Gaelscoileanna and Multicultural Classrooms Potential for Transfer?
Background to the Project Funded by Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences Two educational contexts in Irish primary schools Twelve schools – 5 EM, 5 GS, 2 G Stakeholders – pupils, teachers, principals, parents, experts, commentators Research questions -Celebratory v problematising? -Potential for transfer?
Complexities characterising learners experiences its kind of easy its good yet hard Some subjects are more difficult (maths v history)
Perception of Seamlessness it just happened exposure helps time helps first I could not understand it at all and then I just picked up English (EM) theyll keep speaking Irish to you and youll just pick it [up] … (GS)
Awareness 1. of context/ social environment Language proficiency of parent(s) Learners individual position in group (common experience or all alone?) Investment for the future - Multilingualism it kind of helped me catch onto the French (GS) you learn like other languages I like it … Im learning French and in secondary school Im gonna learn German (EM) - Further education so when you go to secondary school youll be really very good in Irish okay Social access (meeting more people) like you can understand double the people you would have (GS)
Awareness contd Perceived responsibilities - Custodians of heritage – Letting the side down (GS) I felt quite proud of myself that I was able to speak our native language I have to be honest now but it would be easier to write it in English - Mixed picture (EM) its better [that I speak some Polish] cause I still learn a bit of my my language I said to myself that I would learn Shona and Ngala when I am older like
Awareness 2. of factors affecting (language) learning Characteristics of teachers (e.g. patience) Resources/ materials (e.g. visual aids, lists) Age – childrens perceptions its easier if you start younger because then youre just used to talking that your whole life if you dont … and then you suddenly change but if you start younger then you have more time to get used to … and your muscles are always able to pronounce all the difficult words and all (GS) Group profile (all beginning together …/ others can help me) Support classes
Strategies Cognitive/ Metacognitive Use of dictionaries Guessing Active listening Active application (TV) Seeking teachers assistance Linguistic awareness – patterns Translating or not (copy of book in English) Reading – in the L2, tandem-reading Setting goals/ targets (10 words a day) Practice Memorisation Prioritisation Non-verbal clues
Strategies Affective Wanting to learn – requirement for success everything will work out if he wants to speak Irish … if they dont want to learn English itd be kind of difficult for them Confidence Friends Kindred spirits – seeking out support Switching
Further research/ Conclusions Consensus - do-able but hard work/ hard work but do-able keep on trying and your English will develop after a while it does really pay off definitely Awareness and role of context? (comparative study) Conscious use of strategy Explicit strategy training?
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