Creating early language education affordances in two pre-primary education classrooms




early language education, language learning affordances, pedagogical translanguaging, pre-primary education


Recently, interest in language education in the early childhood education context has increased in research, curricula, and practice. This study contributes to this field by examining what kind of early language education (ELE) affordances are provided in Finland in two pre-primary classrooms, with two teachers, one using English and one using Swedish as a target language in the classroom. The data consist of video recordings of teaching, observation notes, and interviews with the teachers. The analysis using qualitative reflexive thematic analysis is informed by van Lier’s (2004) and Aronin and Singleton’s (2012) theorisation of affordances. The findings suggest that material affordances included using songs, stories, and pictures. Pedagogically, the teachers combined other curriculum contents with ELE and both shared the objective of implementing playful and action-based ELE, although neither teacher actively collaborated with their team of educators in planning or implementing ELE in practice. The social affordances provided for children by the teachers included promoting a positive atmosphere, pedagogical translanguaging through the teachers’ own use of languages, and creating opportunities for the children to become familiar with and learn the target language. The teachers also enabled social affordances produced by the children in form of their active participation, sharing ideas, and inventing novel ways to approach language education and peer collaboration. The findings offer insights into practices in ELE, the importance of varying ELE affordances for children’s learning and the value of integrating pedagogical translanguaging with whole-day pedagogy.


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