I thought I’d use today’s post to refer you to an article from the New York Times, which was passed on to me by a friend, touting the benefits of bilingualism . It talks about how learning a second language benefits the cognitive functions of the brain and prevents dementia later on in life. Being a former student of a Second Language Acquisition Graduate program, I found this article fascinating.
I find that as a teacher of French, I am constantly having to convince students of the value of learning a second language, and particularly the value of French here in Canada. Because French is an elective after grade 9 here in Ontario, we try hard to explain to students that French helps people get jobs and get higher paying jobs. I’ve heard just recently that it even helps people get accepted into university in some cases. It is a skill that can be used in many different areas, no matter what path they choose in life. We notice that we have a great deal of attrition in our courses, much of it due to the fact that there are usually conflicts with the Advanced Placement courses, and naturally, AP always wins… Another issue we’re trying to tackle is retaining boys in our classes. I only have three of them in my grade 11/12 class.
We do our best to motivate them and make our classes fun and interesting. I find that students want to see progress in their speaking skills most and this is why I try to incorporate authentic speaking activities, like the one I did yesterday as much as possible.
I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did. I think a copy may just end up on our bulletin board…