Friday, January 23, 2015

The bilingual "advantage"

The bilingual advantage is a theory (I guess, actually a hypothesis) that states that the brains of bilingual children develop differently.  Specifically, it suggests that multilingual children are better at task-switching (going from one kind of thinking activity to another) and executive function (the ability to manage higher-order thinking skills). 

A researcher analyzed the working drafts of 13 years of conference presentations and finds that this advantage might be over-stated. I read about it in the New Yorker.

I have always been of the opinion that the advantage of speaking another language is your ability to speak another language.  I'm not embarassed to say that I've talked about bilingual advantage (the neurological theory) to sell Spanish classes and other programs to decision-makers.  It seems I'll have to take this new research under consideration.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A brief note

On the subject of solving someone else's problems 
in order to 
Avoid working on my own

A friend posted this article stub on another social media site.  The central thesis is that putting recess before lunch time increases students' consumption of fruits and vegetables by 50%, and it does it by increasing the number of students who eat them by 45%.  This is important because it means the kid who normally eats a banana isn't all of a sudden eating 3 of them. 

This led me to wonder why every school doesn't do it, so I asked my friend.  She said that in her school, students spend so long in line that they don't really have time to eat AND play.  One of her friends said that in another school, recess IS before lunch, but the total time is 30 minutes.  This makes it sublimely difficult to eat enough food.

I started thinking about lines then, and how one might speed up the movement of lines full of kindergarteners.  A quick Google search--"how to speed up lines"--mostly led to solutions dealing with writing concise computer code.  Changing the word "lines" to "queues" meant the results were all about networking.

It was about this time I realized that I was doing this as a deliberate strategy to avoid thinking about my own classroom management difficulties.  So, in order to stop procrastinating, I wrote a blog post.