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Teachers’ attitudes towards implementing multilingual and home language pedagogies in primary school classrooms

Bailey, Elizabeth G (2017) Teachers’ attitudes towards implementing multilingual and home language pedagogies in primary school classrooms. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This study sought to explore UK primary teachers’ attitudes towards the implementation of activities which utilise and value EAL (English as an Additional Language) pupils’ linguistic and cultural knowledge. Whilst research has advocated such use of home languages, it has largely been conducted in highly multilingual classrooms, with researcher involvement and with a focus on outcomes for bilingual children (Kenner, Gregory, Ruby, & Al-Azami, 2008; Kenner, 2009; McGilp, 2014). However, utilising children’s linguistic and cultural knowledge could also enhance monolingual pupils’ awareness of languages and foster inter-cultural understanding. These are particularly important advantages for highly monolingual contexts that are often overlooked by research in this area. Conducted in a large UK county with predominantly low numbers of pupils who use EAL, societal divisions and poor representation of diversity in schools in the area have previously received national media attention. Data were collected from electronic questionnaires (N = 200) and focus groups (N = 6) with practising teachers as well as pre- and post-tests following a quasi-experimental intervention given to trainee teachers about how linguistic diversity can be utilised in their classrooms (N = 293). The data revealed numerous, often conflicting, attitudes held by the teachers that may influence their classroom practice regarding home languages. The role of English as the dominant language in schools and society overarched many other themes within the data, representing perhaps the most substantial obstacle to any future implementation of such practice. However, results from the intervention with trainee teachers demonstrated how even small amounts of input can provide teachers with practical classroom strategies for using home languages. In sum, the data suggest that without a top-down change, conflicting ideologies and subsequently, monolingual perspectives and practice may endure creating a cycle in which monolingual classrooms produce ‘monolingual-minded’ teachers and members of society.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Depositing User: Ms Elizabeth G Bailey
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2018 11:32
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2018 11:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19381

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