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Associations Made By Pupils Between The Target Language And English

By Author: endeavor
Total Articles: 129

When asked whether the children themselves make associations between the target language and English, the most frequent responses were 42% (= 63) for sometimes and 38.7% (n =58) for often across the board. Looking at the data from the perspective of modern language taught, when taking both the always and often responses into account, those children being taught Spanish were more likely than any others to make associations between the TL and English, at 81.3% (n = 13) of these schools.

Children learning German were also more likely than others to make associations between the TL and English, with 50.1 % (=16) of these schools reporting this. Furthermore, 44.9% (= 40) of schools where French is being taught made these associations, while 40% (= 4) of schools providing Italian as a modern language reported children making these associations. Across school type, it seems that those children attending Gaelscoileanna are more likely than children attending English-medium schools to always make associations between the TL and English, with 17.6% (n = 3) of these schools reporting this response, compared with English-medium schools, at 9.2% (n = 12). Also, 35.3% (n = 6) of children attending Gaelscoileanna often make associations between the TL and English, while 40% (n- 52) of English-medium schools report this. Table 1 outlines what types of associations the children themselves make between the TL and English, categorised by modern language taught. These observations have been made by language teachers. By contrast with this, the results for teacher perception across the board of children making associations between the target language and Irish were rather more negative, at 40% (n = 60) for sometimes and 20.7% (n = 31) for seldom.

In relation to modern language taught, the most frequent response given by all four types of language teachers was sometimes. Fifty percent (n — 8) of Spanish teachers, 44.4% (n = 4) of Italian teachers, 44.3% (n = 39) of French teachers and 28.1% (n = 9) of German teachers chose this response. Spanish teachers were more likely to choose either always or often in response to this question, at 37.6% (n = 6) of this population, while 18.8% (n = 6) of German teachers, 17% (n = 15) of French teachers and 0% of Italian teachers found that pupils either always or often make associations between the TL and Irish. When looking at the percentage within school type, it becomes clear that 7.7% (n = 1) of children attending Gaelscoileanna always make associations between the TL and Irish, compared with 2.3% (n = 3) of children attending English-medium schools. The pattern continues. Children attending Gaelscoileanna often make associations between the two languages more frequently than those attending English-medium schools, at 23.1% (n = 3) versus 13.3% (n = 17). The same case applies for sometimes, with 53.8% (n = 7) of children attending Gaelscoileanna making associations this frequently, compared with 40.6% (n — 52) of children attending English-medium schools doing so. Continuing on from this, more children (22.7% n — 29) attending English-medium schools seldom make associations between the TL and Irish than those attending Gaelscoileanna (15.4% n = 2), and the same applies to those children who never make associations between the two.

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