Ethnographies Revisited: English Learners and Language Ideologies

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2017
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Swarthmore College. Dept. of Educational Studies
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Thesis (B.A.)
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en
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Full copyright to this work is retained by the student author. It may only be used for non-commercial, research, and educational purposes. All other uses are restricted.
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Abstract
As the public school populations all over the United States continue to change to include more linguistically diverse student demographics, English language education continues to show many of the issues that it has faced for decades. With deep roots in colonization and imperialism, English language education policy and practice shows evidence of language ideology shaping the way education and policymakers think about the linguistic practices of their students. Using a critical lens that focuses on language ideologies, two canonical educational ethnographies that highlight the experiences of English Learners in the United States will be analyzed using three trends of language ideologies: Language as Capital, Language and Race, and Language as Deficit. Using this lens the two works-Fu's "My Trouble is my English" and Olsen's Made in America-to demonstrate how students view Standard English as necessary for gaining economic and cultural capital without always considering the role of their peers and teachers in distributing capital among those that are not in the culture of power. Additionally, they show how non-monolingual English speakers are racialized and excluded from being legitimate members of the school's social structure. Lastly, the works show how the non-English linguistic practices of the English Learners are ignored and viewed as detrimental to their English language acquisition. This new lens on the works of Fu and Olsen sheds light on how language ideologies manifest in the actions and language of students and teachers, along with the effect these have on the educational experience English Learners.
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