Opening the Door to Cross-Cultural Educación in Two-Way Immersion Programs
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CitationStolte, Laurel Cadwallader. 2015. Opening the Door to Cross-Cultural Educación in Two-Way Immersion Programs. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractLearning how to interact with others of diverse backgrounds is essential to effective participation in a globalized world and is a key goal of two-way language immersion programs, which bring together students from different language backgrounds to learn in both languages. These programs are frequently lauded for their success in promoting academic achievement and bilingualism, as well as for their potential to promote cross-cultural learning. However, limited research in this area shows that while students develop positive attitudes and cross-cultural friendships, the unequal status of the two languages and the marginalization of African-American students are concerns. Few studies have looked at the process of cross-cultural learning in these programs to see how interactions between students, teachers, and resources like curricula may influence students’ cross-cultural educación (Valenzuela, 1999). This comparative case study examines the question “What does cross-cultural educación look like in two-way immersion programs, and what factors influence that process?” at two schools, using observations of classes and schoolwide events, semi-structured interviews with teachers, document review, and a student picture sort activity.
Using contact theory, I find that the two schools have different strengths in regards to cross-cultural educación, with one providing institutional support structures for explicit cross-cultural learning and another providing more opportunities for informal learning through its socioeconomically- and ethnically-diverse student and teacher population. There are also distinct ways of talking about difference at the two-schools, with one favoring a discourse focused on commonalities and the other a more dissonant discourse that recognizes differences. Nevertheless, the schools share important characteristics associated with their shared context, the rapidly globalizing state of North Carolina; these include pressure to integrate cross-cultural learning with Common Core literacy standards and a focus on the cultures of foreign countries. I argue that two-way immersion programs need to emphasize equity for not only speakers of non-English languages, but also diverse ethnic and socioeconomic groups, through broadening considerations for choosing program models, diversifying student and teacher populations, and teaching students to both learn about and care for different cultures in their local communities.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:16461034