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The Bilingual Mind

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					The Bilingual Mind
        By
  Elsa Becerril
To talk about the bilingual mind is to address a topic that has become more popular with

time. As a country with a very diverse society, is very important to be informed and

conscious about the many different languages one can encounter in every day situations

such as the job place and schools. More and more people are aware of the advantages of

having more than one language and the benefits that come with it. The bilingual mind is a

topic full of information and research available to be read. As a future bilingual teacher, I

strongly believe this topic has a lot of useful information to help me become an informed

professional.
Is bilingualism an advantage? The advantages that bilingual students show over

monolingual students are supported by over 150 research studies performed since the

1960’s. Metalinguistic awareness and cognitive flexibility are two of the advantage areas

of bilingual students. The studies show that knowing two languages make it easier for

students to learn a new language and bilingual people become more analytical when

facing a problem or situation.

       In this article we can clearly see the answer to its title. After reading this article I

can definitely see the advantages of being a bilingual person. The more than 150 research

studies performed are a clear statement of the many positive outcomes a bilingual person

shows. Having this information can help us understand how a bilingual person learns and

reacts to situations as well as the importance of learning a new language to acquire some

of the advantages a bilingual mind enjoys. This is great article that provides facts to

appreciate the bilingual mind.
The Transfer of Skills from Spanish to English: A Study of Young Learners. This is

a study conducted to evaluate if the skills learned in a first language can be transferred

when trying to learn a new language. The study included students who had received

reading instruction in Spanish only, students who received targeted instruction in

phonological awareness, orthographic and comprehension skills, third, children instructed

in reading since kindergarten and fourth students with Spanish background who received

English only reading instruction parallel to the Spanish one. The study included 151

students in three different locations: Boston, El Paso, and Chicago. Preliminary analyses

indicate that previous knowledge in the first language can be transferred when learning a

new language. This supports the idea of providing literacy material in the first language

to help them acquire skills to use in English.

       I find this article very interesting because it gives a detailed picture of how the

study is conducted as well as the targeted areas to test. I think the study is well organized

as it includes different groups of Spanish readers as well as different areas to test for a

reasonable time period. The study is to be continued and I strongly believe that many

students can benefit from this research. As a Bilingual person, I am exited about the new

findings this research will produce as well as the much needed support for bilingual

students. I believe that skills learned in the first language can be transferred when

learning a new language. The advantage of knowing the alphabet, how sentences are

formed, and how to approach a reading are advantages one can use when trying to read in

another language.
Using Two Languages When Learning Mathematics. Two of the main points in this

article are the views of psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics when using two languages

to learn mathematics. Psycholinguistics uses experimental settings to see how

mathematics is learned by a bilingual person, while sociolinguistics use a more natural

setting. Something important to consider is that in the U.S. bilingualism is not always

consider a good thing, in fact Spanish is not considered a high status second language.

Another important thing to consider is that at one point there was the term semilingualism

to describe a person not equally fluent in the two languages. This term was later

discarded because it lacked proof. The psycholinguistic research reports that bilingual

adults do have a language preference when solving mathematics, this is called language

switching. As for the sociolinguistic approach, it shows that code switching is used by a

bilingual person to feel more comfortable and use repetition when trying to address a

specific topic or mathematical issues. Code switching can not be seeing as

semilingualism as it lacks evidence.

        As I started reading this article I got confused with the terms being used, and the

points that the article was trying to point but as I read more into it, it started to make

sense on the importance on how the bilingual mind uses different methods when learning

and applying concepts. One might think that math is a subject that has only one way to

solutions, but this article points at key areas where different methods were used to solve

the same equations. The article was interesting but I feel there is much more research to

be done to have a more clear understanding on how the bilingual mind relates to

mathematics.
BICSCALP Clarify Cummins 70. The terms BICS (basic interpersonal communicative

skills) and CALP (cognitive academic language proficiency) are used in this article to

differentiate between two important aspects of language acquisition. The two main points

of this article are that basic communicative skills can be acquired in about two years and

is used socially, while Academic language proficiency requires of a longer period of

about (5-10) years. This information is very important because language proficiency is

highly related to academic failure of bilingual students that were allowed to exit the

bilingual or ESL program before they were ready. This article talks about the importance

of both the BICS and CALP to be academically successful. Teachers need to know the

difference between these terms as well as the importance of each in order to be able to

help students reach their full potential academically and have a prosperous bilingual or

ESL program at the same time.

       This article provided interesting information that can be very useful as a future

bilingual teacher; the mistakes that can be made without information like this are serious

and can affect a child for life. The terms used in this article are new to me and grabbed

my attention as soon as I started reading it; it explains the differences between the terms

BICS and CALP in a very simple way but clear manner. I like this article because is

short, easy to understand and informative at the same time. With this article I realized

that the bilingual mind has many advantages, but it also has many more challenges to

overcome and goals to reach while using two different languages.
The Cognitive Advantages of Balanced Bilingualism Raising children as bilingual

individuals has being a political issue over the past decades. Many of the myths

concerning bilingualism as a bad thing such as loosing one language while trying to learn

a new one, or not being able to learn the same word in two different languages have

influenced acts such as the English only instruction for ESL learners in the state of

California. Many of these myths have been dispelled by research showing the many

benefits a bilingual person acquires with time. Cognitive abilities among other abilities

are enhanced by bilingualism according to research. Another important point to address is

the analytical view the bilingual person acquires when trying to understand which

language to use and the correct way to use it depending the occasion. While controversy

and disagreement will continue, research and studies prove the advantages of the

bilingual mind in many different aspects.

       This article approaches the many myths and controversies of the bilingual mind

with research and facts about the many benefits associated with bilingualism. It is

important for government to continue investing in this type of research as it provides

facts such as the cognitive abilities acquired and information useful for future reference.

The Cognitive Advantages of Balanced Bilingualism is a great article with facts and

information to support once again the importance of bilingual education and the

accomplishment of the many research done.
After reading the five articles I realized that all of them relate to each other with

important information such as the advantages of being bilingual, the time and money

spent to do all this research point to the importance of the bilingual mind as well as the

many accomplishments one can have if two languages are used. All the findings and

different aspects in this research make the population more aware of the diversity in our

community and the world.



The class bilingualism and multiculturalism along with all this articles reinforce my

desire to become a bilingual teacher and try to provide children with love, care, patience

and understanding while learning a new language. As this class progress, I learn more

about the different aspects to be addressed when I become a teacher. As a bilingual

student and mother myself, I enjoy knowing there is research still to come to try to

improve the quality of the already great programs for bilingual children like mine.
                                     References



Is bilingualism an advantage?
http://leap.tki.org.nz/being_bilingual/bilingualism_and_successful_learning/is_bilingualis
...
The Transfer of Skills from Spanish to English: A Study of Young Learners
August, Diane Ph.D. (February 2001)
Calderon, Margarita Ph.D.
Carlo, Maria Ph.D.


Using Two Languages When Learning Mathematics
Moschkovich, Judy
Educational Studies in Mathematics (2005) 64:121-144

BICSCALP Clarify Cummins 70
Cummins, Jim
Clarifying and distinction (1999)

The Cognitive Advantages of Balanced Bilingualism
http://www.brainconnection.com/topics/?main=fa/cognitive-bilingualism

				
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Jun Wang Jun Wang Dr
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