What’s the best age to start and master a new language? Are bilingual students smarter? Does knowing two languages offer advantages in learning how to read, write and do math? Does being bilingual have an impact on our personal and emotional development? These themes, and many more, were addressed during the daylong conference, Living with Two Languages: the Advantages of Being Bilingual, at the Lycée Français de New York on Saturday, April 13. Experts from the United States, France and Canada, including renowned researchers, Ofelia García and Ellen Bialystok, author Karen Le Billon, and chef Eric Ripert, explored bilingualism from the perspectives of education, sociology, psychology and gastronomy.

 

The conference was co-organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the Lycée Français de New York in partnership with the Consulate General of Canada, the French Institute, the French Heritage Language Program, the Center for Applied Linguistics, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), and New York in French (Poster credit: Raymond Verdaguer).

Conference co-chairs: Fabrice Jaumont, Education Attaché, Embassy of France to the United States and Pascale Richard, Director of the Cultural Center, Lycée Français of New York

Joelle Reilly, Sean Lynch, Head of School, Lycee Francais de New York and Antonin Baudry, Cultural Counselor, Embassy of France introduced the conference.


Panel 1: Language, Emotions, and the Bilingual Brain

Panelists: Ellen Bialystok, Professor, Department of Psychology, York University; Regina Sullivan, Professor, Emotional Brain Institute, Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, NYU; Sean Lynch, Head of School, Lycée Français de New York; Elisabeth Cros, Speech Therapist, Ecole Internationale de New York
Moderator: Sylvie Ozon, Science Teacher, Lycée Français de New York

During the first panel, educators and researchers, including Ellen Bialystok, an expert in cognitive psychology from York University in Toronto, Canada, discussed the connections among bilingualism, emotional intelligence and brain development. Dr. Bialystok’s research showed how in the bilingual brain the early development of some cognitive functions helps bilinguals manage multiple tasks more easily.


Panel 2: Regards Croisés: Crossing Perspectives on Bilingualism

Panelists: Nancy Rhodes, Director, Foreign Language Education, Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL); Jane Ross, President, the French Heritage Language Program; Ofelia García, Professor, CUNY Graduate Center; Marie Bouteillon, Coordinator-teacher, P.S. 58 The Carroll School, Brooklyn; Vannina Boussouf, Director of Primary School, Lycée Français de New York; Gretchen Schell, E.S.L Teacher, Lycée Français de New York; Roddy Rapson, Early Childhood teacher, Lycée Français de New York.
Moderator: Fabrice Jaumont, Education Attaché, Embassy of France


Panel 3: Manger Bilingue / Eating Bilingually:  Cultural Differences on Children Nutrition in France and North America

Panelists: Karen Le Billon, Professor, University of British Columbia, Author of French Kids Eat Everything; Jeffrey Mills, former director, Office of Nutrition, Washington; Ariane Daguin, CEO D‘Artagnan; Marion Nestle, Professor, Nutrition and Food Studies, New York University.
Moderator: Pascale Richard, Director of the Cultural Center at Lycée Français de New York

The third panel took a unique look at bilingualism from a culinary perspective, with Karen Le Billon, author of the best-selling book, French Kids Eat Everything. In her book, the professor, who has lived in France, explains why French children are more likely to try everything. The panel offered insights into how being open to a wide range of foods at an early age helps children to keep an open perspective throughout their lives.


This is Your Brain on Languages, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, April 10, 2013 (duration 13min.)
Sean Lynch, head of school of the Lycée Français de New York (LFNY), Ellen Bialystok, cognitive neuroscientist, research professor at York University in Toronto, discuss the effects of knowing two (or more) languages on the brain.

[FR] “Living with Two Languages” : le bilinguisme a le vent en poupe, par Astrid Ribois-Verlinde, French Morning, 16 avril 2013

[FR] Ellen Bialystok : « Le cerveau des bilingues fonctionne mieux que celui des monolingues », par Jessica Gourdon, French Morning, 15 avril 2013

[FR] Ofelia García : “Les Etats-Unis ne sont pas à l’aise avec le bilinguisme”, par Alexis Buisson, French Morning, 16 avril 2013

[FR] Karen Le Billon : « apprenons à nos enfants à manger bilingue », par Jessica Gourdon, French Morning, 16 avril 2013

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