Reference : Being a newcomer in a multilingual school : a case study
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
Being a newcomer in a multilingual school : a case study
Gómez Fernández, Roberto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Languages, Culture, Media and Identities (LCMI)]
University of Luxembourg, ​Luxembourg, ​​Luxembourg
Universidad Antónoma de Madrid, ​​Spain
Docteur en Sciences de l'Education
Weber, Jean-Jacques mailto
Rojo, Luisa Martín
[en] newcomers ; multilingualism ; primary education ; situated learning ; romanophone children
[en] The present thesis aims at understanding the process of becoming a member in a diverse and multilingual primary school in Luxembourg. It is a case study about one child belonging to one of the ethnic and linguistic communities most affected by school failure. ‘Romanophones’ or romance-language speaking students in Luxembourg are touched by low achievement rates of school success. Also newcomers find themselves in challenging situations and are also affected by this problem. By following this child during one academic year an epistemological conflict between ‘agentivity’ and ‘structure’ is proposed. The seven-year old child, Nuno, had to follow lessons in German and Luxembourgish when he had no knowledge of these languages at all at his arrival in November from another primary school in Brazil. A close look at his interactions and identity processes with his peers and teachers revealed a re-evaluation of Nuno’s capital and resources which affected his academic progress as well as his identity during the year. This re-evaluation resulted in a “decapitalization” (Martín Rojo, 2008; 2010) of some of Nuno’s pre-existing resources (e.g., Portuguese language), which could otherwise be used as a positive resource in his progression towards “full membership”, and the eventual formation of a “community of practice”.
Nuno’s initial agentivity resisted categorizations and also what could be classified as gatekeeping practices towards him. Along the academic year some major changes took place (a change of teacher and teaching philosophies, the arrival of another Brazilian newcomer) which affected Nuno’s behaviour, learning and identity. The interview data and the audio-visual recordings provide insights into the difficulties a ‘romanophone’ newcomer must confront as well as the fact that a community of practice is in constant construction.

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