"Do Skills in First Language Transfer to Second Language Learning for Spanish-Speaking English Learners?"
Professor Young-Suk Kim is Principal Investigator on a new Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grant to study language transfer: "Do Skills in First Language Transfer to Second Language Learning for Spanish-Speaking English Learners?" The grant, totaling $1,400,000, extends from July 2018 through June 2022.
English learners (students whose first language is not English and learn English as a second or third language) are the fastest growing population in K-12 schools. In this project, we will systematically investigate how children’s L1 (first language) skills are related to their language and literacy skills in L2 (second language). Although the idea of transfer (students’ skills in L1 transfers to L2) has been proposed decades ago, empirical evidence so far has focused on a few limited areas. In this project, with an overarching goal of identifying transferrable skills between students’ L1 (Spanish) and L2 (English) abilities, we aim to examine a) the relations of development of L1 language and cognitive skills to the development of L2 language, cognitive, and literacy skills, b) factors influencing transfer; and c) existence of reliable subgroups of children based on skill profiles.