Saturday, December 3, 2016

6 Potential Brain Benefits Of Bilingual Education

Title: 6 Potential Brain Benefits Of Bilingual Education
Author: Anya Kamenetz
Publication: nprED
Date: 11/29/2016

Key Points: This article present research done by a Harvard professor, Gig Luk, on the brain benefits of bilingualism in children and education. She states that , "bilingualism is an experience that shapes our brain for a lifetime.”
 Dual-language teaching is a growing trends in public schooling is often called  two-way immersion programs. This idea and schools go against "English first" education that has been the focus for two decades, which has been been presented as a culture war. However, Luk findings show that People who speak two languages often outperform monolinguals on general measures of executive function. Bilingual people can pay more attention without being distracted, and better ability to switch from one task to another. Plus, they have better fundamental social and emotional skills.

Other positives of bilingualism include:
  • Higher test scores
  • Happier in school.
  • Attendance is better,
  • Behavioral problems fewer
  • Parent involvement higher
Plus, the research found no negative effects of bilingual education.
Relevance: Given the diversity of the students and the growing need for the future workforce to communicate to people around the world, this article is very relevant. In this global market we are also competing with countries that have been education their students for years. This might explain the higher test score by students in Europe.  The US many be very culturally diverse, but we are still very nationalist when it come to languages other than American English.


  1. I love the idea of Bilingual education! When I attended middle school in the Beaverton School district a while ago, my middle school offered a Spanish Immersion program which housed a majority of the Latinos in our school along with anyone who was interested in being a part of the program. My friends and I joined the program and had a wonderful experience. Core classes were still in English but there were extra classes that were taught entirely in Spanish. A few of the teacher on the team spoke Spanish which I could benefitted ELL learners. This program did not last in the middle school.

    While I think it is a wonderful idea, there are 101 different native languages spoken in the Beaverton School District. I read an article a while back about how some students in the Portland School District are receiving little attention and support because they cant find anyone who speaks their native language. I wonder what the advantages or disadvantages would be for kids who are in a dual language program where neither of the languages being used was there Native language.

  2. Salem-Keizer school district has a few program to help our Spanish speaking students. Some schools teach academics in Spanish with a percentage of it in English. Others are bilingual and teach in both languages. I can see some of these programs being beneficial for the students. Such as the suggestion that bilinguals outperform monolinguals. It was interesting to see the data about them being able to be more focused. I am interested to see how this is affected in bilingual students that have disabilities? I really like the concept that classrooms like these help with diversity. I think this is very important for us to teach our students. I can also see some negatives for students that are "newcomers" when it comes to the style of immersion, but this would be a case to case issue.

    Great article!


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