This study explored the lived experiences of three third grade emergent bilinguals learning English literacies such as speaking, reading, and writing in school using a post-intentional phenomenological approach (Vagle, 2014). Learning what is unfamiliar, especially academics can be challenging for emergent bilinguals. Young elementary children are influenced by a variety of factors in school and their experiences in elementary classrooms help shape who they are and how they learn daily and in the future. In turn, teachers do not always recognize the knowledge and language skills of linguistically diverse students (Zwiers, 2013). Non-native English speakers face many difficulties in mainstream classrooms such as navigating literacies in a new language academically and socially. This phenomenological research study uses theories from González, Moll, & Amanti (2013), Alison Cook-Sather (2002, 2006), and Max van Manen (1982, 2014) who highlight key ideas such as funds of knowledge, student voice, and phenomenology. These theories guided and supported the findings from the study of the phenomenon of learning literacies of reading, speaking, and writing in school with third grade emergent bilinguals. Through the use of students’ own voices, this study investigated: 1) How might literacies of reading, writing, and speaking English take shape for third grade emergent bilinguals in school? And 2) How might emergent bilinguals’ cultural and linguistic funds of knowledge be used at school? Data were collected through classroom visits, observations, and conversations with participants were guided using the five-component process from Vagle’s (2014) post-intentional phenomenological research design. The data were analyzed using the whole-parts-whole phenomenological approach (Vagle, 2014). The findings represent three tentative manifestations: challenge, interaction, and native language. The tentative manifestation challenge relates to the idea of a task being difficult, in which people are pushed to use skills to their full potential. The second tentative manifestation interaction refers to the sense of being, communicating, and collaborating with another person. The third tentative manifestation native language refers to the participants knowing and using their native language throughout engagement with learning literacies in school. Commonalities between participants were revealed through the tentative manifestations. The findings support the need to allow emergent bilinguals’ voices, cultures, and linguistic backgrounds to be present in their classrooms for maximum learning success.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. March 2016. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Lori Helman. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 109 pages.
Third Grade Emergent Bilinguals' Voices and Experiences Learning English Literacies in School: A Post-Intentional Phenomonological Exploration.
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