The Impact of Environmental Factors on the Production of English Narratives by Spanish-English Bilingual Children
Wei Chen & Liang Chen
University of Georgia
English learners (ELs) entering the U.S. educational system form a heterogeneous group, with different patterns of home language use, different instructional programs, and different socio-economic background. The present study explores the impact of these environmental factors on the development of narrative skills in Spanish-speaking ELs. Three independent studies are reported, focusing on ELs’ use of referring expressions, evaluative expressions, and relative clauses in the English oral narratives.
While the results did not provide direct evidence for “the astounding effectiveness” (Collier & Thomas, 2004) of bilingual immersion program in aspects of the ELs’ narrative production, results suggested that this might have resulted from the modulating roles of family socioeconomic status and home language use. Indeed, socioeconomic status was found to play a more important role in predicting individual differences in adequately managing references and using richer evaluative devices in oral narratives than other environmental factors. The study contributes to the field by highlighting the need to examine the interactions of environmental factors to maximize ELs’ language and literacy outcomes.
ISBN 9783862887965. LINCOM Studies in Bilingualism 03. 142pp. 2017.