Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Emergent bilinguals: Multiple literacies in changing contexts
by Falchi, Lorraine Theresa, Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, 2011, 238; 3484374
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this ethnographic case study was to investigate emergent bilingual children's participation in a balanced literacy curriculum in their second grade year in a dual language program. The dual language program and bilingual teachers attempted to foster children's multiple literacies in the face of considerable constraints, such as confining assessment practices. I gathered data on three emergent bilingual children from Mixtec heritage in the Spanish and English component classrooms through participant observation, interviews, and artifact collection. I observed, listened to, and traced three children's participation in literacies over the course of an academic year as they produced cultural artifacts that drew on their many semiotic resources. Informed by a multimodal theoretical lens and rooted in critical sociocultural perspectives on participation in literacies as social practices, I analyzed literacy events through multiple readings of the data and multimodal and textual analysis.

Particular attention was given to use of multimodal and multilingual practices, which expanded the children's meaning making potential while negotiating identities. In participating in the literacy curriculum and in the social worlds of school, children proved to be agentive, creative, and resourceful. Children took up, resisted, and hybridized genres and identities in response to available designs in their social contexts. The research suggests ways that educators might organize participation to build upon children's experiences and recruit higher level participation in multilingual literacies, such as critique and transformative practice. Further, to document children's ways of knowing beyond mandated forms of assessment in the balanced literacy curriculum and to reframe emergent bilinguals, teachers may assess what children know in multiple modes, using performance-based assessment. Findings also indicated the need to bridge the home and school disconnection by engaging families in their children's education in schools. In order to re-imagine the education of bilingual children, educators might also honor the play and work of children and design interactive social spaces and practices that encourage generous readings of how children participate over time, while listening to their silences.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Siegel, Marjorie
School: Teachers College, Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Bilingual education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Dual language, Literacy curriculum, Multimodal, Multiple literacies
Publication Number: 3484374
ISBN: 9781267008169
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