Children’s cross-cultural literacy experiences in three worlds: Enacting agency
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The literacy experiences of a small group of culturally-diverse children were examined in this study. The experiences, too, were diverse – and influential. The children, five girls aged four – five years, attended the same Preschool, in an inner suburb of a large city in Australia. Data were gathered at home, during the last two months of the preschool year and, for three of the children, during writing sessions in the first six months of Year One. Vygotskian ideas on meaning-making were integrated with other perspectives on development, literacy learning and teaching from a sociocultural, theoretical framework. The purpose was to identify dimensions of children’s literacy experiences and provide insight into ways in which children negotiate culture, literacy, and schooling, challenge current perspectives, contribute to research knowledge and determine how teachers might take account of cultural diversity in classrooms to better support children in literacy learning. A grounded theory method was employed using multiple data collection tools and techniques in both home and school contexts. Data were coded using a process of constant comparison to identify features, characteristics and dimensions of children’s literacy experiences. Independent inter-rater agreement on the coding of features at home, Preschool and school was 98.4%. Findings included a variety of values, beliefs and perspectives amongst parents and between teachers in relation to literacy learning, roles and relationships, and home-school connections. Children’s literacy experiences at home differed in terms of nature, frequency and resources and experiences in each of the settings were very different. A major finding was that children acted as agents of their own learning: mixing, transferring, trying out, adapting, and experimenting to determine appropriate practices and make decisions including when to exercise choice to enact agency. These assimilation and accommodation adaptations were identified as akin to code-switching, labelled as culture-switching, and identified as areas requiring further research.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Cognition, Language and Special Education
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