Language Learning and Its Impact on the Brain: Connecting Language Learning with the Mind Through Content-Based Instruction


  • Teresa J. Kennedy

    1. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research University of Idaho, NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium
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      Teresa J. Kennedy (PhD, University of Idaho) is an Affiliate Associate Professor of Bilingual/Foreign Language Education at the University of Idaho and the Director of International/U.S. Partnerships and Outreach for the GLOBE Program at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.


ABSTRACT: Cognitive sciences are discovering many things that educators have always intuitively known about language learning. However, the important point is actively using this new information to improve both student learning and current teaching practices. The implications of neuroscience for educational reform regarding second language (L2) learning can clearly be seen in the following categories: brain structures and the corpus callosum; neuronal development and the parts of the brain dedicated to language; the Brain Plasticity Theory and Language Mapping; memory and the Information Processing Model; and of course, developing and utilizing a brain-compatible language curriculum that is meaningfully integrated into the basic content areas covered in all grade levels PreK–12. This article describes a recent study designed to address relationships between the corpus callosum and bilingual capacity, and provides recommendations to language teachers regarding brain-based learning through content-based language teaching.