Centre for Research on Bilingualism in Theory & Practice
Bilingual Education in Schools in Wales Research Project
Bilingual education (i.e. Welsh and English) occurs widely in Wales. By now, considerable variation exists in the provision of bilingual education and, as in the case of minority languages in other European regions, bilingual education in Wales is a combination of education in heritage language (Welsh Language 1) and immersion education (Welsh Language 2). Because the bilingual education throughout Wales is characterised by “kaleidoscopic variation” (Baker 1993), teachers use a wide variety of teaching methods in bilingual classrooms.
The Bilingual Education in Schools in Wales research project is the first comprehensive survey of its kind on methods of bilingual teaching and learning in Welsh medium primary and secondary schools.
The research was driven by two questions: (1) How are two languages used for teaching and learning in Welsh/English bilingual classrooms? (2) Are there associations of two language allocation that can be identified from classroom analyses?
During December 2007- February 2010 a total number of 100 lesson observations were completed in 29 schools across Wales, representative of different sociolinguistic backgrounds: 55 observations in a total number of 10 secondary schools and 45 observations in a total number of 19 primary schools.
Interviews about bilingual policy and language allocation were completed in 38 schools, 17 interviews in secondary schools and 21 interviews in primary schools.
A key part of the observation was to classify each of the 100 lessons in terms of dual language use and present a typology of two-language arrangements in bilingual schools in Wales.
The use of translation and translanguaging was studied using quantitative and qualitative approaches.
Issues of language separation as different from a concurrent use of two languages in lessons were explored in the research, and were found to be connected to the students’ language background, the overall language profile of the children in each classroom, age differences, and the subject content of the lesson.
The initial results from the research suggest particular avenues for further exploration rather than exact conclusions, e.g. if concurrent methods are to become more utilized in bilingual education lessons, then we may need to learn from children who themselves tend to use both languages in the classroom.
BILINGUAL EDUCATION RESEARCH IN SCHOOLS IN WALES
Poster Presentation: 'Kaleidoscopic variety: Bilingual Education in Wales Today', 8th International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB8). Oslo, 15-18 June 2011. Click here.
BILINGUAL EDUCATION PLANNING
BILINGUAL EDUCATION PRACTICES AND PEDAGOGY
THE ADVANTAGES OF BECOMING A BILINGUAL
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