Bilingual Children’s Language and Literacy Development

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Eun-Young Kwon


If asked to name a place that typifies issues in multicultural and multilingual pedagogy, few educators worldwide would think first of New Zealand. Yet in a world of increasing globalization, where many of us are forced to put English first while striving to preserve and respect the cultural and linguistic distinctiveness of our own or our students’ ethnicities, New Zealand presents an instructive case study. Long submerged under the dominant Englishspeaking Pakeha (euro-New Zealand) culture, the indigenous language of the Maori people foundered until a recent movement for cultural recognition brought it into the foreground of national consciousness. During roughly the same period, since a 1987 change in the immigration law, New Zealand has experienced dramatic changes in its cultural and linguistic landscape. Most notably, a significant influx of Pacific islanders and Asians of various nationalities has led to the presence of a range of new cultural communities and to a major challenge for New Zealand’s schools.

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