Multilingual can improve children’s academic skills?


Many people still consider that speaking multilingual in everyday conversation is a modern style. Turns out, it could actually improve your academic skills.

In Indonesia, a multilingual language, especially if the speakers dominantly speak English, is known as “Bahasa Jaksel”. The term “Bahasa Jaksel” came from many international schools in South Jakarta Area (Jakarta Selatan – Jaksel). Consequently, many children speak multilingual languages.

Various studies have documented the use of similar terms in other countries. For example, there is the term rujak in Malaysia, amulumala in Nigeria, and tuti futi in the Punjabi-speaking community in India.

There are also terms that may sound more neutral. Such as Singlish (Singapore), Japlish (Japan), Franglais (France/Canada), Taglish (Philippines) and Hinglish (India) to brand those who “mix up” many languages.

Some argue that such multilingual practice reflects a person’s inability to think in a structured and systematic way. However, it is not completely wrong in terms of daily life. Yet, some research finds out that it actually has a positive impact.

This positive impact has an effect on students’ academic activities which actually improve students’ reading and math skills

The formal education system also generally views this language practice as a barrier to students’ academic success. Considering it was believed to slow down the learning process.

Contrary, research has shown that multilingual practice does not have an adverse effect on students’ academic achievement.

In fact, a multilingual approach in the classroom has proven to be important in improving students’ academic achievement. Even in terms of the gap between students living in cities and in villages.

3 reason why speaking multilingual can improve children’s academic skills

There are at least three main reasons why multilingual skills can give students an academic improvement

First, multilingual skills help students activate their prior knowledge, which has a positive effect on the process of mastering new knowledge.

Second, multilingual skills help build relationships between students and teachers, which is important in improving academic achievement. There are now more and more studies showing that good teacher-student relationships contribute positively to student learning and academic achievement.

Third, multilingual skills help improve students’ mental condition, which is a key factor for successful learning. Mental condition plays an important role in improving academic achievement. Positive emotions help increase students’ attention, persistence, and focus.