Multiple literacies in early childhood: What do families and communities think about their children's early literacy learning?
Research has highlighted the importance of recognising the preschool years as a crucial time for literacy development (see Heath heath, tract of open land
heath, tract of open land characterized by a few scattered trees, abundant moss cover, and numerous low shrubs, principally of the heath family (see heath, in botany). 1982, Harste et al. 1984, Wells 1985, Teale & Suzby 1986, Clay 1991, Hill et al. 1998). This recognition emphasises the active role children play in constructing literacy-based knowledge through everyday literacy events. Children's capabilities as emerging literates are demonstrated in their interest in environmental print such as the writing on clothing, advertising, logos, instructions and trademarks on food and other packaging in the home. They respond to shop signs, road signs, and other advertising in the community. Children readily observe how members in their family and in the community utilise and respond to this print. Furthermore, children's literacy learnings from the family and community experiences become part of their play, as they read newspapers, magazines, menus and toy catalogues, as well as write notes, cards, lists and bills.
Literacies in diverse families and communities
Research that documents young children's early literacy learning points to the important work done by children and families. Yet apart from Heath's work and some others (see Heath 1982, Cairney & Ruge 1998), information regarding children's literacies in diverse communities and families' perspectives of their children's early literacy learning is yet to inform much of early childhood educators' work with children and families from diverse sociocultural so·ci·o·cul·tur·al
Of or involving both social and cultural factors.
The multilingual mul·ti·lin·gual
1. Of, including, or expressed in several languages: a multilingual dictionary.
2. contexts in which many Australian Australian
pertaining to or originating in Australia.
Australian bat lyssavirus disease
see Australian bat lyssavirus disease.
Australian cattle dog
a medium-sized, compact working dog used for control of cattle. children and families live their daily lives represent the extent to which many young bilinguals are emerging bi-literates. For children in many families in Australia, the language and literacy experiences they encounter represent multiple languages, literacies and cultures. Bilingual bi·lin·gual
a. Using or able to use two languages, especially with equal or nearly equal fluency.
b. children exposed to literacies in both their first and second language have the potential to develop sophisticated knowledge and awareness about print, print conventions, appropriate book behaviours, print directionality di·rec·tion·al
1. Of or indicating direction: an automobile's directional lights.
2. Electronics Capable of receiving or sending signals in one direction only.
3. and a recognition of familiar words and names, all examples of sociocultural knowledge related to literacy (Jones Diaz 1999). Unfortunately, for many Australian preschool children from bilingual backgrounds, opportunities for early literacy experiences in the home language are mostly confined con·fine
v. con·fined, con·fin·ing, con·fines
1. To keep within bounds; restrict: Please confine your remarks to the issues at hand. See Synonyms at limit. to the home environment. Thus the central concern for and responsibility of early bi-literacy learning is most often relegated to the families.
Current approaches to early literacy in prior-to-school early childhood settings
In prior-to-school settings, current conceptualisations of how children become literate constitute a variety of theoretical approaches spanning from the more narrow `developmental readiness' and `maturationist' views to more contemporary views of `emergent emergent /emer·gent/ (e-mer´jent)
1. coming out from a cavity or other part.
2. pertaining to an emergency.
1. coming out from a cavity or other part.
2. coming on suddenly. literacy' and `literacy as social practice'.
Many early childhood educators This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject.
Please help recruit one or [ improve this article] yourself. See the talk page for details. , drawing on Piagetian views, would argue that children need to develop at their own pace and not be `pushed' by adults. As a result, early childhood educators are often reluctant to focus on literacy in their programs for fear of being accused of `pushing' children beyond their developmental readiness. Settings may take a maturationist or developmentalist approach to literacy, emphasising early childhood as an unhurried time for `gradual unfolding of the child's potential without being subjected to "stress" of active teaching' (Makin et al. 1999, p. 21). Unfortunately this view takes little account of children's daily experiences with literacy as a social technology, through which children learn to make use of powerful tools which are embedded Inserted into. See embedded system. in a range of social and cultural practices.
Many prior-to-school settings in New South Wales New South Wales, state (1991 pop. 5,164,549), 309,443 sq mi (801,457 sq km), SE Australia. It is bounded on the E by the Pacific Ocean. Sydney is the capital. The other principal urban centers are Newcastle, Wagga Wagga, Lismore, Wollongong, and Broken Hill. have been influenced by the emergent literacy approach (see Teale & Sulzby 1986, Schickendanz 1986), which emphasises the importance of children's interests and capabilities in literacy learning through active child-initiated experiences where functionality, meaning and communication with print and texts are important. Theories of emergent literacy acknowledge individual continuums of literacy development from birth, but do not fully take account of social and cultural variations that exist in young children's literacy learning trajectories. As a result, the variety of opportunities offered to children are often limited.
Learning to be literate in diverse families and communities
Children in most Australian homes and communities encounter a range of different types of language and literacy experiences. These experiences range from the traditional oral and written narratives to functional and extensive uses of information and entertainment technologies (e.g. computers, CD-ROMs, video, fax, answer machines). Literacy learning is more than the one unitary unitary
pertaining to a single object or individual. prescribed pre·scribe
v. pre·scribed, pre·scrib·ing, pre·scribes
1. To set down as a rule or guide; enjoin. See Synonyms at dictate.
2. To order the use of (a medicine or other treatment). track that is most often associated with middle class, monocultural and monolingual mon·o·lin·gual
Using or knowing only one language.
mono·lin urban children (Luke & Kale kale, borecole (bôr`kōl), and collards, common names for nonheading, hardy types of cabbage (var. 1997). Differences in `ways of taking' literacy exist across cultures and economic groups and the social categories of race, class, language, gender, sexuality, religion and ethnicity ethnicity Vox populi Racial status–ie, African American, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic intersect In a relational database, to match two files and produce a third file with records that are common in both. For example, intersecting an American file and a programmer file would yield American programmers. and influence particular ways of using languages and literacies (Makin et al. 1999).
Text (both oral and written) is a social technology and its use and users are highly dependent on its interactive functions. Accordingly, literacy learning is embedded in a range of social practices in culturally specific sites, rather than universal stages of child development and growth. From this perspective the literacies, other than book-based, take on increasingly important functions as young children are immersed im·merse
tr.v. im·mersed, im·mers·ing, im·mers·es
1. To cover completely in a liquid; submerge.
2. To baptize by submerging in water.
3. in a variety of literacy discourse practices. Such practices are embedded in their daily lives and include literacies of technology and popular culture, environmental print and literacies other than English.
Linguistic capital and literacies other than English
Bourdieu's sociological frameworks provide educators with useful insights into the different ways in which educational settings privilege some forms of cultural and linguistic capital at the expense of others. Cultural capital, which includes the linguistic practices and representational rep·re·sen·ta·tion·al
Of or relating to representation, especially to realistic graphic representation.
rep resources of human disposition, also comprises various forms of linguistic capital (Carrington & Luke 1997). The linguistic capital of diverse literacies through which children are enculturated outside of prior-to-school settings often goes unrecognised and undervalued Undervalued
A stock or other security that is trading below its true value.
The difficulty is knowing what the "true" value actually is. Analysts will usually recommend an undervalued stock with a strong buy rating. . Consequently, children from diverse backgrounds can meet a very structured form of discontinuity dis·con·ti·nu·i·ty
n. pl. dis·con·ti·nu·i·ties
1. Lack of continuity, logical sequence, or cohesion.
2. A break or gap.
3. Geology A surface at which seismic wave velocities change. between the `practices widely used in their own communities and those demanded by the school or prior-to-school setting' (Corson 1998, p. 120, emphasis added).
Young bilingual children's linguistic and cultural capital which primarily involves the enculturation enculturation
the process by which a person adapts to and assimilates the culture in which he lives.
See also: Society
Noun 1. enculturation of the linguistic `habitus' of the home, will ultimately compete in different sociocultural fields with other forms of capital in order to hold relative value. Thus the linguistic capital derived from the home language may hold currency in the home, but not necessarily the same levels of currency in prior-to-school settings. This can result in an exchange for other forms of linguistic capital, such as the acquisition of English at the expense of the home language.
The cultural and linguistic capital generated in children's homes children's home n → centro de acogida para niños
children's home n → foyer m d'accueil (pour enfants)
children's home n and communities is often very different from the cultural capital valued in prior-to-schools settings. However, many settings operate as if children have equal access to the capital valued in education, and consequently `schools (and prior-to-school settings) reproduce re·pro·duce
1. To produce a counterpart, an image, or a copy of something.
2. To bring something to mind again.
3. To generate offspring by sexual or asexual means. arrangements that are favourable to some and unfavourable to other groups, by placing their assessments of success on children's possession of this cultural capital, although it is unequally available' (Corson 1998, p. 9, emphasis added). Like schools, the cultural capital mostly valued in prior-to-school settings, is constituted in mainstream school-like English literacy.
Literacies of technology and popular culture
The texts, images and meanings constructed through the popular culture of children's video and computer games, toys and media advertising constitute powerful yet pleasurable pleas·ur·a·ble
pleasur·a·bil discourses through which young children are positioned as `readers' and consumers. Consequently, many parents, teachers and caregivers express concern about the power and impact these texts have on children's developing perceptions of the world.
There is no doubt that the texts of popular culture are pleasurable, attractive and appealing to young children. However, many early childhood practitioners are uneasy with children's consumption of the popular cultural texts such as Xena, Hercules, Star Wars and others, resulting in children often being strongly discouraged dis·cour·age
tr.v. dis·cour·aged, dis·cour·ag·ing, dis·cour·ag·es
1. To deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit.
2. To hamper by discouraging; deter.
3. from bringing in toys, videos and CD-ROMs to the setting. Many children's lives are absorbed by these texts and they know a great deal about the super-heroes, video games See video game console. and other toys, regardless of whether they own them or not. Knowledge and ownership of `in' toys, their names and their features represent significant cultural (and social) capital amongst children's peer groups (Comber comb·er
1. One, such as a machine or a worker, that combs something, such as wool.
2. A long wave that has reached its peak or broken into foam; a breaker. 1998a,b).
Critical literacy Critical literacy is an instructional approach that advocates the adoption of critical perspectives toward text. Critical literacy encourages readers to actively analyze texts and it offers strategies for uncovering underlying messages. and preschool children
Rather than thinking of children as social dupes at the power of popular cultural texts, and banning toys, videos, and computer games from the setting, early childhood educators could maximise children's expertise in the narratives, images and representations associated with these texts through a critical literacy approach.
Critical literacy draws on sociocultural perspectives of literacy and encourages children (and their teachers) to critique, deconstruct de·con·struct
tr.v. de·con·struct·ed, de·con·struct·ing, de·con·structs
1. To break down into components; dismantle.
2. and reconstruct re·con·struct
tr.v. re·con·struct·ed, re·con·struct·ing, re·con·structs
1. To construct again; rebuild.
2. a range of sanctioned and popular texts and their cultural contexts (Muspratt et al. 1997). It involves working with children to approach the meanings represented in texts more critically, rather than benignly be·nign
1. Of a kind and gentle disposition.
2. Showing gentleness and mildness. See Synonyms at kind1.
3. taking them for granted. Opportunities are provided for children to think about how meanings of their world are represented in languages and literacies and constituted in discourse.
The literacies of popular culture and technology so heavily featured in computer games, advertising and other media texts would be considered an appropriate starting point Noun 1. starting point - earliest limiting point
terminus a quo
commencement, get-go, offset, outset, showtime, starting time, beginning, start, kickoff, first - the time at which something is supposed to begin; "they got an early start"; "she knew from the from which to think critically about how these texts may give somewhat distorted meanings to children's lives. Teachers can encourage young children to think critically about the marketing strategies and dominant discourses constituted in these texts as a way of capitalising on and valorising children's knowledge. Hence, critical literacy gives children a set of tools from which they are able to `become critical and autonomous citizens who are in control of their lives' (Corson 1998, p. 75). However, it is important that we understand and appreciate the pleasure children gain from these texts, and care should be taken not to destroy children's pleasure and creativity derived from popular culture (Mission 1998).
The project from which the findings were derived was a collaborative effort by research teams representing early childhood education faculties situated at four NSW NSW New South Wales
Noun 1. NSW - the agency that provides units to conduct unconventional and counter-guerilla warfare
Naval Special Warfare university sites.(1) It was designed to map existing literacy practices across different prior-to-school education settings in communities that were identified by the funding bodies A funding body is an organisation that provides funds in the form of research grants or scholarships. Research Councils
Research Councils are funding bodies that are government-funded agencies engaged in the support of research in different disciplines and as serving children (and their families) who are more likely to encounter later difficulties in literacy development, such as those with significant Aboriginal, bilingual and disadvantaged This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims.
Please help Wikipedia by adding references. See the for details.
This article has been tagged since September 2007. populations. These sites were mostly situated in city and urban areas across NSW and the authors acknowledge that in this regard the mapping exercise is as yet incomplete.
The participants in the study were staff and parents from 79 early childhood prior-to-school settings, where the children were in their final year before school entry. Twenty-four of the research classes were NSW Department of Education (DET DET diethyltryptamine.
Diethyltryptamine; a hallucinogenic agent similar to DMT. ) settings and the rest were Department of Community Services (DCS (1) See also DSC.
(2) Digital Cross-connect System) A network switching and grooming device used by telecom carriers. See digital cross-connect. ). Two key staff members were interviewed from each study playroom. These were generally the trained early childhood teacher and the assistant. Ten parent focus-groups were held with parent participants using preschool and long day-care settings from a range of social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Commonly known as the ECERS, this evaluative system assists early childhood professionals in determining the level of optimization of an environment in which young children learn. - Revised (Harms et al. 1998) was chosen as a starting point for measuring the quality of the classroom environments. Modifications were made to ensure that the literacy environment was addressed in sufficient detail. The new and modified items were incorporated into a shortened form short·ened form
An abbreviated form of a polysyllabic word, as auto for automobile. of the scale, which for the purposes of the study was renamed The Early Childhood Language and Literacy Scale, 1998 (ECLLS). All researchers underwent a two-day training program and inter-rater reliabilities Inter-rater reliability, Inter-rater agreement, or Concordance is the degree of agreement among raters. It gives a score of how much , or consensus, there is in the ratings given by judges. were taken during the course of the research. No serious anomalies were found during these procedures. All data gathering was conducted within a two-month time frame at the end of 1998, and researchers visited all classrooms during a set time in the morning to ensure a measure of comparability of data. Following classroom observations, teachers and their assistants were individually interviewed using a twenty-item questionnaire designed by the research team. Each interview was audiotaped for later transcription transcription /trans·crip·tion/ (-krip´shun) the synthesis of RNA using a DNA template catalyzed by RNA polymerase; the base sequences of the RNA and DNA are complementary.
n. and analysis. The open-ended nature of the questions gave staff the opportunity to talk in-depth about their beliefs, attitudes and practices in supporting young children's literacy development. Staff demographic details such as age, experience, qualifications and recent professional development relating to relating to relate prep → concernant
relating to relate prep → bezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc children's literacy growth were recorded for each setting. Gender, approximate age and language, and cultural background of the children in the settings were also recorded.
The views of families were sought by using focus-group interviews, with two of the focus groups comprising parents from specific cultural backgrounds: one was held within an Aboriginal community and moderated by a community member and the other conducted in Arabic for Arabic-speaking families. The inclusion of the focus-group interviews within the project gave the families the opportunity to have their perspectives represented in terms of their own experiences and viewpoints. Focus questions were designed to identify parents' existing knowledge about their children's early literacy development and their beliefs and understandings about children's literacy experiences at home, in the community and in early childhood services. Interviews were audiotaped and later transcribed.
The Early Childhood Language and Literacy Scale data were initially managed by graphing using Excel A full-featured spreadsheet for Windows and the Macintosh from Microsoft. It can link many spreadsheets for consolidation and provides a wide variety of business graphics and charts for creating presentation materials. and will be subjected to further and more detailed analysis. The staff interviews were analysed using NUD*IST NUD*IST Non-numerical Unstructured Data Indexing, Searching, and Theorizing , a computerised qualitative data management package, and they have been compared across a number of emerging themes and patterns, as have the focus groups. Data from each site have been triangulated, as well as compared across settings to look for patterns, themes and trends. Centre observational data have been linked to interview and focus-group data where possible in order to tease out tease
v. teased, teas·ing, teas·es
1. To annoy or pester; vex.
2. To make fun of; mock playfully.
3. congruence con·gru·ence
a. Agreement, harmony, conformity, or correspondence.
b. An instance of this: "What an extraordinary congruence of genius and era" and lack of congruence between teachers' and parents' viewpoints and practices. There is an ongoing cycle of reviewing the data as new hypotheses or questions arise.
The findings of this study suggest that current definitions of early literacy in NSW early childhood education do not appear to reflect the multiple literacy practices in homes and communities, namely, the literacies of technology and popular culture, everyday functional uses of print, and languages other than standard Australian English. The current approaches identified often incorporated narrow and traditional views of book-based literacy practices. Furthermore, it was found that there was quite a discrepancy DISCREPANCY. A difference between one thing and another, between one writing and another; a variance. (q.v.)
2. Discrepancies are material and immaterial. between family perspectives and staff perspectives on young children's literacy experiences at home and in prior-to-school settings. A more detailed discussion of the emerging themes follows.
Families' perceptions of their children's development in literacies
During focus-group discussions, families stressed the importance of literacy learning for their children and recognised that this was occurring in multiple ways at home, in the community and at preschool or day care. Families tended to have broad definitions of literacy that included the use of technologies, media and environmental print, as well as aspects of emergent literacy such as book-handling skills, retelling re·tell·ing
A new account or an adaptation of a story: a retelling of a Roman myth. familiar narratives and approximations of writing. Families were able to articulate articulate /ar·tic·u·late/ (ahr-tik´u-lat)
1. to pronounce clearly and distinctly.
2. to make speech sounds by manipulation of the vocal organs.
3. to express in coherent verbal form.
4. clearly the variety of experiences and extent of opportunities through which their children's literacy learning occurred.
Bilingual families also recognised and valued the importance of developing literacy in home languages as well as English. Similarly, staff recognised the benefits associated with bilingualism bilingualism, ability to use two languages. Fluency in a second language requires skills in listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing, although in practice some of those skills are often considerably less developed than others. and bi-literacy, although in the ECLLS rating scale, recognition of diverse languages and literacies scored low in many settings. For example, in one site, despite the fact that there were a majority of children from Arabic-speaking backgrounds and no Anglo-Australian children, no staff from Arabic-speaking backgrounds were employed. Consequently, English was the dominant language used by staff.
Furthermore, bilingual parents expressed some concern over their children's rejection of the home language while learning English at the centre. Children's home languages were not perceived as being supported in the preschool or day-care settings. Yet at the same time, parents were aware of the speed at which their children learned English in these settings.
My daughter wouldn't allow me to speak English with her at all, before she went to preschool. She used to cry and say to me: talk to me in Arabic only ... When she went [to preschool], I mean in just a few months, she came back home, by herself, she was able to speak English. So they're getting all that from school. Whereas at home, speaking should be more and you concentrate more on Arabic.
Family and community literacy practices
Families described literacy as integral to everyday family and community experiences such as writing birthday cards, reading catalogues and shopping. Literacy was also seen as developing through children's immersion immersion /im·mer·sion/ (i-mer´zhun)
1. the plunging of a body into a liquid.
2. the use of the microscope with the object and object glass both covered with a liquid. in literacy artefacts and observations of adults and older siblings siblings npl (formal) → frères et sœurs mpl (de mêmes parents) using literacy. A number of parents reported that children imitated adults' and siblings' literacy behaviour.
Parents viewed their contributions as being very important to their children's literacy development. Literacy experiences such as shared books, storytelling Storytelling
semi-legendary fabulist of ancient Greece. [Gk. Lit.: Harvey, 10]
Baron traveler grossly embellishes his experiences. [Ger. Lit. , sound recognition games, card games, computer games and writing were viewed by parents as extremely important. Parents provided many examples of joint literacy activities, where family members jointly constructed a text, played a game or engaged in cooperative reading to scaffold scaffold
Temporary platform used to elevate and support workers and materials during work on a structure or machine. It consists of one or more wooden planks and is supported by either a timber or a tubular steel or aluminum frame; bamboo is used in parts of Asia. the child's learning. Many parents reported that they assisted their children's literacy development with explicit demonstrations of features of print, such as how to form letters or sound out words. A number of parents indicated that they focused on metalinguistic met·a·lin·guis·tic
Of or relating to a metalanguage or to metalinguistics.
meta·lin·guis awareness with children, playing sound games with children and encouraging them to recognise rhyme rhyme or rime, the most prominent of the literary artifices used in versification. Although it was used in ancient East Asian poetry, rhyme was practically unknown to the ancient Greeks and Romans. , sounds and letters.
Literacies of technology, media and popular culture
Most families recognised television, computer games and Game-boys as rich sources of literacy, with many parents identifying technology as important to their child's literacy learning. Television programs and computer games were seen as significant aids to oral and written language development, particularly for children learning English as a second language. Many families recognised the role of popular culture in literacy learning as children read toy catalogues, advertisements, toy packaging and logos.
However, in contrast to parents' views about popular culture and computers, staff were less enthusiastic about the impact of popular culture on children's literacy development, as is evident in the following comment:
I think one example, watching TV, things they watch at home, they might come in and say power ranger, we don't allow power rangers at preschool ... this is something they are allowed to do at home but we don't allow them to do it here.
Teachers' perspectives of literacy tended to focus more narrowly on book-based literacy in English. Although teachers did include environmental print in definitions of literacy they did not include technology and media literacies Media literacy is the process of accessing, analyzing, evaluating and creating messages in a wide variety of media modes, genres and forms. It uses an inquiry-based instructional model that encourages people to ask questions about what they watch, see and read. . The use of television and video was believed by many teachers to be detrimental det·ri·men·tal
Causing damage or harm; injurious.
detri·men to literacy development. Some staff held deficit views of children's experiences with television at home as expressed in the following comments:
I'm not sure how much literacy is supported in the home. Television comes into it a bit too much I think. A lot of children are read to before they go to sleep but a lot just watch TV or just have to sit down and shut up.
In contrast to staff views of television, the parents were clear about the impact of the media on their children's language and literacy learning. In the Arabic focus group, the parents were highly aware of their children's English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations. learning as they talked about the influence of television programs such as Sesame Street Sesame Street is an American educational children's television series for preschoolers and is a pioneer of the contemporary educational television standard, combining both education and entertainment. and Playschool.
You'd get them a video to teach spelling, talking, I mean, they'd explain on the video, how they read ... how they speak, for example cartoons, they speak and they write for them what they're saying, so they learn how to write and read. ... and when she reached one year [the daughter], she used to like to watch television. Playschool, she used to sing, she was only one, she used to know all the [songs] and then, by two she knew the ABC just by watching Sesame Street and Playschool ...
The data from ECLLS indicate that while television and videos were available in many settings they were not utilised as a means to support language and literacy development. Field notes suggest that computers were often not available for children's use and when they were available, staff did not often interact with children when engaged in these experiences. One staff member commented that:
We made a positive choice not to have a computer--due to the limited time for the sessions. Children need the important social interaction skills rather than computers. [They] get plenty of that [computers] at school so we focus on other issues.
Dominant discursive dis·cur·sive
1. Covering a wide field of subjects; rambling.
2. Proceeding to a conclusion through reason rather than intuition. literacy practices
While interview data suggest that some teachers were aware and supportive of children's diverse literacy expertise developed at home and in the community, many teachers did not fully understand the multiple ways that children experience literacy at home and in the community. As a result, these experiences of literacy were not fully integrated into the setting.
The importance of book-based and bedtime bedtime Sleep disorders The time when one attempts to fall asleep–as distinguished from the time when one gets into bed literacy practices was apparent in the interviews in which staff expressed concerns based on children's lack of exposure to books in the home.
... maybe a handful out of all the kids in my class ... might be read to overnight or not at all. And usually what they get here is all that they get. ... a lot of the parents have the mentality that they don't need to read a book to the children, that's the teacher's role, not the parents, and if they don't pick it up by the time they're four, it doesn't matter `cause they will learn it at school, and so I try to get them to even be able to read a book properly, like hold it up the correct way and turn the pages correctly and know the picture and the writing ...
The relative disregard for possible literacy practices in languages other than English LOTE or Languages Other Than English is the name given to language subjects at Australian schools. LOTEs have often historically been related to the policy of multiculturalism, and tend to reflect the predominant non-English languages spoken in a school's local area, the that might occur in the home was evident in one site. The following comment is indicative of lack of tolerance about Arabic language Arabic language
Ancient Semitic language whose dialects are spoken throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Though Arabic words and proper names are found in Aramaic inscriptions, abundant documentation of the language begins only with the rise of Islam, whose main texts print conventions, i.e. reading text from right to left.
... a lot of them go to Lebanese or Arabic schools as well as here. And I think that that could be confusing to them, because we have lots of problems with them writing back to front. Like what we suppose is back to front to us. I do think that they do get confused with that, because they have to still write that way when a lot of it is back to front and you have got to train them to do the other way around.
Universal assumptions about literacy practices based on English literacy conventions seem to result in deficit assumptions of children's diverse literacy experiences. These assumptions were also applied to the children's overall literacy competence as is apparent in the following quote:
... and so you can see those who have been read to, `cause they treat the books with more care or respect ... and the others they've never seen books, they don't care, they throw them [around].
Many parents expressed concerns about the lack of time available to spend assisting their child's literacy and believed that the prior-to-school setting should be playing a more prominent role. Settings were expected to be a place where children were strengthening their literacy, however parents indicated that they did not believe that this was happening. Rather it was felt that staff underestimated what the children could do and did not place enough emphasis on literacy. Writing in particular was seen as an area that was not given enough attention. This is reflected in comments from parents such as:
You try to teach them the alphabet stuff at home but it is not reinforced in the preschool. We were from Hong Kong and I know from four years old they already started writing and it's very common for them to write some simple words--they are capable of doing that
Interview data suggest that while some teachers engage in ongoing dialogue with parents about children's literacy development and parents' expectations, parents' views were often dismissed by teachers as `pushy' or `paranoid'. Teachers made comments such as:
It's very frustrating. Parents want us to teach reading and writing--and we have to try to explain that this is not developmentally appropriate. They don't believe us when we tell them that it is not what children should be learning now.
Parents' perspectives on literacy which were most often dismissed by staff involved cultural differences. As a result, a number of parents expressed lack of confidence in raising issues with staff:
My daughter was three-and-a-half and she already knows how to do her letters and they [teachers] told me that I was being forceful and I wasn't supposed to do that, and I say `why' and she said `because you are forcing your child to write'. And I felt bad.
Communication between staff and families about literacy
Parents viewed communication with teachers as essential and valued opportunities to share information with staff. Teacher-parent interviews, sharing of developmental profiles A developmental profile is a standardized psychodynamic diagnostic instrument for assessing clinically relevant personality characteristics. It is based on the clinical observation that adult personality characteristics often bear a considerable similarity to the behavioural and samples of children's work and progress journals were identified by parents as positive communication strategies used by teachers. The importance of opportunities to raise issues with teachers informally was also highlighted. Some settings were reported to have strategies in place to enable them to find out about the literacy experiences of children at home and in the communities. This was particularly evident in Aboriginal communities where it was believed that it was essential that staff were well informed regarding cultural practices and expectations.
The ECLLS rating scale and interviews with staff indicated that many settings had a variety of strategies in place to share information with parents. These included parent meetings, newsletters and parent-teacher conferences, as well as informal communication. Although many settings rated highly on communication methods on the ECLLS rating scale, closer examination of communication practices reveals that much of the communication is one-way, with teachers providing information to parents about the setting's program and telling them what they should be doing at home, rather than a two-way exchange of information.
In focus-group discussions parents were clearly able to articulate the home and community literacy experiences and progress of their children. However they were not generally given the opportunity to provide this information to teachers. Few teachers had established mechanisms to find out about literacy practices in children's homes, instead making assumptions about children's home experiences based on observations or intuition intuition, in philosophy, way of knowing directly; immediate apprehension. The Greeks understood intuition to be the grasp of universal principles by the intelligence (nous), as distinguished from the fleeting impressions of the senses. . Teachers made comments such as:
I've never done anything formal, there's never been any survey of information, but the parents will offer things of what they do ... some of them don't say anything.
Interview and focus-group data suggest that in most cases teachers waited for parents to offer information rather than actively seeking it. As a result, teachers were well informed about the home literacy practices of children with confident parents who were articulate in English and had the time and opportunity to share information with teachers. Teachers were generally not well informed about home literacy practices where parents and the teacher were from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and parents did not feel confident to initiate communication.
In focus-group discussions, many parents expressed concerns about the lack of time to discuss issues with staff. However, staff often misinterpreted this as parents being disinterested Free from bias, prejudice, or partiality.
A disinterested witness is one who has no interest in the case at bar, or matter in issue, and is legally competent to give testimony. . This was reflected in teachers' comments such as:
Our programs are up on the wall but I don't think many of them bother to read it. Okay, in my experience parents only really want to know what they want to know, when they want to know it.
Congruence and incongruence in·con·gru·ent
1. Not congruent.
In a few cases there were collaborations between settings and families and congruence between the home and the setting. This generally was the case where families and staff shared the same cultural and/or linguistic background, for example in many of the Aboriginal settings visited. Where staff and families came from different backgrounds congruence was less likely to occur and staff valued their own expertise while undervaluing families' experiences, languages and literacies. However, in some cases genuine collaborations involving two-way exchange of information and negotiation resulted when staff valued parents' input and recognised that families had much valuable information to contribute about their child's expertise with literacy.
In settings where congruence was evident, teachers had developed strategies to enable parents to share information with them about family literacy This article
* Its factual accuracy is disputed.
* It needs additional references or sources for verification.
* Very few or no other articles link to this one. experiences and expectations for their children. Teachers were then able to integrate many of these home and community experiences into the setting and discuss ways of meeting expectations with families. This may involve much discussion and negotiation as teachers share information with and listen to families. In settings where this occurred, parents made comments such as: has multiple issues:
She [the teacher] always asks you what you do, remember when you go for your interview, she'll always ask you what you do at home, sort of thing, like reading or whatever. That's what my daughter's preschool has, `We want to know everything about your child so that we can shape the program. We want to know your expectations and then we will be able to talk to you about this during the year, whether you are happy with what is happening'. And they have.
In settings where there was little exchange of information, incongruence was evident. Instead of learning from parents about children's home experiences with literacy, teachers in many settings made assumptions about children's understanding of literacy based on their own, often limited, definitions of literacy. As a result many children, particularly those who were from cultural and language backgrounds different from those of the teacher, were labelled as coming from `literacy deprived' backgrounds.
While research within the last twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. has effectively contributed to how early childhood staff understand literacy learning in young children, the findings in this research suggest that early childhood staff need to go beyond traditional models of early literacy. This will ensure that meaningful and contextual literacy experiences that fully account for and acknowledge children's multiple literacies are provided. This research questions the extent to which models of traditional and emergent literacy are able to fully embrace cultural and social variations in literacy learning, so that children who experience other than dominant English speaking book-based literacy practices are not marginalised within these frameworks.
The findings also suggest that in prior-to-school settings, the disparities between what children experience at the setting and what they experience at home or in their communities result in significant disconnections between home and the setting. Consequently, opportunities for early literacy learning are somewhat limited, resulting in inequality inequality, in mathematics, statement that a mathematical expression is less than or greater than some other expression; an inequality is not as specific as an equation, but it does contain information about the expressions involved. of learning outcomes for many children from diverse social and cultural groups.
The following recommendations have emerged as a result of this study:
* Early childhood staff need to develop greater understanding of literacy as social practice in order to fully acknowledge and value the diversity of family perspectives, practices and expectations regarding literacy in our communities.
* Ongoing exchange of information and input between families and teachers about children's interests and experiences with literacy will result in more effective collaboration between families and staff.
* Staff's understanding of the impact of technology and popular culture in children's literacy development and the incorporation of these literacies into their program will result in greater opportunities for literacy learning for all children.
* The valorisation The valorization of capital is a concept created by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. The German original term is "Verwertung" (specifically Kapitalverwertung and incorporation of literacies in languages other than Standard English Stan·dard English
The variety of English that is generally acknowledged as the model for the speech and writing of educated speakers.
Usage Note: People who invoke the term Standard English and the recognition of family concerns and aspirations aspirations npl → aspiraciones fpl (= ambition); ambición f
aspirations npl (= hopes, ambition) → aspirations fpl towards their children's bilingual and bi-literacy encounters will result in meaningful and contextual learning Contextual Learning is reality-based, outside-of-the-classroom experience, within a specific context which serves as a catalyst for students to utilize their disciplinary knowledge, and which presents a forum for further formation of their personal values, faith, and professional experiences.
(1) This study was funded by the NSW Department of Community Services and the NSW Department of Education and Training. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the NSW Department of Community Service and the Department of Education and Training.
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Appendix Summary table of findings
Issues Findings from the study Models of early literacy Staff held narrow and traditional as applied views of early literacy learning in to prior-to-school their approach to early literacy settings need to go beyond education. maturationist and developmental readiness. Sociocultural perspectives The disparity between children's of literacy as social experiences at the setting and practice can offer an experiences at home or in their inclusive, equitable and communities resulted in significant critical framework for disconnections between the home and working with young children the setting. from diverse sociocultural groups. The lack of shared understapdings between staff and families about literacy results in incongruence between home and the setting for many children. Families' perspectives of Families were able to clearly and contributions to their articulate the variety of ways children's early literacy their children construct literacy experiences are relatively based knowledge, such as under-researched in bi-literacy, literacies of Australian contexts. Hence popular culture and technologies. these important contributions go unrecognised in prior to Bilingual families expressed school settings. concerns for their children's home language development. Families' perspectives and expectations about their children's early literacy learning were often disregarded. Communication between families and staff was often one-way, rather than a two-way exchange of information. In prior-to-school Children who experience `other' settings, school acquired literacies did not have English literacy is highly opportunities to extend on these valued at the expense of experiences in the setting and `other' literacies such as consequently became marginalised as literacies other than having `deficit' English, popular culture literacy practices. and literacies of technology. Staff can maximise Most families recognised that the literacy learning literacies of popular culture and opportunities by technologies were important tools in encouraging children to their children's literacy learning. critically work with and In contrast, staff were less talk about how they enthusiastic about popular culture experience texts of texts. As a result, opportunities popular culture and for children to connect literacy to technologies. these texts at the setting were limited.
Criss Jones Diaz is a lecturer lecturer A person who is primarily–if not entirely—involved in the teaching activities of an academic center, who is not expected to perform research or Pt management; in general, lectureships are non-tenured positions in the Early Childhood Division of the Faculty of Education and Languages at the University of Western Sydney. She is currently undertaking doctoral studies investigating the intersections between language retention and bilingual identities in early childhood. Her research and publication experience includes bilingualism and bi-literacy in early childhood; language and literacy development and diversity and social justice issues.
Address: University of Western Sydney, Macarthur, Campbelltown, NSW 2560
Leonie Arthur is Arthur I, 1187–1203?, duke of Brittany (1196–1203?), son of Geoffrey, fourth son of Henry II of England and Constance, heiress of Brittany. Arthur, a posthumous child, was proclaimed duke in 1196, and an invasion by his uncle King Richard I of England was currently a lecturer in the Early Childhood Division of the Faculty of Education and Languages at the University of Western Sydney, Macarthur. Her teaching and research interests are in language and literacy, Aboriginal perspectives and social justice issues in early childhood education.
Address: University of Western Sydney, Macarthur, Campbelltown, NSW 2560
Bronwyn Beecher is a lecturer in the Early Childhood Division of the Faculty of Education and Languages at the University of Western Sydney, Macarthur. Her research and teaching interests lie in the areas of language and literacy learning at home, communities and early childhood settings; planning and management practices and active learning for children and adults in early childhood education.
Address: University of Western Sydney, Macarthur, Campbelltown, NSW 2560
Margaret McNaught is a lecturer in early childhood education at Macquarie University Location
University publications and material indicate that its campus is located in the suburb of North Ryde, although the Geographical Names Board of NSW indicates it is located in the suburb of Macquarie Park. The University has its own postcode: 2109. . Her research and teaching interests include language and literacy for children with literacy needs, and reading recovery programs.
Address: Macquarie University, Ryde, NSW 2109