Date of Defense

4-18-2014

Date of Graduation

4-2014

Department

Spanish

First Advisor

Kristina Wirtz

Second Advisor

Robert Vann

Third Advisor

Karen Vocke

Abstract

In modern U.S. society, English is considered the language of power while Spanish is considered a minority language, unfit for academic or professional settings. These macro-level power inequalities are evident in micro-level interactions between students and teachers in mainstream schools. Dual language education programs, however, attempt to challenge this ideology by elevating the status of minority languages and their speakers. In this study, I use an ethnographic/discourse analysis approach to examine how one teacher's practices in a dual language kindergarten classroom work to both reproduce and resist dominant ideologies about Spanish. Through participant-observation, interviews, and audio recordings of naturallyoccurring speech, I identify three distinguishable practices: modeling Spanish, positioning students equally, and creating possibilities for cooperative learning. After analysis, I find these practices were, for the most part, effective in raising the value of Spanish in the classroom, and thus rejecting dominant ideologies about English as the only acceptable language of instruction. However, no matter how hard the teacher tried to create a tolerant environment, there were still instances where the hegemony of English persisted and dominant language ideologies were reproduced instead of resisted.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

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