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See detailKindergarten children’s attitudes towards homosexuality: The influence of puppet theatre on the topic of diversity in a group of kindergarten children
Maus, Johanna; Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

in Human Arenas (2023)

Homophobic stigmas and the discrimination of homosexual people are still worrying in today’s society. The current study seeks to investigate kindergarten children’s attitudes towards homosexuality and how ... [more ▼]

Homophobic stigmas and the discrimination of homosexual people are still worrying in today’s society. The current study seeks to investigate kindergarten children’s attitudes towards homosexuality and how they are influenced by their peer-groups and authorities. It does so by means of a puppet theatre presentation including ‘Kasperl’ and ‘Seppel’ puppets as the main protagonists in a German puppet theatre. The audience consisted of six German kindergarten children aged 4–6 years, randomly selected by the kindergarten director. A participant observation has been conducted with the first researcher as the presenter of the puppet show. The results of the recorded puppet theatre showed that several intragroup processes including the social identity theory with regard to group membership could be observed within the puppet theatre. Groups have been formed and children of the same ingroup showed equal attitudes towards homosexuality. However, the researcher’s influence as an authority figure could have as well impacted their attitudes through positive reinforcement. The present study contributed to the gap in research regarding kindergarten children’s attitudes towards homosexuality. To have a better overview of the results, future studies should include additional variables like kindergarten’s cultural and geographical differences. [less ▲]

See detailExperiencing Culture in Intimate Intercultural Relationships
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Book published by Information Age Publications (2023)

I introduce the book starting by my own personal experience of growing up in a mixed family and being myself in a mixed marriage. I describe the structure of the book by building up my own method: how I ... [more ▼]

I introduce the book starting by my own personal experience of growing up in a mixed family and being myself in a mixed marriage. I describe the structure of the book by building up my own method: how I chose this topic, who were the people I interviewed, how (interviews, stories, and objects) and why was the single-but-critical instances analysis important. I focus on the richness of the interaction I had with the interviewees. I underlie the phenomenological stories of struggles, trust and vulnerability. The chapters resolve around power relations, expressing affection, in-depth communication, child rearing, conflict resolution strategies, empathy, female identity, future planning, the role of humor, the biggest cultural and linguistic challenges and opportunities. The focus is on the phenomenon captured in single-but-critical instances in participants' stories. I conclude by describing what significance culture has in intimate intercultural relationships. [less ▲]

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See detailMisunderstanding translanguaging in preschoolers
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

in Research Outreach (2022), 134

https://researchoutreach.org/articles/misunderstanding-translanguaging-preschoolers/

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See detailTranslanguaging stance of preschool teachers working with multilingual children in Luxembourg
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL; Bebic-Crestany, Dzoen

in International Journal of Multilingualism (2022)

In today’s linguistically and culturally diverse schools, it is important that teachers use inclusive pedagogies, such as translanguaging. This pedagogy assumes that teachers have positive attitudes ... [more ▼]

In today’s linguistically and culturally diverse schools, it is important that teachers use inclusive pedagogies, such as translanguaging. This pedagogy assumes that teachers have positive attitudes towards children’s home languages and cultures (translanguaging stance), which we explored in our study with 40 preschool teachers in Luxembourg. The teachers participated in the professional development course on translanguaging over six months. To identify teachers’ stance before and after the course, they completed questionnaires and participated in focus groups, and after completing the course, teacher–child interactions in the classroom were videotaped and analysed. Empirical findings of the questionnaires demonstrate that teachers’ attitudes towards children’s multilingualism and home languages increased significantly after participating in the course. In the focus groups, the majority of teachers expressed a mild translanguaging stance, meaning that they were afraid that the inclusion of children’s home languages will hinder children’s development of the school language, Luxembourgish. Finally, in the videotaped observations, the foci teachers demonstrated their positive stance in one activity and a negative stance in another. Following the study's multi-method approach, we conclude that teachers’ attitudes were ambivalent and paradoxical, which depicts a rather realistic picture of preschool teachers’ attitudes in Luxembourg. [less ▲]

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See detailTranslanguaging pedagogy and creative activism for early education in multilingual Luxembourg
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Scientific Conference (2022, September 07)

Luxembourg is a highly linguistically and culturally diverse country. In early education, there are 64 % of four-year old children who not speak Luxembourgish at home (MENJE, 2018). From 2017 ... [more ▼]

Luxembourg is a highly linguistically and culturally diverse country. In early education, there are 64 % of four-year old children who not speak Luxembourgish at home (MENJE, 2018). From 2017, multilingual early education is mandatory, which obliges teachers to develop children’s Luxembourgish, familiarizing them with French, and valuing their home languages. Therefore, the present project aimed to: (1) offer an 18-hours professional development (PD) course in translanguaging pedagogy to 40 teachers over 6 months, (2) strengthen home-school collaboration, and (3) support children’s linguistic, socio-emotional, and cognitive development and engagement in the classroom. The results from teacher questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews, showed that there was some positive change regarding the attitudes towards children’s home languages. The interviews with 17 parents indicated that there was a need for more home-school collaboration. The tests in early literacy and numeracy with 23 preschool children over one year, identified that children performed higher in their home languages. The video observations showed that when the teachers used children’s languages in the classroom, this impacted positively their well-being. Following the principles of creative activism, the author produced: (1) the website with over 100 practical activities on how teachers can involve children’s languages and families, (2) the illustrated book Sumak for parents, showing difficulties with integration in a new country, and (3) the illustrated book, Mara’s song for preschool children, showing how Mara finds her way in the new classroom. [less ▲]

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See detailPublications and a new project BELONG
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Speeches/Talks (2022)

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See detailTranslanguaging pedagogy and creative activism for preschool teachers, parents, and children
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Scientific Conference (2022, July 14)

There are 64 % of four-year old children who not speak Luxembourgish at home (MENJE, 2018). The government proclaimed multilingual early education mandatory in 2017, obliging teachers to develop ... [more ▼]

There are 64 % of four-year old children who not speak Luxembourgish at home (MENJE, 2018). The government proclaimed multilingual early education mandatory in 2017, obliging teachers to develop children’s Luxembourgish, familiarizing them with French, and valuing their home languages. Thus, the present project was threefold: (1) to offer an 18-hours professional development (PD) course in translanguaging pedagogy to 40 teachers over 6 months, (2) to strengthen home-school collaboration, and (3) to support children’s linguistic, socio-emotional, and cognitive development and engagement in the classroom. The results from teacher questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews, showed that there was some positive change regarding the attitudes towards children’s home languages. The interviews with 17 parents indicated that there was a need for more home-school collaboration. The tests in early literacy and numeracy with 23 preschool children over one year, identified that children performed higher in their home languages. The video observations showed that every time the teacher used children’s languages in the classroom, this impacted positively their well-being. Following the principles of creative activism, the author produced three outcomes: (1) the website with over 100 practical activities on how teachers can involve children’s languages and families, (2) the illustrated book Sumak for parents, showing difficulties with integration in a new country, and (3) the illustrated book, Mara’s song for preschool children, showing how Mara, a girl who is laughed at because of her language and culture, finds her way through singing a song inspired by a bird. [less ▲]

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See detailTeachers misunderstanding of translanguaging in preschools
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

in OASIS (2022)

Young multilingual children translanguage naturally. They use their linguistic and non-linguistic repertoire to express themselves, but also to make meaning of school environment and learn. When ... [more ▼]

Young multilingual children translanguage naturally. They use their linguistic and non-linguistic repertoire to express themselves, but also to make meaning of school environment and learn. When multilingual children come to a school where they do not understand the language of instruction, they are confronted with learning difficulties, which influences both their school progress and well-being. Translanguaging pedagogy helps teachers to create a space in which multilingual children can make meaning, feel well, and learn. By using this pedagogy, teachers support children’s multilingualism, which they see as a resource, and design inclusive activities accordingly. In this study, 40 Luxembourgian preschool teachers followed a professional development course in translanguaging pedagogy over six months. After the course, the researchers filmed teachers’ translanguaging activities with children. Three foci teachers designed an activity in which they invited three Portuguese and one Serbian child to choose the flag of their countries. However, all four children said that they speak Luxembourgish and thus wanted to choose the Luxembourgish flag. The teachers insisted that the children should choose Portuguese and Serbian flags, explaining that it is not possible for them to speak Luxembourgish. The children were confused and their body language showed their silencing, diminishing and shutting down. This scene showed not only that teachers misunderstood translanguaging, which they saw as multiple languages attached with nation states and flags, but they also, despite their good intentions, showed raciolinguistic ideologies, harmful for children in question. [less ▲]

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See detailLanguage beyond flags: Teachers misunderstanding of translanguaging in preschools
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL; Garcia, Ofelia

in International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (2022)

Based on an analysis of the video recording and transcript of one lesson chosen by preschool teachers in Luxembourg as an example of translanguaging pedagogy, this article shows the teachers’ limited ... [more ▼]

Based on an analysis of the video recording and transcript of one lesson chosen by preschool teachers in Luxembourg as an example of translanguaging pedagogy, this article shows the teachers’ limited understandings of translanguaging. As a result of a new 2017 multilingual education policy for early childhood, the first author designed a professional development project in which the teachers in this preschool participated. During a lesson, the teachers insisted that these young children had a home language associated with a national affiliation depicted by a flag, despite the children themselves telling them repeatedly that their home language practices were complex and included Luxembourgish, which was part of their identity. The teachers’ actions and discourse reveal raciolinguistic ideologies and misappropriation of the term translanguaging to simply implement what could be better described as a multilingual awareness activity. On the surface, the teachers have shifted from monolingual instruction to one that recognizes the children’s multilingualism. Yet, teachers continue to associate the notion of language with flags and political states, instead of taking up an inside-view of the bilingual speaker, the kernel of translanguaging theory. [less ▲]

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See detailMultilingual books Sumak and Mara's song
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Presentation (2022, May 27)

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See detailTranslanguaging pedagogy and creative activism for preschool teachers, parents, and children
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Scientific Conference (2022, April 18)

Today’s education is impacted by the fast changes that can be very challenging for teachers, parents, and students. The need of pedagogies that will support them to navigate through these changes and ... [more ▼]

Today’s education is impacted by the fast changes that can be very challenging for teachers, parents, and students. The need of pedagogies that will support them to navigate through these changes and challenges, becomes evident, especially in highly linguistically and culturally diverse countries such as the small trilingual Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. One of such pedagogies is translanguaging pedagogy. While translanguaging refers to the natural use of entire linguistic repertoire of bi/multilingual people, translanguaging pedagogy helps teachers to use bi/multilingual students’ unique linguistic repertoires to foster learning, comprehension, and academic achievement (Otheguy, García, & Reid, 2015). In Luxembourg, there are 64 % of four-year old children who not speak Luxembourgish at home (MENJE, 2018). Therefore, in 2017, multilingual early education has become mandatory obliging teachers to help students to develop Luxembourgish, familiarize them with French, and value their home languages. Thus, in order to support teachers’ work, there were three objectives of the present project : (1) to administer an 18-hours professional development (PD) course in translanguaging pedagogy to 40 preschool teachers, (2) to actively include students’ families in order to straighten home-school collaboration, and (3) to support children’s linguistic, socio-emotional, and cognitive development and engagement in the classroom. The PD course was divided into seven sessions on multilingual ecology, home-school collaboration, multilingual brain, and multilingual oracy and literacy, over 6 months. To evaluate the success of these aims, before and after the course, we employed teacher questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews with the teachers, parent questionnaires and interviews with the parents, and early literacy and numeracy tests in the school and home languages as well as video observations of classroom interactions with the students. Regarding the teachers, the results from the teacher questionnaire before and after the course, showed that there was a significant positive change in attitudes towards children’s multilingualism and their home languages. However, in the focus groups and the interviews, we identified that most of the teachers were open to the use children’s home languages only to develop the school language, Luxembourgish. In the analysis of the video observations of teacher/child interactions, we observed that when the home language of children was used, this immediately contributed to their well-being. However, we also observed that in some classrooms the use of children’s home languages was artificial; the teachers insisted on naming home languages instead of giving the children the opportunity to use the school language and be proud of it. Regarding the parents, the analysis of 65 questionnaires on children’s home literacy environment and the interviews showed that parental involvement is crucial for children’s linguistic and socio-emotional development. The interviewed parents shared that they would like to be more involved in the home-school collaboration but they did not know how. Although they were open for more collaboration, most of the parents thought that this should be initiated from the teachers. Finally, regarding the children, we observed the linguistic and socio-emotional development of 23 children (age 4) over one year. The children were tested in early literacy and numeracy, three times over the course of one year. When plotting the results, we identified that all children performed better in their home languages than in the school language and that there was a progress in both home and school language over one year. Furthermore, the video observations showed that when translanguaging pedagogy was used and children’s home languages were valued, children were more responsive and eager to learn and interact with others. Following these results and in order to connect teachers, parents, and children, I developed a website for teachers with the summary of important theories in multilingualism supported by many practical activities in the domain of multilingual classroom, home-school collaboration, and multilingual oracy and literacy. The website is in English, French, and German, and teachers can find a solid support for their work. Furthermore, I wrote two illustrated books for parents and children. In the illustrated book for parents the main character is a woman called Sumak who moved from another country as a refugee and is forced to learn a new language in a society she does not fit in. A storytelling workshop will allow teachers and parents to share their experience and connect on a deeper level. In the book for children, the main character is a girl called Mara who moved to a new country and does not understand the school language. She is sad and angry and tries to find solutions, for example, in music. The book contains a CD with in which the character Mara sings the song in Mara’s language, allowing teachers and children to hear that it is ok to speak in a language they do not understand. The illustrated books exist in English, French, Serbian, Portuguese, and German. These creations are an act of creative activism, which are “transformative interventions in order to change society for the better by communicating conflicts and/or solutions where no one else can or will in order to provoke reflection (and consequent behavioral changes)” (Harrebye, 2016, p. 25). Finally, this is an act of going beyond the horizons and the project results, and reimagining everything, especially playing with new ideas and applying those through specific creative acts that bring teachers, parents, and children together. The Conference will allow me to showcase these creative interventions, discuss their impact on the schools, and offer them to international researchers who work in education and beyond. References Ministry of National Education, Childhood and Youth [MENJE]. (2018). Les chiffres clés de l'Éducation nationale: statistiques et indicateurs - Année scolaire 2016-2017 [Key numbers of the national education: statistics and indicators – School year 2016-2017]. Retrieved from http://www.men.public.lu/fr/actualites/publications/themes-transversaux/statistiques-analyses/chiffres-cles/index.html Harrebye S.F. (2016) Creative activism today. In: Social change and creative activism in the 21st century. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Otheguy, R., García, O., & Reid, W. (2015). Clarifying translanguaging and deconstructing named langauges: A perspective from linguistics. Applied Linguistic Review, 6(3), 281–307. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 40 (1 UL)
See detailDrama of Multilingualism: Literature Review and Liberation
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Book published by Information Age Publications (2022)

This book is my autobiographical journey of understanding and experiencing different topics related to multilingualism: dynamic multilingualism, translanguaging, language policy, multilingual education ... [more ▼]

This book is my autobiographical journey of understanding and experiencing different topics related to multilingualism: dynamic multilingualism, translanguaging, language policy, multilingual education and cognition and multilingualism. I also present excerpts from the interviews I conducted with the experts in field (Garcia, Hornberger, Cummins, Snow, and Bialystok). It is an original work of my autobiographical narrative and an interdisciplinary literature review on multilingualism. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 157 (16 UL)
See detailThe impact of translanguaging course on preschool teachers, parents, and children
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Presentation (2021, November 17)

This lecture contained the results concerning the effect of the professional development course in translanguaging pedagogy on preschool teachers, parents, and children in Luxembourg. The mixed-method ... [more ▼]

This lecture contained the results concerning the effect of the professional development course in translanguaging pedagogy on preschool teachers, parents, and children in Luxembourg. The mixed-method design revealed positive effects based on the data from the teacher questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews with teachers, then parent questionnaires and interviews with parents, and tests in literacy and numeracy in school and home languages, and video observations with children. In this lecture I also presented the publications for parents (the book Sumak), for children (Mara's song with the CD), and the website for teachers on translanguaging activities (www.transla-program.org). [less ▲]

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See detailSumak, der Fischer und der Junge
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Book published by Self-published (2021)

This book is an illustrated book for immigrant parents who struggle to learn a new language and fit into a new country. Sumak is a woman who fled the war and is trying to understand new cultural and ... [more ▼]

This book is an illustrated book for immigrant parents who struggle to learn a new language and fit into a new country. Sumak is a woman who fled the war and is trying to understand new cultural and language codes in order to find her way. A fisherman helps her to do that. [less ▲]

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See detailSumak, le pêcheur et le garçon
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Book published by Self-published (2021)

This book is an illustrated book for immigrant parents who struggle to learn a new language and fit into a new country. Sumak is a woman who fled the war and is trying to understand new cultural and ... [more ▼]

This book is an illustrated book for immigrant parents who struggle to learn a new language and fit into a new country. Sumak is a woman who fled the war and is trying to understand new cultural and language codes in order to find her way. A fisherman helps her to do that. [less ▲]

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See detailSumak, o pescador e o menino
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Book published by Self-published (2021)

This book is an illustrated book for immigrant parents who struggle to learn a new language and fit into a new country. Sumak is a woman who fled the war and is trying to understand new cultural and ... [more ▼]

This book is an illustrated book for immigrant parents who struggle to learn a new language and fit into a new country. Sumak is a woman who fled the war and is trying to understand new cultural and language codes in order to find her way. A fisherman helps her to do that. [less ▲]

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See detailSumak, ribar i dečak
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Book published by Self-published (2021)

This book is an illustrated book for immigrant parents who struggle to learn a new language and fit into a new country. Sumak is a woman who fled the war and is trying to understand new cultural and ... [more ▼]

This book is an illustrated book for immigrant parents who struggle to learn a new language and fit into a new country. Sumak is a woman who fled the war and is trying to understand new cultural and language codes in order to find her way. A fisherman helps her to do that. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 137 (3 UL)
See detailTranslanguaging program for teachers - website
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Learning material (2021)

The www.transla-program.org website is a resource of theoretical and practical materials for teachers working with multilingual children. It exists in English, French, and German.

Detailed reference viewed: 115 (2 UL)
See detailSumak, the fisherman, and the boy
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Book published by Self-published (2021)

This book is an illustrated book for immigrant parents who struggle to learn a new language and fit into a new country. Sumak is a woman who fled the war and is trying to understand new cultural and ... [more ▼]

This book is an illustrated book for immigrant parents who struggle to learn a new language and fit into a new country. Sumak is a woman who fled the war and is trying to understand new cultural and language codes in order to find her way. A fisherman helps her to do that. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 212 (4 UL)
See detailMaras Lied
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL

Book published by Self-published (2021)

This book is a book I wrote for preschool immigrant children who struggle with learning a new language. Mara is a girl who comes to a new country and feels isolated in the school. She finds answers in the ... [more ▼]

This book is a book I wrote for preschool immigrant children who struggle with learning a new language. Mara is a girl who comes to a new country and feels isolated in the school. She finds answers in the nature and a refuge in music that she shares with her teacher and classmates in the end. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 42 (1 UL)