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Title: Welcoming newly arrived pupils : a critical ethnography of one school's journey
Author: Dakin, Justine Claire
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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Increased globalisation has led to greater numbers of migrants, including Newly Arrived (NA) pupils and their families, moving to the United Kingdom. This critical ethnographic study examined how a particular primary school adapted to meet the needs of a growing number of NA pupils. Twelve children, five families and eleven members of staff participated directly in the year-long research. Three NA pupils became a particular focus of the study in order to explore the inclusion of 7-11 year olds with little or no English into a demanding Key Stage 2 curriculum. Using a wide variety of ethnographic data including observations, interviews and documentation, the research drew on Cummins' (2001) theory of Collaborative Empowerment to examine how different relations of power between pupils, teachers and the wider community assigned identities to participants through school discourses. Vignettes were used as part of the research methodology to tell stories emerging from the data. As discourse is socially constructed and always ideological (Gee 2012), Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) identified interactions that defined what it means to be newly arrived. It also revealed contradictions in school policies and practices towards NA pupils that were influenced by political, social, cultural, linguistic and economic factors. The research found that while individual teachers made a difference to NA pupils by acknowledging languages and cultures in classroom practices, whole-school discourses were driven by political, mono-cultural language ideologies. A distinct language barrier existed between some families and the school that silenced many parents and positioned them as disinterested or inadequate. However, this research found that parents were far from passive and made choices to actively help their children. Pupils themselves were agentive, negotiating and contesting identities assigned to them during daily classroom interactions. In conclusion the research recommended increased teacher training to raise awareness of EAL pedagogy and to challenge existing, unequal relations of power between pupils, families and school. It also recommended that NA pupils received some initial, well-planned language teaching in small groups to make them feel safe and secure. Finally, it called for bilingualism in any language to be valued as a critical skill for communication in the twenty first century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available