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“You Can’t be Rich Only Doing Good Deeds”: Bilingual Kindergarteners’ Discussions About Poverty and Wealth

Abstract

This interdisciplinary study explores the intersection of economic equality, bilingual discussion, and early literacy instruction by examining Korean kindergarteners’ discussions about poverty and wealth during read-alouds. As part of a larger qualitative study, the current study was conducted in a kindergarten classroom at the Korean Language School, in the midwest of the United States. The study focused on Korean–English bilingual children’s read-alouds of picture books that dealt with poverty and wealth issues. The data were collected across four months through multiple sources, including audio/video recordings, open-ended interviews, children’s artifacts, and observational field notes. The findings suggest that bilingual discussions about children’s books on poverty and human equality in early-childhood classrooms are a medium to help children develop critical perspectives about poverty, wealth, and economic equality from an early age.

Résumé

Cette étude interdisciplinaire explore l’intersection entre égalité économique, discussion bilingue et enseignement précoce de la littératie en examinant les discussions d’enfants coréens de maternelle sur la pauvreté et la richesse au cours de lectures à voix haute. Faisant partie d’une étude qualitative plus vaste, la présente étude a été réalisée dans une maternelle de la Korean Language School (KLS, école de langue coréenne), dans le Midwest des États-Unis. L’étude s’est concentrée sur la lecture à voix haute d’albums traitant de questions de pauvreté et de richesse par des enfants bilingues, anglais - coréen. Les données ont été recueillies sur une période de quatre mois au moyen de multiples sources, dont des enregistrements audio et vidéo, des interviews ouvertes, des artefacts d’enfants et des notes d’observations de terrain. Les résultats suggèrent que les discussions bilingues en classe maternelle sur des livres pour enfants sur la pauvreté et l’égalité humaine sont un moyen d’aider les enfants à développer une perspective critique sur la pauvreté, la richesse et l’égalité économique dès le jeune âge.

Resumen

Este estudio interdisciplinario examina la intersección entre la igualdad económica, el debate bilingüe y la alfabetización temprana, a través del análisis del debate sobre pobreza y riqueza durante las sesiones de lectura en voz alta en jardines de infantes coreanos. Este estudio, que forma parte de uno cualitativo más amplio, fue llevado a cabo en un aula de jardín de infantes en la Escuela de Lengua Coreana (Korean Language School - KLS) en el medio oeste de los EE.UU. El estudio se centró en niños bilingües anglo-coreanos durante sesiones de lectura en voz alta de libros con ilustraciones que abordaban temas de pobreza y riqueza. Se recopilaron datos durante cuatro meses a partir de múltiples fuentes, que incluyeron grabaciones de audio/vídeo, entrevistas abiertas, objetos infantiles, y notas de observaciones de campo. Los hallazgos sugieren que los debates bilingües referentes a libros infantiles sobre la pobreza y la igualdad entre los seres humanos en aulas de educación de la primera infancia son un medio que ayuda a los niños a desarrollar una perspectiva crítica sobre la pobreza, la riqueza e igualdad económica desde una edad temprana.

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Correspondence to So Jung Kim.

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Kim, S.J., Park, S. & An, S. “You Can’t be Rich Only Doing Good Deeds”: Bilingual Kindergarteners’ Discussions About Poverty and Wealth. IJEC 50, 101–119 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13158-018-0209-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13158-018-0209-9

Keywords

  • Kindergarten
  • Korean bilingual children
  • Poverty
  • Wealth
  • Read-alouds
  • Critical literacy