Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
Arizona State University
University of South Florida
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 8, no. 8 (January 13, 2000).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c January 13, 2000
Asymmetry in dual language practice : assessing imbalance in a program promoting equality / Audrey Amrein [and] Robert A. Pea.
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University of South Florida.
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1 of 17 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 8 Number 8January 13, 2000ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal Editor: Gene V Glass, College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 2000, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES. Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education Asymmetry in Dual Language Practice: Assessing Imbalance in a Program Promoting Equality Audrey Amrein Arizona State University Robert A. Pea Arizona State UniversityAbstractThe capacity for dual-language programs to deliver specific benefits to students with different primary and secondary langu age skills continues to be debated. Individuals favoring dual language a ssert that as it relies upon a reciprocal approach, dual language students acquire dual language proficiency without the need for teachers to translate from one language to another. By utilizing and conserving th e language skills that students bring, dual language students also gain cr oss-cultural understandings and an expanded opportunity to reali ze academic success in the future. Research that explores whether these programs meet the needs of monolingual and bilingual students is limi ted. The intent of this study is not to criticize dual language practice. I nstead, it is to describe a newly implemented dual language immersion program t hat exists and operates in Phoenix, Arizona. In particular, this s tudy examines the


2 of 17practices of dual language teachers at Leigh Elemen tary School and the challenges encountered as school personnel worked t o provide students with different primary and secondary language skill s increased opportunities to learn.Introduction While the efficacy of language programs r emains a widely debated topic in educational discourse, researchers and planners agr ee that language programs do not exist within a vacuum, and that the benefits accrue d by participating in these programs are likely to differ for individual students. This conclusion suggests that language programs need to be analyzed on a case-by-case basi s as their success is largely affected by the context in which the language program is dev eloped. Further, researchers indicate that micro-level and macro-level issues related to planning and implementation must be examined to understand how the sociopolitical conte xt of schools may favor or impede planning, language program development, and the acc ess students are provided to become proficient in using a second language for ex ample (Freeman, 1996). Studying dual language practice in its co ntext is important for addressing specific language education issues. For example, investigati ng a recently developed language program together with its context provides opportun ities to identify school factors contributing to language acquisition and loss durin g the early stages of that programÂ’s implementation. In addition, studying dual language practices and the context in which those practices take place provides opportunities t o explain why language programs experience varying levels of success in preparing s tudents to be bilingual and biliterate. This paper investigates a recently develo ped language program in its school context. In particular, the practices of teachers i n a dual language program at Leigh Elementary School are examined. Further, the challe nges encountered as school personnel struggled to provide students from majori ty and language minority backgrounds with increased opportunities to learn t hrough dual language are investigated.Dual Language Theory and Practice: A Review of the Literature A review of the literature suggests that dual language programs strive to develop enhanced second language skills in all students (Va lds, 1997). Freeman (1996) suggests that effective dual language instruction occurs whe n teachers define bilingualism and cultural pluralism as "resources to be developed" ( p. 558). Teachers in effective dual language programs generally adopt a language as res ource rather than a language as problem orientation while providing instruction. Sh e adds that language majority and language minority students are typically combined a cross dual language classroom settings in an effort to promote change by socializ ing students in ways that differ from how they are socialized in mainstream society. In some models, language minority and maj ority students conduct their academic work using a language with which they are most fami liar while being immersed in the language to be learned. Students receive language a rts instruction, for example, in their native languages and receive all other content area instruction in the two languages of focus. Cummins (1979) suggests that allowing studen ts to access curriculum using their native language results in their experiencing great er academic success and in students acquiring improved cognitive abilities. Cummins (19 79) and others add that acquiring improved higher order thinking skills in their nati ve language allows language minority


3 of 17students to acquire higher order thinking skills in a second language as well (see for example Christian, 1996; Hakuta, 1986; Krashen, 199 1; Pucci, 1994; Riojas-Clark, 1995, and Valds, 1995). Christian (1995) explains that dual langu age programs integrate language minority and majority students and "provide instruction in, and through, two languages" (p. 66). The (L1) language describes the primary or the firs t language of the student, and the (L2) language describes the second language or the langu age to be acquired. To achieve a maximum benefit from dual language, Christian (1995 ) indicates that students from the two language backgrounds are together in each class for most or all of their content instruction. She suggests that dual language classr ooms are formed to promote positive attitudes for students towards both languages and c ultures, and that dual language programs emphasize full bilingual proficiency for n ative and nonnative speakers. While researchers of dual language sugges t that variability exists between different programs, they nonetheless indicate that most dual language programs have three goals in common (Christian, 1995). First, dua l language programs are created to help students develop high levels of proficiency in their native and a second language. Second, these programs stress that students perform at or above grade level in academic areas in both languages. Third, developers of dual language programs emphasize that students acquire positive cross-cultural attitudes and enhanced levels of self esteem. Researchers indicate that developers and teachers of dual language programs stress students learning language primarily through content (Snow, Met, and Genesee, 1989). These individuals suggest that language is b est developed within a content-based curriculum, rather than as the focus of classroom i nstruction. In addition, researchers, developers and dual language teachers emphasize car efully structuring the social interactional characteristics of programs as combin ing L1 and L2 students in the same instructional setting is believed to promote increa sed and better opportunities for language acquisition and development (Christian 199 6). These individuals reason that by integrating students from two language groups in a mixed classroom setting, dual language offers the language learner access to prac titioners and students who serve as L1 models. Additionally, these individuals suggest tha t this additive approach supports the ongoing development of the studentsÂ’ native languag e skills while a second language is being learned. Christian (1996), Gonzales and Lezama (19 74) indicate that dual language programs generally use one of two models. The first or "90/10" model, finds Spanish, for example, being used for approximately 90% of th e instructional time. The use of English as the medium of instruction is gradually i ncreased until the proportion of instruction is "50/50". Under the "90/10" model, st udents whose primary language is English are immersed in Spanish, while students wit h a primary language other than English receive L1 instruction with a gradual intro duction to English as the primary mode of instruction. In this case study, a "50/50" dual language model was used. In the "50/50" model, the percentage of L1 and L2 instruct ion is equal from the beginning (Christian, 1996; Gonzales and Lezama, 1974).Methodology The description of the methods used for c ollecting the data and completing this study are separated into five parts. Part one descr ibes the documents that were collected and studied to learn about the operation of the dua l language program. Part two describes the techniques used to complete the obser vations. Part three describes procedures that were followed during interviews wit h participants. Part four describes


4 of 17methods of data analysis, and part five introduces the theoretical framework used to complete this study.Documentation At the onset of data collection, a threering binder containing statistical and demographic information about Leigh and LeighÂ’s com munity was provided to the researchers. Included in this folder were test scor e results, the school calendar, publications written in two languages used to recru it parents and students into the program, and other school publications describing t he dual language program. In addition, advertisements and other announcements th at were made available to the general public and throughout LeighÂ’s campus were g athered and studied. Observations The sample included in this study was del iberately chosen and observed in each participating classroom. This resulted in six diffe rent classrooms being observed. Specifically, observations were completed in two cl assrooms per kindergarten, two classrooms per the 1st grade, and two classrooms pe r the 2nd grade. Although the program operated through the 3rd grade, observation s in these classroom settings were not conducted. Over a period of two years, approximately 50 hours of observation time, of which most was spent in the Spanishspeaking classrooms, were completed. The lengths of each observation ranged widely. Two or three of the observation periods lasted as long as 4 hours in a particular classroom setting while other observation periods lasted no more than 15 minutes in another classroom. Observat ion periods were determined in relation to daily classroom activities, and by usin g teachersÂ’ suggestions regarding key opportunities that should be observed. Observations were conducted as a complete observer, and neither the primary investigator or t he co-author of this study participated in the activities of the classroom whatsoever. The first year of this study was no more than an introduction to the site and the program. Although some preliminary assertions emerg ed within this phase, these assertions were only hunches and were not in anyway found to be supported by data. Continuing on with the second year of this study in order to test those preliminary assertions, additional observation data was compile d to investigate other themes and to conduct an in-depth analysis of the dual-language p rogram as it existed in its school context.Interviews Two formal interviews were conducted with the program director. The first was introductory. Findings from this interview almost e ntirely dealt with programmatic issues, guidelines, operations, and objectives. A s econd interview with the program director was held with a different intent. This int erview came at a strategic time in the research. During this interview the main goal was t o compare data generated during the observations with the directorÂ’s perceptions of the program. Although some programmatic issues were discussed, this second int erview delved more into theoretical issues that were related to working hypotheses. As such, this interview served as one of two total member checks. The second member check wa s conducted after a final draft of


5 of 17this paper was composed. The program director read the manuscript and provided feedback and other ideas to consider, many of which were re-worked into the manuscript. Later, one informal interview with a boar d member and many other informal interviews with the teachers were conducted. These informal interviews occurred between class periods, on walks to the cafeteria, a nd sometimes, although efforts were made to avoid this practice, during instructional t ime. Data Analysis According to Erickson (1986), "one basic task of data analysis is to generate [these] assertions, largely through induction" (p. 146). In this study, the entire data corpus was analyzed for underlying themes. Followin g EricksonÂ’s (1986) procedures of data analysis, the data resources were converted by the primary author into items of data by rereading and revisiting the data corpus. Next, the data were coded by circling, in colored ink, analogous instances that related to th e working assertions. From this, various instances and fragmented pieces that suppor ted each assertion were sorted in order to "make clear to the reader what is meant by the various assertions, and to display the evidentiary warrant for [each of] the assertion s" (Erickson, 1986, p. 149). Through data analysis, it was especially important to be sensitive to "discrepancies between the ideal plan and its implementation" (Fre eman, 1996, p. 563). One of the fundamental principles of dual language/bilingual i mmersion programs relates to insuring equal access to educational opportunity. I n reference to bilingualism and bi-literacy, Freeman (1996) advises that "the expli cit goal is for all of the students to master skills in both Spanish and English through e qual representation and evaluation of Spanish and English" (p. 579). Moreover, equal atte ntion and respect are to be given to the two languages spoken by the communityÂ’s populat ion, Spanish and English, in order to promote equal appreciation and involvement with the two languages, and to develop practices that are effective for schooling all Leig h students.Theoretical Framework It may be argued that symmetry is one of natureÂ’s wonders. In almost every shred of nature there exists some kind of underlying orde r. In fractals, repeated iterations of basic yet random shapes create symmetrical beauty. The simplest thread of a leaf can be reiterated millions of times to create a poised tre e or the simplest geometric shape can be reiterated thousands of times to create a flower wh ose whorls are equalized. Each small portion of the shape, when magnified, can reproduce exactly a larger portion. Wheatley (1992) states that "Fractals, in stressing qualitat ive measurement, remind us of the lessons of wholeness," lessons of order, and lesson s of balance (p. 129). It may also be argued that asymmetry, defined as a lack of proport ion, also occurs and is atypical. As such, imbalances or inequalities may be antagonisti c and may impede what is essential to complete development and balance. Asymmetry in this paper describes the too l used to study the dual language program at Leigh. This program proposes to promote balance, fairness, and equality. To that end, instances of asymmetry must be noticed an d made apparent in order to rebalance the scale and provide individuals experie ncing dual language equal opportunities to learn. Instances of symmetry were noticed when t he program promoted fairness and


6 of 17equality. For example, this program ensured that al l school publications were printed in both Spanish and English. Ideally, this pattern was to be carried across this program to ensure an equal representation of both languages. T he logistics developed in the planning period also promoted this principle of equ ality completely. Instances of asymmetry occurred, however, when the planners atte mpted to move theory to practice. Finally, in addition to fixing a study in its contextual place, assessing the effectiveness with which program offerings provide symmetry in the form of equal opportunities for students to learn probably also r equires that researchers account for the duration of the programÂ’s operation. In this resear ch, the dual language program was in its second year of implementation. This is essentia l in that any assertions derived are limited by the newness of the program. On the other hand, because this program is in its infancy, an excellent opportunity to investigate ho w it operated within its sociopolitical context, and how it was challenged to address the c all to provide equal access during its earliest stages of development was provided.Findings Findings taken from the data are divided into two parts. Part one provides demographic and background information as understan ding dual language program development and practice requires examining the soc iopolitical context in which these activities took place (Freeman, 1996). Part two int roduces assertions on asymmetry and is comprised of three areas. Labeled instructional asymmetry, the first area describes instances when and where pedagogical imbalances occ urred. The second area, labeled resource asymmetry, describes occasions when discre pancies in the availability of materials emerged. Area three is labeled student as ymmetry describing characteristics of the student population and the students themselves that made providing equal opportunities to learn problematic.Demographic and Background Information Leigh Elementary School District experien ced enormous and rapid changes in its student demographic makeup over the past several ye ars. In 1997, 7,746 students were enrolled in the district. From 1990 to 1997, there was an 83% growth in total enrollment, a 77% growth in students classified as having a low socioeconomic status, a 132% growth in the population of ethnic minorities, and a 203% growth in students classified as Limited English Proficient (LEP). These demograp hic changes were accompanied by low student tests scores and by calls for school of ficials to develop an improved program for educating students. According to district reports, Leigh Elem entary is the most diverse of the districtÂ’s elementary schools. At the time of this study, Leig h served 1250 students, a population composed of 11% ethnic majority and 89% ethnic mino rity students. Of the 89% ethnic minorities, 81% were MexicanAmerican, 4.9% were A frican-American, 2.5% were NativeAmerican, and .3% were Asian-American. In c ontrast, LeighÂ’s student population was socio-economically homogeneous. Almo st 97% of the population participated in the free and reduced lunch program at the time this study was conducted. Further, LeighÂ’s population was linguistically dich otomous. The proportion of LeighÂ’s LEP students increased from 21.6% in 1993 to 70% in 1998. Spanish and English were the dominant languages at home and few students wer e bilingual upon admittance to Leigh.


7 of 17 In 1996 Leigh Elementary was awarded a Ti tle VII Grant that funded a language program entitled the "Two-Way Bilingual Immersion L iteracy in Two Languages" program. This program was developed to promote bili ngualism for Leigh elementary students, regardless of their language proficiency status. By this, the program was developed to enhance access to educational opportun ities for all Leigh students by providing increased opportunities for students from diverse language backgrounds to learn. This program focused on dual language immers ion with the languages of focus being Spanish and English, the representative langu ages of the schoolÂ’s population. The 1996-1997 school year was the year of planning. In the first year of implementation (the 1997-1998 school year and the s econd year of the grant), the program served approximately 160 students. As noted earlier, this program was still in its puerile stage just ending its second year of op eration, and while LeighÂ’s dual language program was viewed as a success by many, l ittle external research had actually been conducted to assess this programÂ’s nature and effectiveness. On the other hand, research completed by Pea (In Press) does provide additional information about the elementary school district, the Title VII grant tha t funded the dual language program, and the individuals involved in developing and impl ementing the program.Assertions on AsymmetryInstructional Asymmetry One finding that became apparent early du ring the conduct of this study was that the Spanish teachers were bilingual and the English teachers were monolingual. As such, the teachers were classified as either Spanish spea kers or English speakers, and the classrooms were classified as being places where ei ther Spanish or English was used as the sole language of instruction. Freeman (1996) su ggests that the ideal dual language program calls for "the English-dominant teacher to speak and be spoken to only in English and for the Spanish-dominant teacher to spe ak and be spoken to only in Spanish" (p. 576). This also requires that the clas sroom teacher should not translate during instruction or when questions emerge. In oth er words, teachers in dual language programs must "be true" to their respective languag es and their languages of instruction. In this sense, and consonant with the research, stu dents should be able to identify teachers with one particular language and a specifi c classroom setting. Through this instructional formula, the students could also be e nsured equal exposure to both languages and opportunities for language and cognit ive development. Instructional asymmetry resulted in this study when the teachers switched language codes. Again, all of the Spanishspeaking teachers were bilingual and the English-speaking teachers were monolingual. As such the Spanish-speaking teachers were able to switch language codes. They had a grea ter capacity and tendency for not being "true" to the instructional language because they were fluent in two languages. For example, if a student did not comprehend what the S panish-speaking teacher was saying, it was not unusual for the bilingual teacher to tra nslate her message into English in order to reduce the studentÂ’s confusion. None of the Engl ish-dominant teachers were able to speak Spanish, "making teacher code-switching impos sible" (Freeman, 1996, p. 576). Because the English-speaking teachers were monoling ual, the Spanish-speaking children were forced to comprehend English. In contrast, bec ause the Spanish-speaking teachers were bilingual, the Englishspeaking children lear ned to rely on the on the Spanishspeaking teachersÂ’ tendency to translate.


8 of 17 Instructional asymmetry also resulted whe n teachers treated students unequally in communications. Invariably, when an English-speakin g student posed a question to the Spanish-speaking teacher, the student would ask the question in English. Since the teacher was bilingual, the teacher could understand the question in English and could then respond to the question in Spanish. However, w hen the Spanish-speaking student posed a question, the Englishspeaking teacher cou ld not understand and, therefore, would force the student to repeat the question in E nglish. In this, the Spanish-speaking students were required to both speak and comprehend English while the English-speaking students were only required to lis ten to the Spanish. The Spanish-speaking teachers did not force the spoken language while the monolingual English-speaking teachers forced the spoken languag e because they were monolingual. In this regard, the shortage of bilingual teachers not only resulted in the students experiencing different expectations, but the monoli ngual English speakers were provided with fewer opportunities to speak and mast er a second language. In this study, one of the three bilingual teachers would not code-switch or translate from English to Spanish. This teacher would deflect questions back onto the Englishspeaking students requiring them to either tap into a language broker or try to understand Spanish on their own. This teacher performed in acc ordance with program guidelines, and was able to satisfy dual immersion principles r elated to furthering equal access. These examples of instructional asymmetry are largely due to the newness of the program and to the shortage of bilingual teachers. Although the program guidelines state that only one language is to be used to ensure full immersion, analyses of data compiled for this study suggest it is especially difficult f or the Spanish-speaking teachers to withhold instruction and other types of support whe n they are fluent in two languages. The teacher-participants were compelled to help stu dents experiencing frustration to learn. The programÂ’s director noted that the teache rs were increasingly becoming more accustomed to staying in, or being true to the targ et language and not translating, but as with any new program, following these requirements appeared to take a concerted effort and time. Finally, the primary language of the teac her and the teacherÂ’s perceptions about dual language learning appeared to have affected th is programÂ’s capacity to provide students with equal access. For example, while obse rving an Englishspeaking teacher teach her mixed language science class, the teacher approached the principle investigator of this study at the back of the room to talk. This teacher said that she had been an ESL teacher up until the present year. When asked how s he liked the program, she replied that she had never seen kids at this grade level le arn "English" faster. From a discourse analysis perspective, her response spoke directly t o her perceptions regarding dual-language instruction. Her statement implied th at having the students acquire English was her priority. Her objective as a teache r in this program, in other words, may have been to emphasize English acquisition over Spa nish acquisition, while not promoting both languages equally. According to Cumm ins (1986), reforms are dependent on the extent to which educators redefine their roles with respect to the minority. In this study, the teacherÂ’s preference f or having her mixed language students improve their English proficiency may have conjured distorted perceptions relative to how the students judged themselves, their peers, th eir native tongue, and the need to acquire a second language. This last observation suggests that the f uture success of both the students and program are probably related to the importance that educators attribute to language acquisition and to how students learn. Success may also be connected to each teacherÂ’s skill, training, and personal ideology. Cummins (19 96) states that "educators who see


9 of 17their role as adding a second language and cultural affiliation to their studentsÂ’ repertoire are likely to empower students more than those who see their role as replacing or subtracting studentsÂ’ primary language and culture" (p. 25). Resource Asymmetry Classroom resources describe childrenÂ’s l iterature books, resource manuals, manipulatives at learning stations and games. Accor ding to dual language research (Freeman, 1996) and the programÂ’s guidelines, a Spa nish-speaking teacher should only have Spanish resources within the classroom, and th e English-speaking teacher should only have English resources within the classroom. I n this study, the teacherÂ’s classroom environment was arranged at each teacherÂ’s discreti on; likewise, the teachers were encouraged to stock their classrooms using material s written in the appropriate language of the room. In this instance, an asymmetry occurred a s the Spanish teachers utilized resources written in Spanish and English, and as the English teachers utilized resources that were written only in English. This resulted in students in the Spanish-speaking classrooms accessing resources in both English and Spanish whi le students in the English-speaking classrooms could only access resources written in E nglish. It also resulted in opportunities to learn or read in Spanish in the Sp anish speaking classes being fewer than those opportunities for students to learn or r ead English in their English classrooms. Analyses of the data collected indicated that the classroom environment as designed by the teacher was also out of balance. Th e posters and other classroom decorations in the Spanish-speaking classrooms were for the most part, available in Spanish and English, while posters and decorations in the English-speaking classrooms were written in English only. The dual language pos ters available in the Spanish-speaking rooms translated from English to S panish and back again, and may have been instructionally useful as such. In the En glish-speaking classrooms however, English was the only language used on the posters a nd throughout the classroom environment. The school library and the resource room demonstrated a similar pattern. Resources available in Spanish were scarce overall, while the appropriateness of these same materials for students at different levels of development was also severely limited. For example, materials written in Spanish constitut ed less than 20% of the total shelving area; thus, the potential for a student to find a b ook written in English was five times as likely as it was for a student to select a book wri tten in Spanish. This concurs with PucciÂ’s (1994) findings that "the school library ho ldings of Spanish reading materials [were] far below what even the bare minimum would w arrant" (p. 78). Furthermore, findings taken from this stu dy suggest that the materials available in Spanish were separate from other resources and loca ted in an isolated section of the libraryÂ’s shelves. This suggests that access to the se resources may have been even more difficult to gain as some monolingual Spanish-speak ing students could feel uneasy and struggle with selecting materials that would separa te them from their peers, and, as in PucciÂ’s (1994) study, involve them in using books a nd learning aids in a "section of the library [that] was easily observable" (p. 74). As with the case of bilingual teachers, t his imbalance in classroom resources may also have had disparate implications for providing students with equal opportunities to learn. Access to resources was not balanced. This s uggests that the pool of available resources was deeper for the English speaking stude nts, and that these resources may have been geared toward English-speaking students, and toward making those students


10 of 17with more limited skills become more proficient in English. This lack of proportion may have reflected the newness of this program. More li kely, however, this disproportion illustrated a hegemonic condition that is prevalent in U.S. society. Student Asymmetry According to Freeman (1996), "language ma jority studentsÂ’ participation in dual-language facilitates the development of academ ic competence in Spanish" (p. 571). In other words, equal numbers of English-speaking a nd Spanishspeaking students need to participate for a "50/50" model of dual language immersion to operate effectively. Further, equal numbers of students are needed durin g student interactions to provide balance, and so students can be readily available a s peer resources. Characteristics related to the student po pulation at Leigh introduced additional challenges to developing the dual language program and providing students with equal opportunities to learn. For example, LeighÂ’s popula tion to begin with was lopsided. LeighÂ’s high attrition rate and high rates of stude nt mobility also kept the program numbers in constant flux. During the second intervi ew with the program director, she noted that "population percentages range from 54%:4 6% to 70%:30% (Spanish:English)." Similarly, observations reveale d that the makeup of students in their classes was usually weighted heavily on the Spanish -speaking side because the program lacked English speakers to complete the "50/50" bal ance. Observations of classroom experiences als o revealed that separation according to language occurred widely among the students. Althou gh the program director stated "our kids play together, our kids recess together, our k ids do learning together, and thatÂ’s got to impact how they think about the others... everyo ne is mixing with everybody in the program," separation among the students participati ng in the program was observed. According to the data, students separated themselve s voluntarily into language cliques during formal instruction, free class time, and out side of the classroom setting. Although some of the classrooms were deliberately arranged b y dual language teachers to integrate language speakers and prevent in-class separation, separation nonetheless occurred when students were allowed to make choices regarding pee r interactions. For example, analyses of the data revealed that if students were allowed to seat themselves within the classroom at random or were allowed to form their o wn groups for group work, the students would break off into homogeneous language groups. This separation usually resulted in students associating with students who spoke the same language in other words. Furthermore, the grouping of students with s imilar languages and backgrounds reflected imbalances existing in the larger society Consistent with FreemanÂ’s (1996) study of dual language programming, in other words, groupings between and among students "correspond[ed] to racial, ethnic, or clas s lines in society" (p. 579). Finally, and in keeping with previous dua l language research (Freeman, 1996), students acting as language brokers were expected t o facilitate in the language learning process as well. Language brokers were encouraged t o translate for and contribute to peers becoming bilingual and biliterate. However, d ue to their penchant for separating themselves from other students, the language broker s were observed as neither accessible to all students nor easy to "tap into." In short, observations revealed that the language brokers were more likely to associate with other language brokers and more likely to join the English monolingual groups rathe r than to interact with the Spanish monolingual students. In this sense, these students hastened th eir assimilation into the dominant culture by choosing to speak the language of the dominant l anguage group. This finding


11 of 17suggests that along with language brokers being vie wed as members of an education elite, students with stronger bilingual and biliter ate skills preferred to associate with other students who were prized because they shared enhanced bilingual proficiency. Consistent with findings taken from his study of cu ltural differences, "success in school came more readily for those willing to understate, separate from or deny their Mexican culture" (Pea, 1997, p.13).Theoretical Discussion on Asymmetry Although "English only" laws have not bee n voted into the U.S. Constitution, "English only" is practiced in many areas throughou t the U.S. regardless of written policy. Freeman (1996) and Shannon (1995) suggest t hat as English is the language of the majority, equality and opportunity in the U.S. come first to those who master the English language. Relatedly, languages other than E nglish always have had, and always may have, a secondary status according to these thi nkers. As a result, it may be argued that English is the language of choice. The Bilingu al Education Act of 1988 in itself mandates that students be given the opportunity to master English while not emphasizing that students improve or maintain their native tongue. This emphasis on English only is likely t o affect programs striving to promote equality through dual language instruction. As dual language programs attempt to value two languages equally, in other words, it may be pr edictable for programs like LeighÂ’s to encounter resistance in moving from dual language t heory to practice given the nature of their sociopolitical context. Furthermore, Freeman (1996) suggests that given internal and external societal pressures, "leakage between t he ideal plan and its implementation is not only understandable but to be expected" (p. 565). According to Fairclough (1989), the socio political context describes the "dynamic interrelationships among situational, institutional and societal levels that influence each other in important ways" (Freeman, 1996, p. 559). A crucial issue that needs examining then is how the socio-political context affects dua l language program practice and reform. Further, researchers need to account for fa ctors related to time and the relative newness of programs and school reforms. In this stu dy, characteristics of the larger sociopolitical context and the newness of the progr am combined to create asymmetry and influence the lack of equal opportunities that were provided to students. In reference to instructional asymmetry it seems that a citizenry that does not favor bilingualism may not encourage educators to c ultivate bilingual students in public schools. Similarly, results taken from this study s uggest that while being fluent in English enhanced communication between bilingual te achers and Englishspeaking students, this pattern of communication may have co mbined with social and political preferences to encourage dual language students to become proficient in English, native English speaking students to be apathetic about mas tering a second language, and dual language students to believe that English is superi or to Spanish. Furthermore, instructional asymmetries oc curred due to a shortage of bilingual teachers. The aforementioned instances of instructi onal asymmetry occurred as a result of the Spanish-speaking teachersÂ’ capacity and tend ency to communicate using English. Hence, it seems that an equal dispersion of bilingu al teachers across classroom settings would prevent these inequalities, but this is not p lausible. If teachers with bilingual skills were equally available in the English-only and Span ish-only classrooms, only illusions of instructional symmetry would appear. It is true the teachersÂ’ language skills would be balanced across classrooms, but the potential for c ode-switching and language


12 of 17favoritism would now occur in both classrooms, doub ling instructional errors. The instructional errors would infringe upon the progra mÂ’s quality by promoting inadequate, instead of unequal, opportunities to learn. Ironica lly then, given the findings in this study, promoting equality by equalizing the numbers of bilingual teachers would result in reduced program quality. It is possible that if teachers with bilingual skills were readily available in equal proportions, this progra m, and other dual-language programs for that matter, would become even more mediocre. It may be that monolingual Spanish and mo nolingual English teachers would facilitate an ideal match between instructional the ory and program practice. In this scenario, the instructional asymmetries that emerge d in this research would more likely vanish and the programÂ’s quality could be maintaine d. Developing a dual-language program with monolingual teachers, however, might i ntroduce an array of other challenges related to developing dual language prog rams, and to providing students with different language skills equal opportunities to le arn. In reference to assertions regarding resource asymmetry findings in this study suggest that materials and resources in Spanish wer e most difficult to obtain. Further, being that Spanish resources are fewer in compariso n to English resources in the community, materials available in Spanish are likel y not only to be more scarce, but more costly to purchase. Pucci (1990), who conducte d a survey of booksellers in the Los Angeles area in 1990, noted, for example, that pric es for resources in Spanish are typically 20-200% higher than resources written in English (Pucci, 1994, p. 78). This scarcity of resources, when combined with higher co sts, is likely to result in poorer districts like Leigh not being able to reinforce th e Spanish language in the manner by which the programmatic guidelines and objectives ar ticulated. According to Pucci (1994), a "commitment must evidence itself in terms of tangible resources, as well as thoughtful policies" (Pucci, 1994, p. 78). Results taken from this study indicate that not only must dual la nguage programs have such a commitment and make a deliberate effort to equalize resources, but in order for equal educational opportunities to be provided to LeighÂ’s native Spanish speakers, extraordinary steps may be needed to purchase resou rces in Spanish that are not only likely to be significantly more expensive, but more burdensome for poor schools like those in the Leigh Elementary School District to af ford. In reference to assertions about student separation the findings presented earlier stand as an example at the school level of what hap pens in the larger social context. The Spanish language may not have clout or political sw ay in U.S. society. Although it was developed to be a great "equalizer," this program c atered to the English speakers and the bilingual students more often than those of student s who spoke Spanish only. Research cited in Cummins (1986) supports the efficacy of dual language immersion programs if the native language has a hig h status and is strongly reinforced in the larger society (p. 20). In this study, asymmetr y resulted in the English language being viewed with a higher status. English was perceived as more prevalent and necessary making the acquisition of a second and less esteeme d language that much less desirable.Conclusion This study was important as it provided t he opportunity to examine the relationship between dual language theory and pract ice in six dual language classroom settings. What transpired at Leigh holds meaning fo r how other schools develop and conduct their dual language programs. Without a sys tematic review of their practices, dual language programs may be subjecting students t o inequality, to fewer educational


13 of 17opportunities, and to policies and practices that s eparate students according to race, ethnicity, and language orientation. Furthermore, l acking systematic study, schools working to implement dual language programs may con tinue to reproduce the inequalities and injustices that characterize the w ider society thus making more failures inevitable (Cummins, 1986, p. 33). Although LeighÂ’s program demonstrated dis continuities between theory and practice, LeighÂ’s successes should also be recogniz ed. The program, especially with respect to its sociopolitical context and infancy, is providing educational opportunities by offering dual language to its students. This in itself represents a departure from how language minority students typically experience sch ooling. However, lacking greater symmetry, the benefits of dual language may never b e fully realized.ReferencesBartlett, J. (1968). Familiar quotations: A collection of passages, phra ses and proverbs traced to their sources in ancient and modern liter ature (14th ed.) Toronto, Canada: Little, Brown and Company.Christian, D. (1996). Two-way immersion education: Students learning through two languages, The Modern Language Journal, 80 (1), 66-76. Covaleskie, J.F. (1994). The educational system and resistance to reform: The limits of policy. Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 2, (Entire issue). [Available on line:]Cummins, J. (1986). Empowering minority students: A framework for intervention. Harvard Educational Review, 56 (1), 18-36. Cummins, J. (1979). Linguistic interdependence and the educational development of bilingual children, Review of Educational Research, 49 222-251. Erickson, F. (1986). Qualitative methods in researc h on teaching. In M. Wittrock, (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (3rd ed.). Freeman, R.D. (1996). Dual-language planning at Oys ter Bilingual School: ItÂ’s much more than language, TESOL Quarterly, 30 (3), 557-582. Graue, M.E. & Walsh, D.J. (1998). Studying children in context: Theories, methods, an d ethics Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Hakuta, K. (1986). Mirror of language: The debate on bilingualism New York: Basic Books.Krashen, S.D. (1991). Bilingual education: A focus on current research. (Focus Occasional Paper No. 3). Washington, DC: National C learinghouse for Bilingual Education.Merriam-WebsterÂ’s ninth new collegiate dictionary (9th ed.). (1986). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.Pea, R.A. (In Press). A case study of parental inv olvement in a conversion from


14 of 17transitional to dual language instruction, The Bilingual Research Journal Pea, R.A. (1997). Cultural differences and the con struction of meaning: Implications for the leadership and organizational context of sc hools. Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 5, 10. (Entire issue). [Available on line:]Pucci, S.L. (1994). Supporting Spanish language lit eracy: Latino children and free reading resources in schools, Bilingual Research Journal, 18 (1&2), 67-82. Riojas-Clark, E. (1995). How did you learn to write in English when you havenÂ’t been taught in English? The language experience approach in a dual language program, The Bilingual Research Journal, 19 (3&4), 611-627. Snow, M.A., Met. M., & Genesee, F. (1989). A concep tual framework for the integration of language and content in second-forei gn language instruction, TESOL Quarterly, 23 201-217. Valds, G. (1997). Dual-language immersion programs : A Cautionary note concerning the education of languageminority students, Harvard Educational Review, 67 (3), 391-429.Valds, G. (1995). The teaching of minority languag es as academic subjects: Pedagogical and theoretical challenges, The Modern Language Journal, 79 (3), 299328. Wheatley, M.J. (1992). Leadership and the new science: Learning about orga nizations from an orderly universe San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.About the AuthorsAudrey L. Amrein College of EducationArizona State UniversityDivision of Educational Leadership and Policy Studi es PO Box 872411 Tempe, AZ 85287-2411Voice: 480-965-3267Fax: 480-965-1880 Email: Audrey L. Amrein is currently a graduate student en rolled in the Policy Studies PhD program in the College of Education at Arizona Stat e University in Tempe, Arizona. Her research interests include the study of school poli cy, urban education, and students at-risk.Robert A. Pea College of EducationArizona State UniversityDivision of Educational Leadership and Policy Studi es


15 of 17 PO Box 872411 Tempe, AZ 85287-2411Voice: 480-965-5371Fax: 480-965-1880 Email: Robert A. Pea, Ph.D., is currently an Assistant Pr ofesssor in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Arizona State University in T empe, Arizona. His research interests include urban education, students at-risk, leadersh ip, ethics, and the study of poverty.Copyright 2000 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8 5287-0211. (602-965-9644). The Commentary Editor is Casey D. C obb: .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Calgary Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Western Interstate Commission for HigherEducation William McInerney Purdue University Mary McKeown-Moak MGT of America (Austin, TX) Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington


16 of 17 Anne L. Pemberton Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson New York University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers Ann Leavenworth Centerfor Accelerated Learning Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin Michael Scriven Robert E. Stake University of Illinois—UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education David D. Williams Brigham Young UniversityEPAA Spanish Language Editorial BoardAssociate Editor for Spanish Language Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Adrin Acosta (Mxico) Universidad de J. Flix Angulo Rasco (Spain) Universidad de Teresa Bracho (Mxico) Centro de Investigacin y DocenciaEconmica-CIDEbracho Alejandro Canales (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma Ursula Casanova (U.S.A.) Arizona State Jos Contreras Domingo Universitat de Barcelona Erwin Epstein (U.S.A.) Loyola University of Josu Gonzlez (U.S.A.) Arizona State Rollin Kent (Mxico)Departamento de InvestigacinEducativa-DIE/ Mara Beatriz Luce (Brazil)Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do Sul-UFRGSlucemb@orion.ufrgs.brJavier Mendoza Rojas (Mxico)Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicojaviermr@servidor.unam.mxMarcela Mollis (Argentina)Universidad de Buenos Humberto Muoz Garca (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicohumberto@servidor.unam.mxAngel Ignacio Prez Gmez (Spain)Universidad de


17 of 17 Daniel Schugurensky (Argentina-Canad)OISE/UT, Simon Schwartzman (Brazil)Fundao Instituto Brasileiro e Geografiae Estatstica Jurjo Torres Santom (Spain)Universidad de A Carlos Alberto Torres (U.S.A.)University of California, Los


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