Bilinguism, multilinguism in youth learning – An important issue!

written by Patrick Rhéaume-Espinoza,

It has been several months already since my last blog recapping my experience at DreamHack à Montréal. Since then, we have celebrated our renewed business plan with Montreal Esports to develop our young electronic sports Academy. We have launched the Académie Esports de Québec at the turning of the new year and we have simultaneously announced the launch of the Academies Esports of Canada which will cover every Esports Academies from Coast to Coast. Since then, I thought about communication, more precisely the language to use to communicate. It seems obvious to me that we have to adapt to local demographics to provide the best service. The greater Quebec City area is very French-speaking, therefore the Académie Esports de Québec will be French-speaking. While if we were in western Canada, in Edmonton for example, the Regional Academy would be Anglophone. But we have a rich background in both French and English, and then there is more to gain from using more than one language even if it means more individual effort to achieve that goal. I will explain this position statement in the next paragraphs. Management concluded that the Academies Esports of Canada will reflect Canada by adopting French and English in its services. Why French and English? Why not multilingualism such as Korean (esports language!), Mandarin Chinese, or even Russian? Well, because French and English are the two official languages ​​of the country. Moreover, these are the two languages ​​in which our school education are based of. If you completed and retained your Canadian history classes at school, you all know the province of Quebec is the only Francophone province within the 1867 Confederation and that all provinces west of it are English-speaking. In addition, all the Maritime provinces east of Quebec are Anglophones except for New-Brunswick which is the only officially bilingual province since 1969, is it not? Enough story(ies), let’s get to the point of this blog. The purpose is not to discuss the bilingual service of the Academies Esports of Canada but rather the importance of mastering more than one language both orally and in writing, and how this multilingual mastery plays a relevant role in our young people and in their learning.

Before tackling the main element, let me explain to you some of my past and recent experiences that led me to this stance. I like to talk about my past experiences otherwise I would not write this blog. So let’s get to it!

Five years ago, I traveled and rejoined young Francophones of all the Americas for the first forum for young people: le Parlement francophones des jeunes des Amériques at the greater city of Toronto. It was in August 2014. I’ve met and, thank to Facebook, I’ve made friendships for life with Francophones and Francophiles ranging from the north of the Yukon down to Argentina including French-speaking citizen of the United States of America (yes, yes they exist and there are many). Among these friends, there is one of which I retained her journalistic career even today. A young university graduate in communication-politics, living in the Plateau Mont-Royal, and assertive sovereignist was going to pack her bags and go west to work at the offices of CBC/Radio-Canada in Alberta, in French. I programmed a reminder for the keyword < ICIAlberta > and in 2016 I’ve received a notification of an article of popularization that I liked: “Les bienfaits du cerveau bilingue se confirment” (2016). I archived this reading and its references cited at the end of the article since always. Very recently in February 2019, jI listened to the rebroadcast of a TV broadcast on Télévision du Haut-Richelieu (French only) who had invited the current commandant of my alma mater: the Colonel Gervais Carpentier of the Royal Military College of Saint-Jean (RMC Saint-Jean). Although I haven’t met Colonel Carpentier yet, I had the opportunity to interact with all his predecessors since my time at RMC Saint-Jean in 2008. All previous Colonel Commanders of the past ten years hold the same speech: the importance of bilingualism both for work – the Profession of arms – and for a personal and cultural level. In fact, bilingualism represents one of the four pillars on which is based the excellence of the Royal Military Colleges of Canada (RMC). Without going into details, the pillars of the RMC are: Leadership, Academic Excellency, Athletics, and Bilingualism. That’s what to build a good foundation for our young people would not you agree? My understanding of scientific studies combined with the RMC Excellency give more importance to bilingualism towards the performance plan. It is no longer a cultural identity but an essential tool for not only communicating with a wider population of different backgrounds, but also for developing a better level of competencies and knowledge! Now I’m ready to answer why it’s important to have an open mind towards multilingualism, and why it’s important to do it at a young age.

De plus en plus de recherches scientifiques démontrent que le bilinguisme confère des avantages cognitifs chez l’enfant, qu’il peut s’apprendre avec un haut degré de compétence tout au long de la vie et qu’il offre un effet neuroprotecteur jusqu’en fin de vie. État des connaissances. – un texte de Michel Rochon de l’émission Découverte CBC/Radio-Canada

The brain is a fascinating organ to which researchers are constantly amazed by their discoveries. The brain is also the most complex part of the human body to understand and it is difficult to catalog. For example, the brain is not a muscle (it is made mainly of gray matter and white matter) but the former behaves like a muscle. A muscle trains itself by stretching and by contraction. If the muscle does not train anymore, it becomes soft. The brain does not train mechanically like a muscle, but just like the latter, the brain will underperform if it is neglected. Fortunately, our head trains every day! The simple act of reading these lines while trying to understand the line of thought of your dear author is a moderate brain exercise. And since I’m the author, it’s even more stimulating! My hypothesis to analyze in the coming years in our CCSE program is: a brain that trains optimally – with a structured program and healthy lifestyle habits – is more likely to go very far. But don’t go and attack your next Sudoku or your next crossword before you finish reading this blog. The brain becomes efficient with the right plan. On the performance plan, I can quote our Academy coaches that: “Numerous studies have demonstrated the innumerable links between the body and the brain: the plasticity of the brain allows us to develop cognitive functions and abilities effectively. Based on the principle of transfer of learning, this leads to a gradual increase in performance during the game and therefore, chances of success in achieving the professional level. In short, [e-athletes] become more efficient with hard training and the results show it.” My neophyte understanding of neuroscience because I am only a simple graduate student in political science and administration: a brain that trains through education, such as through the acquisition of a new language, is a brain that will open a window to reach the pinnacle of its game. This is all pretty and all, but why learn at least two languages ​​at a young age? Well, I talked about window opening because the advantage of doing so at an early age is for the substantial performance gain that your young child will experience in this period of their development and who will stick it to the skin during its development and, I hope, forever! During child development, he learns to understand and master his cognitive skills such as thinking, memorizing, selective attention, concentration, reasoning, planning, problem solving and assiduity. Learning a second language strengthens cognitive skills in early childhood development. The child learns how to make the right choices by using the right vocabulary or grammar choice depending on the language used in a conversation. Although subtle, these choices become intrinsic at a young age and this will give a benefit advantage in the logic process of the child such as for mathematical calculation, a benefit in his reasoning such as reading text, and a benefit in decision-making when reaching high school and adulthood. Moms and pops would be proud.

In the world of high performance sport; the choices the athlete makes on the field are crucial, if not vital. For example,when driving more than 300 Km / h in a Formula One car or handling your keyboard and mouse to more than 300 actions per minute in StarCraft; it takes a quick decision-making like a flash but with the accuracy of a surgeon. Otherwise it’S over, Game Over. We thank the losers and they go back to their starting square. It is very difficult to master a decision making with such a speed of execution and precision in these two sports examples. Only a handful of chosen are considered by the professional teams of eSports just as only 20 drivers are taken in the stables of Motorsports. In addition, selection is even more restricted for those who have reached the threshold of success. To make the selection, it is better to absorb and develop all our skills sooner rather than later. If you want to become an e-athlete, then consider becoming bilingual, multilingual or polyglot from a young age because it could well develop considerable skills for your future. Skeptics will say that many champions are unilingual. It’s sometimes true, but is not it better to have more than one arrow to his quiver? Ask yourself the following question: “If I had the choice between a toolbox with only a hammer inside, or a toolbox with a hammer and a screwdriver. Which one will I choose to meet my challenges every day?” Personally, I would opt for the toolbox with the hammer, the screwdriver, Allen keys, wrenches, lazer meter, tape measure, duct tape, WD-40, at least 10 different sizes of screws, as many screw heads with a strawberry, electric drill, you name it! Although for my defense, jI was born in Lego games, my loft was furnished by IKEA furniture and I do my own housework. In short, we can always garnish our brain tool chest and acquiring knowledge are the tools to add. Becoming multilingual would be very interesting, but acquiring new languages ​​is not the only tool to become better and more efficient. There are several others, but not all tools are suitable for all people. I would not develop more on that because bilingualism is the only tool that I can explain to you in this blog.

If you want to become your own champion,you have to put together all the chances on your side. After all, I have to repeat myself time and time again during closed doors consultations: not one manager but really NO manager would pay a six or seven digits contract to high performance athletes not demonstrating they are giving their 100%! Inculcate at an early age the healthy habit of learning two languages, or more, is a step in the right direction for the future, for your future. If you are older, do not worry it is always possible, but it will be more difficult. The important thing is to be motivated and not to give up. In 2018, an article in the Franco-Ontarian newspaper in Toronto, L’Express, reports that only 35% of Canadians are bilingual compared to 60% in the rest of the world. I believe here that the information could be wrong because allophones were not counted in the study. At any rate, there is still a long way to go to improve the chances of our young people here in Canada, and this is reflected in their ability to express themselves quickly from one language to another. To pass from the language of Molière to that of Shakespeare as well as an artist who performs skillfully in his art is called “code switching” in science. My little finger tells me that this code switching will be useful in everyday life, not only beneficial in the competition but also in science & technology, during teamwork, in organizational administration, and in pretty much everything that relates to globalization. In the end, if you are still not convinced, perhaps by the absence of bibliography; tell yourself that there is nothing to lose when learning a new language. To learn a new dialect is to enrich one’s knowledge and one’s ability to communicate. French is learning the language of love and poetry for non-French speakers, and for French speakers the language of love and charm is to speak Italian (at least that’s what I was told). Learning English is learning the language of international tourism and world affairs. Learning Japanese is what will allow your child to embody a real 先生 in his manga otherwise he must be content with a translation the poor sob! Mastering Korean is considered an asset in esports for some professional positions. Discussing professional careers and career opportunities will be a topic I will introduce later this year, otherwise you can always ask our conference service to not have to wait. Go beyond your limits and stay motivated! Until then, do not miss my (long) blog on Academic Excellence in my March 2019 issue.

2019-03-06T18:26:32+00:00February 28th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments