Bilingualism and symbolic abstraction: Implications for algebra learning
Marta K. Mielicki, University of Illinois at Chicago, United States ; Natalie A. Kacinik, Brooklyn College and Graduate Center of the City University of New York, United States ; Jennifer Wiley, University of Illinois at Chicago, United States
Learning and Instruction Volume 49, Number 1, ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Much of the research on bilingualism and math learning focuses on the potential challenges that bilinguals and language learners may face. The current line of research took an alternative approach and explored whether a bilingual advantage may emerge for a novel algebraic problem solving task that requires symbolic thought, the Symbol Math task. No differences were seen between bilingual and monolingual samples on basic math or executive control tasks; however, a bilingual advantage was seen in performance on the Symbol Math task across two experiments. The results suggest that bilingualism may improve the ability to engage in more abstract or symbolic thought processes, which may have important implications for algebra learning.
Mielicki, M.K., Kacinik, N.A. & Wiley, J. (2017). Bilingualism and symbolic abstraction: Implications for algebra learning. Learning and Instruction, 49(1), 242-250. Elsevier Ltd.