Matching Items (2)

Filtering by

Clear all filters

158487-Thumbnail Image.png

Learning Disabilities or Language Proficiency? Mapping a School’s Understanding of English Learners’ (In)competence

Description

Special education identification processes related to English language learners (ELs) in the United States have puzzled the field for decades. The phenomenon of referrals, the first step toward identification, is

Special education identification processes related to English language learners (ELs) in the United States have puzzled the field for decades. The phenomenon of referrals, the first step toward identification, is complex since it requires deciphering the root cause of students’ learning struggles—e.g., second language (L2) factors, the possibility of a learning disability (LD), or the combination of multiple other influences. To investigate the various influences contributing to learning difficulties, I centered this study on three potential sources, individual, institutional, and interpersonal. I aimed to answer, how did sociocultural influences mediate a teacher’s understanding of ELs’ competence? How did sociocultural influences mediate whether a teacher referred ELs to special education services? Using a cultural-historical theoretical approach, I sought deeper theoretical and empirical understandings into how institutional factors (e.g., tiered intervention contexts, policies), combined with other influences, mediated ELs’ referral decisions. I used a multiple parallel case study design following two fifth-grade ELs who faced the possibility of a referral. Interested in the interpersonal domain (e.g., interactions and communication among people), I zoomed in to a local process, student-teacher conferences to examine how classroom processes shaped teachers’ thoughts of students’ competence, and ultimately, referral decisions. I video-recorded teacher-student conference sessions over 14 weeks, and audio-recorded viewing sessions of the recorded conferences to understand teacher and student interpretations of learning competence. To understand how other dimensions (individual and institutional) contributed to teachers’ overall views about the student competence, I interviewed parents and school personnel, wrote observational field notes, and examined archival documents related to student learning over the entire fifth-grade year. I used inductive and iterative qualitative analytical approaches to craft the findings. My findings reaffirmed the complexity involved in finalizing ELs’ referral decisions. I found cultural factors intertwined with structural forces, driving students’ special education candidacies in divergent directions: one evaluated (LD); the other, retained. I also found the referral decisions were based on narrow understandings of learning and behaviors, lack of attention to students’ L2 needs, and faulty and overpowering structural forces which undermined teacher’s professional opinions about the referrals. These findings have implications for research, practice, and policy.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

153978-Thumbnail Image.png

Latina/o language minorities with learning disabilities: examining the interplay between in- and out-of-school literacies

Description

There are many educational issues connected to the exponential growth of the Latina/o population in the U.S. One such issue is Latina/os’ educational outcomes in the area of literacy.

There are many educational issues connected to the exponential growth of the Latina/o population in the U.S. One such issue is Latina/os’ educational outcomes in the area of literacy. Despite the increased attention to subpopulations of students (e.g., English language learners, students with disabilities) there is little attention given to students that do not fit neatly into one subcategory, which positions Latina/o language minorities (LMs) with learning disabilities (LDs) in a liminal space where their educational services are fragmented into either being a student with LD or a LM student. Unfortunately, labels that are meant to afford students resources often result in fragmenting students’ educational experiences. This becomes evident when attempting to locate research on students who have ethnic, linguistic, and ability differences. Rarely are their educational needs as Latina/o LMs with LD met fluidly. Understanding the intersections of ethnicity, language, and ability differences in situated literacy practice is imperative to creating the deep, nuanced understanding of how Latina/o LMs with LD might become proficient in the use of critical twenty-first century tools such as new literacies. In this study I used cultural historical activity theory in combination with New Literacy Studies (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009; Gee, 1996) and intersectionality (McCall, 2014) to examine how Latina/o LMs with LD’s participated in literacies across in- and out-of-school contexts with the following research questions: In what ways does participation in literacy change for Latina/o LMs with LD as they move between in- and out-of-school? What situated identities do LMs with LD enact and resist while participating in literacy across in- and out-of-school contexts?

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015