Born in Nebraska to a Persian mother and a father whose military duty took the family to Europe for much of her childhood, Kandice Soraya Grote grew up speaking English, German and Farsi.
Upon returning to the United States, her parents worried she would have trouble speaking and understanding English when it was time for her to attend school. So when Grote was about 6 years old, they stopped talking to her in other languages. Now, at 28, she still speaks some Farsi, but her ability to speak German is gone.
Grote understands her parents did what they thought was best for her at the time.
Today, as a UC Merced doctoral candidate researching the cognitive benefits of bilingualism in children, she still encounters that mindset.
"That mentality has not changed in 25 years," said Grote, a researcher in the cognitive development lab of Professor Michelle M. Chouinard. "Many non-native-speaking parents believe that children will pick up English faster if they stop speaking to them in their native language. It's a horrible myth."
Grote's personal experience, combined with a love of working with children, led her to this field. Her research interests are in the realms of bilingualism, bilingual education, early cognitive development and cross-cultural differences.
"People forget how much you can learn from children," Grote said. "They force you to think about the world in a different way."
Welcome to the news blog of the University of California, Merced. We aim to be a useful tool for journalists covering our campus as well as members of the public who want to stay informed about our growth and accomplishments.
We keep comments on our posts closed, but your e-mail feedback is welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org While we may not be able to respond to all correspondence, we pledge that it will all be read and considered.