Associate Professor of Education
Visiting Associate Professor (January - June, 2019)
Gigi Luk's research on the cognitive and neural consequences of bilingualism extends across the lifespan. She leads a research program that examines how diverse language experiences shapes development and learning. Using neuroimaging and behavioral methods, Luk studies bilingualism as an interactional experience that shapes cognition. In addition to investigating the science of bilingualism, Luk has examined how to harness scientific findings on bilingualism to improve educational experience for children from diverse language backgrounds. In particular, she has established a research program investigating: (1) effective ways to measure bilingualism in schools; (2) how bilingualism and executive functions interact to influence language and literacy outcomes; and (3) relationship between academic outcomes, quality and quantity of bilingual experience. Luk obtained her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from York University, Canada in 2008. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest Center. Luk joined the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011.
For a list of publications, please visit, the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Please visit, the Brain.Experience.Education (B.E.E.) Lab, for more information.
Click here to see a full list of Gigi Luk's courses.
Measuring Bilingualism in Kindergarten Registration in Public Schools (2017-2017)
With an increasingly linguistically-diverse population in schools, it is important to understand childrens language background and its relation to learning. During kindergarten registration, across districts and states, educators often focus on English proficiency when accounting for incoming students diverse language experiences. Despite the different home language surveys adopted by districts and states, parental indication of whether English is spoken at home is the primary information to establish childrens language background while other home-related language and literacy information is not taken into account. In addition, teachers do not often receive childrens language background information prior to the first day of school, making pedagogical preparation challenging. The proposed project will test how supplementary home language and literacy information facilitate educationally planning. To maximize information collected, proposed questions are designed to capture gradient as opposed to categorical responses. Educators feedback and kindergarten assessments will be combined to determine the value of providing additional information on home language and literacy environments before school begins. Findings will contribute to discovering what home language information should be collected, how to make use of this information to enrich childrens learning, and what the link is between diverse language experience and learning.