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Bilingual Learning for Second and Third Generation Children

Kenner, Charmian; Gregory, Eve E.; Ruby, Mahera and Al-Azami, Salman. 2008. Bilingual Learning for Second and Third Generation Children. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 21(2), pp. 120-137. ISSN 0790-8318 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Throughout the English-speaking world, children from bilingual backgrounds are being educated in mainstream classrooms where they have little or no opportunity to use their mother tongue. Second and third generation children, in particular, are assumed to be learning sufficiently through English only. This study investigated how British Bangladeshi children, learning Bengali in after-school classes but mostly more fluent in English than in their mother tongue, responded when able to use their full language repertoire within the mainstream curriculum. Through action research with mainstream and community language class teachers, bilingual literacy and numeracy tasks were devised and carried out with pupils aged seven to eleven in two East London primary schools. The bilingual activities were videorecorded and analysed qualitatively to identify the strategies used. The following cognitive and cultural benefits of bilingual learning discovered by researchers in other contexts were also found to apply in this particular setting: conceptual transfer, enriched understanding through translation, metalinguistic awareness, bicultural knowledge and building bilingual learner identities. The findings suggest that second and third generation children should be enabled to learn bilingually, and appropriate strategies are put forward for use in the mainstream classroom.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1080/07908310802287483

Keywords:

England, Bengali, primary school, bilingual learning, cultural content, language and cognition

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies > Centre for Language, Culture and Learning
Research Office > REF2014

Dates:

DateEvent
2008Published

Item ID:

4528

Date Deposited:

23 Nov 2010 14:36

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2018 01:38

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/4528

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