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How to Raise a Bilingual Child: Child Bilingualism Development| British International School

19 December 2021

What is bilingualism?

In the modern world, where the borders of countries are disappearing and their distances are increasingly being regarded as conventional concepts, multicultural marriages are becoming more and more common, and the issue of raising a bilingual child is becoming more relevant. In families where parents speak different languages, a child inevitably faces many difficulties in the process of developing speaking skills, and the information transfer is accompanied by even greater problems, such as when, for example, Russian-speaking parents move to an English-speaking country, and a child becomes bilingual, communicating in Russian with their family and in English at school.

In this case, it is very important to find a balance in both languages, so that the child knows and understands them equally. However, this can be quite difficult for parents who do not have the experience and relevant pedagogical knowledge to negotiate such matters.

At the British International School Moscow, teachers with vast experience in working with bilinguals have been helping children from all over the world for more than 27 years now to reveal their potential and master two languages, one of which is English. The main goal of educational programmes is to help a child to use English both in spoken communication with parents, classmates, or teachers, and using it at a higher level in their future career. Therefore, in high school at BIS, students are given the opportunity to choose between the IB and A-level programmes, which are recognised by the top universities in Russia and worldwide.

The initial task of the teachers of a bilingual child is the development of the language and communication skills through different pedagogical techniques that contribute to the acquisition and consolidation of the knowledge and development of the acquired skills.

Let's consider the main methods used at our school in more detail.

Main routes to bilingualism:

Thematic games

This method helps a teacher to develop the necessary knowledge by communicating with a child using the same language in an accessible and understandable way. So, for example, a commonly used game with dolls lets you acquire useful vocabulary on the topic ‘Family’ by studying the ways to describe family relationships using composition questions on the topic.

Educational videos

Watching an educational video helps a child better understand different words and rules. Specially-selected videos on a certain topic contribute to the complex development of language skills and vocabulary growth. In particular, videos on significant world events, historically important facts, geographical and political issues, and cultural aspects are applied.

Daily communication  with a child in English

Daily communication with a child is an integral part of the learning process. The more questions are discussed in English, the faster the vocabulary is formed and speech skills are developed. The advantage of our school is the native-speaking teachers who help to use this method at the highest level.

English speaking toys and games

Who is a child's best friend? A toy with which they discuss news and even share their secrets. Currently, there are many interactive games which are used at our school as well. They are in English which facilitates the memorising process.

Learning words by flashcards

The visual teaching method is one of the most effective. It is actively used at the initial levels of language learning when the vocabulary is formed. Flashcards with the spelled words in two languages and a picture are the best in helping a child learn new lexical units quickly.

Using British textbooks

While learning English, it is extremely important to use authentic textbooks. Students get acquainted with the interesting facts and events from the history and daily life of the UK citizens as well as the culture of the country, which develops their language skills and lets them better understand the local mentality and cultural values. The British International School uses the textbooks approved by the UK national secondary education curriculum and which meet the British educational standards.

Communication with native speakers

Communication with native speakers, in particular, teachers : the British and other native-speaking citizens at BIS is the most effective method of language learning, which helps the students immerse themselves in the English-speaking environment. By clicking on this link you will learn more about the school, its programmes, and teachers

The British International School was founded in 1994 as the first school in Moscow where English was taught by teachers from Great Britain. The educational process is conducted according to the British National Curriculum (National Curriculum of England). Students of more than 65 nationalities study at BIS, which creates an excellent multicultural atmosphere that enables them to develop communication skills in both – native and English languages which, in turn, helps to develop a bilingual personality.

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