Community as resource for minority language learning: A case study of Spanish-English dual-language schooling
AuthorSmith, Patrick Henry
AdvisorMoll, Luis C.
Gonzalez, Norma E.
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.
AbstractThis study examines the role of community-based, minority language resources in dual language schooling. A rapidly growing form of bilingual education, dual language programs involve the co-instruction of children from language majority and language minority backgrounds via the languages of both groups. In contrast to studies of English language development, this study is concerned with Spanish language development by children from English-speaking and Spanish-speaking homes. Using a case study design, the study draws on theoretical frameworks from the fields of language planning, language revitalization, and funds of knowledge to propose that dual language programs may support minority language acquisition by incorporating local language resources--linguistic funds of knowledge--to counter the hegemony of English that undermines additive bilingual efforts in many schools. By showing how historical conditions associated with English-only schooling and punitive approaches to use of Spanish in barrio schools and the legacy of local bilingual education pioneers have contributed to the development of a dual language program, it demonstrates the continued importance of past practices in present dual language planning. The study triangulates ethnographic data from participant observation in classrooms, literacy instruction, and other school domains, teacher, parent, and community interviews, and document and archival analysis. These data, along with findings of changing patterns of language dominance in the case study community, indicate that the minority language resources most immediately available--in the form of fluent bilingual elders and recent immigrants from Mexico--are less likely to be incorporated into planned curriculum than the knowledge and experiences of language majority parents. This pattern is a consequence of the social distance between educators and barrio families, the ambivalence of Mexican American parents and school staff toward the use of non-standard varieties of Spanish in schooling, and the need for greater awareness of language shift. Based on these findings, the study proposes that dual language programs move beyond efforts to increase use of the minority language as language of instruction. Instead, the study suggests, programs should consider practices that tap the linguistic funds of knowledge residing in the vital language minority communities in which schools are embedded.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture