"¿Qué Opinas Tú, Parker?": Teacher Practices that Encourage English-Dominant Students to Engage in Spanish Exploratory Talk in a Two-Way Immersion Program

Beeson, Rebecca, Curriculum and Instruction - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Brighton, Catherine, CU-Curr Instr & Sp Ed, University of Virginia

This mixed methods study examines the development of native English speakers’ Spanish oral language proficiency in an elementary school two-way immersion program in the southeast United States. I first collected Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey data to determine the Spanish proficiency for 86 randomly chosen students, then used the oral language results to select eight focal students for continued classroom observation over the course of two months. Using Douglas Barnes’ (2008) description of exploratory talk as a theoretical framework, I found that Morning Meeting, Turn-and-Talk with a Partner, pre-taught Sentence Stems, and Socratic Seminar supported students’ discourse in Spanish in one fourth-grade classroom. These teacher practices have in common their promotion of language interaction between peers in unscripted, high social engagement activities and a safe classroom setting. Recommendations for practice include: 1) adopting teacher practices that support student interaction and engagement in exploratory talk in Spanish, especially targeted sentence stems and turn-and-talk with a partner; 2) building safe language classrooms, including the implementation of ground rules for discussion together with the class, small group preparation time for whole class discussion, and giving students ample wait time before correction; 3) establishing a Spanish-language assessment program; 4) working to build a culture of bilingualism schoolwide; and 5) engaging in further evaluation with a focus on the Spanish-speaking population.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
Dual language education, Spanish, Oral language proficiency , Teacher practices
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