The thesis examines the concept of normalisation of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), i.e. complete, effective integration of technology, in the context of primary Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) in England. While normalisation research is conducted predominantly in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) context, understanding normalisation in the primary mainstream education in England is important due to the contrast between teachers’ lack of readiness to deliver languages as part of the National Curriculum, and technology penetration in the classrooms. This thesis therefore, taking a sociocultural perspective of Activity Theory, attempts to redefine normalisation to include context specific characteristics, identify what factors contribute to and impede normalisation, and assess where primary CALL is on route to normalisation. An ethnographic approach was deemed to be most suitable to gain deep understanding of normalisation. Prolonged immersion in a primary school and the thematic analysis of observations, interviews, field notes and audio recordings revealed that factors impeding normalisation of primary CALL revolve around the following areas: attitudes, logistics, training and support and pedagogy. The issues related to the subject itself, e.g. negative attitudes toward the subject, lack of skills, impact on the achievement of normalisation to larger extent than issues related to technology. Hence in the primary context, normalisation needs to be considered from the point of view of normalisation of MFL and then the technology that is embedded into MFL. The analysis of the data allowed the researcher to create a model which serves as a form of audit of factors that need to be considered when thinking of successful technology integration into languages. Such guidance is needed for the primary MFL context having reoccurring issues, but is also relevant to primary EFL contexts in Europe where similar problems related to teaching of the subject are reported.
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PhD on CALL in MFL with young learners