Middle-grade French immersion children's perceptions and productions of English and French written narratives.
AuthorMaguire, Mary Helen.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis descriptive, sociolinguistic study examines six middle grade children's perceptions and productions of English and French written narratives in a suburban Montreal English Protestant, French Immersion school in the province of Quebec during the period of one school year. The primary purpose of this study was to determine the children's perceptions of writing stories in English and French and strategies for writing stories in two languages and classrooms. Interviews were transcribed, coded for emerging patterns and interpreted as socially negotiated texts. A secondary purpose was to analyze their use of temporal perspectives, verb forms for self chosen English and French written stories. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, means and percentages were utilized in data analysis. Major findings of this study were the following: (1) Across interviews in both English and French the children are very consistent in their perceptions of story writing in L2 as being more complex than in L1. (2) They perceive the writing of narrative in English and French to involve a culturally organized system of strategies and values learned in specific contexts of situations. (3) The use of varied interviewing techniques serves as a cross validation of children's perceptions. (4) The children have similar and systematic ways of assigning tense to their stories in both languages. (5) The children were exposed to contradictory models of language instruction and narrative discourse. The teachers' models of language learning, narrative discourse influenced the children's perceptions of themselves as language learners and story writers. (6) The six children provide evidence to support the hypothesis that there might be a single processing mechanism across languages that is flexible enough to handle differences among bilingual children in their perceptions of and use of strategies for writing stories in English and French. Findings from this study suggest that the relationship between first and second language learning is more similar than different. Direct teaching of linguistic forms can have a deleterious effect on children's written productions and perceptions of themselves as language learners. Large scale, product analysis studies, may no longer be a viable way to tap and assess the language, narrative competence and performance of bilingual children.
Degree ProgramTeaching and Teacher Education