At Whitby, language learning has become part of our school culture. From hearing different languages and participating in celebrations from around the school has become a truly ethnolinguistic community that honors language learning entwined to culture. We imagine that our classrooms and immersion program are an inspiration to the children approaching language in a very different way. Owning their learning and living the language makes their knowledge flourish with eagerness and smiles.
The experience and many benefits of a second language throughout the school day support the understanding that natural acquisition, routines, and commitment are biliterate and bicultural and that they are closely linked to increased confidence, acceptance and kindness. Based on the success and pedagogy we are delighted to see increased student interest to join and complete lessons both with teachers and independently, as well as the ability to produce vocabulary authentically. Being able to teach, learn and experience culture using our community as the primary source is nothing short of amazing. It gives the children an enormous sense of ownership and pride.
Fabrice Jaumont, author of The Bilingual Revolution, refines the idea of the bilingual personality. He highlights the numerous advantages of knowing multiple languages. Interestingly, he talks about studies made around increased emotional intelligence in bilinguals — as well as increased self-awareness, and awareness of others. In return they better understand the world through something he calls “the cultural window of language” and this helps bilinguals navigate our globalized world with much more ease and a more sophisticated level of understanding.
At Whitby we honor the partnership among administration, teachers, staff, students and parents to continue fostering language acquisition, immersion, and diversity with excitement and intent. This marks an important milestone in our program’s successes.
The joy of biliteracy and the ability to connect with other cultures, directly connects us to one of our fundamental principles and mission: international mindedness.