In this qualitative case study, we investigate teachers’ appropriation of language policy at one urban elementary school in Illinois. Recognizing classroom teachers’ central role in the education of English learners, we probe teachers’ policy appropriation, or how bilingual educators take state-, district-, and school-level policies and corresponding programmatic requirements and utilize them in their own ways in classrooms in the midst of heightened accountability, including the shift to the Common Core Standards and other policy changes. Using ethnographic methods including participant observation, field notes, surveys, and interviews, we study the case of Abraham Lincoln School, which serves predominantly Latino students through both transitional and maintenance bilingual program models. Findings indicate the impacts of external demands on bilingual teachers’ policy appropriation, as accountability to English-only tests shaped decisions in classroom practice. Results demonstrate that bilingual education is not consistently occurring in Lincoln classrooms, due to lack of clear expectations, multiple initiatives that take away from needed classroom instructional time, high-stakes and standardized tests given only in English, and varying challenges of students’ Spanish proficiency due to the rush to mainstream. The significance of findings center on teachers’ integral roles as policy makers in bilingual education, as they engage in daily decision making that directly impacts the education of English learners in Midwestern schools.
Colón, Ingrid and Heineke, Amy J.
"Bilingual Education in English-Only: A Qualitative Case Study of Language Policy in Practice at Lincoln Elementary School,"
Mid-Western Educational Researcher: Vol. 27:
4, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/mwer/vol27/iss4/2