Multilingualism and language education in preschools in South Tyrol

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  • Project duration: February 2021 - February 2023
  • Project status: ongoing

Preschool education and care have recently become more relevant in South Tyrol: in 2008, kindergarten was legally anchored as a full part of the education system; in addition, academization of pedagogical work in kindergartens was initiated. At the same time, multilingualism is a controversial socio-political topic at educational institutions in South Tyrol, in which both political parties and parents' associations are involved. The project MeBiK reconstructs linguistic practices as well as practices of linguistic education and regulation in early education from the perspectives of different actors and against the background of their socio-political significance. Theoretically, the project combines educational and sociolinguistic theories. This interdisciplinary approach allows for a differentiated perspective on linguistic practices and linguistic education, analyzing linguistic interactions and linguistic orders at institutions against the background of their socio-historical and (educational) political contextual conditions. Methodologically, the research project is designed as a participatory ethnography. Beyond the reconstruction of observable interactions, the interest is directed towards relations between individual actors (children, parents, pedagogical professionals, providers, etc.) in different social settings, also outside the respective institution. This makes it possible to reconstruct different facets of the socio-political significance of language and education.

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