Research-2nd Language Learning & Acquisition in Young Children

by Dr. Alan October 09, 2018

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Question

-Research question should be based  in the area “Second language learning and acquisition in young children.

-Write a research essay on 2nd Language Learning & Acquisition in Young Children

Solution

INTRODUCTION

I would like to postulate my research question in the area of ‘second language learning and acquisition in young children’. I would specifically like to focus on the children who come to a place where English is native or official language and is widely used. I would like to shape my interest in this topic because of my first-hand experience with one of the neighbors who recently shifted in my neighborhood with his wife and two younger kids of five and eight years old. They belong to Nepal and moved here to find some job. The parents and the kids speak only Nepali for the parents are not so educated. Since English is widely used in my city, he is facing many problems in settling down himself. Above all, the kids feel left out without the company of their same age group. They remain indoors and whenever they come out in the evening, they stand near the park and keep silently watching the other children playing games and enjoying with their peers. I have noticed it for a month, and it gave me a very different feel of how it is to live in the community and not speaking their native or official language with ease.

The three scholarly papers that I have selected in order to make me capable of doing research in my interest area have provided several new insights to me. Li 2007 presents her study with four Chinese immigrant families in Canada. Her paper discusses the cause and effect of second language learning. The children from all the four families were exposed to English language and provided English medium schools from early childhood. Despite that there was a good deal of difference in their English language communicative skills. What affected their language skills remains the purpose of the author’s detailed study.DeBey and Bombard 2007 developed a program called dual language in Bennington, Vermont and conducted their studies on the children of two to six. They immersed the children in two language; English and one other language throughout the day. All the classrooms had two teachers, one for English and one for the other second language exclusively. Children learnt their second language in the same way as they learn their first language for all the activities for example playing, singing, dancing and so on were provided in second language. The results were remarkably interesting. Karin Sandwall 2010 reflects the case study of a student who is learning second language at a work placement. My reason to take this study in my essay is to look at the differences in language learning from different perspectives. How an adult second language learning differs from the children’s is my aim here. Sandwall presents the insufficient learning opportunities as the student’s activities were limited to some tasks without any evaluation of her work placement interactions.

 

Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Li 2007 grounds her research on Coleman’s social theory of family capital (Coleman, 1988, 1990). Coleman explains his theory around the family dynamics for children’s educational attainment. He provides three distinct forms which includes capital-physical or financial capital, human capital and social capital. By the first, he means the financial status of a family plays a role in the children’s language learning because they can send their kids to good public schools, can buy books and CDs for them and so on. By human capital he maintains the educational background of the parents and by social capital he suggests the social environment given to children outside the school. This study argues that classrooms are the sole reason for a child’s language learning development. In fact, it is governed more by the above-mentioned factors. These three factors are interrelated and can be dealt in the same way. Among the four families that were studied, two of them were in academics and two of them were in their restaurant business. The first two families didn’t have much money and they were surviving either on assistance money for the University or by doing some menial part time job. But they managed to provide children’s book to their kids, used public library and spent quality time with their kids to teach them English vocabularies and stories. The other two business families were better in their financial condition, but because of the lack of parental education, they didn’t spend time in teaching their kids. They were rather busy in their business and kids were left unsupervised. Consequently they couldn’t communicate well in English and had only limited social exposure to English language. Li concludes by saying that it is not the financial condition of a family but the way money is being spent that matters to the children’s second language learning. She emphasizes on the human capital and social capital as it is important for the parents to understand that their children need supervision and social exposure, visits to libraries and fairs to improve their second language.

 

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