Early Language Learning: Complexity and Mixed Methods

Edited by: Janet Enever, Eva Lindgren

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Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
234mm x 156mm

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This is the first collection of research studies to explore the potential for mixed methods to shed light on foreign or second language learning by young learners in instructed contexts. It brings together recent studies undertaken in Cameroon, China, Croatia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania and the UK. Themes include English as an additional language, English as a second or foreign language, French as a modern foreign language, medium of instruction controversies and content and language integrated learning (CLIL). The volume reviews the choice of research methodologies for early language learning research in schools with a particular focus on mixed methods and proposes that in the multidisciplinary context of early language learning this paradigm allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the evidence than other approaches might provide. The collection will be of interest to in-service and trainee teachers of young language learners, graduate students in the field of TESOL and early language learning, teacher educators, researchers and policymakers.

This is an exciting edited volume for graduate students, researchers and decision-makers interested in early language teaching and learning. The chapters present research conducted in 13 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America and discuss English and French as a foreign, second and additional language. The studies offer insights into innovative uses of mixed methods to examine literacy development, individual differences and a range of other aspects of early language learning.

Marianne Nikolov, University of Pécs, Hungary

This illuminating volume focuses attention on an under-researched field, the complex nature of young children's language learning. Reference to longitudinal studies which illustrate the dynamic nature of the learning process and its fluctuations is particularly welcome, as is the novel use of mixed methods research in many different settings worldwide.

Anne-Marie de Mejía, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

This book makes a timely and significant contribution to the field of early language learning research. Firstly, it presents a wide range of global studies illuminating critical areas such as factors influencing motivation and learning outcomes at different ages. Secondly, it provides an innovative focus on mixed methods research design enriching the scope and depth of insights into the complex and dynamic nature of young children's language learning and paving the way for future studies in this rapidly expanding field.

Carol Read, Primary ELT specialist and Former President of IATEFL, Spain

This publication is an exciting development and the importance of this book and its value for future MMR and researchers in ELL and primary English teacher education must be stressed. Enever and Lindgren have created the necessary stepping stone to finding a 'natural home' (306) for this research field so that expertise can not only be shared but also further developed.

ELT Journal, 2018

In finishing this collection the reader comes away with a much better understanding of current topics and issues in ELL and MMR. The employment of both observational, as well as more experimental methods provides a holistic picture of the current state of research on ELL. With contributions on a wide range of disciplines (e.g., linguistics, social, cognitive), it serves as a rich source of information for anyone interested in ELL and teaching, MMR and multi-disciplinary research

System (2018)

Janet Enever is Professor of Language Teaching and Learning at Umeå University, Sweden and Visiting Professor at University of Reading, UK. Her research interests include early language learning, language policy, globalisation and language learning, and pre-school language learning.

Eva Lindgren is Associate Professor of Language Teaching and Learning at Umeå University, Sweden. Her research interests include early language learning, literacy, minority/indigenous education and multilingualism.


List of Contributors

List of Figures

List of Tables

1. Eva Lindgren and Janet Enever: Introduction: Mixed Methods In Early Language Learning Research – Examining Complexity


2. Agatha J. Van Ginkel: Early Language Learning in Complex Linguistic Settings, Insights from Africa

3. Patricia Driscoll: The Complexity of Cultural Learning within Early Language Learning: A Model of Good Practice                                                

4. Victoria Murphy: Literacy Development in Children with English as an Additional Language (EAL)


5. Alison Porter: Verbal Working Memory and Foreign Language Learning In English Primary Schools:  Implications for Teaching and Learning

6. Jiang Changsheng, Zhang Jie, Liang Xiaohua, Yuan Yuan and Qun Xie: Piecing Together the Jigsaw: Understanding Motivations of English Learners in Chinese Primary School through a Questionnaire and Elicited Metaphor Analysis

7. Judith Buendgens-Kosten, Ilonca Hardy and Daniela Elsner: Code-Switching Your Way to Language Learning? Receptive Code-Switching With Digital Storybooks in Early Language Learning

8. Heather Hilton: Individual Differences and English L2 Learning in Two Primary Classrooms in France

9. Karmen Pižorn: Content and Language Integrated Learning: A Panacea for Young English Language Learners?       


10. Yuko Goto Butler: The Dynamics of Motivation Development among Young Learners of English in China                                                                         

11. Lucilla Lopriore: Young Italian Learners' Foreign Language Development: A Longitudinal Perspective

12. Eva Lindgren and Janet Enever: Employing Mixed Methods for the Construction of Thick Descriptions of Early Language Learning           

13. Jelena Mihaljević Djigunović: Developmental Aspects of Early EFL Learning


14. María Del Pilar García Mayo and Ainara Imaz: Child EFL Interaction: Age, Instructional Setting and Development

15. Peter Sayer, Ruth Ban and Magdalena López De Anda: Evaluating the Educational Outcomes of an Early Foreign Language Program: The Design of an Impact Study for the Primary English Program in Mexico

16. Raphaela Porsch and Eva Wilden: The Development of a Curriculum-Based C-Test for Young EFL Learners

17. Janet Enever and Eva Lindgren Mixed Methods in Early Language Learning Research

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