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Second Language Learning in the Primary Years

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Chandler House

University College London

2 Wakefield Street

WC1N 1PF

United Kingdom

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** Please note that the first-come-first-served travel funding has already been allocated

This workshop will bring together researchers and teachers, providing a unique opportunity not only for teachers to learn more about current research looking at second language learning and teaching in the primary years, but also for researchers to gain important feedback from those working in the classroom. This feedback is vital in informing new directions for research.



PROGRAMME


Learning French in the primary school: The Role of Teaching and Teacher Factors.

Professor Suzanne Graham (University of Reading)

This presentation reports on a longitudinal study across the last two years of primary education and the first year of secondary school, tracking 240 learners of French. It compared the linguistic outcomes (vocabulary and grammatical knowledge) from two different approaches to the teaching of French in England, one placing emphasis on oracy (speaking and listening), the other combining literacy (reading and writing) with attention to oracy development. It also explored the relationship between linguistic outcomes and two other key teaching/teacher factors: teaching time and teacher expertise (teacher level of French proficiency, teacher level of training in language instruction). The presentation will report key findings from the study and discuss their implications for curriculum design, policy and pedagogy in relation to early language learning.


Beginning to Learn French in the Primary Classroom: The Origins of Grammar

Professor Florence Myles (University of Essex)

This talk tracks a year 3 group of children starting to learn French in the classroom as complete beginners. We explore the relationship between rote-learnt knowledge, and the eventual emergence of productive morphosyntax, which is still poorly understood.


Teaching and Learning French Sound/Spelling Links in Key Stage 2: What kind of progress can learners make? What are the challenges for teachers and learners?

Dr Alison Porter (University of Southampton)

Through examination of both test data and children’s written work, this talk will discuss the effects of systematic and explicit French phonics instruction in two Year 5/6 classrooms.


Teaching Second Languages through Computer Games: Engagement meets Intensive Language Exposure.

Dr Diana Pili-Moss (University of Lancaster)

Effective language learning in instructed contexts depends on a number of factors, ranging from the use of age-appropriate and engaging activities, learners’ subjective motivation, a balanced mix of grammar-based and communicative tasks and exposure to second language input that is sufficient both in terms of amount and intensity. Due to time and contextual constraints adequate exposure to consistent streams of input is probably the most difficult situation to achieve in the classroom. However, the use of computer language games, where increasing levels of language proficiency are required for advancement in the game provides such opportunity. In this talk I will present the results of research that deployed a computer board game to teach primary school children aspects of the grammar of Japanese. I will discuss how the activity was received as well as what the children learnt after three days of use.


Learning Gender Classes in Italian

Dr Elizabeth Wonnacott (University College London) & Dr Helen Brown (University of Warwick)

Many languages divide nouns into different gender classes (e.g. "masculine" and "feminine" words), and these are notoriously difficult for English speakers learning a second language. In this talk we explore whether native English speaking children pick up on gender markings when they are simply trained on vocabulary, without any explicit instruction about gender. We will present data from a study in which Year 3 children were exposed to new Italian vocabulary via a computer-based learning program. We tracked whether the children picked up the on consistent gender markers (e.g., masculine nouns go with the determiner “il” and feminine with the determiner “la”; nouns ending in -o are usually masculine, nouns ending in -a are usually feminine) in the absence of explicit instruction.


This event is sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/)

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Chandler House

University College London

2 Wakefield Street

WC1N 1PF

United Kingdom

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