Bilingual teaching assistants and learning in early years settings.

Drury, Rose and Robertson, Leena Helavaara (2007) Bilingual teaching assistants and learning in early years settings. In: 17th EECERA Annual Conference on "Exploring Vygotsky’s ideas: crossing borders", 29 Aug - 01 Sep 2007, Prague, Czech Republic.

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Today in the UK bilingual teaching assistants (BTAs) play a key role in supporting bilingual children’s learning in schools and early years settings. BTAs (otherwise known as Bilingual Classroom Assistants) were referred to in the Swann Report (1985) as a ‘bilingual resource’ to ‘help with the transitional needs of non-English speaking children starting school’ (DES, 1985: 407). BTAs are paid hourly to support bilingual children at an early stage in their learning of English by using the child’s home language to assist their learning. Bilingual assistants also have an important role in helping mediate continuity between the cultural and linguistic expectations of home and school. These assistants normally work in the classroom under the direction of the class teacher and may have a different view of early years education. By drawing on data from two ethnographic research studies in multiethnic early years settings the paper aims to uncover some of the tensions in current mainstream practice for bilingual children. It also challenges the dominating discourses regarding early years pedagogy. By drawing on neo-Vygostkyan theories of learning (for example Moll, 1992; Ochs, 1998; Rogoff, 2003) the paper explores the ways in which bilingual assistants act as cultural and linguistic mediators of bilingual children’s learning. The paper suggests the need for further work and research which can lead to new insights about early bilingualism and a deeper understanding of the bilingual adult’s role in supporting young children’s learning. Ultimately it may help us contribute to constructing a new and meaningful curriculum for bilingual children.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas:A. > School of Health and Education > Education
A. > Centre for Education Research and Scholarship (CERS)
ID Code:6648
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Deposited On:25 Oct 2010 05:36
Last Modified:24 Mar 2015 13:15

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