304 – Revealing the embodied and material nature of plurilingual children’s engagement in science

Presentation - ECV2022-304

Revealing the embodied and material nature of plurilingual children’s engagement in science

Sara Wilmes, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg (sara.wilmes@uni.lu)
Christina Siry, The University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg (christina.siry@uni.lu)

Background: This research seeks to valorise the complexity of young children’s engagement in science. Recent literature on interactions in early childhood classrooms has provided insights into the multimodal ways children engage in science. Yet often analysis places verbal communication at the forefront, similar to many instructional approaches. Prioritising verbal participation risks marginalising the embodied, material ways children engage, especially important for those learning the language(s) of instruction.

Aim: We will share analysis of students’ science investigationsin our national context to highlight the embodied and material nature of young children’s explorations.

Method: Through our qualitative research in plurilingual early childhood classrooms in Luxembourg, we have arrived at a methodology grounded in sociocultural views, of multimodal interaction analysis. This analysis affords us opportunities to examine a range material and embodied resources children draw upon during science investigations. Data including classroom videos, digital photos, and interviews with students and teachers were analysed from several classrooms.

Results: Episodes from one trilingual early childhood classroom show how multimodal views of students’ engagement reveal the complex ways students engage in science practices. Instruction in this classroom took place in Luxembourgish, one of three national Languages, yet all students had highly diverse communicative repertories and spoke at least one additional language at home. The insights revealed are key for plurilingual students who draw upon embodied and material resources when engaging in science.

Conclusions: Multimodal interaction analysis shines a light on young children’s embodied and material resources, which allows us to understand the role of open pedagogical structures that support their use. We will discuss how considering the ways children move and interact can open spaces for engagement for all children.

Implications for children and families: Engaging through embodied interaction with materials and science phenomena in open-ended ways can provide space for young children to make new meanings.

Implications for practitioners: Science is an embodied practice. Providing space for young children to engage with science phenomena and materials in open-ended ways can support meaning-making and serve as an equity-oriented approach to science education.

Funding: Luxembourg National Research Fund and University of Luxembourg

Key words: education, qualitative methods, plurilingualism, multilingualism, early-childhood education, multimodal

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

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