Language and identity in a dual immersion school

A talk by Dr. Kim Potowski, University of Illinois at Chicago

Thu, April 13, 2017 | PAR 201

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Dual immersion schools teach in a minority language between 50-90% of the day to two groups of students: second language learners and heritage speakers of the non-English language. Research on these programs consistently finds that they result in higher levels of both English learning and academic achievement for children who are English language learners. But what about students' Spanish? This study explores the Spanish proficiency of a group of students who studied preschool through 8th grade in a dual immersion school in Chicago, IL. Their general oral fluency, written proficiency, pragmatic ability via appropriate politeness, and accuracy on four concrete Spanish constructions revealed that students develop quite strong levels of Spanish proficiency, but there is room for improvement. Ethnographic observations and interviews revealed that the role Spanish plays in students' identities is strongly connected to their choices about when and how to speak it.

Sponsored by: Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Department of French and Italian, Department of Bilingual Education, and the Department of Germanic Studies

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