A Critical Synthesis for Policy, Practice and Research
The British Academy has commissioned a research team to provide an up-to-date systematic review of research into the cognitive benefits of language learning, analyse its implications for policy and practice, and identify potential interventions and gaps in our knowledge. This Special Research Project is part of the British Academy’s initiative to deepen awareness and demonstrate the importance of languages.
Broadening Our Perspectives
Although there has been a surge of interest in recent years in the cognitive benefits of bilingualism, research on the socio-economic and cognitive benefits of language learning has had less attention. As well as reviewing research on the relationship between bilingualism, executive function, literacy, and health, this project will include systematic reviews, analysis
and synthesis of such areas as creativity, social and affective cognition, and bilingualism in signed as well as spoken languages, linking bi/multilingualism and language learning with broader perspectives on cognition including intercultural understanding.
This project is concerned with language learning in relation to cognitive function across the lifespan, including modern and community language education, language skills, employment/ability, community cohesion, and public policy, and explores cross-curriculum
and cross-societal benefits to individuals and various Socio-Economic Classification groups.
Final Report and Outcomes
The research team intend the final report to initiate change in public understanding of the cognitive benefits of language learning and in the development of current and future strategies for language education in different contexts, in turn impacting on the wellbeing of individuals, coherence of communities, and the socio-cultural and economic development of Britain. A key legacy of the project will be a comprehensive and fully annotated research corpus (searchable according to methods, sample, languages, learning conditions, modality, geography, etc.) for
future research and teaching.
The Research Team
BENCIE WOLL FBA, BA, MA, PhD
Professor of Sign Language and Deaf Studies, and Director of the Deafness Cognition, and Language (DCAL) Research Centre, UCL
LI WEI PhD, FAcSS, FRSA
Chair of Applied Linguistics, Director of the UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics, and Professor at the Institute of Education, UCL
CLAUDIA YOGESWARAN MA (Hons), MLitt, MA
Research Assistant at ucl, dcal
DEAFNESS, COGNITION, AND LANGUAGE (DCAL) RESEARCH CENTRE
University College London
49 Gordon Square
London, wc1h 0pd
t: +44(0)20 7679 8679
f: +44(0)20 7679 8691
The British Academy
10-11 Carlton House Terrace
London, sw1y 5ah
t: +44 (0)20 7969 5318
To find out more about the project, visit the project website at www.ucl.ac.uk/cognitive-benefits-language-learning and follow the project on Twitter @CBoLL_UCL