Agency; participation; Early childhood education; non-formal education
[en] Agentic behaviour of young children has been researched in relation to language policies and language learning (Schwartz et al., 2021) but not in literacy practices. The present paper examines children’s participation in multilingual literacy activities in two crèches in Luxembourg and their agentic behaviour. A previous study has shown that three-year-olds displayed language-based agency and interpretively reproduced translanguaging practices (Kirsch & Mortini, 2021). According to language socialization theories, children actively participate in culture-specific events and appropriate norms, values, and interaction patterns, which they reproduce (Corsaro, 2005; 2018). These interpretive reproductions testify to children’s agentic behaviour.
The data of the present qualitative longitudinal study include thick descriptions and video recordings of literacy activities. All interactions were analyzed with conversation analysis (Seedhouse, 2007). To examine, children’s agentic behaviour, we compared their interactions in planned literacy activities to those with peers. Prior to the data collection, the educators and the parents gave informed consent. During the data collection, we maintained the children’s assent by ensuring that they felt comfortable and only observed them in naturally occurring situations with educators.
The findings reveal three types of agentic behaviour: children replicated strategies, creatively reproduced interaction practices and literacy practices, and opened up new spaces for developing literacies in home languages.
The study has implications for educators as it shows them the ways in which children make meaning of their literacy activities. It is a reminder of the importance of being a good role model, a careful observer and listener, and a reflective practitioner.
Education & instruction
Author, co-author :
Kirsch, Claudine ; University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Humanities (DHUM)
Kemp, Valérie ; University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Humanities (DHUM)
External co-authors :
Children’s agentic behaviour in literacy practices in crèches in Luxembourg
Publication date :
01 September 2023
Event name :
Event organizer :
EECERA, Multilingual Childhoods SIG
Event place :
Event date :
By request :
References of the abstract :
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). Palgrave MacMillen.
Corsaro, W. (2018). The sociology of childhood (5th ed.). Sage Publications.
Kirsch, C., & Mortini, S. (2021). Engaging in and creatively reproducing translanguaging practices with peers: a longitudinal study with three-year-olds in Luxembourg. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2021.1999387
Seedhouse, P. (2007) On Ethnomethodological CA and “Linguistic CA”: A Reply to Hall. The Modern Language Journal, 91(4), 527-533
Schwartz, M., Kirsch, C., & Mortini S. (2020). Young children’s language-based agency in multilingual contexts in Luxembourg and Israel. Applied Linguistic Review. DOI: 10.1515/applirev-2019-0050
Focus Area :
FnR Project :
FNR13552634 - Collaboration With Parents And Multiliteracy In Early Childhood Education, 2019 (15/06/2020-14/06/2023) - Claudine Kirsch
Name of the research project :
FNR - Fonds National de la Recherche [LU] MENJE SNJ