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The Importance of Mother Tongues

In the Senior School, we have a passionate team of staff teaching Foreign Languages. We teach Chinese, French, and Spanish at different levels and we're proud of the many students who started ab initio in Year 7 but gain high levels of competency in their chosen language by the time they leave school. Beyond the practical benefits of gaining access to a new culture and increasing one's communication skills, language learning as an intellectual pursuit has many clear benefits such as mental discipline and linguistic precision.

Did you know we also have 160 students studying Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, and Hindi as their Mother Tongue? Many of these take public examinations (e.g. IGCSE or A-level) in these subjects and some even obtain the prestigious IB Bilingual Diploma that has been running at Tanglin for a decade.

The benefits of bilingualism are now well documented: improved cognitive function, better cultural intelligence, increased business and networking opportunities, and consequently, closer ties to the home culture.

This is why we encourage all our students with a non-English mother tongue to take an interest in the language of their ancestors, their roots, and their culture. After all, doesn't it form a part of their identity?  

At Tanglin, we value and respect all languages and we are very proud of our team of Mother Tongue teachers, and the work they do with our students to help them maintain their heritage language. It is the partnership between the school, the teachers, and the families that allows our students to flourish.

Should you need more information, or if you speak a language at home that you would like your child to study at the Mother Tongue level, please contact us. We will be delighted to help. In the meantime, you can read up on the benefits of multilingualism and bilingualism on the Families For Life website

Interesting Fact:
Training the brain to develop two language systems also delivers unexpected benefits. A 2004 study revealed that bilingual children were better than monolingual children at solving certain types of puzzles. A 2012 study of Spanish seniors also shows that the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later in life Alzheimer's would occur. 

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