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Title page for ETD etd-06102017-113358

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Miller, Mary Ellen
URN etd-06102017-113358
Title Translingual Home to School Connections: Including Students’ Heritage Languages and Cultural Experiences in the Curriculum through Family eBooks
Degree PhD
Department Learning, Teaching and Diversity
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Deborah W. Rowe Committee Chair
Ilana S. Horn Committee Member
Laura M. Carpenter Committee Member
Robert T. Jimenez Committee Member
  • literacy education
  • translanguaging
  • home to school connections
  • multimodal eBook composing
Date of Defense 2017-05-30
Availability unrestricted

Translingual Home to School Connections: Including Students’ Heritage Languages and Cultural Experiences in the Curriculum through Family eBooks

Mary Ellen Miller

Dissertation under the direction of Professor Deborah W. Rowe

As emergent bilingual student populations continue to grow in the U.S., classrooms are more linguistically diverse, while many curricula remain English-dominant. Furthermore, researchers have called on educators to include students’ heritage languages, families, and cultural experiences in instruction, or create translingual home to school connections. Yet the processes by which teachers, particularly primarily English-speaking teachers, support students’ translanguaging and sharing in the classroom are not well understood. This qualitative study investigates ways that a primarily English-speaking teacher, a researcher, and emergent bilingual students shared about their heritage languages, families, and cultural experiences during home and classroom eBook composing and presenting activities with touchscreen tablets and digital cameras. Data were collected October through May using ethnographic techniques of participant/observation and interviews in one multilingual second grade classroom in an urban, English-dominant, public school. Adults invited children to use tablets in the classroom writing center to take photos, draw pictures, record oral narrations, and write/type text for translingual eBooks. Five digital cameras and two tablets were sent home with participants on a rotating weekly basis so that families could compose eBooks and take photos at home. Family eBooks and photos were included in classroom instruction, and findings indicate that students combined multiple modes and languages to represent their families, languages, and experiences in eBooks. Even when participants spoke different heritage languages, they taught each other their languages for translingual eBooks. Features of a translingual instructional context include collaborative composing, opportunities to present eBooks, and embodied practices where students and adults are positioned as both teachers and learners. Implications for researchers and educators working with emergent bilingual students and their families in English-dominant schools are described, including practices for creating translingual home to school connections. Future research is needed to further examine families’ use of digital tools to create translingual instructional materials, families’ perspectives on translanguaging pedagogies, and ways to implement translingual instruction beyond the classroom level.

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