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Navigating management and pedagogical complexities in bilingual education : an Estonian case study

Mehisto, P; (2011) Navigating management and pedagogical complexities in bilingual education : an Estonian case study. Institute of Education, University of London Green open access

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This thesis on management and pedagogy in bilingual education details the development of Estonia's early and late Estonian-language immersion programmes in a context where a need for increased social cohesion underpinned programming, political will was mobilised and leadership was distributed among stakeholders, Genesee (2003: 17) considers the Estonian early immersion programme as one of the most carefully planned of its kind. The research study documents management and pedagogical practices, including the ideational forces and concrete mechanisms that have contributed to the development of sustainable programming. Beardsmore (2007) calls for additional studies that simultaneously investigate pedagogy and management in bilingual education. The study incorporates action research, as the researcher investigated the development of a programme he had helped to co-manage and acted as an informant for the study. The personal account is grounded in an analysis of programme planning and reporting documents and of data from interviews with government decision-makers, and in a case study of four schools offering late immersion. Students, parents, deputy headteachers and headteachers were surveyed. Fifty-one lessons were observed. This case study of language immersion, with its successes and setbacks, is also grounded in a literature review that explores the concepts of bilingualism, bilingual education, stakeholding, distributed leadership, professional learning communities and pseudo-communities. The review also examines the economic and cognitive benefits of bilingualism. The study is further informed by moderate social constructivism, and complexity theory. Bilingual education is thus situated in a larger ecology of structural interdependencies. It is argued that know ledge about these concepts, and their interdependencies can potentially be used to build contexts favourable for bilingual education. A large number of assumptions, beliefs and pedagogical practices, as well as forces, mechanisms and counterweights were found to influence immersion programme development. Individual teacher assumptions, beliefs and practices tended to fall on a continuum between fostering or it is argued undermining student learning. All three were identified as having considerable impact on learning environments. In particular, the study revealed challenges faced by teachers in integrating content and language. Planning mechanisms such as results-based management frameworks were crucial in programme development. However, these mechanisms were in and of themselves inert, being powered by forces such as stakeholder inclusion, a belief in immersion, and stakeholder learning. Whilst an Immersion Centre that led and coordinated programming was a central component in programme development, this mechanism was fuelled by the moral authority of its staff, their sense of mission, and dialogue for partnership. Maintaining balance through counterweights such as accountability for process with accountability for results also contributed to programme success. The thesis proposes a redefinition of the terms CLIL (content and language integrated learning) and bilingual education. The thesis also argues that stakeholders such as educators and managers need to develop complexity competence which includes a high degree of competence in a wide range of fields and heightened meta-cognitive, meta-affective and meta-social skills. Two frameworks are offered for identifying and navigating key elements of the complexities of bilingual education - one is primarily pedagogically focused (A Continuum for Bilingual Education) and the other is primarily management focused (A Reciprocal Co-evolutionary Paradigm for the Development of Bilingual Education).</

Type: Other
Title: Navigating management and pedagogical complexities in bilingual education : an Estonian case study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information: Some content has been redacted due to third party rights or other legal issues and is labelled as such in the document
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1507367
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