‘Kaleidoscopic variety’: aspects of current research into bilingual education in Wales Bryn Jones & Gwyn Lewis Bilingual education (i.e. Welsh and English) is large scale in Wales, having enjoyed a rapid growth and unprecedented success in the second half of the twentieth century. Alongside other countries where bilingual education flourishes, Wales has a long and distinguished history of minority language education and shares international leadership of bilingual education policies and practices. By today, with an ever increasing number of pupils from non- Welsh speaking (and non-English speaking) homes taking advantage of the bilingual provision, bilingual education in the Wales of the twenty first century – as in other minority language regions of Europe (e.g. the Basque Country) - is a mix of heritage/maintenance language education and immersion education. Bilingual provision in the most Welsh-speaking areas is different from that in the more anglicized areas. In predominantly English speaking areas, designated bilingual schools offer early immersion in Welsh-medium education, primarily for Anglophone children, whilst in the rural Welsh- speaking heartland there are traditional or natural bilingual schools where children are taught Welsh initially, and from the age of 7 onwards study English, with both languages used as medium of instruction throughout primary schooling (Jones and Martin Jones, 2004; García, 2009, 253). That there is a ‘kaleidoscopic variety of bilingual educational practice’ (Baker, 1993) across Wales – with many schools and classrooms containing differing balances of L1 minority and L2 majority children - means that a wide variety of approaches are utilized by teachers. It also means that a well defined policy and practice in language allocation is required (Lewis, 2006) with decisions having to be taken about the use of both languages to deliver the curriculum as teachers experiment with concurrent/contemporaneous use of both languages within the same lesson period. Following interviews/observations in 10 bilingual secondary schools and 20 feeder bilingual primary schools across Wales, this seminar will briefly discuss the research in progress before going on to analyse emerging models of dual language allocation across Wales. Specific reference will be made to ‘translanguaging’, an increasingly used methodology that nurtures a more dynamic bilingualism in students where the input and output are deliberately in different languages (Baker, 2000, 2003; García, 2009).
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