Collins, Brian, & Toppelberg, Claudio
Cross-Sectional Associations of Spanish and English Competence and Well-Being in Latino Children of Immigrants in Kindergarten
Washington State University
1. How are Latino children of immigrants’ first and second language competences related to their emotional and
behavioral well-being concurrently in kindergarten?
2. What are the contributions of child, home, and school factors to emotional and behavioral well-being after considering first and second language competences?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
International Journal of the Sociology of Language
208 pp 5-23
The proportion of Spanish speakers in the classroom was associated with Spanish competence (r = .28, p < .01) and negatively associated with English competence (r = - .20, p < .01).
Factors in school, such as teaching experience, kindergarten transition practices, and proportion of Spanish speaking children in the classroom, did not contribute beyond the linguistic predictors.
Individual poverty was negatively associated with English competence. Spanish and English competences accounted for moderate to large portions of variance in all dimensions of well-being.
The contributions of child, home, and school variables to well-being were much smaller than language competence, and in most cases, not significant.
Their findings suggest that dual language competence is critically associated with the emotional and behavioral well-being and school functioning of Latino children of immigrants.
Language competence variables were the strongest predictors in their models. The contributions of child, home, and school variables to well-being was minimal and, in most cases, non- significant after considering language competence.
The effect of language competence was moderate to large for each of the five dimensions of well-being considered in the study.
In each of their models, language competences were the strongest predictors of well-being.
In the present study, children’s dual language competences (in both Spanish and English) were closely linked to their interpersonal, intrapersonal, and affective strengths.
Both Spanish and English competence were associated with school functioning.
Non-verbal IQ was associated with Spanish competence, English competence, and each of the dimensions of well-being with the exception of affective strengths.
Of the considered home factors, maternal education was associated English competence, intrapersonal strengths, connection to family, and school functioning.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Bilingual, Immigrants, Language, Latinos, Student Characteristics
Method of Analysis:
Bivariate Correlations, Multivariate Analysis
Unit of Analysis:
Latino dual language children of immigrants ( N = 228) with demographic characteristics similar to those of Northeastern urban immigrant populations (U.S. Census 2000) were recruited from public schools in the Boston, MA area.
All children in the study were born in the United States or arrived prior to age three and were Spanish first
language speakers. , Mothers, families, and/ or caregivers communicated solely or mainly in Spanish.
Participants were sequential bilinguals, with little or no exposure to English prior to age three. At least one parent was born outside of the continental United States. Children in the sample age ranged between 5.2 and 7
Children were assessed in three 45-minute sessions, conducted at the school on separate days for each language, and in most cases within a week.
DV: Competencies: Oral language competences. Specific linguistic domains were measured using the Woodcock language proficiency battery — Revised: English and Spanish forms [WLPB-R] (Woodcock 1991). Four WLPB-R sub-test scores — Memory for Sentences, Picture Vocabulary, Listening Comprehension, and Verbal Analogies — yield an oral language cluster score (computed from the average of W scores from each sub-test and normalized according to age).
IV: Behavior, well being, child characteristics, home factors and school factors.
Emotional and behavioral well-being. Teachers reported on five dimensions of emotional and behavioral well-being and school functioning using the behavior and emotional rating scale.
Child characteristics: non-verbal cognitive ability and general intelligence were measured with the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test [UNIT] (Bracken and McCallum 1998), which is administered and completed without the use of language.
Home factors. Primary caregivers, for the most part mothers, responded to several questionnaires regarding the home context. Maternal education was measured by the highest level of schooling completed by mothers.
In the present study, a child is considered to be living in poverty, and scored one on this dichotomous variable, when the household is a recipient of at least one government program which ties eligibility to income threshold levels set by federal or state poverty guidelines.
School factors. Three relevant characteristics of the school context were evaluated through teacher questionnaires - teaching experience, transition to kindergarten practices, and proportion of Spanish speakers.