Bilingual student perspectives about language expertise in a gentrifying two-way immersion program

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The two-way immersion dual language education program design includes the use of language labels to identify students as either the English speaker or the speaker of a language other than English. This paper examines four focal student and two teacher interviews to consider the ways in which the idea of a ‘language expert’ transpired during individual student retrospective interviews. Data include video and audio recordings of student and teacher interviews, classroom observations of student interactions during their kindergarten, first and second grade years. This study draws from a raciolinguistic perspective to explore how power operates in sites where the categorization of language and race are negotiated. A distinctive goal of this paper includes understanding the ways in which students were perceived by their peers and classroom teachers as language learners in order to understand how power relations operated as the school demographics were changing. Findings indicate that race was entwined with social class and language in the ways students perceived one another. Implications for teacher education programs include raising an awareness of how teachers can both mitigate and shift power relations in culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse contexts.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
StatePublished - Jul 29 2020


  • Bilingual education; bilingual students; classroom discourse; dual language immersion; heritage languages; identity construction


  • Education

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