Exploring teachers' views about native language instruction and education in Taiwanese elementary schools
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This study explores teachers' views and experiences with native language education and instruction in Taiwan. These teachers are involved in Taiwan's current native language program and also experienced the Mandarin Movement which started several decades ago. Children were usually not allowed to extensively speak their indigenous languages at school throughout that period. Data for this qualitative study was collected from multiple, in-depth, semi-structured and unstructured interviews with 10 Hakka teachers involved in Hakka language instruction in elementary schools in Taiwan. The research findings indicate that teachers need to put great emphasis on motivating students to learn their mother tongue, that the native language program reinforces the value of Hakka culture and Hakka identity, and that parents and schools also play influential roles in maintaining and revitalizing Taiwan's native languages. In addition, this research shows that the Mandarin Movement demonstrated the elementary school's important role in the cultivation of students' language use habits and perceptions toward the various Taiwanese languages. The study also presents suggestions for continuing to implement successful native language learning for elementary school students in Taiwan.