[lg policy] Linguist List Issue: Simultaneous and Sequential Bilinguals in a German Bilingual Program

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Message1: Simultaneous and Sequential Bilinguals in a German Bilingual Program
From:Roswita Dressler rahdress at ucalgary.ca
LINGUIST List issue http://linguistlist.org/issues/24/24-958.html 

Institution: University of Calgary 
Program: Graduate Division of Educational Research 
Dissertation Status: Completed 
Degree Date: 2012 

Author: Roswita A Dressler

Dissertation Title: Simultaneous and Sequential Bilinguals in a German
Bilingual Program 

Dissertation URL:  http://hdl.handle.net/11023/178

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Subject Language(s): German (deu)

Dissertation Director(s):
Mary Grantham O'Brien
Rahat Naqvi

Dissertation Abstract:

Bilingual Programs in western Canada provide children with instruction 
in a non-official language for up to 50% of the school day, and the 
corresponding curriculum documents are based on the assumption that 
the prototypical student speaks English at home and is learning the 
minority language as a second language at school. However, recent 
changes in immigration patterns in Canada have resulted in diverse 
linguistic profiles of students for which the Programs were not 
designed. In this study, nexus analysis (Scollon & Scollon, 2004) is 
used to examine one elementary German Bilingual Program in which 
the historical bodies (ways of being) of students are emerging 
bilinguals (Escamilla & Hopewell, 2009) in the process of developing 
their identity and proficiency as bilinguals. Based on the nature of their 
bilingualism, their linguistic profiles can be categorized as (a) 
simultaneous bilinguals of German and English; (b) sequential 
bilinguals dominant in English; (c) sequential bilinguals dominant in 
German; or (d) sequential bilinguals with another home language. The 
interaction order (ways of doing) of a typical day in the Program, as 
well as the progression from grade one to grade six, reflects how 
bilingualism is expressed, supported and integrated in the social 
context of the school. Numerous discourses in place (ways of thinking) 
are identified: dialect tolerance, contextual language choice, 
development of bilingual language proficiency, educational enrichment, 
identity negotiation, holistic bilingual perspective and a tension 
between additive and subtractive bilingualism. Historical body, 
interaction order and the discourses in place converge as a nexus of 
practice that reveals the relationships among languages, language 
users and social contexts of this Bilingual Program (Hornberger & Hult, 
2008). The results from this study challenge the assumptions of the 
curriculum, practices within the Program and discourses that do not 
integrate the diverse linguistic profiles of students. Although the 
curriculum documents are primarily written with students of one specific 
linguistic profile in mind, this study reveals that in the context of the 
German Bilingual Program educators recognize the diverse linguistic 
profiles of students, but tensions in policy and practice affect the 
development of bilingualism for all students. 

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