Language-in-Education Planning and Bilingual Education at the Elementary School in Taiwan
school-based language policy
Committee ChairRuiz, Richard
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractLanguage issues, often linked with ideas of history, sentiment, identity, ideology, maintenance, revitalization, minority, and indigenous peoples, are raised constantly in Taiwan. This study focused on examining issues related to language planning and bilingual education at the elementary school level in Taiwan. The research purposes were: 1) to examine the current language education practices in the elementary school by employing perspectives of language planning and bilingual education in Taiwan; and 2) to make recommendations about the current language planning and policy of Taiwan with respect to elementary school language education. There were 123 participants involved in this study. They were elementary school language teachers, language professionals, and parents. Data collection began in the winter of 2004 and continued through the summer of 2005. The research context was elementary school language education. Transcripts and questionnaires were the primary sources for data analysis. Five major phenomena with respect to elementary school language education in Taiwan were found. First, there was no systematic language planning for the present elementary school language education in Taiwan. Second, the three language subjects, Mandarin, English, and Dialects, within the Language Arts area were seen as independent courses without any interdisciplinary integration. Third, parental decisions about the prior order of language learning were structured upon a profound process related to language ideology and instrumentalism. Fourth, the elementary school language curriculum was guided by the concept of Han-centrism. Fifth, because of the phenomenon of language shift, Mandarin has become most children's mother tongue rather than the local languages. Based on the five findings, I suggest that first, team teaching is helpful for elementary school language teachers to integrate children's learning of different languages. Second, parents, language professionals, and language teachers should have more opportunities to communicate with each other about children's language learning. Third, language planners should bear the Han-centric phenomenon in mind, especially when considering issues of educational resources and opportunities and social justice. Fourth, the definition of mother tongues needs to be redefined. Fifth, it is important for every elementary school to develop its own school-based language policy.
Degree ProgramLanguage, Reading & Culture