Promoting global awareness is commonly cited as a main benefit of early foreign language education; however, little research backs this claim. This study explores a partial Spanish immersion preschool and how it shapes young children’s global awareness and knowledge of foreign languages and cultures. The study used a series of games, activities, and interviews to address the following three aspects of the classroom: (1) foreign language activities and language use, (2) how global awareness was portrayed by students and teachers, and (3) the beliefs, goals, and motivations of parents who chose to enroll their children there. The frameworks of translingualism and global education informed analysis of classroom observations, activities with children, and interviews with parents and teachers.
Findings indicated that children did show signs of early learning related to global awareness, though language and culture were not always the primary goals for parents and teachers at the school. Children’s literature and games allowed children to express their views and understanding about their learning about Spanish and other cultures in the classroom. They were able to talk about speaking Spanish in school and knew some words and phrases learned through exposure from the teachers in the classroom. Parents and members of the staff expressed their beliefs in the value of early second language exposure; however, primary needs of the children such as keeping them safe and developing a nurturing environment were always the priority. The findings will inform future development of language immersion programs for young children and give directors of such programs insights into what parents may hope for their children to learn regarding language and other cultural instruction.
|Commitee:||Adomat, Donna, McMullen, Mary, Nyikos, Martha|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Foreign language education, Early childhood education|
|Keywords:||Early childhood education, Foreign language education, Global awareness, Language immersion, Spanish language education|
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