Before They Teach: How Pre-Service Teachers Plan for Linguistically Diverse StudentsReport as inadecuate

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Teacher Education Quarterly, v40 n4 p5-26 Fall 2013

Today's new teachers, with growing frequency, are assigned to teach linguistically diverse students, often referred to as English Language Learners (ELLs) (de Jong & Harper, 2005; Pappamihiel, 2007). Many novice teachers, however, express feeling ill-prepared to work across languages and cultures, and researchers have found that new teachers need better training in this field (Fillmore & Snow, 2000; Hooks, 2008; Jones, 2002; Short & Echevarria, 2004). Pre-service teachers (PSTs) sometimes base their beliefs about teaching language-minority students on experiences they had as students (Busch, 2010). Often, however, PSTs' personal experiences do not match those of linguistically diverse students (Jones, 2002). Compounding this mis-match is that teachers increasingly look less like students they teach, with student populations diversifying while the teaching force remains predominantly White and middle class (Hooks, 2008; Verma, 2009). All these issues can result in linguistically diverse students' placement in classrooms where success is far from guaranteed. Monolingual teachers specifically might have little empathy for how students experience learning second languages (Pray & Marx, 2010). Teachers with little training in linguistic issues or second language acquisition (SLA) might not think about language until it becomes a "problem" (Vald├ęs, Bunch, Snow, Lee, & Matos, 2005). Given the grave consequences of not providing students equal opportunities, understanding how novice teachers conceptualize linguistically diverse learners becomes imperative. This study considers how PSTs describe linguistically diverse students and make recommendations for improving their own teaching of these students in case-study projects, written during the semester after student-teaching, just prior to graduation from a teacher preparation program at a public, university in a South-Atlantic state.

Descriptors: Preservice Teachers, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Student Attitudes, Language Minorities, English Language Learners, Student Placement, Empathy, Teacher Student Relationship, Equal Education, Educational Opportunities, Case Studies, Student Teaching, Student Projects, Teaching Methods, Knowledge Base for Teaching, Teacher Education Programs, State Universities, Profiles, Sampling, Researchers, Role, Student Characteristics, Educational Practices

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Author: Salerno, April S.; Kibler, Amanda K.


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