(Re)defining Success in Language Learning: Positioning, Participation and Young Emergent Bilinguals at School

Author: Katie A. Bernstein

Related Formats:
Hardback, Ebook(PDF), Ebook(EPUB)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
234mm x 156mm

Request an inspection copy

Price: £29.95
Price: $39.95
Price: €34.95

This book follows four emergent bilingual students in an English-medium pre-kindergarten in the US as they navigate the social and linguistic demands of school. It illustrates how students' differing classroom social positions shaped their participation in interaction and, in turn, their English language learning across a school year. With a unique focus on both processes and outcomes, the book highlights language strategies that are overlooked if the focus is solely on one language or on group participation, and it emphasizes the importance of assessment choice in shaping which learners appear to be successful. It is a powerful argument for recognising the translingual and multimodal abilities of learners, even in education which is officially English-medium and monolingual.

Through close and textured observation, this book takes us into children's worlds where language learning is closely linked to social relations. Its frank engagement with theoretical and analytical dilemmas is fresh and fascinating, and points to new areas of study. The book has a rich, intensive ethnographical approach, and offers a beautifully rendered portrait of processes children encounter in their classroom every day.

Asta Cekaite, Linköping University, Sweden

Absolutely fantastic! Everything about this book is compelling – the lucidly formulated case for a social view of language learning, the unfolding account of this perspective in Bernstein's original research in a multilingual pre-K classroom, and, most of all, the stories of the four four-year-old refugees, Padma, Hande, Rashmi, and Kritika, and their distinct journeys into the English language. This book is a must-read for anyone who cares about language education.

Betsy Rymes, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Katie A. Bernstein is Assistant Professor of Early Childhood and English Language Learner Education, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University, USA. Her research focuses on the language and literacy learning of multilingual children and the contexts in which their learning takes place.


Chapter 1: Participation in Interaction and Language Learning: A Layered Approach

Chapter 2: Language and Language Learning as Social Practice

Chapter 3: From Bhutan, Uzbekistan, and Berkeley to River City: Arrivals and Approaches

Chapter 4: Adults as Context-makers: Parents' and Teachers' Belief About Language

Chapter 5: The Social Field of Classroom Three: Policies and Practices

Chapter 6: Becoming Students, Becoming Speakers: Social Positioning and Learning in Classroom Three

Chapter 7: Who Learned What?: Three Perspectives on Success in Language Learning

Chapter 8: Beyond English: Multimodal, Multilingual Repertoires at Work

Chapter 9: The Edge Has its Advantages: Participation and Learning on the Periphery

Chapter 10: Concluding Thoughts: Success Stories


Postgraduate, Research / Professional
« Back