Kotler, Angie; Wegerif, Rupert and Le Voi, Martin
Oracy and the educational achievement of pupils with English as an additional language: the impact of bringing ‘Talking Partners’ into Bradford schools.
Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 4(6),
The relatively poor educational performance of some ethnically defined groups of children with English as an additional language (EAL) is a serious challenge for educators in the UK. In this paper we describe a research project designed to explore the hypothesis that this case of underperformance, like others, results from a mismatch between the registers learnt at home and those assumed in education. The method used was to offer extra support for those oral registers required for understanding in the classroom by providing trained adult 'talking partners' for young bilingual pupils. Sixty four pupils, aged between five and eight years, were given this additional oral language support and their progress in language and learning was then compared to that of similar pupils in the same schools. The findings show that extra sessions with adult talking partners made a real difference to their spoken English in an educational context and so to their engagement in education.
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