31 SES 01 A, Developing Multilingual Practices and Multiliteracies in ECEC – Perspectives of Educators on Multilingualism, Collaboration, and Multilingual Pedagogies
Finland is a bilingual country by Constitution (1917/2000) and has an established network of various types of bilingual education programmes in the two national languages Finnish and Swedish as well as in English (Björklund & Mård-Miettinen 2011; Nikula & al. 2016; Palviainen & al. 2016). Due to the rapidly growing migration and globalisation, even educators who help children learn two languages in bilingual programmes, need to develop their practices to take into account children’s diverse language backgrounds and linguistic resources while they are helping them to learn the two languages used for instruction. The development of practices builds on the teachers´ underlying practical theory (i.e. values, beliefs and aims) that guide their actions when teaching (Maaranen & Stenberg 2017; Maaranen & al. 2016). Practical theories are dynamic and develop when teachers reflect on their experiences, gain theoretical knowledge through in-service education and interact with colleagues (Pitkäniemi 2010). Practical theories do not automatically translate into teaching practices but those of expert teachers best correspond to their practices (Pitkäniemi 2010). Research studies on the practical theory of teachers working with linguistically diverse children in bilingual early childhood education and care (ECEC) is scarce. The present paper reports on a case study in a bilingual (Finnish and Swedish) ECEC programme and examines an expert teacher's practical theory related to the use of different languages (Finnish, Swedish and the children's home languages) in her practice. The teacher was interviewed and observed in 2019 and 2020. The main data are two interviews, analyzed with thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke 2006). The research question was: What values, aims and principles can be identified in the teacher’s practical theory related to language use when working with multilingual children in a bilingual education ECEC programme? The findings show that the teacher's practical theory is well-developed since it is constructed from a core value (equality of languages) and various aims and principles (e.g. mutual learning, supporting language-identity and pedagogical tact) that are closely intertwined. The values, aims and principles in the expert teacher’s practical theory cater to linguistic diversity and indicate that she is in a process of developing her bilingual practices toward multilingual pedagogy.
Björklund, S. & K. Mård-Miettinen (2011). Integrating Multiple Languages in Immersion: Swedish Immersion in Finland. In Immersion Education: Practices, Policies, Possibilities. 13–35. Eds. D. J. Tedick, D. Christian & T. W. Fortune. Multilingual Matters, Ltd. Braun, V. & Clarke, V. 2006. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. Maaranen, K. & Stenberg, K. 2017. Portraying reflection: the contents of student teachers’ reflection on personal practical theories and practicum experience, Reflective Practice, 18(5), 699–712. DOI: 10.1080/14623943.2017.1323729 Maaranen, K., Pitkäniemi, H., Stenberg K. & Karlsson, L. 2016. An idealistic view of teaching: teacher students’ personal practical theories, Journal of Education for Teaching, 42:1, 80–92. https://doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2015.1135278 Nikula, E. Dafouz, P. Moore & U. Smit (eds) (2016) Conceptualising Integration in CLIL and Multilingual Education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, Ltd. Palviainen, Å., E. Protassova, K. Mård-Miettinen & M. Schwartz (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. DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2016.1184615 Pitkäniemi, H. (2010) How the Teacher’s Practical Theory Moves to Teaching Practice—A Literature Review and Conclusions, Education Inquiry, 1:3, 157–175, DOI: 10.3402/edui.v1i3.21940
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