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Nurturing bilingual learners: challenges and concerns in Singapore

Curdt-Christiansen, X.-L. and Sun, B. (2016) Nurturing bilingual learners: challenges and concerns in Singapore. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 19 (6). pp. 689-705. ISSN 1367-0050

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2016.1181606


Singapore’s bilingual policy legitimises English not only as the language of governmental administration and interethnic communication, but also as the medium of instruction in all schools on all levels and across all subjects except mother tongues (MTs). As a result of these politics of language recognition, a visible shift has occurred in all ethnic groups away from MTs towards English. To rectify the language shift situation, the government has emphasised that developing bilingualism and raising bilingual children should begin in preschools. In this paper, we examine two top-down official documents: Review of Mother Tongue Languages Report, issued in 2011, and Nurturing Early Learners Framework for Mother Tongue Languages, developed in 2013. Attempting to identify some of the complex factors that influence language shift, we present an intertextual analysis of the Report and the curriculum Framework. In doing so, we compare the consistencies and locate the implicit inconsistencies in the policy position on bilingual education in preschools. We conclude the article by outlining the implications for changing the current bilingual educational models and providing teacher training programmes that maximise the learning opportunities of young bilingual learners.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Language and Literacy in Education
ID Code:65684


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