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Ethical Research Involving Children

Ethical issues in research with young children in early second language education.

Mhic Mhathúna, M., & Hayes, N. (2021). Ethical issues in research with young children in early second language education. In: Schwartz, M. (Ed.). Handbook of Early Language Education. Springer International Handbooks of Education (pp. 1-28). Springer: Cham. ISBN: 978-3-030-47073-9; e-book ISBN: 978-3-030-47073-9.

Abstract: There is a growing field of second language research in early childhood education and a corresponding need to consider the ethical questions that arise in conducting research with young second language children in a variety of contexts. These contexts include children learning major languages such as English as an additional language and minority or heritage languages such as the Irish language or Galician. Relevant theoretical concepts such as theories of second language learning, children’s rights, and ethical research praxis will be considered and contributions from major researchers on adults’ and children’s roles in research, relationships, and research principles will be reviewed. New projects that foreground respect for diverse communities will be described. Critical issues such as power and positionality, choice of languages in data collection and publications, and the need for time for familiarization in the field will be discussed. Ethical dilemmas will be used to illustrate the tensions that can arise in the course of research with young children and the limited nature of the discussion of these issues to date will be highlighted. Finally, future research directions will be identified and greater research cooperation between the disciplines of applied linguistics and early childhood education will be proposed to represent the views and experiences of young children learning second languages in the early years. (Abstract reproduced with permission © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2020).

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