Page 24 - Second language development of newly arrived migrant kindergarteners - Frederike Groothoff
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24 Chapter 1 1.3 Newly arrived migrant pupils In general, and also specifically in the Netherlands, pupils are considered newcomers when they were not born in the country and have not been schooled yet in the language of schooling. This definition of newcomers is very broad and therefore the status of these migrant families can vary from asylum seekers and refugees to economic migrants or expatriates. They can be asylum seekers who are war refugees or economic refugees, expats who will work in the country for a couple of years, or other individuals who have moved for any number of other reasons. In most previous studies of language development of migrant children specific groups of migrants were investigated (for example Turkish-Dutch bilinguals, Leseman, 2000; Blom, 2010), or a difference was made between refugees and other types of migrants (in the study of for example Kaplan, Stolk, Valibhoy, Tucker, & Baker, 2016). In contrast to previous studies that differentiated between types of migrant populations (Leseman, 2000; Blom, 2010; Kaplan et al., 2016), the population of the present study includes all newly arrived migrant pupils, based on the two criteria named earlier, to which we added an age and a duration criteria: (1) The child was not born in The Netherlands, (2) The child has never been schooled in Dutch before, (3) The child was minimal four maximal six years old, and (4) the child was in the Netherlands for less than a year at the beginning of the study. More details about the participants and their countries of origin will be presented in Chapter 3, paragraph 3.4.2. These newly arrived migrant pupils are usually considered “second language learners.” Second language learners include all learners who are exposed to the language of the environment at a later age, after having already acquired their home language. However, a distinction has to be made between different types of second language learners. Therefore we want to emphasize that the newly arrived migrant pupils in the present study differ from other second language learners in class who entered the Dutch education system with some knowledge of Dutch since they were born in the Netherlands. It is expected that second language learners born in the Netherlands will have had more experience with Dutch before starting school than newly arrived migrant pupils because there are special school readiness programs for pupils who speak a different home language than the language of instruction in school. According to the OECD (2015) and several researchers (e.g., Baker, 2011; Cummins, 2000), pupils who speak a language at home that is different from the language of instruction in school may be at risk for academic underachievement, assuming that this underachievement is due to a language delay in the school language. Since pupils need at least 5 to 7 years to learn a new language it is seemingly likely that they could not learn similarly to pupils who do speak the language of instruction at home (Collier & Thomas, 1989; Cummins, 1981; 1989; 2008; Thomas & Collier, 2002). 

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