Virtual Session Room 1 Symposium
August 17, 2021 02:30 PM - August 17, 2022 06:00 PM(Europe/Amsterdam)
20210817T1430 20210817T1800 Europe/Amsterdam S058 | How far are we in understanding the influential variables in the bilingual advantage debate?

The hot debate concerning the bilingual cognitive advantage is still ongoing. Numerous studies have found effects of bi- or multilingualism on cognitive abilities (dubbed 'bilingual effect' or 'bilingual advantage'): Children who grow up bilingually show higher working memory capacities, language awareness, and better cognitive control than monolingual children. Some researchers, however, have subsequently challenged the bilingual advantage hypothesis either on the grounds of possible publication biases, methodological flaws or due to the increasing number of studies reporting mixed or null results when comparing cognitive performance of mono- and bilingual children. The current debate seems to have turned from an initial search for the diverse skills in which bilingual children outperformed monolingual peers to current and focused attempts to understand the crucial factors modulating the bilingual advantage. Among these are the degree of bilingualism and the instructional contexts (in particular monolingual schools vs. immersion schools). Recent studies indeed reported positive effects for young learners in immersion programs. L2 attainment in such programs is much higher than in regular EFL programs, but not comparable, in general, with simultaneous bilinguals. Hence, the degree of L1/L2 mastery necessary for such effects to occur in sequential bilingualism is still an entirely open question.

S058

14.30-15.05 Esli Struys (key) 

15.05-15.25 Arnaud Szmalec 

15.25-15.45 Anahita Shokrkon, Elena Nicoladis 

15.45-16.05 Martin Koch, Kristin Kersten 

16.30-17.10 Adam Winsler (key) 

17.10-17.30 Mila Schwartz

17.30-17.50 Sophia Czapka, Julia Festman 

17.50-18.00 Discussion

Room 1 AILA 2021 aila2021@gcb.nl
63 attendees saved this session
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The hot debate concerning the bilingual cognitive advantage is still ongoing. Numerous studies have found effects of bi- or multilingualism on cognitive abilities (dubbed 'bilingual effect' or 'bilingual advantage'): Children who grow up bilingually show higher working memory capacities, language awareness, and better cognitive control than monolingual children. Some researchers, however, have subsequently challenged the bilingual advantage hypothesis either on the grounds of possible publication biases, methodological flaws or due to the increasing number of studies reporting mixed or null results when comparing cognitive performance of mono- and bilingual children. The current debate seems to have turned from an initial search for the diverse skills in which bilingual children outperformed monolingual peers to current and focused attempts to understand the crucial factors modulating the bilingual advantage. Among these are the degree of bilingualism and the instructional contexts (in particular monolingual schools vs. immersion schools). Recent studies indeed reported positive effects for young learners in immersion programs. L2 attainment in such programs is much higher than in regular EFL programs, but not comparable, in general, with simultaneous bilinguals. Hence, the degree of L1/L2 mastery necessary for such effects to occur in sequential bilingualism is still an entirely open question.


S058

14.30-15.05 Esli Struys (key) 

15.05-15.25 Arnaud Szmalec 

15.25-15.45 Anahita Shokrkon, Elena Nicoladis 

15.45-16.05 Martin Koch, Kristin Kersten 

16.30-17.10 Adam Winsler (key) 

17.10-17.30 Mila Schwartz

17.30-17.50 Sophia Czapka, Julia Festman 

17.50-18.00 Discussion

An exploration into cognitive effects of learning a foreign language and bilingual educationView Abstract
Featured 02:30 PM - 06:00 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2021/08/17 12:30:00 UTC - 2022/08/17 16:00:00 UTC
Now that the bilingual advantage debate has reached an impasse, one way forward could be to assess to what extent language education and different instructional contexts may play a role in the manifestation of bilingual effects on cognition. If children learn a foreign language at school, can they still be classified as monolinguals? And if foreign language learning is compulsory, then does it make any sense to look for bilingual advantages given the absence of a comparison group? Using a longitudinal design, we tracked the cognitive development of monolingual children before and after the introduction of foreign language classes and compared their performance to bilinguals from birth. Even though both groups showed equal performance at the two time points, the progress in the monolingual group was significantly higher than in the bilingual group. This finding suggests that monolinguals may catch up with their bilingual peers in cognitive performance after the introduction of foreign language education.


Presenters Esli Struys
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Executive control performance and foreign-language proficiency associated with immersion education in French-speaking BelgiumView Abstract
StandardAILA Symposium 02:30 PM - 06:00 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2021/08/17 12:30:00 UTC - 2022/08/17 16:00:00 UTC
We investigated executive control performance in pupils (n=513) following immersion education in French-speaking Belgium. Our results show significant gains in foreign-language proficiency for the immersed participants, without any measurable benefits on executive control. Our findings contribute to understanding how language and cognition develop through formal education methods that promote bilingualism.
Presenters Arnaud Szmalec
UCLouvain
Monolinguals matter! A cautionary tale on establishing a bilingual advantageView Abstract
StandardAILA Symposium 02:30 PM - 06:00 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2021/08/17 12:30:00 UTC - 2022/08/17 16:00:00 UTC
Not all studies show bilingual advantages, highlighting the need for replication. This study replicated a study showing a bilingual advantage (Bialystok & Martin, 2004). We found no difference between bilinguals and monolinguals. Our monolinguals outperformed theirs. It is important to attend to monolingual children’s performance when testing for bilingual advantages.
Presenters Anahita Shokrkon
University Of Alberta
Co-authors
EN
Elena Nicoladis
University Of Alberta
Beyond language: The long-term benefits of multilingualism for self-regulationView Abstract
Standard 02:30 PM - 06:00 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2021/08/17 12:30:00 UTC - 2022/08/17 16:00:00 UTC
The present study investigates the long-term effects of multilinguism on cognitive flexibility by examining the relation between multilinguism and cognitive capacities of self-regulation in adulthood. Results support the assumption that multilingualism might contribute to long-term cognitive benefits. The mediating effects, however, remain to be clarified.
Presenters Martin J. Koch
University Hildesheim
Kristin Kersten
Full Prof. Of SLA & ELT, University Of Hildesheim
Becoming Bilingual in Miami: Predictors and Outcomes of English Acquisition for Young Dual Language Learners in PovertyView Abstract
FeaturedAILA Symposium 02:30 PM - 06:00 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2021/08/17 12:30:00 UTC - 2022/08/17 16:00:00 UTC
Results of a large, longitudinal study examining predictors and outcomes of the acquisition of English among ethnically diverse, low-income, DLLs in Miami are reported. Social and behavioral skills and proficiency in Spanish at school entry are associated with L2 learning. support for home language in bilingual education programs is important.
Presenters Adam Winsler
Professor, George Mason University
Early language awareness as expressed in verbal and nonverbal interactions in the preschool bilingual classroomView Abstract
StandardAILA Symposium 02:30 PM - 06:00 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2021/08/17 12:30:00 UTC - 2022/08/17 16:00:00 UTC
The aim of this longitudinal ethnographic study was to explore how children's verbal and nonverbal behavior reflects their language awareness at a bilingual Arabic–Hebrew-speaking preschool in Israel. The study is beneficial for language teachers' understanding of how they can support children's language awareness.
Presenters Mila Schwartz
Head Of The Research Authority , Oranim Academic College Of Education
How good am I at reading and writing? Mono- and multilingual children‘s self-concepts contextualized within the bilingual advantage debateView Abstract
StandardAILA Symposium 02:30 PM - 06:00 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2021/08/17 12:30:00 UTC - 2022/08/17 16:00:00 UTC
We examine the contribution of instructional context on reading and writing self-concepts of monolingual and multilingual children. Results yielded no differences in self-concepts nor reading measures, but in spelling with monolinguals outperforming multilinguals, and positive correlations between self-concepts and academic achievement. We contextualize these findings within the bilingual advantage debate.
Presenters
JF
Julia Festman
Pedagogical University Tyrol
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Professor
,
George Mason University
University of Alberta
University Hildesheim
+ 3 more speakers. View All
Prof. Kristin Kersten
Full Prof. of SLA & ELT
,
University of Hildesheim
Pedagogical University Tyrol
 Katharina Polsterer
AILA2021 volunteer
,
University of Groningen
 Saskia Nijmeijer
AILA2021 volunteer
,
University Medical Center Groningen
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The interplay of cognitive, social and instruct...
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