Davis & Harris

Supporting intergenerational language transmission through the physical and digital landscapes of early childhood centres: a necessity for equity today

Niki Davis, Leona Harris and the Emergent Bilinguals in the Digital World research team
University of Canterbury e-Learning Lab

ccCC BY 4.0

Cite as: Davis, N. & Harris, L. (2018, December). Supporting intergenerational language transmission through the physical and digital landscapes of early childhood centres: A necessity for equity today. Paper presented at the Fourth Intergenerational Transmission of Minority Languages Symposium: Language and Identity.

Today, landscapes that we inhabit blend the physical and digital. Linguistic landscapes are expressions of formal and informal language policy and may influence whānau (family) language practices. Our research illustrates the ways in which linguistic landscapes of early childhood education (ECE) centres evolve, and explores the related co-evolution with digital technologies (Davis 2018). Around a decade ago ECE centres rapidly adopted digital tools such as iPads and ePortfolios to support children’s learning and since then teachers’ work has evolved so that children may access a healthy blend of their physical and digital worlds. Our National Science Challenges research, E Tipu e Rea, A Better Start, has uncovered opportunities and challenges of the digital world for all learners, focusing on emergent bilinguals. Bilingualism brings lifelong benefits that are particularly valuable to challenged learners, their whānau and communities. Multilingualism is embedded within our exemplary Te Whāriki ECE curriculum in Aotearoa New Zealand. We have evidence from six participating ECE centres of the visibility of home languages within the children’s physical and digital environments and how visibility was enhanced over time, indicating a significant impact of our research. Our recommendations include improvements to policy at local and national levels.

2 reaktioner på ”Davis & Harris

  1. Thank you for this interesting perspective. The ideas of how we can take the learnings from our efforts with Māori to other languages is a simple process that seems to offer a way forward in super-diverse contexts.

  2. Thank you very much! This is a really interesting contribution, and it offers a range of transfer opportunities to other countries and languages. This even more so since you also mention hybrid languages, which would allow to include mixed languages, code-switching, and migration-induced heritage language varieties that have evolved differently from, e.g., the standard language varieties in the original sending country.

    One challenge we noticed in our work with comparable centers in Germany is that it is important to avoid linguistic-landscape materials that might lead to an Othering of multilingual children by suggesting a ‘one place – one language’ association, e.g., the kind of maps you showed from one center, which indicates children’s ”connections”. I am not sure whether this is a problem in your cases, but in Germany, there is a danger that such maps lead to, say, Turkish-German bilingual children being associated with Turkey rather than Germany, and constructed as ”Turks” which are outside the national ”German” in-group.

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