Research on Preparing Inservice Teachers to Work Effectively with Emergent Bilinguals: Volume 24
Table of contents(20 chapters)
List of Contributors
Section I: Developing Teachers’ Understandings of Effective Practices for Emergent Bilinguals
In a university/district collaboration, three college professors and authors of this chapter co-taught with four teachers over a period of seven years. This study explores the perceived changes in thought and practice of both groups as a result of providing three-week summer school programs for fifth and eighth grade emergent bilinguals. This research is grounded in qualitative methodologies of self-study and case study. We present our joint story as a self-study. Data were collected in the form of lesson plan notes, yearly journals, personal notes, audiotapes of meetings, and in-depth interviews/discussions of those involved in the bounded context. Resulting themes were situated meaning, hybrid language, and a 5R Instructional Model. A case study design is used to present the data from the four in-service teachers. Data were collected from field notes and interviews. Several themes emerged from the teacher data, all of which are components of situated meaning: professional development as side-by-side teaching and learning, recognition of and interest in curriculum integration, and change in classroom practice. Findings indicate that the summer program was a meaningful avenue for professional development (PD) for both groups. However, within group similarities were stronger than across group. The experience changed the way we teach and how we develop PD for teachers. The implications for professors and K-12 teachers are discussed and suggestions for further study and PD are given.
This chapter details a cultural relevance of text project in-service K-12 teachers engage in during their graduate literacy methods class. Through this project, teachers, who work with emergent bilinguals, learn how to select culturally relevant texts using a rubric. They read their selection with a student and reflect on the experience. Four important conclusions came from an analysis of the projects teachers carried out. Teachers found that their students made connections and were more engaged when reading culturally relevant books. Participants found the rubric helpful in identifying what they should look for in a culturally relevant text. In addition, through this project, the teachers discovered that their libraries tended to lack culturally relevant literature. Finally, participant teachers learned more about their emergent bilingual students through the process of finding and reading culturally relevant stories. While this project was carried out by a limited number of teachers in urban environments, it has implications for teachers of emergent bilingual students in other contexts.
The authors explain their approach to teaching literatura infantil (children’s literature) in Spanish to bilingual teachers pursuing their master’s degree in bilingual education at a university in South Texas. In this Self-Study of Teacher Education Practice (S-STEP) research, the authors investigated how teachers can transform their practice and come to value their students’ abilities to interpret literature. They engaged the teachers in projects using quality children’s literature. The projects were carried out by graduate inservice teachers teaching Spanish/English bilingual students studying at different grade levels. Some teachers taught along the Texas/Mexico border and others taught in a large metropolitan school district in central Texas. The authors used their analysis of the inservice teachers’ projects as data to inform their own practice as teacher educators. In the first project, the bilingual teachers engaged their students in exploratory talk that allowed them to bring their backgrounds and experiences into discussions of what they read. The second project challenged the teachers to consider the importance of the images in high-quality illustrated children’s books. The teachers asked their students to read the images and expand their understanding of the books by considering more than the words in the texts. In the final project, the teachers guided their students through Ada’s stages of creative dialogue using children’s literature. The authors describe the projects in detail and give examples from four different teachers showing what they learned about teaching children’s literature and how they changed their perspectives about what their emergent bilingual students could do. Although only four teachers are highlighted, they are representative of students taking the course and engaging in the projects over three different semesters.
In consideration of the needs of the growing numbers of Spanish-speaking emergent bilingual students in U.S. classrooms who are learning English as a new language, this study explores the teachers’ understanding of instructional practice using a specific pedagogical framework designed for emergent bilingual classroom contexts called Preview/View/Review (P/V/R). A constructivist and a translanguaging lens informed the theoretical framework for this study. One set of qualitative data from interviews was collected from a random sample of teachers who participated in a Master’s program in bilingual education in a border university in South Texas. Interview questions focused on the teachers’ reflections on the planning for and the implementation of the pedagogical structure P/V/R in their dual language contexts. Three findings arose from the data: (a) participants demonstrated an understanding of planning for and implementation of the P/V/R structure as a scaffold to build background knowledge of new concepts in the different disciplines; (b) the P/V/R structure has the potential to facilitate cross-linguistic transfer and the potential to be implemented as a form of translanguaging pedagogy; and (c) the implementation of a well-planned P/V/R structure enhances students’ engagement with the learning in two languages. One identifiable limitation of the study is the small size of the sample. In addition, classroom observations of the implementation of the structure are needed to mitigate the possible over-reporting of P/V/R as a good practice on the part of the teachers. Insights from this study inform teacher educators in teacher preparation programs who are preparing teachers for working with emergent bilingual learners and the professional development of all teachers, including those who teach in bilingual school contexts.
Teachers’ ability to identify and link content and language objectives is an important skill. This chapter explores how two-way immersion (TWI) teachers with a mainstream educator negotiated the shift to becoming a language-focused TWI teacher. We argue that it cannot automatically be assumed that these teachers have the knowledge and skills to attend to language issues. Specifically, our study examined how TWI teachers in three schools defined academic language and how they integrated language development into their practice through the use of language objectives. Our qualitative study features a constructivist framework using a thematic analysis of our data, which consisted of individual interviews and surveys with the teachers. Our analysis shows diverse interpretations of academic language and increased awareness of the role of language in their teaching and experienced benefits of making language objectives explicit, as teachers participated in professional development. Selecting and designing specific language-supporting activities, however, continued to be a challenge. We conclude that professional development needs to consider teachers’ different understandings and awareness of the role of language in the classroom. We also note that taking on the role of a language teacher may require a significant shift in assumptions about teaching and learning for teachers with mainstream teacher preparation and experiences and may depend on instructional context.
This chapter explores those things that hinder the implementation of effective practices of teachers working with emergent bilinguals within the educational and political landscape of ever increasing educational reform efforts. The focus is on strategies for transforming elements of these teachers’ experiences into effective and sustainable practices. Research was conducted in bilingual and immersion elementary classrooms (Spanish-English) in public schools in a city in the southwestern United States. The research question that guided the study was How can the Goal Spiral – a structured plan designed for teachers to incorporate personal and professional goals into their daily teaching – change teachers’ views of their teaching and simultaneously meet the needs of emergent bilingual students Research was conducted using a mixed methods study of interviews and an analysis of teachers’ responses to research survey questions. Research focused on pedagogical practices, as well as teachers’ energy and professional well-being and their effects on emergent bilingual students. Implications for teacher education programs and mentoring of in-service bilingual teachers were identified and discussed.
While bilinguals frequently mix languages in everyday conversation, these hybrid language practices have often been viewed from a deficit perspective, particularly in classroom contexts. However, an emerging literature documents the complexity of hybrid language practices and their usefulness as an academic and social resource for bilingual students. This chapter examines hybrid language practices among English- and Spanish-speaking high school students in an astronomy/oceanography classroom in southern Arizona. Microethnography, or fine-grained analysis of video recordings from long-term ethnographic observation, is used to reveal what bilingual students accomplished with hybrid language practices in the classroom and to outline implications for teachers who want to engage their students’ hybrid repertoires. Specifically, the analyses reveal that careful attention to hybrid language practices can provide teachers with insights into students’ academic learning across linguistic codes, their use of language mixing for particular functions, and their beliefs about language and identity. The research is necessarily limited in scope because such in-depth analysis can only be done with a very small amount of data. Nevertheless, the findings affirm that hybrid language practices can enrich classroom discourse, academic learning, and social interaction for emergent bilinguals. The chapter highlights a teacher’s story in order to offer practical guidance to other teachers who seek to capitalize on the promise of hybrid language practices in their own classrooms.
Section II: Analysis and Critique of University and Public School Policy and Practice for Teaching Emergent Bilinguals
This chapter examines in-service teachers’ transformed perspectives and practices for educating emergent bilinguals resulting from graduate study in a bilingual education graduate program in Chicago. This examination is contextualized in consideration of emergent bilinguals relative to the changing face of P-12 classrooms and gaps in teacher education. Findings from autoethnographic and discourse analytic inquiry suggest that teacher preparation in bilingual education (1) prepared and empowered in-service teachers to meet the academic, social, and cultural-linguistic needs of emergent bilinguals in their classrooms and (2) fostered a conscious inner transformation in in-service teachers that resulted in new ways and purposes of interacting with emergent bilingual students, their families, and colleagues. Findings also suggest that although there is institutional progress in meeting emergent bilinguals’ needs, it is incremental and insufficient. There are three major deficiencies: (1) new and increased teacher education standards lack the required specialized coursework in the education of emergent bilinguals; (2) teacher preparation of emergent bilinguals is inadequate; and (3) teacher preparation programs resist requiring specialized coursework in teaching emergent bilinguals.
Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me this Before?
During a site-based certification program in a large county school district in the southeastern United States, 14 educators took 7 graduate courses on teaching emergent bilinguals. These educators made a shift in their practices and perceived a corresponding shift in their teaching efficacy. Ten years after the onset of this program, researchers returned to the site and conducted a mixed-methods study. The first purpose of this study was to explore educators’ perceptions regarding instructional practices for teaching emergent bilinguals after a decade had passed. The second purpose was to identify course features perceived by educators as having been most instrumental in fostering a long-term transformation in their teaching practices. Data were collected from a survey and interviews with the 14 educators (13 teachers and a program specialist) who had completed this certification program. Results indicated changes in their teaching methods and interactions with parents as well as heightened confidence for taking on leadership roles. Study participants identified professional learning communities, cyclical reflective activities, and action research projects as the course features that had been instrumental in transforming their practices for working with emergent bilinguals. Findings suggest that this site-based certification program was a catalyst for generating individual change that continued beyond program completion. By exploring this decade-long transformation, the current study provides implications for designing and implementing graduate certification courses that prepare in-service teachers to work effectively with emergent bilinguals.
This chapter builds on theories of culturally responsive teaching and translanguaging pedagogies to explore teaching strategies that linguistically, culturally, and educationally empower Muslim immigrant emergent bilinguals in the classroom. These students are often speakers of less commonly used languages, not shared with other adults in the school, thus teachers and school leaders often do not know how to use home languages as teaching tools. This study sought to find practical solutions by going straight to the source – the students themselves. Through a one-year qualitative arts-based study, 15 recently arrived Muslim immigrants provided information about their language use and meaning-making of school experiences. Using interview, observation, and student-created artifacts, data were collected during after-school sessions that also included intensive group discussion and peer interviews in home languages. It was found that these students are facilitating and regulating their own bilingual and multilingual educations through cultural communities of practice. However, it was also found that these students perceived messages from the larger school community as discriminatory, thereby negatively impacting feelings of belonging and value in a school setting. One classroom where students and their languages were valued is profiled in this chapter offering practical ways teachers can engage learning through all languages, especially minority languages, regardless of a teacher’s own linguistic abilities. This chapter offers transferable ideas that may be adapted to diverse classrooms with similar student populations and needs. It is understood that classroom contexts differ based on resources, students’ home language literacy, and curricular demands.
When bilingual teachers are first hired, many say they are pressured to teach material only in English (Menken, 2008). Removing instruction in a child’s native language is not likely to improve scores on English standardized tests (Rolstad, Mahoney, & Glass, 2005), and long term, English-Only instruction reduces academic success and reduces graduation rates (Iddings, Combs, & Moll, 2012). This chapter looks at bilingual classrooms in a Texas school district, through classroom observations, interviews, and a large-scale survey seeking to answer the question, what do officially bilingual classrooms look like when they operate monolingually? Results showed that administrators exerted pressure, and teachers used methods they expected not to work. Some bilingual classrooms had teachers who either could not speak Spanish, or chose not to. Because classrooms operated without the legally required amount of first-language instruction, the district’s “bilingual” programs undermined accountability data while harming emergent bilinguals. Teacher educators have not prepared bilingual teachers for the reality of anti-bilingual schools. New teachers need to know how to not only implement research-based instruction but also defend their instructional choices. Wherever lawmakers, agencies, and administrators have allowed transitional bilingual programs to become de facto monolingual, there may be a role for colleges of education to play, monitoring, assisting, and, if necessary, publicizing lack of compliance. Study findings are limited to one specific district; even in districts with similar phenomena, the manner in which a bilingual program ceases to be bilingual will vary substantially.
About the Editors
About the Authors
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- Advances in Research on Teaching
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- Emerald Publishing Limited
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