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Want To Change How Kids See The World? Teach Them A Second Language

For children, bilingualsm is much more than simply being able to speak in a different language.

photo via (cc) flickr user CTG/SF

As a child in a dual-language elementary school, my teachers liked to explain that learning another language would enable me to meet more people, have conversations in new places, and generally be a better citizen of the world. And while my bilingual skills have gone woefully underused since my grade-school graduation, I am thankful for being exposed to a second language, if only for the fact that it’s given me an added “skills” line on my resume, and the ability to – every once in a while – randomly surprise some of the kiosk workers at my local mall. But, as it turns out, my learning a second language at a young age may, in fact, have affected me more profoundly than I, or anyone else for that matter, previously knew.

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Being Bilingual Is Good for Your Brain

Toggling back and forth between two languages is like doing P90x for your brain.

Looking for a reason to splurge on some Rosetta Stone DVDs? It turns out that being bilingual is actually really good for your brain. For the past 40 years cognitive neuroscientist Ellen Bialystok has studied the effects of knowing two languages on the mind. It turns out that all that translating back and forth in your head is some serious exercise for the brain's synapses.

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