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Why Children Learn Foreign Languages So Easily?

Brain Blogger – Viatcheslav Wlassoff, PhD

“Many researchers believe that learning foreign language before the puberty and even better earlier allows children to speak more fluently, almost like native speakers. In addition, learning more than one language at early age improves lifelong ability to communicate with others and contributes to cognitive development and cultural awareness. Many studies suggest that the best time to introduce a foreign language is before the age of ten. At this early stage of life language is learned and acquired faster, retained better, and spoken with exceptional pronunciation. It is widely accepted that the younger the learners, the more successful they are at imitating new sounds.” (more)

Back-and-forth exchanges boost children’s brain response to language

Medical X-Press – Anne Trafton

“A landmark 1995 study found that children from higher-income families hear about 30 million more words during their first three years of life than children from lower-income families. This “30-million-word gap” correlates with significant differences in tests of vocabulary, language development, and reading comprehension. MIT cognitive scientists have now found that conversation between an adult and a child appears to change the child’s brain, and that this back-and-forth conversation is actually more critical to language development than the word gap.” (more)

The Gap Between The Science On Kids And Reading, And How It Is Taught

NPR – Claudio Sanchez

“Mark Seidenberg is not the first researcher to reach the stunning conclusion that only a third of the nation’s schoolchildren read at grade level. The reasons are numerous, but one that Seidenberg cites over and over again is this: The way kids are taught to read in school is disconnected from the latest research, namely how language and speech actually develop in a child’s brain.” (more)

The Rhetorical Analysis of Poetry

Edutopia – Jori Krulder

“Poetry is not a given in AP Language and Composition—in fact, some teachers use only nonfiction texts because a major focus of the class is rhetorical analysis. But rhetoric is everywhere, and its compact form and concentrated language make poetry a particularly effective vehicle for introducing students to rhetorical analysis.” (more)

Two languages are better than one: the benefits of bilingualism

Student Newspaper – Sara Konradi

“Dr Thomas Bak is a reader at the University of Edinburgh School of Philosophy, Psychology and Languages Sciences. He is an expert in cognitive neuroscience, particularly in relation to language and cognition. On 7 December 2017, he discussed the cognitive benefits of learning more than one language. Having spent the first 20 years of his career studying how brain diseases influence brain function, the cognitive neuroscientist developed his research interest in second language learning “relatively late”. Dr Bak reached a turning point in 2007, after discovering Bialystok and colleague’s work on bilinguals showing dementia symptoms four years later than monolinguals. “Even today, no drug produces the same effect,” he remarked.” (more)

Secret Teacher: subjects like art are being sidelined – but they matter

The Guardian – Secret Teacher

“According to the primary national curriculum, we should be teaching children to become “proficient in drawing”. So what’s going on? When I share my observations with the key stage 2 leader, she shakes her head. “There just aren’t enough hours in the day,” she says. And that’s the end of that. It’s not just art. Music is sidelined too, as are languages. Children are removed from French lessons for extra reading and writing interventions; school productions are shelved due to lack of practice time; opportunities for drama are reduced to the odd English lesson.” (more)