When fifty-fifty isn’t fair: The preference for English during Spanish language arts in a two-way dual language bilingual education classroom




Dougherty, Caitlin Anna

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The present study analyzed the writing of emergent bilingual second grade students enrolled in a two-way dual language bilingual education program. Writing samples were analyzed holistically and cross-linguistic strategies were documented that support the claims that the process of developing biliteracy is dynamic and singular. In addition, Spanish language arts classes were observed and teacher interviews were conducted in order to contextualize the emergent bilinguals’ writing process. A preference for English was documented during classroom observations as well as in the writing samples collected. Of the 16 emergent bilingual second graders, only four Spanish-dominant students chose to write in both languages. The teacher’s stated concerns over the Spanish proficiency of her English-dominant students led her to alter her instruction during Spanish language arts, deferring to English. The implications of this shift to English for the developing biliteracy of emergent bilinguals are discussed.



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