Research Methods for Understanding Child Second Language Development
Butler and Huang’s book is one of the first to focus on second language (L2) development research methods and techniques specifically targeted at children of primary and pre-primary years.
The last decade has seen a growing number of L2 studies of children aged 4–12, a demographic with special developmental characteristics that confound research methods designed for studying adults. Written by experts from a variety of disciplines, this book covers major research methods and techniques in existing L2 development research, including observations, surveys, interviews, introspective methods, speech production methods, receptive methods, eye tracking, and brain imaging, as well as research methods specifically designed for L2 children with special educational needs. The book also discusses various age-related considerations and challenges if they are employed to young L2 learners.
This will be essential reading for SLA, child development, and TESOL researchers, and students in these courses will benefit particularly from pedagogical material such as further readings and discussion questions.
Chapter 1 Introduction: Researching Child Second Language Development (Becky H. Huang & Yuko Goto Butler)
Chapter 2 Observation and ethnographic methods for researching young learners (Peter Sayer & Susan Ataei)
Chapter 3 Surveys and questionnaires with young language learners (Emiko Hirosawa & W. L. Quint Oga-Baldwin)
Chapter 4 Using interviews with children in L2 research (Annamaria Pinter)
Chapter 5 Verbal Reports as a Window for Understanding Mental Processes among Young Learners (Yuko Goto Butler)
Chapter 6 Research methods for evaluating second language speech production (Becky H. Huang & Rica Ramírez)
Chapter 7 Receptive methods in child bilingualism and second language acquisition (Silvina Montrul, Alexandra Morales-Reyes & Begoña Arechabaleta Regulez)
Chapter 8 Eye-tracking methods in child SLA research (Paola E. Dussias & Karen Miller)
Chapter 9 Brain imaging methods (Nia Nickerson & Ioulia Kovelman)
Chapter 10 Research methods for L2 children with special needs (Li Sheng & Sharon R. Hollenbach)
Chapter 11 Considerations for Research Methods to Study Child Second Language Development (Yuko Goto Butler)
Begoña Arechabaleta Regulez is an Assistant Instructional Professor at the University of Chicago. She received MA and PhD degrees in Spanish Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation examined language variation from a psycholinguistic perspective. Begoña has also conducted research on language acquisition, especially by bilingual children and heritage speakers.
Susan Ataei is a doctoral student in the PhD program in Language, Education & Society at the Ohio State University. She has researched children who are heritage learners of Persian at a community language program.
Yuko Goto Butler is Professor of Educational Linguistics in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the Director of the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Program. Her research interests include language assessment and second and foreign language learning among children.
Paola E. Dussias is Professor of Spanish, Linguistics and Psychology at Penn State University. Her research examines the interactions of a bilingual’s two languages during written and spoken language comprehension. To do this, she uses converging methodological tools from linguistics, experimental psycholinguistics, and second language acquisition.
Emiko Hirosawa teaches full-time at a private elementary school in Tokyo while also pursuing her doctorate at Waseda University. She researches elementary school English education and motivation and is a coeditor of the textbook series "Smile," specifically for private elementary schools in Japan.
Sharon R. Hollenbach is a current Communications and Information Sciences MA student at University of Alabama. She spent three years at University of Delaware assisting in bilingualism research, and is now focusing her studies on how individuals’ religious beliefs and communities affect other aspects of their public life.
Becky H. Huang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Bicultural Bilingual Studies at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA). Her research focuses on two interrelated areas that address the goal of promoting language and education outcomes for bilingual students: language/literacy development and assessment of bilingual students.
Ioulia Kovelman is a faculty at the University of Michigan. She is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist interested in how bilingualism influences children’s emerging neural architecture for literacy development. She studies young learners of different languages, with typical development and dyslexia, using a variety of neuroimaging methods.
Karen Miller is Associate Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Penn State University. Her research in developmental sociolinguistics focuses on how variable input impacts children’s acquisition of language and how children acquire sociolinguistic variation across development.
Silvina Montrul is Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on linguistic and psycholinguistic approaches to second language acquisition and bilingualism, with particular emphasis on heritage speakers.
Alexandra Morales-Reyes is an Associate Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. Her teaching and research are focused on bilingualism and first and second language acquisition in children.
Nia Nickerson is a developmental neuroscientist studying how different language experiences, such as bilingualism and bi-dialectal experiences, influence children's language and literacy development and the emerging neural pathways for learning to read. She pursues this inquiry from educational, brain-development, cognitive and socio-cultural perspectives.
W. L. Quint Oga-Baldwin is Professor of Elementary School English Education at Waseda University, where he researches motivation, language, and pedagogy. He has trained primary school teachers in Japan for over a decade.
Annamaria Pinter is associate Professor at University of Warwick. She is internationally known for her research in the area of Teaching English to Young Learners. She has published extensively in this field and her most recent interests include inclusive research methods with children and working with young learners as co-researchers.
Rica Ramírez is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she researches early childhood development specifically focusing on how external factors (i.e., home and school) influence the school readiness development of young Latino children, and how maternal responsiveness impacts young Latino children’s language development.
Peter Sayer is an Associate Professor of Language Education Studies in the College of Education and Human Ecology at the Ohio State University. He has conducted extensive research with children in the English program for public primary schools in Mexico.
Li Sheng is Professor and a faculty member of the Speech Therapy Unit at the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research focuses on assessing language development of heritage speakers of Mandarin in the US and comparative studies of Mandarin-English and Spanish-English dual language learners.
The potential of this book is enormous. No longer can L2 researchers claim ignorance to the nuances and challenges of working with younger learners, a population so often overlooked. Yuko Butler and Becky Huang’s volume, and the entire cast of contributors, deftly guides us on a full spectrum of methodological approaches and the myriad issues we are likely to encounter in conducting research with children. It’s now up to us—the L2 research community—to step up and to put in to practice the time- and experience-tested techniques described herein. And I very much hope we will.
(Luke Plonsky, Northern Arizona University)
This book is a gem for researchers of children’s L2 development! It offers wise guidance across a wealth of methods, from ethnography and interviews, to eye-tracking and brain imaging, and a lot more. With its exciting selection of authors and its comprehensive coverage, this is the ideal textbook for a research methods course focusing on L2 children populations.
(Lourdes Ortega, Georgetown University)
In an increasingly bilingual world with more and more children growing up exposed to an additional language either at birth or as young as age 2-5, this long-needed volume will make a very timely and notable contribution to the field of child L2 acquisition. With its different chapters discussing, in a highly accessible fashion, a variety of research methods in reference to the relevant theoretical framework behind them, the book will serve as an excellent resource for both novice and expert researchers interested in identifying intricate issues in child L2 development. I strongly recommend it.
(Ayşe Gürel, Bogazici University)