The Value of Being Multilingual
Teaching Greek in our School goes beyond the teaching of a language. Our children learn who they are by strengthening their understanding and appreciation of their ethnic identity. The children are taught the values and principles of our heritage, and it becomes a way of life in our School. In this way, we perpetuate the legacy of our ancestors.
So many English words have their roots in the Greek language. Learning and knowing the Greek language help our children to decode unfamiliar English words they may encounter in their everyday and academic readings. The sciences are replete with a plethora of Greek words. Our students definitely have an advantage in their higher education by knowing the Greek language. In addition, becoming fluent in Greek allows our students to feel more at ease when they visit Greece. How breathtaking it is when all their teachings come to life as they visit the historic archeological sights in Greece. This is truly an amazing experience for our students!
Greek as a subject is taught in grades K-8, and it encompasses the teaching of Greek history, Greek culture, and the history of our religion. Our students come from varied Greek backgrounds. Therefore, we accommodate all our children by having three levels per grade. Children who come to us fluent in the language are placed in an accelerated group where we focus on reading and writing the language. Those students, who come to us understanding the language, but not having fluency in it, are taught Greek as a second language. Children who come to us without any knowledge of Greek are taught Greek as a foreign language. Our students are not fixed at a level—as our students learn and become proficient, their level may change. In addition, we offer a third language to our students. In grades 6-8, the students are taught Spanish and explore the culture of the Hispanic world. Thus, the children gain an understanding and appreciation of another culture.
In the NY Times article, The Superior Social Skills of Bilinguals, written by Katherine Kinzler and dated 3/11/16, different advantages of being bilingual are cited:
“BEING bilingual has some obvious advantages. Learning more than one language enables new conversations and new experiences. But in recent years, psychology researchers have demonstrated …for instance, bilingual children may enjoy certain cognitive benefits, such as improved executive function — which is critical for problem solving and other mentally demanding activities.
“Now, two new studies demonstrate that multilingual exposure improves not only children’s cognitive skills but also their social abilities. One study…published last year in the journal Psychological Science — shows that multilingual children can be better at communication than monolingual children.”