Psychosocial Impact for Spanish Essay Sample

Psychosocial Impact for Spanish Essay Sample

English as a second language deserves to be studied as a result of the increasing of immigration population. Currently, international students request to satisfy academics and social needs. In this sense, the report offers a social-perspective to explain different factors which are involved in this new environment. Role of parents, teachers, classmates, school and government are included from diverse sources in order to provide a guide for parents or teachers. The investigation focus on children, elementary grades and Spanish as a first language. The findings indicate that psychosocial context is considerably determinant in the acquisition of the second language. Sociocultural, cognitive and psychological theories are implicated in the analysis.

1. Introduction

Currently, immigrant population is increasing in most of the countries. Australia immigration has grown to 8, 9 % in two last years, (Australian Government, 2013) and the similar situation is occurring with Canada and The United States. At the same time, young children have to adapt in a new environment which includes challenges in a new language, new culture, new school and new home. In consequence, multidirectional factors are involved in children’s life to achieve successful in becoming literate. The purpose of this report is review divergent factors around the sphere of English learning in the elementary grades, specifically with Hispanic speakers in a social context.


1. Perspectives

Foreign Language is a concerned topic in Education area by scholars across the globe, simultaneously; new approaches towards the quality in English teaching and learning process have been demonstrated in countless studies within different angles. To illustrate, Dixon et al (2012), have compiled and analysed 71 journal articles from four perspectives: Foreign language educators which include teaching methods and techniques; child language acquisition with a strong emphasis in grammar and lexicon; sociocultural impact with a focus on communicative, effectiveness and pragmatics; and psycholinguistic area associated with cognitive and brain processes. Onchwari et al. (2008) have researched in theorical perspectives of child development in the classroom, such as: Theories of Freud, Erikson, Piaget, Vygotsky and Brofenbrenner. The two peer reviewed papers mentioned above imply in the indisputable value of interpersonal interaction in second language proficiency.

In this contextual matter, Vygotsky’s theory focus that new knowledge is based in beliefs, customs, and skills acquired from children’s cultures, (Akiba, 2007 cited by Onchwari et al, 2008) and how past experiences influence the learning process. Likewise, this theory is frequently discussing by several authors in order to explain the contribution in the learning process as a social being, even in the acquisition of English as a second language. Researches in this matter, also include the concept “ZPD” (Zone of proximal development) to expose the distance between the actual development level and the level of potential development in language (Vigotsky, 1978 cited by Hawkins 2012). This scholarly literature argues that a new stage of development may be worked from peer interaction, mainly with fluent speakers.

2. Socio cultural perspective in acquisition of second language

Accordingly to Miller (2000), the language is the first resource for social interaction, consequently, it is essential to the creation of the social identity. In the article “Language use, identity, and social interaction: Migrant Students in Australia” the author identifies, the notion of the self –representation as vital aspect to the integration in the mainstream school and in its effect to the language acquisition.

Baquedano et al. (2005), comments in “language socialization” how students and teacher can reconfigure norms and produce socialization that lead other forms of learning, the author argues the importance of identity formation in development process. Likewise, language involvements are primordial to identity formation which mainly occurs through interaction with others. From perspective of socialization, teachers might focus on the student as an individual into a community, in order to facility the communication in an diversity environment.

Accordingly to Gillanders’ case study (2007), teaching in a monolingual classroom demonstrates some success by focus on affective and sociocultural aspects of integrating ELLs into the classroom than only the language issues. To illustrate, teachers who develop positive relationship with their students, increase the opportunities of interaction between Spanish speakers and English- speaking children. At the same time, Ruecker, T (2010), explores, the potential of dual- language between American and Chilean students in a program called TWI (Two way immersion) in US, elementary school. This pilot project, based in achieve the ZPD, shows, the opportunity for helping interactions between students, when is organized by a third party. Finally, the sociocultural perspective second language acquisition is a process of “becoming a member of a sociocultural group” (Willet, 1995, cited by Gillanders, 2007 p.475).

3. ESL Curriculum Development in Australia

For students newly arrived in a new country, attending to an arrival program is the most effective way of learning English. International trends as “The national Currciculum in the UK” or “The title 1 Program in the USA” also were reflected in Australia (1991). Government policy initiated a new arrival program allowing for high school preparation through Intensive English Centres. The schools ESL sector came to outcomes- based curriculum, later, in 1991 new language and literacy research initiatives were begun as a part of the National Language and Literacy Institute of Australia. (Burns, 2003, pp. 269).

Currently, the Department of Education and children’s services has primary, secondary and senior secondary new arrival program centres. The programme provides support since 5 years old, 30 hours a week, and during their time in the program, students are taught English for social interaction and cultural understandings, as well as English language literacy skills for successful participation in all areas of the school curriculum.


Parents have an important role in children’s education, the relationship between parents and children before and after to start the school are significant in learning and appropriation of academic skills. Diverse sources predict the children educational outcomes by the combination of parents’ cognition, styles and practices. (Sonnenscheins et al, 2013)

Hammer, C et al, (2012) indicates that Children’s linguistic abilities develop out their usage and environment provide materials to help them to create and produce words and phrases, therefore, active participation with adults can explain the types of input that children receive, this can be captured by several ways and include some variables such as, length of time they have lived in the country, the age at which spoken the second language and the languages that parents and teachers use when talking with children. At the same time, parents transfer indirectly their tensions and frustrations to their children and the emotions can affect the achievement of literacy in kids. (Cole, 2012, pp.38)

Research has investigated the strong influence between level of parents’ education and vocabulary, language and reading abilities in children, (Beitchman et al 2002, Brooksgunn et al, 2002 and Snow et al 1995 cited by Hammer et al, 2012). In consequence, higher maternal education is associated with higher English vocabulary scores in bilingual kindergartners (Bohman et al., 2010 cited by Hammer et al, 2012) and faster English vocabulary development in 5-7 year-old bilingual children. In addition, parents who have high expectations for their children usually have children with higher grade and better grades on standardized tests. (Sonnenschein,s et al, 2013)


Williams (2001) presents a particular proposal which combine theory and practice within social, cultural and historical contexts to improve level of Spanish dominant- English language learners. The author agrees that literacy instruction also involves: talking, interacting, valuing and believing, (Gee, 1996 cited by Williams 2000, pp. 751) and classifies two points in English proficiency, the first one is related to conversational skills while the second is to concentrate in academic language proficiency. Use of cognates such as “hypothesis”, “alphabet”, “punctuation”, “title”, among others; are included as a way to validate the language and culture of native Spanish speakers, also invites to be respectful to their background. Instructional conversational is proposed as an efficient model of classroom language in order to second language learners can use language as tool for increased proficiency. At the same time, students who are in intermediate level also can participate in Literature discussion.

On the other hand, Ardasheva et al (2012) alerts that developing proficiency in an additional language is a challenging process which require gradual accumulation of skills over time. Meanwhile current ELLs gap has been the topic of much research, publication, and discussion (NCPPHE, 2005 cited by Ardasheva et al, 2000), former ELLs achieve scoring proficient in reading and mathematics in Grades 4 and 8 in comparison to current English language learners and Native English Students in standardized test. This evidence proofs the “cognitive processing benefits” including better functioning of selective attention, conflict resolution and memory. The authors, do not establish a relation with social impact, however, it is well known that bilingual brains to gain “Knowledge-assembly”, it means, bilingual children have higher levels of cognitive than unilingual children as a consequence of the social interaction, children have to decide what is relevant, to pay attention in the context and to develop the ability to solve problem.(Portes, 2011 pp.227)

4. Conclusion

Social and schooling purposes are enough reasons to use the second language, but the acquisition of the language is determinated by several factors. On the one hand, parents engage one of the most important roles in the learning process, implications in sociocultural factors and the background of the student are predictor of achievement in the matter. On the other hand, the environment created by the teacher can allow continuous interaction between Spanish and English speakers and to contribute of English language learning.

Finally, English language learners need to defy multifarious linguistic issues related to the environment at beginning of the process. However, sociocultural’ theories in Australia context encourage the development through interaction into the classroom with positive experiences for these students, learning in two languages can enlarge their capital cultural and assist them to brave the future in a multicultural world.

5. References

Australian Government 2013, ‘Australia’s Migration Trends 2011–12 Edition’ viewed 14 Junio 2013,

Baquedano, P & Woolley, S 2012, ‘Language Socialization’ Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education, pp. 1336-1040.

Burns, A 2003, ‘ESL Curriculum Development in Australia: Recent trends and debates”, RELC Journal, vol.34, pp.261-270

Cole, D 2012, ‘ Latino families becoming – lliterate in Australia: Deleuze, literacy and the policitics of immigration’, Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, vol.31, nº1, pp. 33-46

Gillanders, C 2007, ‘An English – Speaking Prekindergarten teacher four young latino children: Implications of the teacher-child relationship on second language learning’, Early Chilhood Education Journal, vol.35 Issue 1, pp.47-57.

Hawkins, M 2012, ‘ English as a second language’, Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education, pp. 781-784

Hammer, C, Komaroff, B, Rodriguez, L, Lopez, ML, Scarpino, S & Goldstein, B 2012, ‘Predicting Spanish – Englih Bilingual Children’s Language Abilities’ Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, vo.55, pp. 1251-1264, viewed 14 Junio 2013>

Onchwari, G, Onchwari, JA &Keengwe, J 2008, ‘OnTeaching the Immigrant Child: Application of Child Development Theories’.Early Chilhood Education Journal, vol.36, pp.227-273.

Ovando, C 2012, ‘English Language learners’ Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education, pp. 784-786.

Portes, A & Rivas, A 2011, ‘The adaptation of Migrant Children’ Future of Children, vol. 21, pp. 219-232

Miller, J 2000, ‘Language use, identity, and social interaction: Migrant students in Australia’, Research on language and social interaction, vol.33, nº1, pp. 69-100.

Ruecker, T 2010, ‘The potential of dual-language cross-cultural peer review’, ELT Journal,

Vol. 65,no4, viewed 7 June 2013,

Sonnenschein, S & Thompson, J 2012, ‘Socialization and Education’ Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education, pp. 2017-2020.

Quentin, L, Zhao, J, Young Shin, J, Shang, W, Burgess-Brigham, R, Gezer, M, Snow, C 2012 ‘What We Know About Second Language AcquisitionA Synthesis From Four Perspectives’ Review of Educational Research, vol.82, no.1,pp.5-60, viewed 7 June 2013,

William, J 2001, ‘Classroom conversation: Opportunities to learn for ESL students in mainstream classroom’, International reading association, pp. 750-757.

6. Bibliography

Green, C, Kler, P Leeves, G 2007, ‘ Immigration overeducation:: Evidence from recent arrivals to Australia’, Economics of Education review, vol.26, pp.420-432

Gorman, B 2012, ‘Relationships between vocabulary size, working memory, and phonological awareness in Spanish-speaking English Language Learners’ American Journal of speech –language pathology, vo.21, pp. 109-123

Kelly, A & Kohiert, K 2012 ‘ Is there a cognate adavnatge for typically developing Spanish-English Language learners?’ Language, speech and hearing services in school, vol. 43, pp.191-204

Lareau, A & Horvat, E 1999, ‘ Moments of social inclusion and exclusion race, class and cultural capital in family school relationships? Sociology of education, vol. 72, nº1, pp. 37-54.

MacNaughton, G 2001, ‘Silences and subtexts of Immigrant and non-immigrant children’, Chilhood Education, vol. 1, pp. 30-37