From ELLs to Bilingual Teachers: Spanish-English Speaking Latino Teachers' Experiences of Language Shame & Loss

By Winstead, Lisa; Wang, Congcong | Multicultural Education, Spring/Summer 2017 | Go to article overview

From ELLs to Bilingual Teachers: Spanish-English Speaking Latino Teachers' Experiences of Language Shame & Loss


Winstead, Lisa, Wang, Congcong, Multicultural Education


Introduction

By traversing boundaries globally, transnational individuals supply first-world economies with labor forces in countries such as the United States, France, and Japan (Vertovec, 2001, 2004; Winstead, 2010). Transnationals are people who are residents in the post colony yet continue to maintain socio-economic relations in their country of origin, are hired for unskilled labor, and are often identified as immigrants (Darder & Uriarte, 2013; Vertovec, 2001, 2004). The recruitment of transnationals from prior colonies and neighboring countries contributes to worldwide multilingualism and diversity in schools and classrooms (Hay, 2008; Rueda & Stillman, 2012; Wang & Winstead, 2016).

The children involved in transnational movements leave their respective countries of origin and corresponding ways of cultural, social, and linguistic understanding. As they enter the host state with their parents, they are placed in schools with the expectation that they will acquire the dominant language, understand the host country rules and norms, and perform well in school. Yet at the same time, their native or home language support has been removed in schools that reflect restrictive language policies in such states as California and Arizona, both with high populations of Latinos (Austin, Willett, & Gebhard, 2010; Flores & Murillo, 2001; Macedo, 2000; Valdez, 2001).

As their native language is restricted or rejected, these children feel a sense of shame not only about their language but also rejection of their heritage, which affects their sense of well-being (Phinney, Horencyk, Liebkind, & Vedder, 2001). Despite the high demand for teachers who have the cultural and bilingual expertise to teach these children of transnationals, there is a shortage of certified bilingual teachers to teach English language learners (ELLs) (de Cohen, Deterding, & Clewell, 2005; Hones, Aguilar, & Thao, 2009).

In addition to the shortage and demand for highly qualified bilingual teachers, teachers in countries such as the United States and Great Britain do not reflect minority populations in the schools (Bireda & Chait, 2014; Gollnick & Chinn, 2013; Vonderlack-Navarro, 2014) and often lack the necessary cultural and linguistic expertise to work with transnational children.

While much relevant research concerns preparing mainstream teachers to work and support ELLs culturally and linguistically (de Jong & Harper, 2005; Hite & Evans, 2006; Honawar, 2009; Leavitt, 2013; Lucas, 2008), more study is needed to validate and consider the dual language expertise of bilingual individuals as resources to address the increasing needs of multilingual populations of children in schools.

Adopting an identity framework, this multiple case study explored bilingual and bicultural Latino teachers' lived experiences of language shame and loss influenced their teaching in classrooms with mainstream and multilingual children.

Literature Review

Language Status and Language Learners

Immigrants, as well as their descendants who become citizens, are often marginalized and retain social and language status reflective of post-colonial history (Bordieu, 1977, 1986; Darder & Uriarte, 2013; Feagin, 1984). Prior historical memories of territorial conflict (e.g., French-Algerian War) and acquisition (e.g., U.S. acquisition of prior Mexican territories) is also associated with notions of first-world nation dominance and third-world subordinance as reflected in present-day societal attitudes and language policies (Darder & Uriarte, 2013; Macedo, 2000; Wang & Winstead, 2016).

Language hierarchies as seen in state policies and practices reveal how language status is often tied with immigrant country origin status around the world. Thus, a major issue with this expectation of dominant first-world powers is the insistance of one nation and one language at the expense of the native or heritage language (Crawford, 2004; Macedo, 2000; Wang & Winstead, 2016), especially languages associated with lower status in society (Beardsmore, 2008; Darder & Uriarte, 2013; Helot, 2002). …

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