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

By Peter Homel; Michael Palij et al. | Go to book overview
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appreciation for, and interest in people from that group. A person's "social perspective" would be enhanced by learning enough about the other group and its members to be sensitive to their values, expectations and wishes, and by coming to realize (a) that the other people are much like one's own people and oneself, and (b) that social systems often work against people getting to know and appreciate one another.
5. The data from the scaling procedures supported the notion of a maturation of social perspectives: e.g., immersion students reduced the perceived distance between their ethnic group and FCs more so than did the controls. Likewise, at the early grade levels, immersion pupils saw more similarities between FCs and ECs than did the controls.
6. Finally, the immersion students at the high school level showed broader social perspectives when asked to diagnose and suggest solutions for the problems that separate FCs and ECs in Canada today. The immersion experience appears to have provided them with mature and productive insights into society, e.g., that simplistic solutions, like getting to know one another's language, are not final answers. They seemed to realize that getting to know the other language and the other culture well is only a start, that behind the other language and culture are people who apparently are very much like their own people, and who are vulnerable to suspicions, threats and fears of other groups unless real opportunities are provided by the society for equitable group contact and interaction, starting at early school years. These insights were not apparent in the thinking of the monolingual control students, and we suspect this is so because they had not been given the opportunities to learn the other language thoroughly nor learn enough about the other group.

REFERENCES

Blake, L., Lambert, W. E., Sidoti, N., Wolfe, D. ( 1981). "Students' views of intergroup tensions in Quebec. The effects of language immersion experience". Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 13, 144-160.

Christian, J. D. ( 1976). Psychological differentiation and definition of the self: Multidimensional scaling approach. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, McGill University.

Clrment, R., Gardner, R. C., & Smythe, P. C. ( 1977). "Motivational variables in second language acquisition: A study of Francophones learning English". Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 9, 123-133.

Cziko, G., Holobow, N., & Lambert, W. E. ( 1977, March). A comparison of three elementary school alternatives for learning French: Children at grades four and five. Unpublished manuscript, McGill University, Department of Psychology.

Cziko, G., Holobow, N., & Lambert, W. E. ( 1977, April). Early and late French immersion: A comparison of children at grade seven. Unpublished manuscript, Psychology Department, McGill University.

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