Speaking two or more languages makes minds more open to learning and more flexible, and a $5 million dollar grant over five years from the National Science Foundation's Partnerships in International Research and Education aims to translate the science of language learning for education and the classroom.
Judith Kroll, distinguished professor of psychology, linguistics, and women's studies, Penn State, is the principal investigator on this project, which is leveraged by partnerships with the U.S. Agency for International Development and by international counterpart funding by China's Ministry of Science and Technology, Spain's Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and Germany's Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
In 2010, Penn State's Center for Language Science received an NSF PIRE grant for $2.8 million that is now in its final year. That project assembled a cross-disciplinary team of researchers in the U.S. and abroad to investigate the science of bilingualism. The new grant, building on the current project, is the second PIRE awarded to the center.
The goal of the new PIRE is to harness the excitement surrounding recent discoveries about the benefits of bilingualism to ask how the science might be translated for educational practice and policy. The new grant will bring science to the classroom and to the field for younger and older learners to examine the consequences of bilingualism for education and health.
The PIRE network includes five domestic partners at Gallaudet University, University of Illinois, University of New Mexico, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and Haskins Laboratories. The international network spans 10 sites in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, with partnerships at Radboud University, the Netherlands; University of Mannheim, Germany; University of Granada, Spain; University of Edinburgh, UK; Jagiellonian University, Poland; University of Campinas, Brazil; University of Antioquia, Colombia; Universidad Nacional Autonoma, Mexico; and Beijing Normal University and University of Hong Kong both in China.
Other Penn State co-principal investigators are Janet van Hell, professor of psychology and linguistics; John Lipski, Edwin Erle Sparks professor of Spanish and linguistics; and Paola Dussias, professor of Spanish, linguistics and psychology.