November 18, 2008
For immediate release
Beth Yeager and Judith Green of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School have published the chapter “‘We Have Our Own Language As Well As the Language We Bring:’ Constructing Opportunities for Learning Through a Language of the Classroom” in the volume Affirming Students’ Right to Their Own Language: Bridging Language Policies and Pedagogical Practices (Routledge and NCTE, 2008).
The volume – edited by Jerrie L. Scott, Dolores Y. Straker, and Laurie Katz and a co-publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and Routledge – responds to the call to attend to the unfinished pedagogical business of the National Council of Teachers of English 1974 Students’ Right to Their Own Language resolution. Chronicling the interplay between legislated and litigated education policies and language and literacy teaching in diverse classrooms, it presents students learning by using their home-based cultural, language, and literacy practices to help them meet school expectations.
The book helps answer the questions: How can teachers make sound pedagogical decisions and advocate for educational policies that best serve the needs of students in today’s diverse classrooms? What is the pedagogical value of providing culturally and linguistically diverse students greater access to their own language and cultural orientations?
Yeager and Green’s chapter addresses the question of how, in light of the new level of complexity that teachers and their students face as they work in classrooms where having children who speak more than one language is ordinary, to create an explicit and purposeful language that builds on the multiple languages in the classroom, while creating a common community and language for learning of the classroom. The authors unfold how two bilingual teachers, who were also teacher researchers, created, with their students, opportunities for learning rich academic content and practice while building on and honoring the complex and multiple linguistic resources of students (sometimes three languages spoken in their classrooms). In doing so, the chapter makes visible a common set of principles for language as social and cultural resource that others may draw on as they seek ways of creating linguistically, academically, and culturally rich communities with their students.
[Beth Yeager and Judith Green are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
– end –