Have you ever heard about all the ways bilingualism is beneficial for kids, but also that it’s the cause of so many problems for kids? Why is that? And if you’re raising children with multiple languages, have you wondered how will this paradox work out for your child?

In this episode, we sit down with Eowyn Crisfield, a local expert in bilingualism and bilingual education programs, to find what’s going on below the surface of bilingual education. We explore the concept of language status and how (often unexamined) bias hurts some children but benefits others, and how bilingual education can, and should, benefit all children.

Topics covered include::

  • What to do when things don’t go to plan with your child’s language acquisition
  • What is meant by language status and elite bilingualism
  • Which factors influence bilingual outcomes for children
  • How bilingual language programs are ‘additive’ or ‘subtractive’ and how to tell the difference
  • How teacher training programs are lacking when it comes to bilingual education
  • What the Dutch government recently decided about language rights for children
  • Practical advice for parents

Eowyn Crisfield is a specialist in bilingualism and bilingual education and has over 20 years experience researching and teaching in the field of applied linguistics. She is the founder of Crisfield Educational Consulting and currently provides language support training programs for schools as well as family language planning services for parents. She also facilitates seminars on bilingualism in Den Haag and Amsterdam (check her website for upcoming dates). 

Show notes:

OnRaisingBilingualChildren (blog on issues in bilingualism)

Crisfield Educational Consulting Facebook page


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Donna Bardsley

Donna Bardsley is the travel-loving mother of three homebodies who hate to leave the house. After living in Amsterdam for six years, she has recently moved her family back to the US where she is experiencing all the joys of reverse culture shock.