English language learner participation practices: the social purpose of classroom discourse in an Arizona English language development summer program middle school classroom
This thesis study describes English Language Learner (ELL) participation practices in a summer English language development (ELD) middle school classroom in a public school district in Arizona. The purpose of the study was to document Mexican immigrant and Mexican American English learners' language experiences in a prescriptive ELD program in relation to the social, historical and cultural context. The study utilizes a sociocultural framework and critical language awareness concepts as well as qualitative interpretive inquiry to answer the following research questions: What is the nature of ELL participation during language lessons? That is, what are the common participation practices in the classroom? What social or cultural values or norms are evident in the classroom talk during language lessons? That is, in what ways do participants use language for social purposes? And, what is the cultural model of ELD evident in the classroom language practices? Data collection and analyses consisted of close examination of ELL participation within official language lessons as well as the social uses of language in the classroom. Analysis of classroom discourse practices revealed that ELL participation was heavily controlled within the common Initiation-Response-Evaluation pattern and that the students were limited to repetition and recitation responses. Further, analysis of discourse content demonstrated that classroom participants used language for social purposes in the classroom, most often using regulatory, decontextualized and resistance language. The findings revealed a cultural model of constrained ELD language practices that can be considered a pedagogy of subtractive assimilation.