The purpose of the study was to provide an in-depth view or the processes employed by two Hispanic first-grade children for the simultaneous development of English language and English literacy skills in a mainstream classroom. As a qualitative case study utilizing naturalistic inquiry with an emergent design, the study included detailed observations of the school, school personnel, classroom environment, instruction, and the two students.
The major guiding question follows: How do first grade students who are limited in their English proficiency experience the dual processes of acquiring the English language and acquiring English literacy in a mainstream classroom?
Supporting questions emerging from the observations addressed issues such as the students' use of Spanish and English in social and academic tasks; strategies utilized by the students for participation in literacy events; changes in the students' literacy and language proficiency; and instructional and environmental factors in the classroom and school contributing to the students' English language and literacy acquisition. Several major implications of the study include (1) the school and teacher felt deeply responsible for the students' learning and created a positive social environment for learning; (2) the teacher used a wide array of literacy methodologies in her class to address individual learning styles and needs; (3) although the sheltered English approach adopted by the district was well-conceived in the classroom, the limited-English-proficient students did not have access equal to that of their English-speaking peers to content instruction and knowledge; (4) the concepts of additive and subtractive bilingualism did not seem to be clearly understood by the district nor the school as evidenced by their absence in policy and programming decisions for students; (5) the teacher included a highly phonetic component in her reading program but no ESL instruction to ensure meaningful understanding of that component or other content; and (6) although writing was emphasized in a variety of ways, LEP students did virtually no free composing. The study concluded with recommendations for addressing these issues.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/linda_evans/68/