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Abstract

Many regions in the Middle East are currently implementing bilingual-type programmes in their national education. The abundance of initiatives in the region (e.g. Qatar, UAE, and Bahrain) suggest that this represents more than just a quantitative increase of second language provision in schools. This marks a shift from bilingual education being for the elite only towards encapsulating forms of bilingual education within public education. However, with the lack of formal documents and super-national language policies formulated to state the goals, policies and guidance for language education in the states (such as The European Commission's White Paper on Education and Training, 1995, or the Plurilingualism Promotion Plan issued by the Andalusian government in 2005) presents a caveat increased by the scarcity of research to surround these bilingual practices before and after the national changes in education and the language-in-education issues. Documenting this change is informative for the educational sector internationally especially with the interest in educational exportation in recent years. This study sought to gain an insight into the policy and practice of language-in-education in the Qatari educational system by exploring and describing the organisation and implementation of bilingual education in Qatar. It focused on the bilingual programmes offered to Qatari students and Arabic speaking children at international and independent primary schools in the unique linguistic and socio-economic context of Qatar, where Modern Standard Arabic, English and the Qatari dialect are spoken. Following a case study approach, I attempted to determine how bilingual education was conceived and carried out in international and independent schools by investigating various aspects of their bilingual and biliteracy practices. I concentrated on arrangements for the allocation, distribution, and separation of two languages (Arabic and English) with respect to fourth grade children. In addition to observing the bilingual methods and biliteracy approaches used in the classroom, and interviewing the teachers, I examined secondary data drawn from a database.The analysis of the two cases examined revealed various differences across two types of schools within a small country such as Qatar. Following a thematic approach the results are discussed within two corollaries: curricular organization and classroom praxis. Findings reveal that the international school followed a partial immersion type of bilingual education while the independent school followed a CLIL-type of bilingual education. The findings also reveal interesting results of the prominent use of IRF type of exchanges in both L1 and L2 classes. The flexible language use and purposive code-switching were discussed and documented as significant contributions to key concerns in contemporary bilingual education. As a whole the two case studies, supported by some statistical descriptions, reflected an instance of the official bilingual education context in Qatar.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarf.2013.SSHP-05
2013-11-20
2020-06-05
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