Linguistic landscapes (physical and virtual) of emergent bilingual 4 to 6-year-olds in Aotearoa New Zealand. (2021)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
Language, literacy and learning occur across all environments (both physical and virtual) and across entire linguistic repertoires of emergent bilingual young children. An important way educators and policy-makers can value and support bilingual and multilingual children’s use of all their languages is to include their language(s) and related cultural artefacts in their linguistic landscape (physical and virtual). This study used the Bioecological Systems Framework (Bronfenbrenner, 2001), in particular the Process-Person-Context-Time (PPCT) model (Bronfenbrenner, 2005; Bronfenbrenner & Evans, 2000; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006), to illustrate the proximal processes associated with the linguistic landscape (LL) and virtual linguistic landscape (VLL) that interconnect the home environment and educational setting. Understanding the proximal processes associated with the LL of educational settings aims to inform LL design as a mechanism to influence how languages are perceived, supported and used. Three in-depth illustrative case studies are presented to answer the overarching research question: How do the linguistic landscapes of educational settings support the presence and use of minority languages of emergent bilingual 4 to 6-year-olds in Aotearoa New Zealand? The two points of data collection, approximately one year apart, consisted of photos, screenshots, videos of the LL, interviews with teachers and caregivers, review of associated documents, and a researcher’s journal. Findings indicate the majority language of each educational setting was most visible in the LL. Visibility of Māori and other minority languages aligned with the positioning of minority languages within the national curriculum guidelines and its commitment to work within the bilingual context of Aotearoa New Zealand. Māori language visibility in all educational settings increased in quantity and complexity over one year, while other less visible minority languages increased by a lesser extent. Children’s digital technology use was limited in all educational settings and educators used the VLL to mediate bidirectional interactions that networked the microsystems of the educational setting and home environment, which supported the development of relationships between teachers and caregivers, and emerging presence and use of minority languages by teachers. This networking strengthened a triadic approach between the LL, people and their contexts, to sustain children’s emerging bilingual language development. Thus, designing the linguistic landscape (physical and virtual) of educational settings based on the development of relationships, networks and empowerment, can interweave minority languages within the educational settings to support emergent bilingual children’s holistic development in order to mobilise their entire linguistic repertoires across contexts. The teachers expressed a need for further support to engage with minority languages and cultures in the physical and virtual landscapes of educational settings. Recommendations for LL design, policy, theory and future research in the field of LL in educational settings include incorporating the virtual linguistic landscape and the use of the PPCT model. The PPCT model is an effective framework to understand children’s holistic development within networked contexts and can illustrate the LL as a mechanism for developing relationships that mediate proximal processes to support the presence and use of minority languages, within and beyond the educational settings.
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