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Saying more than you realise about ‘EAL’: discourses of educators about children who speak languages beyond English

Cunningham, Clare (2017) Saying more than you realise about ‘EAL’: discourses of educators about children who speak languages beyond English. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates attitudes expressed by UK primary school educators towards children institutionally classified as English as an Additional Language (‘EAL’) in mainstream schools, an underexplored area. A Critical Discourse Analytical approach is adopted and Martin and White's (2005) APPRAISAL framework utilised for investigating discourses of attitudes is adopted to analyse the research interviews of fifteen participants drawn from six suburban schools in northern England. These participants include head teachers and deputies, EAL co-ordinators, an SEN co-ordinator, a Family Liaison Manager, class teachers, Bilingual Learning Assistants, and Higher Level Teaching Assistants. Their discourses of judgement are analysed in conjunction with Bourdieu’s theory of practice constructs (1977) in order to explore the entrenched linguistic and societal ideologies within them. Findings suggest that judgements of linguistic and social capital made by participants reveal aspects of their habitus, the series of dispositions guiding their behaviours and attitudes, while also showing that attitudes to language are often conflated with attitudes to other social identities. A monolingual ideology is engrained amongst educators, with (Standard) English uncontested in its dominance in education; discourses that expose the power of teachers in controlling what is seen as the legitimate language of the school. There are many contradictions present in participants’ discourses around the value of bi/ multi-lingualism and home language maintenance. Analysis of attitudinal discourse highlights the importance of school leadership for the creation of a positive school climate in working with children who speak languages beyond English. The significance of this work includes filling a research gap regarding studies on teachers’ attitudes and the contribution of a more positive designation for the children at the heart of this study. Recommendations for consciousness- and awareness-raising professional development are made. Observations are made regarding APPRAISAL for analysis for researchers using the framework, only recently applied to research interview data.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.727366
Depositing User: Mrs Clare Cunningham
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2018 10:24
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:23
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19395

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