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Title: Foreign languages in early schooling : policy, pupils and processes.
Author: Jago, Martine Ann.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3588 4860
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2000
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This study explores the professional values which underpin choices made on behalf of young children (three to seven year olds) for learning a foreign language in English nursery, infant and primary schools. Since the Education Reform Act of 1988, young children in maintained early years settings have been excluded from the modern foreign languages curriculum in England. The aim of this inquiry is to expose the belief systems of individuals in institutions with the power to influence the quality of the early learning experience and notions of status and control with regard to the conceptualisation of both 'childhood' and 'foreign language education'. A value position is unavoidable: any interest on the part of the researcher has been set aside to eliminate traces of attachment and to ensure, as far as possible, an unbiased inquiry. The research questions which lead the investigation are as follows: • Why are modern foreign languages omitted from Government policies for nursery settings and from the National Curriculum at Key Stage 1? • To what extent, if at all, have local education authorities in England already established foreign language initiatives for young learners? • What are the challenges facing schools in the current context for the implementation of a national policy? • What is the underpinning structure that supports the policy making framework for this area of the early years curriculum? For the purpose of this study, the term 'policy maker' is used to encompass headteachers (micro level), local education authority advisers (meso level) and national authorities (macro level). Research methods include case study, postal questionnaire and indepth interviews. Outcomes are presented as an analysis of innovation in one English county, perceptions of early language learning in local education authorities and discussions with policy makers at the national level. A research study which links education policy making, constructions of childhood and theories about modern foreign language acquisition has not yet been conducted in England. It is anticipated that this investigation will contribute to the debate on curriculum and values at the turn of the millennium based on new paradigms for the sociology of childhood and the perceived needs of young children in an increasingly multicultural, multilingual society. The notion of 'bilingualism' will be deconstructed and reconstructed within an inclusive spectrum: the bilingual continuum. The outcomes of the study are likely to have implications for future education policy and practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Language teaching; Nursery; Infant; Primary