What are you going to do
In the Netherlands and elsewhere, there are substantial groups of immigrant children and adults that face the difficult task of learning to read and write while acquiring a second language (L2). We know that literacy imbues all kinds of cognitive changes, but we do not understand well yet what these changes mean for how (effectively) a language is learned. This project focuses specifically on the relationship between literacy, meta-linguistic cognition, and language acquisition by charting the language acquisition processes of emerging readers. The project tries to understand how literacy changes language acquisition by following groups of emerging readers (children and adults with an immigrant background) longitudinally, when learning the second language (i.e., Dutch) and simultaneously learning to read and write. In doing so, this project aims to advance theories of second language acquisition as well as improve L2 learning and instruction for immigrant emerging readers. This project will be conducted within the Dutch educational context and envisages a mix of methods ranging from descriptive and qualitative techniques to quantitative psycholinguistic experimentation, including the use of eye-tracking methods and intensive longitudinal data collection in time series designs.
The goals for both PhD projects are to study 1) how metalinguistic ability develops in relation to increasing literacy skills and cognitive maturation; 2) how this development affects the ability to learn a second language and 3) how this interacts with individual difference variables such as cognitive aptitude for second language learning and socio-affective variables. They focus on child (PhD1) and adult (PhD2) immigrant learners of Dutch as L2. The postdoctoral project focuses on modality effects in second language acquisition. Modality effects have been studied before and in many different forms in SLA, but this project is unique in that it focuses on emerging readers. It tries to assess how emerging readers begin to incorporate the written modality into their language learning process. The focus in this project is on more tightly controlled psycholinguistic experiments with both child and adult emerging readers that seek insight into the mechanisms of how aural and written input differentially support learners in noticing the structural properties of the second language and how this affects language learning outcomes. While there are concrete ideas about how this can be done, there are good possibilities for bringing in your own ideas and input.
You will be part of a team of researchers that take on the challenge of increasing our understanding of second language acquisition processes in these understudied populations. The project team will consist of two PhD students, one post-doctoral researcher and the PI, and will be supported by project assistants and knowledgeable PhD supervisors. The project is subdivided into three clearly delineated but closely related subprojects that will collaborate for design and materials development; The PhD projects will focus on child and adult second language (i.e., Dutch) learning by emerging readers, respectively.
If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. The deadline for applying for this vacancy is 30 October 2022.