Research on the use of Welsh presented at International Conference on Bilingualism in Education

Dr Rhian Siân Hodges and PhD student Sioned Wyn Williams have presented the results of their research on the use of Welsh within the community at Bangor University’s first International Conference on Bilingualism in Education last week.

The pair, who are both supported by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, undertook the research project – ‘Defnyddio’r Gymraeg yn y Gymuned’ (‘Using Welsh in the Community’) – on behalf of the Welsh Government.

The project’s aim was to evaluate the Welsh Government’s Language Strategy, with a focus on the opportunities available for using Welsh in the community.

This international conference, hosted by the School of Education, was the ideal opportunity to present the finding of their research to an audience of academics, experts and practitioners interested in bilingualism in education.

Dr Hodges and Sioned discussed many aspects of linguistic conduct relating to education within the communities studied during the project: Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Bangor, Llanrwst, Porthmadog and Ammanford.

They revealed how language patterns that develop within the education sector influence the social use of language beyond the classroom. It was noted that the tendency by some young people to use English in school affected their confidence and fluency in using Welsh within social contexts. Despite this, they observed, many young people were actively searching for more opportunities to use Welsh both within the education system and socially; however, there were few opportunities to stafisfy this want in several of the communities.

One recommendation made by the research project was that the Welsh Government needs to ensure that specific steps are put in place to strengthen the bridge between the education world and the wider community, through a range of attractive leisure activities for older youths.

Dr Cynog Prys also contributed to this project.

Publication date: 14 June 2016