Two languages in the air : a cross-cultural comparison of preschool teachers’ reflections on their flexible bilingual practices
Palviainen, Å., Protassova, E., Mård-Miettinen, K., & Schwartz, M. (2016). Two languages in the air : a cross-cultural comparison of preschool teachers’ reflections on their flexible bilingual practices. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 19(6), 614-630. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2016.1184615
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Taylor & Francis. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Bilingual preschool education is under researched compared with bilingual school education. There is also a lack of research on bilingual preschool teachers’ agency and how they negotiate between two languages in the classroom. We examined the language practices of five bilingual preschool teachers working within three different socio-linguistic settings, in Finland (Finnish–Swedish and Russian–Finnish contexts) and Israel (an Arabic–Hebrew context) and interviewed the teachers about their use of languages in the classroom. We found that in each context the teachers reported modifications to an initial bilingual education model over time: from a strict separation of languages, to flexible bilingual practices. A thematic analysis of the contents of the teacher reflections as they emerged through interviews revealed five shared categories: (a) the flexible use of two languages; (b) responsible code-switching; (c) contextual and linguistic supports; (d) adjustments for individual children; and (e) role-modelling. Despite the different settings and socio-linguistic conditions, the similarities in teachers’ practices and the rationale they gave for applying flexible bilingual practices were significant. The shared practices across contexts may have important implications for bilingual education. ...
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Project, AoF
Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by the Research Council for Culture and Society, The Academy of Finland [grant no 266850] and The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland [grant no 13/1118–1303].
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