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Title: Deep language learning at a distance : Investigating the efficacy of a low-cost blended intervention in the small rural primary schools of Greece
Authors: Lymperi, Leonidia
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The present research evaluates the impact of a blended remote learning intervention on the English as a Foreign Language attainment of 8-12-year-old children living in rural parts of Greece who, contrary to their urban counterparts, have no access to English language instruction in their schools. Most of the research on blended learning to date has been carried out in the context of higher and secondary education, and thus little is currently known about the practical feasibility and the parameters that might facilitate or impede academic success in a blended learning environment involving primary school children. Furthermore, there has been little systematic attention to the effectiveness of such educational interventions in low-income and resource-scarce settings. Importantly, this thesis moves beyond treating technology as a means by which to simply provide access to automated versions of conventional models of teaching, thus conceptualising ‘quality language learning’ as personalised, participatory, collaborative, guided learning, and deep content. An embedded mixed methods design was used in this study. The primary aims of the research were addressed through a quasi-experimental design. Across eight small rural primary schools, forty-seven children accessed the intervention for forty-five minutes per week over 12 weeks. Additional data were collected, including qualitative semi-structured headteacher and parent interviews, children focus groups and informal observations, to further illuminate factors affecting outcomes. The intervention was established as a significant predictor of gains in three out of five language areas assessed (vocabulary, grammar, and aural comprehension). Evidence from the qualitative strand regarding factors at the intervention level, teacher attributes, and individual child factors that appear to have influenced outcomes are discussed. On the basis of the findings of the present research, a model is proposed of the potential mechanisms underpinning the efficacy of the intervention within the intended contexts, accounting for individual differences and implementation factors.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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