Tuesday 3 June 2014
1730 - 2030 | Parc Hotel by Thistle, Park Place, CF10 3UD
Does learning a foreign language make you smarter? Scientific research on the cognitive costs and benefits of learning a foreign language
Miguel Angel Munoz
There are many reasons to learn a language. Cognitive development is often one of the most cited
ones. Learning a language is said to improve memory, attention, multitasking performance and
mental health. Language learners and teachers can benefit from a deeper understanding
of the mental benefits associated with learning a foreign language but this understanding should be
based on sound scientific evidence rather than pop psychology. This presentation aims to present a
balanced and accessible overview of the latest research published in this area in order to dispel
some myths and highlight the real cognitive benefits of learning a foreign language.
There are rules, and there are rules: What should we teach about how language works?
This seminar asks, who makes the rules about what makes language 'correct'? Is there one
'Standard English' to which we all must adhere, or should we expect linguistic rules to be bent and
broken over time? Join this presentation for an alternative (but equally rigourous) view of learning
Attendees will come away with a clearer understanding of what is meant by 'rules' in the context of
language and language-teaching, and with an idea of why languages change and how this happens.
An interesting question, which we will explore in the seminar. is how we reconcile a descriptive,
evidence-based approach to analysing language (which is fundamental to corpus linguistics) with
learners' aspirations to achieve accuracy and fluency in another language.
It would be useful for teachers to think about (and discuss among themselves or with their students)
any aspects of language use which they dislike or disapprove of. Is their objection to a particular
usage rational and well-founded, or is it based on what they were taught themselves or simply on
prejudice? It would also be useful to look at this short blog post:
http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/because-i-say-so ...where some of the issues that come up
in the seminar are previewed.
Michael has been in the dictionary business since 1980. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Macmillan
Dictionary(macmillandictionary.com) and co-author of the Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography. He
has been working with language corpora for 30 years, and is deeply involved in the new lexicographic
revolution – the migration of reference resources from print to digital media.
Who is this for?
All English Language teachers - EFL, ESOL, EAL - from newly qualified to experienced.
1730 – 1800 Welcome and refreshments
1800 – 1855 Does learning a foreign language make you smarter? Scientific research on the
cognitive costs and benefits of learning a foreign language with Miguel Angel
1855 – 1905 Short break
1905 – 2000 There are rules, and there are rules: What should we teach about language learning?
with Michael Rundell
2000 – 2030 Networking reception
Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss global job opportunities with
the British Council.
Every seminar is free of charge, however places are limited.
The British Council Seminar Series takes place across the UK, including once a month in London. The seminars are intended to provoke debate and discussion on current issues in English Language teaching and can contribute to the continuing professional development of English Language teachers based in, or visiting, the United Kingdom.
Every seminar is free of charge and includes the opportunity to network with fellow ELT practitioners.
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