Crosscultural Perspectives on Interaction with Minority and Majority Children at Home and in Pre-school

Kerstin Nauclér & Sally Boyd

Dept. of Linguistics, Göteborg University


Abstract

In this paper, we will discuss crosscultural perspectives on Turkish and Swedish children’s interaction with parents at home and pre-school teachers in the Swedish mainstream pre-school. Through their participation in various activities at home and in the pre-school, the Turkish and the Swedish children in this study are socialized into somewhat different norms for interaction, which reflect the somewhat different norms for social order, values, and practices of the diverse contexts in which they live. The non-collaborative strategies many pre-school teachers use in conversations with Turkish children, we argue, may partly be taken as a reflection of the image these teachers hold on members of the Turkish minority group in Sweden.

Keywords: : childrens’ interaction, parents and pre-scolar teachers, non-collaborative strategies, construction of narratives, explanatory talk, reading competencies.


Introduction

Learning to become a reader and a writer, as well as a talker is an important part of children’s language socialization during the pre-school years. We cannot understand children’s language and literacy development isolated from each other, or from the interactional contexts in which they occur. It is through their participation in a range of activities, e.g. when eating, playing and telling stories, that young children learn the socioculturally defined norms for handling these activities. Children learn what Shirley Brice Heath has termed, different "ways with words" (Heath 1983): how and when to talk, how to take meaning from texts and how to display their knowledge in socioculturally "appropriate" ways.

Family and pre-school interactions which are coached in socioculturally defined contexts (Ochs & Shieffelin, 1986) thus provide the foundation for children’s language and literacy development. They also provide a source of a number of oral language skills that are critical to efficient and effective reading later at school (Snow, 1993). Among these oral skills are children’s ability to produce decontextualized coherent discourse, like narratives and explanations. Such pragmatic skills have been shown to be of great importance for children’s later reading comprehension later at school (Snow et al 1991).

The school is a mainstream middle class institution and some types of interaction - typically practiced in mainstream homes- may prepare children for success in school. At home, mainstream children are socialized into the set of discourse practices also used in the classroom. Not very surprisingly, they turn out to be more successful in engaging in talk with their teachers, in taking meaning from texts, and, not less importantly, to display their knowledge in "appropriate" ways. Many culturally diverse children, however, often experience great difficulties in the mainstream school. This is also true for many minority children in Sweden, like the Turkish children in our study (Taube & Fredriksson 1995, Eyrumlu 1993). One of the reasons behind many minority children’s lack of success in the Swedish mainstream school, may be the mismatch between the discourse practices at home and at school.

However, virtually all children in Sweden attend Swedish mainstream pre-schools, at least for one year before starting school. And many children, like the Turkish and Swedish children in this study, are enrolled in full-day pre-school programs for several years, which you would expect should reduce such a mismatch between language use at home and in school. It is therefore important to know more about the discourse practices children are exposed to in the mainstream pre-school. In our paper we will discuss crosscultural perspectives on interaction with Turkish and Swedish children in families and pre-schools and we will focus on how families and pre-schools prepare the children for the communicative practices and norms for interaction of the mainstream classroom.

In this paper we will address the following questions:

How are Turkish minority and Swedish majority children expected to participate in conversations together with parents at home and teachers in the Swedish mainstream pre-school in different activities, i.e. when eating, playing and telling stories?

To what extent do adults engage the Turkish and the Swedish children in extended decontextualized discourse, e.g. in talk with the function of explaining various concepts, processes and events?

We will start with some methodological issues for collecting and analyzing the data. After giving some examples of conversations with the Turkish and Swedish children first at home, then with their teachers in the pre-school setting, we will present some general results on the children’s participation as speakers in different activities, and of the use of explanatory talk in these activities. We will also discuss a somewhat unexpected finding, namely the fact that Swedish pre-school teachers use rather different communicative strategies in conversation with Turkish and Swedish children. Finally, we will point to some implications of these findings for the children’s literacy development.

 

Methodological issues

The present study is part of a longitudinal study carried out in two projects in which we are both involved, Language Socialization in Immigrant Families and its Relation to the Swedish Pre-school, supported by the Swedish Council of Social Research, and Turkish and Swedish children’s reading comprehension in grade 4, which is a follow-up study where the children’s reading comprehension at age 10 will be related to their language socialization at age 5-6. This study is supported by the Institute of Swedish as a second language, Göteborg University. It is mainly the first study we will report on here.

We have collected data from adult-child conversations involving 8 Turkish bilingual and 7 Swedish monolingual 5-6 year old working-class children. Five Turkish children were children of first generation immigrant parents born in Turkey, and three had one second generation and one first generation Turkish parent. With one or two exceptions, all Turkish parents had a background in rural villages in Anatolia.

All children both Turkish and Swedish, attended Swedish mainstream pre-schools with a high percentage of bilingual ethnic minority children.

Each child was recorded in two different settings - at home with her/his mother and at pre-school with a pre-school teacher. Recordings were made in different activities: a mealtime, a play situation, looking at a photo album, and reading a text-less picture book, Frog, where are you? by Mercer Mayer.

All parents were interviewed and among the questions that were discussed with the parents were their views on child rearing in general, and on language and literacy development in particular, along with various aspects of their own literacy orientation. Finally, the children were given a range of tasks, measuring their decontextualized language skills in a number of ways. The Turkish children carried out these tasks first in Turkish with a Turkish fieldworker, then in Swedish with a Swedish fieldworker, and the Swedish children only carried out these tasks in Swedish.

The data used in the present analysis, are all the adult-child conversations in three different activities - MEAL, PLAY, and STORY - in both settings - HOME and PRE-SCHOOL. And in the following we will focus mainly on the narrative. We have also extracted all instances of explanatory talk used by adults and children in the three activities. The conversations with the Turkish children at home were in Turkish and in the pre-school in their second language, Swedish. 5 minutes of the MEAL and PLAY activities have been used for analysis, and the whole STORY activity. The length of the STORY activity varies within both groups, but the average length is more or less the same in the two groups.

Coding procedures and some examples

There are two aspects of the adult-child interaction we would like to discuss in this presentation. First the children’s participation as speakers and listeners in conversations with parents and pre-school teachers. To get a picture of the children’s involvement we have therefore calculated the target children’s turns in three activities, i.e. MEAL, PLAY and STORY.

Secondly, we are interested in the use of explanatory talk in the three activities. We have therefore extracted all stretches of talk with the function of explaining the causes and/or effects of different events, actions and processes, and the motives and reactions of the agents in these events. More specifically, we are interested in the extent to which adults request the children to display their knowledge of the world in the conversations, and therefore we have also coded the interactional context in which these explanations are provided, i.e. whether explanations are given spontaneously, requested or supplied as an answer/reaction to such a request.

 

INTERACTION AT HOME AND IN PRE-SCHOOL

Constructing a narrative

As soon as we started to work with our data, we noticed that when eating and playing there were no big quantitative differences in terms of the Turkish and Swedish children’s involvement in the conversations, neither at home nor in the pre-school. In the story activity, however, we noticed a major difference in the division of labor between adult and child when we compared the stories told together with Swedish and those carried out with Turkish children (Nauclér & Boyd 1997). We can get a rough idea of these differences by comparing the Turkish and the Swedish children’s number of turns in the different activities, which are given in table 1.

 

Table 1. Number of target children’s turns in different activities

in both settings.

ACTIVITY HOME PRE-SCHOOL

Tu (n=8) Sw (n=7) Tu (n=8) Sw (n=7)

MEAL 219 215 153 115

PLAY 360 269 211 223

STORY 243 510 225 503

Total 822 994 589 941

Please note that the group of Turkish children consists of eight children, and the Swedish group of seven children. In spite of this, the Swedish children have roughly twice as many turns in the STORY activity compared to the Turkish children. Why should this be?

Let us first have a look at a couple of examples, illustrating different ways to handle the STORY activity. Adults and children are "reading" a textless picture story, Frog, where are you? First we will have a look at an example from a Turkish mother and her 5-year-old daughter, Feliz. (Translation from Turkish.)

(1)

Mother: While they looked at the frog

it got dark outside.

It’s time to go to bed.

Feliz: mm

Mother: Ali and his dog get up on the bed and

go to sleep.

When Ali and his dog have fallen asleep

the frog climbs carefully out of the jar.

Look, because frogs can’t live in a jar.

Frogs live by lakes.

They live where there is water.

Is it OK?

Feliz: mm

Mother: That’s why he carefully climbs out.

The frog runs away from the house.

Morning comes and the sun comes up.

It gets nice and light. Ali wakes up.

First he looks in the jar to see

what the frog is doing.

Then he sees that his frog is gone.

It has left the jar. The dog looks too.

They look together. Ali is surprised

when he can’t see him and wonders

where it’s gone. Look! they start to

look for the frog right away.

They look in the house.

They lift up the furniture.

They look in the boot in case it went

in there.

Did you see?

Feliz: mm

In spite of a certain variation among the stories told by the Turkish mothers, this example is representative for many of the Turkish stories at home. The mother is doing the work of telling the story to her child. She is describing the characters, their actions and motives, the causes and effects of various actions and events, etc. The child’s participation in the conversation is mainly that of a listener. For many of the Turkish mothers a story is thus more often a performance by the mother for the child, and the child is expected to sit quietly and listen to this performance.

Let us now look at an example of a Swedish mother and her 5-year old daughter "reading" the same story. (Translation from Swedish.)

(2)

Mother: I think it looks like as if the boy is sleeping.

Mona: Yeah he’s lying there

Mother: And the dog is lying in his bed and he’s sleeping too

And what does the frog do then?

Mona: He goes out.

Mother: Yeah he sneaks out

Mona: Look! How tall he is

Mother: Yes he can stretch his legs so he can get out of the

little glass jar

Mona: Yeah

Mother: And when the boy wakes up in the morning

Mona: Hmm

Mother: Then he peeps into the little jar

and where is the frog?

Mona: But he’ll find him later

Mother: Yes the frog had sneaked out

and they look for him all over the place

------

Mother: And when they are standing there calling for him and

looking out of the window then the dog falls down

Mona: Yeah cause it was why it broke.

Mother: Yeah so the jar broke

This story is representative for the stories told together with the Swedish children at home. As we can see, this is more of a collaborative activity, where the child and her mother construct the story together. Both of them play the roles of speaker and listener and throughout the story both mother and child take turns in describing the different characters, their actions and motives, the various events happening to them, etc. Although some of the Swedish children make certain initiatives of their own, the stories are often dominated by the mothers requesting their children to participate through a large number of questions and other requests for information.

In terms of adult dominance in the interaction, the next example (3) is representative for the stories told by the pre-school teachers together with Swedish children in the pre-school. Mona and her pre-school teacher are "reading" the story together. (Translation from Swedish.)

(3)

Teacher: And the next picture, what do you think

happens there?

Mona: There’s the boy. The boy is sleeping and

the frog escapes.

Teacher: Yes, that’s right.

And what time is it, day or night?

Mona: It’s night.

Teacher: And how can you see that Mona?

Mona: You can see that because the boy is asleep.

Teacher: You can see that, but you can be really sure

that he’s not sleeping in the middle of the

day because eh if you look really closely

there’s something that shows that it’s night.

You see that?

Mona: The frog.

Teacher: What do you see through the window?

Mona: A cow or something.

Teacher: If you look really carefully, we’ll take your hair

away, if you look, what do you see there?

Mona: The moon.

Teacher: Do you usually see the moon so clearly during

the day?

Mona: No.

Teacher: No. So I think that eh this shows absolutely

that it is night.

Mona: Hm. Frogs can run away during the day

because they’re so quick.

Teacher: Right.

Mona: They jump so fast.

Teacher: Yeah even if you usually sleep at night,

of course you can sleep for awhile during the day

sometimes too, but when you see that the moon

is looking in and it’s pretty dark outside the window,

then you realize that it must be night when you look

at that picture.

Mona: You know, I’ve seen the moon during the day once.

This example - extreme as it may seem - illustrates the strategies commonly practiced in interaction with most of the Swedish children, not only by their teachers, but also to a certain extent also by the Swedish mothers. The children are expected to actively participate in the construction of the story.

However, with few exceptions, their contribution is severely restricted by the adult, who dominates the interaction, mainly through an abundant use of display questions, illustrated in (3), above. The function of these requests for mutual information, is twofold: one is to make the children display their knowledge of the world, knowledge which is already known to the questioner, the other is for the adult to control children’s attention and/or knowledge.

The interaction illustrated here between pre-school teacher and child is more or less equivalent to the canonical Western classroom interaction, which to a large extent is built on sequences of question-answer-evaluation, like those illustrated in (3).

Finally, we will have a look at an example of the interaction between a Swedish pre-school teacher and a Turkish child. In (4) the teacher and Feliz are "reading" the story in Swedish. (Translation from Swedish.)

(4)

Teacher: Once upon a time there was a boy who was five years old.

He lived in a nice house in the woods.

And the frog lived in a glass jar.

Now it was evening and the moon

shone outside the window.

They were soon gonna go to bed.

And the boy lay down in his bed.

But the frog was in his glass jar.

And when the night came and the

boy and the dog fell asleep, the frog

sneaked out.

He used his long legs and

jumped out of the jar and was gone.

Then when it was morning then the boy

and the dog woke up and thought:

Now we’re gonna play with our friend the frog.

The jar was completely empty.

Where could the frog be?

They looked under the bed

They looked.

The boy looked in his boots and the

dog he looked really carefully in the jar

one more time.

But no. There was no frog.

 

In contrast to their interaction with Swedish children, many Swedish pre-school teachers handle this activity together with the Turkish children as in the example above. The teachers perform a story to the child, more or less like many of the Turkish mothers do. In fact, the Turkish children’s participation in terms of their number of turns in the conversation is more restricted in the pre-school than at home. There are only a couple of exceptions to this general picture. Unlike the Swedish children, the Turkish children are generally not invited to the same extent to contribute to the construction of the story. The Turkish children get very few questions or other requests for information. Also in the pre-school, their participation in the narrative is mainly that of a listener, not that of a teller. Hence, they get very few opportunities to learn the communicative practices of the mainstream classroom.

 

Explanatory talk

We will also have a quick look at the use of explanatory talk together with the children. Let us return for a moment to example (1), above, where Feliz’ mother is telling a story.

Mother: Ali and his dog get up on the bed and

go to sleep.

When Ali and his dog have fallen asleep

the frog climbs carefully out of the jar.

Look, because frogs can’t live in a jar.

Frogs live by lakes.

They live where there is water.

Is it OK?

Feliz: mm

Mother: That’s why he carefully climbs out.

The reason or motive for the frog to run away is not presented in the pictures of the book, but will have to be added by the speakers. One way to make a story more coherent is to state explicitly the presupposed or implicit relations between various events in the story, which is one of the main functions of explanatory talk in narratives, as illustrated in this example. This is also what is going on in more advanced reading, where the reader constantly is supplying information "between the lines" so to speak.

In example (3) above, between the Swedish child Mona and her teacher, you might argue that too much explaining might have the opposite effect, namely to make the story less coherent and in any case less enjoyable! Anyway, example (3) is very school-like and might, for better for worse, prepare the child for work at school. We are not claiming here that the children actually gain knowledge of the world by participating in this type of interaction. But the Swedish children in our study are frequently exposed to Western norms for interaction and for taking meaning from text in the mainstream classroom, which may prepare them for work at school.

Also in the use of explanatory talk, there is a substantial difference between the Turkish and the Swedish group, and this difference is particularly noticeable in the narrative. Table 2 presents the number of explanations used by the two groups, in the different activities in the two settings.

Table 2. No. of explanations used in the Turkish and the Swedish group

in different activities and settings.

 

HOME:

 

PRE-SCHOOL:

 
 

Tu (n=8)

Sw (n=7)

Tu (n=8)

Sw (n=7)

MEAL

62

85

72

81

PLAY

80

80

28

84

STORY

61

109

89

144

Total

203

246

189

309

When considering the numbers presented for each group, it should be remembered that there are eight children in the Turkish group, whereas there are seven children in the Swedish group. In spite of this fact, we find that the speakers in the Swedish group (adults and children together) use more explanations in all activities and in both settings. It is also interesting to note that the setting has different effects in the use of explanatory talk for the Turkish and the Swedish group. While speakers in the Swedish group use more explanations in the pre-school (309), compared to the home setting (246), it is the other way around for speakers in the Turkish group. In the pre-school, Swedish teachers and Turkish children use 189 explanations altogether, while the Turkish children and their parents use 203 explanations at home.

In table 2, we can also see that the difference between the use of explanatory talk in the two groups is most pronounced in the STORY activity, and that this difference is most obvious in the pre-school setting. Why should this be?

Explanations and interaction

If we have a look at the interactional context, we might get a clue to the reason behind the Turkish and Swedish children’s different use of explanatory talk in the three activities. Table 3 presents the number of adults’ requests for explanations, i.e. questions of why, how (come), or other forms of requests to the child to explicitly provide an explanation of some kind or another.

Table 3. No. of adults requests for explanation from the target children

in the Turkish and Swedish group, in different activities and

settings.

 

HOME:

 

PRE-SCHOOL:

 
 

Tu (n=8)

Sw (n=7)

Tu (n=8)

Sw (n=7)

MEAL

12

8

5

0

PLAY

4

1

0

3

STORY

1

10

0

25

Total

17

19

5

28

Adults put somewhat different demands on Turkish and Swedish children’s participation in constructing explanatory talk, and this difference is most pronounced in the pre-school setting, and notably in the STORY activity. While the Swedish children get 25 requests for explanation in the STORY activity, the Turkish children get none.

Judging from our data, both at home and in the pre-school Swedish working class children get socialized into the canonical Western classroom interaction when reading stories, whereas most of the Turkish children do not. Swedish children learn to take meaning from texts through an abundant use of adult questions. They are also requested to display their knowledge in mainstream "appropriate" ways. Swedish children are also frequently exposed to and requested to use explanatory talk, which has been shown to be an important predictor of future reading comprehension at school (Snow et al 1991). The Turkish children, on the other hand, get less support in their acquisition of explanatory talk and this difference is most pronounced in the pre-school context. How can these results be accounted for? We will start by discussing parents’ support of children’s language and literacy acquisition at home.

 

Narratives and explanatory talk at home

The Turkish mothers’ approach to narrative and text together with their children may be viewed in the light of their migration history. With one or two exceptions, the Turkish mothers in this study had migrated from rural villages in Turkey. Cigdem Kagitcibasi, a Turkish psychologist, who has done extensive studies on child rearing in the context of low-income urban and rural families in Turkey (Kagitcibasi 1989) points to two factors influencing parents’ child rearing practicies in rural villages. One is the parents’ low level of formal education and the other is rural child rearing practices described as a "lack of conscious ‘child centered’ and ‘child development-directed" (ibid:139). Parental teaching style in these families is, according to Kagitcibasi, based on demonstration, imitation, and motor learning rather than verbal reasoning.

A child centered teaching style implies a more active participation of children in conversation with adults, whereas a teaching style based on demonstration and imitation will not involve the individual child to the same extent in verbal interaction. According to Kagitcibasi (1989) the traditional values held by rural families in Turkey, including child rearing practices based on family interdependence, often persist through social change and urbanization. To a certain extent, this seems to be the case also for many second generation Turks in Sweden (Narrowe 1998).

Even if the urban-rural and socio-economic variation is important, differing socio-economic groups highly value family interdepencence. It is the child’s dependence, rather than its independence that is valued (Kagitcibasi 1989:140). The high value attached to individualistic achievement in the countries in the north of Europe and North America is, however, by no means universal. On the contrary, in most societies of the world children are socialized into familistic and communal values of mutual support. Thus, differences in teaching styles cannot be equated with formal education and/or urbanization per se. Also highly educated urbanized families in the Mediterranean European and non-European countries often attach higher value to the group than to the individual (Sjögren 1993, Ahmadi & Ahmadi 1995).

Parents’ different teaching styles have an impact on the way they talk with their children. In those families where the parents’ teaching style is based on demonstration and imitation, rather than on verbal reasoning, we would expect less interaction with the children and of extended decontextualized talk, like explanations. In those families, where parents teaching styles are child-centered and child development-directed, we would expect the children to take a more active part in the verbal interaction, and also a more frequent use of explanatory talk together with children.

 

Narratives and explanations in the pre-school

In the pre-school, the teachers use fairly different interactional strategies depending on the children’s ethnic/linguistic background and most noticeably in the narrative. Hence, the Turkish children get less experience of mainstream ways of taking meaning from texts. The Turkish children also get less support in their acquisition of explanatory discourse in general, and when "reading" stories in particular. Why should this be? We think there are several reasons for these differences which have to do both with the children’s linguistic skills in Swedish, and with the expectations teachers and children hold on each other.

One reason for teachers’ restricted use of explanatory talk in the pre-school is the fact that some of the Turkish children had very limited skills in Swedish, their second language, and explanatory discourse might have been too cognitively demanding for these children, especially in a story activity which is in itself a fairly decontextualized activity. The fact that the teachers used a lot more explanations together with Turkish children in mealtimes might substantiate such a reasoning. However, also relatively advanced second language speakers were less engaged in explanatory talk in the pre-school, and none of them got a single request for explanation when "reading" the story together with their teachers. Furthermore, when Swedish teachers told the story together with limited monolingual speakers of Swedish, they quite often engaged these children in this kind of discourse. So there must be more to it than the Turkish children’s L2 skills.

Another conceivable reason would be that Swedish teachers accomodate to the children’s norms for interaction in the story activity. As the children get used to different norms for interaction at home, especially in the story activity, the pre-school teachers accomodate to the varying expectations that the children may have when "reading" a story with an adult. Most of the Turkish children are socialized into listening to an adult’s performance at home and may not feel quite comfortable in participating in the co-construction of the story in pre-school. However, when some of the Turkish children actually tried to get into the story, their contributions were not very often acknowledged (Nauclér & Boyd 1997).

Looking at the interaction in pre-school in a wider societal perspective, however, the interaction between the teachers and the Turkish children can be seen as a reflection of the unequal power relations between ethnic minority groups and the Swedish dominant group in Swedish society (Cummins 1996). Following Le Page (1997) we may look upon the teachers’ strategies towards Turkish children, not as an adaptation to the style of their interlocutor, but rather an adaptation to the image they have of Turkish minority children.

Accomodation in conversation with others can also be looked upon as a set of alternatives that are available to communicators in face-to-face interaction (Giles & Coupland 1991). One such alternative to speakers is to index and achieve solidarity with their interlocutors, the other is to index dissociation from a conversational partner. Together with children from the dominant group, teachers use a collaborative strategy, capitalizing on the children’s knowledge and prior experience, which in many cases is similar to or at least predictable by the pre-school teacher. This is often not the case in interactions with minority children. The Turkish children’s knowledge and prior experiences are not always as well known to the teacher, and may not be equally valued in the pre-school context. The non-collaborative strategies teachers use in conversation with Turkish children may then be taken as an expression of teachers’ limited expectations on the children’s contributions, particularly in literacy events.

Implications for children’s reading comprehension

The Swedish children in this study were given a lot of support in their acquisition of explanatory talk in general, and when "reading" a story in particular. The Turkish children, however, received less support in acquiring these skills overall, and this lack of support was most obvious in the story activity. This is a cause for concern, as this type of linguistic skills has been claimed to be an important predictor of children’s later reading comprehension at school (Snow et al 1991).

When engaging children in explanatory talk in literacy events, adults provide children with a model of taking meaning from texts. They learn to take different perspectives on events, and to state explicitely implicit relations between various states and events. In the IEA’s international study on reading comprehension Swedish 9 year old school children’s reading comprehension was tested (Taube & Fredriksson 1995). They found that some minority children in Sweden, among those Turkish children, had greater difficulties than many other L2 learners in comprehending certain types of texts. One reason for the their low reading performance may be that many Turkish children don’t get the opportunity to acquire the mainstream classroom norms for taking meaning from texts, including the use of explanatory discourse. At present, the children in the study presented here are being followed up, in order to ascertain whether the individual children’s experience of language use at age 5 and 6 has the expected relation to their reading comprehension at age 10. Preliminary results seem to indicate that together with narrative skills at age 5-6 and L2 vocabulary at age 10 – experience of explanatory talk in L2 in the pre-school context is predictive of Turkish children’s reading comprehension in their L2 at age 10 (Nauclér, forthcoming).

Summary and conclusions

In this paper, we have discussed crosscultural perspectives on Turkish and Swedish children’s interaction with parents at home and pre-school teachers in the Swedish mainstream pre-school. Through their participation in various activities at home and in the pre-school, the Turkish and the Swedish children in this study were socialized into somewhat different norms for interaction, which reflect the somewhat different norms for social order, values, and practices of the diverse contexts in which they live. The children learned different "ways with words" (Heath 1983); how and when to speak, how to take meaning from texts, and how to use explanatory talk in different activities. And as a consequence, they also learned to display their knowledge in different ways. The non-collaborative strategies many pre-school teachers use in conversations with Turkish children, we have argued, may be taken as a reflection of the image these teachers hold on members of the Turkish minority group in Sweden.

The culture of a child’s family is often seen as an obstacle to her/his successful integration into the (pre-)school, and thus later into society (Rojas 1995). And the child’s culture is seen either as something static and monolithic, making integration difficult or impossible, or something which must be totally rejected by the child in favor of the mainstream surrounding society. However, identities are constantly created and re-created in interaction members of a society (Cummins 1996). The success - or failure - of culturally diverse children is to a great extent dependent on the identities that are negotiated in interaction with their teachers in mainstream pre-schools and schools.

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Intercultural Communication, ISSN 1404-1634, 1999, November, issue 2.
Editor: Prof. Jens Allwood
URL: http://www.immi.se/intercultural/.