Culturally Mediated Writing Instruction invites students to take an inquiry stance toward issues of interest and significance—exploring issues, framing questions, gathering information, synthesizing findings into messages, publishing or presenting their findings, and assessing their efforts before moving on to other inquiries. CMWI can be seen as a rich and dynamic landscape of literacy tasks, routines, practices, materials, and dialogues that invites students to ask questions and to look for answers to those questions. Data from four high-school classrooms illustrate that CMWI teachers made interdependent and layered instructional decisions in response to students' needs, and that they provided mediation toward for primary goals or instructional targets: confidence and risk-taking; concept development and content knowledge; skills and strategies for meaning-making; and linguistic awareness and cross-linguistic transfer.
Literacy educators may dismiss the recent outcry about the U. S. school "crisis" as an emotional and perhaps cynical bid for political gain and private profit, but the drop-out rate and college-going rate highlight an urgent, legitimate concern about whether all students are being served. Admittedly, multiple factors influence how and whether individual adolescents are able to negotiate various cultural, linguistic, economic, emotional, and academic challenges, many of which are clearly beyond the control of school personnel. The quality of instruction, however, is one significant factor we should be able to influence (Darling-Hammond, 2000). Increasingly, literacy research focuses on improving our support of these students, particularly English learners, toward eventual success in the workplace and in post-secondary educational settings, but few publications specifically address the complexities inherent in writing instruction for secondary English learners. The purpose of this study is to examine two high school teachers' decisions about writing instruction, aiming to prepare students for careers and college readiness. The question addressed in this paper is, " How do two high school teachers mediate English learners' academic writing in preparation for careers and college? " BACKGROUND OF THE LARGER STUDY
The policy of strict separation of languages for academic instruction dominates dual language bilingual education programming. This article explores the dynamic bilingual practices of two experienced bilingual teachers in a two-way dual language public school in Texas and contributes to current research problematizing language separation. Data included interviews, field notes, and classroom interaction video in a pre-kindergarten and a first grade classroom. The instructional practices of the two teachers suggested powerful strategies to promote bilingual identities. Drawing on identity theory, particularly the notions of positioning and investment, we attempt to contribute to recent research offering teachers potential translanguaging instructional strategies. These strategies include: (a) modeling dynamic bilingual language practices, (b) positioning students as bilingual (even before they are), and (c) celebrating and drawing attention to language crossing. In combining these strategies, teachers move toward using students' bilingual language practices as a resource for academic instruction.
This study was conducted by members of a site of the California Writing Project in partnership with a large, urban, low-SES school district where 93% of the students speak English as a second language and 69% are designated Limited English Proficient. Over an eight-year period, a relatively stable group of 55 secondary teachers engaged in ongoing professional development implemented a cognitive strategies approach to reading and writing instruction, making visible for approximately 2000 students per year the thinking tools experienced readers and writers access in the process of meaning construction. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of this approach on the reading and writing abilities of English language learners (ELLs) in all 13 secondary schools in the district. Students receiving cognitive strategies instruction significantly out-gained peers on holistically scored assessments of academic writing for seven consecutive years. Treatment-group students also performed significantly better than control-group students on GPA, standardized tests, and high-stakes writing assessments. Findings reinforce the importance of having high expectations for ELLs; exposing them to a rigorous language arts curriculum; explicitly teaching, modeling and providing guided practice in a variety of strategies to help students read and write about challenging texts; and involving students as partners in a community of learners. What distinguishes the project is its integrity with respect to its fidelity to three core dimensions. Teachers and students were exposed to an extensive set of cognitive strategies and a wide array of curricular approaches to strategy use (comprehensiveness) in a manner designed to cultivate deep knowledge and application of those strategies in reading and writing (density) over an extended period of time (duration). The consistency of positive outcomes on multiple measures strongly points to the efficacy of using this approach with ELLs.
Aims and Scope “This remains the fundamental base for studies of multilingual communities and language shift. Weinreich laid out the concepts, principles and issues that govern empirical work in this field, and it has not been replaced by any later general treatment.�?.
This article presents an ethnographic study of how bilingual teachers and children use their home language, TexMex, to mediate academic content and standard languages. From the premise that TESOL educators can benefit from a fuller understanding of students' linguistic repertoires, the study describes language practices in a second-grade classroom in a transitional bilingual education program in a well-established Mexican American community in San Antonio, Texas. The data suggest that the participants move fluidly between not just Spanish and English, but also the standard and vernacular varieties, a movement that is called translanguaging (O. García, 2009). Translanguaging through TexMex enables the teacher and students to create discursive spaces that allow them to engage with the social meanings in school from their position as bilingual Latinos. The teacher's adoption of a flexible bilingual pedagogy (Creese & Blackledge, 2010) allows for translanguaging in the classroom not only as a way of making sense of content and learning language, but also as a legitimized means of performing desired identities.
Language brokers facilitate communication between two linguistically and/or culturally different parties. Unlike formal interpreters and translators, brokers mediate, rather than merely transmit, information. Recent research suggests that language minority (LM) students who broker assume parental duties that include making educational decisions and communicating directly with schools, which greatly impacts their own educational experiences. The purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence of this phenomenon among Chineseand Vietnamese-American bilingual students, and to explore the linguistic, cultural, and affective factors associated with brokering. The results suggest that nearly all of the subjects brokered for a variety of people in the home and at school, among many other settings, and that brokering has a number of affective and linguistic consequences for LM students. The implications of these findings for educators and policy makers are discussed.
This book addresses how the new linguistic concept of ‘Translanguaging’ has contributed to our understandings of language, bilingualism and education, with potential to transform not only semiotic systems and speaker subjectivities, but also social structures.
This article reports on research that questions commonsense understandings of a bilingual pedagogy predicated on what Cummins (2005, 2008) refers to as the “two solitudes” assumption (2008, p. 65). It sets out to describe a flexible bilingual approach to language teaching and learning in Chinese and Gujarati community language schools in the United Kingdom. We argue for a release from monolingual instructional approaches and advocate teaching bilingual children by means of bilingual instructional strategies, in which two or more languages are used alongside each other. In developing this argument, the article takes a language ecology perspective and seeks to describe the interdependence of skills and knowledge across languages.
This article documents tagging as one of several informal literacy practices used by newcomer Mexican youth in a Midwest school and classroom setting. Specifically, it details how tagging travels into the classroom. Using the tool of interactional ethnography to analyze videotaped classroom observation data of an English Learner Science setting, I account for the instructional context in which three newcomer Mexican girls tag the whiteboard, focusing specifically on the social positionings they are able to construct in the classroom with and without these practices. Out of this analysis, I suggest that informal “literacies of display,” like tagging, might, in the classroom, be more productively regarded as “literacies of assistance.” They are proactive requests by newcomer youth for the help they need in developing cultural fluency between their transnational identity and the classroom context [Aikenhead, G. S. & Jegede, O. J. (1999). Cross-cultural science education: A cognitive explanation of a cultural phenomenon. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(3), 269–287]. My account challenges facile interpretations of resistance that marginalize youth's use of such informal literacies.
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