NFL’s New Protest Policy, Talking A Lot May Be The Key To Foreign Language Learning, What Rights Children Have When They Cross The U.S. Border Illegally

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Some Buffalo Bills players take a knee during the national anthem before the first half of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The NFL has issued a statement after a vote by team owners in response to players who have protested police violence and racial inequality during the national anthem. We’ll learn more about the new policy and how it was decided. We also discuss the best ways to learn a foreign language and take a look at a top news story.

Featured in this Show

  • New NFL Protest Policy Draws Mixed Reaction

    Following a divisive public discussion about kneeling during the national anthem, the NFL has released its new policy dealing with player protests. We talk to a sports writer about his take on the new policy and what it says about the League’s approach to dealing with hot-button issues.

  • Study: Speaking Is As Important As Listening For Foreign Language Comprehension

    Speaking a foreign language out loud not only helps you speak it better, it also improves listening, comprehension and grammar, according to a recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    “Language instruction researchers often think about: today we’re going to teach vocabulary and then later in the day we’ll teach grammar,” said Maryellen MacDonald, a psychology professor at UW–Madison. “But the vocabulary and the grammar are really tightly wound together because words can go in certain kinds of sentences and others can’t.”

    MacDonald co-authored the study with grad student Elise Hopman. The two randomly assigned study participants into two groups.

    In the first group, participants learned language through traditional grammar worksheets on a computer, where they matched a photo with a word.

    In the second group, participants saw a photo and had to produce the word, phrase or sentence that described it themselves — out loud. No matter how accurate they were, they’d hear the correct word spoken back to them out loud.

    To level the playing field, MacDonald and Hopman created a made-up language for participants to learn through the activities, so no one was at an advantage.

    As it turns out, while comprehension exercises are often more commonly taught in traditional language classes than speaking, or “production” exercises, the researchers found the production participants outperformed their comprehension-learning peers.

    “That combination of forcing people to speak and then tuning up whatever they said turns out to be really powerful in terms of making people more fluent,” MacDonald said.

    The results were published April 11 in the journal Psychological Science.

    MacDonald said the results weren’t completely surprising, and may help explain why, for example, foreign language learners who travel abroad to be immersed in the language more easily become fluent than those who do not.

    “People know that being immersed in a language is a wonderful way to become fluent,” she said. “The people who are immersed have to go about their day speaking and speaking and speaking.”

    And while the results don’t mean that comprehension exercises aren’t important, MacDonald said she hopes the study helps language teachers re-think and refine the learning process.

  • When Learning A Language, Speaking May Be As Important As Listening

    One of the scariest parts of learning a new language is actually opening your mouth and talking. But new research from UW-Madison shows that despite mistakes, speaking can actually help improve comprehension.

  • What Rights Children Have When They Cross The U.S. Border Illegally

    Children who cross the United States border illegally face numerous challenges as they navigate the American immigration system. In recent weeks, two stories in the news have caused outrage among many in the country over how these kids are treated. In April, a report that claimed more than 1,500 unaccompanied children were missing. This week, the Department of Health and Human Services refuted that assertion. This month, the ACLU announced it had evidence of the widespread abuse of children from members of Border Patrol. We speak to Uzoamaka Nzelibe, Clinical Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and Staff Attorney with the Children and Family Justice Center of the Bluhm Legal Clinic, about this news and what rights immigrant children have when they come to the United States.

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Rachael Vasquez Producer
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Robert O'Connell Guest
  • Maryellen MacDonald Guest
  • Uzoamaka Nzelibe Guest

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