Managing bilingual interaction in a Gujarati complementary school in Leicester


Martin P, Bhatt A, Bhojani N & Creese A (2006) Managing bilingual interaction in a Gujarati complementary school in Leicester. Language and Education, 20 (1), pp. 5-22.

This paper focuses on teacher-student interaction in two Gujarati complementary school classrooms in one school in the East Midlands city of Leicester, UK. To date, little work has been published on interaction in complementary schools, and little is therefore known about the cultures of learning and teaching in such contexts. Our study of complementary schools in Leicester has shown how the classroom participants manage bilingualism and bilingual learning and teaching. One of the most noticeable features of the discourses of the two classrooms is the way two languages are juxtaposed to create learning opportunities. This uncontested use of two languages through the pedagogic strategy of code-switching goes against the perceived notion of bilingual learning/teaching as being a deficient strategy. Classrooms in complementary schools offer a highly significant, though under-researched, context in which to study language choice, and specifically the multilingual experiences of classroom participants. By exploring the educational pedagogies and classroom discourses, it is the aim of the paper to extend theoretical insights into the way complementary schools might help to transform, negotiate and manage the linguistic, social and learning identities of the participants in the classroom.

Bilingual learning; code-switching; Leicester; Gujarati;

Language and Education: Volume 20, Issue 1

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date31/12/2006
Publication date online22/12/2008