Reference : An Ethnography of Early Education and Multilingualism in Luxembourg: Pedagogical Perf...
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
Arts & humanities : Languages & linguistics
An Ethnography of Early Education and Multilingualism in Luxembourg: Pedagogical Performance between Monolingual Agendas and Translingual Practices
Seele, Claudia mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) >]
Language and Super-Diversity: Explorations and Interrogations
June 4-7, 2013
[en] multilingualism ; early education ; Luxembourg
[en] Lucas (3;6) is playing with Lego animals on the carpet. He takes the lions and puts them into the compound he prepared for them. He comments: “Kuck, e Léiw!” (Look, a lion!) Then he whirls them all around and says: “Tout mélanger!” (Mixing everything!) Lucas here seems not only to mix the animals but the languages, too…
Linguistic diversity is not only an integral part of Luxembourgian society in general but also of the everyday practice in early childcare settings. This is nothing exceptional. Rather, the increasing diversification of languages, cultures, and identities – or the increasing acknowledgement that these concepts have never been simple and fixed – is a central characteristic of contemporary societies worldwide. Nevertheless, education political and media discourses keep on positing multilingualism as a special challenge that pedagogical practice has to cope with. They call for early language promotion, school preparation, and for the advancement of social integration and equality. While these discourses instantly turn to the programmatic question how multilingualism should be dealt with, thus presupposing a normative understanding of language in education, the present paper asks how these complex demands are actually met in everyday pedagogical practice and how, along the way, linguistic norms are practically accomplished as well as caught into question.
The paper draws on ethnographic material from three Luxembourgian daycare centers that were investigated during 18 months as part of my doctoral research. The choice and interpretation of field notes is guided by the central question how linguistic diversity is dealt with in the centers’ everyday routines. The empirical exploration reveals how pedagogical practice is itself constituted within a field of tension between monolingualist agendas and the actors’ translingual practices. The three centers manage this tension differently, thus demonstrating the multiplicity of possible pathways when dealing with multilingualism in early education.
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