5th Grade Perceptions Of Bilingualism
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5th Grade Perceptions Of Bilingualism

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This is a graduate school study of childrens' ideas being bilingual.

This is a graduate school study of childrens' ideas being bilingual.

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  • 1. Fifth grade perception of bilingualism Sandra Butvilofsky University of Colorado, Boulder
  • 2. Presented By
    • Lynda Taylor
    • Eileen Bernstein
    • Susan Chrobak
  • 3. Overview
    • Latino 5 th grade perceptions of bilingualism and the relationship between Spanish and English
    • Findings from this study illuminate bilingual students’ perceptions of the many functions Spanish and English serve
    • Benefits and struggles experienced in becoming bilingual
  • 4. Purpose
    • No studies have explored students’ perceptions of their experiences as they develop their bilingualism and literacy
    • This data used in this study is based on the Literacy Squared research project
    • The purpose of this study is to explore the perceived functions of bilingualism and the relationship between Spanish and English with 5 th graders learning to read and write in both languages
  • 5. Theoretically
    • A sociolinguistic theory of bilingualism believes that language is not only cognitive but also cultural, social, and situated
    • As such a bilingual individuals choice in language use in not only influenced by the individual’s own attitude but also by the relative status of the languages within various contexts
    • Individuals possession of two languages is the product of a specific linguistic community that uses one of its languages for certain functions and the other for other situations
  • 6. Case Study
    • A case study of bilingual school Escamilla (1994) found the extent to which students in bilingual programs can attain bilingualism and biliteracy is dependent upon how the two languages are supported and encouraged in the classroom as well as the wider school community
    • Another case study McCollum (1999) examined how Mexican background middle school students in two-way bilingual program came to devalue Spanish
    • Escamilla and McCollum both show that despite the school’s intent to foster and develop bilingualism the wider school environment conveyed English as the language of higher status or power demonstrating how social factors influence a bilingual individual’s choice in language use.
  • 7. Methods
    • Data collected from (2007-2008) school year including Fifth grade Spanish and English writing samples from six schools participating in the Literacy Squared project
    • Questions included:
      • Write about your personal experiences learning Spanish and English. What was hard and what was easy?
      • When do you use Spanish and when do you use English?
  • 8. Findings
    • Four themes emerged from the students perceived functions of bilingualism
      • Communicative Purposes: Being understood and understanding Spanish and English
      • Academic Purposes: Participating in academic tasks (reading and writing) emerged as one of the main functions of bilingualism Writing in English is difficult. As English got easier Spanish got harder thus a language shift.
      • Brokering: Translating for family in English
      • Cultural Advantage: Many students discussed the added benefits of being in possession of two languages.
      • Students use Spanish and English in different contexts and with different friends.
  • 9. Taylor 5 th grade
    • Method
    • 5 th graders written response to the same questions:
      • Write about your experiences learning English. Was it hard or easy?
      • When do you use Spanish and when do you use English
    • Findings
    • Learning English was hard due to instruction in English and due to Spanish/Mandarin being spoken at home
    • Spoke Spanish/Mandarin at home with family, extended family and church.
    • Spoke English at school, with friends, with siblings, and in the community (bank, stores, and on the phone)
  • 10. Taylor’s Conclusion
      • Taylor’s writing responses were the same as the articles findings
        • Communicative purpose
        • academic purpose
        • brokering
        • Students use Spanish and English in different contexts and different friends
  • 11. Bernstein High 10th Grade Special Education Students at Conifer High School
    • Method
    • 14 questions
    • 4 questions from each theme discussed in the article
    • Multiple choice
    • Results
    • Since the students surveyed live in a monolingual community, the majority of them do not feel bilingualism is necessary for successful communication in their communities
    • The majority of students do not feel bilingualism is necessary for academic success in high school
    • Students do feel that knowing a second language is useful for getting into college since two years of a world language are necessary for college admittance
    • Only one student must help translate for his parents in their English speaking community
    • All students see bilingualism as being an advantage in employment
  • 12. Bernstein’s Conclusions
    • The majority of students at Conifer High School feel that bilingualism is not necessary for effective communication and academic success
    • Although my students live in a monolingual community where speaking a second language is not necessary for communication purposes, they do see its advantages when getting accepted into college and for employment purposes
  • 13.
    • Method
    • 14 questions developed with the 4 themes in mind
    • Multiple choice, mostly yes or no
    Chrobak’s Clicker Survey of 70 fifth Grade Bilingual Students
    • Findings
    • Results were overwhelming
    • 97% think they can get better grades because they know two languages
    • 94% say they’ll have a better chance of getting into college
    • 88% say they like being bilingual
    • 85% think they’ll make more money
    • 69% have to translate at the doctor’s office
    • 43% say writing is the hardest part, 24% say reading is, 25% say speaking is the hardest and 7% say listening.
  • 14. Chrobak’s Conclusions
    • From the survey results I think it’s clear that my students see English as having a higher status, as Butvilofsky suggests
    • After seeing the results of my survey I agree with Butvilofsky that children use their 2 languages for different functions.
    • They use L1 at home and in their neighborhood, they use L2 at school.