Language attitudes of Spanish secondary school students in Andalusia towards immigrant and foreign languages
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As Spain has experienced unprecedented levels of immigration in the last few decades many researchers have investigated the various policies and practices regarding the language education of immigrant students. The literature indicates that in both monolingual and bilingual regions immigrant students are viewed as linguistically deficient and are often marginalised in classroom practices, which impedes their ability to integrate and contributes to their academic failure. Additionally, in regions like Madrid with little recent history of linguistic and cultural heterogeneity, the literature has found that monolingual and monocultural ideologies often underlie the policies and practices of language education. These ideologies are not restricted to the abstract institutional level, but have also been revealed to exist amongst Spanish teachers and administrators who discursively and interactionally rank immigrant students hierarchically based on their place of origin (Relaño Pastor, 2009; Martín Rojo, Relaño Pastor & Rasskin Gutman, 2010). The research that has highlighted these shortcomings in Spain’s current educational system has focussed mainly on the examination of policy and classroom interaction and relied on the input of teachers, administrators, and immigrant students and their families, but has largely ignored native Spanish, or autochthonous, students. Are autochthonous students in a monolingual region guided by the same monolingual and monocultural ideologies as Spanish teachers and administrators when it comes to evaluating immigrant languages and those who speak them? Through a language attitudes survey, the current study provides the first look at autochthonous students’ opinions and views about the some of the most common immigrant languages in Spain today—Romanian, Latin American Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. It also surveys the students' language attitudes towards English and French, their two curricular languages, and analyses the attitudes for four variables: grade level, gender, language curriculum the students study in and language(s) spoken in the home. It was found that students expressed neutral-to-favourable attitudes towards all six languages in the study and the most favourable opinions about English and English speakers and French and French speakers. Regarding the immigrant languages, students reported more favourable attitudes towards Latin American Spanish and its speakers than (in descending order) Chinese and Chinese speakers, Arabic and Arabic speakers and Romanian and Romanian speakers. The variables language reported as spoken in the home and gender account for significant variance, while grade level and CLIL curriculum do not.