Relationship of demographic characteristics to teacher attitudes towards the oral english of Native Canadian and Aboriginal Australian children
Blair, Heather Alice
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between selected demographic variables and the attitudes of teachers toward the oral English of their Indigenous students in Saskatchewan and Queensland.Data were collected by administration of the Indigenous Students Oral English Questionnaire to a total of 217 teachers from schools throughout northern and central Saskatchewan, Canada and Queensland, Australia. The independent variables in the study were: culture, language teaching experience, education, age and sex. The dependent variable was the attitudes of the teachers toward the validity and acceptability of the Indigenous students' oral English.Results of a factor analysis produced four attitudinal factors: Dialect Description, Difference/Deficit, Acceptability/Unacceptability, and Adequacy/Inadequacy. Seven hypotheses were analyzed by one-way analyses of variance to determine if any significant differences existed among the attitudinal factors on the basis of the demographic characteristics of the respondents. The findings of this study must be considered in relation to the following limitations: the size and nature of the sample, the difficulty of measuring attitudes, and the existence of cultural bias. * The study concluded with the following findings;1. The cultural background of the teachers did not relate to differences in attitudinal judgements toward the oral English of Indigenous students.2. The language background related to differences in attitudes toward language variation. Teachers who either spoke or understood an Indigenous language or Indigenous English were more positive toward the speech of their Indigenous students.3. The language and culture of the teachers in combination was found to relate to differing attitudes toward language variation. Those teachers who were both of Indigenous ancestry and either spoke or understood an Indigenous language or Indigenous English were more positive toward the speech of their Indigenous students.4. The years of teaching experience of the teachers was related to attitudinal differences toward language variation. There was a general trend for teachers with less experience to be more positive toward the speech of their Indigenous students.5. The-post-secondary education of the teachers was related to their attitudes toward language variation. The teachers with three to four years of post-secondary education and more specialty courses in linguistics, Indigenous education/studies, ESL/ESD, sociology of education, cross-cultural education, cultural anthropology, and language teaching methodologies were more positive and accepting of the speech of their Indigenous students. Length of training was not related to differing attitudes among Canadian teachers.6. The demographic characteristic of age was found to be related to differences in attitudes toward language variation. The younger teachers tended to have more positive attitudes toward the speech of Indigenous children. The variable of sex was important only for the Canandian group.Further findings indicated that the attitudinal factors most likely to be related to demographic characteristics were Difference/Deficit and Adequate/Inadequate. The respondents who tended to be more positive toward the students language generally described it as Different but also Adequate for classroom use. It was concluded that the variables of language, teaching experience, education, age and sex related significantly to teacher attitudes towards the oral English of Indigenous students. It was also found that culture and language in combination related to differences in attitudinal judgments. It was further concluded that since these characteristics were found to be important, teacher education programs need to examine assess, and design preservice, and inservice programs for the teachers of Indigenous children.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
DepartmentCollege of Education
ProgramCollege of Education
CommitteeScharf, Murray P.; Koenig, Delores
Copyright DateJuly 1985