Kindergarteners Temperament and Cortisol Response to Structured English Immersion (SEI) Programs in Taiwan

| September 28, 2007
Title
Kindergarteners Temperament and Cortisol Response to Structured English Immersion (SEI) Programs in Taiwan

Keywords: cortisol, structured English immersion, bilingual education, early childhood education

Authors
Ishien Li, Hua-Huei Chiou and Shu-Ju Lee
Dept of Child Care and Education, Hungkuang University, Taiwan

Bio Data
Ishien Li is an Associate Professor at Hungkuang University. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Development from Michigan State University. She teaches child development courses. Her major research interests include social-emotional development and English learning of young children.

Hua-Huei Chiou is a Lecturer at Hungkuang University, holding M.A. in Family and Child Studies from University of Wisconsin at Madison. She lectures in the areas of child development assessments and child behavior observation. Her major research interests include young children English learning and parental stress and self-esteem of young children with chronic diseases.

Shu-Ju Lee is a Lecturer at Hungkuang University. She holds M.S. in Nursing from National Taiwan University. Her research interests include health care for children and women.

Abstract
This study examines whether the levels of cortisol, a major stress hormone, in kindergarteners are associated with structured English immersion (SEI) in relation to children s individual differences in temperament. Cortisol levels of 129 kindergarteners (68 boys and 61 girls; 47 in SEI and 82 in non-SEI; mean age=5.30 years) were studied, with salivary samples collected in mid-morning and mid-afternoon, to assess children s physiological stress responses. The study results show that children s temperament of externalization/internalization is related to their cortisol level. Results also indicate that, controlling statistically for children s temperament of externalization and internalization, children in the SEI environment have significantly higher cortisol levels in the mid-afternoon. However, the link between cortisol increase and SEI may reflect the instructional method. As the SEI programs are currently associated with developmentally inappropriate practices, whether children in a more developmentally appropriate SEI program would still have high stress responses needs further research.

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 9 Issue 3