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Language Ideology and Bilingual Education in Texas: Assessing the Language Orientation of Teachers John Law, M.A. PowerPoint Presentation
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Language Ideology and Bilingual Education in Texas: Assessing the Language Orientation of Teachers John Law, M.A.

Language Ideology and Bilingual Education in Texas: Assessing the Language Orientation of Teachers John Law, M.A.

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Language Ideology and Bilingual Education in Texas: Assessing the Language Orientation of Teachers John Law, M.A.

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  1. Language Ideology and Bilingual Education in Texas: Assessing the Language Orientation of Teachers John Law, M.A. Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies College of Education and Human Development Master’s Thesis Abstract The purpose of this study is to assess the language orientations of bilingual public school teachers from the state of Texas. More specifically, this research seeks to describe the language orientation of teachers in the six different bilingual program models that are implemented in Texas schools. The research design used in this study is a mixed methods research design that included the collection of 52 survey questionnaires at the 2012 Texas Association of Bilingual Education Conference and eight one-on-one interviews with conference participants. All the participants in this study are teachers who teach in one of the six bilingual program models approved by the Texas Education Agency. The program models range from strong additive programs like dual immersion/two way programs to weaker programs like ESL/pull out models (Faltis, 2012). The findings of this research indicate that the language orientations of the bilingual teachers do not necessarily correspond to the language ideologies of the respective bilingual program models they teach in. Moreover, support for bilingual education programs at the school district and campus level further reflects language ideology. Strong support corresponds to strong language ideology and weak support corresponds to weak language ideology. Seven out of the eight teachers interviewed stated that they were not getting the support from their district administrators, principals, or superintendents to effectively teach their respective bilingual program model. Figure 2. Location/ Area of Participants Findings Survey Results According to the survey the respondents answered vary positive to language orientations. The respondents would be classified as language as a resource orientation. Certain respondents would answer weaker to language orientation questions, but then answer positive to most of the other questions. No patterns arose in regards to the model they taught in or where they teach in Texas. There was only one circumstances where a pattern arose showing certain groups of people with having a negative orientation. Bilingual teachers from the mid thirties and above tended to respond with weaker language ideologues, questions like “Is it important to be able to speak English and Spanish?” many of the older teachers would answer disagree or neutral . Interview Results Five emergent themes developed from the interviews: Perception of your bilingual program, Increase demand for bilingual programs, Impact of English Only Policy, Challenges and issues advocating bilingual programs, and Support and resources. ESL Respondents The ESL respondents felt that there ESL program is adequate in meeting the needs of their students. They have experienced an increase in bilingual students, but they have not changed their teaching methods. They have not felt any impact from English Only Policy, only the ESL pull-out teacher says that students are mean to students calling them “illegal's” also some monolingual teachers do not like when students speak Spanish. They feel there is no challenge in their program and have support from their school. Transitional Bilingual and Two of the Dual immersion teachers Respondents The transitional teachers’ perception of their program is their should be more time spent teaching in the Spanish language. They feel there is a demand for bilingual programs, but they have experienced budget cuts where all the bilingual students are pushed into one school. The have had to change the way they teach by having more students at different language proficiency levels. They have not felt any impact by English-Only policy. They have faced challenges trying to convince parents that their children should maintain their native language of Spanish. Also, they feel there is a lack of support by administrators, principals and other monolingual teachers. In regards to the curriculum, there is a lack of Spanish content materials to teach. One of the dual immersion one-way teacher feels there is a lack of culture awareness in the classroom, only linguistic teaching. This makes students uncomfortable with their culture and their identity. Research Questions The overarching research question of this study is: What is the relationship between the language ideology of the six bilingual program models in Texas and the language orientation of the teachers who teach in them? Related sub questions include: (1) How have the language ideologies of bilingual teachers changed given the broader sociopolitical climate of the English-Only movement and the anti-immigration sentiment? (2) How do bilingual educators perceive the trends and directions of bilingual programs, with regards to an increase demand for bilingual programs in their district? (3) What are the challenges and issues confronted by bilingual teachers in their schools and/or districts in relation to teaching and being an advocate for bilingual education? (4) What kind of resources and support do bilingual program teachers identify as essential to effectively promote the goals of their respective bilingual program models? Method This study was a mixed methods research design that included a survey questionnaire and multiple case study interviews. The survey design according to Creswell (2009) took a sample of the bilingual teacher population in the state of Texas and provided a profile of their characteristics, language attitudes, language use and cultural practices. The environment where the research took place was at the Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE) that was a three day Conference at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio from October 25th to October 27th, 2012. The survey instrument was used on 52 respondents to assess language orientations. Of the 52 respondents 12 from Dual Immersion Two-way, 5 from Dual Immersion One-way, 19 from Transitional bilingual/ late-exit, 12 from Transitional bilingual/ early-exit, 3 from ESL content-based and 1 from ESL pull-out. Of the 52 survey respondents 8 of them agreed to conduct an interview which assessed their language orientations as well plus more specifically the research questions of the 8 respondents 1 from Dual Immersion Two-way, 2 from Dual Immersion One-way, 2 from Transitional bilingual/ late-exit, 1 from Transitional bilingual/ early-exit, 1 from ESL content-based and 1 from ESL pull-out. All the survey respondents are currently teaching in the San Antonio area except 1 of the Dual Immersion One-way teaches in El Paso and the ESL Content-base teaches in Arlington and the ESL pull-out teaches in North Austin. Table 1. Bilingual Education Models of Public Schools in Texas* Figure 3. Participants’ Language Orientation and Support for Bilingual Programs Conclusions In summary, data for this study indicates a lack of support for bilingual education and five of the eight teachers in this sample struggle to do their jobs the way they were trained to. Some districts have dual immersion in name only and do not provide enough support to effectively implement and maintain them. Perez (2004) argued that when introducing a bilingual program into a school or district first they must be advocates to educate the community and have dedication of students to stay in the program for several years. Parents and teachers must get involved, build relationships and constantly work together to improve the bilingual program for their children. References Baker, C. (2001). Foundations if bilingual education and bilingualism (3rd ed.). Multilingual Great Britain: Matters LTD. Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approach(3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Faltis, K (2012). Bilingual, ESL, and English Immersion: Educational models for limited English proficient students in Texas. Pepperdine Policy Review, 4(8), 81-98. Perez, B (2004). Becoming biliterate: A study of two-way bilingual immersion education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates *Adapted from Baker, 01 & Faltis, 12 Acknowledgements This thesis is firstly dedicated to my dear wife Lupita. Thank you for providing me with support and always there for me with love to get me through this stage in my life. Secondly to my parents and in-laws who also supported me and were always behind me through this research study.