The Perks of Being Peripheral: English Learning and Participation in a Preschool Classroom Network of Practice

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Abstract

This study follows four English language learners as they make their way across their first year of pre-kindergarten in an English-medium school in the United States. It investigates, first, how each student participated, and was positioned, in the classroom network of practice, and, second, what kinds of English growth each student experienced between the fall and spring. Using a layering of epistemological approaches and methods-including tools from ethnography, discourse analysis, and social network analysis, as well as corpus analyses of students' authentic talk-this study explores the idea that central participation in classroom interaction will lead to greater opportunities to learn and that these opportunities will then translate into language gains. Findings indicate, however, that while centrality and increasingly full participation in the classroom network of practice did mean different ways of interacting, a more central place did not afford greater language growth in measures of vocabulary and syntactic complexity. Additionally, this study found that peripherality offered potential affordances for language learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTESOL Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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