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This chapter examines in-service teachers’ transformed perspectives and practices for educating emergent bilinguals resulting from graduate study in a bilingual education…
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.
This chapter investigates the impact of a teacher preparation program that includes specific attention to the needs of bilingual learners on participants’ subsequent…
This chapter investigates the impact of a teacher preparation program that includes specific attention to the needs of bilingual learners on participants’ subsequent teaching practices. Specifically, this mixed methods retrospective study examines graduates’ reports of their current teaching practices as well as their perceptions of the Teaching English Language Learners (TELL) program’s impact on these practices. Multiple-choice survey data were analyzed quantitatively to identify trends among reported practices and perceptions. Open-ended survey and interview data were analyzed qualitatively to identify interrelated themes within teachers’ detailed, first-hand accounts of their pre-service and in-service experiences. The results showed that there was variety with respect to whether particular linguistically responsive practices were routine, used occasionally, or rarely. There was also a difference with respect to whether such practices were perceived to be the result of having participated in the program. Notably, the most frequently used practices attributed to the TELL program involved teaching language (TL) to facilitate content learning. Other aspects of the teacher preparation program supported effective practices for academic content learning, but only TELL coursework and experiences facilitated practices that emphasized academic language development. These results suggest that programs created to improve the preparation of teachers to work with bilingual learners in mainstream classroom contexts must make a special effort to develop teachers’ skills in regard to language teaching, especially practices that focus on language beyond the word-level. There are limitations to the study because of the small number of participants and the fact that they were self-selected as program participants.
This chapter discusses the findings of a qualitative study conducted on the US–Mexico border to investigate preservice bilingual teachers’ understandings of the effective…
This chapter discusses the findings of a qualitative study conducted on the US–Mexico border to investigate preservice bilingual teachers’ understandings of the effective practices needed to teach content in bilingual classrooms. Specifically, participants’ understandings of teaching language through content to emergent bilinguals and the role of academic language in a content methods course taught in Spanish for preservice bilingual teachers were explored. The results of the study show that preservice bilingual teachers struggled to internalize how to develop language objectives that embed the four language domains as well as the three levels of academic language into their content lessons. Although participants emphasized vocabulary development, they integrated multiple scaffolding strategies to support emergent bilinguals. Moreover, although preservice bilingual teachers struggled with standard Spanish, they used translanguaging to navigate the discourse of education in their content lessons. The use of academic Spanish was also evident in participants’ planning of instruction. The authors contend that bilingual teacher preparation would benefit from the implementation of a dynamic bilingual curriculum that: (a) incorporates sustained opportunities across coursework for preservice bilingual teachers to strengthen their understanding of content teaching and academic language development for emergent bilinguals; (b) values preservice bilingual teachers’ language varieties, develops metalinguistic awareness, and fosters the ability to navigate between language registers for teaching and learning; and (c) values translanguaging as a pedagogical strategy that provides access to content and language development.
This chapter explores how TESOL teacher educators used self-study to respond to educational policies for emergent bilingual learners (BLs) and their teachers. The purpose…
This chapter explores how TESOL teacher educators used self-study to respond to educational policies for emergent bilingual learners (BLs) and their teachers. The purpose was to examine tensions, challenges, and opportunities in our efforts as teacher educators to prepare teachers to teach BLs in mainstream classes through a state-mandated sheltered English instruction (SEI) course. Data sources, including emails, course artifacts, meeting agendas, and journals, pre and post surveys and course assignments were analyzed using mixed methods. Practitioners and participants agreed one SEI course is insufficient. In a coherent approach to preparing mainstream teachers to teach language, learning would be reinforced from coursework to the classroom. Without self-studies that provide an informed response to external policies that shape teacher education, the danger is new policies result in no substantive change.
As members of a team of bilingual preservice faculty in the South Texas borderlands, we have observed a consistent, pattern of inappropriate pedagogy offered to the…
As members of a team of bilingual preservice faculty in the South Texas borderlands, we have observed a consistent, pattern of inappropriate pedagogy offered to the emergent bilingual learners (EBLs) in the region’s inadequate PK-12 system, where subtractivist teaching practices and school policies undermined their academic development and their personal and professional identities as bilinguals and linguistic minorities. Our task is to teach our preservice students about best practices as we help them develop an awareness of themselves as bilingual, bi-literate professionals who can navigate within the accountability-driven school system and provide additive developmental learning opportunities to their emergent bilingual students.
In this chapter, we describe the experiences and findings from a five-year research project that employed an innovative approach to higher education pedagogy to teach 63 bilingual preservice students how to provide research-based, constructivist-oriented additive pedagogy to emergent bilinguals. Analysis of data from journals and focus group discussions suggest the development of the critical stance necessary for the development of an additive approach needed for the optimal development of emergent bilinguals. Although the study is limited to the specific context of South Texas US–Mexico border communities, the findings have implications for the preparation of bilingual education settings across the nation.
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…
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.
A major challenge in teacher education in the United States is how to address the academic and linguistic needs of the growing numbers of emergent bilingual students. A…
A major challenge in teacher education in the United States is how to address the academic and linguistic needs of the growing numbers of emergent bilingual students. A second challenge is how to prepare predominantly White monolingual preservice teachers with little exposure to speakers of languages other than English to educate culturally and linguistically diverse students. With these two challenges in mind, this study examines how a course on literacy, language, and culture grounded in pedagogies of discomfort shifts preservice teachers’ deficit orientations toward emergent bilingual students’ language and literacy resources. Using Ofelia García’s (2009) definition for emergent bilingualism, this mixed-method study was conducted from 2011 to 2013 with 73 preservice teacher participants enrolled at an urban mid-Atlantic university. Quantitative data consisted of pre and post surveys while qualitative data comprised written responses to open-ended statements, self-analyses, and participant interviews. Findings evidence preservice teachers’ endorsement of monolingualism before coursework; however, pedagogies of discomfort during coursework provoke critical reflection leading to significant shifts in preservice teachers’ dispositions toward teaching language diversity in the classroom with implications for teaching emergent bilingual students.
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…
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 study, carried out in the bilingual and bicultural border area of South Texas, is an exploration of bilingual preservice teachers’ identity formation and their…
This study, carried out in the bilingual and bicultural border area of South Texas, is an exploration of bilingual preservice teachers’ identity formation and their experiences and beliefs about literacy and biliteracy during an undergraduate class focused on learning about emergent literacy in the bilingual classroom. This study is based on a sociocultural approach to learning and identity development, and research that explores how bilingual teachers’ identity is shaped through their participation in cultural and linguistic practices. The purpose of this practitioner research is to provide insights into preservice teachers’ identities as they start to explore literacy and biliteracy practices. Two research questions guide the study: What experiences about literacy and biliteracy development do prospective teachers identify as meaningful? How do these experiences contribute to define bilingual preservice teachers’ identities? Findings indicate that bilingual preservice teachers’ identities are shaped by cultural and linguistic experiences that define the bilingual and bicultural dynamics of the region. Two predominant types of experiences impact bilingual preservice teachers’ beliefs about teaching, learning, and literacy/biliteracy development. Particularly significant in defining their perceptions are the lessons learned from meaningful others – especially mothers and teachers – and certain relevant memories regarding effective practices they experienced when learning to read and write. Implications for teacher education preparation of bilingual teachers are identified.