Mixing languages is the art of knowing more than one language. However, it is considered to have more demerits than merits. In some countries like Indonesia, most multilingual people are often condemned for mixing up English with Indonesian when speaking due to pejorative terms.
Some quarters argue that the ability to speak more than one language reflects one’s ability to think systematically. Formal education systems share the same sentiments on multilingual skills in students as they have delayed the learning process of the school’s subjects.
Despite the negative belief attached to multilingual people, some studies have defied that notion. There is no proof of the negative effect of mixing language on academic achievement. On the contrary, mixing language in a classroom has proven beneficial in improving students’ performance. With the multiple advantages attached to mixing languages, there are efficient ways through which students from different countries can learn new languages easily. English students can easily learn Spanish and vice versa, by using a downloadable Preply app.
The research shows that multilingual students’ reading ability is two or three times better than monolinguals. Some of the reasons that make multilingual students have the upper hand when it comes to academics are;
Activate knowledge acquired earlier
Prior knowledge refers to the earlier knowledge obtained from home and school. Research goes further to prove that the previously acquired knowledge creates a basis for grasping new content. The growing number of educational researchers working hard to bridge the gap between home and school contexts serves as evidence.
Prior knowledge plays a pivotal role in increasing academic achievement because it increases curiosity in students to learn new concepts. Failure to activate the prior information will lead to students being demotivated and less engaged in the lesson. Multilingual skills play an essential role in encoding prior knowledge. Students can decode the new information optimally by tapping on the linguistic repertoire.
The cons of using one language in a classroom will activate the knowledge from that one subject only. That makes it challenging for the students to grasp new knowledge.
Enhance the rapport between teachers and students
Research has proved that good rapport between the teachers and the students contributes significantly to better academic performance. That’s because a good relationship between the teacher and the learner makes the learner more active and creates interest in the lesson being taught.
Research shows that multilingual practices enhance excellent and effective relationships. Mixing language skills give freedom to teachers to use different approaches in delivering the content to the students. For example, humorous and playful talks are resources that students can use to create a safe house where they can express themselves freely and engage fully in classroom activities.
Multilingual skills improve students well being
The well-being of students is a critical factor in improving their academic performance. That is because positive motivation enables the student to be more attentive and stay focused. If the well-being is lacking in the student, they feel excluded socially because their social-cultural backgrounds are not appreciated. That’s where multilingual skills come in. The skills create positive well-being of students, thus better academic performance.
Multilingual skills enable the students to express themselves easily. That means students with multilingual skills can express themselves hence developing positive emotions and well-being. Positive relationships translate to better academic performance among students.