Languages: We can do better for our bilingual students

Our learning of languages is quite poor compared to many other countries (in 2016, we were voted the worst country in Europe for learning other languages). Tes reports.

There is, however, a possible part-solution to this dire situation that needs to be drawn to the attention of policymakers: approximately 1.5 million young people in schools in England are either bilingual or multilingual in more than 300 different languages

This extremely valuable and rich resource is largely untapped and little attention, if any, has been given to how their linguistics skills could be nurtured and developed to support the individual, the community and the country as a whole. 

Over the past few years, EAL pupils have also overtaken their monolingual peers in attainment, although in reality the headlines mask the differential attainment of groups of pupils in this category.

And there are significant intellectual and cognitive benefits for those who speak more than one language. Research from York University in Canada found the constant exercising of the pre-frontal cortex by bilingual people led to attentional processes being reinforced. This resulted in better multi-tasking.

Read the full article Languages: We can do better for our bilingual students 

1.5 million young people in England can help your class learn. What is it with the UK and learning a different language? Laziness, bad teachers? With so many benefits what can be done to turn things around? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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