Working Memory and Why it’s Important

We know it is important for children to learn, but did you know their ability to learn depends on working memory? So what is it?

Working memory is a cognitive executive functioning skill that is developing and organizing the immediate data student wants to use. Not to mention, the long term benefits of helping develop focus and fight Alzheimer’s disease.

It is important to note the development of working-memory is constantly happening in our Spanish immersive classrooms at Sombrero Time.

The Society for Neuroscience identify cognitive benefits of second and third language learning, including greater focus on tasks and the ability tune out distractions (as compared to monolingual children), and stronger working memory, as well as greater gray matter and brain connections. (1)

What is the result? A student’s brain is cognitively more efficient at processing language information. The research is so compelling that there are indications that bilingualism may even help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (2)

Working memory is like having sticky notes at all times! In our classrooms, students are using auditory, visual and kinesthetic skills all at once to help drive working memory. Our teachers are focused on repetition, image visuals, signals, and body language. All of this, to help your student develop this important cognitive skill and become bilingual! To learn more about second language acquisition and working memory research read “The role of recognition memory in L2 development” (3).

Emotional Intelligence

The research on the importance of emotional intelligence is overwhelming. Researchers have shown that our success at work or in life depends on Emotional Intelligence 80% and only 20% of intellect. While our intellect help us to resolve problems, to make the calculations or to process information, Emotional intelligence (called EQ) allows us to be more creative and use our emotions to resolve our problems.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive and express, assimilate emotion in thought, understanding the differences of emotions and adjust ourselves and others emotions. Unlike logical-mathematical intelligence, which suffers insignificant modifications once the end of adolescence, emotional intelligence can be developed over time, free of age limit, with the condition that it is provided the necessary attention and effort to it.

Importantly, researchers tell us that learning a second or third language can lead to greater empathy skills and tolerance, two key qualities of higher emotional intelligence (Zia, 2010). Additionally, the socialization benefits of language learning provide critical insights to culture and promotes better socialization skills through increased acceptance of other traditions and beliefs (Marian & Shook, 2012).  The emotional intelligence qualities that we focus on include:

  • Self Awareness (accurate self awareness and confidence)
  • Self Management (self control, initiative and adaptability)
  • Social Awareness (empathy, serving others orientation)
  • Relationship Management (building bonds, collaboration, inspiring others)