Linguistically Diverse Students

With the growing ethno-linguistically diverse student population in our colleges and universities, many instructors continue to search for effective tools and pedagogies to address the language needs of their diverse learners. These readings address some of the concerns teachers have, and offer pedagogical approaches and strategies for addressing the language needs of different groups. Such groups include African American, ESL, EFL, Generation 1.5, and Latino. The category also explores ways of implementing bi/multilingual pedagogies. Click on the titles to expand.

Bicultural/ Bilingual Education

García, Ofelia. Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective. 1st ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2008. Print.
The author examines bilingual education programs throughout the world  through both  historical and contemporary lens, while also engaging in a critical reading of the current conversations  around bilingual education. The book  invites readers to imagine a new perspective for twenty-first century which promotes a multilingualism. García questions assumptions guiding the understanding of languages, bilingualism and bilingual education, policies, pedagogies and assessment. The author provides alternative insights of looking at all these issues.

Lucila D., Margarita, M., Patricia S, and Howard L. “Learning from their Communities: Bilingual Teachers Researching Urban Latino Neighborhoods.” Urban Literacies: Critical Perspectives on Language, Learning and Community, Ed. Valerie Kinloch. New York: Teachers College Press, 2011. 15-37. Print.
This chapter is based on a research conducted in a Latina/o urban communi(ties) in Texas. Using social-cultural theory, the research explores the intricacies between the immigrant community’s languages, literacy practices and language ideologies. The authors revisit history to examine the linguistic violence done to the community under “longstanding Americanization project”. This essay is important because it reveals the position English continues to assume even in bilingual settings. For example, although bilingualism is expected be practiced in classrooms where the research was conducted, it is practiced for “aesthetic” and not “authentic”.  The language divide between home and school for example continues to promote code-switching tendencies, which reify inequality between Spanish and English. This study is important because it continues to ask the nagging question of what does it mean to be a bi or multilingual student in an American society. What is the value of multilingualism and who recognizes its value and how is it rewarded? How is it silenced?


ESL/ELL/ Generation 1.5

Canagarajah, Attelstan Suresh. Critical Academic Writing and Multilingual Students. University of Michigan Press/ESL, 2002. Print.
This book, Canagarajah provides a critical approach to L2 writing and pedagogy. Topics in the book encourage teachers to self-reflect in order  to better understand the motivations and pedagogical implications of teaching language and writing, especially for L2 writing. The book is critical and useful guide for writing teachers who want to be critically aware of their role as teachers, and as they teach bilingual and multilingual learners.

Hall, Joan Kelly, Gergana Vitanova, and Ludmila A. Marchenkova, eds. Dialogue With Bakhtin on Second and Foreign Language Learning: New Perspectives. 1st ed. Routledge, 2004. Print.
The contributors in this book draw from Bakhtin’s significant concepts, such as dialogue, utterance, heteroglossia, voice, and addressivity in an attempt to examine language learning in real world contexts. This work reflects a new scholarship in applied linguistics moving from previous scholarship which emphasizes formalist views of language as universal, autonomous linguistic systems, towards an understanding of language as dynamic collections of cultural resources.Such a view of language has significant implications for current understandings of second- and foreign-language learning.

Kanno, Yasuko. Negotiating Bilingual and Bicultural Identities: Japanese Returnees Betwixt Two Worlds. First ed. Routledge, 2003. Print.
The author uses personal narratives of four Japanese returnees (kikokushijo) as they spent their adolescent years in North America and then returned to Japan to attend university. The author shows how the four students became sophisticated in negotiating their changing linguistic and cultural identities. Kanno also analyzes how educational institutions in both countries recognized or devalued bilingualism, and the students’ contribution to shaping and transforming their identities over time. Using narrative inquiry and communities of practice as a theoretical framework, the author argues that it is possible for bilingual individuals to learn to strike a balance between two languages and cultures.

Ogulnick, Karen. Language Crossings: Negotiating the Self in a Multicultural World. Ed. Karen Ogulnick. Teachers College Press, 2000. Print.
This book is a collection of essays and stories of language learners as they reflect on their identity as negotiated by their language-learning experiences.The editor of the  book beautifully weaves the learners’ reflections in a a way that gives voice to the realities of language learners.This book presents research on language development and provides theoretical themes of multilingualism.

Roberge, Mark, Meryl Siegal, and Linda Harklau, eds. Generation 1.5 in College Composition: Teaching Academic Writing to U.S.-Educated Learners of ESL. 1st ed. Routledge, 2009. Print.
This book provides a number of  theoretical frameworks that would help teachers to  understand debates about immigrant students, studies of students’ schooling paths and language and literacy experiences, and pedagogical approaches for working with Generation 1.5 students.The book is a handy resource for scholars and practitioners interested in  re-conceptualizing the fields of College Composition and TESOL and interested in curving a space for research, theory, and pedagogy that focuses on postsecondary immigrant ESL students. The book also provides both important new theoretical work that provides foundations for critical pedagogical innovation approaches for working with these learners.This volume is useful for pre-service and in-service teachers, teacher educators, and researchers involved with educating Generation 1.5 students.

Yamaguchi, M. “Discursive Representation and Enactment of National Identities: The Case of Generation 1.5 Japanese.” Discourse & Society 16.2 (2005): 269-299. Web. 8 Feb. 2012.
This study, is part of a larger ethnographic project, focuses on the language-in-use of two Generation 1.5  Japanese, who immigrated to the US in their early life stages. To address the issue of construction of national identities, the author examines linguistic resources that the participants use to (co-)construct their identities and stances toward Japanese and Americans. By drawing on discourse analysis from a multidisciplinary perspective, the author found that: the interview data contain a large number of ‘complaint sequences,’ in which the Japanese participants complain about Japan/Japanese to a Japanese researcher; both participants represent and enact the past self in Japan negatively and the present self in the US positively; the participants take highly negative stances toward Japanese, although paradoxically identifying themselves with Japanese. The author discusses the implications of the study for larger social processes that reconsider the complex relationships among language, ethnicities and national identity in late modernity.


Second Language Acquistion

Abrahamsson, Niclas, and Kenneth Hyltenstam. “The Robustness of Aptitude Effects in Near-Native Second Language Acquisition.” Studies in Second Language Acquisition 30.4 (2008): 481-509. Print.
The authors investigate the L2 proficiency and language aptitude of near-native L2 speakers. The findings suggest nativelike adult learners would be talented language learners with e the ability to compensate for maturational effects.

Au, Kathryn. “Culturally responsive instruction: Application to multiethnic classrooms.” The International Journal of Pedagogies 2.1 (2007). 1-18. Print.
This article discusses cultural responsiveness in literacy instruction. Au argues for implementing cultural responsive instruction in the classroom and claims that it can increase levels of literacy among diverse students. Through culturally responsive instruction, new literacies may be created in classrooms that connect student’s home backgrounds and literacies.

August, Diance and Timothy Shanahan. Developing reading and writing in second-language learners: Lessons from the report of the National Literacy Panel on language minority children and youth. Routledge, 2008. Print.
This book reports on the finds of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth. Consisting of researchers in reading, language, bilingualism, research methods, and education, this panel identified, assessed, and synthesize the research on the literacy education of language-minority youth. From the results generated from the panel, this book then offers a summary of what is known in the field of literacy among language-minority children and youth.

Birdsong, David. “Age and second language acquisition and processing: A selective overview.” Language Learning 56 (2006): 9-49. Print.
Birdsong examines the relationship between age and second language learning in this article. Looking at the behavioral and brain-based data, the author explores the second language learning potential of a postadolescent L2A.

Dornyei, Zoltan. “New Themes and Approaches in Second Language Motivation Research.” Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 21 (2001): 43-59. Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA). Print.
This article looks at the new trends and theoretical/research directions in second language motivation research. The authors report that L2 motivation research, originated in Canada, has been expanding with a new generation of international scholars who have added breadth to a mixture of approaches in motivational psychology.

Frankenberg, Erica and Genevieve Siegel-Hawley. Are teachers prepared for America’s diverse schools? Teachers describe their preparation, resources and practices for racially diverse schools. Civil Rights Project/ Proyecto Derechos Civiles, 2008. Print.
Collaborating with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Frankenberg and Siegel-Hawley report on the results of their teacher survey that examined teacher preparation for teaching at racially diverse schools. The goal of this study was to examine how race relations and achievement in America’s multiracial schools can be improved.

Gass, Susan M, and Larry Selinker. Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course. New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group, 2008. Print.
This book takes a multidisciplinary approach to how adults learn second languages. Designed to be used as a supplement for an introductory undergraduate or graduate course, the book is primarily concerned with the general question “how are second languages learned?”.

Hinkel, Eli. Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning. Vol. 2. Routledge, 2011. Print.
As a handbook, this book provides a vast overview of the current and ongoing research trends in second language teaching and learning. This book is the second volume, and authors from around the globe have been added to this edition in order to provide a larger international understanding of second language acquisition. Focused on research methods, linguistics, assessment, pedagogy, and language policy, this book is an excellent resource for researchers, faculty, students, and curriculum developers.

Li, Guofang. Culturally Contested Literacies: America’s “Rainbow Underclass” and Urban Schools.
Routledge, 2008. Print.

This book explores the cross-cultural living and schooling experiences of six culturally diverse families in urban America. As an ethnographic account, this book reveals how families attempt to make sense of their relations in terms of race, ethnicity, class and gender.

Li, Guofang and Patricia Edwards. Best practices in ELL instruction. Guilford Press, 2010. Print.
This book reviews the current trends in ELL instruction (K-12) and identifies what works best for today’s students and schools. This book then provides best-practice guidelines and recommendations for teaching ELLs and those with learning disabilities.

Plonsky, Luke. “The Effectiveness of Second Language Strategy Instruction: A Meta-Analysis.” Language Learning 61.4 (2011): 993-1038. Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA). Print.
This meta-analysis attempts to provide a quantitative measure of the effect of Strategy Instruction (SI) as well as articulate the relationship between SI and the variables that determine its effectiveness.


African American Language

Alim, Samy. H. “Critical Language Awareness in the United States: Revisiting Issues and Revising Pedagogies in a Resegregated Society.” Educational Researcher 34(7): 2005. 24-31.
This article stimulates a discussion surrounding two questions: (1) What are the rationale ways by which teachers can take black language into account when teaching black students? (2) What is the state of existing knowledge on the subject? In this article, Alim highlights the nexus between successes and failures of desegregation and language education by examining 50 years of court-ordered desegregation cases, including Brown v Board of Education and the Ann Arbor Black English case. In response to this, the author urges educators and sociolinguist to work together to revise current pedagogies that harm linguistically-profiled students and argues for critical language awareness programs that equip students with “silent weapons” for the language wars that they participate in on a day-to-day basis.

Paris, Django. “‘They’re in my culture, they speak the same way’: African American Language in multiethnic high schools.” Harvard Educational Review. 79.3 (2009): 428-448. Print.
This article opens up a discussion surrounding how AAL is crossed and shared in multiethnic spaces. Through nine months of fieldwork, Paris discovered that language crossing and sharing of AAL was ratified in a multiethnic high school where African American, Latino/a, and Pacific Islander students were members. Paris contends that multiethnic spaces provide perfect opportunities for a pedagogy of pluralism; that is, opportunities to teach about language diversity. Unfortunately, the particular high school that was focused on in this study failed to take their students’ robust language interaction into account. In addition to its content, this article displays an excellent model of ethnographic research (participant observation), field notes, and research write up.

Smitherman, Geneva. “Ebonics, King, and Oakland: Some Folk Don’t Believe Fat Meat Is Greasy.” Talkin that Talk: African American Language and Culture. New York, NY, Routledge, 1999. 150-162. Print.
In this chapter, the author brings a very critical conversation to language by bringing up issues related to power and education. She highlights the Ann Arbor Black English to demonstrate how integral the issues raised in the case are to the struggle of African Americans throughout history. This article demonstrates that data about AAL doesn’t arrive until the mid-1970s. Smitherman argues here that language instruction should be tied to its ancestry and not taught outside of its context. This article also illuminates third spaces and questions that promotes bilingualism among all. Building on the work of theorist, such as Fanon, Dubois, and Woodson, Smitherman advocates for a multilingual policy, which includes three frameworks: (1) learning the Language of Wider Communication, (2) learning a foreign language, and (3) preservation and enhancement of the mother tongue. She further argues for a socially responsible educational philosophy that interrogates the social and cultural context of language, including “standard English” as well as capitalize on the rich oral tradition that black youth bring with them to the classroom.

Canaragajah, Suresh. “The place of World Englishes in Composition: Pluralization Continued”. The Norton Book of Composition Studies. Ed. Susan Miller. W. W. Norton & Company, 2009. 1617-1642. Print.
This essay questions the continuing dominance of American English over other Englishes. Canagarajah highlights the need to create space for world Englishes in academic writing. He notes that, English is a “plural language embodying multiple norms and standards” (589), and since it is a multinational language, diverse communities are participating in using and appropriating it to fit their local circumstances. He thus calls for an expansion of space where students from all over the world can be allowed to bring their preferred English varieties in their academic writing. He thus proposes the pedagogy of codemeshing that hopes to go beyond earlier pedagogies like code switching. Canagarajah notes that code meshing allows students to use their preferred Englishes to intrude, disrupt and resist the dominant codes. In academic writing, he notes, code meshing allows room of the continuance of the practice of “contact zone textualities” where the subaltern uses hybrid codes to not only resist from within, but also to empower themselves (601).

Carter, Stephanie. P., and Kumasi, Kati. D. “Double Reading: Young Black Scholars Responding to Whiteness in a Community Literacy Program.” Urban Literacies: Critical Perspectives on Language, Learning, and Community. Ed.  Valerie Kinloch. New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 2011. 72-90. Print.
This chapter engages a discussion surrounding black adolescent youth and whiteness in predominantly white communities. Using an ethnographic approach, Carter and Kumasi focus on a double reading approach used in a pre-college after school literacy program for African American middle and high school youth. The following questions guided the study: (1) In what ways does using DuBois’ concept of double consciousness make more visible how a group of Black youth in a community literacy program confront and respond to Whiteness in a book club? (2) How does using Dubois’ concept of double consciousness as a lens to “re-see” provide insight to better support and understand how a group of Black youth in a community literacy program act and interact while reading and discussing literature by and about Black people? Implications from this study suggest that double reading can potentially help literacy educators and scholars better understand how some black youth engage in literacy learning, especially where whiteness is a factor.

Ek, D. L., Machado-Casas, M., Sanchez, P., & Smith, L.H. (2011). Aprendiendo de Sus Comunidades/ Learning from Their Communities: Bilingual Teachers Researching Urban Latino Neighborhoods, pp.15-37. In V. Kinloch (ed.), Urban Literacies: Critical Perspectives on Language, Learning, and Community. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
This chapter elicits discussion around the following question: Are bilingual Latinos/as immune to dominant linguistic ideologies that reify hegemony of English while stigmatizing Spanish? The authors are primarily concerned with educational systems implementation of curricula, pedagogies, and practices that ultimately ignore the language and literacy needs of urban students. This study focuses on how bilingual pre-service teachers used research methods to examine if bilingual Latinos were immune to dominant linguistic ideologies. Even more, this study sought to provide pre-service teachers of color with a research tool that will help them better examine and understand linguistic ideologies as well as push them towards advocacy. The findings from this study demonstrate that while the participants were aware of dominant linguistic ideologies, they were ambivalent about bilingual education; that is, as stated by many of the participants in the study, why do students need to learn more about their native language, if they already know their native languages?

Kirkland, David. and  Jackson, Austin. Beyond the Silence: Instructional Approaches and Students’ Attitudes,. In J. Scott, D. Y. Straker, & L. Katz (eds.), Affirming Students’ Right to Their Own Language: Bridging Educational Policies and Language/Language Arts Teaching Practices. Champagne/Urbana, IL: NCTE/LEA. 2008. 160-180, Print.
This article responds to the question of: Do code-switching pedagogies improve students’ attitudes toward AAL? Kirkland and Jackson demonstrate that the code switching/ contrastive analysis approach does not work because it fails to address the complexities of AAL use and the matrix of language, identity—the authors subsequently argue for a critical instructional framework. The claims that are made in this article are based on a 3-year study conducted on AAL-speaking students at Malcolm X academy in Detroit. The significance of this article is that it proves that code-switching/ contrastive analysis does not improve students’ attitudes, so educators should discontinue advocating this paradigm. Further, Kirkland and Jackson suggest that that language instruction must address critical-linguistic issues related to the proliferation of racism, black student failure, and it must consider the significance of sociolinguistic forms as well as give students rich opportunities to investigate, accommodate, and critique such forms. Moreover, language instruction must address negative assumptions about language and their speakers. Finally, all students regardless of race or ethnicity must receive language instruction that offsets the assumptions that perpetuate linguistic discrimination.

Lunsford, Andrea. “Toward a Mestiza Rhetoric: Gloria Anzaldúa on Composition and Compositionality”. In The Norton Book of Composition Studies. Susan Miller. W. W. Norton & Company, 2009, 1401-1428.
In this chapter, which is  based on an interview with Gloria Azaldúa, Lunsford underscores the need for monolingual learners to become “new mestzas” who can tolerate contradictions, ambiguity and exploit difference. This essay underscores the need for teachers to help their students overcome the fear of other peoples’ languages and cultures. An exposure to difference, Lunford, argues, will enable students to recognize the multiple voices, linguistic, cultural and rhetorical identities they embody. This is a useful theoretical piece for teachers interested in teaching their student not only multilingual writing but also to practice “dangerous and experimental kinds of writing”.

Moll, C. L., and  Gonzalez, N. “Lessons from Research with Language-Minority Children.” Literacy: A Critical Sourcebook. Eds. Ellen Cushman, Eugene R. Kintgen, Barry. M. Kroll, and Mike Rose. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 1994. 156-171. Print.
This chapter presents a study that strategically uses cultural resources for learning and challenges that status quo regarding children’s literacy. More specifically, the study focuses on how children used literacy to learn in their first or second language. The authors use this study to demonstrate that students enter the classroom with ample resources, which they term “funds of knowledge”. The funds of knowledge perspective is grounded in the assumption that there are important cultural resources for teaching in the school’s immediate community, and it needs both method and theory to locate, identify and document these resources. They argue that funds of knowledge can be used as the foundation for education that addresses social, academic, and intellectual issues. In order to locate cultural resources, Moll and Gonzalez argue that teachers must become teacher-researchers, specifically studying their students’ households. This study debunks ideas of working class and language-minority households as lacking worthwhile knowledge and experiences; instead, these households are viewed as having valuable knowledge and experiences that can foster students’ development.

Silva, Tony, and Paul Kei Matsuda. Practicing Theory in Second Language Writing. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press. 2010
Although theory has been used widely in the field of second language writing, many second language writing specialists–teachers, researchers, and administrators–have yet to have an open and sustained conversation about what theory is, how it works, and how to practice theory. This book features fourteen essays by distinguished scholars in second language writing who explore various aspects of theoretical work that goes on in the field.

Smitherman, Geneva.“English Teacher, Why You Be Doing the Thangs You Don’t do?” Talkin that Talk: African American Language and Culture. 1st ed. Routledge, 1999. Print.
In this chapter Smitherman castigates English teachers who emphasize on correctness and challenges them instead to direct their energies to examining the rhetorical power of language as used in Black students’ compositions. She thus proposes a Five–point program for teaching English in an inner city program which is based on the real needs of Black students. This chapter is a handy resource for  teachers who want to teach critical and  rhetorical power of language as opposed to correctness.

Smitherman, Geneva, Victor Villanueva, and Suresh Caragarajah, Eds. Language Diversity in the Classroom: From Intention to Practice. 1st ed. Southern Illinois University Press, 2003. Print.
All the essays contained in this monograph are relevant and useful to teachers interested in teaching and promoting language diversity in writing classroom. Canaragajah’s introductory essay provides an overview of the current language situation in American classrooms where “standard English” and monodilectism is still privileged at the expense of and other languages. Smitherman’s essay maps the factors that necessitated Students Rights to Their Own Languages(SRTOL) resolution and also traces the historical developments, resistance and challenges the resolution has faced almost 40 years later. Other essays contained in the monograph explore teacher’s awareness and attitudes towards language diversity while other essays highlight the pedagogical practices and attempts some teachers are making to promote language diversity in their classrooms.


Native American Language

Hermes, Mary. “Ma’iingan Is Just a Misspelling of the Word Wolf: A Case for Teaching Culture through Language.” Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Vol. 36, Issue 1, pp. 43–56. 2005.
Framed by the English language and positioned as a distinct subject, Ojibwe culture and language are often appreciated by students rather than taught for a deeper understanding or fluency, or used as the language of instruction in tribal schools. Ojibwe culture and language have been “added on” to existing school curriculum, an approach that changes the meaning of culture. In this article, the author critiques the add-on approach and proposes that teaching through the Indigenous language (immersion) supports cultural and language revitalization in a more fundamental way.

McCarty, Teresa L. and Watahomigie, Lucille J. “Indigenous Community-based Language Education in the USA.” Language, Culture And Curriculum. Vol. 11, No. 3. 1998.
Nearly two million American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians reside in the USA, representing over 500 tribes and 175 distinct languages. The uniqueness of tribal communities notwithstanding, all indigenous peoples in the USA share a history as the targets of federal policies aimed at eradicating their languages and lifeways. The legacy of those policies has been Native language loss and sociocultural dislocation, even as indigenous students have experienced considerable failure in English-only schools. Here, the authors argue that indigenous language education must be historically situated and as such, viewed as both an affirmation of self-determination and an act of resistance to linguistic oppression. Drawing on published accounts and first-hand testimony, the authors present several cases that illustrate the role of indigenous language education programs in strengthening indigenous languages and promoting indigenous language and education rights. They conclude with an analysis of the continuing problems these community-based initiatives face, their promise and limitations as agents of language renewal, and their role as catalysts for linguistic self-determination and educational reform.

McCarty, Teresa L., Watahomigie, Lucille J., Yamamoto, Akira Y., and Zeped, Ofelia. “School-Community-University Collaborations: The American Indian Language Development Institute.” in J. Reyhner (Ed.), Teaching Indigenous Languages. Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University. (Pp. 85-104). 1997.
In considering what can be done to reverse language shift, many look to schools as primary resources. But school-based language renewal programs also have been criticized for transferring responsibility for mother tongue transmission from its necessary domains the family and community to a secondary or tertiary institution. In this paper, the authors present one model for connecting school, community, and university resources to strengthen indigenous languages: the American Indian Language Development Institute. In 18 years of operation, AILDI has: 1) raised consciousness about the linguistic and cultural stakes at risk; 2) facilitated the development of indigenous literatures and a cadre of native-speaking teachers; and 3) influenced federal policy through a grassroots network of indigenous language advocates. Here, the artists look at the program’s development, provide recommendations for developing similar institutes, and suggest specific strategies for strengthening indigenous languages in the contexts of community, home, and school.

Paris, Django. “Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies. A Needed Change in Stance, Terminology and Practice.” Educational Researcher, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 93-97. 2012 AERA.
In this article, Paris questions whether research and practices emerging from culturally relevant and responsive pedagogies do indeed ensure the maintenance of the languages and cultures of African American, Latina/o, Indigenous American, Asian American, Pacific Islander American, and other immigrant communities in our classrooms. He writes “we must ask ourselves if the very terms “relevant” and “responsive” are descriptive of what we are after in teaching and learning in a pluralistic society.” Paris argues for adoption of culturally sustaining pedagogy because it aims at maintaining heritage ways, values cultural and linguistic sharing across difference, aims at sustaining and supporting bi- and multilingualism and bi- and multiculturalism, and supports linguistic and cultural dexterity and plurality which is necessary in our demographically changing U.S. and global schools and communities.