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Title: The ‘Awakening to Languages’ approach at preschool: developing children’s communicative competence
Author: Coelho, Daniela
Andrade, Ana Isabel
Portugal, Gabriela
Keywords: Awakening to languages
Early childhood education
Language diversity
Plurilingual competence and syntactic abilities
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Abstract: This article reports a study which examined the effects of an Awakening to Languages (AtL) programme on preschool children’s language abilities. This programme aimed at exposing children to language and cultural diversity as well as promoting positive attitudes towards different languages and cultures amongst children. However, considering that the AtL approach also intends to encourage language learning, it has been said to contribute to the development of a plurilingual competence that is characterized as being richer than a communicative competence, more complex and, at the same time, more flexible. The study was carried out with 16 Portuguese preschool1 children, divided into two groups (control and experimental). An AtL intervention programme was then applied in the experimental group with which the researcher worked on a variety of multilingual activities and games for three months. A language test and a language report were used before and after the implementation of the programme to determine how the children progressed in their communicative skills, with a focus on syntax. The results indicate that the approach used had a positive impact on the children’s syntactic abilities, namely in oral comprehension, and also facilitated the development of positive attitudes towards language and cultural diversity.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1080/09658416.2018.1486407
ISSN: 0965-8416
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Appears in Collections:CIDTFF - Artigos

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