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Institute for Applied Linguistics - News & Events - Multilingualism and language education in preschool

28 June 21

Multilingualism and language education in preschool

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© | Verena Platzgummer

What linguistic repertoires do children in preschools in South Tyrol have, how do they interact linguistically with each other and with adults, and what are their thoughts on language(s)? How do pedagogical professionals shape language education? What perspectives on language and multilingualism do parents have? And how is the exchange between preschool and parents organised with regard to language education?

These are the questions that two researchers from Eurac Research, Verena Platzgummer and Nadja Thoma, are addressing in two ethnographic projects in German-speaking South Tyrolean preschools: MeBiK and KiDiLi. They work primarily with the method of participant observation, i.e. they take part in everyday life at preschools in South Tyrol, observe and analyse what happens and talk to children, pedagogical professionals and parents.

For two months , the two researchers conducted ethnographic fieldwork in this manner in the first research preschool until they said goodbye for the summer months on June 16 - with the ladybugs in the picture as good luck charms. In the next preschool year, Thoma and Platzgummer are planning to conduct further fieldwork also in other preschools. The data they collect is anonymised in accordance with the strictest data protection guidelines, so that no conclusions can be drawn about individual preschools, children, teachers or parents when the research is published.

The goal of the two projects at the interface between linguistics and educational science is to expand the knowledge of the international research community on multilingualism in preschools, to develop concepts for training and continuing education in preschool pedagogy, and to provide a sound basis for language and educational policy decisions in South Tyrol and beyond.

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