Bilingual and Biliteracy Department

Description of Task Force

This research area aids the understanding, facilitating and advancing of teaching/learning within a framework of bilingual development that takes Use (how languages and literacies are used in and out of school), Competencies (current and desired), and Development (trajectories of learning) into account. This focus arises because language and literacy are not only taught as academic subjects in English and Mother Tongue lessons, but are also used for learning across the curriculum. We aim to examine how children acquire two languages and learn reading and writing in two languages, to understand how learning and knowing two or more languages affects student achievement, and to explore the nature of the bilingual mind in terms of thought processes, communication and understanding. Main areas of investigation include: early childhood experiences; low achievement at the primary and secondary school level; and issues related to assessment. Multiple perspectives are taken to better understand different dimensions of learning (e.g., social, cognitive, attitudinal) and to identify what are the most beneficial learning environments that foster effective bilingualism.

List of team members:

List of team members' publications related to the research theme:

  • Beth Ann O’Brien
    • Wolf, M., & O’Brien, B. (2006). From the Sumerians to images of the reading brain:  Insights for reading theory and intervention. In G. D. Rosen (Ed.).  The dyslexic brain: New pathways in neuroscience discovery (pp. 5–20).  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    • O’Brien, B. A. (in press). Dynamical structure of silent reading fluency in bilingual students, Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Developmental Psychology.
  • Yin Bin
    • Yin, B., & Kaiser, E. (2011). Chinese speakers’ acquisition of telicity in English. In Gisela Granena et al. (Eds.), Selected proceedings of the 2010 Second Language Research Forum (pp. 182–198). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
    • Yin, B., & Kaiser, E. (2013). Second language learners’ knowledge of syntax in the acquisition of aspectual semantics. ProcediaSocial and Behavioral Sciences, 97, 454–463.
  • Viniti Vaish
    • Vaish, V. (in press). Translanguaging in Singapore: A comparison of bilingual vs monolingual classrooms. In Yiakoumetti, A. (Ed.), Multilingualism and language in education: Current sociolinguistic and pedagogical perspectives from commonwealth countries. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    • Vaish, V. (2012). Teacher beliefs regarding bilingualism in an english medium reading program. International Journal Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 15(1), 53–69.
  • Mohd Mukhlis Bin Abu Bakar
    • Bakar, M. A. (in press). Transmission and development of literacy values and practices: An ethnographic study of a Malay family in Singapore. In R. E. Silver & W. D. Bokhorst-Heng (Eds.), Quadrilingual education in Singapore: Pedagogical innovation in language education. London, UK: Springer Press.
    • Bakar, M. A. (2007). “One size can’t fit all”: A story of Malay children learning literacy. In V. Vaish, S. Gopinathan & Y. B. Liu (Eds.), Language, capital, culture: Critical studies of language in education in Singapore (pp. 175–205). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  • Seetha Lakshmi
    • Lakshmi, S. (2006). Debate on mother tongue issues in multilingual communities: Tamil language varieities – standard spoken Tamil. ‘Thamizhiyal’ Journal of Tamil Studies, 69(2), 1–17.

List of projects from this research group: