A young bilingual child starting school: learning in an English nursery class.

Robertson, Leena Helavaara and Drury, Rose (2010) A young bilingual child starting school: learning in an English nursery class. In: 20th EECERA conference: ‘Knowledge and voice in early childhood: who knows, who speaks, who listens?’, 6-8 September 2010, Birmingham, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The linguistic potential in the UK with over 360 home languages registered in London alone (Mutilingual Capital 2000) is significant. However the medium of instruction in most early years settings and schools is English (or Welsh in some schools in Wales) and opportunities for children to maintain and develop their knowledge and skills in their home languages rarely exist within mainstream education. During the late twentieth century, the main goal for educators was to view the use of children's home language as a 'bridge'to English language acquisition and there is still an assumption that English will take over the role of the mother tongue in early years settings. Drawing on data from 'a day in the life of a bilingual practitioner' project, we examine one child's early experiences in an English nursery setting. Examples of data from the filmed classroom practice during one day provide new insights about early bilingualism in English early years settings and the ways in which practitioners support learning during this crucial period of transition are considered. Finally, we question the imposition of a monolingual approach which means that English dominates both within and outside the setting and results in bilingual children 'losing' linguistic resources that could enhance their learning. We draw on research studies which argue for the support and development of children‘s home languages (Skutnabb-Kangas, 2000, Cummins, 2000, and Collier, 1995).

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Health and Education > Education
ID Code:6609
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Deposited On:18 Oct 2010 05:39
Last Modified:06 Feb 2013 10:08

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