Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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Early cognitive development and educational assimilation of migrant children

Swansea University
Thursday 06 April 2017, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Thursday 6 April 2017, 16:00-17:00

Room 101, School of Management, Swansea University, Bay Campus, Fabian Way, Swansea, SA1 8EN

Speaker: Dr Anita Staneva, The University of Sydney   

Immigrants come to the UK from different countries, with different resources, languages and experiences. All of these factors influence the early cognitive development and school readiness of their children. In this paper we consider how the cognitive development of young bilingual children may differ from that of their monolingual counterparts by examining children's cognitive skills for a nationally representative cohort (UK Millennium Cohort Study). The dynamic model follows children from age of 3 until 7 years and supports thenotation that cognitive skill acquisition is a cumulative process. Our empirical research shows that contrary to popular believe, bilingualism has no inherent negative impact on children’s development. On the contrary, it seems to even have some cognitive advantages. While bilingual children are found to lag behind their monolingual peers at age of 3 and 5, they catch up by the time they are 7 years old by which then any language penalty has disappeared. More importantly, at 7 years of age, bilingual children showed a general superiority over their peers in a range of cognitive outcomes such as the British Ability Scale Word reading, Pattern construction and Math tests. Thus, our study facilitates the recent language education policy initiative on the value-added of speaking foreign language.

For further Information please contact Dr Giovanni Tabacco: