Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Over 40 community languages schools instructors and teachers from over 40 languages will attend the 11th National Community Languages Schools Conference at Rydges Lakeside Hotel London Circuit Canberra Saturday 12 October commencing at 9.30am.

Delegates from throughout Australia will blend together in a tapestry of diversity around the common goal of delivering strong linguistic and cultural maintenance programs to over 100 000 students in 71 languages.

The Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minster for Education and Training Ms Joy Burch will open the conference at 10.00am and provide participants with an overview and support for community languages schools.

The conference theme partners in delivering language education in Australia reflects the strong role community languages schools play in linguistic and cultural maintenance and the endeavour to build meaningful partnerships with students, families and the community.

The conference will look at strengthening relation with mainstreams schools, principal; and school council associations and inter community activities.

It will also examine the role of community language schools in the new proposed national languages curriculum.

A range of workshops will lead teachers and instructors in examining leading practices and classroom teaching strategies.

“Today we see students, parents, school communities working in partnership in ensuring languages are maintained and taught with the highest degree of effectiveness” President ACT Community Language Schools, Javad Mehr said.  

“This conference will set strong policy positions and also give practical advice on how to be effective teachers in the community languages schools setting and how to form and utilise partnership” Javad Mehr said.

“having such a great number of participants from so many backgrounds, gathered together, committed and focussed, is again a reflection of how diversity is respected and used practically for the benefit of Australia” Javad Mehr Said.  

The conference is being hosted by ACT Community Language Schools Association.                                     Further information – Javad Mehr 0412 222 473

To find out more about community language schools CLICK HERE

Monday, September 2, 2013

Learning a new language alters brain development

The age at which children learn a second language can have a significant bearing on the structure of their adult brain, according to a new joint study by the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro at McGill University and Oxford University. The majority of people in the world learn to speak more than one language during their lifetime. Many do so with great proficiency particularly if the languages are learned simultaneously or from early in development.
The study concludes that the pattern of brain development is similar if you learn one or two language from birth. However, learning a second language later on in childhood after gaining proficiency in the first (native) language does in fact modify the brain’s structure, specifically the brain’s inferior frontal cortex. The left inferior frontal cortex became thicker and the right inferior frontal cortex became thinner. The cortex is a multi-layered mass of neurons that plays a major role in cognitive functions such as thought, language, consciousness and memory.

The study suggests that the task of acquiring a second language after infancy stimulates new neural growth and connections among neurons in ways seen in acquiring complex motor skills such as juggling. The study’s authors speculate that the difficulty that some people have in learning a second language later in life could be explained at the structural level.

“The later in childhood that the second language is acquired, the greater are the changes in the inferior frontal cortex,” said Dr. Denise Klein, researcher in The Neuro’s Cognitive Neuroscience Unit and a lead author on the paper published in the journal Brain and Language. “Our results provide structural evidence that age of acquisition is crucial in laying down the structure for language learning.”

Using a software program developed at The Neuro, the study examined MRI scans of 66 bilingual and 22 monolingual men and women living in Montreal. The work was supported by a grant from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and from an Oxford McGill Neuroscience Collaboration Pilot project.

The Neuro
The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital — The Neuro, is a unique academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, The Neuro is recognized internationally for integrating research, compassionate patient care and advanced training, all key to advances in science and medicine. The Neuro is a research and teaching institute of McGill University and forms the basis for the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre.  Neuro researchers are world leaders in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders. For more information, visit