Teaching modern foreign languages in multilingual classrooms: An examination of Key Stage 2 teachers’ experiences

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The statutory inclusion of modern foreign languages (MFL) into the Key Stage 2 curriculum in England in 2014 aimed to raise the language skills of younger learners in preparation for their secondary education. This change to the curriculum has occurred at a time in which the linguistic diversity within primary schools across the country has been consistently increasing. This study used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to qualitatively examine the impact of the curriculum change on teachers implementing it in multilingual classrooms in Greater Manchester. Six teachers with varying experience in teaching MFL participated in semi-structured interviews focussing on different aspects of the curriculum change. This paper focuses on the teaching of MFL, as well as on teachers’ perceptions of English as an Additional Language (EAL) pupils’ aptitude for language learning in comparison to their monolingual peers. The superordinate themes identified from the data included the inconsistent delivery of MFL in primary schools, and the role of multilingual classrooms as opportunities for augmented MFL provision. The findings from this study will have implications for teachers, head teachers, and policy-makers regarding the effectiveness of the initial implementation of MFL into the primary curriculum, with specific reference to the EAL school population.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage Learning Journal
Early online date25 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018