Geraldine McCarthy

Doctor of Philosophy, (Applied Linguistics)
Study Completed: 2019
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Responses to linguistic and cultural diversity in New Zealand state secondary schools: A qualitative study

Demand for English language learning (ELL) has intensified alongside marked increases in immigration. ELL assistance in state secondary schools is centred within English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) departments. Mrs. McCarthy sought to gain an understanding of ESOL Department contexts by using Spolsky’s theory of language ecology, where the learner is surrounded by radiating and interacting layers of influence, each with dynamic components of management, beliefs and practice. The findings revealed the weight of wide-ranging regulatory and ideological interactions associated with colonialism, ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ legislation and New Zealand’s bicultural status. The study called for alternative professional development initiatives and resource regulation to assist with learners’ academic achievement and social and cultural integration. Results are intended to contribute to efforts for increased cohesion in this rapidly diversifying nation.

Dr Gillian Skyrme
Dr Arianna Berardi-Wiltshire

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