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Literacy Engagement through Online and Offline Communities Outside School: ELLs Development as Readers and Writers Guofang Li, Ph.D. Associate Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "Literacy Engagement through Online and Offline Communities Outside School: ELLs Development as Readers and Writers Guofang Li, Ph.D. Associate Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literacy Engagement through Online and Offline Communities Outside School: ELLs Development as Readers and Writers Guofang Li, Ph.D. Associate Professor Teacher Education, Michigan State University

2 Presentation Outline Background of research –Findings on second language development –Rationale and background of the study Research questions Methods Findings Implications for instruction

3 A crisis urgent and overlooked 6% ELLs at proficient in writing and 58% below basics. Similar trends can be found in reading. Among the adolescent ELLs, the 2007 NAEP results showed a 37- point gap in eighth grade mathematics and 46-point gap in eighth grade reading achievement between ELLs and non-ELLs on a 500- point scale. In eighth grade science, the 2005 NAEP results showed the gap was 32 points. These gaps in reading, math, and science achievement between ELLs and non-ELLs have remained consistent in the past decade since 1998. English-language learners graduate from high school at considerably lower rates than students who are English proficient, 51% compared with 10% who speak English (NCES, 2004)


5 Average scores of 8th graders in reading by English language proficiency and state: 2003 Batalova & Fix, 2005;

6 8 th Grade Reading 2007

7 2007 8 th Grade Writing

8 Contributing Factors (Short & Fitzsimmons, 2006) Challenge 1: Lack of common criteria for identifying ELLs and tracking their academic performance C2: Lack of appropriate assessment C3: Inadequate educator capacity for improving literacy in ELLs C4: Lack of appropriate and flexible program options C5: Limited use of research-based instructional practices C6: Lack of a strong and coherent research agenda for adolescent ELL literacy

9 On the whole, the research for adolescent ELLs is spotty. The current knowledge base is much more extensive at the elementary level than it is at the middle and high school levels. –Short & Fitzsimmons, 2006, p. 39

10 Contributing Factors Poor teacher quality Inadequate teacher preparation (Grant & Wong, 2003) Marginalization and social isolation that they experience in school and outside school (Gitlin, Buendía, Crosland, Doumbia, 2003; Meador, 2005; Olsen, 1997; Ream, 2003; Valdés, 2001; Valenzuela, 1999

11 Marginalization and Social Isolation of ELLs Current ESL programs lack authentic English interchanges or exposure in the linguistically segregated classrooms Academic marginalization imposed by a racialized school culture and the separation between ESL and regular education classes. Marginalization in school activities such as in school assemblies, multicultural orientations and in spaces such as cafeteria and school buses

12 Ways to Break Social, Linguistic and Academic Isolation Social networks or community of learners and supporters –A connectedness between a leaner, his/her family, friends, and community could generate social capital that can be translated into higher academic achievement as it provides access to different resources that can facilitate students learning processes (Coleman, 1988) –For second language learners, the connectedness creates social contexts of language learning and possibilities of authentic interaction for practicing and using English language. These learning opportunities also afford students a form of linguistic capital (Bourdieu, 1991)

13 Social Networks Family Social Networks (Li, 2002; Li & Christ, 2007) Peer social networks (Ream, 2005; Ream & Rumberger, 2008; Goldstein, 2008) –minority students fortify social ties in ways that differ from their mainstream counterparts –school-oriented friendship networks vs. street-oriented friendships –peer social networks, particularly among minority peers, are especially important for ELLs New forms of learning communities afforded by technologies (chatrooms, fan clubs, social networking sites such as Facebook, video gaming sites)

14 Questions How do English language learners form social networks or learning communities? What resources do they draw from these communities or networks to improve their L2 literacy? What are the implications for classroom instruction?

15 This Study A success example: A Hmong girls journey to literacy achievement –What do adolescent ELLs read and write outside school? –What strategies or resources do they use to become readers and writers? –How can their strategies and resources inform us about literacy instruction?

16 Theoretical Perspectives Literacy learning as a process of social practices (Gee, 1996; Street, 1993) Communities of practices Literacy as multimodal (Kress, 2000)

17 Literacy learning is understood as a process by which the individual is socialized for group membership in specific literate communities and in turn, participates in shaping the social practices of these communities –Street, 1993; Lam, 2009, p. 1191

18 Social Discourses Discourse is composed of distinctive ways of being and doing that allow people to enact and/or recognize a specific and distinctive socially constructed identity. –Gee, 1996; 2000

19 L2 Literacy as a social process This process of social participation, newcomers move from being in the peripheral position to become a legitimate participant of the community (Lave & Wenger, 1991). This process of social engagement is important for adolescent English language learners whose lack of English proficiency often places them at a marginalized position in and out of school (Li, 2008).

20 L2 Literacy as Multimodal This process involves exploring the practices surrounding interrelationships between many different modes of communication including language, image, music, sound, gesture…a variety of semiotic resources to make signs in concrete social contexts –Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2001; Brock, Pennington, Li & Salas, 2008

21 Multi-modal is not a melting together of the modes, it is rather an interaction, with one or other of the modes occupying a dominant position. Their distinct logics remain intact. Within modes there can be transformation as links are established within a mode and transduction as a message is re-configured in a different mode, from image to writing for example.

22 This Study: Method: Data Collection –Ethnographic (Monthly interviews, collection of work samples, readings, writings, report cards etc.) –Two years Data Analysis: thematic analysis Focal Participant Yi (start in second grade in 2004, before was in Thai school) The only one who speaks English at home

23 Focal Student Yina and Family (as of 2009, immigrated in 2004) Family membersAgeOccupationEducation Father: Mr. VangfiftiesHome keeperNone Mother: Mrs. VangfiftiesFactory workerNone Brother: Long24Factory workerNA Brother: Pao23Factory workerNA Yina (focal child)14studentSix but skipped to 7 th grade in Feb. 2009 Brother: Teng10studentFourth grade

24 [The parents] dont really converse with the kids about education. They would love to, but... they dont have knowledge about it. So there is no point in them talking to their children about education over here… shes on her own in school.

25 The parents are pretty strict on the kids. Theyre very, if theyre old, traditions, and old fashions, and theyre very religious (shaman) He expects the kids to finish their work in school once they return home. Choose the friends they want to hang out with, they should realize whats good and whats bad. Drug free and stuff like that. Stay out of trouble. And tells them to do positive things that it will pay off in the long run.

26 Home literacy practices Hmong radio to keep up with news from Thailand and Laos Oral storytelling Watch Hmong movies Have neighbors help with bills, forms, flyers/letters from school etc. Brothers read and listen to music on line Sing Hmong songs

27 First Interview (August 2007) Likes reading and math But not writing cause its hard…English is hard Like Thailand better and miss Thailand Cause I dont know how to speak English. I cant speak it clearly. Its hard. Doesnt have any friends in school Likes the story of Helen Keller Read books given to her by cousins, teacher Write mostly homework B in reading and writing on report cards

28 Last Interview: Feb. 2009 Skipped to 7 th grade In Honors math Fluent reader: Reads 15-45 minutes Accomplished writer: Writes poetry, and short stories

29 Road to success Ethnic networks plays a central role in her early transition in American schools Technology, esp. on-line reading, plays a significant role in shaping her as reader and writer of poetry and narratives Social network among peers plays significant role in influencing her readings Supportive teachers and school

30 Early reading and writing: In the periphery Sunshine Sunshine is bright Sunshine is light Every day sunshine comes out of the sky As butterflies burst out of sight! Everyone sees sunshine, Joyful as the time of life!

31 Friends Friends are here to go! Friends are always by my side. Thats why.. Friends are important. Everyone should have friends!

32 Reading and Writing in the Periphery Short poems without much drawings. Little reference to her culture Experimenting with language In the peripheral position in terms of language and cultures

33 My Life in America Its a long, long and long way to reached America! There are whole bunches of blond hair, I thought as my family and I arrived in America. This new world is a lot different than the old world that Ive live before. Im not happy at all, when we entered my uncle, Neng house. Their sofas are as high as the blue sky that you can never reach. It makes me missed the wooden chair in Thailand! At that time, all I can do is waited to see how blue this sky is. My life started to changes as the time went by. I went to Barton Elementary school in second grade. At that time, Im lonely and sad! I dont have anyone and I dont know what are they saying?! I missed Thailand and my friends! I always wondering what am they doing at the time when I am still struggling with English.

34 Family/Ethnic network Cousins –Living next door –Help with ideas of poems, words, and drawings –I dedicate this poem book to everyone, especially L. Vang and M. Vang! They helped me with these ideas… Hmong community –Hmong festivals, Hmong dances, language

35 Peer community Amy Mendez and Amy Tho Introduced to manga and manga books (such as Beauty Pop and Kitchen Princess) Yina: Amy Tho, she bought No. 9 (of Beauty Pop). She bought No. 9 and I read that one…I read three beauty pops-No. 1, 8 and S: Ok, what about the Kitchen Princess? Yina: I read eight. This is eight, and No. 5, yeah, No. 5, and 6 from Amy Mendez and 7 from Amy Tho. Read both online and offline Changes in her reading and writing


37 A naturally gifted hair stylist with a strong sense of justice, leading her to give makeovers to girls with certain problems and giving them, as she puts it, "a little magic". Her family owns a beauty salon. She cut her own hair in a layered bob as a result of accidentally cutting her mother's ear while styling her hair when she was younger, causing it to bleed. The accident left Kiri with a mental scar which continues to haunt her, at the time going as far as to quit hairdressing, although she appears to have mostly recovered. She is nicknamed "Mussy Head" by Narumi due to her hairstyle. Kiri tends to be extremely laid back, a trait which is a constant irritation to Narumi whose personality is a complete opposite. Their relationship is rocky at first but Kiri seems to have warmed to him after he saved Shampoo from getting run over by a bicycle in volume 3, consequently damaging his wrist. Kiri is the young girl that Narumi lost to in 4th grade. The reason she didn't compete the next year was a rule that required participants to draw a sketch of their hairstyle, and Kiri is abysmal at drawing. Though she was initially confused about what she wanted to do with her future, she seems to have decided to become a Beautician, but has no interest in pursuing fame with her talent. In Beauty Pop Stage 2, she joins the "Scissors Project" as Narumi's assistant hairdresser.

38 Naru-naru and Kiri's smile Sitting in your anger You feel alone The world loves you You hate it Your friends and your scissors All you care about The girl The one with no smile That is your goal She hates you For that you are glad The only one Who does not shriek your name Naru-naru Not naru-senpai And your goal Is to see See her laugh At more than Your anger

39 F eeling dumb and weird, A fter broke up with you. L istening to your words and L istening to my words, I ts a fight! N ot caring about our pains, G oing to ours own separate ways ! I thought it will be good, just let it go. N ow there is more and more pain!! L istening to ours pain, O ver and over again, its V ery hurts. But at the E nd, you and I become enemies! To be continue next page…


41 Strategies and journey of becoming a reader, writer, and poet Copying –Manga stories, and poems –Pictures both online and by hand –Cut and paste Summary with illustrations –Long –short


43 Example of her hand-copying




47 Becoming a legitimate participant Assume a new identity: Sakura Experiment with drawing Experiment with writing Be more assertive of her cultural identity



50 Textual borrowing Narrative: A Complicated Life Combination of Manga and Cinderellas story About a girl named Ai and the young master who is also an orphan

51 Textual contributor L: Did the manga story inspire you? Y: Yeah, I use the name from someone from the manga books… L: Tell me how the manga website readings helped you to write those stories or poems. Y: Like the situation, and the event…helped me write the story… I read different kind of manga, so different kinds of thought. Like one is about family and another one is about love, and another one is about friendship…So I put them together, kind of together …but mine is longer than theirs. Like some of them are longer but mine is in the middle.


53 Facebook: A different identity From the one to be helped to becoming a helper: –Amy Mendez January 28 at 5:25 : do you have present day lansing i only need 2007-2009 –Yina Vang: January 28 at 5:28pm oh yup. today more people came to lansing and the population increased. such as they need jobs or they like the environment in the u.s. –AM: January 28 at 5:33pm, help me with pioneer days –YV: January 28 at 5:33pm, pioneer days, the white settlers moved in that they started to kill more animals and soon the the animals all are gone. And then they couldn't get along with the native ameican and have many problems like fighting…

54 Affirming cultural identity online and offline

55 Learning from Yinas Journey The learner in the new media age –Nexus of multiplememberships –Multiple identities –Diverse youth cultures –Social capital that can facilitate literacy learning Importance of ethnic network Importance of peer network Importance of teacher support

56 Drawing (Feb. 2009) I like to draw a lot! I dont know what get me interested at drawing at first. But now I just love to draw. I like to draw manga/Anime girls/boys/couples!! I started to read manga books and anime series, thats why I got my idea what to draw. Haha yup. Also I also like to designe things like on my report for English I like to draw things in the cover and then designe things inside it. Yup! I love to draw!!

57 Reading (Feb. 2009) I like to read a lot and a lot!! Hahahahaha. My favorite types of book that I like to read are manga books, Fiction books, or fiction with nonfiction together books. My favorite authors are Lurlene McDaniel, Linda Lewis, Andrew Clement. And some of my favorite authers from Manga books are Arai Kiyoko, kaho Miyasaka, Natsumi Ano, and Yuuki Obata.

58 Today: 87% of teens use email 97% of teens play video or computer games 60% of teens have a desktop/laptop 75% of teens have a cell phone 30% of online teens keep blogs and regularly post 54% read blogs 60%-70% of teens have digital cameras ~50%- 60% of online teens post photos online 39% of online teens have shared their own creations online Lee Rainie (2009). Teens and the Internet.

59 The life of adolescents is thus already changing as a consequence of the affordances of new media: Using new communication and information technologies, teachers and students are discovering more ways to learn about the world, to express themselves, and to communicate with others. –Bruce, 2002, p. 4 (How changing technologies enable new modes of literacy in changing circumstances)

60 Reality of our classrooms De-contextualized Test-driven Independent learning Culture-free Mismatch between school and home literacy practices

61 Questions: How do ELLs use youth culturesin literacy instruction in school? How can we use technologies to foster ELLs development as readers and writers?

62 Linking school and home worlds: Implications for teaching English language learners Valuing adolescent ELLs home literacy Paying attention to multimodality of adolescent literacy The importance of youth culture outside school The importance of linking classroom instruction with youths out of school literacies Importance of learner agency

63 Yina about Manga

64 For Questions, Contact

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