An interesting article on the benefits of being bilingual. Besides being able to talk to more folks – it makes you smarter and your brain more resilient, according to recent studies. Article (in the NYT) here: The Benefits of Bilingualism – NYTimes.com.
Allow me to pair this with a new report out from the Council on Foreign Relations that argues that the U.S.’s failing public education system represents a real and present threat to our national security. Among the problems, CFR says, is that – despite being a nation of immigrants – 80% of U.S. residents are monolingual, with the teaching of foreign language decreasing, rather than increasing across the country. Huh? The story is here (with a link to the full report).
The angle for Belmont…umm…where do we start? How about starting foreign language instruction in the elementary grades? Increasing the percentage of bilingual educators in the system to facilitate that goal, providing immersion options for parents who are interested in a more comprehensive approach to second language learning. It strikes me that the way Belmont teaches foreign languages today is pretty much how my school district taught them in the 1980s – despite the fact that we’re living in a global economy and we’ve learned so much more about the benefits of early language instruction!!