Hi friends! This blog is for teachers and families- all for the sheer joy of literacy. When we are enthusiastic about reading and writing our students and our own kids become excited to read and write. I hope that we all can be models for those in our care- how did you show your passion for reading, writing, learning, language, or words today?? It's in those small, daily moments that we teach kids to love literacy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bountiful Benefits of Biligualism

I came across the website ScienceDaily.com recently. I immediately began saving links to articles that were blog-worthy (and there were so many!). I am no science junky- but these recent studies revealed so much about language learning and bilingualism.

Most of my students know both Spanish and English, yet instead of seeing that knowledge as an asset, many of my students act like knowing Spanish is a deficit. Just today I had a student claim that he never wants to speak Spanish at home (his parents only speak Spanish)- aye aye aye! Oh how I wish I could speak Spanish well! He's so lucky, and he's yet to realize it (he's only in 2nd grade, after all)!

As the excerpts below point out, becoming bilingual encourages you to see the world differently. I completely agree. The little that I know of Spanish (I can hold a casual conversation, albeit rife with grammatical and word choice errors), I am constantly pushed to see the world from a different culture's perspective. I also feel like my knowledge of Spanish has helped me better to understand English root words, suffixes, prefixes, verb tense and conjugations, etc... Knowing Spanish has also makes me a much better teacher; using cognates in teaching builds meaningful connections for my students.

I get my 20-minute Spanish practice in daily when I drop my little one off at daycare. I have finally mastered the past tense and I'm able to say she slept? (it only took me a year!). I need to continue my bilingual efforts; I'm eager to boost my memory and cognition abilities! How about you?

Read On! And check out the links below--

Excerpts from- Bilinguals See the World in a Different Way, Study Suggests
And you don't need to be fluent in the language to feel the effects -- his research showed that it is language use, not proficiency, which makes the difference.

Most people tend to focus on how to do things such as order food or use public transport when they learn another language to help them get by, but this research has shown that there is a much deeper connection going on.

"As well as learning vocabulary and grammar you're also unconsciously learning a whole new way of seeing the world," said Dr Athanasopoulos. "There's an inextricable link between language, culture and cognition
Excerpts from- Exposure To Two Languages Carries Far-Reaching Benefits
"It's often assumed that individuals who've learned multiple languages simply have a natural aptitude for learning languages," said Viorica Marian, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders at Northwestern University. "While that is true in some cases, our research shows that the experience of becoming bilingual itself makes learning a new language easier."

And they believe the bilingual advantage is likely to generalize beyond word learning to other kinds of language learning, including learning new words in one's own language and a very basic ability to maintain verbal

1 comment:

  1. I love the quote that learning a new language means learning a new culture too. I am a Spanish and ELL teacher, and I can attest that your perspective really expands as you learn a new language.


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