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Title: Investigating lexical understanding : a study of EAL and L1 primary pupils
Author: Hall, Bernadette
ISNI:       0000 0001 3525 0083
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2002
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The increasing multicultural and multilingual population of the UK has set new challenges for the education system. This study focuses on a particular aspect of this, namely pupils in schools in the city of Leicester who use English as an additional language (EAL). It compares their lexical understanding with that of their monolingual English-speaking peers, when both sets of pupils appeared to have attained the same surface proficiency in reading. This work also investigates teachers' awareness of any lexical comprehension gap that might exist for their EAL pupils. These key issues could not be studied in isolation, so this research was set in a sociocultural framework. This drew together social and cultural strands to give a situational understanding of the target pupils in city schools. It encompassed their teachers' observations and perceptions through a series of thirty interviews undertaken with these practitioners. This was complemented by interviews with ten key management personnel from the Language Support Service undertaken to investigate the objectives of the Service, and how successfully these were implemented in schools. The empirical research of this study was a Vocabulary Test undertaken with one hundred primary school pupils to test the key hypothesis that EAL pupils' lexical understanding was not as comprehensive as that of their L1 peers. Fifty of the pupils used English as an additional language, forming the EAL group of this study, and these were matched with fifty monolingual English-speaking pupils, the L1 group. The results of the Vocabulary Test substantiated this hypothesis for the target lexemes included in the test, and they also substantiated the additional hypothesis that mainstream teachers did not always fully recognise lexical misunderstandings that their EAL pupils might have. The research was classroom-based, and incorporated some principles of action research. A key factor in the action research paradigm has been disseminating the finding to schools and to teachers to effect changes in classroom practice by increasing awareness of lexical difficulties that EAL pupils might have. For this study, the dissemination has taken the form of Vocabulary Workshops for school staff, and these are ongoing at the present time. The workshops are designed to help teachers enhance EAL pupils' understanding of lexis in English and their learning through English.
Supervisor: Cortazzi, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Multicultural population ; Multilingual population ; English as an additional language (EAL) ; Monolingual English-speakers ; Lexical comprehension gap