Bilingualism in primary school-aged children: Attitudes to first and second languages

Year: 1997

Author: Purdie, Nola, Oliver, Rhonda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The study reported in this paper is part of a larger study which examined cross-cultural differences in a range of factors related to bilingualism in a group of Australian primary school students from different

language/cultural backgrounds. The general issues that were explored included:

1. Affective factors (in particular feelings about/ attitudes to first and second languages)
2. Language learning strategies
3. Self efficacy as it relates to English
4. Language use (sociolinguistic profile) as it relates to learning
5. Approach to learning in general, including learning strategies.

In this paper, we focus on how students from three different cultural backgrounds (Greek, Vietnamese, Muslim) feel about using their first and second languages in the classroom, in the playground, and at home. In addition, we examine their perceptions of the attitudes of their teachers, peers, and parents towards language use in those same contexts. Attitudes to first and second language use were also examined in light of student background factors such as gender, language/cultural background, birth place, length of residence, migrant status, and educational and language learning background.