07 SES 05 C JS, Joint Session NW 31 and NW 07
Paper Session Joint Session NW 07 and NW 31
This paper examines the use and importance of migrant students’ L1 literacy practices from guardians’ and L1 teachers’ point of view in Finland. The L1 ability of migrant students has been shown to have positive effects on their linguistic, educational and identity development and to be a predictor of their second language development (e.g. Cummins 2001). Further, their lower educational achievement levels in comprehensive school tend to have a large effect on their final educational attainment (OECD 2006). In addition, the cultural capital brought along by parents and transmitted to children has impact on the migrant children’s educational success (Brizi 2006). Thus, there is a need to identify and align home and school literacies and practices in order to ensure positive educational outcomes and to promote the identity investment that has been noted and discussed in a number of studies (e.g., Cummins 2001; Markose & Hellstén 2009). In other words, informal language acquisition and use of literacies that are taken mostly place at home would in an ideal case form a continuum with formal literacy practices taught at school.
Literacy pedagogy is a crucial element for implementing social justice in learning communities, like schools. Enhancing literacy practices in L1 instruction promotes equality in language education policy in the practical level. (Dooley, Exley & Comber 2013.) Multiliteracy as an interdisciplinary content in Finnish national core curriculum 2016 refers to multimodality of literacy practices as well as the issues of cultural and linguistic diversity in literacies. Multiliteracy concerns students’ languages, identities, and histories as resources. (NCC 2014.) As Kinloch (2013) notes, multiliteracy creates culturally sustaining pedagogy: it focuses on instructional practices that provide students opportunities to engage in meaning-making processes in their communities. Mastering literacy practices offers the L1 students routes to democratic engagement (Cummins 2009) and therefore, instructional arrangements matter in terms of participation. Texts in real-life contexts, like recipes or databases of actual themes, offer flexible approaches to the literacy pedagogy.
In Finland, contrary to many other countries in Europe, the L1 instruction of migrant students can be provided by public funding as the municipalities receive state funding for groups of at least four students. However, L1 instruction of migrant students is based on free choice of municipalities, thus it is not either compulsory for students (NBE 2014). For this reason, the teaching arrangements and qualifications of teachers diversify significantly from one municipality/area to another. Other reason for the heterogeneity of L1 instruction lies in the variety of language skills and the age groups of students.
In this paper, we are investigating the experiences, opinions, and beliefs of the parents and the teachers towards the L1 students’ literacy practices. The research questions are:
1) What kind of literacy practices do the guardians of the migrant students prefer? What are the literacy practices the L1 teachers specify and focus on and in which context in their instruction?
2) What is the role of home on the one hand and the role of school on the other hand for maintaining and developing the literacy skills of L1 students?
3) How are literacy practices understood and valued by the guardians and the teachers?
Brizi, K. 2006. The secret life of languages. Origin-specific differences in L1/L2 acquisition by immigrant children. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 16, 3, 339-359. Cummins, J. 2001. Bilingual Children’s Mother Tongue: Why is it important for education? Sprogforum. Nr. 19, 2001. Cummins, J. 2009. Transformative multiliteracies pedagogy: School-based strategies for closing the achievement gap. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, 11 (2). Dooley, C., Exley, B. & Comber, B. 2013. Leading literacies: Literacy teacher education for inclusion and social justice. In C. Kosnik, J. Rowsell, P. Williamson, R. Simon & C. Beck (eds.) Literacy teacher educators: Preparing teachers for a changing world. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 65–78. Kinloch, V. 2013. Difficult dialogues in literacy (urban) teacher education. In C. Kosnik, J. Rowsell, P. Williamson, R. Simon & C. Beck (eds.) Literacy teacher educators: Preparing teachers for a changing world. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 107–120. Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. 2004. A handbook for teacher research. From design to implementation. London: Open University Press. Markose, S. & Hellstén, M. 2009. Explaining success and failure in mainstream schooling through the lens of cultural continuities and discontinuities: two case studies. Language and Education Vol. 23, No. 1, January 2009, 59–77. National Board of Education (NBE) 2014. Valtionavustus vieraskielisten sekä saamen- ja romanikielisten oppilaiden ja opiskelijoiden esi- ja perusopetuksen sekä lukiokoulutuksen järjestämiseen vuonna 2014. (Tiedote, 1.) Helsinki. OECD 2006. Where Immigrant Students Succeed – A Comparative Review of Performance and Engagement in PISA 2003: Programme for International Student Assessment. Paris: OECD.
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