Year of Award

2017

Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Modern Languages and Literature (French Option)

Department or School/College

Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Committee Chair

Pablo E. Requena

Commitee Members

Ione Crummy, Lucila Rudge

Keywords

second languages (L2s), elementary education, Montana, foreign languages, additive bilingualism, teaching

Publisher

University of Montana

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education

Abstract

This study addresses the position in which elementary school teachers find themselves when they recognize the benefits of bilingualism but are limited in being able to provide second language (L2) instruction. It seeks to answer the following questions: How many elementary school teachers in Montana have added a L2 component to their instruction? How likely are those teachers to turn to the Internet for materials and resources in order to add a L2 component to their instruction? What do elementary school teachers expect from those online materials? What L2 materials are available online and how can they be used? What should online L2 materials/resources be like based on the principles and best practices in the field of L2 teaching as established by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)? In this study, I review the research on additive bilingualism in elementary school children and find that learning a second language has inherent cognitive, academic, and affective benefits. Also, I review how language can be taught effectively through various perspectives to language and language learning. I conducted a survey of public Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade teachers in Montana and found that almost half of them were already trying to include a L2 component in their teaching. A very limited number of these teachers had a trained second language educator at their school, and because of this, many turn to online resources to help them. Almost all the participants were receptive to the idea of a free, online resource that would teach one or more world languages in an engaging, relevant way. Therefore, I analyzed online second language resources available for teachers who do not already speak the language and found that all of them lacked the discursive feature that characterizes classroom dynamics. The resources, both for free and for a price, had a lack of focus on instructing students how to ask the questions themselves. I finish this paper by addressing this need. I propose a new resource that seeks to address the shortcomings of the resources reviewed. The proposal for the proposed resource takes into consideration the feedback received from the teachers during the survey and is directly tailored to the Montana Elementary K-2 context.

Available for download on Thursday, June 14, 2018

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© Copyright 2017 Seth A. Barnes-Smith