“She was born speaking English and Spanish!” co-constructing identities and exploring children’s bilingual language practices in a two-way immersion program in central Texas
This ethnographic and longitudinal study examined how the language practices of emergent bilingual students in a two-way immersion classroom, dual language (TWDL) program contributed to the co-construction of their and each others’ identities. I drew from theoretical frameworks related to the concept of identity specifically: sociocultural linguistics, figured worlds, and positioning theory. Key findings suggest that the strategies teachers used to promote language learning played a role in the ways students were positioned. Additionally, a critical curriculum opened up spaces in the classroom where children could draw from their linguistic repertoire despite the strict separation of the language of instruction in TWDL programs. Finally, when teachers modeled flexible bilingualism they promoted the use of both Spanish and English, at times simultaneously, and the academic content became the focus. As a result, students engaged in deeper conversations about social inequities experienced by minoritized language communities. The findings have implications for our 1st and 2nd generation Latino immigrant students learning alongside language-majority students, particularly in the areas of teacher education, research, and language policy in TWDL programs.