Language Learning Experience in school context and metacognitive awareness of multilingual children

E.M.M. Le Pichon-Vorstman, H. de Swart, V. Ceginskas, H. van den Bergh

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What is the influence of a language learning experience (LLE) in a school context on the metacognitive development of children? To answer that question, we presented 54 multilingual preschoolers with two movie clips and examined their reactions to an exolingual situation of communication. These preschoolers were aged four and a half to six and a half. We observed how they treated the reception of information during situations of communication in which they did not share the same language as their interlocutor. We hypothesised that children with a LLE in a formal context would outperform children without that specific experience (nLLE) with respect to their communicative abilities in this test paradigm. Furthermore, we hypothesised that the differences observed might be due to the fact that LLE children would be more aware of contextual cues than nLLE children. As a result, the LLE children might be more inclined to answer the actor and less inclined to give up the exchange. Our results confirm that a formal learning context (LLE) significantly improves metacognitive awareness and that this is a relevant factor in facilitating the treatment of communicative interactions.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)256-280
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Multilingualism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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