Essay, 8 pages (1900 words)

Bilingual child support in the classroom

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Information about your project

Proposed project title

Exploring the way bilingual children are supported in the classroom.

Proposed research question(s)

5. 1. What challenges do bilingual children face?

22 2. What strategies are used?

33 3. How effective are these?


Proposed setting(s)/sample/case for research (e. g. teachers in a local secondary school, fellow students at university, etc).

Students at Primary Schools.

Section B

Answer the questions below in as much detail as possible within the 1500 word limit (Max). You should use research literature, where relevant, to support your answers and include a reference list.

  1. Why is your chosen ‘ area’ worthy of research? Explain the rationale for your topic.

As the aim of my research topic is to understand the factors affecting bilingual children learning experiences in the classroom, phenomenology was the suitable approach to put myself in the shoe of these students and comprehend their perspective on my research topic. This encouraged me to look into how bilingual students get supported in the school now. Being bilingual can have tremendous advantages not only in terms of language competencies, but also in terms of cognitive and social development” (Lambert, 1990, p. 210). There are numerous of researches that illustrate benefits of bilingualism, and these researches have taken into consideration that being bilingual not necessary mean speaking more than one language. However, the advantage of being bilingual is to be able to understand the cultural and language and use them more effectively. Cummins argues that if the child learns both languages balance between first and second language could be beneficial. (Baker 2001 p. 165 and Cummins 2000, p. 57)

  1. What is your chosen research design? Why do you think this is the best way to achieve the project’s aims?

The research design that I have chose is a mixed method approach such as qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative method is more suitable for my research, as Silver stated that ‘ qualitative research concentrates on the study of social life natural settings’ (2011, p. 194). Qualitative research is a way to understand people’s experiences and their lives, which is why I believe qualitative research is appropriate for my project as I also want to uncover the experiences of teachers and bilingual students.

Qualitative data are normally gathered by monitoring, focus groups, interviews and classroom observation. However it may also be gathered from case studies and written documents. The research is focused on the experiences that bilingual children have in the school and how the school takes into consideration their cultural and linguistic backgrounds into teaching style. These questions require descriptive answers and understanding rather than measurements and statistical results associated with the quantitative approach. Qualitative research provides details by allowing to taking it in depth through interviews and the observation in the classroom to observe if the activities that bilingual children are taking part in are relevant to pupils’ own experiences and reflect on their cultural heritage. This research greatest used to respond why and how question.

The strength of qualitative method is to attain more sensible feel of the world that cannot be practised in the numerical data and statistical analysis used in quantitative research; and also Ability to interact with the research subjects in their own language and on their own terms (Kirk & Miller, 1986) Achieving high levels of reliability of gathered data due to controlled observations within the classroom and examine the different activities that bilingual children are engaging and the resources that the school use to help them improve their learning.

  1. Mini literature review: Using three academic articles summarise key issues relating to your research area.

It is radically challenging when the students have different ways of learning, as they need to adopt and learn whole new curriculum and language. NALDIC (2011) identified the challenging task facing the EAL learner in the school: To progress from a radically different starting point from other children and to acquire the appropriate social skills as well as learning a new language. To accommodate the new language, values, expectations alongside the existing ones learned at home” (NALDIC, 2011, p17)

Their challenges also the ways in which the teacher can support to achieve their potential.

Social settings will help the child to pick up basic conversational words and phrases. (Cummins, 1994, p. 34).

The National Occupational Standards (NOS) are specialised for supporting teaching and learning in schools (STL). This department has provided a range of standards for the teachers to meet when they support bilingual students’ learning. The national curriculum has provided a framework of what pupils should be able to ‘ know, understand and do’ at key points in their learning. (Education Department. gov. uk, 2015). The support that has been offered for bilingual pupils, which may involve support staff, is as follows; Observing bilingual pupils to monitor the impact of different teaching strategies, learning contexts or to have one-to-one support with students before or during the main lessons.

  1. What are your chosen data collection methods? Why do you feel these are most appropriate?

The chosen data collection methods are class room observation and interviews. ‘ Observation the research watching, recording and analysing event of interest (Blaxter et al., 2010: 199) This can be classroom, meeting room and playground. This type of research is carried out in short term period observation is basic but important aspect of learning from and interacting and observing an understanding about the situation.

According to Robson (2011) explain that observation gives you real life in the real world. Classroom observation method gives an insight to see the relationship between teachers and students and the activities the students are encouraged to do and see if they are enjoying it. The data that has been gathered can confirm, contradict and extend other data, for instance observation helps you to see in real life what participants have mentioned in interviews or questionnaire. (Lambert, 2012) It also gives you deep understanding of what challenges bilingual children faces and how classrooms are presented and observe the classroom setting.

“ Interview study highlights the advantage of qualitative research in offering an apparently ‘ deeper’ picture than the variable-based correlations of quantitative studies” (Silverman, 2011: 18).

Interview is in depth allowing the person to express their experiences, their values, aspirations, attitudes and feelings. Semi-structure interview pursuing the information which is most useful for your research and which feels the interviewee can provide.

  1. How do you intend to ensure that your research is valid?

It is important that research is reliable, valid and tested information as this will help practitioners since they will use other people’s findings which will decrease the chances of subjectivity occurring ‘ these are the concepts of ‘ data’, ‘ reliability’, ‘ validity’, ‘ subjectivity’ and ‘ objectivity” BERA (2011).

To ensure data is valid and accurate is to remove problems with design which compromise validity and to gather data from more than one method or from more than one source which is known as triangulation. To make sure that the research is valid is to afford time and resources for researcher training in use of the tool to reduce differences in participant responses across data collectors in order to achieve validity. ( Burton & Bartlett, 2009)

Using piloting could be important especially if you are collecting data with another researcher in order to observe same lesson and compare the notes that has been taken, to interpret and record events at the same way. This issue is relevant to any method carried out by more than one researcher as it is called inter-observes reliability.

  1. How do you intend to ensure that your research is ethical?

‘ Research ethics is concerned with respecting research participant throughout each project’ (Lambert, 2012) Ethical standards promote the values that are essential to collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness. It is designed to keep it confidential and to protect intellectual property interest.

“ The three main issues most frequently raised in the Western research ethical guidelines and by the professional associations are, codes and consent (Informed consent), confidentiality and trust’ (Ryen, 2011, p. 418). Codes and consent is that the participants has right to be informed clearly what is my research about and how you want to carry it out. According to Silverman “ perhaps informed consent is seen best as a process of negotiation, rather than a one-off action” (Silverman, 2011, 324).

In order for the individual to describe and share their ‘ accounts or behaviour in the report’ informed consent was essential. The confidentiality and anonymous treatment of participants’ data is considered the norm for the conduct of research. Researchers must recognize the participants’ entitlement to privacy and must accord them their rights to confidentiality and anonymity, unless they or their guardians or responsible others. ( BERA, 2011)

To ensure the confidentiality, the school is being aware that the researcher is not going to be using the real name of their school. Also the teacher and the students who take part of the research report are to keep anonymous. This is important in order ‘ to protect such identities researchers’ need to use ‘ pseudonyms’ for the people who are taking part in the project and the school. (May, 2001, pg. 181). The feedback that is being received from participants is not being discussed or shared ‘ other than co-researchers involved with the specific investigation’ to protect the information they shared (Back, 2005, pg. 180).

  1. What problems could occur during the undertaking of your research and how do you plan to resolve these?

At research place there will be policies and procedure relating to difficult situation such as child going through abuse, bully or any form of sensitive matter which should be shared with a designated member of staff. This will mean breaking the promise of confidentiality which has been given to the participants for greater safety and welfare of the participants. (Lambert, 2012) Ethical dilemma may arise when doing research such as researcher using internet including blog raise new variants of ethical questions concerning confidentiality of data, responsibility to research participant and respect of those actively engaged in the research and those who may be affected indirectly. In these circumstances returning to ethical principles will help the researcher to think through the issue.

  1. References

Back, L. (2005) ‘‘ Home from Home’: Youth, Belonging and Place’, in, (Eds..) Alexander, C. and Knowles, C., Making Race Matter: Bodies, Space and Identity, London: Palgrave.

Bell, J. (1993), Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-time Researchers in Education and Social Science, second edition , Milton Keynes: Open University Press

British Educational Research Association (BERA) (2011) Ethical guidelines for educational researcher. London: BERA.

Burton, D & Barlett, S (2009), Key Issues for Education researchers, London: SAGE Publications Inc.

Cfbt. com, (2015). Teaching languages other than English – CfBT. [online] Available at: http://www. cfbt. com/en-GB/What-we-do/Support-for-teaching-English-and-other-languages/Teaching-languages-other-than-english [Accessed 27 Dec 2016].

Cummins, J. (2000). L anguage, Power and Pedagogy: Bilingual Children in the Crossfire. Multilingual Matters : Clevedon.

Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (2006 ) Primary Framework for Mathematics and Literacy. London: DfES.

Lambert, M (2012) A beginners guide to doing your education research project, London: SAGE Publication Ltd

May, T. (2001). Social research: issues, methods and process . Buckingham [UK], Open University Press

Media. education. gov. uk. (2004). A language in common: Assessing English as an additional language . [ONLINE] Available at: http://media. education. gov. uk/assets/files/pdf/a/a%20language%20in%20common%20assessing%20eal. pdf . [Accessed 27 Dec 16].

NALDIC Working Paper 5. (1999) The Distinctiveness of English as an Additional Language: a cross-curricular discipline. Watford: NALDIC.

Robson , C. (2011), Real World Research, Chichester (UK) : John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Schools. norfolk. gov. uk.( 2013). Equality Services Reading Borough Council Welcoming and Supporting Newly Arrived Bilingual Pupils 3 Equality Services Directorate of Education and Children’s Services Supporting Newly Arrived Bilingual Pupils . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www. schools. norfolk. gov. uk/view/NCC137979 .[Accessed 26 Dec 16].

Silverman, D. (2013). Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook. 4th Edition. SAGE Publications Ltd.

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