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Essay contributes to national study on foreign language learning

Penn State News – Kristie Auman-Bauer

“Society is becoming increasingly multilingual and more engaged around the globe — yet as many as 80 percent of Americans speak only one language, compared to 50 percent of Europeans over the age of 15 who can converse in a second language.
 To help address this issue, two Penn State researchers were recently commissioned to write an essay on the consequences of multilingualism…Kroll and Dussias’s essay, “What are the Benefits of Multilingualism to the Personal and Professional Development of Residents of this Country?” is the first to be posted on the commission’s website and dispels many of the criticisms of multilingualism in the U.S…recent research indicates multilingualism provides multiple benefits to individuals of all ages. “Young babies are not confused by hearing two or more languages and actually are more open to new learning languages,” Kroll reported. “Adult learners also have the ability to acquire a second language…Multilingualism changes the brain in positive ways across the lifespan.””(more)

Durango’s multitude of camps can combat ‘summer slide’

The Durango Herald – Ann Butler

“As the countdown reaches the final week to summer vacation, kids can only think of one thing: freedom. But too much freedom may mean a loss of learning over the summer. Called summer setback or “summer slide,” students who don’t keep challenging their brains over the long break will need from six weeks to three months after school restarts in August to bring their level of skills and knowledge back to where they were when school ended in June…“Staying on top of academic skills is kind of like working out,” said Darren Choppa, an English Language Learning and interventionist teacher at Riverview Elementary School. “It’s a lot easier to maintain your academic fitness than to try and start from scratch. The key to maintaining this academic fitness during the summer is to create short, daily learning opportunities for your kiddo.”…Being active and learning new sports and skills is also important in the summer…“Summer is a time to engage students in different types of learning, using different parts of their brain,” said Lynn Mather, chief academic officer for District 9-R. “Reading for pleasure, writing for pleasure, art projects, musical activities, engaging the mind through games and puzzles, physical and mental activities that stretch and use the brain all help to grow students’ brains when school is not in session and to prepare them for the upcoming school year.””(more)

Can Early Exposure To Music Be Key To Learning Second Language?

Puerto Vallarta Daily News – Christina Zhao

“Growing up in China, I started playing piano when I was nine years old and learning English when I was 12. Later, when I was a college student, it struck me how similar language and music are to each other. Language and music both require rhythm; otherwise they don’t make any sense. They’re also both built from smaller units – syllables and musical beats. And the process of mastering them is remarkably similar, including precise movements, repetitive practice and focused attention. I also noticed that my musician peers were particularly good at learning new languages. All of this made me wonder if music shapes how the brain perceives sounds other than musical notes. And if so, could learning music help us learn languages?”(more)

Mom’s voice activates many different regions in children’s brains

Stanford Medicine – Erin Digitale

“Children’s brains are far more engaged by their mother’s voice than by voices of women they do not know, a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine has found. Brain regions that respond more strongly to the mother’s voice extend beyond auditory areas to include those involved in emotion and reward processing, social functions, detection of what is personally relevant and face recognition. The study, which is the first to evaluate brain scans of children listening to their mothers’ voices, published online May 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The strength of connections between the brain regions activated by the voice of a child’s own mother predicted that child’s social communication abilities, the study also found.”(more)

Three Brain Teasers to Spur Logical Thinking and Collaboration

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“There are lots of ways to stretch student thinking and get them talking to each other about ideas. One fun way is through riddles that require inductive reasoning, critical thinking and hopefully some good collaboration around student ideas. The three brain teasers below created by TED-Ed have fun visuals and include an explanation at the end. All the videos also include lesson plan ideas to deepen the conversation and start discussion. In this first video about prisoners’ hats the problem set-up ends at 1:35, so stop the video there if you want kids to work on the problem before learning how to solve it.”(more)

New test for ‘growth mindset’, the theory that anyone who tries can succeed

The Guardian – Susanna Rustin

“Can watching short films featuring actors impersonating Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein improve your brainpower? Researchers working in 100 British primary schools will try to find out from September, thanks to a £290,000 grant from the Education Endowment Foundation to test whether instructing children aged 10 and 11 in “growth mindset”, an idea from American psychology, can improve results. “Growth mindset” is the name given by psychologist Carol Dweck to the idea that intelligence can develop, and that effort leads to success. Her influential research, which has been lapped up by thousands of teachers in the UK, divides people according to what Dweck calls implicit theories of intelligence. If we think talent or braininess is innate and something we cannot change, we have a “fixed mindset” (blamed by Dweck for the Enron scandal, among other ills). If we believe our performance at school and in life can be changed by our attitude, and particularly by how we cope with setbacks, we have a “growth mindset”. The British study, called Changing Mindsets, will test its effectiveness using videos and quizzes developed by education company Positive Edge in year 6 classrooms, while psychologists will train teachers for one day.”(more)