Educating Bilingual-Biliterate-Bicultural Children in an ESL Context: Lessons from Latino Parents

Nzai, Valentin Ekiaka
January 2010
NAAAS & Affiliates Conference Monographs;2010, p688
Conference Proceeding
This study explored the process Latino parents took in becoming socially conscious in supporting their elementary children labeled as at-risk's bilingualism-biculturalism in a predominantly subtractive bilingualism environment. Five Spanish-speaking families involved in a deeper cross-cultural adaptation process in the Midwest participated in this qualitative research. Observations, in depth interviews, fieldnotes, audio and videotapes, oral fluency rates, reading proficiency tests, self-perception interviews and narratives were used as data collection tools. The Study was conducted from culturally responsive learning and community of practice approaches where participants used family literacy skills and other inputs, they learned through active participation in a remedial bilingual reading program, as opportunities to explore a variety of intercultural learning strategies to deal more effectively with issues related to their children bilingual-bicultural identity development in an English as second language (ESL) context. Three themes aimed to understand Latino children's cultural insiderness processes in their primary reference groups emerged. Findings suggest that many unbalanced bilingual individuals experience confusion in considering themselves as cultural insiders/old-timers of both cultures because of the absence of proven bilingual-bicultural education frames. Moreover, research findings highlighted that developing bilingual-biliterate- bicultural competencies can be fully achieved, even, in a predominantly English-speaking society. It is intrinsically related to children's abilities to know what they can do in order to be at the center of the "stage" in multicultural settings. Recommendations for involuntary minority parents, elementary teachers and staff ongoing intercultural training were framed within the continuum first - second language and culture acquisition.


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