Child Language Brokering in School: Final Research Report

Cline, T.; Crafter, S. and Prokopiou, E. (2014). Child Language Brokering in School: Final Research Report. The Nuffield Foundation.



The primary aim of the project was to provide an evidence basis for more sensitive and effective practice and more carefully articulated school policies on the use of pupils as language brokers for their own parents and others in school. To this end we investigated and triangulated the views and experiences of two groups who we expected to bring distinctive and complementary perspectives to the topic - teachers in schools in multilingual areas and young adults who had acted as language brokers in the course of their own school career (ex-CLBs ). The study addressed the following research questions in relation to both groups:
1. How often and for what purposes are CLBs used in schools?
2. To what degree are CLBs used in routine contacts with parents (their own & those of others), in more sensitive discussions about vulnerable pupils (e.g. about SEN) and in discussions when crucial matters are being resolved (e.g. planning for subject choices in Year 10)?
3. What are the perceived advantages and disadvantages of school language brokering arrangements?
4. How do teachers and ex-CLBs perceive CLBs in terms of their alignment with family or personal interests as against detached, independent values of translation and interpreting?
5. What views do ex-CLBs now have of their experience of the process, their own agency, competence and effectiveness and how the process was facilitated or obstructed by the actions and attitudes of their teachers?
6. What differences of view and understanding are there between teachers who are themselves bilingual or multilingual, teachers who are monolingual and ex-CLBs?
7. What recommendations would current teachers and ex-CLBs make on how to improve schools? policies and practices on CLB activity?

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