The relationship between bilingualism and creativity of Korean Americans
Lee, Hang Eun
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Among the various non-European or White ethnic minority groups in America (e.g., African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and American Indians), Asian American stu- dents have been described as the model minority whose members achieve great academic success, especially in math and science and present few problems in the classroom. Based on this stereotypical image of Asian American students, educators have thought that they do not require any special supports from the schools. This popular stereotype of Asian Americans has caused people to ignore the real multitalents of Asian American, including creativity. Creativity can be conceptualized as a process of perceiving new relationships and new challenges through interactions between the creative individual and his or her environment, including the culture or language use. Thus, bilingualism may affect a bilingual’s creativity. Because many Asian Americans are bilinguals, the emphasis on creativity may be especially pertinent for this group. In this study, the relationship between the degree of bilingualism and creativity and gender and age effects on the relationship was investigated with 116 Korean American stu- dents at Atlanta Korean American school. Three different tests were used to measure par- ticipants’ bilingualism and creativity, including the Word Association Test and Subject Self Rating for bilingualism and the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking for creativity. The scores of bilingualism measures were compared with those of creativity measures to investigate the relationship between the degree of bilingualism and creativity. This study found that the degree of bilingualism and creativity were positively asso- ciated with each other regardless of participants’ gender and ages. The positive relationship was found across genders, but age was an influential factor on neither creativity nor bilin- gualism. This study also found a significant relationship between the degree of bilingualism and Adaptive creative style. Finally, this study confirmed a positive relationship between the degree of bilingualism and Abstractness of Titles and Creative Strengths among six separate creative abilities on the TTCT. However, significant language group differences including monolinguals, non-balanced bilinguals, and balanced bilinguals were not found in this study.