About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2755-2765
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain

EXCLUSIVE OR INCLUSIVE? PROBLEMATISING THE PROVISION OF LANGUAGE LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS

M. Phillips

Manchester Metropolitan University (UNITED KINGDOM)
The current lack of consensus as to how primary languages (PLs) learning might be effectively provided in England and Wales (notwithstanding the success of bilingual immersion in Welsh schools) indicates the need to problematise the issue. Problematisation is the process of identifying factors contributing to the issue in order to identify appropriate solutions. This process is particularly requisite because a new curriculum is to be instigated in September 2014, forty years after the foundering of a previous initiative, the Pilot Scheme of the 60s and 70s, called ‘French from Eight’, to start children's ML learning before secondary school.

Recent government policies for England and Wales make the provision of PLs learning statutory as from September 2014. While governmental consultation with practitioners has supposedly informed this new initiative, subject knowledge tends to lie largely with secondary school modern language (ML) practitioners with low confidence amongst primary practitioners. Currently, non-specialist undergraduate primary teacher trainees tend to have little ML expertise, their own studying often curtailed aged 14, when the subject becomes optional.

While there is a broad consensus for introducing PLs statutorily, varied opinions and teacher beliefs exist about the requirements for effective and sustainable PL practice. Meanwhile, while other European countries are especially motivated to learn English, the 'lingua franca' currently enjoying high global status for commerce, by contrast, in England and Wales, there is no obvious target language, and the abandonment of the previous Scheme seems to have knocked their confidence.

Assumptions about young pupils' particular capacity for PL learning needs to be qualified: neurobiological research suggests particular aptitudes at different ages, in particular young children’s heightened sensitivity to the phonology of the language. This paper considers empirical and theoretical evidence for the age-dependent learning of different language skills, noting also the discrepancy between the (adult) teachers and their pupils' needs and how this issue might be overcome in practice. Capacity building of primary school teachers who tend to lack confidence in their ML expertise needs to take into account their limited experience of PL learning environments, and the considerable influence of their own secondary school ML learning experiences on their presumptions and beliefs. A further issue is the importance of time and timing in language learning,. Amongst suggested strategies for learning to speak a language is the timetabling of sessions, and the use of alternative literacies and technologies to ensure meaningful and inclusive practice.
@InProceedings{PHILLIPS2013EXC,
author = {Phillips, M.},
title = {EXCLUSIVE OR INCLUSIVE? PROBLEMATISING THE PROVISION OF LANGUAGE LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS},
series = {6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3847-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {2755-2765}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Phillips
TI - EXCLUSIVE OR INCLUSIVE? PROBLEMATISING THE PROVISION OF LANGUAGE LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
SN - 978-84-616-3847-5/2340-1095
PY - 2013
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2013
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2013 Proceedings
SP - 2755
EP - 2765
ER -
M. Phillips (2013) EXCLUSIVE OR INCLUSIVE? PROBLEMATISING THE PROVISION OF LANGUAGE LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS, ICERI2013 Proceedings, pp. 2755-2765.
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