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Title:"You don't speak correct English": Teacher knowledge about linguistic diversity/language acquisition and its role in pedagogy
Author(s):Lee, Alice Y
Director of Research:Bauer, Eurydice
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Harris, Violet J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Dyson, Anne H.; Moller, Karla J.
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):African American Language
linguistic diversity
teacher knowledge
Abstract:This dissertation is a qualitative multi-case study of in-service teachers Sara and Raniya and pre-service teacher Tiera (all pseudonyms), who varied in grade level and experience in teaching. The purpose of the study was to investigate teacher knowledge of linguistic diversity, particularly African American Language. This study is foregrounded by the language of all students and the ways teachers enact knowledge about this topic in their classrooms. Language is, after all, a foundation for all learning; academic content, assessment and instruction are conveyed via oral, written and/or literary language. If student academic profiles hinge on competency of the language used/accepted in the classroom, much attention must be prioritized to student language, teacher knowledge about student language, and the way these entities manifest in the classroom. My cases, then, are instantiations of the larger phenomenon I seek to explore: teacher knowledge about language diversity and its role in pedagogy. The three cases were situated in a small urban community, nearby a Midwest university, and were selected through a process of surveys and initial interviews. Observations of each teacher spanned two to three months, with an aim to document the role of teachers’ linguistic knowledge as it played out in curriculum, pedagogy, and student interaction. Data were analyzed through a process of open and selected thematic coding. In my journey to tease out what knowledge my participants had about this topic, and the meaning of such knowledge in their lives as teachers, I found that experiences did not fit “neatly” within categories. They, in fact, intersected, enhanced, and meshed into one another. Still, after loosely categorizing them, I questioned what experiences “counted” as sources for “real” knowledge. Particularly, what role do personal experiences play in knowledge construction? Attempts to trace the manifestation of their knowledge in the classroom were not as linear a process as I had anticipated either. It was in this process, however, that I began to consider not just what teachers know, but what counts as knowledge, and how they come to know at all. These new inquires helped me develop a theoretical frame that I propose in this dissertation and served as a significant finding in this project. This framing is a view of teachers as embodied toolkits, in which pedagogy is interpreted as a teacher’s lived work, and an enactment of one’s myriad life experiences. My approach dismantles traditional notions of a toolkit, where a text or resource is emphasized as the “expert” source of pedagogy, or in other cases, perceived as an appendage of strategies with which the teacher periodically consults. This approach helped me understand the role Sara’s academic, professional, and, especially, personal life experiences played in her development of a racially conscious curriculum that sought to build students’ racial identities and awareness. Interpreting Raniya as an embodied toolkit helped me see how her academic and professional experiences involving language acquisition were lived out in her classroom assessment and advocacy for culturally and linguistically diverse students among her staff. Tiera’s multi-faceted experiences, and particularly upbringing, played a role in shaping her teaching philosophy, and how those experiences were manifested in her practices regarding AAL, curriculum enhancement, and rapport with students. This view of teachers pushes back on current ideologies underpinning professional development, teacher education, mandated curriculum selection processes, and policies regarding teacher evaluation.
Issue Date:2015-07-15
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Alice Lee
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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