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Managing linguistic and cultural diversity in Merseyside's primary schools : theory, policy and practice

Sargazi, H (2011) Managing linguistic and cultural diversity in Merseyside's primary schools : theory, policy and practice. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Throughout the English-speaking world, minority language children (LMC) or children who speak English as an additional language (EAL) are being educated in mainstream classrooms where they have little or no opportunity to use their mother tongue. This study investigates how educators at primary schools in Merseyside, where English is usually the only language in the classroom, respond to the educational and academic needs (linguistic, cognitive) of LMC/EAL children. It addresses socio-linguistic issues, teaching strategies and instructional approaches related to linguistic development and academic achievement of LMCIEAL pupils. It outlines the background to policy and practice in relation to LMCIEAL pupils in Britain. School districts across the United Kingdom are serving increasing number of children from varied cultural and social-linguistic backgrounds in mainstream classrooms. While the population of LMC/EAL will continue to increase, the majority of teachers and those in teacher programs are mainly from a white British background with limited awareness, knowledge and understanding of linguistic needs of LMC/EAL children in mainstream classrooms. Thus, a major challenge for educators is to develop and provide resources that enable teaching such diverse populations to become more effective. The research investigates in particular, how well local authorities and schools can raise standards for all learners in mainstream primary classrooms and examines the ways in which mainstream educational policy and practice has attempted to adapt in recognising that linguistic diversity is the norm rather than the exception in modem British society. The research focuses on what instructional strategies that schools employ in order to provide the best support for language minority children in the classroom in term of the individually focused approaches to learning, closer link between school and home and resources available for schools serving LMC/EAL pupils. The focus of this research is on the experience of staff from 20 primary schools within two local authorities in Merseyside. Questionnaires, semi-structured interviews with the primary schools staff and local authority advisers and government/school policy documents were used as data sources. The results of the study showed that the institution and community (use of first language) play a role in academic achievement of LMC/EAL pupils. The study revealed that teachers within mainstream classrooms recognise the importance of bilingualism, but due to the lack of resources and support, they found it hard to put it into practice. The results indicated that most participants were from a dominant language (English) background, which lack the awareness and experience needed to be effective in multi cultural classrooms. Suggestions are made for improved content delivery and further research including bilingualism as a teaching approach should become a legitimate topic for discussion and further research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Divisions: Liverpool Business School
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2017 10:26
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:30
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00006120
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6120
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