31 SES 01 B, Paper Session
European societies are becoming more and more heterogeneous and varied. Instead of building on this diversity, diversity is perceived as an obstacle (Panagiotopoulou, 2017). Today’s children engage daily in multilingual practices outside school but, at school, they face monolingual ideologies and practices based on ‘habitualised monolingualism’ (Brandenberg et al., 2017). The learners are not allowed to draw on their full linguistic repertoire (Panagiotopoulou & Kassis, 2016; Neumann 2011) because many educators view multilingualism as a hindrance (Brandenberg et al., 2017) and believe that only a strict language separation leads to effective language learning (Panagiotopoulou & Kassis, 2016). Multilingualism, if accepted, is not seen as an egalitarian and transformative practice (Brandenberg et al., 2017). Today’s children and teachers need inclusive multilingual pedagogies that capitalize on children’s linguistic and cultural resources (García & Flores, 2012). Translanguaging is one pillar of these pedagogies. It consists of the deployment of a speaker’s full linguistic and non-linguistic repertoire to communicate, make meaning, construct knowledge and mark one’s identity (García & Li Wei, 2014). The implementation of multilingual pedagogies in early childhood is nevertheless rare (Palviainen et al., 2016).
The present study examines the multilingual practices in a preschool in trilingual Luxembourg. Luxembourg has the highest immigration rate in Europe. Currently, 47,7% of the inhabitants do not have a Luxembourgish citizenship (STATEC, 2017) and 63,5% of the children do not speak Luxembourgish as a first language (MENEJ, 2017). Owing to the language diversity and the challenging trilingual education system at primary school, preschools traditionally focused on Luxembourgish. The language polices in early childhood changed in 2017 when a new law on multilingual education was passed. Since September 2017, practitioners working with three-year-olds in the non-compulsory précoce and with four-to-six-year-olds in the compulsory two-year long preschool must develop the children’s competences in Luxembourgish, introduce them to French and value their home languages.
The doctoral project presented here is part of the research project MuLiPEC (Kirsch, 2016-2019) which aims at developing innovative and inclusive pedagogies and examining the children’s developing language repertoire. The team organized two professional development courses for fifty early years teachers and para-professionals. It aimed at developing the practitioners’ knowledge and skills in relation to socio-constructivist theories, flexible multilingualism and effective pedagogies, and introduced them to various ways of using books and rhymes to develop Luxembourgish, German, French and home languages both in routine activities and planned ones. Next, the research team selected seven practitioners working in two formal and two non-formal education settings who they coached and observed during one academic year. While the main team examines changes of the practitioners’ practices and beliefs, the doctoral candidate focuses on the children in these four institutions and investigates their languaging (Pennycook, 2010), developing multilingual repertoires, and influences of the multilingual pedagogies on the children’s interactions with peers and adults.
The present paper is based in the preschool and focuses on the teacher, the class and, in particular, on a five-year-old Spanish speaker who did not speak Luxembourgish upon entering preschool several months into the academic year. It addresses the following research questions:
- How and to what extent does the teacher implement an inclusive multilingual pedagogy in her classroom?
- What characterizes the language arrangements during planned learning activities and daily interactions with the children?
- In what ways can a multilingual pedagogy contribute to the focal child’s deployment of his entire linguistic and non-linguistic repertoire during interactions with the teacher and his peers?
The findings should contribute to the understanding of multilingual pedagogies and their possible influence on children’s language use in the early years.
Some research on multilingualism and language development in early childhood education has been criticized for not adequately representing the reality owing to their narrow focus on planned situations and tests instead of an analysis of daily interactions (Brandenberg et al., 2017). The present study focuses on authentic communication in a naturalistic setting. The methodology draws both on qualitative methods such as interviews, ethnographic observations and video-recordings, and quantitative ones such as a questionnaire. The doctoral candidate visited the preschool, which is the focus of this study, biweekly, to observe and video-record the (language) practices and carry out interviews with the teacher. The data presented in this paper stem from eleven days of ethnographic observations and video-recordings of daily interactions and planned language activities. One focus was the participation of the Spanish-speaking boy. The doctoral candidate also carried out four semi-structured interviews. She adopted an interaction analysis to analyze the observation data (fieldnotes, video-recordings, conceptual memos) as well as a content analysis for the interviews. Both data analyses focused on the teacher's language activities (e.g. storytelling, rhymes), her language use in interactions with the children, her scaffolding techniques (e.g. modelling, asking questions) and the ways in which she capitalized on the children's linguistic resources (e.g. encouraging to speak in home language). In addition, the doctoral candidate examined the Spanish-speaking child's developing multilingual repertoire and the strategies used during communication with the teacher and his peers (e.g. non-verbal communication, translanguaging, imitations). The research project complies with the ethics principles of the National Comity of Data Protection and the University of Luxembourg. The participants gave their informed consent and their anonymity is strictly respected in conference presentations and publications.
The preliminary findings show that the teacher implemented a multilingual pedagogy, firstly, by planning language learning activities in several languages and, secondly, by providing spaces for flexible language arrangements at any time. She developed a practice of storytelling, consisting of telling stories in Luxembourgish, German or French, having children discuss the story, asking questions, encouraging retelling, and engaging them in art work. She scaffolded the children's language use and helped them speak more during each retelling by speaking less. Some children retold the stories in the target language or their home language to their peers and on the iPad app iTEO. In this way, each child had a choice over what languages to use. During daily routines and interactions, the teacher helped the children understand and express themselves in Luxembourgish by providing differentiated input, using contextualized speech and paralinguistic cues. If necessary, she made use of her multilingual repertoire. She explicitly encouraged the non-Luxembourgers to draw on their home language if she felt they could express their thoughts more clearly. The multilingual pedagogies provided the focal child with spaces to develop Luxembourgish, appropriate features of French and German, and speak Spanish and some English words, which he had picked up at home. Whereas he mainly drew on Spanish with the teacher and non-verbal communication (e.g. pointing, gesturing) with his peers at the beginning of the year, he quickly began to imitate and repeat formulaic speech in Luxembourgish. After mere six months, he spontaneously used Luxembourgish with his peers and the teacher. As translanguaging was a legitimate practice, the boy could draw on all resources when verbalising more complex thoughts. Finally, he was able to develop a linguistic awareness and was able to use languages consciously and appropriately, depending on his interlocutors and the context.
Brandenberg, K., Kuhn, M., Neumann, S., & Tinguely, L. (2017). Weißt du auch, wie das auf Deutsch heißt? Ethnographie der Mehrsprachigkeit in bilingualen Kindestagesstätten der Westschweiz. In: U. Stenger, D. Edelmann, D. Nolte, & M. Schulz (eds). Diversität in der Pädagogik der frühen Kindheit. Verhältnisbestimmungen im (Inter-)Disziplinären (pp. 253-270). Weinheim Basel: Beltz Verlag. García, O., & Flores, N. (2012). Multilingual pedagogies. In: Martin-Jones, M., Blackledge, A., Creese, A. (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism (pp. 232-246). New York: Routledge. García, O., & L. Wei (2014). Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. MENEJ (2017). Enseignement fondamental. Education différenciée. Statistiques globales et analyse des résultats scolaires. Année scolaire 2015/2016. MENEJ: Luxembourg. Neumann, S. (2011). Welche Unterscheidungen machen einen Unterschied? Zur sozialen Selektivität der Sprachverwendung in "Maison Relais pour Enfants". Zeitschrift für Soziologie der Erziehung und Sozialisation, 31(4), 349-362. Palviainen, Å., Protassova, E., Mård-Miettingen, & 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), 614-639. DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2016.1184615. Panagiotopoulou, A. (2017). Mehrsprachigkeit und Differenzherstellung in Einrichtungen frühkindlicher Erziehung und Bildung. In: I. Diehm, M. Kuhn, & C. Machold (eds.), Differenz - Ungleichheit - Erziehungswissenschaft (pp. 257-274). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Panagiotopoulou, A., & Kassis, M. (2016). Frühkindliche Sprachförderung oder Forderung nach Sprachtrennung? Ergebnisse einer ethnographischen Feldstudie in der deutschsprachigen Schweiz. In T. Geier, & K. Zaborowski (eds), Migration: Auflösungen und Grenzziehungen - Perspektiven einer erziehungswissenschaftlichen Migrationsforschung (pp. 153-166). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Pennycook, A. (2010). Language as a Local Practice. Abingdon: Routledge. STATEC (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg) (2017, May 5). Evolution of total, luxembourgish and foreign population 1961-2017. Retrieved from http://www.statistiques.public.lu/stat/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=12858&IF_Language=eng&MainTheme=2&FldrName=1
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