The early childhood education and care partnership for bilingualism in minority language schooling: collaboration between bilingual families and pedagogical practitioners

Mari Bergroth, Åsa Palviainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Educational partnerships occur at the intersection of early childhood education and care (ECEC), families, and the surrounding community, and have been shown to play a significant role in student success rates in education. There is, however, a gap in research on the role and potential of ‘partnership’ in the case of bilingual families with children enrolled in monolingual minority language ECEC. This study aimed to fill this void by examining parental and practitioner discourses on partnership and on obligations, desires, abilities, and competencies involved in acting on a bilingual childhood in the context of monolingual minority ECEC. Parents in nine Finnish–Swedish bilingual families and six pedagogical practitioners at three Swedish-medium minority language ECEC units in Finland were interviewed. We applied ethnographic discourse analysis – nexus analysis – on the interview data and found that the family languages (Finnish and Swedish) did not seem to be given equal importance; Swedish, the minority language in Finland and the language of the ECEC, was foregrounded at the expense of Finnish. The study suggests that partnership is a useful concept and a tool to understand the possibilities and challenges involved in promoting bilingualism in ECEC, especially in the context of a minority language ECEC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-667
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Volume19
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Childhood bilingualism
  • early childhood education and care
  • educational partnership
  • bilingual family
  • educational practitioners
  • language policy

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