Wednesday Seminar: Processes underlying language development and rate of English language acquisition in bilingual 5-6 year-olds in South Africa
Michelle White, doctoral research fellow at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, will give a talk about the psychological processes that underly the the learning of English in multilingual South African children. Welcome!
Michelle White (photo: private)
This study tracks the development of English language skills and working memory skills, which underlie language acquisition amongst bilingual English Language Learners in their first year of school.
South Africa, with its 11 official languages is linguistically and culturally diverse, yet English continues to be the preferred language of learning and teaching. However, many South African children have little English knowledge upon entering school. The differing levels of English proficiency at school entry together with a large range of native languages in one classroom pose multiple teaching challenges, especially because a certain level of proficiency in English is required to perform well academically in an English-medium school.
Participants are typically developing 5- and 6-year-olds from a single English-medium school but who have a native language other than English. The longitudinal study assessed children at three points of testing: at the beginning, the middle and the end of the school year.