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The Neurocognitive Laboratory for the Study of Bilingualism

Head: Prof. Asaid Khateb.

> The Unit of Arabic Language Research


The neurocognitive laboratory for the study of bilingualism
Prof. Mark Leikin:

Prof. Leikin's studies are divided into two main areas: (1) the study of bilingualism and (2) The study of mathematical giftedness.
On the basis of the research carried out in 2013-2014 years he has submitted a number of manuscripts to scientific journals, some of which have been published (see new publications).

Prof. Leikin is currently supervising 8 Master's and 2 Doctoral students.

As of June 1, 2014, Prof. Leikin began re-establishing a Laboratory for Bilingualism and Cognition. Starting in the new academic year, the laboratory will begin its activities with a new team and research goals.


Prof. Mila Schwartz:

Prof. Schwartz's research has focused on: Bilingual education: socio-cultural, linguistic and cognitive outcomes; Family cultural and language policy; Bilingual teaching: models and strategies; Early sequential bilingualism; and emergent literacy within a bilingual context.

In 2013, Prof. Schwartz was invited to participate as an international expert in a new international research project entitled Language conceptions and practices in bilingual early childhood: Swedish-Finnish bilingual children in Swedish-medium preschools in Finland. The project was initiated by my colleges from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, Prof. Åsa Palviainen. The project is aimed to deepen an understanding of how conceptions of language, bilingualism and bilingual development are manifested and negotiated in communicative practice in policy documents, in bilingual families and in Swedish-medium pre-schools. The project is being carried out with Prof. Schwartz's colleagues, Prof. Zohar Eviatar and Dr. Haitham Taha.
Also in 2013, Prof. Schwartz initiated a new research project aimed to examine peer language interaction as a facilitator in L2 learning within the framework of a bilingual Arabic-Hebrew speaking kindergarten. The project is longitudinal and is been carried out with my college Dr. Naomi Gorbatt, Head of Literacy & Language arts Department on Center (The Center for Educational Technology).

Prof. Schwartz is supervising 6 MA students.
 

Dr. Janina Kahn-Horwitz:

Dr. Kahn-Horwitz's first research priority this year involved completing the last two rounds of data collection for her research: Assessing and creating a foundation of knowledge of the English orthography amongst pre- and in-service English as foreign language (EFL) teachers. The aim of this study is to investigate the knowledge of concepts related to the English orthography as well as English orthographic conventions amongst pre-service and graduate students prior to, during and following participation in a course on this subject. In addition, pre-, mid- and post test results will be compared to a group of experienced EFL teachers participating in a semester graduate school course on the Challenges of the English Orthography. These results will be compared to two parallel groups of pre-service and in-service graduate students studying at a college of education who are not enrolled in the courses that deal with the English orthography. Information gained from this research will enable a better understanding regarding preparation of our teachers for EFL literacy acquisition amongst elementary school children and children with language learning difficulties.

Dr. Kahn-Horwitz is completing an article on the first and second stage of data collection comparing pre-service undergraduate students to controls in their orthographic knowledge using a mixed methods approach. Third and final rounds of data were collected were collected and are currently being coded. Data analysis is about to be started. Findings will be written up during this coming academic year.

A second pilot study that she has conducted compares pre and post results of student teachers and their pupils in an EFL workshop whereby pupils are assessed pre and post intervention, students build an intervention based on assessment results, teach the pupils throughout the year under supervision and finally conduct post-tests. Dr. Kahn-Horwitz is currently analyzing the pilot results collected.

She is also currently writing a paper on data collected involving the effectiveness of an intervention programs for EFL students. Dr. Kahn-Horwitz assisted in developing a computerized accelerated reading program in order to improve accuracy and fluency in EFL reading and completed a pilot study with the program. She is continuing work done with Prof. Zvia Breznitz and a graduate student to computerize various EFL assessment tools and build computerized intervention programs which we will then assess in a research based EFL intervention program. She continues to be the academic head of a frequent word data base (started together with Prof. Zvia Breznitz and a graduate student) to tag band 1 and band 2 (as an initial step) for EFL use for orthographic and morphological characteristics. This will serve as a resource for researchers as well as practitioners who wish to build EFL measures or programs whilst controlling for orthographic and morphological characteristics.

Dr. Kahn-Horwitz is currently supervising 1 Masters student and 1 Doctoral student.