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Bligh, CA (2012)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
This briefing draws from longitudinal Doctoral research (Bligh, 2011) to re-examine the emergent stage of English language acquisition, the silent period, through the experiences of two early years bilingual learners. Historical understandings of Vygotsky (1986) provide the platform through which sociocultural learning theory is applied in relation to the silent period. Legitimate peripheral participation (Lave and Wenger, 1991), is examined as a workable concept through which to explore the initial learning trajectory of an emergent bilingual learner whilst negotiating participation within, through and beyond an early years community of practice. The initial research employed multi-method ethnographic approach to data gathering, including participant observations, unstructured interviews with monolingual participants, participant narratives and significant auto-ethnographic accounts. In this briefing the researcher focuses upon ‘gaze following’ (Flewitt, 2005) as an adjunct to participant observations. The findings are revealed through a two stage analytic process. Data is initially funnelled through thematic analysis, (Braun and Clarke, 2006) and tested out against sociocultural theorising. The deductive process highlights nine vignettes which present the silent period as a crucial time for learning. One professional narrative account and one significant vignette are examined in this briefing. Examining the silent period through a sociocultural lens reveals the initial stage of language acquisition as a significant, but lesser acknowledged contribution to learning in the early years community of practice. Key words: bilingual; silent period; legitimate peripheral participation; sociocultural; ethnographic; participation.
  • The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    • Bergman R. (2013) Treatment for Children with Selective Mutism: An Integrative Behavioral Approach. Oxford University Press.
    • Bligh, C. (2011) (Doctoral thesis) The Silent Experiences of Young Bilingual Learners: A Small Scale Sociocultural Exploration. CREET: The Open University.
    • Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, pp.77-101.
    • Department for Education (2012) School Consensus. Available from:
    • http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/schooladmin/ims/datacollectio ns/schoolcensus [Accessed 1 October 2012].
    • Clark, A. and Moss, P. (2001) Listening to Young Children: the Mosaic Approach. London: National Children's Bureau.
    • Clarke, P. (1996) Investigating second language acquisition in preschools. Ph.D. dissertation, Latrobe University, Australia. In: Clarke, P. (2009) Supporting Children Learning English as a Second Language in the Early Years (birth to six years). Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.
    • Cline, T.and Baldwin, S. (2004) Selective Mutism in Children. (2nd Edition.) London and Philadelphia: Whurr.
    • Conteh, J. (2003) Succeeding in diversity: culture, language and learning in primary classrooms. London: Trentham.
    • Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) (2008) Every Child a Talker: Guidance for Early Language Lead Practitioners Third instalment. Available from:
    • http://earlylearningconsultancy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ECAT-ThirdInstalment.pdf [Accessed on 20 October 2012].
    • Department for Education (DFE) (2012) Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2012) Department for Education (DFE-00023-2012) Available from: https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/AllPublications/Page1/ [Accessed on 10 October 2012].
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