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This chapter explores those things that hinder the implementation of effective practices of teachers working with emergent bilinguals within the educational and political…
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.
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.
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.
The main purpose is to investigate what resources young emergent bilinguals use to communicate a multimodal response to children’s literature. In particular, attention is…
The main purpose is to investigate what resources young emergent bilinguals use to communicate a multimodal response to children’s literature. In particular, attention is paid to the ways students translanguage as part of the learning process.
An ethnography-in-education approach was used to capture the social and cultural aspects of literacy learning in an English-only context. A multimodal transcript analysis was applied to video-recorded data as a method for examining semiotic resources and modes of learning.
The results revealed that students used technology, paper-based resources and peers to construct meaning relative to books. Experimentation or play with the affordances of the tablet computer served as avenues to determine the agentive selection of resources. As students wrestled with constructing meaning, they gathered multiple perspectives from peers and children’s literature to involve symbols and representations in their texts. Signs, multiple language forms and meaning came together for the social shaping of situated perspectives.
This study addresses the call for educators to engage in multiliterate, multimodal practices with young learners in the contexts of classrooms. It provides insight into the need to create multilingual learning spaces where translanguaging freely occurs and the meaningful ways early childhood learners use technology. To fully understand what emergent bilinguals know and can do, they must be afforded a variety of semiotic resources at school.
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…
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.
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…
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.
While bilinguals frequently mix languages in everyday conversation, these hybrid language practices have often been viewed from a deficit perspective, particularly in…
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.
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.
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.