Ethical and Methodological Issues in Researching Young Language Learners in School Contexts
Chapter 7: Artefactual narratives of multilingual identity: methodological and ethical considerations in researching children performance
Chapter 10: Teachers’ Image of the Child in an ELT Context
Book Description

This book focuses on ethical and methodological issues faced by researchers working with young language learners in formal school contexts. It uncovers and explicitly discusses a range of ethical dilemmas, challenges and experiences that researchers have encountered and grappled with, in studies of all kinds from large scale, experimental studies to ethnographic studies focused on just a handful of children. The chapters are written by researchers working with children in different classroom contexts around the world and highlight how ethical dilemmas and tensions take on a complex form in child-focused research, requiring researchers to pay particular attention to the social and cultural norms of the different communities within which children are educated as well as their school-based experiences. The book comprises three sections, with the first part focused on involving children as active participants in research; part two on ethical challenges in multilingual contexts and part three on links between teacher education and researching children. The book includes a critical discussion of the opportunities and challenges associated with applying the UNCRC (1989) document in second language research with children which will be of use to any researcher working in this area.

Chapter Descriptions
Chapter 7: Artefactual narratives of multilingual identity: methodological and ethical considerations in researching children performance by Nayr Ibrahim

In research with children, material tools offer interesting avenues for investigating early multilingualism through the creative ways in which children communicate. From an ethical perspective, this methodological approach has the potential to position children as knowledgeable and active agents in the research process, thus respecting their insights into their experience of multilingual living. This chapter presents a study that included artefacts, that is, physical objects and children’s multimodal texts, as data collection tools. This study elicited from the participants, thirteen trilingual children living in Paris, their perceptions of identity in multilingual contexts. The overall methodological approach included children and parent interviews, children’s writing, drawings and physical objects. This ensemble aimed to give children multiple modes of exploring their emotional and experiential connections to their languages. In this paper, I focus on the methodological and ethical implications of asking children to choose objects to represent their languages. The inclusion of objects added a material dimension to the study and acknowledged the importance of concrete processes in helping children engage with the research process.

Chapter 10: Teachers’ Image of the Child in an ELT Context  by Gail Ellis and Nayr Ibrahim

The ELT (English Language Teaching) profession is largely based on adult perspectives of language teaching, learning, teacher education and how materials should be conceptualized. The unprecedented expansion of teaching English to children (Enever, 2011, 2019) now raises the issues of, not only age-appropriate methodologies and materials (Cameron, 2003), but also the status of the child. Only recently have attempts been made to integrate a rights perspective to TEYL (Teaching English to Young Learners) by researchers, such as, Pinter (2011), Pinter and Zandian (2012), Pinter, Kuchah and Smith (2013) looking at research with children rather than on children, and Ellis and Ibrahim (2015) focusing on giving children a voice in the EFL classroom by developing learning to learn strategies with children. This study, based on an online survey, aimed to elicit from teachers of young learners a wider range of views of the child and of childhood, and investigate the type of relationships they establish with children in the classroom.

Funke Omidire
University of Pretoria
The book is an excellent resource for anyone contemplating research focused on young linguistically diverse learners, and those in multilingual classrooms. Not only are readers given critical insights into issues of social justice, marginalisation and ethics to guide the research process but children’s rights are also highlighted for a better understanding of possible areas for concern.
Lourdes Ortega
Georgetown University
This book is a true gift and indispensable reading. How do young children become co-investigators of their own language education? What are the legal, cultural, and ethical ramifications of such a change, across different countries and continents? Readers are in for a fascinating journey that will make them rethink the very notions of ‘childhood’ and of ‘research’.
David Little
Trinity College, Dublin
With contributions from nine countries, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to the ethical and methodological challenges faced by researchers when they work with young language learners. Each chapter bristles with insights that are as relevant to teaching and learning as they are to research. Essential reading for language teachers, teacher educators and student teachers.
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