ERIC Number: ED278260
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986
Reference Count: 0
Cognitive Development of Bilingual Children.
The idea that bilingualism causes cognitive damage to children is no longer held by researchers, but it lingers in popular belief. It is based on the assumption that language is central to cognitive development, which is not held by all theorists. Another theoretical issue is whether the mind is a limited-capacity container or can accommodate two languages with ease. Social concerns arising from cases of poor acculturation have also influenced research on bilingualism. More recent research has compared the performance of "real" bilingual children, those with roughly equal language skills, with that of monolingual children and found the former group to have superior performance, especially in metalinguistic ability. There is now data suggesting that even language minority students in bilingual education programs who are in the process of learning English can benefit from some of the advantages of bilingualism. These studies contradict the argument that bilingualism in itself might cause cognitive confusion in the child, and support the idea that bilingualism can lead to higher levels of metalinguistic awareness and cognitive ability. In general, they point to the benefits to children of all language backgrounds of learning and maintaining two languages. (MSE)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. Center for Language Education and Research.