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Title: An early start to French literacy : learning the spoken and written word simultaneously in English primary schools
Author: Porter, Alison
ISNI:       0000 0004 5347 8147
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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The Primary MFL curriculum (DfE, 2013: 1-3) calls for the development of reading and writing in a foreign language in primary schools. Specific attainment targets refer to “accurate reading aloud for understanding” and the ability to “describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing” (DfE, 2013: 2). Research, however, has shown both the teaching and learning of MFL literacy to be most problematic. Observation-derived evidence noted that writing was the “least developed skill” in primary MFL provision (Ofsted, 2011: 10, 25) and that written work tended to provide consolidation and support for oral learning (Cable, Driscoll, Mitchell, Sing, Cremin, Earl, Eyres, Holmes, Martin & Heins, 2010: 87). Meanwhile, empirical evidence holds that a lack achievement and motivation in school-based language learning is a reflection of limited progression in second language literacy and decoding (Erler, 2003; Macaro & Erler, 2008; 2011). Despite these findings, research has yet to identify teaching and learning approaches which could shape pedagogical practice and deliver the “substantial progress” that the curriculum expects (DfE, 2013: 2). This action research study, conducted over 23 weeks, presents an empirically-derived, principled and systematic approach to teaching MFL literacy and oracy simultaneously. Qualitative and quantitative data, collected throughout the intervention and at pre-, post- and delayed post-test allowed for both detailed statistical analyses of learning outcomes and the exploration of the learning process. The study finds that, in this beginner learner setting, MFL oracy is not disrupted by the simultaneous introduction of MFL literacy. It notes that both L1 reading age and verbal working memory proficiency are highly influential in L2 oracy and literacy learning but reports that learners across the L1 ability range can participate in L2 learning and make meaningful progress. It further suggests that the development of L2 sound/spelling links (through systematic phonics instruction) is slow and that familiar words are more likely to be successfully recoded. These findings together ii with evidence of an ever-dominant L1, support an argument for an early start to MFL literacy.
Supervisor: Mitchell, Rosamond ; Budach, Gabriele ; Rule, Sarah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB1501 Primary Education ; PB Modern European Languages