Teaching Vocabulary Through Classroom Interaction : An Observation of English Teaching in 1st-Grade Classrooms in a Finnish Setting

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Title: Teaching Vocabulary Through Classroom Interaction : An Observation of English Teaching in 1st-Grade Classrooms in a Finnish Setting
Author: Christian, Alexander
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta, Nykykielten laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of Modern Languages
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för moderna språk
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201906112571
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: englantilainen filologia
English Philology
Engelsk filologi
Abstract: This thesis examines English teaching in 1st-grade classes in Finland in the wake of the 2018 Finnish legislation, which comes into effect in 2020, to push the introduction of A1 language teaching from 3rd grade to 1st grade. This thesis examines how elementary teachers, who have not previously taught languages, are able to teach English to their 1st-grade students. This is a qualitative study that uses classroom observation in conjunction with transcription analysis to analyze the methods that teachers use when teaching English. 2 EFL classes and 4 CLIL classes were observed. Through analyzing classroom discourse, this thesis looks at vocabulary acquisition as a focus of early language teaching and aims to determine whether there are any differences between CLIL and EFL English classes in methodology and general classroom discourse. The results from this study show that even though the suggested legislation was put into effect almost immediately, teachers have been able to swiftly adapt and begin teaching English to their students successfully. This thesis shows that due to the lack of standards regarding 1st-grade English teaching, the methods that teachers use may vary. On the other hand, even though there is room for variation, this thesis shows that there is very little difference between classes, or even between CLIL and EFL. The results show that all classes focused on repetition and classroom discourse to support vocabulary acquisition and general language familiarity. The capital-city area of Finland is acting as a pilot for this first year so that when the legislation inevitably spreads to the rest of the country, they will be able to use the experiences that teachers have faced to better serve the rest of the nation’s teachers. As this thesis is situated at the beginning of early English education in Finland, more research is needed to determine the long-term effects that this type of legislation could bring to the nation. In analyzing the way that teachers teach English to first graders, this thesis serves as a tool that observes the foundation of early language learning in Finnish schools.
Subject: CLIL
Classroom Discourse
Language Legislation
Transcription Analysis

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