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Auteur: Basri JAFAR

Co-Auteur(s): Helen BORLAND, Victoria University, Australia

Attitudes and Approaches to Supporting Children’s Biliteracy Development and Bilingualism in Australian Community Context

Abstract/Résumé: This article examines how literacy in English language impacts on the process and experience of acquiring literacy in an Indonesian language within an ecological approach to language development in Australian community context. It specifically explores the role of the community activists in supporting the children’s biliteracy development and bilingualism in the community centre, focusing particularly on the differences in the ways they perceive biliteracy and bilingualism and how these translate into their community practices; and the extent to which the approaches they adopt impact on the children’s biliteracy development and bilingualism. The philosophical base of this study is the concept of language ecology utilising Honberger’s proposal ‘the continua of biliteracy’ and Cummins’ hypothesis of simultaneously bilingual child learning both languages. As no longitudinal study of biliteracy development in English and Indonesian has been conducted to date, this particular study is the first investigation of this process and provides an opportunity, specifically, to explore individual differences related to relative timing of biliteracy acquisition as well as age, personality, gender and experiences. Ethnographical approach representing the epistemological tenet of this study influenced the whole process of data collection, which employed interview techniques, participant observation, field notes, portfolio, video-recording, documents, reflective journal and photographs. These materials were analysed through descriptive qualitative analysis. Research result demonstrates that the more constructivist and flexible was their teaching approach and the more varied the activities they encouraged in their community centre to create opportunities for literacy engagement and learning both in L1 and L2, the more enthusiastic and relaxed the children seemed to be about their participation in the centre’s activities. The study also reveals that the community centre is seen as centre a site for translanguaging (CST) and centre for religious transmission (CRT) which seems promoting mostly the development of L2 literacy. Overall, all five Indonesian children participating in the study shows some marked individual differences in biliteracy development and bilingualism. These differences appear to relate to the types of support and encouragement the children have in the community and the attitude of their community members toward the use of both L1 and L2 in the community context. Key words: Community activist perception, multilingualism, literacy, impact