The perceptions and experiences of Arabic mother tongue students in years 5 to 8 primary schooling in New Zealand when learning to read in English as a second language. (2021)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Education
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
This study addressed the perceptions and experiences of Arabic-speaking ten to thirteen year-old students in New Zealand primary schools, and the teachers of these students in reading English as a second language (ESL). It aimed to better understand the supports and barriers that these students encountered when learning to read English. A qualitative approach was adopted to collect and analyse the data. Semi- structured interviews were conducted with eight primary school ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Arabic-speaking students and two ESOL teachers. Themes that describe the perceptions and experiences of ESOL students and ESOL teachers in reading ESL were generated from the data analysis. The findings indicated that the students and the teachers agreed on the supports for learning reading, but they conveyed different views regarding the barriers that students encounter when they read English. The students and the teachers agreed on the beneficial role of the students’ mother tongue in learning reading. The students confirmed how translating ambiguous words into their mother tongue enabled them to understand better the meaning of the word. They also conveyed their worries of losing their mother tongue. The teachers explained how a student’s mother tongue is the foundation for their learning. The barriers from the students’ views were difficulties in decoding, comprehending some words, and their embarrassment when required to read aloud in English to large groups of their peers. However, the teachers highlighted two main barriers that they perceived hampered Arabic-speaking students in learning to read in English, as their embarrassment about their accent which might be viewed as mispronunciation by their peers and the difficulty of finding reading texts that represented ESOL students’ culture.
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