Reference : Language Practices and the Accomplishment of Educational Realities: An Ethnography of...
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Anthropology
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
Language Practices and the Accomplishment of Educational Realities: An Ethnography of Multilingualism in Luxembourgian Early Childcare Settings
Seele, Claudia mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) >]
MultiPluriTrans: Emerging Fields in Educational Ethnography
November 21-23, 2013
University of Luxembourg
[en] multilingualism ; ethnography ; early childhood education and care
[en] Linguistic diversity is not only an integral part of Luxembourgian society in general but also of the everyday practice in early childcare settings. In this multilingual field language is always tied to questions of identity and belonging and to processes of in- and exclusion. Following recent sociolinguistic developments, multilingualism here is understood not as the simplistic coexistence of discrete and isolated languages but as a social practice where the boundaries between different languages and different groups of speakers are not pre-given but constantly (re)produced, challenged and negotiated.
The methodological approach of an “Ethnography of Multilingualism” combines educational and sociolinguistic concerns by asking how social realities in educational settings are constituted through language practices. It is complemented by the approach of an “Ethnography of Early Childhood Education and Care” which explores how the pedagogical practice constitutes itself in the process of its enactment. The research question how differences are accomplished through language practices is thus tied to the more global theoretical issue of reconstructing how these practices are constitutive for the everyday accomplishment of early educational realities in general.
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 various practical responses to this dilemmatic condition tend towards creating a monolingual order in the midst of a perceived “disorder” of languages. Only against the background of this imposed monolingual norm can the children’s usage of Luxembourgish be interpreted by the practitioners as evidence for the success of their own pedagogical efforts, allowing the caregivers to observe and (re)present their own practice as “professional”.
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