This ethnographic study aims to describe the literacy development of young Japanese children learning English at an international school in Tokyo (Japan). The research participants, who were recruited from Kindergarten to 4th grade (5 to 10 years old), also participated in summer programs in British Columbia (Canada) for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 2 months. The school adopts a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach (Coyle, Hood & Marsh, 2010), within a Hundred Languages of Children of Reggio Emilia educational approach (Edwards, Gandini & Forman, 1998) and Miyazakian dialogic pedagogy (Miyazaki, 2013). The school also adopts a plurilingual approach to teaching (Lau & Van Viegen, 2020) and used linguistic landscapes as a pedagogical tool (Dagenais, Moore, Sabatier, Lamarre & Armand, 2009) to promote children's English and content learning through a series of critical inquiries. Methodological tools include classroom ethnography (Heath & Heath, 1983; Frank, Dixon & Green, 1999; Egan-Robertson & Bloome, 1998), Action Research (Wallace, 1998), as well as visual (Pink, 2009) and walking ethnography (Ingold & Vergunst, 2008) to explore the linguistic landscapes with the participants. The analyses are anchored within the theoretical concepts interconnecting plurilingualism (Marshall & Moore, 2018), multiliteracies (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009, New London Group, 1996) and language learning in an asset-oriented perspective on education that views language competence as holistic and plurilingual and intercultural awareness conducive to critical thinking (Coste, Moore & Zarate, 2009). The purpose of the thesis is to build upon the current discussion on plurilingual pedagogies, curriculum design and language instruction for K-12 children, in the context of English teaching and learning in elementary schools in Japan. It has wider implications for teacher education in English as an Additional Language (TEAL) situations.
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Thesis advisor: Moore, Daniele
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