingual students are independent, as they need to do their homework independently.
Our teachers rely on these benefits specific to a bilingual education to make their teaching more effective and purposeful:
To feed on our students’ resilience, they set the bar very high. They have high and clear expectations for all. They teach in depth all the vocabulary, knowledge, skills, and thought-processes of many disciplines. They give our students an excellent culture, a strong understanding of the sciences, a broad cultural exposure, and an appreciation of the arts.
To capitalize on our students’ excellent grasp of concepts, they make learning purposeful by teaching concepts - big ideas rather than techniques.
To engage our students fully in their learning process, they capitalize on their excellent problem-solving skills. Teachers give students interesting problems to solve that will give them deep understanding of the subject taught and will further develop an inquiry-focused mind.
To capitalize on our students’ ability to make connections, the English and French teachers collaborate, build their progressions together, and co-teach classes, so that students transfer what they learn from French class to English class and vice-versa.
To foster the independence that our students need, our teachers teach them the process of acquiring of knowledge: How do you recognize that you don’t understand something? How do you ask questions? How do you learn a lesson? How do you invite feedback? How do you collaborate?
As a result, our students develop a love of learning, a broad humanistic culture, excellent written and oral communication skills in two languages, and a strong mathematical and scientific background. They also develop important life skills: independence, resilience. decision-making skills, critical thinking, and an ability to make connections. A FISW bilingual education is an incredible gift for your child.