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 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S COLUMN

The Principles That Unite US
NABE
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43rd Annual NABE Conference — Feb. 12-15
NABE
Sailing into the 21st Century: Multiple Languages. Multiple Paths. Lifelong Advantages.

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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  kinderKALENDARS®: Playful, elegant, educational, relevant

One-of-a-kind bilingual calendars for children that teach animals, colors, numbers, and basic phrases every day. Calendars feature innovative packaging, vocabulary ‘recap’ pages, and pronunciation guides. Perfect for classrooms, administrative offices, and home use. Chinese, French, Italian, Korean, and Spanish editions (all with English). kinderKALENDARS®: products for bilingual kids that speak to everyone.
 


 INDUSTRY NEWS


Research: Bilinguals have higher level of mental flexibility
The Huffington Post
The evidence keeps pouring in that bilingualism is good for you. Bilinguals with the ability to switch languages seamlessly have likely developed a higher level of mental flexibility than people who only speak one language, researchers at Penn State said in a press statement. "In the past, bilinguals were looked down upon," Professor of Psychology, Linguistics and Women's Studies Judith F. Kroll said in a press statement. "Not only is bilingualism not bad for you, it may be really good. When you're switching languages all the time it strengthens your mental muscle and your executive function becomes enhanced."
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The importance of responsive interactions for language learning
Medical News Today
Young children readily learn words from their parents, grandparents and child care providers in live conversations, but learning from video has proven more difficult. A new study questioned why and found that it's the responsiveness of the interactions that's key: When we respond to children in timely and meaningful ways, they learn — even when that response comes from a screen. The study, by researchers at the University of Washington, Temple University and the University of Delaware, appears in the journal Child Development.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  Soy bilingüe. Soy listo. Estoy listo.

More and more kids are becoming fluent for life thanks to Imagine Learning Español, an educational software solution that helps pre-K and kindergarten students increase Spanish language and literacy proficiency. To get a better look at the program—and how it's helping young learners build a stronger foundation—click here.
 


PARCC's common math tests to be translated into Spanish
Education Week
The common math assessments under development by PARCC will be translated into Spanish and possibly other languages, but whether English language learners will have access to non-English versions will depend on which state they live in. The governing board of PARCC — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — unanimously approved a policy that will allow test designers to have the math assessment translated into Spanish and other languages that member states need. Several states in PARCC have laws and regulations that forbid the use of languages other than English to test students.
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Is the English language learning program working in BTV schools?
WCAX-TV
Parents gathered in the cafeteria at the Sustainabilty Academy, patiently waiting to find out how effective the English language learner program has been in their child's classroom, and how the Burlington School District plans to make it better. Linda Walsleben is the director for the English language learner program and said, "Teachers are teaching English as a second language or English as an additional language and students have to learn English as well as content in our schools so it's a big challenge for everyone."
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Research: Bilinguals have higher level of mental flexibility
The Huffington Post
The evidence keeps pouring in that bilingualism is good for you. Bilinguals with the ability to switch languages seamlessly have likely developed a higher level of mental flexibility than people who only speak one language, researchers at Penn State said Tuesday in a press statement.

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Bilingual speakers develop mental flexibility
PsychCentral
Researchers are learning that the benefits of being bilingual extend well beyond enhanced communication capabilities. Penn State researchers discovered that as bilingual speakers learn to switch languages seamlessly, they develop a higher level of mental flexibility.

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Learning a new language alters brain development
McGill University via Science Daily
The age at which children learn a second language can have a significant bearing on the structure of their adult brain, according to a new joint study by the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital — The Neuro at McGill University and Oxford University.

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How to understand the deep structures of language
Scientific American
There are two striking features of language that any scientific theory of this quintessentially human behavior must account for. The first is that we do not all speak the same language. This would be a shocking observation were it not so commonplace. Communication systems and other animals tend to be universal, with any animal of the species able to communicate with any other. Likewise, many other fundamental human attributes show much less variation. Barring genetic or environmental mishap, we all have two eyes, one mouth, and four limbs. Around the world, we cry when we are sad, smile when we are happy, and laugh when something is funny, but the languages we use to describe this are different.
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Heritage language programs on the rise
The Associated Press via NPR
Dorothy Villarreal grew up dreaming in Spanish, first in Mexico and later in South Texas, where her family moved when she was six. She excelled in school — in English. But at home life was in Spanish, from the long afternoon chats with her grandparents to the Spanish-language version of Barbie magazines she eagerly awaited each month. She figured she was fluent in both languages. Then the Harvard University junior spent last summer studying in Mexico and realized just how big the gaps in her Spanish were.
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Moving to the rhythm 'can help language skills'
BBC News
Moving in time to a steady beat is closely linked to better language skills, a study suggests. People who performed better on rhythmic tests also showed enhanced neural responses to speech sounds. The researchers suggest that practicing music could improve other skills, particularly reading. In the Journal of Neuroscience, the authors argue that rhythm is an integral part of language.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Working memory in English language development (By Beth Crumpler)
Benefits of being bilingual: Why we should learn a second language (Voxxi)
In fast-growing ELL states, what does spending look like? (Education Week)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


Making conversation stick
Language Magazine
Do you think teaching a conversation course is easy? Do you imagine that you can walk into class and just start talking? If you do, you might be surprised to find out that teaching a conversation course in any language, whether it is your first, second or third, can be challenging for a variety of reasons. For starters, having to teach such a course within the confines of an actual classroom can feel artificial. As a result, creating a comfortable environment conducive to oral interaction among learners can be difficult. Instructors also face the task of implementing structure in such courses, not only for themselves but for their students as well. Unlike content classes, for example, conversation courses require little to no lecturing as they are — or should be — highly student centered and interactive.
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What does the possible government shutdown mean for schools?
Education Week
Brokedown Congress appears likely to spend the weekend attempting to keep the government from shutting down and the U.S. from defaulting on its debt. The sticking point this time isn't schools. Instead, education is getting caught in the crosshairs. Republicans want to defund, or at least delay implementation of, the president's landmark health care overhaul law (the Affordable Care Act to its fans and "ObamaCare" to its critics).
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