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Bilingual Education and Social Change by Rebecca D. Freeman

By Rebecca D. Freeman

A normal advent to bilingualism, bilingual schooling, and minority schooling within the usa, and an ethnographic/discourse analytic research of the way one "successful" dual-language programme demanding situations mainstream US academic progammes that discriminate opposed to minority scholars and the languages they communicate. Implications for study perform and perform in different university and group contexts are emphasised.

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Example text

Historically, the United States has been characterized by a 'tolerance-oriented' tradition of language rights (McGroarty, 1992). For the most part, the individual has been free to select whatever language best meets his or her needs. This ideological discourse is reflected in the Constitution which makes no reference to the choice of a national language, and in Constitutional protections of free speech that have included the freedom to choose the language one uses, as well as the content one discusses (Heath, 1981).

It is important to remember that discourses are dynamic, and they can, and do, shift over time. This section has provided a very brief introduction to ethnography and discourse analysis, and has shown how these two research orientations can mutually inform each other. An ethnographic/discourse analytic approach provides a principled means of studying how a dual-language plan is interpeted and implemented in a specific social and historical location. By collecting and analyzing a wide range of spoken and written texts produced by policymakers, educators, students, and parents over time, and by investigating multiple persectives on those texts in isolation and then collectively, the researcher can piece together the underlying discourses that structure social relations at the school and throughout the local community, and relate those discourses to larger societal discourses about linguistic and cultural diversity.

It relates the different types of bilingual education that federal policy has supported to larger ideological debates about linguistic and cultural diversity in society. While the historical overview presented in this chapter is not intended to be detailed or exhaustive, it provides necessary background information for understanding how Oyster Bilingual School's dual-language program functions on the local level. Pre-World War I: From Linguistic Diversity to Monolingualism in English The current controversy in the United States about the status of English and about the effectiveness of bilingual education programs (discussed later in the chapter) may seem to suggest that bilingualism and bilingual education are recent phenomena.

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