A study of semantically encoded attitudes of Spanish-speaking bilingual students receiving Spanish-medium instruction



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Introduction. This study conducted among fourth and fifth grade Spanish-dominant students in a bilingual program explored the language attitudes of a selected sample of 75 students. The primary objective of the study was to determine whether language attitudes toward Spanish, and toward Spanish as a medium of instruction were semantically-encoded in long-term memory based on an information processing model by Hamilton (1983). Moreover, a second objective was to determine the relations between the aforementioned attitudes and selected demographic and linguistic variables; such as: Age on Arrival, Length in a Bilingual Program, Years of Native Instruction, Gender, and a self-rating of Spanish and English proficiency. The above objectives were explored in Phase 1 of the study utilizing the Index of Semantically-encoded Attitudes-Spanish (ISEA-S) designed for this purpose. During Phase 2 of the study a subsample of 23 bilingual students was drawn from the original sample to answer the question: What is the relation between the attitudes of students as expressed above and the level of comprehension and elaboration of language generated after reading a narrative in Spanish. The narrative was designed to evoke certain attitudes toward Spanish-medium instruction and bilingual education. Methodology for both parts of the study was derived from a cognitive, information processing interpretation of attitudes and discourse comprehension. [...]



Hispanic Americans--Psychology, Education, Bilingual--United States