ERIC Number: ED122592
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1974-Mar
A Theoretical Perspective on the Relationship of Bilingualism and Thought: Revisited. Working Papers on Bilingualism, No. 2.
Neufeld, Gerald G.
This paper consists of a critique of a paper by James Cummins which appeared in issue number 1 of the Working Papers on Bilingualism, entitled "A Theoretical Perspective on the Relationship between Bilingualism and Thought." Cummins' paper gives the impression that nearly all of the recent studies exploring the effects of bilingualism upon cognitive development and intellectual growth in children strongly support the view that bilinguals excel in problem solving, concept learning, abstract reasoning and general academic achievement. The present paper criticizes this impression, and by reviewing some of the relevant literature, demonstrates that one cannot necessarily conclude that bilingual children are superior. The goal of the studies in bilingualism is not to prove that bilingual education augments cognitive flexibility but rather to show that a second language can be acquired in primary school without detrimental effects. This paper agrees with Cummins' consideration of both linguistic and nonlinguistic factors for understanding bilingualism, but challenges the view that second language learning necessarily introduces the student to the philosophy, attitudes or feelings associated with that language. It is argued that there are not sufficient data to support the idea that a knowledge of French or English as a second language augments cognitive or verbal skills. (CLK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ontario Inst. for Studies in Education, Toronto. Bilingual Education Project.