ERG SES C 03, Language and Education
In the 21st century children live in highly diverse, multilingual and culturally varied contexts, which are having a significant impact on their language and literacy repertoires. Children don’t only have a mother tongue, but speak national, heritage, additional and foreign languages, and in an increasing number of contexts, they have English as a basic skill. These language-in-contact situations, emanating from the home and enhanced in the dynamic, fast-moving world of ‘superdiversity’ (Vertovec, 2007) create multilingual, multiliterate individuals that researchers and practitioners need to attend to.
Language education in Europe must go beyond the one-mother-tongue-plus-two-foreign-languages model, and include all the languages that have arrived in the continent as people migrate for professional, political and educational purposes. These individuals, living at the interstices of languages, cultures and literacies, ‘forge and sustain multistranded social relations that link together their societies of origin and settlement’; they also ‘take actions, make decisions and develop subjectivities and identities embedded in networks of relationships that connect them simultaneously to two or more nation-states’ (Basch et all (1994, p.7 in Warriner 2007, p 201-202).
The essentialist one-language-one-nation paradigm, with foreign languages safely tucked away in the classroom, still views language as compartmentalised units and doesn’t take account of the hybrid, variable and shifting reality that characterises out-of-school multilingual practises today. Under these circumstances, where mainstream education proves to be inadequate in developing multilingual/multiliterate individuals, children develop literacies across multiple educational contexts. This eclectic approach to language and literacy development is strongly supported by the parents: they believe in the transmission of their linguistic and cultural capital and the long-term benefits of an early start to language development and maintenance. Hence, they seek opportunities to expose their children to their other languages in out-of-school activities.
This paper shares the results of a study, which investigates children’s narratives on living and learning in multiple languages. These trilingual/triliterate children are developing literacy and identity across multiple educational contexts: an out-of-school English literacy course, their mainstream French classroom, and a heritage language programme. The study includes 13 children, ranging from ages 5 to 17, all of whom present a bilingual French-English profile, with a third, heritage language (Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, Sinhalese, Bangla, Russian, and Persian), crucial for maintaining a cultural/linguistic bond with their families, within and across national borders. The study explores the importance of these linguistic spaces in sowing the seeds for a solid linguistic and literate identity, thus creating the multilingual, multi-literate citizens of the future, capable of functioning in a highly interdependent, globalised world.
Research has shown that these multilingual experiences develop children’s cross-linguistic skills (Cummins, 2000), raise intercultural awareness, increase intellectual flexibility (Bialystok, 2001), and enhance metalinguistic awareness (Jessner, 2006). But how does developing literacy in multiple language impact on children’s developing sense of self and their language identities? How do children perceive these literacy experiences and the influence on their view of the world? How can multilingual children’s voices communicate to the adult listener the transformative experience of learning to read and write in all their languages?
This study is embedded in a sociolinguistic, social constructionist and socio-cultural approach to language and literacy development and identity construction. It is framed within a multilingual orientation, refuting ‘dual-monolingualism, a simple addition of languages’ (Cruz 2012, 4). This includes the concept of multilinguality, which describes ‘the inherent, intrinsic characteristics of the multilingual’ (Hoffman and Ytsma, 2004, 17); ‘pluriliteracies’ (Garcia, Bartlett and Kleifgen 2007) which places literacy development in different cultural contexts and social structures and is increasingly integrated with multimodal practises; and multiple identities as dynamic, emergent and relational (Pavlenko and Blackledge 2004).
Bialystok, E. (2001) Bilingualism in Development: Language, Literacy, and Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Clark, A. (2004) The Mosaic Approach and Research with Young Children. In Lewis et al, (eds.) The Reality of Research with Children and Young People. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Clark, A and Moss, P. (2011) Listening to Young Children: The Mosaic Approach. 2nd ed. London: NCB. Cummins, J. (2000) Language Power and Pedagogy: Bilingual Children in the Crossfire. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Cruz, Madalena. 2012. Sociolinguistic and Cultural Considerations when Working with Multilingual Children. McLeod, Sharynne and Goldstein, Brian. (eds.). Multilingual Aspects of Speech Sound Disorders in Children. 13-23. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Franquiz, Maria. 2012. Travelling the Biliteracy Highway: Framing Biliteracy from Students’ Writings. Eurydice B. Bauer and Mileidis Gort (eds.). Early Biliteracy Development: Exploring Young Learners' Use of Their Linguistic Resources. 132-156. Abingdon: Routledge. García, O. (2009) Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. García, O., Bartlett, J.A. and Kleifgen, J. (2007) ‘From biliteracy to pluriliteracies’, in P. Auer and L. Wei (eds) Handbooks of Applied Linguistics: Multilingualism 5, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, p. 207-28. Garcia, O. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. and Torres-Guzman, M. E. (2006) Imagining Multilingual Schools: Languages in Education and Globalisation. New Delhi: Orient Black Swan, p. 171-183. Hoffmann, C. E. and Ytsma, J.E. (2004) Trilingualism in Family, School and Community. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Ibrahim, N. (2014) Perceptions of identity in trilingual 5-year-old twins in diverse pre-primary educational contexts, In Mourão, S. and Lourenço, M. (eds.) Early Years Second Language Education: International Perspectives on Theories and Practice, Abingdon: Routledge p. 46-61. Jessner, U. (2006). Linguistic Awareness in Multilinguals: English as a Third Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Kenner, C. (2004) Living in Simultaneous Worlds: Difference and Integration in Bilingual Script-learning. In International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 7(1): 43-61. Norton, B. (2000) Identity and Language Learning: Gender, Ethnicity and Educational Change. Pearson Education Ltd: Harlow. Pavlenko, A. and Blackledge, A. (2004) Negotiation of Identities in Multilingual Contexts, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Phal, K and Roswell, J. (2010) Artifactual Literacies: Every Object Tells and Story. Teachers College Press: London. Street, B. (1984) Literacy in Theory and Practise, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Vertovec, S. (2007). Super-diversity and its implications. In Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30(6), 1024-1054. Warriner, D. S. (2009). Transnational Literacies: Examining Global Flows through the lens of social practice. In BaynamThe Future of Literacy Studies. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.