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Paths to fluency: the role of Welsh-medium education in Wales Dr Catrin Redknap Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg/ Welsh Language B PowerPoint Presentation
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Paths to fluency: the role of Welsh-medium education in Wales Dr Catrin Redknap Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg/ Welsh Language Board, Cardiff, Wales catrin.redknap@byig-wlb.org.uk. Wales and the Welsh language: background facts. Population of Wales: 2.9 million

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Paths to fluency: the role of Welsh-medium education in Wales

Dr Catrin Redknap

Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg/ Welsh Language Board, Cardiff, Wales

catrin.redknap@byig-wlb.org.uk

wales and the welsh language background facts
Wales and the Welsh language: background facts
  • Population of Wales: 2.9 million
  • Welsh speakers in 2001: 20.8% (582,400)

[18.7% in 1991, 19% in 1981]

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1944 Education Act: gave pupils the right to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents

1947: first local authority-funded primary school

1956: first local authority-funded secondary school

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2008: 20.6% of primary-aged children in classes where Welsh the only or main medium of education

2006/07: 40,702 pupils received their education in Welsh-medium secondary schools (corresponding figure for 1991: 27,897)

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• Paths – one or several?

• Paths – providing and maintaining them, and keeping pupils on the path

• Fluency – what is it and how do we achieve it?

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Paths – one or several?

• Welsh-medium/immersion from the early years: recognised route to successful acquisition of skills

• Late immersion

• Are there alternative models of delivery?

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Providing and maintaining paths, and keeping pupils on the path

• Planning availability of provision and access to it

• Clear routes of progression, and planning for continuity

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Fluency

•Challenges of the Welsh-medium learning setting: pupils from non-Welsh-speaking backgrounds

• Pupils with variety of linguistic needs

• Welsh and English in contact

• Willingness / reluctance to use Welsh

• Crucial link between fluency and usage

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Recurring themes:

• Strategic planning

• Structural / organisational mechanisms

• Teaching methodologies

• Practitioner supply and expertise

• Support materials and resources

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Paths: one or several?

Recognised benefits of Welsh-medium and immersion education from the early years

1971: Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin (Welsh-medium pre-school Playgroups Association)

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Welsh-medium Early Years Provision: Challenges

• Varying linguistic needs of children

• Working in a mixed economy

• Resources and staffing (initial training and INSET)

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Need for further work on our understanding of principles of immersion education

To inform all developments, including training

European-funded project to clarify principles of early years immersion methodology, and share good practice

Immersion education units in early years qualifications

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Late immersion

• Established practices in Wales

• Centres for Latecomers

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Language Learning through Immersion and Intensive Methods: Welsh Assembly Government-sponsored project, developed by the Welsh Language Board
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Findings and implications:

• Dedicated structures and support mechanisms

• Partnership between primary and secondary sectors

• Continuity and Progression

• Teacher Training

• Materials and Accreditation

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Are there alternative paths?

Welsh as a ‘second language’?

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Providing and maintaining paths, and keeping pupils on the path

Availability and accessibility of provision:

• Strategic planning

• Identification of gaps in provision

• Transport

• Working in partnership

• Transition from one sector to the next

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• Is the Welsh-medium option available?

• Are pupils aware of the importance of continuity?

• National, local authority and school policy

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Welsh Language Board Project on Linguistic Continuity

• Small number of pilot schools

• Transition from primary to secondary school and within secondary provision

• Identify factors limiting take-up of Welsh-medium provision

• Work with local authorities, schools, pupils and parents to increase levels of continuity

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Welsh Language Board Project on Linguistic Continuity

• Local authority and school policy

• Availability of provision: teacher supply and expertise – training needs

• Parental awareness and pupil engagement – attitudinal factors

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Fluency

Aim: to produce pupils who are functionally fluent in as broad a range as possible of skills and sociolinguistic contexts

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Challenges:

• Welsh in constant contact with English

• Welsh limited to language of school for significant proportions of pupils

• Attitudinal factors and influence of social networks

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Fluency: Classroom-based considerations

Curricular planning and teaching methodologies

•Principlesof immersioneducation

• Intensity of Welsh-medium input

• Linguistic balance between Welsh and English

• Catering for pupils’ different linguistic needs

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Teacher Training

• Accurate assessment of numbers required: national strategy

• Methodology: principles of immersion and Welsh-medium delivery

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Materials

• Equal availability of Welsh-medium resources

• Speed of production

• Corpus planning and terminology

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Fluency: Extending beyond the classroom

Promoting Welsh as the language of the playground and social networks

Welsh Language Board Project: Promoting and Supporting Language Use

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Welsh as the language of employment

• Perceptions of the value of Welsh

• Opportunities to use Welsh in the workplace

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Communicating with pupils and their parents:

• Information to parents

• Advice, guidance and marketing

• Careers advice

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Conclusions

• Successes of Welsh-medium education provision

• Early years Welsh-medium provision / Late immersion

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Conclusions

•Journey to fluency: rewarding but challenging

• Combined effort of school and community

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References

Further Information on Welsh-medium Education:

http:www.byig-wlb.org.uk

Welsh Assembly Government Welsh-medium Education Strategy (Consultation Draft):

http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dcells/consultation/090507wmsen.pdf

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Resources:

http://www.wjec.co.uk

http://www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk

http://old.accac.org.uk/eng/content.php?cID=3