Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Bernard Hird

Abstract

Learning English as a second language is a challenge faced by many children. This research has focused on the language learning and acquisition of a middle primary school student, new to Australia, from France. The English language development of this French student in a mainstream classroom of a primary school within Western Australia has been examined. The student, Rene, is a nine year old male child who is a fluent speaker of the French language. His English language development was studied over a ten week period where he was taught in a mainstream classroom with the assistance of a bilingual English I French support teacher. He started the year as a beginner in English in the mainstream class and with an understanding that his L 1 would continue to be used. The study identified the early movement from Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BIGS) to the beginnings of Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) and showed a relationship between these language skills and Mohan's Six Major Knowledge Structures. Understanding of vocabulary which contained complex concepts was made possible through bilingual education. The presence of a person on staff who was available to work as a partner in the classroom, in a bilingual speaking capacity was invaluable, particularly in the early days when communication with the child was limited.

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