Student Attitudes Toward Multilingual Education

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Title: Student Attitudes Toward Multilingual Education
Author: Lefebvre, Elisabeth
Abstract: This research focuses on student attitudes toward multilingual education. Although much work has been done on multilingual education pedagogy and policy, almost none has been child-centered. Little consideration has been given to first-hand accounts of children in immersion programs. Through participatory observation, surveys, and focus group discussions with third grade students at a public, French immersion elementary school in the Pacific Northwest, I have found many common threads within student experiences of multilingual education. Specifically, students' fear of failure and peer-to-peer shaming when learning a new language can leave them feeling ambivalent toward French. This is not to say that the student experience is overwhelmingly negative; however, student attitudes seem to fall somewhere between their learned value for multilingualism and their lived experiences. Ultimately, this thesis highlights the importance of student narratives and the ways in which they can inform the development of immersion education programs.
Date: 2012

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