Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Language Assessment at Infant Language Centre of NUS

I saw the request for toddlers to participate in a research on infant language development on Motherhood Forum and I signed Chloe up for that. The purpose of the research is to understand how babies learn their first words. In particular, this study is on bilingualism in children.
As transportation is fully covered (if you drive, they pay for your parking at NUS; if you take a cab, they pay for your cab fare by using your cab receipt on arrival x2), I do not mind bringing Chloe there for some fun.
When we were there, Chloe was asked to sit on my lap and listen to a set of words accompanied by pictures. We were video recorded and Chloe was monitored on her eyes movement as in the pictures that she looked at in response to the words. After watching the set of words and pictures in English and Chinese, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire on Chloe's language history which took me about 10 to 15 minutes.

At the end of the session, Chloe was given an assessment of her vocabulary development using standardized assessment instrument, she was asked to point to the picture after hearing the words in English and Chinese. The results was emailed to me after 2 weeks. Part of the analysis says this:

I was not surprised by the results, and it was never my intention to assess whether she's better in English or Chinese. However, this assessment has highlighted a few problems to me. No doubt she had demonstrated that she knows quite many English words, but her vocabulary is not strong. I think this problem lies on us, as we seldom read or show pictorial dictionary to her, and the worst is, when we speaks to her, we tend to say "this and that" instead of name the object. Besides, I presume she's speaking Chinese with babysitter but I overlook that in Singapore we speak Chinese by mixing English in between especially when we say the common names. E.g., when the researcher asked her about 巴士 (Ba1 Shi4 i.e. bas), she was unable to answer this question and I'd never thought that she does not know this simple word since I have been pointing her to the buses whenever we see one. This has triggered me to ensure that we speak better language to her and speak pure English or Chinese (this will be quite hard, imagine you got to say one sentence fully in Chinese without English term) to her. Our initial arrangement for her is that, I'll speak English to her while my husband will speak Chinese to her, but recently she had been speaking English to us more often and she starts to express her thoughts in English sentences, I guess my husband is not doing a good job and need to put in more efforts then, haha!
If your toddler is around 31 months old and you're interested to volunteer for the research, you may refer to the following for more details:
You may contact Ms. Calista Chan by email (psycjc@nus.edu.sg) or by phone at 6601 1718. Visit them at http://blog.nus.edu.sg/babytalk.
You'll be paid $20 for your contribution.


pc on October 31, 2011 at 11:16 AM said...

how nice to know there is such an assessment... i think it is a good reminder of how a parent is doing thus far.
don't be too harsh to your self on 'bus'. after all, she is bi-lingual, it takes time to process and learn.

Winny on October 31, 2011 at 11:21 AM said...

Hey PC,
Ya, I'm not stressed over this. I brought her for the test because I still got many leaves to clear, but we did have fun in NUS. I'm glad that I brought her for the test :)

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