31 SES 08 A, Language Policies and Practices in Early Childhood Education: Expectations, Prescriptions and Negotiations in the Context of Migration and Multilingualism
In South Tyrol, the northernmost Italian province, social and political life is organised around affiliation with either the German, Italian or Ladin language group, and thus around ethnolinguistic categories (Platzgummer, 2021). Language issues also matter in South Tyrolean preschools: not only are there three different, linguistically conceived, kinds of preschools (German, Italian and Ladin), but particularly for German and Italian preschools, the distribution of children in the different systems and the use of German, Italian and languages of migration, has been the subject of socio-political disputes. Thus, Early Childhood Education becomes a site of debate about questions of belonging. We will present ethnographic field-notes from a research project on multilingualism and language education in South Tyrolean preschools and analyze them against the background of current sociopolitical debates, addressing the following questions: How do actors (children, teachers, parents, etc.) in kindergarten use their linguistic repertoire in different situations and with different speech partners? How are sociopolitically relevant differences (re)produced, negotiated or transformed through linguistic practices? Which linguistic, language-regulative and language-supporting practices take place in kindergarten and how are they linked to the broader sociolinguistic context and to imagined futures of the children? In doing so, we will draw on linguistic theories on language ideologies (Mar-Molinero and Stevenson 2006; Rosa 2019; Thoma 2020 ) and connect them to educational theories on language learning and language instruction (Panagiotopoulou and Kassis 2016; Schwartz and Asli 2014) as well as to discourse-analytical and political theories on minorization in migration societies (Wodak 2015; Benhabib 2012). Finally, we will tie our findings back to theory and formulate open questions for the further development of early childhood education structures in multilingual migration societies and for the professionalization of teachers.
Benhabib, Seyla. 2012. The Rights of Others. Aliens, Residents and Citizens: Cambridge University Press. Mar-Molinero, Clare, and Patrick Stevenson, eds. 2006. Language Ideologies, Policies and Practices: Language and the Future of Europe. Language and Globalization. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9780230523883. Panagiotopoulou, Argyro, and Maria Kassis. 2016. “Frühkindliche Sprachförderung oder Forderung nach Sprachentrennung?” In Migration: Auflösungen und Grenzziehungen, edited by Thomas Geier and Katrin U. Zaborowski, 153–66. Wiesbaden: Springer. Platzgummer, Verena. 2021. Positioning the Self: A Subject-Centred Perspective on Adolescents’ Linguistic Repertoires and Language Ideologies in South Tyrol. University of Vienna. Unpublished PhD thesis. Rosa, Jonathan. 2019. Looking like a language, sounding like a race: Raciolinguistic ideologies and the learning of Latinidad. Oxford Studies in the Anthropology of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Schwartz, Mila, and Abeer Asli. 2014. “Bilingual teachers’ language strategies: The case of an Arabic–Hebrew kindergarten in Israel.” Teaching and Teacher Education 38: 22–32. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2013.10.013. Thoma, Nadja. 2020. ‘I don’t want to be pushed into an islamic school’: biography and raciolinguistic ideologies in education. Race Ethnicity and Education. Online first: www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13613324.2020.1798390 Wodak, Ruth. 2015. The Politics of Fear: What Right-Wing Populist Discourses Mean. London: Sage Publications.
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