Toward Expanding What Counts as Language for Latina and Latino Youth in an Urban Middle School Classroom
Kalmanovitz School of Education
Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice
In this article, we report findings from a yearlong design research project that worked to leverage the language brokering skills of Latina/Latino middle school youth in an urban school setting. We began the project by asking seventh-grade students to talk about the many languages they speak in their daily lives. Throughout the project, their teacher, Ms. Reyes, drew on youths’ tacit understandings of language to engage them, metalinguistically, in learning activities that went beyond classroom activities, with specific attention to the various ways language is used to persuade different audiences across contexts. We concluded with documenting their reflections on the project and their understandings of their language use. We share data of transcripts from focus group discussions between four students. Findings revealed that student’s tacit understandings about language fell into four categories, ‘‘language of respect,’’ ‘‘diverse ways of speaking,’’ ‘‘what they learned’’ about language, and an emerging sense of their ‘‘academic confidence.’’ We use these data to show how youth shared knowledge and understandings about language that they had not been asked to share before. We conclude with suggestions for how classroom teachers can work toward expanding what counts for language in English Language Arts classrooms.
English Language Arts, secondary, Latina/Latino, metalinguistic awareness, language
SMC Affiliated Work
Martínez, D.C. & Montaño, E. “Toward Expanding What Counts as Language for Latina and Latino Youth in an Urban Middle School Classroom.” Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice. doi: 10.1177/2381336916661517
Martinez, Danny C. and Montaño, Elizabeth. Toward Expanding What Counts as Language for Latina and Latino Youth in an Urban Middle School Classroom (2016). Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice. 65, 200-216. 10.1177/2381336916661517 [article]. https://digitalcommons.stmarys-ca.edu/school-education-faculty-works/60