Eastgate Academy is committed to helping students to become bilingual in English and French as a way to reflect the heritage and cultures of New Brunswick, and so that students can enjoy the benefits of bilingualism.
There are many obvious benefits to bilingualism. When you are fluent in more than one language, you have more opportunities for work, travel and social connections. You can access a wider range of culture and entertainment, and appreciate more of the nuances of works developed in other languages and cultures. Fluency in another language also also makes you more aware of the features of your native language and culture. Research of bilingual children and adults shows other less obvious benefits too, such as increased empathy, better executive functioning, improved memory, creativity and decision-making skills. These benefits amplify as learning a second language is a powerful foundation for learning third, fourth or even fifth languages.
Language learning is central to IB programmes: all students study at least two languages throughout each of the programme. This sustained language learning can lead to a variety of different outcomes:
- Students can pursue a bilingual IB Diploma, indicating that they are proficient in two different languages and have competed academic coursework in each.
- Students who pursue a course of study in English can take a French as an additional language course, indicating that can communicate in French in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts. Students who take the higher level version of this course would also develop the skills to read literary texts in French.
- Students who join Eastgate at the beginning of the Diploma Programme and have no prior experience with French at that time can take a beginner’s French course in which they can develop the skills to communicate in a variety of situations.
We know that students will come to Eastgate Academy with different language profiles and different language learning needs. We will support them by identifying their level of proficiency and grouping them with students who are at a similar level. This means that students’ French classes are likely to be multi-age groups. Students who are still developing proficiency in English when they join Eastgate Academy will be supported with English language instruction. When they are proficient in English, they can begin to study French.