Implementing Oral English Language Acquisition Policy In Career And Technical Education Classes: Changing To A Social Pedagogy Paradigm
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AbstractImplementing Oral English Language Acquisition Policy in Career and Technical Classes: Changing to a Social Pedagogy ParadigmKelley E. Crockett, PhDThe University of Texas at Arlington, 2010Supervising Professor: Dr. Rod Hissong Federal and state policies have long sought to address the social inequities faced by limited English proficient (LEP) students through the improvement of English language acquisition. English language acquisition policy has focused on access to resources, qualified teachers, and instructional methodologies (e.g. pedagogy) that create a learning environment conducive to increased proficiency in English language attainment. A challenge to the successful implementation of these policies is an incremental approach to policy implementation that limits the social dialogue - generated by the entire organization's community - necessary to challenge the status quo. This incremental approach is manifested through the partial participation of key stakeholders in the creation of these key learning environments. The environment is socially derived and sustained by individual actions sanctioned by organizational culture. Social capital theory and Vygotsky's zone of proximal development theory were applied to understand the importance of socially derived support in improving oral English acquisition. The theory of incrementalism and its effect on personal accountability was considered to understand delaying strategies in implementing policy.In Texas, meeting the policy requirements for the English Proficiency Standards (ELPS), for oral (listening and speaking) English acquisition, requires a change in pedagogy to a collaborative social integration model. This study considers whether the factors that deter Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers from implementing such a model are political, organizational, individual at the teacher level or individual at the student level. This research examined the perceptions of CTE teachers in two Texas school districts with growing LEP student populations. A survey instrument was utilized. Teachers were able to clarify their perspectives through open comment sections. Administrators and district specialists were interviewed to augment understanding of teacher responses. The researcher concluded that teachers are influenced by politically charged events that occur outside the schoolhouse door. Factors such as media attention to issues involving English learners like immigration and poverty affect their sense of urgency in implementing policies designed to improve oral English acquisition. The teachers were also influenced by the challenges to the organization in creating teaching communities in which mentoring for, communication about, and monitoring of oral English pedagogy regularly occurred. The CTE teachers themselves impacted the creation of an ideal interactive learning environment through their lack of formal training in LEP instructional strategies and through an uneven access to informal networks of support. The lack of training and informal support could account for their dependency on clustering LEP students by native language by using student interpreters to convey content, although teachers also indicated that they thought that they should promote social support networks for LEP students. CTE teacher respondents indicated that they believed in a shared responsibility for teaching English language learners (ELL's). They also confirmed that a socially collaborative model in which LEP and non-LEP students were grouped together would be of benefit for both peer acceptance and oral English improvement. Student factors that affected the implementation of a social pedagogy paradigm for oral English acquisition were dominated by the teacher's low expectations of ELL's prior learning and literacy levels which teachers perceived impacted how well their LEP students could participate in class or on the job using oral English. Although teachers believed that oral academic practice mitigates the potential for ELL's to drop out of school and that ELL's do not resist applying oral English skills in collaborative assignments, the teachers had doubts about the students' ability to do so. Implications of this research demonstrate the power of preconceptions about LEP students' ability to improve their oral English on oral English acquisition policy implementation.