BILINGUAL EDUCATION AS AN AGENT IN CULTURAL REPRODUCTION: SPATIAL VARIATIONS IN WALES. COLIN H. WILLIAMS Williams, Colin H. 1986: Bilingual Education As An Agent in Cultural Reproduction: Spatial Variations in Wales. Cambria, 13 (1), pp. 111 to pp. 129. Part III of Davies, W.K.D. (ed) Human Geography from Wales: Proceedings of the E.G. Bowen Memorial Conference. ISSN 0306- 9796. For many decades the decline in the proportion of people speaking Welsh has been age specific with smaller proportions in the younger age groups. Recently this has changed, with increases in the proportions of the younger age groups able to speak Welsh. Much of this change must be attributed to the spread of bilingual education in the schools. This is used as a background to the specific study in the growth of pre-school nursery education in Wales which is revealed as an important element in the cultural reproduction of the minority Welsh speaking group. The considerable spatial variation in this educational opportunity has important consequences for the future health of the language. Colin H. Williams, Dept. of Geography and Recreational Studies, North Staffordshire Polytechnic, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent, England. ST4 2DF. Minority cultural reproduction in advanced industrial societies is a pressing and fascinating issue for social scientific analysis which has important geographical or spatial implications for the future of a language. Most geographical studies of language have focussed on the spatial distribution of language groups (Aitchison, Carter and Williams, 1985) not on the detailed mechanisms of change. Yet cultural production and reproduction, as Raymond Williams reminds us, is not only a constant source of dynamism in modem society, but also of "deeply significant internal contradictions, internal shifts and thus internal changes" (Williams 1981 p. 199). The object of this paper is one aspect of cultural reproduction in contemporary Wales which engenders a simultaneous myriad of internal contradictions and consequent pressures for social change, namely Welsh-medium education. This study is not an evaluation of bilingual education either of developing linguistic or socio-academic skills, nor are any prescriptive suggestions offered. The area is one in which there is a paucity of detailed information. So the essentially empirical approach adopted here focusses upon the spatial variations in the provision of bilingual education. It is a necessary precursor to the more detailed evaluative approach adopted in
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