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Open AccessArticle

Self-Concepts in Reading and Spelling among Mono- and Multilingual Children: Extending the Bilingual Advantage

1
Department of Primary and Secondary Education, Pedagogical University Tyrol, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2
Diversity and Inclusion Research Group, University of Potsdam, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
3
Multilingualism Research Team, Center for Didactics, Pedagogical University Tyrol, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
4
Language Acquisition, Multilingualism and Cognition Lab, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9040039
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 1 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 13 April 2019
Cognitive representations and beliefs are what comprise an individual’s self-concept. A positive self-concept is related to and influences academic achievement, and the relationship between a domain-specific self-concept and achievement in the same domain is positive and strong. However, insufficient attention has been paid to these issues among multilingual children. More importantly, since instruction strongly contributes to the development of metacognition and executive functions (EFs), and since the bilingual advantage hypothesis holds that the constant management of multiple languages entails benefits for EF, we bring together these important issues in the present study. We examine the relationship between domain-specific self-concepts and standardized assessment of reading and spelling competences against the background of potential differences in self-concept between monolingual and multilingual German children. While between-group comparisons revealed no significant differences for self-concept nor reading competency, monolinguals outperformed multilinguals in spelling. Correlations between domain-specific self-concepts and academic achievement in reading comprehension, reading fluency, and spelling were positive and significant for both groups. Regardless of language background, children’s evaluations of their academic achievement (reading and spelling) were realistic. We argue, on a theoretical basis, that metacognition and EFs could facilitate a bilingual advantage and improve educational outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: domain-specific self-concept; academic achievement; metacognition; executive functions; multilingual children; reading comprehension; reading fluency; spelling domain-specific self-concept; academic achievement; metacognition; executive functions; multilingual children; reading comprehension; reading fluency; spelling
MDPI and ACS Style

Festman, J.; Schwieter, J.W. Self-Concepts in Reading and Spelling among Mono- and Multilingual Children: Extending the Bilingual Advantage. Behav. Sci. 2019, 9, 39.

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