Reading, writing, and learning English in an American high school classroom

Date
2015-10
Authors
Gilliland, Betsy
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
Center for Language & Technology
Abstract
Commercial publishers have shaped reading and writing instruction in American schools through their interpretations of state-developed reading and writing standards and standards-aligned materials, which teachers then implement in English classes, including those serving multilingual learners. This paper uses microethnographic discourse analysis to examine how reliance on published texts for reading activities led a teacher to focus on correct answers and formulaic writing tasks, whereas teacher-created activities fostered greater engagement among multilingual learners. Focused on a ninth grade English class at a California public high school, this study’s findings suggest that reading was used primarily in service of preparation for high stakes writing assessments, but teachers can adapt their instruction to better build on multilingual students’ existing knowledge and curiosity.
Description
Keywords
high school, curriculum, standards, English learners, multilingual
Citation
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