Reconnoitring the Influence of Linguistic Aspects on Emirati Fifth Grade Students’ Bilingualism Practices: A Mixed Method Study

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Aysha Saeed AlShamsi, Negmeldin Omar Alsheikh


This is a mixed method study that explores the influence of linguistic aspects on Emirati fifth-grade students’ bilingualism. The study aims at scrutinizing how the linguistics aspects in English and Arabic mediated learners’ bilingualism and biliteracy practices. The fifth grade students (n = 350) and their Arabic and English teachers (n = 350) were surveyed in the first phase of the study about different aspects of linguistics in Arabic and English. The second qualitative phase features an in-depth investigation of the linguistics aspects practices through interviews with English teachers (n = 2), Arabic teachers (n =2) and fifth grades students (n = 3). The findings from this study indicated the following: 1) lower-level proficiency in English linguistic elements than in Arabic; 2) insufficient biliteracy practices due to linguistic difficulties; 3) students’ dependence on applying learned skills and strategies in English classes; (4) Arabic teachers hold  positive views about students’ linguistic abilities compared with English teachers; (5) Arabic and English teachers deploy explicit strategies to teach the students; (6) English teachers believe that students need scaffolding strategies due to discrepancies in the instructional environment. The study recommends a total reconceptualization of the interactions and context of bilingualism and biliteracy practices, and a gradual shift to English language instruction.

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