Development of verbal creativity by bilingual and English as foreign language learners in kindergarten to 8th grade schools
Bilingualism has long been within the scope of creativity studies that investigate creativity and problem solving. This study aims to explore the possible effect of bilingualism on the verbal creativity of English language learners. Participants from a bilingual and an English as foreign language teaching program within the same school were selected as an experimental and a control group respectively to compare verbal creativity. A series of creative English writing tasks designed by the authors were assigned to a total of 86 third grade (aged 7–8) students. Both the English as foreign language group (N = 42) and the bilingual group (N = 44) were subject to assessment and evaluation in terms of verbal creativity. The two cohorts completed the same creative writing tasks that were then assessed by a board of five English teachers from the same school who were trained by the authors to assess verbal creativity using a Student Product Assessment Form. An independent samples Student’s t-test was conducted and descriptive statistics of both cohorts for 9 of the assessment form were analyzed. The results showed that the students on the bilingual program outperformed those on the English as foreign language program in terms of verbal creativity. The study offers implications for English language teaching in primary schools with reference to developing creative verbal language skills at early ages.
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