Addressing Diversity in Literacy Instruction: Volume 8

Cover of Addressing Diversity in Literacy Instruction
Subject:

Table of contents

(16 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xii
Content available
Abstract

To identify actions, teachers and school leaders can take to ensure equity in terms of opportunities to learn literacy. We reviewed the professional literature in four major areas, including opportunity to learn (OTL), student mobility and its impact on learning, grade-level retention and its impact on equity and future success, and systems that can provide students access to complex text. We note the value of each of these four constructs (OTL, mobility, retention, and access to complex texts) in ensuring that schools become increasingly equitable such that all students develop as literate members of society. We provide classroom and school-based examples for readers to consider as they work toward equity. Far too many schools are inequitable and some students fail to develop their literate lives. We provide ideas and actions that teachers and school teams can take to ensure that diverse students have the best chance possible to learn.

Abstract

To gain a better understanding of the impact of students’ home languages and cultural experiences on reading and writing instruction, the instructional methods and materials that best supported these students’ emerging bilingualism, and the contributions of their families in their utilization of their home languages and cultural experiences in a school setting. Mixed methods provided data on the literacy development in both home and school languages of three first-grade Latino students who were non-native English speakers enrolled in a school literacy intervention program for 12 to 20 weeks. The students’ confidence and motivation within their reading and writing instruction improved greatly with the encouragement of the use of their home languages and cultural experiences. All three students showed gains in speaking, reading, and writing in both their home and school languages. They made solid and useful connections between the languages and the texts, and drew upon their cultural experiences, which strengthened their reading and writing strategies in both languages. Involving the children’s families in lessons and in activities at school, and supporting their use of reading and writing at home, helped build relationships among the participants, families, and school faculty. This contributed to the beginnings of new understandings on the part of the school’s teachers and administration. Students need to have the space to use their home languages and cultural experiences in school, and I describe how educators in varied educational settings can replicate the same kinds of methods, materials, and support I offered to these students. I also describe suggested ways that teachers and administrators could include the knowledge of emergent bilingual families within the life of the school to further expand all students’ learning and promote social justice in the classroom setting.

Abstract

This study examines how writing teachers manage linguistic ideological dilemmas (LIDs) around grammar instruction and highlights productive strategies employed by one teacher in an instructional unit on poetry. We conducted semi-structured interviews with nine elementary and middle-school teachers to better understand how they conceptualized and enacted writing pedagogies in urban classrooms. Then, we documented the teaching practices of one teacher during a 9-week case study. We describe three LIDs expressed by the teachers we interviewed: (1) a perception of greater linguistic flexibility in speech than in writing; (2) a sense that attention to grammar in feedback can enhance and/or inhibit written communication; and (3) apprehension about whether grammar instruction empowers or marginalizes linguistically minoritized students. We also highlight three productive strategies for teaching grammar while valuing linguistic diversity employed by one teacher: (1) selecting mentor texts that showcase a range of grammars; (2) modeling code-meshing practices; and (3) privileging alternative grammars while grading written work. We describe how teachers might take up pedagogical practices that support linguistic diversity, such as evaluating written assignments in more flexible ways, engaging in contrastive analysis, and teaching students to resist and rewrite existing language rules.

Abstract

To explore middle and high school English Language Learners (ELL) teaching environments from the perspective of multicultural instructors and their understanding of ELL students’ reality. This qualitative study utilized participant observation and Developmental Research Sequence (Spradley, 1980) as the systematic approach to gather and to analyze data. The study was conducted in an inner city public school district in the south of Louisiana where seven multicultural ELL specialists were located; participants included were originally from the United States, Latvia, the Philippines, Jordan, Romania, and Japan. This study shed light over the fate of most Latina/o teenagers in public middle and high schools, the appropriateness of the state’s response to the literacy and human needs of all students at risk of failure in the middle and high school (Latina/o and African American alike), and the status educators have in the country compared to other highly qualified professionals as perceived by the multicultural educators participating in the study. Several areas of intervention were identified and described including a strong structured program specifically designed for ELLs attending middle and high school; moreover, further research is needed to advance understanding about the relationship among literacy, shame, and students’ behavior.

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to identify specific instructional strategies to help English language learners develop literacy skills. Potential difficulties in areas of decoding, vocabulary, and fluency are explored along with suggestions to implement effective instruction. The intention of this chapter is not to be a research document, but a pragmatic guide for educators of English language learners. Through reflective practice and backed by research, I walk readers through classroom and professional development scenarios and also present ways to effectively support the emerging literacy skills of English language learners. Readers will be presented with research-based instructional methods shown to enhance crucial early literacy skills for English language learners along with practical suggestions for teachers to put research into practice in the classroom. Scenarios and research-based practices illuminate how to effectively work with English language learners. Research-based evidence is presented, showing that English language learners go through the same developmental milestones as native English-speaking students, but may require some additional modifications along with explicit instruction. The chapter describes how teachers can build foundational reading skills for English language learners, something that is crucial for later academic success.

Abstract

The purpose of this case study was to describe how a Chicano man, Tomas Moniz, wrote and edited zines to reconstruct stereotypical notions of masculine performance and fatherhood and formed community for grassroots action. Data were triangulated by collecting observations and photographs of the informant distributing and discussing his zine at a national zine symposium and by in situ interviews as he did so. These data were triangulated by collecting 17 issues of Tomas’ zines and by a semistructured interview conducted by telephone and by informal interviews conducted by electronic mail. Screen shots were collected of Tomas’ social media (his Facebook page, blog, and YouTube videos) that extended or supported his zines. These data were analyzed by thematic analysis. Member checks were conducted with the participant as a measure of trustworthiness. Results illustrated how a Chicano man wrote in atypical forms and substance to reconstruct masculinity and fatherhood in an inclusive model. He wrote of being marginalized as a parent by his gender; he discussed difficult issues in the performance of masculinity and parenting; and he self-published contributions by other men (and women) that highlighted alternative ways of performing and representing masculinity. He used his zines and social media to build community for support and activism. This study contributes to the extant research that refutes gender stereotypes and presents alternative models of masculinity and literacy engagement for Latino males. Although there has been a growing interest in the status of men, there is little scholarship on Latino males, their masculinities, and their literacy practices. The absence of such scholarship has reinforced educators’ stereotypical views of Latino males as hyper-masculine and nonacademic, contributing to low expectations for their academic success. This case study refutes those stereotypes and presents a model of a minority man enacting alternative representations of masculinity through literacy. Findings from this study can be used to demonstrate the functions that reading and writing can serve in an adult man’s life and provide permission for minority youth to engage in literacy practices.

Abstract

To examine whether or not exposing novice teachers in a graduate literacy education diversity course to particular texts and activities focused on economic diversity and lifestyle differences among students makes them more likely to positively respond to these lesser understood forms of diversity in their own teaching and if so, in what ways. The research design was qualitative and included written reflections from the teacher–participants at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester, and videotaping and transcribing activities and post-activity discussions. Ethnographic observations and notes were made by the primary investigator. The theoretical frameworks that were foundational to the study were critical literacy and teaching for social justice. The findings of this qualitative study indicate that exposing teachers to texts, discussions, and activities that educate them on economic diversity and lifestyle differences among students makes them more likely to positively respond to these forms of diversity in their own teaching. Specific examples of how participants did this are provided. This study contributes to the literature on diversity in literacy instruction by providing concrete, research-based suggestions for how both teacher educators and K-12 teachers can expand their definitions of student diversity to include economic disparities and lifestyle differences among students. It includes recommended texts and activities for both teacher educators and K-12 teachers to address less typical forms of diversity, with a focus on economic diversity and lifestyle differences.

Abstract

The goal of this chapter is to address the importance of helping teachers develop an understanding of LGBTQ+ issues and ways to create inclusive classrooms for LGBTQ+ students with particular attention to how LGBTQ+ identities/experiences can be valued and visible through literary and literacy practices. The issues addressed in this chapter are grounded in queer theory and intersectionality, which provide a space for challenging heteronormative environments in many schools as well as acknowledging the complex intersectionality of diverse identities. This framework is unpacked so readers can see how it supports instructional practices. Theory and literature inform discussion of the move in the literacy profession toward LGBTQ+ -inclusive mindsets and pedagogies. They further inform practical implications and examples provided by the author. A major issue of our time is LGBTQ+ inclusion in schools and the role of teachers in implementing literacy practices that address the needs of LGBTQ+ students and making visible their diverse identities. For the field of literacy, this is evidenced in the revision of Standard 4 Diversity and Equity in the International Literacy Association’s (ILA) Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017). ILA Standards 2017, which will be released in 2018, require programs preparing literacy professionals to develop candidates’ knowledge of queer theory and literacy practices inclusive of diverse students, with diversity including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Further, ILA Standards 2017 acknowledge intersectionality across forms of diversity and that a rich understanding of diversity improves the quality of teaching and learning within and across classrooms, schools, and communities. This chapter expands on these topics and offers foundational content and resources to help literacy teacher educators, candidates in literacy programs, and other stakeholders to answer this call for building a literacy field that is welcoming, inclusive, and equity-oriented. Developing the knowledge base about LGBTQ+ issues, including theoretical foundations, social justice teaching mindsets, and concrete pedagogical literacy practices that build inclusive classrooms, can be an accessible, meaningful, and fruitful endeavor that will enrich literacy education programs and the learning communities in which literacy professionals work. Teacher educators and teachers can utilize book choices, approaches to classroom discussion and assignments, and school initiatives to build a learning environment that values LGBTQ+ students’ identities and experiences and disrupts heteronormativity in the curriculum. Multiple examples of how this can be done are offered. Understanding intersectionality also helps teacher educators and teachers see how forms of diversity are not silos. Individuals’ identities are comprised of various aspects. The topics discussed in this chapter center on LGBTQ+ issues but are applicable beyond just this scope.

Abstract

This project was designed to study situated literacies, using New Literacy Studies (NLS) in a community school and included five distinct, progressive phases. This chapter reports on the Preparatory Phase. We led in-service sessions to share insights for student-centered instruction from a constructivist perspective with faculty members whose experience with literacy instruction had primarily been reflective of the skills-based paradigm. The focus of the first phase was to prepare the teachers to employ literature circles to revitalize literacy instruction and achievement. During this first year of this longitudinal study, teachers began gradually introducing constructivist methodologies into their literacy instruction and discussing them with us in the in-service sessions. All aspects of this project emphasized synergistic collaboration, featuring community building and collaborative sessions with teachers. Literature circles with high-interest literature by indigenous authors enhanced the learning activities and mini-lessons prepared teachers and their students for this exploration. In-service sessions laid the foundation for the project, and these sessions provided opportunities for ongoing collaboration. As we invited teachers and administrators to participate in constructivist pedagogical approaches featuring literature circles, we emphasized collaborative discussions to determine the most beneficial books, materials, and pedagogical strategies for students. Teachers and students experienced the power of synergistic collaboration as they explored engaging literature and shared their schema in meaningful discourse. This experience revitalized literacy achievement as students became more engaged in learning, and teachers noted the impact of their enthusiasm for learning. Students and teachers have experienced the power of synergistic collaboration while reading and writing during literature circles. Connecting culture and literacy with the power of synergistic collaboration invariably increased the learners’ engagement with and enjoyment of reading, writing, speaking and listening. This research-based design can serve as a template for incorporating cultural heritage into literacy education for all who educate indigenous students.

Abstract

To explore the funds of knowledge that six emergent bilingual students build upon as they produce multimodal texts, how the practices surrounding these events are mediated, and the role of student agency within an ethnographic social semiotics framework. Ethnographic methods were used to document this yearlong study that included videotaping small group interactions, writing field notes, conducting interviews, and collecting multimodal work samples. The researcher served as a participant observer in a third-grade classroom where she met with students two days per week to interact with mulitmodal poetry. The findings reveal the media-rich popular culture and home digital practices students bring with them to school and the ways in which these resources were utilized for designing multimodal poetry. Several essential factors are discussed including funds of knowledge, role of play and creativity, nonlinear writing structures, and agentive design decisions. Multimodal text making requires a revamping of classroom literacy instruction that embraces multiple modes especially noting the importance of images, central role of experiential learning, and space for student choice thus empowering them as learners.

Abstract

Today’s students are being called to graduate global ready. The term global ready encompasses the multiple literacies as well as the global citizenship needed in the 21st century to participate, collaborate, and work in a globally interconnected society. This chapter introduces a model for teaching for global readiness. A sequential exploratory mixed methods design was employed to operationalize and validate a teaching for global readiness model. The first phase was a qualitative exploration with 24 expert global education teachers. The second phase was a quantitative analysis using factor analysis and model fit statistics to determine if the findings of the qualitative phase were generalizable to a larger population. Based on the results, the Teaching for Global Readiness Model consists of four dimensions: Situated practice, integrated global learning, critical literacy instruction, and transactional cross-cultural experiences. The chapter describes an array of literacy instruction teacher practices that promote global readiness knowledge, skills, and dispositions and points to the importance of locally situated but globally connected literacy instruction.

Abstract

To describe the development of a rubric for identifying diversity in children’s literature to inform literature selection for classroom instruction. Drawing on research literature and data collection reporting the need for increased awareness of the use of diverse children’s literature in elementary and middle school classrooms, we designed and field-tested a rubric for use in identifying diversity in children’s literature. Using constant comparative methods to identify themes in the data, we continually refined the categories in a rubric designed to guide the selection of diverse children’s literature. Content analysis of children’s literature for diverse elements informed the development of the rubric categories. The results of this study produced a field-tested rubric that can be utilized by classroom teachers and researchers to guide their literature selections with the goal of representing increased diversity. Findings demonstrated that a rubric with four clearly defined categories was more user-friendly to classroom teachers, and that applying the rubric when discussing children’s literature led to conversation and collaboration among colleagues. This study demonstrated that the rubric can be applied to literature selections with classroom teachers and can be used to stimulate conversation about diversity in children’s literature as it applies to the classroom context. This chapter’s rubric provides a useful tool for classroom teachers. Teachers can use this tool to assist them in selecting diverse children’s literature for their classrooms. Administrators and literacy coaches can use this rubric as a way to stimulate conversation surrounding diverse children’s literature.

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to describe the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework and explore ways UDL decreases potential barriers for diverse students while increasing opportunities to learn. The sociocultural theory of Lev Vygotsky (1978) serves as a theoretical framework for UDL. Vygotsky (1978) placed much emphasis on the role of the social interaction in the development of cognition stating, “Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level” (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 57). Additionally, he focused considerable attention on language and private speech. The ability to express oneself in any environment, particularly the classroom, is critical to intellectual development. Another pivotal concept is that of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), which reflects the point between what a child has previously learned and can complete independently and that which they cannot do, even with supports. Our intent was to use student examples, or case studies, of typical diversity in the classroom, to demonstrate the application of UDL principles. Specifically, we provide ways planning for representation of material, expression of material, and engagement in material, which can benefit all learners. The case study examples demonstrate ways effective planning can benefit learners in many areas. The case studies presented in this chapter reflect a small portion of the diverse population in classrooms across the nation. Yet the case studies demonstrate ways planning can incorporate students “in the margin” while at the same time benefitting all students in the classroom. Addressing diversity through the UDL lens helps teachers accommodate individual differences through intentional instructional design, while at the same time providing resources for all students in the classroom.

Abstract

We explore how K-8 student scholars experience culturally relevant texts provided during Freedom Schools summer camps, discuss ways Freedom Schools can be a vehicle for youth to become advocates for social change, and consider opportunities created by Freedom Schools for community engagement and partnerships. Mixed methods were used to investigate the experiences of 38 scholars at two different Freedom Schools sites (one rural and one mid-sized urban) in the southeastern U.S. The majority of scholars identified as African American and lived in low-income households. Primary data sources included scholar surveys and reading assessments, camp observations, and interviews with scholars, as well as our own personal reflections as the Research Director (Alysia Roehrig) and Co-Executive Directors (Kristal M. Clemons and Keely Norris) for the sites. We triangulated descriptive statistics from surveys with qualitative data, primarily from interviews, which we analyzed using open coding and axial coding to develop themes (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). The majority of scholars, who participated in the 2016 North Florida Freedom Schools, reported being able to identify with specific characters and situations in the books included in the culturally relevant reading summer program, and they expressed positive thoughts and feelings about the books. Most scholars (74%) maintained or gained in instructional reading levels and did not experience summer learning loss. Children’s confidence that they could act prosocially also increased significantly during the summer camps, which children characterized as different from regular school. Freedom Schools can offer a valuable forum for diverse community members to learn about one another, focus on their strengths, and become agents for social change. We provide suggestions for how other communities can implement the Freedom Schools model.

Index

Pages 273-285
Content available
Cover of Addressing Diversity in Literacy Instruction
DOI
10.1108/S2048-0458201708
Publication date
2017-11-03
Book series
Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78714-049-3
eISBN
978-1-78714-048-6
Book series ISSN
2048-0458