There are many definitions for what Bilingualism really is. Among the most useful is a defenition by Andersson and Boyer (1978), who define bilingualism as “the use of two languages for curricular instruction in non-language subjects”.
Research shows that being fluent in two languages – being bilingual – has a positive effect on the brain. The minds of bilinguals are better at adapting to changing stimuli than those of monolinguals. Even on tasks that don’t involve language, bilinguals seem to have an advantage by showing greater cognitive flexibility. In 2012, a Canadian research group found structural changes in the brain’s language areas in individuals learning a second language, only after 3 months of training. In addition, the possible onset of brain diseases such as dementia is delayed significantly in bilingual people. This means that the students in your bilingual classrooms are developing adaptations and beneficial alterations while you are teaching them! As a matter of fact: the same effect will be happening in your own brain, the more you focus on teaching in a bilingual/CLIL way!
If ever there were reasons to promote bilingual education and its didactic principles as outlined in CLIL, they would have to be the ones just mentioned!
If you would like to learn more about CLIL, Bilingualism, the Brain and Language Aqcuisition Theory, please contact me for workshop ideas!