Social & Education Policy

Project on Bilingual Speakers Funded for SPRP

Scrabble tiles spelling out the word "bilingual"

Dr. Kristi Hendrickson, assistant professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will lead the project, "Meeting the Diverse Needs of Individuals Who Speak More than One Language," under the Summer Research Policy Program (SPRP). Emily Garcia, an undergraduate, first-generation, Latinx/a student, will assist with the research. 

Globally, dual language education is the norm, not the exception (Pew Research Center, 2015). In the United States (US), the population of bilingual children is significant and growing (22% of children speak a language other than English at home, Kids Count Data Center, 2016). Bilingualism offersjob placement benefits:66% of US employers prefer bilingualover monolingual employees (Gándara, 2014). Despite the rapid growth of dual language instruction, and the staggering portion of bilingual individualsacross the world, our understanding of language in bilingualpopulationsis severely limited. As a result, evidence-based research into how to teach two languages, and how to intervene when bilinguals displa ya language disorder is lacking. The current proposal will offer a fundamental understanding of how bilinguals comprehend multiple languages, which will lay the groundwork for pedagogical and policy insights for meeting the diverse needs of individuals who speak more than one language.

Garcia will take an active role in study design, as well as collecting, processing, and analyzing data. She will work with Dr. Hendrickson to interpret the data in light of current theories of bilingual representation, and discuss how the results inform educational and clinical practices.

The SPRP is meant to encourage more undergraduate student participation in faculty research by providing funding to researchers for hiring students to work on their projects.

To read a more detailed description of the project, click here.