Are Bilinguals Smarter Than Monolinguals

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Are Bilinguals Smarter Than Monolinguals?
A Review of the Literature
Luke James Walkington
La Trobe University

Are Bilinguals Smarter Than Monolinguals?
A Review of the Literature
‘Bilingual’ people are differentiated from ‘Monolingual’ people by their frequent communication with two or more languages (Barac & Bialystok, 2012). Bilinguals are thought to be smarter than Monolinguals (Rubio-Fernández & Glucksberg, 2012). Smartness is a measure of successfulness in their education (Hatt, 2007, p. 146). Because of this, there is a debate to decide whether the next generation of children should be exposed to a Bilingual education. This has led to research into whether Bilingual education slows the learning of literacy and numeracy (Barnett, Yarosz, Thomas, Jung, & Blanco, 2007). Research has also looked at specific enhancements (Goetz, 2003; Kovács, 2009) and downsides (Kaushanskaya & Marian, 2007) to being Bilingual. This essay reviews the evidence from Literature to determine whether Bilinguals are smarter than Monolinguals. There is a current debate as to whether Monolingual or Bilingual education is a better approach to produce smarter students. Specifically this debate looks at whether Bilingual education hinders the development of literacy and numeracy. Barnett et al. (2007) reported that statistically there was no hindrance to literacy and numeracy in 3 to 4-year-old English-Spanish Bilinguals compared to English Monolinguals (p. 288). They also reported that the Bilingual education produced significant increases in Spanish vocabulary (Barnett et al., 2007, p. 277). This suggests that Bilingual education produces more knowledgeable and hence smarter students. Studies also found that Bilinguals have enhanced reasoning capabilities (Goetz, 2003; Kovács, 2009). Kovács, (2009) found that 3-year-old Romanian-Hungarian Bilinguals performed significantly better than Romanian Monolingual children in several different reasoning tasks...
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