Supporting learning in the early years for children who learn in more than one language: Developing deeper understandings for practice

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Funding year: 
2013
Duration:
2 years
Organisation: 
Auckland UniServices
Sector: 
ECE sector
Project start date: 
January 2013
Project end date: 
June 2015
Principal investigator(s): 
Assoc. Professor. Val Podmore
Research team members: 
Dr Helen Hedges, Dr Diane Mara, Dr Peter Keegan, Nola Harvey, Dr Jenny Lee, and Patisepa Tuafuti.
Research partners: 
Ene Tapusoa, May Crichton, Jan Taouma A’oga Fa’a Samoa; Carol Hartley, Pat Rogers, Jemma Smith, Daniel Lovatt - Mangere Bridge Kindergarten; Marama Young, Jasmine Castle, Karen Liley, Te Puna Kohungahunga; Thirumagal Anandh, Auemetua Lotomau, Fathima Ruwinaaz Subhani - Symonds St Early Childhood Centre

 

Project Description

The purpose of this research was to explore the languages used, and the experiences and learning outcomes that are valued by parents, teachers and communities, as well as the children themselves, for children who learn in more than one language in the early years.  The research is credit-based, through our application of the theoretical constructs of funds of knowledge and an additive approach to learning through more than one language.  A funds of knowledge theoretical lens, applied to bilingual children and households, emphasises the need for teachers to extend their understanding of children’s diverse learning experiences in their homes, families, communities, and cultures (Moll, 2000; Moll, Amanti, Neff, & González, 1992).  An additive model of bilingualism emphasises the capability of young children to learn effectively in more than one language when this is adequately resourced (Cummins, 2001, 2009; Garcia, 2009). The primary focus of this project was on children aged birth to five years who are attending early childhood education (ECE) centres, their teachers, and their families.  Our research partner centres, all based in Auckland, included: a Māori language/bilingual centre, a Samoan immersion centre, an English medium kindergarten with families who speak Pasifika languages and Hindi, and an English-medium centre with families who speak a wide range of Asian and Pasifika languages.  A range of quantitative and qualitative methods  were utilised to obtain rich data about experiences, opportunities and challenges associated with learning in more than one language.


Research Questions

This research was designed to advance knowledge and practice in the field of children learning in more than one language in the early years.  It  built on the qualitative and quantitative research capabilities of the collaborative research team.  There were three overarching research questions:

  • What languages do children from participating ECE centres use in their learning in the centre and at home? (Phase 1, 2013)
  • What experiences and outcomes for children who learn in more than one language in the early years are valued by parents, teachers, and children? (Phase 2, 2013 & 2014)
  • How might the opportunities and challenges for children who learn in more than one language be addressed in educational practice? (Phases 2 & 3, 2014, 2015)

Project Contacts

Associate Professors Valerie Podmore and Helen Hedges
Faculty of Education and Social Work
The University of Auckland
Auckland

dvpodmore@xtra.co.nz 
h.hedges@auckland.ac.nz 

Publications and Presentations

http://www.nzcer.org.nz/nzcerpress/teachers-voyaging

2013

Podmore, V. N., Mara, D., Taouma, J., & Tapusoa, E. (2013).  Embarking on exploring in more than one language. Paper presented at the annual conference of Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa New Zealand Childcare Association, Wellington, 21 July, 2013.

Harvey, N., with Mara, D. (2013). Children who learn in more than one language in Aotearoa New Zealand: New challenges and research processes. Poster presentation at the annual conference of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education, Dunedin, November 2013.

2014

Podmore, V., Keegan, P., Hedges, H., Harvey, N., Young, M., Castle, J., Liley, K., Tapusoa, E., Crichton, M., Taouma, J., Lotomau, A., Subhani, R., Hartley, C., Rogers, P., Lovatt, D., & Smith, J. (2014). Children who learn in more than one language - Teachers’ experiences. Symposium presented at the annual conference of Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa/New Zealand Childcare Association, Auckland, July 2014.

Keegan, P., Young, M., Castle, J., Liley, K., & Popata, T. (2014). Ko te hua o te rangahau i te whakaako ki roto i ētahi atu reo ki ngā tamariki kōhungahunga Learning from research involving teaching young children in languages other than English. Presentation at Te Hīnātore 2014, a national-level hui, organised for Māori involved with young Māori children and their whānau, Auckland, June 2014

2015

Podmore, V. Hedges, H., Harvey, N. Keegan, P., Tuafuti, P., Young, M., Castle, J., Tapusoa, E., Crichton, M., Lotomau, A., Anandh, T., Subhani, R., Hartley C., Rogers, P., Lovatt, D., & Smith, J. (2015). Children who learn in more than one language - ECE Teachers afloat in plurilingual seas. Seminar for stakeholders, Early Childhood Seminar Series, Auckland, February 2015.

Podmore, V., Hedges, H., Harvey, N., Young, M., Castle, J., Tapusoa, E., Anandh, T., Hartley, C., & Lovatt, D. (2015). ECE teachers afloat in plurilingual seas: Young children learning holistically. Symposium presented at the Early Childhood Convention, Rotorua, October 2015.

Podmore, V. N., Harvey, N., & Hartley, C. (2015). Young children who learn in more than one language:  Teachers afloat on plurilingual seas. Keynote address presented at the OMEP Canterbury Seminar, Christchurch, October 2015.

Hartley, C., & Harvey, N. (2015). Multilingual children, monolingual teachers. Northland Kindergarten Association  E Kura Kōhungahunga Tōpū o Te Tai Tokerau. Teachers’ Professional Development Hui, ASB Stadium, Whangarei, July  2015.

Hedges, H., Harvey, N., & Keegan, P. (2015). Teachers afloat in plurilingual seas. Three-paper.  Symposium presented at the Language, Education and Diversity (LED) conference, Auckland, November 26, 2015.

2016

Hartley, C., Rogers, P., Smith, J., & Harvey, N. (2016). Young children who learn in more than one language: Teachers afloat on plurilingual seas.  Paper presented at the annual conference of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand, Hamilton July, 2016.

Tapusoa, E., & Taouma, J., with Harvey, N. (2016). Teachers voyaging in plurilingual seas: Young children learning at the A’oga Fa’a Samoa. Symposium presented at the Second International Pasifika Early Childhood Conference, Auckland.

Podmore, V. N., Hedges, H., Keegan, P., & Harvey, N. (2016). ECE teachers voyaging in plurilingual seas. Four-paper Symposium presented at the annual conference of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education, Wellington, November, 2016.