Educators' conceptions of academic literacy and language
Athanases, Steven Z.; Wahleithner, Juliet Michelsen
Arias, M. Beatriz; Faltis, Christian J.
IAP Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC, 2013.
Research in second language learning
Little research has featured teachers' conceptions and learning about academic literacy and language (ALL) or perceptions of affordances and constraints in ALL development. To this end, we sought to understand perspectives of a diverse group of P-16 educators working in culturally and linguistically diverse schools and systems in northern California, many serving large numbers of students living in poverty. These educators' conceptions of need for these populations are a bellwether of national trends. Area students, many ELLs, speak various first languages—mostly Spanish, with many speaking Vietnamese, Hmong, Lao, and Russian/Ukrainian, among other first languages; and many others are nonstandard language users. The achievement gap is ever salient in the region, as educators strive to address urgent academic needs of students. Inviting these educators into ALL development work is essential and can help shape professional directions. As part of an ongoing project, we have cohosted with university colleagues and local educational leaders an annual academic literacy summit. At these summits, academic language frequently has been embedded in larger discussions about academic literacy. For our first summit, we provided inputs and workshops, but also invitations to reflect on definitions, purposes, challenges, and supports related to the broader domain of academic literacy (hereafter, "AL"). Drawing upon data from the summit, we asked this research question: What are educators' conceptions of academic literacy in practice with culturally and linguistically diverse students, particularly in high need and often underperforming schools? We examined various dimensions of academic literacy, with academic language playing a key role. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved) (Source: chapter)