EFFECTS OF BILINGUALISM AND VERBALIZATION ON THE PROBLEM SOLVING BEHAVIOR OF NINE- AND TEN-YEAR OLD CHILDREN

THOMAS ROBERT PIRO, Fordham University

Abstract

This study explored the relationship between level of bilingual proficiency and problem solving. It also examined the influence of analytical verbalization and non-verbalization on the subjects' ability to solve a problem.^ The 48 Spanish/English bilingual and English monolingual subjects in this study were divided into a total of six separate groups with equal numbers of nine- and ten-year old boys and girls in each of the groups (three under each of the two problem solving conditions. The subjects represented a combined random and purposive sample and were randomly assigned to one of the two problem solving conditions.^ The instruments that were used included a pre-screening measure, and the Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills (English and Spanish forms). These instruments were used to classify the subjects according to bilingual proficiency, as defined by Cummins (1980b). The problem solving task was the Tower of Hanoi problem.^ Three groups (proficient bilinguals, partial bilinguals and monolinguals) were required to solve the problem under each of the two problem solving conditions. Data derived were scored in terms of the number of moves in excess of the minimum required to solve the problem. Under the analytical verbalization condition, the subjects were tape recorded.^ Data analyses resulted in no significant differences among the groups. A content analysis of the protocols of the subjects solving the problem under the condition of analytical verbalization was also completed according to the guidelines of a handbook developed by this investigator based upon the research of Anzai and Simon (1979). These verbal response protocols were classified according to the strategy they employed most frequently to solve the problem. No significant differences in the subjects' employment of strategy at the .05 level of significance were found except between the monolinguals and the partial bilinguals. The monolinguals more frequently used the more efficient and sophisticated strategies than did the partial bilinguals. A comparative analysis of the data from the verbal protocols found the monolinguals as well as the proficient bilinguals to utilize these same more efficient and sophisticated strategies over the lesser efficient ones. These results may be explained in terms of age and level of language proficiency. Recommendations for future research were made. ^

Subject Area

Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

PIRO, THOMAS ROBERT, "EFFECTS OF BILINGUALISM AND VERBALIZATION ON THE PROBLEM SOLVING BEHAVIOR OF NINE- AND TEN-YEAR OLD CHILDREN" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8308491.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8308491

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