Dual language books in a secondary classroom: Raising awareness of culture and language

Dual language picturebooks refer to picturebooks which contain two or more languages. These books are most readily recognised as bilingual, where the story is told in two languages in the same book, but they may also appear as the same story told in different languages in separate books, or have two or more languages woven together throughout the text. The illustrations in dual language picturebooks can be drawn from the appropriate cultures, further enriching the story. Research into picturebooks has been conducted internationally with early childhood and primary aged children, but none has been conducted with secondary (13-18 years old) school students. This thesis paper describes the first research into how dual language picturebooks are perceived by secondary students and their teacher in a single sex school in Aotearoa New Zealand. The ways that the students engaged with the text are also examined. The research found that both students and teachers showed a growing appreciation for dual language picturebooks over the research sessions. Students demonstrated theory of mind and critical language awareness through engagement with the stories, and showed a preference for translingual picturebooks. Implications for teachers are also discussed.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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