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Learning second language 'slows brain ageing'

Learning second language 'slows brain ageing'
Image copyright Thinkstock Learning a second language can have a positive effect on the brain, even if it is taken up in adulthood, a University of Edinburgh study suggests. Researchers found that reading, verbal fluency and intelligence were improved in a study of 262 people tested either aged 11 or in their seventies. A previous study suggested that being bilingual could delay the onset of dementia by several years. The study is published in Annals of Neurology. The big question in this study was whether learning a new language improved cognitive functions or whether individuals with better cognitive abilities were more likely to become bilingual. Dr Thomas Bak, from the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said he believed he had found the answer. Using data from intelligence tests on 262 Edinburgh-born individuals at the age of 11, the study looked at how their cognitive abilities had changed when they were tested again in their seventies. Related:  School, learning and educationDaily logDLI

Number of English schools failing on GCSE targets doubles in a year The headline measure of school performance in England has plunged dramatically in the wake of changes to exam rules and league tables, according to official figures for school GCSE results published by the Department for Education. The impact of the changes, along with a slight fall in GCSE grades awarded last summer, saw a doubling in the number of schools that failed to reach the government’s floor target of 40% of pupils attaining five GCSE grades between A* and C, including passes in English and maths. The DfE figures published on Thursday show that 330 secondary schools in England were below the floor target, compared with just 154 last year and 195 in 2012. Nationally, schools saw 53% of their pupils pass the government’s measure, a steep fall from 59% last year. The fall was less-marked in state schools alone, dropping four percentage points to 57%. Independent school heads were unhappy with changes that saw some IGCSEs excluded.

Language learning makes the brain grow, Swedish study suggests -- ScienceDaily At the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy, young recruits learn a new language at a very fast pace. By measuring their brains before and after the language training, a group of researchers has had an almost unique opportunity to observe what happens to the brain when we learn a new language in a short period of time. At the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy in the city of Uppsala, young people with a flair for languages go from having no knowledge of a language such as Arabic, Russian or Dari to speaking it fluently in the space of 13 months. From morning to evening, weekdays and weekends, the recruits study at a pace unlike on any other language course. As a control group, the researchers used medicine and cognitive science students at Umeå University -- students who also study hard, but not languages. Both groups were given MRI scans before and after a three-month period of intensive study.

La voix de l'enseignant Vous est-il une fois arrivé de suivre un cours magistral et de vous dire : voici un bon prof ! Généralement, cette appréciation ne tient pas seulement au contenu du discours mais aussi à la communication verbale et non-verbale mise en oeuvre par le conférencier. On en parle peu mais un bon enseignant c'est celui qui sait bien utiliser sa voix et son corps pour faire passer un message. Ce diplômé du Conservatoire de Lyon et formateur permanent à l'IUFM (Institut universitaire de formation des maîtres) est aussi responsable d'une Unité d'enseignement à l'Université Lyon 1 intitulée : "Voix, corps et communication". Sur le site de Jean Duvillard, chaque sujet est traité par une série de vidéos plus ou moins courtes dans lesquelles il intervient lui-même ou fait intervenir d'autres spécialistes. La physiologie de la voixLa voix en actionLe corps en actionAspects psychologiquesEntretenir sa voix ? Référence Duvillard, Jean. Illustration : Sergey Nivens, Shutterstock.com

6 Multilingual Benefits That You Only Get If You Speak Another Language "If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world." Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein had plenty to say on the topic of being bilingual back in the early 20th century. Today, nearly 100 years later, it's safe to say the 'ole wordsmith would be proud. It's estimated that more than half of the world's population is bilingual, according to Psychology Today. That means about 3.5 billion people use more than one language to communicate every day. There are commonly held benefits attributed to these casual script swappers, most of them suggesting an increase in cognitive processing, focus and the ability to multi-task. You can understand and appreciate cultural references and nuances. Most works of art and popular culture are more honestly represented in their native language. Because sometimes, even little things like movie titles or song lyrics can get misinterpreted: Cuban singer Beny Moré, one of the classical greats -- Image via YouTube.com Image via Giphy

Foreign pupils don't harm grades of English speakers - Education News - Education - The Independent The findings will reassure parents concerned that their children could lose out by being in classes with non-native English speakers, who can take up more teaching time. Researchers found that pupils with English as their mother tongue who attended schools where many pupils spoke foreign languages did no worse in primary school tests and GCSEs than children who attended school where the majority spoke only English. On average, English as an additional language (EAL) pupils were behind aged five but had caught up by the age of 16 and were ahead in some areas such as GCSE maths. But the authors of the report, Professors Steve Strand and Victoria Murphy, warned the overall figures masked a huge range of results for pupils of different backgrounds. Speakers of Portuguese, Somali, Lingala and Lithuanian did badly at GCSEs but speakers of Russian and Spanish did well. The study also found a huge variation in the proportion of foreign language speakers in schools.

What happens in the brain when you learn a language? Learning a foreign language can increase the size of your brain. This is what Swedish scientists discovered when they used brain scans to monitor what happens when someone learns a second language. The study is part of a growing body of research using brain imaging technologies to better understand the cognitive benefits of language learning. Tools like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electrophysiology, among others, can now tell us not only whether we need knee surgery or have irregularities with our heartbeat, but reveal what is happening in our brains when we hear, understand and produce second languages. The Swedish MRI study showed that learning a foreign language has a visible effect on the brain. In other words, the areas of the brain that grew were linked to how easy the learners found languages, and brain development varied according to performance. Looking at functional MRI brain scans can also tell us what parts of the brain are active during a specific learning task.

Nine Do's and Don'ts for Cultivating Student Autonomy - Education Week Teacher Published Online: March 19, 2014 By Sandy Merz I'm on a quest to find how students learn best and what they need to know most—and every day I'm moving toward the conclusion that the sweet spot is student autonomy. Through reading, professional development, and classroom practice, I'm learning how to implement "Build Your Own Unit" projects. These projects are special because students are (mostly) in control of their own learning—they plan and create units that they themselves execute. My ideas about how and what students should learn have been influenced by a few different sources. How Autonomous Student Learning Works In my engineering class, students tell me what they're going to learn, how they're going to learn it, and how they're going to prove they learned it. In their unit plan, students have to explain how specific evidence in their final product will prove that they learned their unit's content. The Dos and Don'ts of Student Autonomy Do: Create intention and structure. Don't:

Is bilingual education worth bringing back? A lot has changed since 1998, when Proposition 227 all but wiped out bilingual instruction in California public schools. The matter is due for reconsideration; a bill that passed the state Senate last week would allow that to happen. SB 1174, by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would place a measure on the November 2016 ballot to repeal Proposition 227 and allow local school districts to decide whether they want to bring back bilingual education rather than continue with the current system, which aims to move students toward full-time English use as quickly as possible. Over the last 16 years, academic research has largely found that good bilingual programs are just as effective at teaching English skills, and often slightly better at it, than classes that immerse students in English. Along the way, they also teach students literacy in their native language. A third factor: The globalization of the economy means that bilingualism confers a significant advantage in the work world.

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