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The role of medium of instruction for multilingual children: a study of primary school children in India".

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Bilingualism and multilingualism have revealed cognitive advantages and enhanced learning skills in children raised in western societies (e.g., Bialystok & Viswanathan, 2009). Multilingualism is the norm in India. Nevertheless, learning outcomes for many school children appear low and hard to improve. Focusing on the comparison between children from urban slums with those from urban non-slum areas also from poor families, the current study examines the effects of medium of instruction on literacy, numeracy and cognitive skills in primary school children in India. Results from 400 children in Standard IV living in Delhi reveal that children educated in Hindi-medium schools perform better than those in Hindi/English or English-medium schools in some of the tasks. Some unexpected differences in task performance are also found in children from slum areas. Results are discussed in relation to linguistic and social factors.

This talk is part of the Second Language Education Group series.

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