Exploring curriculum policy implementation through the relationship between policy and practice: case studies of modern languages in primary schools in Scotland and Shanghai

Wang, Ziyou (2019) Exploring curriculum policy implementation through the relationship between policy and practice: case studies of modern languages in primary schools in Scotland and Shanghai. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

In the world of educational policy, there are often gaps between the promises inherent in the policy rhetoric and how policy emerges in practice. This study explored the relationship between policy initiatives and practices in the policy implementation process. As teachers are key to the enactment of policy, this study explored the relationship between policy and practice through the lens of teachers’ beliefs about education policy. Modern Languages is a key policy for schools and governments internationally; it is also one of the most challenging policies, especially in traditionally monolingual countries or regions like Shanghai and Scotland. In Modern Languages education, there is a widely held view that early Modern Language learning will offer children the best start in life, will contribute to wider success in education and will offer better future life chances. This study explored these assumptions by examining the implementation of Modern Languages policy through the eyes of policy makers and practitioners involved in the teaching of Modern Languages in primary schools in Scotland and Shanghai. The study included 9 practitioners from four Case Study Schools and 3 policy makers from the two research sites. Using a qualitative research methodology, the study explored the relationship between policy makers aspirations and teachers’ practices in Modern Languages. The findings of this study revealed that in both research sites, despite the distinctive differences between Scottish and Shanghai’s educational systems, there were many common themes. In both locations, there was a need to enhance communication between policy makers and practitioners; in addition, there was a need for greater Modern Languages proficiency requirements for teachers. The findings challenged the assumption that the earlier children begin to learn a Modern Language, the better their language accomplishment. However, there was an indication that earlier Modern Languages learning had advantages beyond linguistic proficiency. These wider cognitive, cultural, societal and literacy benefits emerging from Modern Languages learning, need to become more influential in shaping expectations of the benefits of Modern Languages learning and should become a more central part of the primary languages curriculum.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Modern languages education, policy and practice, early years, teachers' beliefs..
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Pedagogy Policy and Practice
Supervisor's Name: Hayward, Professor Louise and Davis, Professor Robert
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Mis Ziyou Wang
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-73027
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2019 12:54
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2019 12:56
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/73027

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