Growing up Bilingual: Understanding Specific Benefits Across the Mainstream and Complementary Education Sectors

Conference paper


Husain, L., Lam, V., Vitkovitch, M. and George, R. 2019. Growing up Bilingual: Understanding Specific Benefits Across the Mainstream and Complementary Education Sectors. Bilingual Acquisition of Language and Literacy (BiALL). Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics, Berlin 22 - 24 May 2019
AuthorsHusain, L., Lam, V., Vitkovitch, M. and George, R.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Background: While bilingualism has become more common as our world has become more interconnected, there continues to be debate as to whether this yields any specific benefits, particularly cognitively (Antoniou, 2019). Within the United Kingdom language learning has starkly declined (Ratcliffe, 2013), and communities have tried to overcome this and preserve their mother tongue language by setting up complementary schools, which take place on weekends. A significant educational movement for the past half-century (Li, 2006), these schools provide an opportunity to research early bilingualism.
Aims: This study details the first time-point of a three-year longitudinal project based in East London, investigating the potential benefits of bilingualism in children aged 4-9 years old that attend complementary schools, compared to bilinguals who do not. Alongside the social benefits investigated, it aims to ascertain any cognitive benefits by measuring attentional control, executive functioning, and object naming.
Methods: Data collection has begun in complementary schools of Albanian, Russian, Tamil, and Gujarati communities, as well as matched mainstream primary schools in surrounding boroughs. Attentional control and executive functioning are measured using a flankers task, and the Dimensional Card Sort task via the National Institute of Health Toolbox app, while object naming of nouns and verbs is measured in English using an electronic cross-linguistic task (Haman et al., 2013). Additional information is also collected on students’ language proficiencies and family affluence/backgrounds.
Expected Results: Preliminary findings will include a comparison of measures, using accuracy and reaction time data, between bilinguals that attend complementary schools, and bilinguals that don’t. Comparisons will also be made between bilinguals of the different mother tongue languages represented, and with the consideration of the different proficiencies and backgrounds identified. Conclusions: It is expected that this study will give an important initial insight into potential benefits of early bilingual development, how that may be different under the additional context of complementary schools, and inform subsequent research with these cohorts.

Year2019
ConferenceBilingual Acquisition of Language and Literacy (BiALL)
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Publication dates
Print24 May 2019
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Deposited07 Dec 2021
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council
Web address (URL) of conference proceedingshttps://www.leibniz-zas.de/de/das-zas/veranstaltungen/details/events/5521-bilingual-acquisition-of-language-a
Copyright holder© 2019 The Authors
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