This New York Times article by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee provides a summary of a variety of research evidence on the benefits of bilingualism. The author summarizes research benefits in young children and the elderly and provides a new way to see bilingualism as an edge! Benefits include:
Better cognitive skills in general
Better/improved executive functioning
Shielding from Dementia and Alzheimers
Stimulating on the areas of the brains that improves functioning not seen in monolinguals
Speed in processing and shielding of distractions
Increased ability to monitor the environment
This is a great must read!
Professor Claudia Rinaldi is the Chair of the Education Program at Lasell University. Her areas of research are the implementation of the Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) framework in urban settings with English learners, teacher education in bilingual special education, and diversifying the teacher pipeline. Claudia has authored peer-reviewed publications and a book for educators called Practical Ways to Engage All Struggling Readers. She lead and developed a graduate certificate program in Teaching Bilingual Students with Disabilities for general, ESL and special education teachers geared towards applying research-informed practices to the questions and processes of identifying whether it is a language difference or a learning disability. Claudia developed a college mentoring program called Pathways to Teacher Diversity for districts and teacher education programs to partner in identifying and supporting underrepresented high school students interested in teaching careers to successfully access and persist in college. She serves in various boards including the National Center for Learning Disabilities and serves as an expert for Understood.org and the National Center for Intensive Interventions.
Professor Claudia Rinaldi believes that it is critical to prepare teacher leaders who may serve as advocates and allies and who will respond to the belief that all students can learn and succeed beyond barriers like culture, language, disability poverty, and marginalization in our country and globally.