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Mastery over Multiple Languages can be Fruitful for Kids: Study

Bilingual kids attain cognitive and perceptional benefits
Bilingual children have superior emotional and cerebral control than monolingual peers. Pixabay
  • It has been found that bilingual children have superior emotional and cerebral control than monolingual peers
  • Apart from the cognitive wealth, bilingual kids also attain perceptual benefit while transforming speaker’s voice
  • The skill of perceiving knowledge about the speaker enhances with the age

US, June 13, 2017: Speaking multiple languages has always been a benison for a person. In this globalized era, besides gaining economic advantages and earning jobs for themselves, linguistic qualifications have served the people in many other ways as well.

According to a study, from the very early years of life, speaking different lines has proved to be fruitful. It has been found that bilingual children have superior emotional and cerebral control than monolingual peers which helps them to concentrate and reflect on things in the better manner. It also enhances their skills in identifying different voices.

According to ANI report, researchers have been engaged in a study which reveals that bilingual kids may derive experience from hearing to differentiated accented speeches securing a better knowledge and wider social perception. This helps them in recognizing several languages.

Apart from the cognitive wealth, bilingual kids also attain perceptual benefit while transforming speaker’s voice. Susannah Levi from the New York University states that the perceptional advantage resides in the heart of the vocal understanding. The aim is not to process the linguistic orientation but to unfold the speaker’s information. Levi stresses on the fact that speech carries with it the details of the message being conveyed and information about the speaker.

An examination was carried out to test the validity of the benefits of bilingualism in kids. 41 kids were selected which included 19 bilingual children and 22 monolingual English speakers. They were further categorized according to their age groups: below nine years and above ten years.

It was found that the latter age group performed better than the former group which proves the fact that the skill of perceiving knowledge about the speaker enhances with the age. Children who held fluency in speaking English and German also performed better than their monolingual friends in identifying and transforming voices as per suggested by Levi. Bilingual children not only recognized the discriminating voices but were also capable of learning different languages faster than the other group of children.

According to Levi, the study was ideal to examine the advantages of speaking multiple languages as it compared the children on the basis of both, a familiar language and an unfamiliar language to all the participants.

– prepared by Himanshi Goyal of Newsgram, Twitter: @himanshi1104


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Think, Solve and Learn: Children use Math and Science Knowledge to Solve One-Minute Mysteries

The authors are trying to provide a resource for dual-language education

Students at Mundo Verde bi-lingual school work on solving a mystery with teacher David Levin. VOA

It’s a typical situation. A mother has to run an errand and leaves a note for her kids telling them to help themselves to lunch. There are eggs in the refrigerator, it says; but, some are hard-boiled and others are raw…and they look the same. How can the kids tell which is which without cracking them open?

The students in the fifth-grade science class at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. have to think scientifically to solve the mystery. Samadhi says she had to try more than one idea to differentiate between the eggs.

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“It was kind of difficult, but it was fun too,” she explains. “You get to do things yourself. You need to try new things, you don’t have to do what the teacher tells you. You get to try stuff that you think might work for what you’re doing.”

Samadhi discovered that spinning the eggs solved the mystery. Raw eggs spin more slowly than hard-boiled ones because the liquid inside slows them down.

Think, solve and learn

This puzzler – The Eggcellent Idea – is one of 65 in the “One Minute Mysteries” educational series. Each mystery takes about a minute and half to read and requires students to solve it using their math and science knowledge. Mundo Verde teacher Karen Geating Rivera notes that the series was created by Eric and Natalie Yoder, a father-daughter pair. “And when they were first written, the daughter was still a middle schooler. So it’s not just written for children, but it was actually written in part by the child herself.”

“Every single mystery is written with characters that are children, and children that are facing real world situation that they need to solve using their background knowledge on math and science,” she explains. “So they’re not expected to have a bunch of formulas in their head that they already know. It’s just things that happen every day and that you just think from a scientific or mathematical perspective to resolve.”

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Science teacher David Levin says the mysteries get the children excited. “If they enjoy what they’re doing, they will learn. That’s my philosophy. I like having the opportunity of having them in small groups, sharing their ideas, feeling the experiment in their hands.”

Kids have also to discuss the facts among each other before declaring the answer. Ten-year-old Dante finds these group discussions useful. “You might come to an agreement,” he says. “You might come to disagreement. But sometimes once you share your opinions, you can find out which one is the right response and which one isn’t.”

Creating learning opportunities

The latest addition to the series is bilingual: English and Spanish. The authors are trying to provide a resource for dual-language education, which is a growing trend in many schools around the country, including Mundo Verde. School instructional guide, Berenice Pernalete says having bilingual instructions helps the students who come from different backgrounds. “I think that for a language immersion school, one of the things that teachers do in order to foster engagement in students and to be really creative is that they have shared experiences.”

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Teacher Karen Geating Rivera says bringing the mysteries into the classroom allows her students to develop several skills at the same time, and learn from each other. “The kids who don’t speak Spanish at home, and who are learning Spanish as a second or maybe a third language are able to hear the native speakers in a natural, authentic setting and start picking up some of that language and vice versa,” she says. “The fact that they are leaving the classroom still talking about what we’ve done tells me that I really made it an authentic experience, something that they can walk out and continue using in real life.”

The “One Minute Mysteries” series, she says, is another tool to keep her students engaged and foster their math, science and bilingual skills. (VOA)