Much more than talking: An emergent bilingual learner’s interactions in a New Zealand early childhood centre
Keywords:emergent bilingual, interaction, free play, linguistic learning
This qualitative study uses a sociocultural perspective to examine the interactions of a child from a Chinese speaking home with his peers in a New Zealand early childhood centre. He was 3 years 3 months at the time of data collection. Data were gathered in three five-minute video recordings taken over a period of three weeks during free play in a group of children. Deductive coding revealed themes of active interaction, emotion, influence, and verbal interaction. The analysis, using Hawkins’ (2004) perspectives of learning environments, indicated that the use of culturally inclusive resources during free play allowed the children to create a community of learners and scaffold social and linguistic learning. The teacher chose to observe these interactions. One implication is that free play in an early childhood education environment without direct teacher guidance can be an important part of facilitating the learning of emergent bilingual children.
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