An empirical study into complete-beginner siblings learning aural and written English

Elaine Hewitt


This study was conducted into sibling association in children learning English as a foreign language at beginner level at primary school. The 35 participants were selected on the basis that they had no prior knowledge of English according to the pre-test and the base-line data. The fact that the participants were total beginners was useful not only in indicating clearly their progress on English tests, but also in pointing to any association with sibling help and/or knowledge of English. The children were all Spanish, and over one school year they completed a questionnaire on their backgrounds and on that of their families, and did four listening-comprehension tests of English and four tests of written English. By means of a Repeated Measures MANOVA (Multiple Analysis of Variance), data about siblings’ help were analysed together with academic achievement in English. Results indicate which variable was more closely associated with academic achievement: the siblings’ knowledge, the number of times the siblings helped, the listening comprehension scores or the written test scores.


Brothers’ and sisters’ help; academic achievement; repeated measures MANOVA (Repeated Measures Multiple Analysis of Variance); learning English as a foreign language (EFL)

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Copyright (c) 2009 Elaine Hewitt

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© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 1576-6357

EISSN 1695-4300