By asking students write their assignments according to their places or something they personally relate to, the resistance issue might be reduced. There will always be some students who do not want to write or work on assignments given by students. In that case, I think we can talk to that students and let them choose what to write themselves with the condition that it has to be related to their identities. Though this is easier said than done, I think students and teachers need to negotiate so that students will not feel as being imposed by teachers in the course.
I liked the idea of having students write in a code-switching style, it does seem like it could encourage the expansion and development of biliterate writing skills in a more flexible and less pressured way. I definitely agree that teachers should avoid looking at students as if they are deficient as they go through natural processes of learning to write coherently and fluently in their target language. Scientists make a living of repeating experiments with failing results until the process gets more and more refined with the end result of a successful experiment. Language learning requires trial and error, especially considering that culturally embedded meanings and connotations are built into any language.
Emperical evidence abound to indicate that the personal identity approach to composition pedagogy has not critically considered so as to draw upon the culture -specific way of learning prevalent among the minority students. Consequently, as far as academic achievement is concerned, the minority students lag behind relative to their While counterparts. Against this background, Johns (1999), proposes socioliterate approach to composition pedagogy which contends that the production of texts is a social activity. In order to appreciate a text fully, the collective social components (i.g., religion, culture, socioeconomic condition, political events) should be analyzed, unlike the expressivist approach to composition which only emphasizes development of individual voice. It seems to me a promising pedagogical approach to maximize learning outcome for the minority students in the U.S. provided that the following question is addressed: The number of minority students is on the rise in the U.S. Integration of home culture into a standard curriculum is critical for their academic growth as such.
ESL students include a wide range of students in terms of their ethnic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds. But clearly there is a tendency, especially practitioners in school settings, to view ESL students as a homogeneous group, one that is referred to non-mainstream students. A closer look at the students’ ethnicity, the number of years in the US, and personal experiences etc. would reveal how disparate they are. In addition, considering the importance of representations of them in identity (re)creation and attitudes toward learning, images that are not that representative, type of assignments and placement tests based on them obviously do harm students’ development.
I see that it is imperative that bilingual studies direct their research more toward attacking the status quo or the staying power of tacitly viewed literacy. As there is a tendency that each individual is affected by the dominant form of literacy, he or she would tend to adhere to what they think is an unchallenged or given view of intellectuality, sense of academic, and standardization and which prevents them from venturing outside this box of thinking. Therefore, emphasizing on the relationship between bilingualism and literacy development from a postmodernist or poststructuralist perspective to educators and decision makers may save some efforts of needing to fix every bit and piece of the breakdown.
It is about time all people acknowledged the fact that we do not live in a vacuum, but rather in a cultural, social, institutional, academic and discursive continuum. We live in a globalized world whether we like it or not, and calls for English-Only and mono-lingualism need to be reconsidered. Literacy, as argued by many scholars, is a highly social practice and process, and thus our classrooms need to be socio-literate in nature, because our classrooms are not homogenized. Classrooms are heterogenized; students come from diverse ethnic, linguistic, cultural, sub-cultural, dialectical, ideological backgrounds, and as teachers we have to be fully aware of such a fact and should not treat students, based on the deficit model and the native-non-native dichotomy.
There are persistent misconceptions about teaching only Standard English only to ethnolinguistically diverse student population.
It is certainly NOT the most effective way to teach language minority students.
Research is full of studies on the negative impact of English-only movement. Teachers must use students cultural and linguistic backgrounds to prevent many social and educatioal problems.
As a result of this, U.S. Latino students experience more remedial instruction, greater probability of assignment to lower curriculum tracks, higher dropout rates, poorer graduation rates, and over-referral to special education classes (Artiles & Ortiz, 2002; Cummins, 1984; De Cohen, Deterding, & Chu Clewell, 2005).
Students who speak their mother tongue fluently do better in English than students who studies only English and forced to leave their heritage language (see Raimes, 1992 Harklau, Cummins, Wolfram among many others)
Students who read in dialect/first language first and then standard had higher scores in reading speed and comprehension of the Standard English
Be aware of the different ethnolinguistically diverse group populations in your classrooms.
Their needs might greatly vary.
Don’t equate English proficiently with students’ cognitive abilities (i.e. “They will succeed because they are motivated; I have no idea of what their natural abilities are”)
Interactions in the classroom play an important role in ESOL students’ identity formation and academic growth. It is also your responsibility to prevent the negative images about your immigrant students: “benignly deviant students” These images can be altered if you take an active role in your institution!
Research questions must be researchable (a problem or an issue that can be analyzed/attacked/examined empirically)
The “research problem” must be related to L2 literacy.
Situate your work carefully: Ideally, the problem should be one whose solution will contribute to the body of knowledge. You want to be relevant to a group of people. So, build on their knowledge to make a contribution.
The fact that there is lack of research might not be a good reason to pursue a research area (maybe there is a reason behind not many people researching that area, maybe it is insignificant !)
We are here to solve real life problems. Be specific in what problem you are addressing in your research. Writing papers and conducting research is NOT a game (although it might look like one)
Think about your methodology and data sources carefully You cannot do a fill-fledged ethnography in one semester.
Finally, see some good models: Read research articles and check out dissertations to see how writers situate their research in the larger scholarship.