Many of the important educational innovations in current practice such as untracking and mixed-age grouping–are the direct result of teachers adapting their teaching to the challenge posed by children from culturally diverse backgrounds (Barry Mclaughan, Online Article, 1992).
Culture, social identity, ethnicity, religion, and perceived class status, all need to be taken into consideration in language learning, and all have differing causes and affects in both the teaching and the learning of a second language. A clear teaching perspective, which is based on a solid theoretical foundation, is of vital importance to both the successful application of language learning, and for that of the well-being of the student, if language learning is to be both effectively taught and learnt. An understanding of the variations and diversities within cultures needs to be respected, encouraged, and accepted within the classroom setting, which will then lead to a suitable, and comfortable, learning environment, where students can relax and concentrate without feelings of inferiority. And methods of teaching need to be carefully considered, with an emphasis on a good teacher/student relationship that leans towards creating confidence within the student.
In this chapter, we will be to analysing the language awareness/self concept of two groups of children by class analysis. The available interviews will be examined and analysed in order to understand how do the children feel about learning English as a second language and how, or if, this is affecting them in general.
The interviews were conducted in an open plan setting, in order to put the children at ease, and therefore helping them to feel comfortable when responding. There were seven interview groups, with 5-6 children within each group, making a total of approximately forty children. Three of the groups were from Germany and four were from Greece. Differing questions were posed to each group, through which an understanding of the children’s perceptions of language learning, and the affect upon the child will be determined. The Group A interviews were conducted with Greek attending children, learning English as a second language, in a German school, and those of group B, concerned children learning English in a Greek school.
This first section of this chapter will determine what the students thought in terms of their teacher’s ability to teach, their view of how s/he treated them in the academic environment, and how this affected the self of the group. The second section will establish how the behaviour in the classroom can be translated as strong or weak self-expression, and consequently interpreted as either a strong or weak self. And the third section will be dealing with how children feel about academic excellence, classroom performance, and their different cultural attitudes towards diverse minorities.
Students’ interview questions regarding teachers.
In this section we will be