Published on 24/12/12 at 22:47:49 GMT by Redaksjonen
Language-minority children can improve their majority language skills when they are allowed to develop their own mother tongue, says linguist and lecturer Elena Tkachenko at the University of Oslo and Akershus.
Tkachenko believes that kindergartens should be better at using the language skills of their multi-lingual staff.
The expertise of multi-lingual staff in kindergartens in Norway should be used to enhance kindergarten language environment, and children's language skills also in the Norwegian language, says linguist and lecturer Elena Tkachenko at the University of Oslo and Akershus.
- The Norwegian language skills of language-minority children are improved when they are allowed to develop their mother tongue. Language competence of minority employees in kindergartens should be utilized more, says Tkachenko.
Tkachenko studied the daily linguistic challenges of language minority employed as kindergartens in kindergartens in Norway. She has interviewed pedagogical leaders in kindergartens with many immigrant employees in Oslo.
Our results show that the kindergartens leaders know too little about the assistants' background and language. The results of the interviews show that challenges which are often associated with poor Norwegian competence of employees is about ways to communicate that are not working optimally.
Language Researcher and Lecturer Elena Tkachenko, photo by Sonja Balci for HiOA
Tkachenko believes that it is a pity that educational leaders in kindergartens do not use the language assistants more as multilingual resources in the nursery.
- The challenges related to the Norwegian language take the focus away from the multilingual resource offered by the assistants. The whole kindergarten could get a linguistic experience with an assistant telling for example fairy tales in Urdu. When we tell fairy tales, we use both body language and view photos. Kids in kindergarten age are very curious about the language, and they can get a linguistic experience, even if not all the words are understood, says Tkachenko.
Tkachenko believes that it is important for children to experience the linguistic diversity in kindergartens, since it has a positive impact both on attitudes, identity development and metalinguistic awareness.
- Metalinguistic awareness is about language as a phenomenon which is brought into focus, and the children begin to reflect on the different aspects of language, says Tkachenko.
Tkachenko refers to findings from several studies that show the importance of the mother tongue for the learning of the majority language as a second language: - Language skills that children learn in their mother tongue are transferred to the second language. For example, how to participate in conversation, what you can do with language, and how to use it. - A well-developed conceptual content in their native language is an important support for learning a new language. Development of concepts in the native language makes it easier to find a new label to the familiar concepts in a new language.
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