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An investigation into primary school MFL teaching looking at the perspectives of staff, parents and pupils,in the context of Government policy and practice

By Martina Maria Cottam

Abstract

Recent years have seen various UK Government initiatives and policies for MFL (Modern Foreign Language) teaching in primary schools. This thesis is a case study on two independent primary schools in respect of their MFL provision, its effectiveness and perception by the three stakeholders of staff, parents and pupils. Specifically, its purpose is to present stakeholders’ views in six research areas, namely: 1) the commencement of MFL teaching, 2) the number of MFLs, 3) choosing the most suitable MFL(s) to implement, 4) teaching time allocation for MFL(s), 5) possible strategies to create a positive MFL learning environment, and 6) potential benefits of teaching MFL in KS1 (Key Stage 1). Research was conducted by means of questionnaires and interviews. The data was treated in a qualitative manner and discussed in the context of existing research, national and international literature, and Government policy and practice.\ud \ud It was found that all stakeholders expected MFL teaching to commence in at least KS2 (Key Stage 2) or an even earlier start. There was unanimous agreement for one MFL to be taught, yet pupils presented the highest request for learning multiple MFLs. Staff and parents wanted French and Spanish whereas pupils preferred Spanish, Chinese, French and Italian. For KS2, staff and parents opted for more than 60 minutes of MFL per week but the majority of pupils were satisfied with 30-45 minutes. The greatest enthusiasm for MFL learning was in the youngest age group (Year 1). Both schools had been unsuccessful in their pursuit of MFL delivery outside of school hours. The overwhelming result of this research was a basic demand to see an increase in the level of MFL teaching and support. Most stakeholders communicated in various ways that current Government policies, strategies, and funding did not go far enough to accommodate their vision for primary MFL.\u

Publisher: Department of Education (York)
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:1335

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