Exploring children's experiences of learning English in the traditional primary classroom: identifying resources and opportunities

Watch a recording of this talk by Dalia Elhawary looking at children's experiences of learning English in the traditional primary classroom.

About this session

Through the analytical lens of sociocultural theory, this talk will report on a study that investigated the motives and resources that mediated English language learning in the traditional primary classroom where teacher-centred approaches are more prevalent. Drawing on data collected from responses to an open survey (N= 393) and individual interviews (N=23), the study showed that most of primary school children were motivated in their engagement with language learning by social, higher-cognitive, and self-related motives. The study revealed that, despite several constraints to language learning and practice, the EFL primary traditional classroom context could still afford learners with diverse and rich learning resources and opportunities, the usefulness of which depends on teachers’ awareness of children's experiences and individual goals, nurture of positive affect, use of collaborative pedagogical practices, and support for children’s agency in directing their learning. The talk will provide teachers of young learners with practical suggestions on how to make room in their classrooms for listening to children’s voice. This talk aims to help teachers become better informed about children’s learning experiences and ways to build on understanding of these experiences to maximize uptake of affordances for language learning particularly in challenging contexts such as traditional classrooms.

Watch the recording below

About the speaker

Dalia Elhawary is a lecturer of EFL Curricula and Instruction at the Department of Curricula and Instruction, Faculty of Education, Alexandria University, Egypt.  Her expertise is in researching learners’ voices on learning and teaching in the classroom.  Her research interests include second/ Foreign language learning, Learner’ voice, Learner’s agency, collaborative learning, interaction and Sociocultural theory. Her most recent publication (forthcoming) investigates interplay between agency and anxiety when learning to speak EFL in classrooms of collective culture.

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