Mainstreaming as language policy and classroom practice: An interpretive study of partner teachers' roles, relationships and talk in multilingual British secondary schools

Angela Creese, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Mainstreaming bilingual children while providing them with in-class language support is a language policy which aims to provide for the needs of children in multicultural British schools. In classes where there are substantial numbers of pupils for whom English is not their first language, a language support teacher and a subject teacher work together to provide language support for these children. This policy makes up the most important form of support provided to bilingual children in British schools. Little has been documented about its effectiveness. This dissertation attempts to illuminate the limits and successes of such a policy as seen by the teachers working in these in-class relationships and in doing so adopts an ethnographic interpretive methodology. To this end, Turkish bilingual teachers and Anglo English as a second language teachers and the subject teachers they work with are observed, audio recorded while working in class and interviewed individually. The tools of participant observation, and discourse analysis are used to investigate the process of implementing a macro language policy in the micro context of the classroom. I show how language support teachers and subject teachers are both positioned by the educational aims and reality of current policy and its various interpretations, and yet also, how they position themselves. I argue that in the hierarchy of educational aims, the language rights of children rarely become a priority alongside the content-based aims of secondary education. Teachers who attempt to change this hierarchy, either overtly or covertly, are often challenged by the children they are helping, leaving little room for a focus on language. Teachers who work outside this hierarchy of aims are not only in danger of working themselves out onto the periphery in terms of their own status in the school, but can also be seen by the children they are targeting as providing a deficit form of education. Primarily, I argue that the relationships the teachers form, the roles they play in class, and importantly, the language they use in playing these out must be part of the evaluation process important in implementing any language policy.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Secondary education|Curricula|Teaching|Language arts

Recommended Citation

Creese, Angela, "Mainstreaming as language policy and classroom practice: An interpretive study of partner teachers' roles, relationships and talk in multilingual British secondary schools" (1997). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9727208.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9727208

Share

COinS