• Opting in or opting out? How is choice of language medium presented to Further Education learners in Wales and what influence does this have on their choices?

    Research Articles

    Opting in or opting out? How is choice of language medium presented to Further Education learners in Wales and what influence does this have on their choices?

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Abstract

This article explores the ways in which choice of language medium is presented to Further Education learners in Wales and its influence on their choices, using principles of behavioural economics. The study analyses one of the reasons for the low number of learners studying through Welsh and bilingually in this sector. It suggests recommendations to improve the situation in the context of the Welsh Government’s target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050. The research is based on a sample of four different areas across Wales, drawing on semi-structured interviews with staff in schools and Further Education colleges, and on focus groups with pupils in the final year of their statutory education. The article explains the limitations of the model of ‘opting in’ to Welsh-medium and bilingual provision, with its emphasis on giving information to change behaviour, and investigates the relative strengths of the model of ‘opting out’ of such provision. The article argues in favour of applying principles of behavioural economics to language choice, through modifying choice architecture. It recommends changing the default language of provision, placing learners from Welsh and bilingual schools on Welsh-medium or bilingual provision, with the option to opt out if they wish.

Keywords: Behavioural economics, bilingual education, Further Education, language choice, language policy, Welsh

How to Cite:

Davies L. B., (2021) “Opting in or opting out? How is choice of language medium presented to Further Education learners in Wales and what influence does this have on their choices?”, Wales Journal of Education 23(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.16922/wje.23.1.4

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Published on
30 Jul 2021
Peer Reviewed