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Title:Mainstreaming second language learners: teachers' instructional strategies in the classroom
Author(s):Some-Guiebre, Wen-Yam
Director of Research:Noffke, Susan E.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Noffke, Susan E.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Dyson, Anne H.; Ndimande, Bekisizwe S.; Lugo, Alejandro
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Secondary & Continuing Educ
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Multicultural education
English language learners
African immigrants
Teachers' education
Abstract:This study examines the way mainstream teachers interact with their immigrant students to identify the framework(s) within which the students develop perceptions about their cultural and linguistic capital. I am particularly interested in how instruction influences African children in the classroom. The U.S. immigration policies allowing citizens of foreign countries to migrate into the country, has favored the immigration of many Africans into the country either for educational purposes or in the hope of a better life. Many of those immigrants experience challenges ranging from language and economic issues to social and cultural integration. The challenges are more acute for children who have to juggle their cultural backgrounds reinforced at home and the values available in their new cultural and social environment. Although issues related to immigrant children and English language learners in American classrooms have been largely addressed in the literature, most of the research focuses on Spanish and Asian children while the case of African children has been unexplored. In this study I explored how mainstream classroom teachers relate their teaching practices and content to African children and how classroom practices accomodate students and shape their learning processes. I worked with teachers whose students are African born children who have immigrated in the United States either because their parents are American permanent residents or international students pursuing their education at the University. Considering the multiplicity of languages in Africa, most of the children speak or have been exposed to at least one or two languages in their countries of origin before immigration. However, their fluency and the frequency of use of those languages might be reduced to a minimum in favor of the English language. In a previous study about the children of French speaking Africans at a tutorial program designed specifically for children of refugees and immigrants, I observed that although the use of their first language was encouraged during their interaction, the children only used it whenever there was an authoritative figure reinforcing it. The children’s limited use of their first language reduced their fluency in the language as well as their perceptions of that language and how they shape their learning processes.To develop such an understanding, I explored the following questions: What are the linguistic, cultural, and academic challenges of the children of French speaking African Immigrants? How do teachers perceive the linguistic, cultural, and academic challenges presented by African immigrants in school? What is the nature of teachers’ instructional efforts in response to students’ needs and how are those efforts influenced by the presence of African immigrant students in the classroom? How do children participate in teachers’ planned lessons?
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Wen-Yam Some-Guiebre
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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