Language Acquisition Research

Publication Details

This research report is a compilation of papers presented at the Language Acquisition Forum held in 2003. The papers were written and presented by educationalists who have had wide experience in both research and teaching in the field of language acquisition and bilingual development. The report will provide the Ministry of Education with possible strategies to support schools and teachers who offer bilingual and immersion education, and the children and whanau who participate in these programmes.

Author(s): Research Division, Ministry of Education

Date Published: 2004

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Summary

Kia ora, ni sa bula, talofa lava, kia orana, malo e lelei,
fakaalofa lahi atu, taloha ni, greetings


The language acquisition project originated from a cross-Ministry team called the Bilingual and Immersion Theme Team. The team was established to consider medium to long-term research needs in bilingual and immersion education across languages and mediums. After a series of discussions, the team identified language acquisition to be one of the key areas in need of further comprehensive research - particularly research which is evidence-based and grounded in the context of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

The purpose of the forum was to draw on New Zealand academic expertise and experience in the field of language acquisition and bilingual development to inform Ministry of Education policy and to share knowledge of Māori and Pasifika immersion and bilingual education.

The forum was held on the 9-10 October 2003 at the Brentwood Hotel, Wellington. Over the two days of the forum, researchers and academics presented papers that provided evidence-based knowledge around the following topics:

  • relationships between language acquisition and cognitive development;
  • evidence of the existing language experiences of learners;
  • the interaction of language and culture;
  • teacher expectations - what successful outcomes for students look like;
  • models of effective practice for quality teaching and learning; and
  • success factors in bilingual and immersion education.

The audience included Ministry of Education staff, presenters of papers, and other academics involved in the area of language acquisition in bilingual and immersion education. In addition, representatives from other organisations associated with education and language development were in attendance.

The forum's key objective was to promote discussion about theories, models of practice and evidence of success in bilingual and immersion education, and to help identify priorities for future research. It provided opportunities for discussion at the conclusion of each presentation, together with a panel discussion involving presenters at the end of each day. This allowed researchers, academics, Ministry of Education staff, and staff from other organisations to explore options, possible directions and strategies to support schools and teachers who offer bilingual and immersion education, and the children and whānau who participate in these programmes.

This report is a compilation of papers presented at the Language Acquisition Forum.

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