«A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education in the Graduate Division of ...»
Hornberger (2006), citing Lindholm-Leary (2001), points out the growth of the number of such programs over the course of just over 20 years, “from 30 in 1987 to 176 in 1994 and expanding to 261 in 1999” (p. 230). Much of that growth was due to increased funding of bilingual programs under the 1994 reauthorization of the Bilingual Education Act. However, even at the time of the enactment of NCLB in 2002 with its English-monolingual bias, the number of TWI programs had continued to increase to 266 (Center for Applied Linguistics [CAL], 2002). As of October 2011, CAL reports a total of 398 programs in 30 states. Growing interest in TWI education has also been indicated by the wide distribution of the award-winning documentary Speaking in Tongues (Schneider & Jarmel, 2009).
As TWI programs have increased, research into the features, problems and benefits of them has also increased steadily in recent years. (Howard et al., 2003b) point to increasing focus on various aspects of TWI programs, including program design and implementation (Garcia, 1995), ((Montone & Loeb, 2000); student achievement and outcomes (Cazabon et al., 1993); (Lindholm-Leary, 2001); (Thomas & Collier, 2002) language and literacy practices and outcomes (Howard et al., 2003a); (Montague & Meza-Zaragoza, 1999); (Stein, 1997); (Gort, 2001); (Carrigo, 2000); social and cultural features (Cazabon et al., 1993); (Freeman, 1994, 1998); (de Jong, 1996a, 1996b); and parent, teacher and student experiences within and attitudes toward such programs (Cazabon et al., 1993), (Valdés, 1997); (Lindholm-Leary, 2001). Some argue for the need for more longitudinal studies of bilingualism, biliteracy and cultural attitudes of students, as well as studies involving ethnographic methods and discourse analysis which can provide important information about how students are grouped and language policies are enacted, what teacher attitudes and practices are regarding language instruction, and how language is actually used by both teachers and students (August & Hakuta, 1997);
(Canagarajah, 2006); (Howard et al., 2003b). Because most TWI programs are limited to elementary schools, little research has been conducted beyond 5th grade classrooms, and even less beyond 8th grade to examine the language and literacy outcomes and academic achievement of students when they enter high school and college.
TWI at the secondary level
One of the most problematic language policy issues, involving both de jure and de facto policies, that has faced TWI education is whether it should be implemented at the secondary level, as well as how it has been and should be implemented. (Garcia, 1995) have considered the question of what will happen to TWI students and their language acquisition once they exit elementary schools for middle school and how to establish and maintain middle school TWI programs. While teachers, researchers and school districts have placed some focus on these middle school programs, and how they will work within the traditional structures of middle school to extend language learning and literacy from the elementary programs, a survey done in 1992 indicates that only four school districts nation-wide had established language immersion programs beyond 8th grade (p. 62). As of October 2011, the Center for Applied Linguistics reported that only 12 TWI programs existed in high schools, and only one program in the nation spanned K-12.
Generally, whether they exit at 5th grade or 8th grade, most TWI students will not find a TWI program in high school, so if they want to continue learning in and about the minority language, they are bound for traditional high school World Language programs.
Many are able to enter the higher-level language courses because of their language and literacy proficiency, and many enter Advanced Placement courses early in their high school years.
By observing the structure and content of high school World Language programs and the high value placed on exiting those programs through the structure of Advanced Placement classes, we can see how a conflict with the practices and ideologies of language and literacy inherent to TWI education could be created. The middle school TWI program may become a transitional, even contested, site, as teaching may shift from one model of language and literacy instruction to another, and as literacy learning becomes narrowed to a less diverse range of academic and social genres and tasks, in order to focus on the study of grammar and national literature, the traditional focus of the World Language class. The TWI students’ high level of proficiency in the minority language across a wide range of academic disciplines and social situations is actually cut short through this movement into traditional World Language classes, no matter how advanced they may be. In the end, even the potential for World Language learning that advocates might see in TWI education is compromised, as students have more limited opportunities to continue to develop high levels of language proficiency in disciplines like science, social studies, and math.
In short, in contrast with the focus of the World Language class, the focus of the TWI classroom is not on language learning per se, but on acquisition of language and literacy through the use of the language as a medium for academic instruction. By the time TWI students reach 5th or 6th grade they have potentially had the opportunity to speak, read and write about the full range of academic subjects, and to produce a rich range of spoken and written genres associated with them. However, when TWI students leave their elementary school programs, and enter middle school, the path their minority language and literacy acquisition will take is not so clear. Despite their early experiences with a wide range of genres and language uses, they frequently find themselves in traditional World Language courses with relative beginners. The TWI students from both language minority and majority backgrounds at times become restricted to the limited spoken and written genres of the beginner/intermediate World Language classroom. If they enter higher-level World Language classes, such as AP classes, their use of language is still restricted to the study of grammar or national literatures. Instead of continuing their maturation toward more complex, academically contextualized speech and writing, TWI students may not be challenged to continue the development of spoken and written genres associated with the full range of academic disciplines, math, science, social science and arts, but are limited to genres common to the social context of traditional second language learning. In order to understand fully this restrictive process and to consider ways to take fuller advantage of the linguistic resources many TWI students bring with them to secondary school, I will examine TWI education through the lens of genre studies to provide a means of understanding the complexity of what TWI students could potentially learn about language, how it is used, and how language use is tied to social conditions, in both academic and non-academic domains, as well as to structures of power and privilege.
TWI implementation in secondary school: Structural and ideological issues.
Few studies have been done to understand the problems related with implementation of TWI programs at the middle or high school level. However, the few that have been undertaken examine both structural obstacles to effective implementation, and the related problems that emerge when monolingual English schools attempt to integrate TWI programs into existing school structures and culture.
Montone & Loeb (2000) report on some of the significant challenges to the implementation of secondary school TWI programs across the country, including structural policies such as limiting the size of an elementary TWI program to only one cohort of students. Since middle school is structured differently from elementary school with teachers focusing on single academic subjects, students having greater freedom to choose their courses, and TWI courses having to compete with both mandated core courses and popular electives, TWI programs often suffer from student attrition at the middle school level. Such attrition can endanger the fiscal viability of a middle school TWI program. However, they report the benefits of implementation of middle school TWI programs as providing a continuation of the benefits of an elementary program, along with advancing students’ language development and preparing them for high school advanced language classes, International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs.
McCollum (1994) ethnographic study of a middle school TWI program in which 77% of the students were Latino/Hispanic, focuses on the cultural capital connected with language use, revealing the devaluation of minority language students’ vernacular, “nonstandard” Spanish. This devaluation, along with the higher valuation of testing in English, the use of English for all-school purposes, such as announcements and bulletins, and the resulting peer pressure to “misbehave” by using English instead of Spanish, indicates the complex learning situations that can result from the unexamined language ideologies, hidden curriculum and program policy present in a TWI program. This study connects some of the structural problems of integrating a small TWI program into larger middle school environment with the impact of English-monolingual language ideologies on TWI students.
Freeman (2000), in her study of Puerto Rican and African American students in the Julia de Burgos Middle School TWI program in North Philadelphia, discovered similar devaluation of student learning through Spanish (the language of instruction for math and science classes). Through her ethnographic research into how both English and Spanish-dominant Puerto Rican students used Spanish in their everyday classroom interactions and class work, she realized, first of all, that the dichotomous view many teachers and researchers have of Latino or Hispanic students as “Spanish-dominant” and other students from other groups (in this case, African American) as “English-dominant” did not hold up in this TWI program where some Puerto Rican students were clearly English-dominant, and did not want to identify with the Spanish-dominant students, because of the social stigma attached to the use of Spanish by their community. Further, she found “conflicts and confusions about what bilingual education means, who the target populations should be, and what the goals of the program are for those populations” that existed among the teachers at de Burgos, with some teachers feeling that low achieving, Spanish-dominant students should be learning in their content courses in English. Even in this program aimed at supporting Spanish-dominant and bilingual students, whose language ideologies are presumably defined by the TWI model, the structural issues involved in incorporating the program in an English dominant environment caused stresses on students in the program, and the larger cultural values surrounding the school informed the conflicting language ideologies observed in the school.
Language minority students in TWI programs.
Since one of the identified goals of TWI education is cross-cultural awareness (Howard et al, 2003), researchers might ask how such awareness is made manifest through language use in the TWI classroom. Oyster School in Washington, D.C. stands out as a model of implementation of policies and curriculum of equality and respect (Freeman 1994, 1998). Its program combines an affirmation of additive bilingualism, “the development of minority students’ native language and culture”, multicultural curriculum and alternative forms of assessment of achievement to create an inclusive environment for both majority and minority language students (Howard et al, 2003).
But, even though such a program seems to point to the positive benefits of TWI education on cross-cultural awareness, the question remains as to how consistently across programs TWI teachers, parents and administrators convey to their students that they are engaged in a social endeavor, one which will allow them to use both their target languages for not only academics but everyday uses as they progress through their learning.
One of the complicating factors in the consistency of implementation of crosscultural awareness through language use is the fact that majority and minority language students enter TWI programs for significantly different reasons, the former to add instrumental language skills to their portfolios of academic and social abilities, the latter to maintain and extend their home languages while learning to use both English and the minority language as the language of academic institutions. While research reveals that the actual implementation of practices that provide sufficient input in and valorizing of the minority language can be problematic in many cases (Delgado-Larroco, 1998);
(Carrigo, 2000); (Alanis, 2000); (Amrein & Peña, 2000); (McCollum, 1994, 1999), in theory, during all the years of their TWI education, but especially in the early grades, the minority language and the multiculturalism with which it is associated are to be privileged over English and monoculturalism in the classroom, not just between teacher and student, but also among the students themselves (Cazabon et al, 1993); (Freeman, 1994, 1998); (Arce, 2000). In the 90/10 model TWI kindergarten and first grade classes, only about 10% of the students’ classroom time involves the use of English, and in some TWI settings, during their English language time the students interact with another teacher, not their regular classroom teacher, whom, they are to presume, only speaks the minority language. This valorizing of the minority language not only helps provide intensive exposure to and regular input in the minority language, but some feel it may help place the minority language students in a position of increased social status, as they bring with them social and everyday language uses and speech genres that the teacher may not be able to teach.