The Perceptions of Teachers, Students and Parents on the Learning of a Mother Tongue by Bilingual Turkish Students (Nottingham and Leicester Supplementary Schools Cases, England)

Ayşe Çiftci


It is important for bilingual children growing up in a foreign country to learn an L2 as it is to learn one’s family’s mother tongue; to learn and understand the L1 of that society, develop communication skills with relatives and learn their cultures’ values. This research investigates the learning of Turkish as a one’s family’s mother tongue (L2) by Turkish-English bilingual students living in Nottingham and Leicester. A qualitative research methodology was applied in this study. The data were collected from a total of 8 students between the ages of 5-6, 3 teachers and 11 parents at Nottingham and Leicester Turkish Supplementary schools. In order to gather data about learning techniques, semi-structured interviews and observation were carried out. The purpose of this study is to understand and explain the students’, parents’ and teachers’ views on bilingual Turkish students’ learning of their mother tongue at 5-6 years old. The findings show that the views of the parents’ and students’ on learning Turkish as an L2 as one’s family’s mother tongue are essential to supporting effective communication with their relatives, by using and learning Turkish and its culture. According to teachers, they, in common with others, say they intend to teach Turkish to students so they will be able to express themselves in their mother tongue and help them to acquire their own background’s cultural values. The research’s participants highlighted that their difficulties are with speaking and reading skills; as a possible solution, encouraging students to speak, read and write in Turkish, and watch Turkish media programmes in order to improve their productive skills is recommended.

Keywords: Bilingualism, Turkish language learning, mother tongue, L1-L2

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