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See detailChildren's multilingual agency through translanguaging practices
Mortini, Simone UL

Presentation (2019, November 27)

My doctoral thesis focuses on eight children’s multilingual practices in the four institutions participating in the MuLiPEC research project, more precisely on their (trans)languaging and agency in ... [more ▼]

My doctoral thesis focuses on eight children’s multilingual practices in the four institutions participating in the MuLiPEC research project, more precisely on their (trans)languaging and agency in interaction with peers and practitioners. Guided by a sociocultural perspective on language learning and child agency and inspired by the methodology of linguistic ethnography, I drew on multidimensional qualitative research methods to understand the relationship between multilingual pedagogies, language learning, translanguaging and child agency. The data resulted in 65 days of participant observations (including fieldnotes and discussions), 473 video-recordings and 16 semi-structured interviews with the practitioners. The findings show that the children engaged in translanguaging practices for various purposes (e.g. communication, meaning making) and showed an agentive behaviour that went beyond active participation (e.g. influencing adults’ language practices). I argue that the practitioners’ multilingual practices and other sociocultural factors enabled the children’s agency and flexible language use. [less ▲]

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See detailYoung children's agency in learning novel languages in multilingual environments
Mortini, Simone UL

Presentation (2019, September 05)

The concept of child agency is highly discussed in the fields of humanities, sociology and education. Whereas children were previously conceptualised as incomplete adults or social becomings in the adult ... [more ▼]

The concept of child agency is highly discussed in the fields of humanities, sociology and education. Whereas children were previously conceptualised as incomplete adults or social becomings in the adult world, children’s agency has undergone a paradigm shift in recent decades. Pioneer early childhood scholars such as Prout and James (1990) and Corsaro (2005) have argued that children are reflexive, agentive and social beings, who construct and re-construct childhood and actively shape socialization processes. Similarly, scholars in the emerging field of preschool bilingual education have stressed children’s active role in language learning processes and in shaping language policies and practices through their own languaging and interactions (Bergroth & Palviainen, 2017; Boyd & Huss, 2017; Schwartz, 2018). These scholars define children’s bilingual agency as the ‘socioculturally mediated capacity to act, as it is reflected in the children’s communicative acts’ (Ahearn, 2001; Bergroth & Palviainen, 2017). From the same sociocultural perspective on learning, educationalist researchers show that preschool children’s agency is embedded in institutional and interactional orders (Huf 2013, Hilpöö et al., 2016). Young children can express a bilingual agency by linguistically supporting each other (Mourão, 2018); discussing and evaluating their own and others’ language practices (Almér, 2017); demonstrating a metalinguistic awareness (Schwartz, 2018); and even by modifying language policy-in-practice (Boyd & Huss, 2017). Moreover, studies suggest that opportunities to use languages flexibly in the classroom may give children some agency over their language use and facilitate their language learning (García & Kleifgen, 2018). Nevertheless, findings on young children’s translanguaging and agency are still scarce, particularly in multilingual contexts involving more than two languages (Kirsch, 2017; Schwartz, 2018). In light of these current trends and gaps in the fields of language learning and education, the present doctoral study gives insights into young children’s agency in learning novel languages in Luxembourg. In this trilingual country, a new law on multilingual education was passed in 2017. This transition from a monolingual to a multilingual language policy was motivated by recent results of national studies which showed that non-Luxembourgish children scored below average in primary school (MENJE, 2017). As the new multilingual language policy strives for social justice and equal opportunities, early childhood practitioners are now required to teach Luxembourgish to the children, familiarize them with French and value their home languages. This doctoral thesis is part of the research project MuLiPEC (Kirsch, 2016-2019) which provided seven practitioners in two formal and two non-formal early childhood education settings with an extensive professional training and individual coaching in multilingual pedagogies. Whereas the main research team examined the practitioners’ changing multilingual practices, knowledge and beliefs, I focused on the children in these settings. I investigated eight two- to four-year-old children’s languaging and agentive behaviour over the period of a year. The present paper focuses on four focal children in two formal education settings. In the précoce, a non-compulsory preschool year for three-year-olds, one Portuguese- and one Cape Verdean Creole-speaking girls learned Luxembourgish as a second language. In the compulsory preschool for children aged four to five, two Spanish-speaking boys had previously learned features of other languages (French, Mallorquí, English) and encountered Luxembourgish as a novel language. Following research questions are addressed: - In what ways and to what extent do the four children deploy their linguistic and non-linguistic repertoires in interaction with peers and teachers? - In what ways and to what extent do the children express a multilingual agency in language learning? - In what ways is the children’s multilingual agency socioculturally embedded? The findings should contribute to the understanding of children’s agency in learning novel languages in early childhood education settings implementing multilingual pedagogies. This longitudinal study drew on multidimensional qualitative methods, including observations, fieldnotes, videography, informal discussions and semi-structural interviews with the practitioners. I visited the two schools bi-weekly for three consecutive days during one academic year. The data presented in this paper stems from 34 days of observations during daily interactions and planned language learning activities; 277 video-recordings in lengths ranging from one to forty minutes; and eight semi-structured interviews. Adopting an emic perspective, the data were firstly examined with a thematic analysis following Braun and Clarke (2006). I coded the fieldnotes and the transcriptions of the video-recordings and classified these codes into different forms of languaging and interactions. As the study adopted a sociocultural perspective on language learning, selected interactions were additionally analysed line-by-line using a ‘sociocultural theory approach to conversation analysis’ inspired by Seedhouse (2005). The analysis proceeded inductively and deductively being influenced by the literature review. Consequently, I identified the children’s agentive behaviour during interactions with their peers and practitioners. The coding and classification were extensively discussed with Schwartz and Kirsch in the process of collaboratively writing an article on child agency. As a result, the emergent themes were called: active participation (e.g. engaging through translanguaging in the morning circle; creatively reproducing the adults’ communication strategies); and language management (e.g. taking a leading role in shaping activities in a specific language; refusing to speak a language). Finally, the observational data and interviews were triangulated (Flick, 2011). To assure accuracy and trustworthiness, the findings were discussed and compared in meetings with further international researchers in the fields of multilingualism and early childhood education. The research project complies with the ethics principles of the National Data Protection Regulatory Agency and the University of Luxembourg. Moreover, the study followed the recognised ethical principles of the British Educational Research Association. The participants gave their informed consent and their anonymity is strictly respected in presentations and publications. The data showed that the children were not passively socialised into the Luxembourgish language, but actively shaped this process by challenging norms through different types of agentive behaviour during interactions and activities (Schwartz 2018). Firstly, the children actively participated through non-verbal communication (e.g. pointing, doing actions); the use of other languages (e.g. home languages or languages picked up in a crèche); and the repetition of formulaic speech (e.g. Luxembourgish, French) after practitioners and peers. Moreover, they creatively reproduced (Corsaro, 2005) the practitioners’ language use (e.g. labelling and asking questions) during peer interactions. Furthermore, they all showed a pragmatic sensitivity (e.g. adapting their languaging to their interlocutors, asking for translations) and one child a cross-linguistic sensitivity (e.g. comparing words in different languages). Secondly, the children’s involvement went beyond active participation as they not only monitored their own language use (e.g. translanguaged to mediate meaning), but managed to shape the language use of their peers and practitioners. This agentive behaviour was characterised by engaging in peer teaching (e.g. giving corrective feedback); shaping and changing activities (e.g. transforming a monolingual activity into a multilingual one); refusing to speak a language (e.g. the home language in favour of the dominant language). By transforming or resisting language practices, the children made choices to act against expectations and norms (Fogle 2012). This finding presumes that these very young children were to some extent conscious about prevailing norms in the settings (Bergroth & Palviainen, 2017). Finally, the triangulation of the data showed that the children’s multilingual agency was shaped by the teachers’ own agency and language practices, which in turn were shaped by their conceptualisations of the children (e.g. competent versus incompetent), the official language policies (e.g. monolingual versus multilingual) and the professional development and coaching they were given by the research team (Kirsch & Aleksić, 2018). References: Ahearn, L. (2001). Language and agency, Annual Review of Anthropology, 30: 109-137. Almér, E. (2017). Children’s beliefs about bilingualism and language use as expressed in child-adult conversations, Multilingua, 36(4): 401-424. Bergroth, M., & Palviainen, Å. (2017). Bilingual children as policy agents: Language policy and education policy in minority language medium Early Childhood Education and Care, Multilingua, 36(4): 375-399. Boyd, S., & Huss, L. (2017). Young children as language policy-makers: studies of interaction in preschools in Finland and Sweden, Multilingua, 36(4), 359-373. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology, Qualitative Research in psychology, 3(2): 77-101. Corsaro, W. (2005). Collective Action and Agency in Young Children’s Peer Cultures. In J. Qvortrup (ed.), Studies in Modern Childhood: Society, Agency, Culture (pp. 231-247). Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillen. Flick, U. (2011). Triangulation - Eine Einführung (3. aktualisierte Auflage). (Reihe Qualitative Sozialforschung). Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaft. Fogle, L. W. (2012). Second language socialization and learner agency: Talk in three adoptive families. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. García, O., & Kleifgen, J.A. (2018). Educating Emergent Bilinguals: Policies, Programs, and Practices for English Learners (Second edition). New York: Teachers College Press. Hilppö, J., Lipponen, L, Kumpulainen, K., and Rainio A. (2016). Children’s sense of agency in preschool: a sociocultural investigation, International Journal of Early Years Education, 25(2): 157-171. Huf, C. (2013). Children’s agency during transition to formal schooling, Ethnography and Education, 8(1): 61-76. Kirsch, C. (2017). Translanguaging practices during storytelling with the app iTEO in preschools, Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts, 3(2): 145-166. Kirsch, C., & Aleksić, G. (2018). The Effect of Professional Development on Multilingual Education in Early Childhood in Luxembourg, Review of European Studies, 10(4): 148-163. Mourão, S. (2018). Play and Peer Interaction in a Low-Exposure Foreign Language Learning Programme. In M. Schwartz (ed.). Preschool Bilingual Education: Agency in Interactions between Children, Teachers, and Parents (pp. 313-342). Dordrecht: Springer. Prout, A., and James, A. (1990). A new paradigm for the sociology of childhood? Provenance, promise and problems. In A. James and A. Prout (eds.). Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood. Contemporary Issues in Sociological Study of Childhood (pp. 7-34). London: Routledge Falmer. Schwartz, M. (2018). Preschool Bilingual Education: Agency in Interactions between Children, Teachers, and Parents. In: M. Schwartz (ed.), Preschool Bilingual Education: Agency in Interactions between Children, Teachers, and Parents (pp. 1-26). Dordrecht: Springer. Seedhouse, P. (2005). Conversation Analysis and language learning, Language Teaching 38(4):165-187. [less ▲]

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See detailTranslanguaging as a pedagogy, a practice or a strategy? Examples from a preschool and a primary school class in Luxembourg
Kirsch, Claudine UL; Degano, Sarah UL; Mortini, Simone UL

Scientific Conference (2019, July 01)

The concept of translanguaging has been continuously redefined in education, psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics, which has led to some loss of meaning. Regarding teacher translanguaging, studies show ... [more ▼]

The concept of translanguaging has been continuously redefined in education, psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics, which has led to some loss of meaning. Regarding teacher translanguaging, studies show that it has been used as a strategy to further comprehension and learning, and as a pedagogy. The latter recognizes the existence of multiple languages in class and leverages the students’ semiotic system to make meaning and learn (García et al. 2017). Translanguaging has thereby been understood either as a resource-oriented pedagogy that challenges traditional conceptualizations of bilingualism and language learning, or as a pedagogy that fights social inequalities. Most research studies adopt the first view (Poza, 2017). The present paper combines two longitudinal doctoral studies and investigates the ways in which a preschool and a primary school teacher use translanguaging in their classes in Luxembourg. Drawing on interviews and observations, the findings show that the preschool teacher implemented a translanguaging pedagogy. She planned for the use of several languages, opened translanguaging spaces, and systematically translanguaged where she believed it would support learning (Kirsch et al. submitted). By contrast, the primary school teacher used translanguaging as a pedagogical strategy. She used the curricular languages and only translanguaged to support particular students. These differences are explained by the curriculum and the preschool teacher’s attendance of a professional development course. The findings contribute to our understanding of possible ways of implementing translanguaging as a pedagogy. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Effect of Professional Development on Multilingual Education in Early Childhood in Luxembourg.
Kirsch, Claudine UL; Aleksic, Gabrijela; Andersen, Katja Natalie UL et al

Scientific Conference (2019, May 15)

In sum, these findings show that the PD made the practitioners reflect on their language use, which, in turn, contributed to a positive stance towards multilingualism (Egert et al., 2018; Garrity et al ... [more ▼]

In sum, these findings show that the PD made the practitioners reflect on their language use, which, in turn, contributed to a positive stance towards multilingualism (Egert et al., 2018; Garrity et al., 2015; Peeters, Cameron, Lazzari, et al., 2014). The partly contradictory findings – embracing translanguaging while holding on to language separation - are reminiscent of other studies showing that practitioners do not simply substitute one set of beliefs with a different one but can hold contradictory beliefs (Levin and Wadmany, 2006). Reflecting on the professional development carried out in New York, Seltzer (2018) reported that the participating teachers simultaneously evidenced ideological shifts and deficit thinking, such as defining children’s linguistic skills as baby talk. [less ▲]

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See detailYoung children's developing multilingual repertoires and languaging in a preschool in Luxembourg
Mortini, Simone UL

Presentation (2019, March 25)

In trilingual Luxembourg, 63.5% of the children entering formal schooling have a home language other than Luxembourgish. National studies have shown that these children score below average in primary ... [more ▼]

In trilingual Luxembourg, 63.5% of the children entering formal schooling have a home language other than Luxembourgish. National studies have shown that these children score below average in primary school (MENJE, 2017). To raise the children's opportunities, a new law on multilingual education in the early years was voted in 2017. In addition to learning Luxembourgish, young children are now familiarised with French and their home languages are valued. Researchers have called for such inclusive multilingual pedagogies that build on dynamic language arrangements (Garcia & Seltzer, 2016). However, studies have seldom focused on the impact of these innovative pedagogies on young children's developing multilingual repertoires, their interactions with adults and peers, and the children's active role in this process (Schwartz & Gorbatt, 2018). Drawing on a sociocultural perspective, the present paper investigates the languaging and development of the language repertoires of two four-year-old Spanish-speaking children during one year in preschool. Their teacher participated in a professional development programme coordinated by a research project on developing multilingual pedagogies in early childhood (MuLiPEC, 2016-2019). The data stem from 17 days of videography and participant observation of the children's interactions with peers and the teacher during daily routines and from four interviews with the teacher. Data analysis was based on thematic and conversation analysis. The preliminary findings indicate, firstly, that within the teacher's flexible language arrangements, the children frequently translanguaged, drawing on features of five languages and non-verbal communication (e.g. gestures, showing). At the same time, they developed vocabulary, complex sentences and narrative skills in Luxembourgish. Secondly, they showed a metalinguistic awareness and adapted their languaging to their interlocutors. The findings should contribute to the research on languaging and multilingual development in early childhood. Garcia, O., & Seltzer, K. (2016). The Translanguaging current in language education. In B. Kindenberg (ed.) Flersprakighet som resurs (pp. 19-30). Liber. MENJE (2017). Enseignement fondamental - Education differenciee. Statistiques globales et analyse des resultats scolaries - Annee scolaire 2015/2016. MENJE: Luxembourg. Schwartz, M., & Gorbatt, N. (2018). The Role of Language Experts in Novices’ Language Acquisition and Socialization. In M. Schwartz (ed.) Preschool Bilingual Education. Agency Between Children, Teachers, and Parents (pp. 343 - 356). Springer. [less ▲]

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Full Text
See detailDialog - traduction française du magazine DIALOG
Kirsch, Claudine UL; Mortini, Simone UL

Article for general public (2018)

Detailed reference viewed: 59 (4 UL)
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See detailChildren's languaging and peer interactions in non-formal early childhood education in Luxembourg
Mortini, Simone UL

Scientific Conference (2018, November 09)

In Luxembourg children engage daily in multilingual practices outside early childhood institutions but often face monolingual practices within (Neumann, 2015). Despite research having debunked the need ... [more ▼]

In Luxembourg children engage daily in multilingual practices outside early childhood institutions but often face monolingual practices within (Neumann, 2015). Despite research having debunked the need for strict language separation for effective language learning, children are deprived from drawing on their complete linguistic repertoire (Neumann, 2015). In 2017 Luxembourg has opted for multilingual education in the early years. Formal and non-formal education settings are now required to offer the teaching of Luxembourgish, a familiarization with French and a valorisation of the children’s home languages. Whereas researchers have analysed inclusive language pedagogies (García, Johnson & Seltzer, 2017), studies seldomly examine the children’s active participation and peer interactions in early years settings implementing such multilingual pedagogies (Schwartz & Gorbatt, 2018). The present doctoral study is part of the research project MuLiPEC (Kirsch, 2016-2019) which aims at developing multilingual pedagogies through professional development in early childhood. Drawing on a sociocultural perspective, this paper focusses on two three-year-old children in two non-formal settings and investigates their languaging and interactions with peers and practitioners over a year. The data stem from 31 days of participant observation and videography of the children’s interactions with peers and practitioners and from eight interviews with the practitioners. The ongoing data analysis is based on thematic and interaction analysis. The preliminary findings, firstly, indicate that the children translanguaged, making use of their home language French, features of at least two other languages (e.g. German, English) and non-verbal communication (e.g. actions, gestures, pointing). Secondly, the children developed competences in Luxembourgish and learned new words in other languages from their peers and the practitioners. Finally, akin to Corsaro (2018), the children reproduced the practitioners’ language strategies (e.g. labelling, corrective feedback, translanguaging) during peer interactions and adapted their languaging to their interlocutors. The findings should contribute to research on dynamic multilingual practices and their impact on peer interactions in early childhood education. Corsaro, W.A. (2018). The Sociology of Childhood (5th edition). Los Angeles: SAGE García, O., Johnson, S., & Seltzer, K. (2017). The Translanguaging classroom. Leveraging student bilingualism for learning. Philadelphia: Caslon. Neumann, S. (2015). Lost in Translanguaging? Practices of Language Promotion in Luxemburgish Early Childhood Education. Global Education Review 2(1), 23–39. Schwartz, M., & Gorbatt, N. (2018). The Role of Language Experts in Novices’ Language Acquisition and Socialization. In M. Schwartz (ed.) Preschool Bilingual Education. Agency Between Children, Teachers, and Parents (pp. 343 – 356). Springer. [less ▲]

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See detailInclusive multilingual pedagogies in a preschool in Luxembourg
Mortini, Simone UL

Scientific Conference (2018, September 04)

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See detailMehrsprachige Pädagogik und Translanguaging: 
Theorie und Praxisbeispiele
Mortini, Simone UL; Degano, Sarah UL

Speeches/Talks (2018)

In diesem Workshop vertiefen wir die Kenntnisse zur mehrsprachigen Bildung, stellen das Konzept ''Translanguaging'' als Pädagogik vor und zeigen Praxisbeispiele aus zwei verschiedenen Forschungsprojekten ... [more ▼]

In diesem Workshop vertiefen wir die Kenntnisse zur mehrsprachigen Bildung, stellen das Konzept ''Translanguaging'' als Pädagogik vor und zeigen Praxisbeispiele aus zwei verschiedenen Forschungsprojekten. Durch die Analyse von Videos aus Forschungsprojekten können die TeilnehmerInnen Anregungen für die Umsetzung in die eigne Praxis gewinnen. [less ▲]

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See detailPerspectives on Translanguaging as a Pedagogy in Luxembourg
Kirsch, Claudine UL; Aleksic, Gabrijela UL; Mortini, Simone UL et al

Presentation (2018, April 10)

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See detailDeveloping language skills in 3-year-olds in multilingual Luxembourg: a case study
Kirsch, Claudine UL; Mortini, Simone UL

Scientific Conference (2017, August 24)

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See detailEinblicke in die Sprachideologien und Praktiken von Fachkräften in formalen und non-formalen Einrichtungen in Luxemburg
Kirsch, Claudine UL; Andersen, Katja Natalie UL; Mortini, Simone UL et al

Scientific Conference (2016, October 13)

Programme zur Förderung von alltagsintegrierter Mehrsprachigkeit in Kindertagesbetreuungen und Vorschulen sind selten. Das seit Mai 2016 laufende Forschungsprojekt MuLiPEC fokussiert die Entwicklung ... [more ▼]

Programme zur Förderung von alltagsintegrierter Mehrsprachigkeit in Kindertagesbetreuungen und Vorschulen sind selten. Das seit Mai 2016 laufende Forschungsprojekt MuLiPEC fokussiert die Entwicklung multilingualer Sprachpraktiken von Kindern im Alter von drei bis sechs Jahren sowie die zugrunde liegende Pädagogik im formalen und non-formalen Sektor der frühkindlichen Bildung. Für unsere Forschung ist von besonderem Interesse, die Beziehung zwischen den Sprachideologien der Erzieher/innen und Lehrer/innen und deren pädagogischen Handeln zu hinterfragen und die Reflexion über die Sprachpraktiken im Rahmen einer Weiterbildung und Forschungstreffen zu explizieren. Die Studie widmet sich der Analyse der Ideologien und Praktiken sowie der Effizienz unserer Weiterbildung zur Entwicklung einer mehrsprachigen Pädagogik. Im Vortrag werden der Aufbau des Forschungsprojektes mitsamt der besonderen Sprachensituation in Luxemburg sowie der dem Projekt zugrunde liegenden Weiterbildung vorgestellt und erste Einblicke in Sprachideologien der Fachkräfte gegeben. [less ▲]

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See detailTranslanguaging. Eine innovative Lehr-und Lernstrategie
Kirsch, Claudine UL; Mortini, Simone UL

in Forum für Politik, Gesellschaft und Kultur in Luxemburg (2016), 365

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