The Primary Language Classroom
: Praxis and Perceptions of Metalinguistic Awareness

  • Argyro Kanaki

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This an investigation of teaching and learning in primary school Modern Languages, in this case French. The research took place in Scotland after the recent introduction of a Scottish Language Policy, “The 1+2 Language Approach”.

    The study focused on insights into the following:
    •Manifestations or indications of metalinguistic awareness amongst pupils towards the end of their primary school experience.
    •Pupil perceptions of language analysis.
    •Professional perceptions of multilingualism, language analysis, and language teaching in the primary school, under the umbrella of the 1+2 Language Policy.

    A comprehensive review of research literature was the foundation for a qualitative investigation using a procedural model from Linguistic Ethnography. Diary, questionnaire and focus group work with pupils is complemented by structured research interviews with professional respondents involved in the implementation of Scottish language policy. The study draws together some clear narrative evidence for active metalinguistic capabilities amongst pupils in years 6 and 7, explores the use of learning diaries in the primary language classroom, and offers an interesting balance of insights concerning multilingual and monolingual perspectives on primary language teaching in one school in Scotland. Implications for teacher training, language teaching programmes and curricula, and increasing the effectiveness of policy interventions in language education are discussed in the light of the study, together with suggestions as to composing arguments around some inadequacies in current and past practices in language education.
    Date of Award2020
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDivya Jindal-Snape (Supervisor) & Ann Swinney (Supervisor)

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