Grant Funds Study of Bilingual Education Effectiveness
A postdoctoral fellow in the Callier Center for Communication Disorders has won a competitive research grant to study the effectiveness of bilingual education programs.
Findings from the first phase of Dr. Raúl Rojas’ investigation are scheduled for publication in Child Development later this year. Rojas, a native of Mexico, will become an assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences in September.
The $10,000 New Century Scholars Research Grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation supports innovative investigations by those who are committed to teacher-investigator careers in the academic environment, in external research institutes or laboratories. He was one of only four investigators in the country to receive the annual award.
The grant will support Rojas’ research into bilingual language growth in structured English immersion and transitional bilingual education programs. His data comes from an earlier project that included more than 12,000 narrative language samples in English and Spanish, retold by more than 1,700 English language learners (ELLs) during kindergarten to second grade.
“The demographic explosion of ELLs in public schools reported in the 2010 U.S. Census is projected to accelerate unabated until approximately 2050,” Rojas said. “The research supported by the (American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation) grant is expected to positively influence educational and clinical efforts that target ELLs across ages and instructional contexts.”
Rojas said it was an honor to receive the grant. “Being the only postdoctoral fellow recipient, however, makes it even more special,” he said.
Dr. Thomas Campbell, executive director of the Callier Center, said Rojas is an enthusiastic researcher and instructor who is working in a field that could have a major influence on educational opportunities for millions of young people.
“I am pleased that the foundation has chosen to support Raúl’s research,” Campbell said. “I think this kind of innovative investigation, combined with his eagerness to work closely with his students, will make him a key member of the UT Dallas Callier Center faculty.”
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