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The Role of Family Background in Early Bilingual Education: The Finnish-Russian Experience

  • Victor MoinEmail author
  • Ekaterina Protassova
  • Valeria Lukkari
  • Mila Schwartz
Chapter
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 7)

Abstract

Many educators and parents believe that successful multilingualism is a valuable resource for any society. This is not only because of its role in the successful integration of migrants, but also because of its cognitive potential and the opportunity that it provides to enrich the society’s economic, intellectual and cultural life. The main aim of this study was to expose the family background of those who choose early bilingual Finnish-Russian education in Finland. Who are the people, in Finland, who send their children to bilingual Finnish-Russian kindergartens or preschools, and what are the reasons for this choice? In what way do they believe that this education can be effective? The research focused on comparing the socio-cultural background, the language profile and family language policy of Finnish and Russian parents, and their representations about some of the outcomes of their child’s early bilingual education. The research population consisted of young adult parents, who chose to send their children to bilingual Finnish-Russian kindergartens or preschools in Finland. The overall sample included 185 parents: 79 were Finnish and 106 were Russian. The members of each group shared their views about the motives for their choice, their vision of the child’s bilingual future, their self-evaluation in both languages, and their impressions of the pros and cons of bilingual institutions. They assessed the child’s progress in bilingual development and described family language practices used for support of this development. All parents were satisfied with bilingual education and believed that a multicultural society demands intercultural communication and tolerance, and that the citizens have knowledge of many languages.

Keywords

Language Policy Mother Tongue Minority Language Bilingual Education Kindergarten Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor Moin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ekaterina Protassova
    • 2
  • Valeria Lukkari
    • 2
  • Mila Schwartz
    • 3
  1. 1.The Center for Research and Study of the Family, School of Social Work, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health SciencesUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Modern Languages, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Department of Research and Evaluation AuthorityOranim Academic College of EducationKiryat TivonIsrael

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