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Dissertation Information


Title: Simultaneous and Sequential Bilinguals in a German Bilingual Program Add Dissertation
Author: Roswita Dressler Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.roswitadressler.com
Institution: University of Calgary, Graduate Division of Educational Research
Completed in: 2012
Linguistic Subfield(s): Applied Linguistics;
Subject Language(s): German
Director(s): Mary O'Brien
Rahat Naqvi

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.