Linguistically Diverse Adolescents Navigating Dominant Language Ideologies in an ELA Classroom
Donovan Scane, Clare M
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This case study examines the ways linguistically diverse middle school students engage with text-based discourse in an English Language Arts (ELA) classroom. Participants attended a linguistically diverse public school within a mid-size district, a collar community of a large urban center. This study makes use of the concept of language ideologies, specifically focused on dominant language ideologies--those actions, beliefs, and representations in action through social contexts that historically act to marginalize other language varieties (Lippi-Green, 2012). This case study is situated in a critical sociocultural frame (Lewis, Enciso, & Moje, 2007), using critical discourse analysis and drawing from multimodal discourse analysis to understand the perceptions of four focal students who self-identify as linguistically diverse as they engaged in text-oriented discourse tasks such as book clubs, partnerships, and collaborative work with digital literacies. Findings demonstrate students’ struggle between dominant language ideologies and notions toward a more linguistically inclusive learning environment. Findings also suggest that linguistic ideologies are instantiated in diverse ways including embodied, verbal discourse (e.g. discussions), through composition (e.g. prompted writing), and through collaborative structures (e.g. book clubs, partner work, etc.) with text and text-based work. Likewise, even in the absence of curriculum specifically focused on linguistic diversity, students held a keen awareness of intricate connections between language and power. The research in this dissertation suggest implications for policy, teacher education, and professional development, as well as the importance of bringing students into critical conversations regarding the power of their voices.