In her article ‘Teachers and Polish children: Capturing changes in the linguistic field’, Dr. Naomi Flynn (Associate Professor of Primary English Education at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education), reports on how teachers have responded to the significant number of Polish children entering primary schools in England over the past decade. Naomi’s study enhances the relatively limited research related to Polish children’s experiences of schooling despite the very significant scale of Polish migration to the UK.
The research, published in the British Journal of Sociology of Education, compares interview data from two time points. Focussing on the same region in the south of England, Naomi matched interview data collected with teachers from 5 schools in 2007 – 9 with interviews of teachers, Polish children and their parents conducted in 4 schools in 2016. In the second project the addition of Polish families allowed for the exploration of questions arising from the earlier conversations with teachers.
Naomi’s findings bring a longitudinal perspective to understanding the school-based and language learning experiences specific to Polish children, and to understanding how teachers’ practice is shaped over time by both policy and a changing pupil demographic. Of particular interest are her conclusions relating to the tensions that exist for teachers between policy expectations and the needs of English language learners, and her observations of Polish children’s fluid linguistic identities between home and school.
To read the article, please click here. You can also read the article presenting the earlier project here. For more information on Naomi’s research interests, please visit her staff profile page here. You can also follow her on Twitter here.