Summary of “You’re Never Too Old to Become Fluent in a Foreign Language”

A 2018 study on second language learning took the media by storm.
There’s a good reason for this: fluency is not what the study’s authors, or any other scientists studying the effect of age in foreign language learning, are interested in.
To be fluent in another language means that you can communicate with relative ease, that is, without it being a real strain on either the speaker or the listener.
Pretty much anyone can become fluent in pretty much any language at pretty much any age.
It’s not even true that young children learn languages faster than older children or adults: if you expose different age groups to the same amount of instruction in a foreign language, the older ones invariable do better, both initially and in the long run.
The claim that its findings suggest that after age ten you are too old to learn a foreign language fluently is one of the worst misrepresentations of a scientific outcome that I have ever seen.
Questions of how and why micro-features of grammar are learned in a second language have important implications for linguistic theory, but they are of little consequence to the actual learner.
You can become a perfectly fluent speaker of a foreign language at any age, and small imperfections of grammar or accent often just add to the charm.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Myth of ‘Learning Styles'”

“Teachers like to think that they can reach every student, even struggling students, just by tailoring their instruction to match each student’s preferred learning format,” said Central Michigan University’s Abby Knoll, a PhD student who has studied learning styles.
The survey then gave them some study strategies that seem like they would correlate with that learning style.
Students seemed to be interested in their learning styles, but not enough to actually change their studying behavior based on them.
“But the way we’ve been categorizing these learning styles doesn’t seem to hold up.”
Another study published last year in the British Journal of Psychology found that students who preferred learning visually thought they would remember pictures better, and those who preferred learning verbally thought they’d remember words better.
In 2015, he reviewed the literature on learning styles and concluded that “Learning styles theories have not panned out.”
The authors concluded, teachers should stop trying to gear some lessons toward “Auditory learners.” “Educators may actually be doing a disservice to auditory learners by continually accommodating their auditory learning style,” they wrote, “Rather than focusing on strengthening their visual word skills.”
Strangely, most research on learning styles starts out with a positive portrayal of the theory-before showing it doesn’t work.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Fail productively how to turn yourself into a super-learner”

The aim is to deliberately create a slight feeling of frustration as you learn, which leads the brain to process the material more deeply, creating longer-lasting memories.
“Our judgment about our learning is often biased towards strategies that feel easy and effortless,” says Dr Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel, a psychologist at the University of Glasgow and member of the Learning Scientists website.
After taking the pre-test, you also want to continue quizzing yourself on what you’ve just learned.
If you are learning a new language, for example, you might rotate between two or three vocabulary topics, or switch between the different verb tenses you are practising, rather than studying them in turn in blocks.
Contrary to the stereotype of the sedentary geek, the best learners are also the most physically active, since cardiovascular exercise triggers the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and epinephrine that are essential for memory formation.
So try to schedule your learning around your existing fitness plan and you may experience a natural memory boost.
While context-dependent memory can trigger waves of pleasant nostalgia, it can also lead to a mental block in our factual learning.
Prof Michaela Dewar at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh has found that “Wakeful rest” – without any external stimulation – allows the brain to consolidate the memories of what it has learned.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Learn 30 Languages”

A surprising proportion of them are “Hyperglots”, like Keeley and Krasa, who can speak at least 10 languages.
One of the most proficient linguists I meet here, Richard Simcott, leads a team of polyglots at a company called eModeration – and he uses about 30 languages himself.
Looking at the experiences of immigrants, Ellen Bialystok at York University in Canada has found that speaking two languages delayed dementia diagnosis by five years.
How come? It’s well known that if you identify with someone, you are more likely to mimic them – a process that would effortlessly improve language learning.
The adopted identity, and the associated memories, may also stop you from confusing the language with your mother tongue – by building neural barriers between the languages.
“There must be some type of home in your mind for each language and culture and the related experiences, in order for the languages to stay active and not get all mixed together,” Keeley says.
“It’s all to do with owning the language, which is what actors have to do to make the audience believe that these words are yours. When you own words you can speak more confidently, which is how people will engage with you.”
“If there’s a single factor that stops people learning languages efficiently, it’s that we feel we have to be native-like – it’s an unreachable standard that looms over us,” says Temple University’s Pavlenko.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Teach Your Brain Something It Won’t Forget a Week Later”

Well, because that’s not how your brain likes to absorb information.
As brain scientists have dug into how learning really works, they’ve discovered that massed practice only leads to remembering things over the short term.
Letting Your Brain Do the Work for You The “Spacing effect” is one of the most consistently replicated mental processes in psychological history, dating back to Hermann Ebbinghaus, who observed it in 1885.
With a little more planning and foresight, you can tap into that cognitive phenomenon to take better advantage of how your brain actually works.
“We measure experiment participants’ brain activity while they’re learning, trying to take in the information, and then ask them to rest,” Davachi says of her research.
“We see there is a footprint of what was happening during the learning; the brain continues to rehearse the prior information.” Davachi has found that participants whose brains show more replay during that rest period do better on recall tests later.
“Your brain is doing your work for you while you’re doing other tasks,” she adds.
The good news is that your brain is already built to acquire and store information that way, just as long you space out the learning process from the outset.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How We Pay Attention Changes the Very Shape of Our Brains”

Why did attention mechanisms evolve in so many animal species? Because attention solves a very common problem: information saturation.
Attention is essential, but it may result in a problem: if attention is misdirected, learning can get stuck.
Very quickly, the idea of learning to pay attention spread like wildfire in the field of artificial intelligence.
American psychologist Michael Posner distinguishes at least three major attention systems: Alerting; Orienting; and Executive Attention.
This is why every student should learn to pay attention-and also why teachers should pay more attention to attention! If students don’t attend to the right information, it is quite unlikely that they will learn anything.
We can pay attention to the sounds around us: dogs move their ears, but for us humans, only an internal pointer in our brain moves and tunes in to whatever we decide to focus on.
Any representation in our brains can become the focus of attention.
To direct attention is to choose, filter, and select: this is why cognitive scientists speak of selective attention.

The orginal article.

Summary of “7 Smart Ways to Use Technology in Classrooms”

“If we block technology from them, we might actually be inhibiting them. We need to put them in dynamic, responsive environments at school so they can be successful later on.” After trying different approaches and a variety of devices, programs and apps with her students, she has come up with some common-sense guidelines for how adults can help their kids use technology to their best advantage.
Delzer’s advice: “You don’t need to master every single tool before you hand it over.” She likes to give a new tool to a student and ask them to learn how to use it first.
Using an app called AudioBoom, Delzer’s students take turns recording themselves reading classroom books aloud.
Approved recordings are turned into a QR code that is taped to the back of the book that was read. Some books have multiple QR codes attached to them, Delzer says, letting students hear the different choices that their classmates make when reading the same thing.
“At the beginning of the year, my students thought that fast reading was fluent reading,” Delzer says, but after reading aloud and hearing their friends’ renditions, they understand the importance of pacing and emotion.
“So much learning is lost when we block resources from our students. Also, students are pretty savvy, and they can get around even complex filters.”
Her students tweet with experts from around the world; they also tweet with other classrooms around the world to share and compare what they’re learning.
Teachers should ask their students to Google themselves and then think about what their digital record says about them, advises Delzer.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Advice on Learning a New Language From People Who Speak Up to 16”

What if you could speak six, 10, or even 15 languages? It’s not impossible-in fact, a person who can speak five or more tongues is known as a “Polyglot,” and many people take on languages as a hobby.
How difficult is it really for adults to pick up une deuxième langue? Read on for expert advice from these multilingual masters, who insist we’re all capable of learning new languages at any point in our lives.
First: Why embark on such a daunting challenge?”Even knowing just a modicum of a new language opens up so many doors that remain closed to monolinguals,” Fotheringham explains.
“The more I traveled, the more I realized how much knowing a language gets people to open up to you,” he says.
For Nagel, “Being a polyglot has enabled me to get beyond superficial travel experiences and really connect with people around the world.” An added bonus? Learning new languages helps us to retain neuroplasticity into old age, keeping our brains young and active.
“The two are very different beasts, which is one of the major reasons most adult language learners fail, despite years of effort. They spend all their time reading about the language instead of spending the requisite time immersed in it. This is like trying to learn how to drive by reading a car’s owner manual.” This means that you need to actually practice speaking the language you’re learning, all the time, as much as you can, and starting from day one.
Says Kennedy, “For a lot of learners, speaking is the hardest part of learning a language because there are so many things that play into it. It’s more than just knowing the language. The sooner you can conquer your fears regarding this aspect, the better off you are.”
“As you progress,” recommends Richards, “Begin to spend more time listening and reading. Find listening material in the language you’re learning that is slightly above your current level. Make sure it comes with a written transcript. Spending regular time listening and reading gives you large amounts of exposure to the language, which is essential to becoming more proficient.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “I’m a Developer. I Won’t Teach My Kids to Code, and Neither Should You.”

On a recent late-night formula run, I passed by a large display of books about teaching children to code.
These books are part of a flood of resources-summer coding camps, after-school code clubs, apps designed to teach kindergarteners the rudiments of JavaScript-aimed at equipping children with future-proof skills.
If learning to code is good, then learning earlier is better.
While these products may teach kids specific coding languages, they actually have very little to do with the work of creating software.
The description in one popular book says starting coding early is “Essential to prepare kids for the future.” This gives the impression that not teaching kids to code is somehow equivalent to not teaching them to read. That is, of course, ridiculous.
Coding books for kids present coding as a set of problems with “Correct” solutions.
Early in my career, I wrote some code to configure and run a group of remote servers.
Well-designed code feels good to work with, and ugly code will make developers involuntarily cringe.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Psychological Approach to Educating Kids”

In 2012, the Chicago-based nonprofit Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning partnered with eight districts around the country to implement SEL in their schools.
On Carstarphen’s watch, Austin became one of the first school districts to partner with CASEL. As of March 2017, Matheny is the coauthor of a high-school SEL curriculum, and Austin High has become a sort of SEL pilgrimage point.
SEL is delivered as the year-long MAPS course available to freshmen, it’s meted out in smaller doses during “Advisory”-a sort of homeroom that all students have-and it’s infused in the culture and climate of the school.
Research on SEL says the approach can be effective for kids in urban, suburban, or rural schools, regardless of their academic standing.
Dictating how kids should feel couldn’t be further from what SEL is doing, said Joan Duffell, the executive director of Committee for Children, a global nonprofit that’s been championing SEL in preschool, elementary, and middle schools for decades.
“SEL is not only fundamental to education, but it’s fundamental to raising citizens who actually participate in democratic life.” The formerly communist countries of Lithuania and Slovakia have partnered with CFC to bring social-emotional learning to their schools.
“They wanted children to learn how to take responsibility as citizens. SEL teaches kids the skills they need to succeed as adults in a democracy.”
“If you use a well-designed curriculum and your implementation is great, the kids benefit and the school gets results,” said Trish Shaffer, the SEL coordinator for Washoe County School District in Nevada.

The orginal article.