Benefits of Bilingualism

Brilliant post that explains some of the benefits of bilingualism. They include;

1. A conscious approach can help you clean up your writing and your speech and help you communicate more clearly.

2. Bilingual individuals can pick out a speaker’s voice easier

3. Develop creativity because learning a second language improved speakers’ planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory, three pillars on which creativity is built.

4. Patients who spoke more than one language had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years after their monolingual counterparts.

and finally

5. Make smarter decisions as people thinking in a foreign language were more likely to consider a question more slowly and analytically than in their native language 

Really interesting thanks to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-roitman/why-it-makes-more-sense-t_b_3435076.html for this story.

Recent research suggests that learning a new language, at any age, not only will enhance your next vacation or better prepare you for an upcoming business trip, it can also make you a better listener, boost your creativity, spur brain growth, and for some people, even delay Alzheimer’s.

Each of these benefits stems from the various ways that language learning improves your brain’s ability to focus. Learning a language physically changes your mind, ultimately making you a stronger, more creative thinker. Here are five reasons why you should start learning a foreign language right now:

1. To improve your communication skills. The key here is consciousness. While most of us rarely think about the grammatical structures of our native tongue, learning a second language brings them into stark relief. When attempting to write or speak in a second language, you suddenly have to focus more on the order of words, your verb tenses, and parts of speech. And in recognizing how sentences are constructed in a second language, you can become more aware of how they’re arranged in your first language. That more conscious approach can help you clean up your writing and your speech and help you communicate more clearly.

2. To become a better listener. A study at Northwestern University showed that bilingual individuals could better pick out a speaker’s voice amidst distracting noises. This superior “attention, inhibition, and encoding of sound,” as the researchers put it, can help you better focus on what a client, boss, or employee is saying. The ability to listen closely is a valuable skill that can translate into a real dollar value. Look at IKEA, which attributes its record 2012 revenues and growing appeal in part to its ability to listen to customers and then respond accordingly.

3. To boost your creativity. Every time you speak a second language is an exercise in creativity. While words in your native language might string themselves together naturally, requiring little effort on your part, constructing sentences and meaning in a second language often requires more conscious thought. A study published last year found that learning a foreign language enhanced people’s fluency, elaboration, originality, and flexibility, the four scales measured by the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. Researchers concluded that learning a second language improved speakers’ planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory, three pillars on which creativity is built.

4. To sharpen your mind. Learning a second language can beef up your brain’s executive control center — the hub that helps manage your cognitive processes. A second language offers a strong exercise regimen for the executive control center, ultimately making it more efficient. Bilingualism can keep this center strong even as you age. In a study of 24 million dementia patients worldwide, many of whom also had Alzheimer’s, researchers found that the patients who spoke more than one language had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years after their monolingual counterparts.

5. To make smarter decisions. A study completed last year showed that people thinking in a foreign language were more likely to consider a question more slowly and analytically than in their native language. It seems that thinking in your native tongue is often associated with breezy, emotional decision-making that reveals natural biases. But when considering the same problem in a non-native tongue, subjects in the study demonstrated “enhanced deliberation” based more on cold hard logic. So the next time you have to make a big decision, you might get a better outcome if you consider it in a language other than your own.

As a language learner, you’ll not only become a more conscious thinker and listener who can communicate clearly and think creatively, but you’ll also gain the most significant benefit of multilingualism: a broader, more global perspective. Each of the five benefits outlined above show that learning another language really does reshape the way we think, helping us better empathize and communicate with customers, partners, and employees by adopting, through language, a new way to see the world.

Science report KS2 and 3 Wales

Just in… Estyn have shared their information giving recommendations on what Science lessons should look like and the responsibilities of the appropriate parties. All good information which confirms that those who have English as their second language should also be challenged and given scientific experiences.

Summary

The report has a context in the Welsh Government’s vision for scientific research, science teaching and the commercialisation of research set out in the Welsh Government document ‘Science for Wales – A strategic agenda for science and innovation in Wales’.

This report also provides evidence for the Welsh Government in relation to a recommendation from the Enterprise and Learning Committee’s report on science, technology, engineering and mathematics: ‘We recommend that the Welsh Assembly Government should carry out a study of why science in primary schools may be experiencing a decline and should explore with Estyn how best to assess science performance in the future.’

Recommendations

Primary and secondary schools should:
provide challenging science opportunities to stretch all pupils, particularly the more able, and eliminate tasks that are too easy;
provide more opportunities for pupils to pursue their own scientific interests;
ensure that assessment and marking practices provide pupils with meaningful advice on how to improve their scientific understanding and skills; and
work with other schools to share effective approaches to teaching and assessing science.

In addition, primary schools should:
make sure that pupils are taught science for at least two hours a week; and
provide training for teachers with weak science subject knowledge.

In addition, secondary schools should:
plan to use a wider range of numeracy skills in science lessons.

Local authorities should:
provide more professional development, support and advice to schools on science teaching and learning; and
support schools to share best practice in science education.

The Welsh Government should:
improve the reliability and validity of teacher assessment by reviewing assessment criteria and introducing an element of external moderation; and
review the National Curriculum subject orders for science to include essential content.

Best practice case studies

You can read the following examples of best practice in the main body of the report:
Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School, Neath Port Talbot
Pontarddulais Primary School, Swansea
Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Gartholwg, Rhondda Cynon Taff
Darland High School, Wrexham

Science lesson taught in French

Here is news that Chelmer Valley high school taught a science lessons about rockets in french.  Well Done.  Have you taught your subject through another language?

See more here:

This week Year 7 students have been treated to demonstrations of different types of propelled “rockets”, with a twist! The MFL and Science departments joined together again to show the importance of languages within a scientific setting.

The session began with the Ariane rocket countdown carried out in French. Mrs Hammoudi, ably assisted by Mr Harper, then went onto introduce vocabulary in French for students to carry out their own experiments involving “un conteneur en plastique, un chronometre, un alka seltzer, des lunettes de protection et de l’eau”. Instructions were given in French and … up the rockets went!

Students created their own rockets for Mr Harper to “fire”, pumped up water rockets dodging the showers with Mr Smart and Mr Watts, and worked on making helicopters with Mrs Gold.

A good time was had by all and we are looking forward to even bigger and better next year!

http://www.chelmervalleyhighschool.co.uk/news/?pid=4&nid=3&storyid=32

UNESCO advocate bilingual books – Cambodia

It is great to see that The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have developed a bilingual handbook for Cambodian Journalists.

UNESCO felt that the Khmer and English guide-book was important to highlight the general concept of food security and nutrition in simple language for journalist and policy makers to understand.

This is really interesting because when UNESCO has something really important to make sure everyone understands equally they have used both languages which is something I have always advocated whilst teaching particularly in relation to new arrivals, English as Additional Learners and their parents in schools, or at the various housing or benefits offices or new arrival information places.

The rest of the article can be seen below:

http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v6/newsindex.php?id=675566

PHNOM PENH, June 25 (Bernama) — The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has released a bilingual handbook teaching Cambodian journalists how to report news relevant to food security and nutrition.
Xinhua news agency reports the Khmer and English guidebook highlights the general concept of food security and nutrition in simple language for journalists and policy makers to understand.
“The handbook will serve as an essential tool to help guide and enhance the journalists’ knowledge for accurate reporting and advocating issues such as child mortality, children and women’s health, nutrition and food security,” said Cambodia UNESCO director Anne Lemaistre at the book’s launching.
“It will allow policy makers to access a wide variety of resources and information to guide them on key issues and to lead them to important information sources,” Lemaistre said.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said the handbook will contribute towards helping Cambodia achieve the Millennium Development Goals in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

 

http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v6/newsindex.php?id=675566

Draft Primary National Curriculum link – UK

Further to the last blog here are the direct links to the Draft National Curriculums.

English:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/nationalcurriculum/a00210036/sosletter

Maths

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/p/draft%20national%20curriculum%20for%20mathematics%20key%20stages%201%202%20primary%20%20%20%2011%20june%202012.pdf

Science

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/d/draft%20national%20curriculum%20for%20science%20key%20stages%201%202%20primary%20%20%20%2011%20june%202012.pdf

Benefits of being Bilingual – USA

An indepth scientific study into bilingualism which ends with the following conclusion. There is one very important advantage of learning other languages that I think beats any gains in cognitive control or delays in the onset of dementia. When you learn other languages you can then actually speak those languages, read those literatures, talk to new people in their native language, eaves-drop on their conversations on the bus, order off the menu, pick up that gorgeous stranger in the piazza.

In a recent paper published in Psychological Science, a team of psychologists led by Boaz Keysar at the University of Chicago found that forcing people to rely on a second language systematically reduced human biases, allowing the subjects to escape from the usual blind spots of cognition. In a sense, they were better able to think without style.

Read more at:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/05/the-benefits-of-being-bilingual/