International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

“We are Heritage Speakers and we are all Diverse”: Language Mediating Teachers’ Identities in a Multilingual Infant Classroom
Cristian R. Aquino-Sterling, Sarah Garrity, Ashley Day

The authors describe and interpret the shifting language identities of teachers-caregivers1 in an infant-toddler classroom who identified themselves as Heritage Speakers of Spanish. Using a qualitative research design, the authors document and make meaning of the processes and interactions that took place during the first year of program implementation. Data collected and analyzed stem from semi-structured qualitative interviews and highlight postructural themes of subjectivity and language. Drawing heavily from the work of Weedon, the authors develop a conceptual model to highlight (1) the multiple nature of the subject; (2) subjectivity as a site of struggle, and (3) subjectivity as changing over time. The constructs of personal agency, assigned vs. claimed identities, and the impact of shifting contexts are used to position the multilingual classroom as a ‘third space’ that allowed participants to expand their understandings of themselves, the infants they worked with, and the sociocultural environment within which they conducted their work, thus creating, re-creating, and performing/enacting multiple language identities. Findings are relevant to the work of early childhood teacher education as caregivers’ enactment of linguistic identities influences the classroom contexts and the infants/toddlers being served.

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