The interplay of young learners’ verbal self-concept and linguistic competences over time in monolingual and bilingual settings

Bruhn, Ann-Christin ; Koch, Martin ; Kersten, Kristin

Document Type: Conference presentation
Year of publication: 2023
Conference title: AAAL 2023 Conference - Collaborating and Mentoring in Applied Linguistics
Location of the conference venue: Portland, OR
Date of the conference: 18.-21.03.2023
Related URLs:
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Mehrsprachigkeitsdidaktik (Kersten 2023-)
Subject: 400 Language, linguistics
Abstract: Proposal Abstract: Despite a growing number of multilingual children, studies find a strong focus on monolingualism in German schools. Specific needs of multilingual children are not always adequately supported, and their resources not fully exploited. Intensive bilingual instruction with cognitively stimulating teaching can have positive effects on the cognitive and linguistic development of young (multilingual) learners. Therefore, intensive bilingual support may have positive effects on the self-perception of young learners beyond linguistic and cognitive aspects. As language and personality development are interwoven and the linguistic environment is central to learners’ development, we assume that children’s linguistic self-concept influences language development, and is influenced by language-intensive bilingual contexts (Zaunbauer et al., 2013). Research shows that preschoolers assess their self-concept in an unrealistically positive way, and more realistically with increasing cognitive and linguistic development (Roebers, 2007). This longitudinal study investigates the effects of bilingual schooling on the development of L1-German verbal self-concept and linguistic skills, asking: Do children in monolingual and bilingual settings differ in their development of verbal self-concept? How is children’s verbal self-concept related to their L1-proficiency? We used a cross-lagged panel design to investigate the interdependent longitudinal development of the verbal self-concept and German language proficiency of N=78 mono- and multilingual learners from preschool to 1st grade. Participants came from monolingual (German) and bilingual (German-English) settings. Verbal self-concept was operationalized via a standardized questionnaire on all languages; German grammar and lexicon via TROG-D and SET5-10, family’s language and socioeconomic background via a parent questionnaire. Results show that children in monolingual and bilingual settings do not differ significantly in their German skills, but children in bilingual settings have a significantly lower – and thus presumably more realistic – verbal self-concept. Self-concept and L1-skills do not predict each other. The discussed focuses on the roles of language-sensitive teaching, linguistic and social backgrounds.

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