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Learning a foreign language in a foreign language? The first generation immigrant students and learning English supported by the second language to ensure a fair education system

Katja Vodopivec (2019) Learning a foreign language in a foreign language? The first generation immigrant students and learning English supported by the second language to ensure a fair education system. MSc thesis.

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    In the last few years there has been a great number of children included in the educational system that have moved to Slovenia from distant and culturally different countries (OECD, 2015; SURS, b.d.). Because of the new (school) environment, language, culture, customs, habits and expectations the inclusion into the educational and wider social environment could turn out to be a challenge and a stressful event for them (e.g. Knaflič, 1991, 1995; Medvešek in Bešter, 2010). Slovenian legislation has certain laws that enable actions that should make the inclusion into the new environment easier for these pupils but a number of researches (e.g. Čančar, 2011; Lesar, 2009; Peček and Lesar 2006, Rutar etc., 2018; Skubic Ermenc, 2010, Soklič, 2012; Vižintin, 2013) show that current forms of work do not help them as needed. As a consequence these pupils achieve significantly poorer academic performance compared to their native peers (OECD, 2010, 2015, 2018). Since Slovenian primary schools mostly do not have an option of teaching the mother tongue of the immigrant pupils, which is the base for learning another language according to some researches, and since most of the pupils do not receive the sufficient amount of hours of learning the Slovenian language which is the language of the environment (Čančar, 2011; Soklič, 2012; Peček and Lesar, 2006) the issue arises as how »thriving« are these pupils at learning English language – a foreign language being learnt with the support of Slovenian language. The empirical part of the master's thesis provides answers to key questions of the research: do immigrant pupils of the first generation have more difficulties learning the English language as native pupils and/or achieve worse learning success as native pupils, where do the difficulties arise, what are the reasons for difficulties, which factors importantly affect their success at learning English language, the stance of teachers teaching English language on interculturalism and inclusion, which adaptations do the English teachers make for this population of pupils and would it be effective to realize other forms of help and adaptations of work. Results of a combined qualitative-quantitative research show that at English class a large portion of pupils of the first generation of immigrants feel comfortable and half of the pupils are the opinion that non-immigrant peers do not have an advantage and can prove themselves during class. A large percentage of first generation immigrant pupils are nonetheless put in an unequal situation and achieve lower academic achievements and success, especially in higher classes of primary school. English language teachers are aware of their role in the pupils success at learning English as well as their role for better inclusion of these pupils into new (school) environment. Ideally fair school is seen as a school oriented towards inclusion, nonetheless there is not much adaptation of the pedagogic work taking place in practice. Adaptations that are taking place are oriented mostly towards grading the pupils success and not as much towards the education process itself. A significant number of adaptations rely on factors such as the number of immigrant pupils in school. We notice that the inclusion of immigrant pupils (including at English language class) is based mostly on the concept of integration. Care for social inclusion is often overlooked, the characteristics and peculiarities of national minority communities are often not considered. In order to reach a fair(er) school (including learning English language) there is a lot still to be done. This requires a greater consideration during the process of recognizing and responding to all basic aspects of inequality that are determined by the 4R concept of fairness – economical, status, political and emotional.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: First generation immigrant pupils, English language, learning a foreign language, the language of the environment, fair education system, inclusion
    Number of Pages: 185
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    prof. dr. Irena LesarMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/12565577
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5893
    Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2019 11:06
    Last Modified: 29 Aug 2019 11:06
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5893

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