31 SES 01 A, Developing Multilingual Practices and Multiliteracies in ECEC – Perspectives of Educators on Multilingualism, Collaboration, and Multilingual Pedagogies
In migration societies in Europe, early childhood education and care (ECEC) plays a key role in children’s social integration, education, and societal participation. To consider children’s diverse linguistic needs arising from migration and globalisation, ECEC institutions face several challenges, among them the shift from monolingual or bilingual pedagogies to multilingual pedagogies that may even include multiliteracy practices (García, Johnson and Seltzer, 2017). These pedagogical practices are shaped by societal, individual and institutional factors (Fröhlich-Gildhoff et al., 2011; Urban et al., 2011; Salem et al., 2020). Societal factors include language ideologies and hierarchies while individual factors comprise of knowledge and understanding of language learning theories, personal and professional experiences and pedagogical beliefs or, so called, practical theories. At the level of institutions, team beliefs, leadership commitment towards multilingual practices, and collaboration with partners have to be acknowledged in particular. The development and implementation of multilingual practices is challenging because perspectives regarding multilingualism, multiliteracies and partnership building, are persistent and difficult to change. However, they seem to be one of the keys to modify pedagogical practices (Braband, 2019).
In this symposium, we present three studies from Germany, Luxembourg and Finland, and discuss the perspectives of educators who aim to develop multilingual pedagogies and/or multiliteracies. The countries differ in relation to their linguistic landscapes as well as their language policies. Whereas Finland has a tradition of bilingual education programmes in the national languages Finnish and Swedish, the need to shift from bilingual to multilingual pedagogies arises because teachers wish to accommodate all the home languages existing in their groups. Germany traditionally sees itself as a monolingual nation and there is hardly any support for migration-related multilingual practices in the educational system. In Luxembourg, the linguistic situation differs yet again: while the country has three administrative languages (French, German and Luxembourgish), multilingual pedagogies have only been implemented in 2017. Educators are still finding ways to develop Luxembourgish and French, and value the home languages. To sum it up: while the starting points are different, these countries share the need to develop multilingual practices and multiliteracies in ECEC. The symposium addresses research questions that are relevant to many European countries facing linguistic diversity in their educational institutions. Shedding light on the educators’ perspectives, these findings can help transform monolingual and bilingual approaches into multilingual ones.
The first study is an ethnographically informed case study from Finland. To address the question of how to shift from bilingual to multilingual pedagogy, it focuses on an expert teacher and her practical theory related to language use in a bilingual programme. Results show that the teacher is in process of changing her bilingual practices toward multilingual engagement as her practical theory is established around the core value concerning the equality of languages.
The second study consists of qualitative case studies of six ECEC facilities in Germany. It examines team beliefs concerning multilingualism and language education practices. The researchers conducted group discussions with educators, which they analysed with the documentary method by focusing on the organisation of discourses in the groups. The analyses reveal the teams’ struggle to develop common professional perspectives on the respective issues. The study underlines the importance of team-oriented professional development for enhancing multilingual pedagogies.
The third study comes from Luxembourg and examines the perspectives of educators in relation to partnership building and multiliteracy practices. Collaboration is a central pillar of the new multilingual programme, yet, it is still under-developed. The data from two questionnaires show that the educators’ declared practices are multilingual and that the professionals organise common multiliteracy activities with parents in the crèches. However, results also demonstrate the development of new language hierarchies.
Braband, J. (2019). Mehrsprachigkeit in der Frühpädagogik. Subjektive Theorien von Eltern und Kitafachkräften vor dem Hintergrund migrationsgesellschaftlicher Ordnungen. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag. Fröhlich-Gildhoff, K., Nentwig-Gesemann, I., & Pietsch, S. (2011). Kompetenzorientierung in der Qualifizierung frühpädagogischer Fachkräfte. Eine Expertise der Weiterbildungsinitiative Frühpädagogische Fachkräfte (WiFF) (WiFF-Expertisen 19). München: Deutsches Jugendinstitut. García, O., Johnson, S., & Seltzer, K. (2017). The translanguaging classroom: Leveraging student bilingualism for learning. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon. Salem, T., Lengyel, D., Graßer, B., & Montanari, E. (2020). Language education professionals in ECEC institutions – Sprachbildungsprofis in mehrsprachigen Kitas. In European Journal for Applied Linguistics, 8(1), 1–14. Urban, M., Vandenbroeck, M., van Laere, K.; Lazzari, A. & Peeters, J. (2011). Competence Requirements in Early Childhood Education and Care. A Study for the European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture. Final Report. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED534599.pdf (accessed 27.1.2020).
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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