Experimental Child Psychology

Starting this Sunday, February 6, El Espectador reaches Colombian households with a new collectible work, English, developed by D.K., one of the most important British publishers in the world. It’s an innovative work by its visual presentation that through real-life examples, involving all kinds of situations, makes the task of learning English in a fun and agile matter. In the last census, DANE found only 4.09% of the Colombian population over five years spoke English. Among young university students that percentage becomes slightly higher, with 7.2%. And in a country where, according to the Ministry of education, half of teachers in basic education and media reach the basic level of performance in this area, learning English becomes a task necessarily self taught or in the best of cases supported by private institutions. The collectible that presents the Viewer is designed to be a tool both for those who zero start this second language learning for those looking to refresh knowledge. In a globalized world such as ours, with communication technologies that put us in contact with all corners of the planet in fractions of a second, nobody disputes the long list of social and labour advantages that implies the command of English.

But in recent years neuroscientists have been added to that list some unexpected effects on brain health. In November of last year, for example, a group of Canadian scientists from Baycrest s Rotman Research Institute found evidence that speak two languages could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms for up to five years among the population susceptible to this disease. Years ago, when reviewing the medical history of 132 patients with symptoms of mental decline this same group had discovered that those who were bilingual exhibited greater cognitive control and ease to concentrate than those who spoke one language. Another study in which is It assessed the performance school of bilingual children in Israel found that those who dominated a second language showed greater proficiency in reading achievement tests. Mila Schwartz, of the University of Haifa, said that the linguistic complexity of a language may offer certain advantages in the understanding of another.

These and other differences in the brains of bilingual children may begin to be observed in periods of only two years, as showed it a paper published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology by psychologists from the University of York, in Canada, and the University of Provence in France. There are definitely advantages for the bilingual when learning to read, I explained some time ago the psychologist Ellen Bialystok, from York University, at age four bilingual children have gone much further in understanding of symbols and their functions than monolingual children. The truth is that beyond these advantages are few who are they dare to deny the importance of speaking a second language. And, for those who para los que superan exceed this test, the professors Salim Abu-Rabia and Ekaterina Sanitsky, Department of special education at the University of Haifa, in Israel, have good news. After evaluating a group of bilingual students discovered that the learning of a third language is even easier.

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