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Title: The negotiation of equality of opportunity for emergent bilingual children in the English mainstream classroom
Author: Chen, Yangguang
ISNI:       0000 0001 2419 7985
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2004
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The thesis is based on the study of Chinese emergent bilingual children in English mainstream classrooms. Participants in the study include three children of newly arrived families and a group of I 3- I 4 year old Chinese students who have lived in Britain for at least 5 years. I use a variety of ethnographic methods to highlight what it means to be a newcomer in the mainstream English classroom. Three themes - isolation, misunderstanding and frustration are highlighted in the pilot study, through which I illustrate the problematic nature of inclusion in the mainstream class, with particular interest in analysing what might be the root of the problematic nature of inclusion in the mainstream class, what 'equality of opportunity' really means to emergent bilingual children as they enter English schools with a limited knowledge of English and the dominant culture, how equal 'the same' curriculum is for them, and how far the provision for them in the present curriculum reflects generally accepted principles for successful second language learning. I conclude that it is the loss of individualism that promotes problems in the mainstreaming of the educational provision. In the main study I investigate the key questions that have arisen from the pilot study, through an ethnographic approach to studying EAL programmes within the framework of the mainstream provision, the role of bilingual peer support in second language learning and the role of parental involvement, I want to identify · what is it that contributed to the success of those older bilingual children?', 'which features in L2 learning have been most significant in explaining some good examples of linguistic support for emergent bilingual children?', whereby I argue that the principle of inclusion does not exclude strategies that involved some withdrawal EAL support out of the mainstream classroom; that an exaggeration of the advantages of bilingual learner diverts attention from the children's need for extra help in English; that the potential cognitive and linguistic advantages of bilingual learners can only be developed through an effective learning environment. Whether or not bilinguality is a positive asset depends on how those emergent bilinguals are treated in the mainstream class or in other words, recognition of the children's 'disadvantage' could lead to a more positive recognition of their 'advantage' in school. This study is of prime importance to those concerned with the education of emergent bilingual children, including local education authority (LEA) officers, inspectors, advisers, teachers, community associations, parents, teacher trainers and policy makers. I hope the proposed work will make a contribution to our knowledge of the school experience of emergent bilingual children as well as possible curriculum and policy developments that might take place in future to serve better bilingual students.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral