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IMPACT OF EARLY SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING ON FIRST LANGUAGE

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IMPACT OF EARLY SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING ON FIRST LANGUAGE A Study of the Confucius Institute in Edmonton In Partnership with Edmonton Public Schools – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: IMPACT OF EARLY SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING ON FIRST LANGUAGE


1
IMPACT OF EARLY SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING ON FIRST
LANGUAGE
  • A Study of the
  • Confucius Institute in Edmonton
  • In Partnership with
  • Edmonton Public Schools
  • June 2009

2
Researchers
  • Study Sponsored by
  • The Confucius Institute in Edmonton
  • Primary Researcher
  • Dr. John Macnab
  • Research Support Services Edmonton Public
    Schools
  • Editor
  • Stuart Wachowicz
  • Chairman Confucius Institute in Edmonton

3
Purpose of the Study
  • To examine the reciprocal effect of second
    language study from an early age on first
    language
  • Hypothesis
  • That students participating in intensive second
    language training from an early age will have
    comparable or superior performance in formalized
    English language studies than students who are in
    unilingual programs.

4
Rationale for the Study
  • To grow demand for second language education in
    school systems (especially in North America), and
    in particular to grow enrollment in Chinese
    language, a number of sincerely held, but
    possibly erroneous beliefs need to be addressed
  • L2 should wait until L1 is firmly established
  • Early L2 can damage L1 acquisition
  • L2 students struggling in L1 should be withdrawn
    from L2
  • L2 learning is difficult, therefore limit to
    strong students

5
Rationale for the Study
  • Such beliefs contribute to an educational culture
    in which L2 is not valued as other core subjects.
  • Hence promotion of the idea that all students
    should gain a measurable proficiency in L2 is a
    challenge.
  • Subsequently promoting Chinese is even more
    difficult given the idea that Asian languages are
    harder to learn for western students

6
Basis for the research
  • Edmonton Public Schools (EPS) has a 30 year
    history of intensive L2 education, and is the
    Canadian pioneer in Bilingual education. (80
    000 students)
  • EPS has carefully collected years of performance
    data of students on Alberta government exams at
    grades 3, 6, 9 and 12.
  • The data was segregated for students in Immersion
    and Bilingual programs

7
EPS Language Programs
Program Age and grade Time in L2
French Immersion (age 5-17) K-2 3-6 7-9 10-12 100 85 70 40
Bilingual (age 5-17) K-6 7-9 10-12 50 30-35 15
Second Language Courses 4-9 10-12 10 12.5
8
Languages Offered
Immersion Bilingual Second Language
French (3400) Chinese (2000) Arabic (1000) German ( 800) Spanish (300) Ukrainian (300) Hebrew (150) ASL (100) French (26 000) Spanish (3 000) Chinese (1 000) German (1 000) Japanese (800) Punjabi (200) ASL (150) Ukrainian (150) Cree (300)
9
Research Design
  • Local conditions and time issues ruled out a
    controlled experiment
  • Open boundaries
  • Programs of Choice
  • Student mobility
  • Access was available to many years worth of data
    of student performance on provincially
    standardized tests in English and core subjects.
    These test are written by all students in the
    province at grades 3, 6, 9 and 12
  • English tests are of high quality assessing all
    strands of Language Arts
  • Given the purpose, the research design was
    limited to the English results.

10
Research Design
  • Based on student performance on tests the
    provinces sets cut scores to determine students
    who achieve
  • Below Acceptable Standard
  • Within Acceptable Standard
  • Above Acceptable Standard
  • Grade 3 English results were used as pre-test
  • Grade 6 and 9 results were used as post-test
    scores for analysis

11
Research Design Controlling Confounding
Variables
  • Provincial Achievement Tests represent the total
    population of Alberta students, therefore true
    population parameters are available (normal
    population) Control
  • Only students remaining in the L2 program from k
    to 9 were included
  • Individual student results were converted into Z
    scores Z(X-µ)/s This permits tracking of
    growth, based upon what would be expected
    progress for that student.

12
Research Design
  • Data analyzed in two ways
  • Statistical tests analyzed in an R computing
    environment (statistical computing and graphics
    language interface)
  • Graphical representation
  • Results not broken down by specific language
  • Some language programs are too small
  • The study considered instruction in L2 in an
    English environment the common treatment
  • Programs varied slightly in content and approach
    in different schools, making the total cohort
    better approximate a random sample than if we
    focused on smaller groups, yielding greater
    generalization.

13
Research Design The Student Sample
  • Cohort 1
  • 304 students who began their schooling in
    September 1997
  • Cohort 2
  • 286 students who began their schooling in
    September 1998
  • Total sample size 590

14
Cohort Composition
Cohort 1 Cohort 2 Total
Chinese Bilingual 126 122 248
French Immersion 128 101 229
German Bilingual 35 41 76
Ukrainian Bilingual 9 10 19
Arabic Bilingual 6 9 15
Hebrew Bilingual 0 3 3
TOTAL 590
15
Rationale for Confucius Institute Sponsorship
  • The study has raised interest across Canada in
    the media, and academic and education circles,
    and will play a key role in the language
    education debate in Canada
  • The largest population in the cohort are students
    learning Chinese
  • A study that could demonstrate a positive
    correlation between Chinese language learning and
    increased proficiency in L1 would be useful in
    promoting Chinese.
  • National coverage in the national media would
    profile the Confucius Institute as making a
    valuable contribution to language learning in
    Canada and beyond

16
Results
Course Standard Provincial Results Results for Bilingual or Immersion students Difference from Province
ELA 3 Below 10 5 -5
ELA 3 Acceptable 72 72 0
ELA 3 Excellence 18 23 5
ELA 6 Acceptable 12 4 -8
ELA 6 Below 69 70 1
ELA 6 Excellence 19 26 7
ELA 9 Below 12 2 -10
ELA 9 Acceptable 72 62 -10
ELA 9 Excellence 16 36 20
17
Change in English Performance
18
Tracking Z Scores
  • Z gt 0 Above Provincial Average
  • Z 0 At Provincial Average
  • Z lt 0 Below Provincial Average
  • Result indicates that even with LESS instruction
    in English, Immersion and Bilingual students
    increased in English proficiency relative to the
    total population.

19
Grade 3 vs 9 Z Score Distribution
20
Observations
  • In grade 3 the student population is only
    slightly above the normal distribution for the
    province. (This after 3 years of being in the
    intense L2 environment)
  • They still have a broad distribution of results
    indicating they are not an elite group.
  • Some students are clearly struggling in English
    at -2 and -3 Standard Deviations below the mean.

21
Observations
  • By grade 9 this group has clearly advanced
    significantly beyond the mean.
  • The top end students in grade 3 have not
    necessarily advanced, yet they are still in the
    excellence category.
  • It is the low end student in grade 3, the ones
    who struggled in English, who have made the most
    gains

22
Effect Size
  • This effect size indicates that those students
    who remained in their bilingual or immersion
    programs show statistically significantly greater
    growth in English Language Arts than would have
    been expected if they had tracked the control
    (provincial census) group.
  • In other words their English was better than if
    they had been in an English only program

23
  • Although these students spend significantly less
    time in English instruction, their English
    results have improved at a rate that is
    statistically faster than English only program
    students.

24
Current Conclusion
  • If we desire the strongest results in English for
    the individual student, provide, early and
    sustained, quality second language education.
  • The effect size indicates this has greater impact
    than any other researched intervention.
  • The result will be a student with strong English
    results, with bilingualism as a by product.
  • If you want strong English skills provide
    sustained second language instruction, in
    particular Mandarin.

25
Contact Information
  • The Confucius Institute in Edmonton
  • 13750 Woodcroft Ave.
  • Edmonton, Alberta T5M 3M4
  • Website www.confuciusedmonton.ca Phone (780)
    970-5233

26
IMPACT OF EARLY SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING ON FIRST
LANGUAGE
  • A Study of the
  • Confucius Institute in Edmonton
  • In Partnership with
  • Edmonton Public Schools
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