INVESTIGATING THE WORKING MEMORY AND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION STRATEGIES AMONG MONOLINGUAL AND BILINGUAL CHILDREN IN A CLASSROOM’S SETTING

Eleni Rachanioti, Eleni Griva, Anastasia Alevriadou

Abstract


The present study aimed at comparing the working memory of Greek monolingual students to bilingual ones from migrant backgrounds who all attend primary school. Secondly, an effort was made to investigate the correlation of the working memory with the academic performance in both groups. Moreover, the correlation of the vocabulary strategies, employed by monolingual and bilingual students in an integrated memory-based text framework (Rachanioti, Griva & Alevriadou, 2017), with their working memory was explored. The sample consisted of 20 monolingual and 20 bilingual students of Albanian origin, who attended the 5th and 6th grade of three primary schools in Eastern Thessaloniki, Greece. The monolingual and bilingual students were matched according to their mark reports on academic performance. The Automated Working Memory Assessment (Alloway, 2007) was used to assess the students’ working memory. The data revealed that monolingual and bilingual students did not differ either in the verbal working memory or the visuospatial working memory performance. A statistically significant positive correlation between working memory and academic performance was found in both monolingual and bilingual students. The correlation of the Process strategies with the verbal working memory was statistically significant in monolingual students, as well as in the bilingual ones. The Memory strategies were positively correlated with the verbal and visuospatial working memory in both groups. The Confirmation/consolidation strategies were positively correlated with the verbal working memory only in the bilingual students. Results are discussed in terms of memory strategy instruction that may compensate for a poor working memory of both monolingual and bilingual students in a classroom’s setting, thus aiding to improve their academic performance. This study is the first trial of the AWMA in Greek students as well as bilingual immigrant ones.

 

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Keywords


working memory, academic performance, vocabulary strategies, monolingual students, bilingual students

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