Research

Transition in Language Learning for Students in Bilingual Programs in NSW (2018-2019)

This project, funded by the Department of Education NSW, will explore the transition experiences and options for students graduating from Primary school with experience in a bilingual or CLIL context.

Exploring the intersection of interculturality and identity theory: How does this feature within education outcomes relating to intercultural understanding? (2018-2019)

This project brings together two strands of my research into multilingual identity and intercultural understanding within languages education. It explores the intersection of identity theory and theories of intercultural understanding, through an exploration of education curricula in Australia.

Examining success and transition in Language Education in the UK and Australia (2018-2019)

This project explores language teacher perceptions of what it means to have a successful languages program in a school context, and how they traverse the transition from primary to secondary languages learning.

Assessing student achievement in language, literacy and content learning in four CLIL programs (2015 – 2017)

This project, funded by the Department of Education and Communities NSW, explored the achievement of students across four CLIL programs (in Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean) implemented in NSW from 2010. The students’ achievement in their languages, their English literacy and their content learning was explored, and the project sheds light on how achievement (within and across languages and content areas) is assessed by teachers. The students who began in this program in 2010 have now completed their primary schooling and it is therefore important to explore how assessment is occurring in these contexts.

Exploring effective and sustainable languages programs in NSW Independent Schools (2014 – 2015)

Due to current debates, policy directions and curriculum development in relation to language learning, the AIS NSW have identified a need to understand successful and sustainable language learning programs. I was contracted by the Association of Independent Schools NSW to undertake several case studies of school language programs in NSW in both urban and rural settings to ascertain some of the different factors influencing the success and sustainability of language programs in schools. Through this study I explored examples of different forms of “success” in the NSW context for language learning.

Success and Sustainability Report 2015

Examining the classroom pedagogies and practices in four bilingual programs (2013-2015)

In this collaborative project with A/Prof Lesley Harbon we  examined classroom video footage of four bilingual primary schools who deliver learning in English alongside either Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese or Korean. Through close analysis of the classroom interaction in each of the four schools we examined the bilingual turn to ascertain how these teachers enact a bilingual pedagogy. The pedagogical underpinnings explored in this project are outlined in our article in Babel (Fielding & Harbon, 2018).

Stakeholder perceptions of the implementation of four new bilingual programs in NSW (2011-2013)

In this collaborative project A/Prof Lesley Harbon and I undertook a case study examination of the stakeholder perceptions of the implementation of a new policy to introduce bilingual programs in four schools in NSW. Throughout 2011 and 2012 we gathered questionnaire, interview and observation data across four schools who were implementing bilingual programs in Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean. A report has been provided to the Department of Education and Communities NSW and the schools involved in the research. One journal article is forthcoming in Babel in relation to this research. Further articles are currently being written.

See our newsletter on this research: Bilingual Program newsletter March

See a news article on one of the schools including a quote from Ruth in this Sydney Morning Herald article.

Investigating the IRE turn as a pedagogical tool for teaching interculturally

In this project with Dr Robyn Moloney and A/Prof Lesley Harbon we undertook action research with our pre-service teachers. We introduced them to the linguistic understanding of teacher in-class interaction referred to as the IRE turn (Initiation-Response-Evaluation) and through a series of workshops facilitated pre-service teachers’ exploration of the classroom interaction and questioning patterns as a means of developing an intercultural stance in the language classroom. We have undertaken several iterations of this training and explored our own practice in integrating theoretical understandings from linguistics and language education. We have a refereed conference proceedings article related to this research (see Moloney, R., Harbon, L., & Fielding, R. . (2012). Varying the IRE turn: Preservice language teachers adopting an intercultural stance in their pedagogy pp 488-507. . In Aishah M.K., Chan, W.M., Chi, S.W., Chin, K.N., Istanto, J.W., Nagami, M., Sew, J.W., Suthiwan, T., Walker, I. Culture in foreign language learning: Framing and reframing the issue. Singapore: NUS Centre for Language Studies.). We also have a book chapter related to this work (2016).

Bilingual Identity in an Australian School (2006-2009)

In this four year project I explored young children’s perceptions of their bilingualism and their perceptions of their links to language and culture. I also explored the teaching context that these children learnt within to explore the impact of being in a bilingual learning context upon their development of identity. This research has been disseminated through articles published in Babel, Foreign Language Annals and Language Learning Journal, Language and Education as well as contributing to two book chapters. It is the basis of my book: Bilingual Identity in an Australian school: a framework for exploring bilingual identity which was published by Springer in 2015.

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