A snapshot of Texas bilingual preparation programs

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2022-07-01

Authors

De La garza, Sarah A.

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Abstract

Extant research on bilingual teacher preparation is growing but limited. The purpose of my study was to analyze bilingual program structures and the experiences of bilingual preservice candidates. The following research questions guided my study: (1) What are the most common structures of bilingual teacher preparation programs in Texas related to English learner student needs? (2) How, if at all, do programs vary in their structures around knowledge of cultural and linguistic diversity? (3) How, if at all, do programs vary in their structures around knowledge of linguistics? The study employed a 2-stage exploratory sequential design that involved interviews with bilingual program directors and an extensive document analysis of program documents and syllabi. This study also addressed a gap in the literature through a multi-institutional case study, the findings of which were based on a sample of 7 bilingual preparation programs in Texas.

The findings to the first research question describe how various curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and faculty structures impact the state’s bilingual preparation programs. These structures respond to state policies such as the passage of H.B. 3 and H.B. 3217 in 2019, existing certification exam requirements for bilingual preservice candidates, and the new clinical residency model. The findings also illustrate the programs’ dependence on adjunct faculty to teach general preparation courses. Bilingual candidates have mixed access to tenure-track or tenured faculty for specialized bilingual courses. The findings of the second and third research questions illuminate how programs varied in their structures of knowledge of cultural diversity, linguistic diversity, and linguistics. Some programs were more intentional about addressing cultural diversity from a political or intersectional lens than others. Moreover, programs varied in their attention to the English Language Proficiency Standards and emergent bilinguals’ levels of English proficiency. While the document analysis showed variation in how programs addressed candidates’ knowledge of Spanish language structures, few differences emerged in what bilingual candidates learned about English language structures. This manuscript concludes with implications to consider in the policy, practice, theoretical, and research areas. These recommendations include longitudinal studies and revision of existing certification exam policies.

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