31 SES 11 A, Teachers' Agency, Translanguaging Pedagogies and Mediation Practices in Multilingual Contexts
Many criteria of the ‘index for inclusion’ on early years and childcare as well as primary school emphasize the need to open up for the diversity of the children and staff (Booth et al. 2008). The present symposium brings together researchers working in Early Years settings and multilingual and multicultural contexts in Luxembourg, Israel and the Netherlands, interested in supporting the children’s bi- and multilingualism. This endeavour requires finding ways of implementing sound inclusive multilingual approaches based on translanguaging. Translanguaging refers both to fluid language practices of bilinguals and pedagogical approaches (García & Li Wei 2014, Leonet et al. 2017, Lewis et al. 2012).
The concept of translanguaging has been widely discussed in the scholarly literature, and, at times, controversially. While proponents of translanguaging hold that translanguaging spaces can contribute to the development of children’s entire linguistic repertoire, some opponents argue for separating languages particularly because minoritized languages maybe threatened. As García & Angel (2016) explain, there are two competing theories of translanguaging, one which postulates that bilinguals have one single linguistic repertoire and one which upholds national languages albeit trying to soften the boundaries between the majority and minority languages. While translanguaging and responsible code-switching have been researched mainly in bilingual education and with older learners, fewer studies have focussed on Early Years programmes and multilingual settings (Palviainen et al. 2016).
Teachers are often suspicious when it comes to the concurrent use of several languages despite the evidence of the pedagogic utility of translanguaging. They are hold back or even resist innovative practices because they lack understanding of more flexible approaches underpinned by dynamic bilingualism, or hold representations of languages and language learning, based on traditional language ideologies and language learning theories calling for language separation. By contrast, other teachers implemented flexible multilingual approaches and became agents of change (Palviainen et al. 2016, Young & Mary 2016). The teachers' capacity to act as agents is related to multifarious factors that influence this agency, such as contexts within which teachers act, educational policy, teachers’ beliefs, and professional and personal experience (Priestley et al. 2012).
This symposium on teachers' agency, translanguaging pedagogies and mediation practices, focuses on the process of implementing pedagogical translanguaging in bilingual and multilingual educational systems, and discusses the approaches and strategies used by teachers and para-professionals to implement transglossic spaces and encourage the development of the children’s entire repertoire. The objectives are to discuss the following questions:
- Which transglossic practices, spaces, and approaches do practitioners implement in their respective multilingual settings?
- To what extent do children take account of these practices to develop multilingualism?
- How do teachers as agents encourage children to use their second language?
The first paper examines transglossic practices in an early years setting in multilingual Luxembourg and analyses the differing perspectives of the practitioners and a three-year-old. The second paper explores the teachers' agentic behaviour, their beliefs regarding L2 learning, and their mediation strategies in a bilingual classroom in Israel. The final presentation investigates the challenges of implementing a translanguaging pedagogy in a trilingual educational system in the Netherlands. All papers draw on qualitative research methods, in particular ethnographic observations and interviews. The data analysis was mainly based on thematic analysis. All papers abide to the ethics committees of the respective countries. Together, the presentations shed light on translanguaging practices in diverse settings, on ways of implementing these, and factors contributing to change. In doing so, they emphasise the agency of the practitioners and the children.
Booth, T., M. Ainskow, & Kingston, D. (2008). Index for Inclusion: developing play, learning and participation in early years and childcare. Centre for studies on Inclusive Education. Bristol: CSIE. García, O., & L. Wei (2014). Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. García, O., & Angel, L. (2016). Translanguaging in bilingual education. In O. García, A.M.Y. Lin, & S. May (Eds.), Bilingual and Multilingual Education (Encyclopaedia of Language and Education) (pp. 117-130). Switzerland: Springer. Leonet, O., Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D. (2017). Challenging Minority Language Isolation: Translanguaging in a Trilingual School in the Basque Country. Journal Of Language, Identity & Education, 16(4), 216-227. Lewis, G., Jones, B., & Baker, C. (2012). Translanguaging: origins and development from school to street and beyond. Educational Research and Evaluation, 18(7), 641-654. Palviainen, Å., Protassova, E., Mård-Miettinen, K., & Schwartz, M. (2016). Two languages in the air: A cross-cultural comparison of preschool teachers’ reflections on their flexible bilingual practices. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 19(6), 614-630. Priestley, M., Edwards, R., Priestley, A., & Miller, K. (2012). Teacher agency in curriculum making: Agents of change and spaces for manoeuvre. Curriculum Inquiry, 42(2), 191-214. Young, A. S., & Mary, L. (2016). Autoriser l’emploi des langues des enfants pour faciliter l’entrée dans la langue de scolarisation. Vers un accueil inclusif et des apprentissages porteurs de sens. La nouvelle revue de l'adaptation et de la scolarisation (NRAS), 73, 75–94.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
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