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Volume 17 Issue 4 (July 2014), Pages i-ii, 481-645

Effects of classroom bilingualism on task‐shifting, verbal memory, and word learning in children (pages 564-583)

Abstract

We examined the effects of classroom bilingual experience in children on an array of cognitive skills. Monolingual English‐speaking children were compared with children who spoke English as the native language and who had been exposed to Spanish in the context of dual‐immersion schooling for an average of 2 years. The groups were compared on a measure of non‐linguistic task‐shifting; measures of verbal short‐term and working memory; and measures of word learning. The two groups of children did not differ on measures of non‐linguistic task‐shifting and verbal short‐term memory. However, the classroom‐exposure bilingual group outperformed the monolingual group on the measure of verbal working memory and a measure of word learning. Together, these findings indicate that while exposure to a second language in a classroom setting may not be sufficient to engender changes in cognitive control, it can facilitate verbal memory and verbal learning.

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