May 31 2011

Let’s Take A Ride

by Justin Timberlake.

I believe I now have an explanation for my amazing ability to drive a standard while texting, changing the music and putting on mascara. According to a wealth of research and some recently highlighted by the nytimes:

Q. One would think bilingualism might help with multitasking — does it?

A. Yes, multitasking is one of the things the executive control system handles. We wondered, “Are bilinguals better at multitasking?” So we put monolinguals and bilinguals into a driving simulator. Through headphones, we gave them extra tasks to do — as if they were driving and talking on cellphones. We then measured how much worse their driving got. Now, everybody’s driving got worse. But the bilinguals, their driving didn’t drop as much. Because adding on another task while trying to concentrate on a driving problem, that’s what bilingualism gives you — though I wouldn’t advise doing this.

For the sake of clarity – it’s crucial to remember that by bilingualism we mean using both languages in a meaningful context everyday. The academic benefits of bilingualism abound. So not only is linguistic choice a matter of social justice, it’s also a matter of educational justice.

I really think people who aren’t bilingual are just jealous. Everywhere else BUT the USA explicitly values and teaches more than one language. It’s not a new story that the USA is woefully backwards in this arena, but it’s never wrong to name it and to work for change. So thanks San Jose Unified, California, and a bunch of other districts and states for keeping it real – I’m glad to be on your team!

One Response

  1. parus

    Your social justice ed page is great. Couple links on there I already know and love, couple I’ve got to check out now.

Post a comment