My favorite article in this week's issue (cover story titled "After Trayvon") was titled "The Power of the Biligual Brain."
It's quite an interesting story. I like how the writer approached it both scientifically and socially. The lede talked about how Utah school districts are revolutionizing language immersion and interaction. There was a particularly cute anecdote where a teacher fondly recalls the first time a young student made a joke to her in another language. The article went on to explain how the program is state-funded and has been running since 2009. Such high demand for participation into the limited program has allowed expansion of the program.
The scientific effects of learning more than one language early on are tremendous. I started my second language, spanish, in eighth grade where it was too little, too late. Parents have about nine month before babies favor one language over the other. But if talked to in more than one language, the baby will learn both.
The children in the Utah program are older, but not by much. Starting in as early as first grade, half of the children's school day is taught in English, the other half in another language. Spanish, French, Mandarin, and Portuguese will encompass the program. 22 other states have stopped by to observe this program and have their eye on launching similar programs.
America is a monolingual country. But when you've got countries like Papa New Guinea with 850 languages, it's never too late to start.
Just like it's never too late for me and my Spanish, si?