Second language learning in young children
The interrelationships among selected variables and second language learning were examined in 52 children, three through five years-old. An experimenter-designed curriculum based on active, concrete experiences was used to teach Spanish in a small-group setting;Immediately following the six-month instructional period, children participated in a Spanish posttest which was videotaped and viewed by two university Spanish faculty members who independently rated the children on the criterion variables: vocabulary, listening comprehension, oral production, and pronunciation. Moderator variables included intelligence (Stanford Binet, Form L-M, 1972 Norms), parent attitude toward bilingualism (Mosley, 1969), child's motivation to learn Spanish (experimenter-developed instrument), age in months, and sex;A multiple classification analysis of variance procedure revealed that highly motivated subjects performed better on vocabulary and oral production, but not on listening comprehension. A significant interaction was observed between motivation and age for pronunciation which suggested that high motivation compensated for the neurological immaturity of the younger children. The lack of an observed relationship between intelligence, sex, and age and second language learning suggests the appropriateness of this curriculum for children of normal intelligence and above, regardless of sex, within this age range. The lack of variability in parent attitude may explain the unexpected finding in this study of no significant relationship between parent attitude and children's second language learning;Reference. Mosley, R. T. (1969). Development and application of a Spanish-English bilingualism attitude scale. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.