The relationship between educational cognitive styles and varying degrees of bilingualism

Grisel Lopez-Diaz, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between levels of language proficiency in English and Spanish and educational cognitive style using the framework developed by Hill (1980) to "map" educational cognitive styles. The relationship between language proficiency levels and preferred use of English and Spanish was also explored.^ The subjects included 109 bilingual seventh- and eighth-grade students enrolled in self-contained Spanish/English bilingual classes. They were divided into three groups combining levels of basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) and cognitive/academic language proficiency (CALP) in both English and Spanish.^ Students were administered an adaptation of the Cognitive Style Mapping Inventory in both English and Spanish. A Language Usage Questionnaire yielded data on their use of English and Spanish in home and school situations.^ The results of these instrumentalities were used to map all individual and collective educational cognitive styles to determine the preferred use of selected elements. Commonalities in the cognitive styles of each group were determined and elements unique to a particular group were also constructed. Multiple regression analysis tested the hypotheses of any significant relationships between levels of language proficiency and educational cognitive style elements. The chi-square technique analyzed independence between the three levels of language proficiency and preferred uses of English and Spanish.^ Commonalities in educational cognitive style resulted across the three groups. Unique educational cognitive style elements were identified for two groups. Significant relationships were found between language proficiency levels and selective educational cognitive style elements resulting from multiple regression analysis. Independence among levels of language proficiency and the use of English and Spanish in specific situations was discovered.^ This investigation contributed to the educational instruction literature by combining oral and academic language proficiency as an important composite variable and exploring the preferred educational cognitive styles of bilingual learners at different levels of language proficiency. The framework of educational cognitive style mapping and determination of language usage are recommended as valuable tools for bilingual educators in the development of curricula, determination of the appropriate language for instruction, adaptation of teaching styles, and individualization of instruction in order to maximize the learning potential of bilingual students. ^

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Elementary education|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Lopez-Diaz, Grisel, "The relationship between educational cognitive styles and varying degrees of bilingualism" (1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9304520.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9304520

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