Teacher perceptions of and attitudes towards French immersion programs in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador

Neil, Elaine Minnie (1989) Teacher perceptions of and attitudes towards French immersion programs in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study was prepared in response to a body of research which was shown that many unilingual English teachers feel the implementation of French immersion programs may place their jobs in jeopardy. In light of this information, an investigation of the attitudes of teachers in Newfoundland and Labrador towards the implementation of French immersion programs was undertaken. -- An attempt was made by means of a questionnaire, to identify any factor contributing to those opinions. The questionnaire designed for the study was distributed to a random sample of 250 teachers in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. A detailed descriptive analysis of the questionnaire was undertaken. On the basis of the current literature, a number of independent variables were examined as they related to attitudes. Seventeen valuables having to do with the personal background of the respondent were identified in Part I of the questionnaire. Fourteen variables dealing with the schools background of the respondent were utilized from Part II of the questionnaire. One-way analyses of variance were used to test for significant differences of opinion based on school characteristics and background characteristics while linear multiple regression (stepwise) were utilized to examine factors influencing these differences. -- The descriptive analysis indicated that teachers are not well-informed about French immersion and are not aware of its practical implications. Teachers strongly supported the idea that the major agencies associated with French curriculum planning and teacher welfare become more actively involved in French immersion planning. -- The application of the one-way analysis of variance identified significant differences of opinion among teachers based upon their school background. Respondents from schools having a smaller number of teachers were more negative towards French immersion, as were respondents from areas where French immersion had been implemented in the district. Teacher's background information identified resistance to the program from areas where there was a lack of contact with French, teachers whose background was in social studies and English and from department heads. -- The multiple-regression analysis confirmed the findings of the one-way analysis of variance; however, it also went on to demonstrate that teachers who indicated a willingness to retrain were supporters of the allocation of resources for French immersion. Respondents with a background in science and in subject areas outside the mainstream subjects were less tolerant towards the allocation of resources for French immersion. This analysis also identified an elitist element. Respondents who had a positive attitude towards French immersion in general, would be supporters of special programs but at the same time would be critical of the resources available for such programs. -- As a supplement to the analysis, an attempt was made to compose a profile of teachers who indicated a willingness to retrain to teach French and/or French immersion. Young to middle-aged teachers who had some experience with French and exposure to the culture appeared willing to retrain. The idea of retraining appealed to more women than men.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/4392
Item ID: 4392
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 121-126.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1989
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Education, Bilingual--Newfoundland and Labrador; French language--Study and teaching--Newfoundland and Labrador--Immersion method; Teachers--Newfoundland and Labrador--Attitudes

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