Policy, Pedagogy and Pupil Perceptions

A research partnership between The Bell Foundation and the Centre for Education for Racial Equality (CERES), University of Edinburgh

Research aim:

To give children with English as an additional language a voice in shaping and informing their learning opportunities and experiences and identify ways in which their perceptions can be used to improve how UK schools work.

About the project:

As numbers of children with English as an additional language in UK schools have nearly doubled over the last decade, increasing attention is paid to the teaching and learning of English as an additional language. However, few projects have presented a focus on EAL learners’ own accounts of their experiences. This project, led by Dr Yvonne Foley, captured EAL learners’ voices in relation to the following three questions:

What are EAL learners’ perceptions of their language learning experiences?

How do these perceptions differ from those of their teachers?

How are the differing national EAL policies in England and Scotland enacted at the level of the secondary school, the department and the classroom in relation to individual learners? Are the different emphases in national policy reflected at these various levels?

The team used a case study approach drawing on two secondary schools (in Scotland and England) to seek responses to the above questions, analysed policy documents and practices and carried out interviews with children and teachers.