Families Learn Together: Reconceptualizing Linguistic Diversity as a Resource

Souto-Manning, Mariana
June 2006
Early Childhood Education Journal;Jun2006, Vol. 33 Issue 6, p443
Academic Journal
While a growing number of diverse children are entering U.S. schools, misconceptions remain regarding language acquisition. Analysis of weekly interactions in an urban children’s playgroup in the South reveals how the concept of language diversity as a deficit is still widespread. Mothers of young children still believed that efforts to learn multiple languages diminish a child’s ability to learn other things. Conversely, research points to multilingualism as a resource rather than a deficit. Findings indicate that interactions among mothers and children, mediated by the researcher, combined with observations of one child’s bilingual development allowed mothers and young children to rethink their beliefs regarding linguistic diversity. They began recognizing that bilingualism/multilingualism adds to the lives of all children.


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