Year One at "City" High School: An Ethnographic Study of Heritage Language Learners at an Innovative Charter School

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/196027
Title:
Year One at "City" High School: An Ethnographic Study of Heritage Language Learners at an Innovative Charter School
Author:
Helmer, Kimberly Adilia
Issue Date:
2007
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Packer and Goicoechea (2000) and Wortham (2006) propose that academic learning is both personal and social transformation. This transformation is continuously negotiated through classroom interaction and curricular choices. The current ethnographic study of an urban southwestern charter high school investigates academic learning in two contexts: a Spanish heritage-language (SHL) class and a humanities class.The study examines Mexican-origin students' resistance to studying their ancestral language. From the first day of their SHL class, students refused to speak Spanish (despite their proficiency), rejected published Spanish-language materials, and acted out. Student resistance was rooted in their perceived lack of relevant tasks and materials, teacher-respect for their home language and culture, and student belief that learning "proper Spanish" could threaten social and familial relationships (see also Fordham & Ogbu, 1986; Labov, 1972a; Mehan, Hubbard, & Villanueva, 1994).The resistance of the heritage language learners contrasts sharply with the engagement of the same students in their Humanities course in which students connect enthusiastically with subject matter and instructor. Findings suggest that engagement was fostered through the teacher's strict adherence to the principles of place-based learning (Gruenewald, 2003a, 2003b), critical democratic pedagogy (Shor, 1992), and the instructor's teacher ethos.Latinos have the greatest high school dropout rate in the United States while simultaneously being the largest growing demographic group (Carreira, 2003; "US Census Report," 2004; Waggoner, 2000). The pairing of these two statistics should draw alarm. Thus the study of Latino student engagement and resistance to academic learning is crucial for understanding this problem as well as exploring what pedagogies hold most promise. In terms of HL instruction, analyses reveal that a critical place-based approach to heritage-language instruction holds such promise.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
heritage language Latino charter school place-based
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Wildner-Bassett, Mary

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleYear One at "City" High School: An Ethnographic Study of Heritage Language Learners at an Innovative Charter Schoolen_US
dc.creatorHelmer, Kimberly Adiliaen_US
dc.contributor.authorHelmer, Kimberly Adiliaen_US
dc.date.issued2007en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractPacker and Goicoechea (2000) and Wortham (2006) propose that academic learning is both personal and social transformation. This transformation is continuously negotiated through classroom interaction and curricular choices. The current ethnographic study of an urban southwestern charter high school investigates academic learning in two contexts: a Spanish heritage-language (SHL) class and a humanities class.The study examines Mexican-origin students' resistance to studying their ancestral language. From the first day of their SHL class, students refused to speak Spanish (despite their proficiency), rejected published Spanish-language materials, and acted out. Student resistance was rooted in their perceived lack of relevant tasks and materials, teacher-respect for their home language and culture, and student belief that learning "proper Spanish" could threaten social and familial relationships (see also Fordham & Ogbu, 1986; Labov, 1972a; Mehan, Hubbard, & Villanueva, 1994).The resistance of the heritage language learners contrasts sharply with the engagement of the same students in their Humanities course in which students connect enthusiastically with subject matter and instructor. Findings suggest that engagement was fostered through the teacher's strict adherence to the principles of place-based learning (Gruenewald, 2003a, 2003b), critical democratic pedagogy (Shor, 1992), and the instructor's teacher ethos.Latinos have the greatest high school dropout rate in the United States while simultaneously being the largest growing demographic group (Carreira, 2003; "US Census Report," 2004; Waggoner, 2000). The pairing of these two statistics should draw alarm. Thus the study of Latino student engagement and resistance to academic learning is crucial for understanding this problem as well as exploring what pedagogies hold most promise. In terms of HL instruction, analyses reveal that a critical place-based approach to heritage-language instruction holds such promise.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectheritage language Latino charter school place-baseden_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineSecond Language Acquisition & Teachingen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairWildner-Bassett, Maryen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWildner-Bassett, Maryen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberPhilips, Susan U.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGilmore, Perryen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberCarvalho, Anaen_US
dc.identifier.proquest2510en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659748418en_US
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