Childhood Bilingualism: Aspects of Linguistic, Cognitive, and Social Development

By Peter Homel; Michael Palij et al. | Go to book overview
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8
Bilingualism, Cognitive Function, and Language Minority Group Membership

Edward De Avila Linguametrics Group, San Raphael, CA


INTRODUCTION

The study of childhood bilingualism may be described as having both theoretical and applied importance. With respect to theoretical interests, researchers have studied the relationship between bilingualism and various cognitive processes such as intellectual development and cognitive style. On the applied side, researchers have used results from theoretical studies to design and test hypotheses regarding the effectiveness of different treatment approaches such as those found in bilingual education. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss a number of issues related to both theoretical and applied interests in the intellectual and social functioning of bilingual children in school. The chapter is presented in two major sections. In the first, we make a few introductory comments regarding the study of bilingual students. In the second section, we review the results of a number of studies conducted at the Center for Educational Studies (CERAS) at Stanford University over the past 5 years that have addressed several important theoretical and applied questions within the context of an educational program designed to accommodate the linguistic and educational heterogeneity of ethnolinguistic minority students.


BACKGROUND OF STUDIES

A substantial number of sources have documented the poor academic performance of language minority students in the United States. Similarly, a good number of researchers have attempted to explain this poor performance. Of

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