Brown Bag—Beyond the "English Learner" Label: Recognizing the Richness of Students' Multilingual Repertoires
As the population of students officially classified as “English learners” continues to grow in school districts nationwide, increased scholarly attention has been devoted to specifying the various language demands that these students will face. In some of this scholarship and in much of the attendant discourse, academic language demands are framed as challenges, invoking generalized assumptions about the supposed gap between discipline-specific forms of language and the everyday language of culturally and linguistically diverse learners.
At this SCOPE Brown Bag Seminar, Ramón Antonio Martínez discussed how the “English learner” label not only masks tremendous diversity, but can also serve to obscure the linguistic competencies that students bring to the classroom. Drawing from his research in urban schools, Martinez explained how diverse students’ linguistic competencies overlap with the forms of language and literacy valued in academic settings, and how these students make sense of their emergent bi/multilingualism. He discussed ways for leveraging students’ linguistic competencies as resources for academic literacy learning.
Ramón Antonio Martínez is an Assistant Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. His research explores the intersections of language, race, and ideology in the public schooling experiences of students of color, with a particular focus on bi/multilingual Chicana/o and Latina/o children and youth.
Lectures in the 2016–17 SCOPE Brown Bag Seminar Series are co-sponsored by:
- The Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity
- The John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities
- The Stanford Graduate School of Education