31 SES 11 A, Teachers' Agency, Translanguaging Pedagogies and Mediation Practices in Multilingual Contexts
The need for multilingual pedagogies has been recognized in early childhood. These pedagogies are inclusive and supportive of social justice in that they provide spaces for dynamic and transglossic language arrangements where children have some agency over their language use (García & Li Wei 2014, Young & Mary 2016). The new language policies in early years settings in Luxembourg request practitioners to develop skills in Luxembourgish, familiarize children with French, and value their home languages. The present paper examines the use of translanguaging in the light of inclusive language pedagogies, focusing on the perspectives of the practitioners and a three-year-old boy who speaks Spanish and German at home and develops Luxembourgish and French in the nursery. The data are part of a longitudinal study which aims at developing multilingual pedagogies and investigating changes in the children’s multilingual repertoires. They stem from five interviews and sixteen observed and video-recorded interactions between children and between children and the practitioners. The analysis is based on content and interaction analysis. The findings indicate that children and practitioners frequently translanguaged albeit for different purposes. The practitioners switched frequently between French, Luxembourgish, German, English and Portuguese. The focal child’s interactions with his emergent multilingual peers included non-verbal language, features of French and, more rarely, German. He responded in French and German when the practitioners addressed him in these languages. When addressed in Luxembourgish, a language he was still developing, he switched to German. Like other emergent multilinguals (Kirsch 2017, García 2011), the purposes of his translanguaging included communication, meaning-making and knowledge-construction. Despite the number of languages used, it was noticeable that the boy and his peers mainly kept to French, the dominant language in the setting, thereby expressing a desire to be understood by everyone. At times, the children ignored the spaces offered for translanguaging in the home language. We argue that the practitioners need to critically reflect on the frequency and purpose of translanguaging, which included comprehension, attention, participation, well-being and valuing home languages, and learn to switch languages strategically. At times, they risked impeding the creation of an inclusive environment and inhibiting the children’s agency over their language use (Palviainen et al. 2016) because they switched languages unnecessarily and independently of the children's linguistic needs.
García, O. (2011). The translanguaging of Latino kindergartners. In J. Rothman, & K. Potowski (Eds.), Bilingual Youth: Spanish in English speaking societies (pp. 33-55). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. García, O. & L. Wei (2014). Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Kirsch, C. (2017). Translanguaging practices during storytelling with the app iTEO in preschools. Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts, 3(2), 145-166. 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. 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.
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