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5 languages that are hard to master, but will pay off forever

Business Insider – Amie Cain

“Just because learning languages can be a difficult process, doesn’t mean that you should just give up. Picking up another language can open so many doors in your personal and professional life. One 2015 Quora post titled “As a person with English as my first language, what would be the most useful foreign language that I could learn?” covered this topic quite extensively. Using Quora poster Sanda Golcea’s list of the most spoken languages in the world by native speakers and number of countries, here are five languages that might be a bit trickier for English speakers to master, but are definitely worth the effort:.”(more)

Bilingual brains have better attention and focus, study finds

Science Alert – DAVID NIELD

“Scientists have found another incentive for you to make the most of your foreign language class – a new study suggests that knowing more than one language can help boost our powers of attention and focus. Researchers in the UK found that bilinguals are better able to zero in on the task at hand than those who only know one language, and it sheds light on a long-standing debate over how language learning affects the brain. While the link between bilingualism and attention has been demonstrated before, it’s been unclear if learning an extra language can actually improve the brain’s ability to focus, rather than just helping it to block out distractions.”(more)

Becoming bilingual is crucial for USD students, Americans

The Volante Online – Dean Welte

“In a world that’s becoming more connected every day, it’s now more beneficial to learn another language —even in the English-heavy country of the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a record-breaking one in five Americans speak another language other than English in their household. This percentage is only expected to go up in the upcoming years, showing that the U.S. will become a more multilingual country. The most spoken language in the U.S. is Spanish, with the number of speakers at around 40 million. Knowing this statistic, speaking Spanish will be incredibly important and advantageous in the future.”(more)

New catalyst for bilingual education on November ballot

The Sacramento Bee – Loretta Kalb

“Bilingual teacher Liliana Martinez does not speak a word of English to her 27 kindergartners at the Thomas Edison Language Institute in Sacramento. She speaks Spanish. All the time. Even during recess. Eighteen years ago, over the span of a generation of schoolkids, California voters agreed to eliminate most public school instruction in languages other than English through Proposition 227. Since then, the desire by English-speaking families to immerse their children in foreign language instruction has grown, along with a push to revoke limits on non-English education. In November, California voters will have a chance to reverse parts of the 1998 law, possibly enabling an expansion of bilingual schools and classes. Proposition 58 would eliminate the need for waivers and allow districts to create new language programs in consultation with parents on behalf of 1.4 million English learners.”(more)

Study foreign languages to build better brain

News Oklahoma – Jennifer Graham

“Loading your brain with a foreign language or two appears to make you a better thinker, giving parents another reason to study French or Spanish along with their children each night. Researchers in Russian and Finland used electroencephalography, or EEG, to observe neural activity in 22 young adults who had attended Finland’s famed public schools, where children learn at least two foreign languages. In addition to Finnish, the participants spoke either English, Swedish, German, Latin, Danish or Greek, according to Catharine Paddock of Medical News Today.”(more)

Why games are elemental in a language classroom

The New Times – Christine Osae

“Traditional teachers hold a common perception that all learning should be serious and solemn in nature and that if one is having fun and there is hilarity and laughter, it is not really learning. However, the field of language teaching has seen a drastic change moving from the classic educational model, where teaching is deemed a ‘serious’ matter, to the most flexible and communicative approaches upon which contemporary methods are based. Subsequently, a funny, low anxiety atmosphere in the classroom has become a prerequisite to effective learning. One of the best ways of inducing this atmosphere is through games. Many experienced textbook and methodology manual writers have argued that games are not just time-filling activities but have a great educational value. For this reason, they should be treated as central, not peripheral to the foreign language teaching.”(more)