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What prompts early childhood professionals to proffer advice to multilingual families? Investigating the association between language policy and perceived self-efficacy

  • Van Oss, Victoria
  • Struys, Esli
  • Van Avermaet, Piet
  • Vantieghem, Wendelien
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2024
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Early childhood professionals can act as catalysts in encouraging home language maintenance in multilingual families. However, there is a dearth of research on whether these professionals advise parents to speak their home language(s) to their offspring, and furthermore, little is known about what prompts professionals to proffer language advice. To respond to these queries, we relied on two theoretical frameworks: Spolsky's language policy model and Bandura's perceived self-efficacy theory. We gathered data from professionals (N = 305) employed at infant welfare clinics in Belgium and examined whether a high sense of multilingual confidence (i.e. a form of perceived self-efficacy), together with positive multilingual beliefs and multilingual practices, would induce professionals to offer multilingual advice (i.e. a form of language management). Our logistic regression results revealed that multilingual practices and multilingual confidence were positively associated with multilingual advice. Additionally, multilingual training was found to be strongly related to advice-giving. Multilingual beliefs, however, were only connected with multilingual advice when they were considered without the inclusion of multilingual confidence, as multilingual beliefs seemed to operate via multilingual confidence. We, therefore, suggest an enrichment of Spolsky's model by taking into account multilingual confidence when investigating individuals' language policy dynamics.

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