Tag Archive: BilingualandMulticultural

Reconstructing the status quo: Bilingual and bicultural practices in a dual-language school (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

This dissertation investigates how bilingualism and biculturalism are understood and practiced in the fifth grade at a dual-language elementary school. Dual-language programs offer children from a variety of linguistic backgrounds the promise of becoming bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. I was particularly interested in unpacking the concept of biculturalism in this context because there is little research that focuses on the cultural goals of dual-language programs. I found that the program was underpinned by a liberal orientation towards biculturalism which highlighted sameness and downplayed, or even undervalued, difference. I investigated students attitudes towards bilingualism and biculturalism by examining participants uses of discursive tactics of intersubjectivity Bucholtz & Hall, 2005). I used this framework to understand how children used their two languages to ally themselves with and distance themselves from particular people, groups, and linguistic varieties. Children and adults develop discourses, relationships, meaning, and knowledge through their active engagement in communities of practice Wenger, 1998). In this study, I studied the way that fifth graders constructed and participated in bilingual and bicultural communities of practice by analyzing students access to participation, their use of discourse, and the creation of third spaces. I found that English and English speakers enjoyed privileged status in the fifth grade communities of practice despite the predominant ideology of equality that circulated throughout the school. I suggest that a greater effort is needed to incorporate curricula and spaces in which Spanish speakers and Hispanocentric cultural forms can be central to the creation of discourses, interactional norms, meanings, and knowledge production. As such, I conclude that while the school was bilingual, the development of more spaces which engender the development of bicultural practices would be beneficial. Additionally, I suggest that the separation of languages necessitated by the dual-language model worked to support theories about bilingualism which were not reflective of the teachers professional knowledge and beliefs. While the program model was fundamentally based on the idea of the separation of languages, teachers believed that bilinguals languages were interdependent. The explicit cross-linguistic examination of the two languages would enrich the students bilingual and bicultural development.

Carpets, beards, and baseball signs: An intertextual and interdiscursive look at meanings constructed in a cross-cultural setting for language learning (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

This ethnographic study focuses on a small group of Iranian young adults, four brothers and recent immigrants living in a small city in New England. I used North American popular texts from a variety of sources as content to assist them in developing English language proficiency. For the purpose of this study, I had a dual role of both facilitator and researcher. I collected data throughout an intensive language course I taught over a summer. In this course, the participants negotiated meanings of signs and texts embedded within broader discourses. These interpretations and negotiations of meanings of texts are the focus of the analysis. Through the sharing of texts and discourses, joint discourses were constructed, which became part of the analysis and findings. In addition, the analysis reflects ways participation structures) changed during the course, particularly when participant texts or discourses were related to their sociocultural worlds as opposed to North American texts and discourses. Data was collected for this study using ethnographic field notes, audiotapes of the classes, audiotapes of personal interviews with participants, course materials, handouts, written assignments done by the participants during the course, and reflective evaluations. Analytical tools or constructs—specifically, intertextuality, interdiscoursivity, and identity—were the focus of the analysis of the data Bloome, et al., 2005). The findings in this study indicate that the use of popular texts as schematically accessible content can be an important strategy for developing language skills of young adults from another culture. The findings also indicate that for meaningful discourse to develop it is important for the participants to be able to make intertextual and interdiscursive connections to their sociocultural backgrounds. When this happens, the findings indicate that the participation structure tended to change to learner-centered as the participants became knowledgeable cultural authorities. When this occurs, interaction increases, and more meaningful texts and discourses) are constructed.

Carpets, beards, and baseball signs: An intertextual and interdiscursive look at meanings constructed in a cross-cultural setting for language learning (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

This ethnographic study focuses on a small group of Iranian young adults, four brothers and recent immigrants living in a small city in New England. I used North American popular texts from a variety of sources as content to assist them in developing English language proficiency. For the purpose of this study, I had a dual role of both facilitator and researcher. I collected data throughout an intensive language course I taught over a summer. In this course, the participants negotiated meanings of signs and texts embedded within broader discourses. These interpretations and negotiations of meanings of texts are the focus of the analysis. Through the sharing of texts and discourses, joint discourses were constructed, which became part of the analysis and findings. In addition, the analysis reflects ways participation structures) changed during the course, particularly when participant texts or discourses were related to their sociocultural worlds as opposed to North American texts and discourses. Data was collected for this study using ethnographic field notes, audiotapes of the classes, audiotapes of personal interviews with participants, course materials, handouts, written assignments done by the participants during the course, and reflective evaluations. Analytical tools or constructs—specifically, intertextuality, interdiscoursivity, and identity—were the focus of the analysis of the data Bloome, et al., 2005). The findings in this study indicate that the use of popular texts as schematically accessible content can be an important strategy for developing language skills of young adults from another culture. The findings also indicate that for meaningful discourse to develop it is important for the participants to be able to make intertextual and interdiscursive connections to their sociocultural backgrounds. When this happens, the findings indicate that the participation structure tended to change to learner-centered as the participants became knowledgeable cultural authorities. When this occurs, interaction increases, and more meaningful texts and discourses) are constructed.

Carpets, beards, and baseball signs: An intertextual and interdiscursive look at meanings constructed in a cross-cultural setting for language learning (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

This ethnographic study focuses on a small group of Iranian young adults, four brothers and recent immigrants living in a small city in New England. I used North American popular texts from a variety of sources as content to assist them in developing English language proficiency. For the purpose of this study, I had a dual role of both facilitator and researcher. I collected data throughout an intensive language course I taught over a summer. In this course, the participants negotiated meanings of signs and texts embedded within broader discourses. These interpretations and negotiations of meanings of texts are the focus of the analysis. Through the sharing of texts and discourses, joint discourses were constructed, which became part of the analysis and findings. In addition, the analysis reflects ways participation structures) changed during the course, particularly when participant texts or discourses were related to their sociocultural worlds as opposed to North American texts and discourses. Data was collected for this study using ethnographic field notes, audiotapes of the classes, audiotapes of personal interviews with participants, course materials, handouts, written assignments done by the participants during the course, and reflective evaluations. Analytical tools or constructs—specifically, intertextuality, interdiscoursivity, and identity—were the focus of the analysis of the data Bloome, et al., 2005). The findings in this study indicate that the use of popular texts as schematically accessible content can be an important strategy for developing language skills of young adults from another culture. The findings also indicate that for meaningful discourse to develop it is important for the participants to be able to make intertextual and interdiscursive connections to their sociocultural backgrounds. When this happens, the findings indicate that the participation structure tended to change to learner-centered as the participants became knowledgeable cultural authorities. When this occurs, interaction increases, and more meaningful texts and discourses) are constructed.

Carpets, beards, and baseball signs: An intertextual and interdiscursive look at meanings constructed in a cross-cultural setting for language learning (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

This ethnographic study focuses on a small group of Iranian young adults, four brothers and recent immigrants living in a small city in New England. I used North American popular texts from a variety of sources as content to assist them in developing English language proficiency. For the purpose of this study, I had a dual role of both facilitator and researcher. I collected data throughout an intensive language course I taught over a summer. In this course, the participants negotiated meanings of signs and texts embedded within broader discourses. These interpretations and negotiations of meanings of texts are the focus of the analysis. Through the sharing of texts and discourses, joint discourses were constructed, which became part of the analysis and findings. In addition, the analysis reflects ways participation structures) changed during the course, particularly when participant texts or discourses were related to their sociocultural worlds as opposed to North American texts and discourses. Data was collected for this study using ethnographic field notes, audiotapes of the classes, audiotapes of personal interviews with participants, course materials, handouts, written assignments done by the participants during the course, and reflective evaluations. Analytical tools or constructs—specifically, intertextuality, interdiscoursivity, and identity—were the focus of the analysis of the data Bloome, et al., 2005). The findings in this study indicate that the use of popular texts as schematically accessible content can be an important strategy for developing language skills of young adults from another culture. The findings also indicate that for meaningful discourse to develop it is important for the participants to be able to make intertextual and interdiscursive connections to their sociocultural backgrounds. When this happens, the findings indicate that the participation structure tended to change to learner-centered as the participants became knowledgeable cultural authorities. When this occurs, interaction increases, and more meaningful texts and discourses) are constructed.

Assessing status in bilingual education (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

Few issues have been more intensely debated and questioned than bilingual Education. The focus of the debate has centered on the role of the native language in the acquisition of English. Opponents of bilingual Education claim that maintaining the native language hinders the learning of English´╝Ť proponents of bilingual education suggest that children who are forced to abandon their native language experience a subtractive form of bilingualism that may lead to underachievement. The problem is that policies are differentiated between dominant and subordinate group children in bilingual education. Children of the dominant group are encouraged to add a second language to their repertoires whereas children of the subordinate group must study in English only, thus creating a two-tiered system that makes language learning an elite endeavor. In the policy debate, little attention has been given to the beliefs of middle class monolingual English parents on language status and use. However, their views are important because as the voting majority, parents often assume the role of making decisions for other people’s children through their participation in interest groups and their influence on elected officials, school committees, and superintendents. This research study examines the beliefs of parents in one middle class English-speaking community that has a bilingual education program. The study seeks to gain an understanding of the beliefs of parents regarding language status and use and the influence of these beliefs on language policies for dominant and subordinate group children. The study employed a mixed-method design, linking quantitative and qualitative data. It yielded several findings: (1) dominant group parents have a limited knowledge of second language acquisition theory and research, (2) language status is a sociocultural/political construct, and (3) parents’ language status beliefs are directly related to local polices and indirectly linked to state and national policies promoting differentiated instruction. The study proposes several recommendations to eliminate inequities between dominant and subordinate group children in bilingual education. They focus on educating parents of dominant group children about second language acquisition and improving contact between diverse groups in order to counter bias and discrimination.

The suitability of core French for recently arrived English as a second language adolescent immigrants (Education Papers posted on March 22nd, 2013 )

In Ontario, recently arrived English as a second language ESL) immigrant students are frequently excluded from participating in the Grade 9 core French program, which is obligatory in principle for all secondary school students. I designed a mixed-method study to explore whether this practice, where it occurs, is well founded. First, through a survey of the secondary principals and guidance heads of a large urban southern Ontario school board, I examined the present practices of inclusion of ESL students in core French. Second, I compared the French proficiency of three, groups of secondary students: recently arrived ESL adolescents, multilingual Canadian-born students and unilingual Canadian-born students. Third, this study examined the contributions the ESL participants brought to the French-learning context by means of participant journals, participant and parental interviews. The survey of the principals and guidance heads revealed that French was considered an optional course for ESL students. The French proficiency measures, however, demonstrated the ESL students ability to be successful in core French. French proficiency was measured using a multi-skills test consisting of a multiple choice listening test, three reading tasks, two writing tasks, a dictation and three oral tasks. The ESL group outperformed the other groups in one writing task and in both the reading and listening test components. They also outperformed the unilingual group on one section of the speaking test and the multilingual group on another section of the speaking component. There were no significant differences found among the groups for the other test components: the dictation, the second writing section or the final speaking component. The qualitative findings reveal that the ESL participants were confident in their ability to learn French. This confidence was founded in their prior successful language-learning experiences. Moreover, the ESL participants expressed satisfaction in their progress in learning French after one semester of study. Their positive affect was grounded in their view of multilingualism that tolerates and celebrates different levels of competence in multiple languages. In addition, they attributed value to learning French as one of the official languages of Canada.

Changes in perceived needs regarding Italian language educational provision in Toronto (Education Papers posted on March 21st, 2013 )

This thesis titled Changes in Perceived Needs Regarding Italian Language Educational Provision in Toronto presents a study of the ethnolinguistic vitality of the Italo-Canadian population in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as pertaining to the educational provision of Italian. Beginning with an overview of issues in second language Education (SLE) and bilingualism in the Canadian context, the first part examines data collected from over 30 years of newspaper articles from the Corriere Canadese providing an ample view of changes from 1971, the advent of multiculturalism, to the present. This demonstrates the basis of strong institutional support and the strong political, Economic, and cultural capitals of the Italo-Canadian community, indicative of its high ethnolinguistic vitality. The semistructured interviews of five community leaders from the areas of politics, academics, culture, mass media, and entrepreneurial business, in addition to five Italian language teachers, further demonstrate perceptions vis-a-vis changes in perceived needs regarding Italian language educational provision in Toronto. Thirty semiformal interviews conducted with one parent, one grandparent, and one child from ten Italo-Canadians families participating in Italian language educational provision, provide a cross-generational analysis. This data was applied to a framework investigating sociological, Social psychological and psychological variables in relation to the Italo-Canadian community’s ethnolinguistic vitality in order to predict conditions for additive bilingualism as a product of educational provision in addition to the other affective benefits of cultural awareness and maintenance. Under the conditions of strong institutional support and high vitality, the educational provision of Italian can succeed in promoting varying levels of additive bilingualism in so far as the perceived need is high with the individual to the extent that some of the other socio psychological variables are also present. In so far as the perceived need for the educational provision of Italian is high and the vitality of the community remains high, the affective benefits of cultural awareness and cultural maintenance gained through educational provision will still positively affect the individual and the overall ethnolinguistic vitality of the Italo-Canadian community, which does not necessarily require Italian language proficiency for group membership and all of the affective benefits that it entails.

The suitability of core French for recently arrived English as a second language adolescent immigrants (Education Papers posted on March 21st, 2013 )

In Ontario, recently arrived English as a second language ESL) immigrant students are frequently excluded from participating in the Grade 9 core French program, which is obligatory in principle for all secondary school students. I designed a mixed-method study to explore whether this practice, where it occurs, is well founded. First, through a survey of the secondary principals and guidance heads of a large urban southern Ontario school board, I examined the present practices of inclusion of ESL students in core French. Second, I compared the French proficiency of three, groups of secondary students: recently arrived ESL adolescents, multilingual Canadian-born students and unilingual Canadian-born students. Third, this study examined the contributions the ESL participants brought to the French-learning context by means of participant journals, participant and parental interviews. The survey of the principals and guidance heads revealed that French was considered an optional course for ESL students. The French proficiency measures, however, demonstrated the ESL students ability to be successful in core French. French proficiency was measured using a multi-skills test consisting of a multiple choice listening test, three reading tasks, two writing tasks, a dictation and three oral tasks. The ESL group outperformed the other groups in one writing task and in both the reading and listening test components. They also outperformed the unilingual group on one section of the speaking test and the multilingual group on another section of the speaking component. There were no significant differences found among the groups for the other test components: the dictation, the second writing section or the final speaking component. The qualitative findings reveal that the ESL participants were confident in their ability to learn French. This confidence was founded in their prior successful language-learning experiences. Moreover, the ESL participants expressed satisfaction in their progress in learning French after one semester of study. Their positive affect was grounded in their view of multilingualism that tolerates and celebrates different levels of competence in multiple languages. In addition, they attributed value to learning French as one of the official languages of Canada.

Human engagement: The English language learning process of Korean university students in Canada (Education Papers posted on March 20th, 2013 )

This investigation of the process of English as an additional language (EAL) development of a group of 16 Korean university students spans their experiences in Korea and Canada. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews, written questionnaires and a final focus group interview. Systematic grounded theory informed data gathering and analysis, resulting in a diagrammatic representation and narrative description of the process. Target participants who had been in Canada an average of 4 years, 5 months reported speaking more Korean (55%) than English (44%) during the week and on the weekends (62% Korean, 37% English). The most salient moderators of English language engagement were instrumental motivation, absence of choice and age at leaving Korea. Interview data indicated that, through repeated, shared experiences in context, participants shifted from language knowledge gained predominantly through English grammar study and reading in the Korean setting to language use in the Canadian context. “Acquisition” was discussed as an experience-based, personally meaningful and lasting type of language learning.