The Burning Question

Creating Inclusive Learning communities through English Language Arts: From Chanclas to Canicas by Maria E. Fránquiz & Maria De La Luz Reyes

Fránquiz and Reyes attempt to answer the Burning Question so many monolingual teachers have:

“How can I best support my bilingual students in literacy learning when I myself am monolingual and not fluent their languages?”

Answering this question requires a shift from an Old Paradigm to a newer way of thinking.

Old Paradigm

  • English-only as communicative norm for educational and economic success
  • Separation of languages in educational context as a prescriptive strategy for all educational models.
  • Literate ways of thinking based on cross-linguistic universals and on a single, universal, developmental timetable

New Paradigm

  • Bilingualism/Biliteracy as a living, desirable, functioning mode of communication in academic work and social contexts.
  • Literate ways of thinking develop by actively engaging in the practices of a community of learners where interpersonal processes transform into intrapersonal ones.
  • Codeswitching in educational context as an inclusionary, meaningful, and available strategy.

(Franquiz, M.E., & Reyes, M.d.l.L., 1998, pg. 218)

Inclusive Learning Communities

  • Allow flexibility with student response that are both written and verbal.  
  • Embrace opportunities for students to be the “teacher”
  • Implementing “literary events” that encourage both students and teacher to explore numerous languages in an authentic way.  
  • Adopting the mindset that codeswitching is a valid and valuable option for language practice.