Language minority children's linguistic and cognitive creativity

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Sydney]On: 05 May 2013, At: 09:37Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural DevelopmentPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:</p><p>Language minority children's linguistic and cognitivecreativityCarolyn Kessler a &amp; Mary Ellen Quinn ba University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, 78285, U.S.A.b Alamo Heights School District, San Antonio, TX, 78209, U.S.A.Published online: 14 Sep 2010.</p><p>To cite this article: Carolyn Kessler &amp; Mary Ellen Quinn (1987): Language minority children's linguistic and cognitive creativity,Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 8:1-2, 173-186</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Full terms and conditions of use:</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form toanyone is expressly forbidden.</p><p>The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae, and drug doses shouldbe independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims,proceedings, demand, or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly inconnection with or arising out of the use of this material.</p></li><li><p>LANGUAGE MINORITY CHILDREN'SLINGUISTIC AND COGNITIVE</p><p>CREATIVITYCarolyn Kessler</p><p>University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78285,U.S.A.</p><p>Mary Ellen QuinnAlamo Heights School District, San Antonio, TX 78209,</p><p>U.S.A.</p><p>Abstract. In the southwestern United States thousands of childrenenter the schooling process as language minority speakers of Spanish.This paper discusses findings from an empirical investigation of theeffects of bilingualism on the linguistic and cognitive creativity of lan-guage minority children proficiently bilingual in Spanish and English.Specifically, it addresses the cognitive processes of divergent and con-vergent thinking and the linguistic process of metaphorising in the 'context of formulating scientific hypotheses. Together the linguistic andcognitive processes are viewed as manifesting aspects of a commonunderlying creativity. Subjects were sixth-grade students, age 11, intwo intact classrooms, one with monolingual English-speaking majoritychildren and the other with Spanish-English bilingual minority children.Both groups participated in an inquiry-based science programme duringwhich they learned to formulate scientific hypotheses in a problem-solving setting. Written hypotheses generated by the children providedthe data-base. On measures of hypothesis quality, syntactic and semanticlinguistic variables, bilinguals outperformed monolinguals. The quali-tatively high scientific hypotheses expressed by the language minoritychildren using complex metaphoric language in their second language,English, indicate that linguistic and cognitive creativity is enhanced bybilingual language proficiency.</p><p>In the southwestern United States thousands of children enter school aslanguage minority speakers of Spanish. In Texas alone, more than 260,000children are classified as limited English proficient or LEP (Texas EducationAgency, 1986). These language minority children are, consequently, in needof special educational services to develop the majority language, English,0143-4632/87/01/0173-14$02.50/0 1987 C. KESSLER &amp; M.E. QUINNJOURNAL OF MULTILINGUAL AND MULTICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT Vol. 8, Nos. 1 &amp; 2, 1987</p><p>173</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity of</p><p> Sydn</p><p>ey] a</p><p>t 09:3</p><p>7 05 M</p><p>ay 20</p><p>13 </p></li><li><p>174 MULTILINGUAL AND MULTICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT</p><p>necessary for school success. Although it is not feasible to provide a bilingualprogramme for all LEP children (Perez, 1980), state-mandated bilingualeducation programmes serve large numbers of Spanish-dominant LEP chil-dren. Those who enter bilingual programmes in the early school years havethe opportunity to gradually become bilingual in Spanish and English duringthe five or six years of the elementary school.</p><p>This paper discusses findings from an empirical investigation of the effectsof bilingualism on the linguistic and cognitive creativity of language minoritychildren after six years of schooling. Specifically, it addresses the cognitiveprocesses of divergent and convergent thinking and the linguistic process ofmetaphorising in the context of formulating scientific hypotheses. Takentogether, these linguistic and cognitive processes are viewed as manifestingaspects of a common underlying creativity.</p><p>The study discussed examines findings in measuring the ability of languageminority bilingual children to formulate scientific hypotheses and to expressthem in written discourse. This ability is then contrasted with that oflanguage majority monolingual children matched for age and grade levels.Specifically, contrasts between language minority children using English,their second language, and language majority English-speaking children areexamined for quality of hypotheses generated, syntactic complexity of thewritten hypotheses, and utilisation of metaphoric language in expressingscientific hypotheses.</p><p>Background of Language Minority Population StudiedBecause portions of the American southwest from California to Texas</p><p>were settled at different periods, attracting different Hispanic groups, eachhas its own dialect of Spanish and distinctive subculture. Focus here is onthe Mexican-American population of San Antonio, the major urban area ofSouth Texas. The language minority children in this study are from one ofthe barrio areas of San Antonio where Spanish functions as the language ofthe home and community.</p><p>Allardt (1984: 199) defines a language minority as 'any group in whichthe members emphasise language as a crucial group characteristic and expressa certain degree of solidarity for the group so delineated'. Based on the fourbasic criteria Allardt gives for the identification of a language minority,Mexican-Americans of San Antonio and South Texas meet requirements for(1) self-categorisation, (2) common descent, (3) distinctive linguistic, culturaland historical features related to their Spanish language, (4) social organ-isation that places Mexican-Americans in a minority position in relationshipto the dominant culture and English language. Mexican Americans in SouthTexas and San Antonio have a highly developed sense of awareness ofthemselves as an ethnic group sharing a long history that spans severalcenturies. They are extremely attached to their language and culture and</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity of</p><p> Sydn</p><p>ey] a</p><p>t 09:3</p><p>7 05 M</p><p>ay 20</p><p>13 </p></li><li><p>MINORITY CHILDREN'S CREATIVITY 175</p><p>have no problems in retaining them (Grosjean, 1982). The region they livein once belonged to them, as the numerous Spanish place names in thearea indicate. Founded in 1722 by Spanish-speaking Canary Islanders, SanAntonio holds in its history rule by Spain and Mexico. Although Texasgained independence from Mexico in 1836 and later was annexed to theUnited States in 1845, it was through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in1848, ending the Mexican-American War, that 75,000 Mexicans came underAmerican rule. Although guaranteed civil and religious rights, these Mex-ican-Americans were treated as a conquered people. Not only did they losetheir land, but they experienced strong prejudice and discrimination thatcontinues today. Later, as a result of the Mexican Revolution, approximatelyone million Mexican immigrants came to the United States between 1910and 1920. By 1930, when the Depression cut off employment possibilities,nearly 15% of the population of Mexico had immigrated to the U . S .(Grosjean, 1982). Thousands of others continue to come today. In oppositionto the stereotype of Mexican-Americans, or Chcanos, as farm labourers ormigrant workers, the majority live in urban areas throughout the southwest.San Antonio, an urban area with a population of nearly one million, is 53%Mexican-American. In tracing a common descent for today's Mexican-Americans, most are 'mestizo', Hispanics of mixed Spanish and nativeAmerican heritage (Conklin &amp; Lourie, 1983).</p><p>Mexican Americans in South Texas share a non-standard variety of Span-ish reflecting the impact of extensive contact with English. T h e communityfrom which the bilingual children for this study come is regularly receivingnew immigrants from Mexico. This significantly contributes to maintenanceof the Spanish language. Most of the other members of the community arefirst or second generation who continue to make regular trips to Mexico tovisit relatives. As the major urban area of South Texas, which shares hun-dreds of miles of border with Mexico, San Antonino reflects extensiveinteraction with its neighbour to the south. San Antonio is a major des-tination region, receiving documented and undocumented migrants fromspecific regions in Mexico. A common destination for migrants from Mexicois the barrio area of San Antonio. Migrants choose Texas because it isgeographically close, transport costs are low and jobs are available. SanAntonio receives a stongly channelised migration stream from the north-western part of Mexico, particularly from the state of Coahuila (Jones,1981). Migrant channelisation is defined as a disproportionately large flow ofmigrants between an essentially rural origin and an essentially urban des-tination. Although the patterns of Mexican migration to the U .S . havebecome more dispersed in recent years, Texas continues to receive sub-stantial numbers , and San Antonio in particular.</p><p>The Mexican American children in this study live in the lowest socio-economic barrio of San Antonio. This area is served by one of the poorestof the nearly 1,100 school districts in the state of Texas. Although MexicanAmericans constitute more than half the population of San Antonio, politi-</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity of</p><p> Sydn</p><p>ey] a</p><p>t 09:3</p><p>7 05 M</p><p>ay 20</p><p>13 </p></li><li><p>176 MULTILINGUAL AND MULTICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT</p><p>cally, socially, economically and educationally those living in the povertyareas of the barrios continue to hold a subordinate position to the dominantAnglo majority. For many members of these communities, interactionswith the English-speaking population are extremely limited or even non-existent.The barrios are large-size communities where it is possible to func-tion in daily life using Spanish almost exclusively and to observe the uniquecultural patterns of Mexican-Americans. Children, however, must acquireEnglish to prbceed successfully through the schooling process. The realityis, however, that the drop-out rate is excessively high, with almost 50%discontinuing their schooling before the completion of high school. Veryfew enter colleges and universities. Patterns of prejudice and discriminationagainst Mexican-Americans continue to exist in spite of mandatory changesresulting from the civil rights movement in the United States.</p><p>The Mexican-American 11-year-old sixth grade children in this study wereproficient in Spanish and English. All had participated in a bilingual edu-cation programme from the beginning of their schooling in the primarygrades. By grade 6 all formal schooling was in English but Spanish continuedto function in peer interactions, in the home, in the community, and insome school activities. In Lambert's (1977) term, these Mexican-Americanswere additive bilinguals for whom the second language, English, developedwithout loss to the first language, Spanish,</p><p>Background of the Majority PopulationThe monolingual English-speaking children contrasted with the bilingual</p><p>children in this study are members of an upper socio-economic suburbanarea in the eastern part of the United States. Educated in a private school,they are children of professional people such as lawyers, doctors, professors,civic and business leaders. As such, they represent that segment of themajority population in the United States that holds leadership positions andreflects the social strata holding the most dominant relationship to theminority Mexican-American population.</p><p>Prior StudiesThe framework for the analysis of linguistic and cognitive creativity of</p><p>language minority bilingual children rests on the evaluation of a method forteaching hypothesis formation to English monolingual grade 6 children intwo different socio-economic settings set forth by Quinn &amp; George (1975).Under the conditions described in that study, they concluded that hypothesisformation can be taught, that the quality of hypotheses elicited can bemeasured, that there is a significant difference (p</p></li><li><p>MINORITY CHILDREN'S CREATIVITY 177</p><p>cognitive ability to generate increasingly better hypotheses qualitativelyfunctions independently of socio-economic level. In a subsequent study,Kessler &amp; Quinn (1977) found a significant positive correlation (p </p></li><li><p>178 MULTILINGUAL AND MULTICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT</p><p>Study of Bilingual Children's CreativityExtending the previous studies, Quinn &amp; Kessler (1986) contrasted the</p><p>ability of monolinguals and bilinguals not only in the formulation of scientifichypotheses and their expression in syntactically complex language but inthe semantic ability to generate multiple metaphors. This on-going study isanalysed and discussed here in terms of the focus on interactions of divergentand convergent cognitive processes reflected in verbalisation of scientifichypotheses.</p><p>SubjectsSubjects for this study were sixth-grade students, age 11, in two intact</p><p>classrooms, one with monolingual English-speaking majority children andthe other with Spanish-English bilingual minority children from the minoritypopulations described above.</p><p>ProcedureThe 5-week treatment given the experimental monolingual and bilingual</p><p>groups replicated that of the earlier studies. All lessons were taught by thesame teacher in English. Each film session, based on a 3-minute film loop,depicted a single physical science problem. The event presented is one whichsets up a discrepancy for the student. This leads to inquiry in seeking anexplanation to resolve the discrepancy. In serving as a resource in providingadditional data that may help solve the science problem presented, theteacher invites questions from the students to which the response is either'yes' or 'no'. The problem presentation sessions end with the studentswriting as many hypotheses as possible in a rigorously controlled 12-minuteperiod. The individual papers are then scored on three criteria: Quinn'sHypothesis Quality Scale (1972, 1974), the Syntactic Complexity Formuladeveloped by Botel, Dawkins &amp; Granows...</p></li></ul>


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