Perceptions of teacher bilingualism
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This study introduces themes and trends apparent from notable research and literature regarding the value and usefulness of bilingual teaching methods in the ESOL classroom, and the perceptions of ESOL managers and teachers regarding these, both from an international and a New Zealand perspective. From this, a shortage of awareness and research in the New Zealand context was identified, which created an opportunity for further research. The study aimed specifically to investigate the knowledge and perceptions of Auckland based ESOL-school professionals regarding the value of teacher bilingualism and the use of other languages in the ESOL classroom. The basic method employed was a survey involving the distribution of questionnaires to 60 Auckland language school teachers and 20 Auckland language school managers, and included both qualitative and quantitative type questions. The study probed the foreign language skills and overseas work experience of the managers and teachers, and investigated whether these factors had influenced their perceptions regarding the value of teacher bilingualism and the use of other languages as an ESOL teaching tool. The study identifies the perceptions of Auckland ESOL professionals regarding these issues and analyses further differentiating factors likely to have influenced these perceptions. It identifies differences of opinion between managers and teachers and investigates reasons for these. The study analyses the linguistic composition of the Auckland language school clientele and considers implications for the industry resulting from the identified perceptions of ESOL professionals. Finally, the study offers suggestions for further future research, in the interest of improvement and enhancement of the industry.