Bilinguals get all the perks. Better job prospects, a cognitive boost and even protection against dementia. Now new research shows that they can also view the world in different ways depending on the specific language they are operating in.
One fundamental question teacher cognition research needs to address clearly is ‘why is it important to understand what teachers know, believe, think and feel?’ Today it is not enough to study, for example, teacher beliefs, for their own sake – a more concrete reason is needed. And for this reason I am critical (see Borg 2015) of papers which increasingly describe teacher cognition without any ulterior purpose or sense of how such insights might be of value. It can often be, though, difficult to provide a convincing answer to the ‘why’ question above, so let’s consider some examples.
It’s obvious that knowing more than one language can make certain things easier — like traveling or watching movies without subtitles. But are there other advantages to having a bilingual (or multilingual) brain? Mia Nacamulli details the three types of bilingual brains and shows how knowing more than one language keeps your brain healthy, complex and actively engaged.
"Complexity can offer a way to look into the connections between three dichotomous pairs that come up often in the ELT literature:
grammar process & product: Complexity helps us to understand how grammatical regularities originate in language use, rather than from the top-down imposition of formal rules. Emergent regularities then become sedimented into patterns, through a process of ‘grammaring’, and it is these patterns that then constrain future use.lexis & grammar: This dichotomy has already been challenged by empirical work in corpus linguistics, which has raised awareness of lexico-grammatical phenomena. Lexico-grammar ranges from fixed phrases to semi-lexicalised patterns, and complexity theory can help to account for their use.learners & learning: Larsen-Freeman cites evidence from emprical research including her own, which have suggested that while learners share a common learning process, they also go through unique developmental trajectories. In this case too, complexity can help us understand how the trajectories interrelate with shared learning processes.
Larsen-Freeman concludes her talk by suggesting some implications of these insights for English Language Teaching."
Adriana Biedroń – Neurology of foreign language aptitude (doi:10.14746/ssllt.2014.5.1.2)
Yinxing Jin, Kees de Bot, Merel Keijzer – The anxiety-proficiency relationship and the stability of anxiety: The case of Chinese university learners of English and Japanese (doi:10.14746/ssllt.2014.5.1.3)
Zhongshe Lu, Meihua Liu – An investigation of Chinese university EFL learners’ foreign language reading anxiety, reading strategy use and reading comprehension performance (doi:10.14746/ssllt.2014.5.1.4)
Thomas Lockley – Promoting international posture through history as content and language integrated learning (CLIL) in a Japanese context (doi:10.14746/ssllt.2014.5.1.5)
Simone E. Pfenninger – MSL in the digital ages: Effects and effectiveness of computer-mediated intervention for FL learners with dyslexia (doi:10.14746/ssllt.2014.5.1.6)
Jan Vanhove – Analyzing randomized controlled interventions: Three notes for applied linguists (doi:10.14746/ssllt.2014.5.1.7)
François Pichette, Sébastien Béland, Shahab Jolani, Justyna Leśniewska – The handling of missing binary data in language research (doi:10.14746/ssllt.2014.5.1.8)
What does it mean to have learned something? What occurs within the individual as they are learning and what changes occur as a result of that learning? At some point in the teaching/learning cycle we need to ask this question and ponder our definition of learning and the consequences that follow from our conclusions.
Access the 25 most read Language and Linguitics articles free today! This collection brings together the 25 top read articles of 2014 from a variety of Routledge journals in the Language and Linguistics portfolio.
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