Understanding the Sociopolitical-Historical Context and its Impact on Teachers of Students of Mexican Background: A Closer Look in a Mainstream and in an English Language Development (ELD) Classroom
AuthorAcosta Iriqui, Jesús Martín
Language, Reading & Culture
English Language Learners
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 15-May-2014
AbstractA large body of research exists concerning teaching students of Mexican background whose primary language is not English, who I call Potentially Biliterate Students (PBLs) in this study. The focus of the research around these students often addresses bilingual education, academic achievement, the impact of language policy, and segregation, among other areas. Yet inequalities still prevail when educating this group of students. Language policies such as Proposition 203 and House Bill 2064 in Arizona, which are not research-based, target this particular population -perpetuating inequalities that have been visible since the Mexican-American War of 1848. This dissertation is informed by sociocultural (Vygotsky, 1978) and sociocultural-historical (Rogoff, 2003) perspectives. Theories of second language (Krashen, 1982; Cummins, 1991; Collier, 1995) and the interplay with mathematics education (Moschkovich, 2002, Khisty, 1995) are also important components that frame my study. This study took place in two different third-grade classrooms, a mainstream and an English Language Development/Structured English Immersion (ELD/SEI), in an English-only environment. The school is part of a school district in southern Arizona where most students are of Mexican background. I employed ethnographic tools to address my research questions. The data sources of this study come from field notes from participant observations, video-recorded sessions, interviews (video- and/or audio recorded) with both teachers and students, and teachers autobiographies regarding their language and mathematics learning experiences, offering a rich source for analysis of the resources and classroom practices in the teaching-learning environment. This data allowed me to develop in-depth case studies for both teachers based on the nature of their classrooms. Thought the two case studies presented, I document how the sociopolitical-historical context and the teachers' training and professional development shape their classroom practices, language ideology, attitudes towards the subjects they teach, as well as their perceptions about their students and families; in particular around students of Mexican background. Additional research is needed to connect results similar to this study with the impact on students' outcomes and behavior, as also the impact on participation of the different school members -parents and other community members.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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Acquisition versus long-term retention of Japanese words and syntax by children and adults: Implications for the critical period hypothesis in second language learning.Boswell, Paul Duane; Reyna, Valerie; Brainerd, Charles; Aleamoni, Lawrence M. (The University of Arizona., 1993)The critical period hypothesis for second language learning, which states that young children learn additional languages better than adults, lacks unambiguous empirical support as well as a coherent theoretical model. An experimental study was conducted which analyzed child-adult differences in difficulty of acquisition and long-term retention for rules of syntax and words in Japanese, a language unfamiliar to the subjects. The results of this study found no advantage for children over adults either in acquisition or long-term memory. However, relative to the difficulty of acquisition, the children had lower forgetting rates for words than for rules when both materials were learned completely. In the lexical study, the children's performance at retention was closer to the adults' than at acquisition, whereas in the syntax study, the opposite was the case. These results confirm the existence of developmental differences in the forgetting rates of different materials. Such results imply that, if there is an advantage for learning language at an early age, it might be localized in lexical retention.
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