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Homework challenges for children with immigrant backgrounds: From a literacy- and translanguaging perspective
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6869-2205
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies.
2017 (English)In: Learning and education: material conditions and consequences, 2017Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Research topic/Aim:

This paper targets at particular homework challenges for children with immigrant backgrounds going to schools where a minority of students are multilingual. The research topic deals with young children living in Sweden and their experiences of doing homework; experiences that hold different social and cultural information. 

In an international context, a significant body of research has addressed factors associated with homework completion, but previous studies have seldom focused on children with immigrant backgrounds.

The wider discourse on homework suggests its importance for achievement in school and that good parents help their children with their homework. The primary research objective addressed in this study was to understand what conditions and means of action are reflected in relation to homework activities among young children with immigrant backgrounds.

Theoretical frameworks:

Drawing on the concept of translanguaging (García and Wei, 2014), the study examines how children make use of all they know about languages in homework activities and in literacy achievement. Canagarajah (2013) argues that it is important for teachers to help their students to negotiate their understanding by encourage them to use all languages they know. In the work of Jim Cummins (2007; 2015), he suggests that if multilingual children get the opportunity to use all their languages to engage in literacy activities, this is linked to higher achievement in reading comprehension. This study examines how children’s languages are incorporated in homework activities.

Methodology/research design:

Based on data originally collected for two dissertation studies on young children with immigrant backgrounds in Swedish schools, the two datasets were here reanalyzed with a specific focus on homework activities linked to teachers’ observable work in the classrooms and as reported in interviews with children.

Findings:

The project brings new perspectives on experiences of homework activities from the view of young children with immigrant backgrounds living in non-urban communities in Sweden. The results show that they often feel demanded to do a large amount of homework to keep up with the expectations of their teachers and parents and that homework activities often involve all languages they know. The study discusses children’s experiences of homework in terms of a Swedishness project, a family project and a school project: three interwoven and sometimes separate identity projects.

Relevance for Nordic Educational Research:

This study extends literature on children with immigrant backgrounds by exploring homework activities from their own perspective and by challenging a traditional monocultural and monolingual view on homework completion in school. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Humanities and the Arts Educational Sciences
Research subject
Swedish as a Second Language
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-65490OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-65490DiVA, id: diva2:1169987
Conference
NERA (The Nordic Educational Research Association). 23 - 25 Mars 2017, Köpenhamn. Danmark.
Available from: 2018-01-02 Created: 2018-01-02 Last updated: 2018-01-02Bibliographically approved

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Ljung Egeland, BirgittaDuek, Susanne

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