York Psychology > UofT

Canadian Universities Forum (discussion group)

Subject: York Psychology > UofT
York U prof awarded $1.4 million USD grant to study bilingualism in children
TORONTO, July 6, 2007 -- A professor in York University??s Faculty of Health has been awarded $1.4 million USD to examine the effect of bilingualism on children??s cognitive and linguistic development and how this is linked to academic achievement.

The five-year project, headed by psychology professor Ellen Bialystok, will look exclusively at children from Toronto, due to the city??s unique multicultural makeup. The study is funded by the US government??s National Institutes of Health.

"Most children in the world are bilingual, or use different languages at home and at school, yet almost all the research on language and cognitive development is conducted on monolinguals,?? says Bialystok. ??We now know that there are both advantages and disadvantages for bilingual children as they develop. This research will help to identify what those differences are, what the effects are for young children, and what we can do to help all children develop language, literacy, and cognitive skills to their optimal level,?? she says.

Bialystok will investigate how bilingualism affects children??s executive functions -- the basis of all higher thinking, including planning, attention, and monitoring -- and higher cognitive abilities in spatial and mathematical domains. The results will help uncover the impact of bilingualism on children??s academic achievement by identifying the basic skills that underlie problem-solving in these areas.

We are all very pleased about this grant," says Harvey Skinner, Dean of York´s Faculty of Health. "This major funding from the National Institutes of Health reflects both the innovation and international recognition of Professor Bialystok´s research."

Bialystok also aims to investigate bilingualism??s impact on how children develop language skills and acquire literacy.

??It??s a well-known fact that bilingual children control a smaller vocabulary in each language than their monolingual counterparts,?? Bialystok says. ??This needs to be examined in much greater detail.??

Isolating factors that are related to bilingualism, such as social class, education, cultural expectations, and immigration, is an important goal of the study, says Bialystok.

??Monolingual and bilingual children have many different experiences, so it is essential to demonstrate that the relevant source of difference on these tasks is only the number of languages they speak,?? she says.

York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada??s most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 200,000 alumni worldwide. York??s 11 faculties and 24 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.

(in reply to: York Psychology > UofT)
yes, York is definitely better than U of T for Psych, Law, Business, PoliSci, Fine Arts, and Social & Political Thought. basically, all the programs that require more character and intellectual ability than just an average degree or a hard working conservative tech approach. there is no real innovation at U Toronto. York is overall better.

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