RSI Corporate - Licensing

The key to learning a new skill? Wanting it badly enough

The Guardian – Matthew Youlden

“Imagine I gave you a book full of words, numbers and strange symbols – 150-odd pages of the stuff. Some of the things relate to each other in obvious ways, others not so much. Now suppose I’m going to test you: 50 questions about the contents of that book, how do you think you’d do? Well, if you can drive a car, chances are you’ve already done very well: those of you who passed the theory test recently will have got at least 43 out of 50 questions correct. That’s just one everyday example of the average person’s capacity to learn something that appears complex at first. Despite recently making the questions tougher, the DVLA still reports that the test has a pass rate above 50%.”(more)

Learning a language can boost mental agility in just one week

CTV News – Staff Writer

” A new study has found that just one-week of an intensive language learning course is enough to boost students’ attention spans. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh compared a group of 33 students aged 18 and 78, who were taking part in a one-week Scottish Gaelic course, with 16 other students who were taking part in a comparable course, but not learning a language. Their attention levels were measured using listening tests, which assessed each participant’s ability to concentrate on certain sounds and switch their attention to focus on relevant information.”(more)

Instilling success through languages

KPNX – JR Cardenas & Christopher Latella

“If Spanish is considered, by some, to be the language of the Gods, then Mandarin may very well be the language of the future. At Arizona Language Preparatory, in Northeast Phoenix, students are taught both Spanish and Mandarin alongside English. Arizona Language Preparatory is a charter school with the aim of helping their students achieve their fullest potential through an immersion in a trilingual education…”There’s a lot of scientific evidence out there that learning a different language also enhances your learning in other areas,” Michael Girety, a parent with three children in the school, said. “…they’ve taken state testing, and all of that, and their state testing scores exceeded the average, despite the fact that they spend a majority of their time learning other languages.””(more)

Bilingual battle brewing in California…again

The Hechinger Report – Lillian Mongeau

“Teaching academic subjects in Spanish, or any foreign language, has been widely understood to be illegal in California since 1998. Proposition 227 appeared on the June ballot that year, offering voters a chance to weigh in on whether or not students should be taught primarily in English in public schools. While opponents saw the measure as racist, it was loudly championed by Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley millionaire with political aspirations, as the best way to integrate the state’s booming immigrant population. Unz’s argument won the day. Proposition 227 was voted into law with 61 percent of the vote. Now part of California’s extensive education code, the law holds that “all children in California public schools shall be taught English by being taught in English.” For the most part, that has been interpreted as: Don’t teach in Spanish.”(more)

5 Ways To Improve Your Language Learning

The Huffington Post – Steve Kaufmann

“Good language learners notice what is happening in a language. They notice the sounds, the structure and the vocabulary of the language. They notice as they listen and read. They notice when they use the language. How can we train ourselves in the ability to notice in order to become good language learners? Language teaching methods too often try to force learners to notice based on explanations of grammar, drills, and other exercises and class activities. I find these approaches intrusive and stressful. I do not easily understand many of the explanations, find it difficult to remember rules and tables, and do not like to have to reproduce all of this in drills, tests, or “role-playing” or “task-based” exercises imposed in class.”(more)

Language Learning in the UK: Let’s Make Sure We’re Not Lost for Words

The Huffington Post – Vicky Gough

“Released today, this year’s Language Trends Survey – from the British Council and Education Development Trust – sees teachers expressing ‘deep concerns’ about the current state of languages in schools in England. While there does appear to be some good progress in primary schools – including welcome investment in specialist language expertise – things are proving more challenging at secondary level. The exams system, in particular, is flagged as a major concern and the uptake of languages remains low compared to other subjects – last year, for example, the number of pupils taking a languages GCSE was around half the number of those taking one in maths.”(more)