Language, Culture, and Education: Challenges of Diversity in the United States 1107081874, 9781107081871

Exploring language, culture and education among immigrants in the United States, this volume discusses the range of expe

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Table of contents :
Cover
Half-title
Title page
Copyright information
Dedication
Table of contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Contributors
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction to the Immigrant Experience
Main Goals across the Chapters in This Book
Methodology and Perspectives
The Ecology of Language in the Home, Education, and Society
Part I Immigration, Bilingual Education, Policy, and Educational Planning
1 Political, Social, and Educational Challenges in the Struggle to Develop Bilingual Education...
Introduction
1.1 Bilingual Education as a Civil Right
1.2 Impact of Immigration and Struggles for Bilingual Education
1.3 Traditional Categorizations and Theoretical Frameworks in Bilingual Educational Programs
1.3.1 Categorization of Bilingual Education Programs
1.3.2 Structured English Immersion
1.4 Limiting Access to Bilingual Instruction in Favor of English Immersion
1.5 The Banning of Bilingual Education: English-Only Instruction in California
1.6 Uninterrupted Banning of Bilingual Education in Arizona
1.7 Reversal of Ban on Bilingual Education in Massachusetts
1.8 The Current Landscape: School Testing
1.9 Bilingual Education and Content Based Instruction
1.10 Language Separation or Integration in Learning
1.11 Creating Pedagogical Practices Unique to Bilingual Learners
1.12 Conclusions and Discussion
2 Distinguishing a True Disability from “Something Else”: Part I. Current Challenges to Providing...
Introduction
2.1 The Challenge of Distinguishing a Disability from “Something Else”
2.1.1 The Possibility of Academic Gaps but No Disability
2.1.2 Ways to Distinguish Academic Gaps Alone without a Disability
2.2 What the Federal Law Requires to Identify a Disability
2.2.1 Consistency of Disability Determinations in the United States
2.2.2 Reasons for “High Incidence” Disability Categories
2.2.3 Disproportionate Referral of Minority Students for Special Education
2.2.4 Congressional Findings and Purposes Regarding Disproportionate Referrals
2.2.5 Variability of Disproportionate Referral Rates
2.3 Reasons for Disproportionate Referrals of Minority and Bilingual Students
Cause 1: Perceptions of Identical Skills Changes with Race and Ethnic Variability
Cause 2: Restrictions on Disability Evaluation Referrals
ause 3: Over-Referral through Out-of-Date Assessment Practices
2.4 Continued Use of Demonstrably Flawed Assessment Instruments
2.4.1 Continued Reliance on a Flawed Approach to Disability Evaluations
2.4.2 Current Legal and Evidence-Based Approach to Disability Evaluations
2.4.3 The Problem with Norm-Referenced Tests to Identify Disability
2.5 Racial and Ethnic Biases in Disability Evaluations
2.5.1 Biases in Vocabulary Tests
2.6 Linguistic Biases for Second Language Learners and Bidialectal Students
2.7 Bias in IQ tests for Dual Language Learners
3 Distinguishing a True Disability from “Something Else”: Part II. Toward a Model of Culturally...
Introduction
3.1 Considerations in Developing Appropriate Evaluation Approaches
3.1.1 Linguistic Considerations
3.1.2 Sociocultural Considerations
3.1.3 Socioeconomic and Educational Considerations
3.2 Gathering Data from Parent/Caregiver, Teacher, and Student
3.2.1 The “Critical Questions” in the Parent/Caregiver Interview
What Exposure Does the Student Have to Other Languages and Dialects?
What Is the Parents’ Highest Level of Education?
Is There a Family History of Speech-language or Academic Problems?
Have There Been Any Significant Changes in the Family Structure?
How Does the Student Compare to Peers or Siblings at the Same Age?
Were the Student’s Language Skills Shown in the Evaluation Representative of His/Her Typical Skills?
Is the Student Clumsy?
What Are Ten Examples of the Student’s Most Advanced Communications?
3.3 The Teacher Interview
3.4 Clinical Interactions with the Student
3.4.1 What Information Should Be Elicited
3.4.2 Culturally and Linguistically Sensitive Evaluation Materials
3.5 Dynamic Assessment
3.6 Analyzing the Data for the Differential Diagnosis
Part II Bilingualism, Literacy Ecologies, and Parental Engagement among Immigrant Families
4 Raising Children Bilingually: What Parents and Educators Should Know about Bilingualism in Children
4.1 Advantages of Bilingualism
4.2 Importance of Language Planning in Bilingual Families
Juan Andres
Camila
Mark
4.3 Strategies
4.4 Interesting “Things” Bilingual Children Do with Language
4.4.1 Vocabulary
4.4.2 Code-Switching and Language Transfer
4.5 Closing Remarks
5 Language Acquisition in Emergent Bilingual Triplets
5.1 Translanguaging and Funds of Knowledge in Bilingual Language Acquisition
5.1.1 Translanguaging
5.1.2 Funds of Knowledge
5.2 Cultural Competence in Professional Interactions with Immigrant Families
5.3 Specific Language Impairment in Bilinguals and in Twins
5.3.1 Learning Two Languages and Vocabulary
5.3.2 Specific Language Impairment in Bilinguals
5.3.3 Specific Language Impairment in Twins
5.3.4 Narrative Discourse in Children with SLI
5.4 Vocabulary for Cognates and Narrative Abilities in Emergent Bilingual Triplets
5.4.1 Method
Participants and Their Background
Tasks and Materials
Procedures
5.4.2 Results
Vocabulary
Narrative Samples
Tania
Tania’s Word-level Errors and Sentences in English
Tania’s Word-level Errors and Sentences in Spanish
Danny
Danny’s Word-level Errors and Sentences in English
Danny’s Word Errors and Sentences in Spanish
Eddie
Eddie’s Word-level Errors and Sentences in English
Eddie’s Word-level Errors and Sentences in Spanish
5.4.3 Ethnographic Observations of the Home and Family Dynamics
The Mother Was Ever Vigilant of the Children
The Mother Provided Structure and a Strong Sense of Family Identity
The Mother Remained Engaged in the Children’s School Work
The Father Provided Authority and a Strong Sense of Respect
The Three Children Were Always Together
The Children Spoke English Most of the Time, While Their Mother Spoke Spanish Most of the Time...
5.5 Discussion
5.6 Summary and Recommendations
Appendix. Vocabulary Identification for Cognates in Spanish and English, Spanish only, and English only
6 Multilingualism in Chinese Families and Raising Their Children Bilingually: Fujianese Immigrants
Introduction
6.1 The Context for Fujianese Migration
6.2 Transnational Families and Raising Children across Oceans
6.3 Linguistic Diversity in Fujian
6.4 Heritage Language Maintenance among Fujianese Immigrants
6.5 Findings from Our Research in Working with Fujianese Immigrant Families
6.5.1 Survey on Home Language Practices
6.5.2 Semi-structured Interviews with Chinese Immigrant Parents
6.5.3 Raising Children Transnationally: The Case of SC, a 5-Year-Old Boy
6.6 Discussion and Recommendations
7 Bilingualism in Korean-American Children and Maternal Perceptions of Education
Introduction
7.1 Koreans in the United States and Their Dissatisfaction with Education in South Korea
7.2 Language Shift to English among Korean-American Children
7.3 Parenting Perceptions and Teaching at Home among Korean Immigrant Mothers
7.4 Findings from Our Research: Vocabulary, Mean Length of Utterance, and Mothers’...
7.4.1 Method
7.4.2 Results
Communication Style
Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary
Sentence Length
Comparison between Vocabulary and Sentence Length Scores
7.4.3 Mothers’ Perceptions and Expectations about Bilingualism and Education for Their Children
7.4.4 Language Outcomes for C2 (47 months) and C5 (53 months) after Three Years
7.5 Discussion
8 Transgenerational Bilingual Reading Practices: A Case Study of an Undocumented Mixteco Family
Introduction
8.1 Albino and Melissa: A Mixteco-Mexican Family
8.2 Transgenerational Language Practices
8.3 A Theoretical Foundation for Retrospective Miscue Analysis
8.4 A Case Study of a Mixteco Father–Daughter Dyad
8.5 Data Collection
8.6 Translanguaging within Transgenerational Bilingual Reading Events
8.6.1 The Bilingual Reading Context
8.6.2 Graphophonic Knowledge of Words
8.6.3 Word Knowledge
8.6.4 Comprehension: Summarizing, Synthesizing, and Self-correction
8.6.5 Personal Models of Reading
8.7 Enacting Transformative and Transgenerational Biliterate Practices
9 Parent Education in Latino Families of Children with Language Impairment
Introduction
9.1 Social Context
9.2 Early Development and the Home Language
9.3 The Role of Parents in Socially Mediating Language and Literacy
9.4 Learning across Languages and Becoming Bilingual
9.5 Methodology of Parent Workshops in Our Research
9.5.1 What Parents Learn during Parent Education Meetings
9.5.2 Language-Literacy Materials to Encourage Parent–Child Conversations
9.6 Findings from Our Research: Children’s Vocabulary Gains across Languages, Improved...
9.6.1 Method
Participants in Early Literacy Groups
9.6.2 Results
Project Design
9.6.3 Post-intervention Measures for Vocabulary
9.6.4 Mothers’ Practices on Use of the Home Language and Early Literacy
9.7 Discussion and Recommendations about Parent Education in Immigrant Families
Part III Cultural Perceptions about Disability, the Home Language, and Healthcare Alternatives among Immigrants
10 Perceptions about Autism in Hispanic Immigrant Mothers of Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Introduction
10.1 Cultural Influences among Hispanic Immigrant Families
10.1.1 Cultural Perceptions on Speech and Language Development and Acculturation
10.1.2 The Role of the Home Language in Social Development for Children with Language and Communication Disorders
10.1.3 Understanding Immigrant Families from an Ecological Perspective of Human Development
10.1.4 Summary
10.2 How Hispanic Immigrant Mothers Experience Raising a Child with ASD
10.2.1 Method
Participant Mother–Child Dyads
Findings from the Data
Theme 1: Stigmatization, combined with lack of awareness about autism and a desire for social acceptance
Theme 2: Preconceptions about developmental milestones and autism
Theme 3: Mothers’ reluctance to use Spanish with their children with ASD
10.3 Discussion and Recommendations
10.3.1 Seeking Out Services
10.3.2 Ambivalence about Using Spanish with Their Children
10.3.3 Theoretical Interpretation of Findings
11 How Early Childhood Interventions Endanger the Home Language and Home Culture: A Call to Value the Role of Families
Introduction
11.1 Early Intervention History and Overview
11.2 Sociocultural Frameworks and Identities
11.3 Growing Up with More Than One Language
11.4 Listening to Early Intervention Families and Professionals
11.4.1 Manolito
11.4.2 The Disconnect between Family and Professionals
Complexities in Language, Differences in Language Priorities, and Lack of Communication among Parents and Professionals
Poorly Defined Family and Professionals’ Perspectives to Support the Children
Professionals’ Limited Focus on Collaboration with Families
11.5 Recommendations for Practice and Professionals
12 A Critical Review of Cultural and Linguistic Guidelines in Serving Arab-Americans
Introduction
12.1 Arab-American Communities: Terminology and Group Identification
12.2 History of Arab Immigration
12.2.1 The First Wave: Immigrants from the Ottoman Empire (1885–1945)
12.2.2 The Second Wave: The Middle Eastern Brain Drain (1945–1967)
12.2.3 The Third Wave: Religious and Geographic Diversity of Arab-Americans (1967–present)
12.3 Modern Arab-Americans
12.3.1 Countries of Origin and Geographic Concentrations
12.4 Sociodemographic Characteristics
12.4.1 The Workforce
12.4.2 Race
12.4.3 Religion
12.5 Arabic and English within the Arab-American Population
12.6 Arabic Competence of Arab-Americans and Diglossia
12.7 The Arabic of Arab-Americans
12.8 The English of Arab-Americans
12.8.1 English–Arabic Contrastive Features
12.8.2 Code-Switching or Alternating Use of Known Languages among Bilingual Arabic-English Speakers
12.9 Critical Thinking and the Use of Resources on Arab-Americans
12.10 Conclusions
13 Building Home–School Connections within a Multicultural Education Framework: Challenges...
Introduction
13.1 Multiculturalism as an Educational Goal
13.2 Origins of Multicultural Education in the United States
13.3 Developing a Course on Multilingualism
13.4 The New York City Public School System
13.4.1 Weekly Parental Engagement Period
13.5 The Course, Its Content, and the Preservice Teachers
13.5.1 Self-reflection Process
13.6 Preservice Teacher Observations before and after the Presidential Election
13.6.1 Establishing New Forms of Communication with Parents
13.6.2 Parents as Co-contributors in Developing a Unit of Study
13.6.3 Understanding What Makes a Good Homework Assignment
13.6.4 The Morning after Election Day
13.7 Final Reflections and Conclusions
14 Health and Alternatives to Healthcare for Mexican Immigrants in New York
Introduction
14.1 The United States, a Country of Immigrants
14.2 The Health Situation of Mexican Immigrants
14.3 Access to Medical Insurance and Social Health Programs
14.4 Seeking Medical Attention: A Multi-pronged Approach
14.5 Language and Cultural Barriers: The Crucial Role of Interpreters
14.6 Alternatives for Medical Attention: Looking toward the Future
14.7 Concluding Thoughts
References
Index
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Language, Culture, and Education

Exploring language, culture, and education among immigrants in the United States, this volume discusses the range of experiences in raising children with more than one language in major ethno-​linguistic groups in New York. Research and practice from the fields of speech-​language pathology, bilingual education, and public health in immigrant families are brought together to provide guidance for speech-​language pathologists in differentiating language disorders from language variation, and for parents on how to raise their children with more than one language. Commonalities among dissimilar groups, such as Chinese, Korean, and Hispanic immigrants are analyzed, as well as the language needs of Arab-​Americans, the home literacy practices of immigrant parents who speak Mixtec and Spanish, and the crucial role of teachers in bridging immigrants’ classroom and home contexts. These studies shed new light on much-​needed policy reforms to improve the involvement of culturally and linguistically diverse families in decisions affecting their children’s education. E l i zab e t h Ija l b a is Associate Professor in Linguistics and Communication Disorders, Queens College, City University of New  York. She is a speech-​language pathologist. Her research focuses on narrative analysis as a method of assessment in bilingual children with language and reading disorders. P at r i c i a V e l a s c o is Associate Professor in Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Queens College, City University of New York. She is the author with Ruth Swinney of Integrating Content and Language for English Learners and Struggling Students. Her research focuses on preparing teachers to work in multilingual settings. She also studies bilingualism in children within the New York City public schools. C at h e r i ne J.   C r owl e y, JD, PhD, CCC-​SLP is Professor of Practice in the program of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a lawyer and speech-​language pathologist. Her work focuses on ensuring that students receive culturally and linguistically appropriate disability evaluations.

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Language, Culture, and Education Challenges of Diversity in the United States Edited by

Elizabeth Ijalba Queens College, City University of New York

Patricia Velasco Queens College, City University of New York

Catherine J. Crowley Teachers College, Columbia University, New York

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University Printing House, Cambridge CB2 8BS, United Kingdom One Liberty Plaza, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10006, USA 477 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne, VIC 3207, Australia 314–​321, 3rd Floor, Plot 3, Splendor Forum, Jasola District Centre, New Delhi –​110025, India 79 Anson Road, #06-​04/​06, Singapore 079906 Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge. It furthers the University’s mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence. www.cambridge.org Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9781107081871 DOI: 10.1017/​9781139976725 © Cambridge University Press 2019 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published 2019 Printed and bound in Great Britain by Clays Ltd, Elcograf S.p.A. A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library. ISBN 978-​1-​107-​08187-​1 Hardback Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-​party internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

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This volume is dedicated to immigrant families, who give up so much of their own lives in search of a better future for their children. It is dedicated to our own parents and grandparents, who underwent that same process and provided a better future for us.

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Contents

List of Figures List of Tables List of Contributors Expanding Language and Ability Difference: A Foreword Ofelia García Acknowledgments

Introduction to the Immigrant Experience Elizabeth Ijalba

Part I Immigration, Bilingual Education, Policy, and Educational Planning 1

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Political, Social, and Educational Challenges in the Struggle to Develop Bilingual Education as a Pedagogical Model in the United States Elizabeth Ijalba and Patricia Velasco Distinguishing a True Disability from “Something Else”: Part I. Current Challenges to Providing Valid, Reliable, and Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Disability Evaluations Catherine J. Crowley and Miriam Baigorri Distinguishing a True Disability from “Something Else”: Part II. Toward a Model of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Speech-​Language Disability Evaluations Catherine J. Crowley and Miriam Baigorri

Part II Bilingualism, Literacy Ecologies, and Parental Engagement among Immigrant Families 4

Raising Children Bilingually: What Parents and Educators Should Know about Bilingualism in Children Anny Cast illa-​Earls

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Contents

5 Language Acquisition in Emergent Bilingual Triplets Rosemar ie Sepulveda and Elizabeth Ijalba

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6 Multilingualism in Chinese Families and Raising Their Children Bilingually: Fujianese Immigrants Elizabeth Ijalba and Qi Li

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7 Bilingualism in Korean-​American Children and Maternal Perceptions of Education Elizabeth Ijalba and Nakyung Yoo

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8 Transgenerational Bilingual Reading Practices: A Case Study of an Undocumented Mixteco Family Patricia Velasco and Bobbie Kabuto

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9 Parent Education in Latino Families of Children with Language Impairment Elizabeth Ijalba and Angela Giraldo

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Part III Cultural Perceptions about Disability, the Home Language, and Healthcare Alternatives among Immigrants

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10 Perceptions about Autism in Hispanic Immigrant Mothers of Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Elizabeth Ijalba

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11 How Early Childhood Interventions Endanger the Home Language and Home Culture: A Call to Value the Role of Families Victoria Puig

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12 A Critical Review of Cultural and Linguistic Guidelines in Serving Arab-​Americans Reem Khamis-​Dakwar

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13 Building Home–​School Connections within a Multicultural Education Framework: Challenges and Opportunities before and after President Trump’s Election Patricia Velasco 14 Health and Alternatives to Healthcare for Mexican Immigrants in New York Esperanza Tuñón Pablos

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Epilogue Elizabeth Ijalba

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References Index

269 303

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Figures

1.1 Drawing by first-​grader on first day of school after Trump’s election page 16 4.1 Bilingual acquisition findings by De Houwer (2007) 70 9.1 Sample frames from three interactive picture books: Book 1 “Mis Juguetes” (My toys), Book 2 “Compro frutas” (I buy fruits), Book 3 ¿Qué comemos hoy? (What do we eat today?) 168 9.2 Study design: Groups and sequence of testing 170

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Tables

5.1 Vocabulary scores 5.2 Language measures from narrative samples in English and Spanish 6.1 Survey responses on home languages in Chinese families 7.1 Communication styles used by Korean mothers 7.2 Language measures in children with typical language development and those with language delay 8.1 Books read by Albino and Melissa 9.1 Pre-​intervention and post-​intervention language measures for children in the Intervention group and in the Waiting control group 9.2 Number of children’s books at home and reading frequency 11.1 Details on the families with children receiving early intervention 12.1 Estimates of Arab-​Americans by country of origin 12.2 Observed differences in performance of Typically Developing Arab-​American Arabic-​English bilinguals on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-​4 (CELF-​4) 14.1 Sociodemographic profile of the immigrants interviewed and quoted in text

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page 91 93 116 132 133 149 171 173 201 211 220 245

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Contributors

Miriam Baigorri, PhD, CCC-​SLP. Dr.  Baigorri is an Assistant Professor at Long Island University-​Brooklyn. She was a Clinical Instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University and worked as a bilingual speech-​language pathologist at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She co-​developed cleft palate training programs in Guatemala and Colombia. In addition, she teaches bilingual clinicians at the Bilingual Extension Institute at Teachers College. Anny Castilla-​Earls,  PhD. Dr.  Castilla-​ Earls obtained her PhD from the University of Toronto in 2008. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences at the University of Houston. Dr.  Castilla-​Earls’ primary research interests are language development, assessment, and disorders in monolingual and bilingual children. Her research is funded by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Catherine J.  Crowley, JD, PhD, CCC-​ SLP. Catherine J.  Crowley, JD, PhD, CCC-​SLP is Professor of Practice in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College, Columbia University (TC). A Fellow of the American Speech-​ Language-​ Hearing Association, her work focuses on designing culturally and linguistically appropriate disability evaluations. Dr. Crowley is the founding director of the TC Bilingual Extension Institute. Her website, leadersproject.org, offers free videos, evaluation materials, and courses for those wishing to increase their expertise. Ofelia García, PhD. Dr. Ofelia García is Professor in the PhD programs in Urban Education and Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures at the Graduate Center of the City University of New  York. She has published widely in the areas of multilingualism, sociology of language, and the education of emergent bilinguals. Among her awards, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Bank Street Graduate School of Education, the Charles Ferguson Award in Applied Linguistics from the

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List of Contributors

Center of Applied Linguistics, and the Lifetime Career Award from the American Education Research Association. She is a member of the National Academy of Education. Angela Giraldo, MS, CCC-​ SLP. Angela Giraldo is a bilingual speech-​ language pathologist working with the New  York City Department of Education. She obtained her MS from Teachers College, Columbia University. She collaborates in research on literacy in bilinguals and parent education with Dr.  Ijalba. She is also an early intervention provider for children with autism spectrum disorders. Elizabeth Ijalba, PhD, CCC-​SLP. Dr. Ijalba obtained her PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is an Associate Professor in Linguistics and Communication Disorders at Queens College, City University of New York. Her research interests are in language development in bilinguals, literacy, dyslexia, parent education and autism. She teaches classes with a multicultural focus on phonetics, language acquisition in school-​age children, and language disorders. Bobbie Kabuto, PhD. Dr. Kabuto is an Associate Professor at Queens College, City University of New York, where she is Director of the Literacy Program, birth–​sixth grade and teaches courses in the areas of early language and literacy, bilingualism and biliteracy, and language and literacy in the elementary years. Reem Khamis-​Dakwar, PhD, CCC-​SLP. Dr. Khamis-​Dakwar is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at Adelphi University in New  York. She is the director of the Neurophysiology in Speech-​ language Pathology Lab examining neurocognitive processing in Arabic diglossia and in clinical speech pathology services for individuals from diverse populations. Qi Li, MA, CCC-​SLP. Qi Li is a bilingual speech-​language pathologist working with preschool children with disabilities. She obtained an MS from the State University of New York, Fredonia. She collaborates with Dr. Ijalba on research with Chinese families of children with language disorders and with the Education Department at Queens College in training early childhood teachers in China to work with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Victoria Puig, EdD. Dr.  Puig is an Associate Professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Literacy Education at Montclair State University. Her research interests include early intervention, cultural and linguistic diversity, partnering with families of young children with

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List of Contributors

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disabilities, and mentoring new teachers. Dr. Puig’s work has been published in a variety of peer-​reviewed journals, and she has presented her research at a range of international and national professional conferences. Rosemarie Sepulveda, MA, CCC-​SLP. Rosemarie Sepulveda is a bilingual speech-​language pathologist working with the New York City Department of Education. She obtained her MA from Hofstra University. She collaborates on fluency research in bilinguals. Esperanza Tuñón Pablos, PhD. Dr. Tuñón Pablos holds a PhD in Sociology from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Dr. Tuñón Pablos is a researcher at the Colegio de la Frontera Sur located in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. She specializes in gender studies and she has been researching this area for the past thirty-​five years. Dr. Tuñón Pablos has published 8 books and 140 journal articles. Patricia Velasco, EdD. Dr.  Velasco obtained her EdD from Harvard University. She is an Associate Professor in Bilingual Education at Queens College, City University of New York. Her research interests center on oral language and literacy development in Mexican Indigenous children living in New York City. She has worked with the New York State Department of Education in providing pedagogical guidelines for teachers of multilingual learners in standards-​based classrooms. Nakyung Yoo, MA, CCC-​SLP. Nakyung Yoo is a bilingual speech-​language pathologist working with preschool children with disabilities. She obtained her MA from Hunter College, City University of New  York. She speaks Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, and English. She collaborates with Dr. Ijalba on research on language acquisition in bilinguals and parent education with Chinese and Korean families.

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Expanding Language and Ability Difference: A Foreword Ofelia García

For a very long time bilingual education scholars have been claiming that the continuing failure of language minoritized students cannot be solved with bilingualism alone, but rather with changes to the structural inequalities and racism of US society (see, for example, Flores, 2013; Flores & García, 2017; Flores & Rosa, 2015; García & Kleifgen, 2018). This volume, edited by Ijalba, Velasco, and Crowley, emphasizes the inequalities experienced by bilingual minoritized children in healthcare and schooling simultaneously, and the consequences of such social neglect in the lives of these families. Focusing on children whose families are poor, immigrant, and often undocumented, the volume also makes evident the strengths of these families in supporting their children. Whereas most volumes that address issues of language, culture, and education focus on schooling, this volume takes on the Spanish-​language meaning of “educación,” paying attention to the family and the community’s roles in educating children holistically. Of course, this holistic education of children always includes the language of the home, and so bilingualism is part of the ways in which families socialize their children, without suspicion of these practices, and without perceiving language or ability difference as a problem. In fact, some of the villains in this book are not families at all, but uninformed educators and professionals  –​those who warn the parents to speak English only, or those who provide early childhood interventions according to sociocultural norms of the English-​speaking US white middle class, or those who consider language to be only conventions of standardized norms. The public often blames minoritized families for their children’s failures. It is said that these families’ language practices are responsible for a “word-​gap” (Hart & Risley, 1995). But by centering the voices of the families, the tables are turned. It is the professionals who are portrayed as having a gap in understanding the different linguistic and cultural practices of these families. The volume is a wake-​up call for public health providers and educators who have been taught to believe that success is about having homogeneous language, cultural and ability practices, rather than recognizing everyone’s differentiated role in constructing an equitable society. Assessment and xv

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Expanding Language and Ability Difference: A Foreword

evaluation have become the most important sorting mechanism. But this volume makes evident that test scores which only compare these children to what is considered “the norm” are only ways to conserve power in those who have established “the norm” –​monolingual white middle-​class families. The contributions in this volume question how and why standards and norms are created, bringing differences of all kinds to the surface, and showing them in all their multi-​splendor. Because language is at the center of all socialization and educational endeavors, this volume pays particular attention to the difference between language difference and language disorder. This is a most important topic, and one that is often treated separately, when in actuality it often occurs together. That is, although there are many volumes on language disorder, on language difference, and on bilingualism, speech and language pathologists have had little interest in issues of multilingualism, and multilingual scholars have neglected language disorder. As a result, many children who are bilingual are misdiagnosed as having language disorders. And many very young children who are growing up in bilingual homes are misdiagnosed as having language delays. The reverse is also true. Some bilingual children who have language disorders that have little to do with their bilingualism are not diagnosed, and therefore, they do not receive support services to which they are entitled. To change the culture of psychologists, speech and language pathologists, pediatricians and educators, and the testing instruments they have been given for their craft, it is important to develop their critical stance. It would also be essential to cultivate their intersectional stance, enabling them not only to question the narrow lens through which they are seeing these children, but also widening the lens so that what has been previously considered solely language pathology is perceived within a continuum of language difference. It would then be possible to develop holistic and appropriate services that leverage the language and cultural practices of the families. Unless all professionals work together to question the norm and make standards inclusive of differences, it will not be possible to change the failure path to which bilingual minoritized children have been assigned. Because bilingual families are at the center of this book, their linguistic practices are shown to be outside of what is considered “standard” Arabic, English, Korean, Mandarin, Mixtec, or Spanish. What some call “translanguaging” (see, for example, García & Li Wei, 2014) is evident among the linguistic practices of the families. Some of the chapters show language practices in flux, as is common in all bilingual families. In situations of global mobility, as the ones we are experiencing today, it is impossible to view language statically. Language is always in flux, as interactions with different interlocutors, in different time–​space scales, proceed (Blommaert, 2010). This book recognizes the dynamics of bilingual interactions and bilingualism, and

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the difficulties of describing language performances and bilingualism at a specific point in time, and in lab conditions that neglect the social interactions in which language resides. And yet, because of the interdisciplinarities and intersectionalities that this book supports, some of the chapters make use of data derived from experimental conditions. The difference, however, is that data is not taken at face value, but critically examined within the sociopolitical context which has produced the data. For example, the book does not shy away from describing the socioeducational context of these children after President Trump’s election, and the consequences of the larger sociopolitical framework in the ways that evaluation scores are interpreted and services are provided. Not only are families visible in this book, but children are too. Families may exert some control over all practices at home, but children themselves, in their social interactions, are driving their own language practices. Children of all types are portrayed in this book –​very young ones and older ones, children with language delays and others who don’t, autistic children considered to be delayed, twins and triplets, those being raised within the bilingual continuum of practices and with different languages, children who can read and others who cannot. Something that this book does well is give guidance. That is, the book not only presents a critical perspective as to what the practices have been, but also guides parents, educators, and other professionals as to how to distinguish, as Crowley and Biagorri say, true disability from “something else,” and how to nurture the language capacities of all children, including their bilingualism. The chapters in this volume provide important case studies that help open the eyes of professionals, but by combining this widening of the vision with the louder voices of families that are seldom heard, they open paths to understanding differently. And yet, the editors have been careful to include chapters that not only open paths to viewing from another angle, but also paths of action so that we can do more than just be advocates for these children. That is, the book does not leave families and professionals alone. It enables action, providing “damage control” strategies for some, transformative practices for others. Nowhere is this action more important than in demystifying bilingualism, in the face of linguistic prejudice against the use of languages other than English in the United States. The use of bilingual practices in family interactions, in play activities, in shared reading is here encouraged, so that children diagnosed with disabilities can have the same opportunities of meaningful interactions with others. The line between social differences and differences due to medical conditions are sometimes difficult to establish or to even perceive. With language, it is more so. And with communities in flux –​linguistically, culturally, historically, politically, such as the ones portrayed in this book  –​it is even more so. Our actions with these communities then, have to be more deliberate,

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more aware of the complexity, more tangible, and at the same time, less permanent. To enable bilingual minoritized children to partake in social opportunities, their differences have to be not only acknowledged, but leveraged. That is precisely what the families portrayed in this book do. And so, the lessons must come from the families up to the professionals, and not the other way around. In an unequal society, the professionals, most often white monolingual and middle class, seldom understand the complexities of being different and being racialized (Flores & Rosa, 2015; Rosa & Flores, 2017). This book, edited and authored by scholars who are committed to placing difference at the center, opens up a collaborative and fluid path, one that responds to the children themselves, and not to external norms and standards.

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Acknowledgments

Many people have contributed to this volume with their insights, helpful advice, and encouragement. The seeds for this project were planted in 2012, when Helen Barton, the commissioning editor for Cambridge University Press, visited me at the Bilingual Biliteracy Lab at Queens College. At the time, Helen envisioned the research I conducted with immigrant families as a book that could be shared with a wide readership. This project began to take hold in 2013, when I asked Patricia Velasco, from the Department of Bilingual Education at Queens College, and Catherine J.  Crowley, who founded the Bilingual Extension Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University, to collaborate as co-​editors in the present volume. Helen’s support was unwavering throughout the life changes we endured and the changing political landscape that continues to influence our work. We are grateful for her continued support in seeing this project to completion. Patricia brought her expert knowledge of bilingual education and of being a teacher of teachers. Her work originates from the classrooms, working with students of all ages –​that is children and college students. I am particularly thankful for Patricia’s enthusiasm, coordination, and the many discussions on the topics presented. Similarly, Catherine (Cate) contributed her expertise in bilingual assessments with school-​age children and her knowledge of the law. As a lawyer and speech-​language pathologist, Cate brings the unique perspective of language and education as inalienable civil rights for the children in our schools. She has also championed the need for building cultural-​linguistic competence in the professionals that conduct speech-​language and educational evaluations. Cate is a pioneer in developing best practices in speech-​language assessment with culturally and linguistically diverse children in our schools. I am grateful for her enduring support and contributions to this project. As co-​editors, we particularly want to thank Dr. Ofelia García, who is revolutionizing bilingual education by advocating for language integration and translanguaging in our classrooms. Dr. García has been a guiding light in many of the studies presented and in our approach to working with immigrant families. Her stance that all language varieties are valid and in a state of flux, underscores the complexity of language practices in the homes of immigrant xix

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families and in the communities where languages and cultures are in contact. It also underscores the complexity of preparing professionals that are culturally and linguistically competent to work with a diverse population. Dr. García’s support for this project and her insights are most valuable to us and are much appreciated. We are especially grateful to Dr. Eva Fernández, Assistant Provost/​Assistant Vice-​President at Queens College, City University of New York. Dr. Fernández contributed her expertise in psycholinguistics and bilingualism and provided us with valuable suggestions on many chapters in our book. She was enthusiastic about the interdisciplinary scope of our book and our mixed-​methods approach. We are grateful for her expert feedback, insights, comments, and encouragement in support of this project. We extend our appreciation to the invited contributors to this volume, who shared their expert skills, knowledge, and experience in the chapters that follow. This volume is enriched with their different approaches, background and the knowledge and skills they bring to this collection of writings. Anny Castilla-​Earls shared with us how she actively researched and planned raising her own children bilingual. Victoria Puig shared her knowledge of Early Intervention and her experiences in working with immigrant families. Reem Khamis-​Dakwar contributed her knowledge about the heterogeneity of Arab-​Americans. Esperanza Tuñón Pablos shared her work with Mexican immigrant women and how they assume the healthcare needs of their families in the United States. We appreciate the expertise on literacy and feedback of Bobbie Kabuto, who is co-​author with Patricia Velasco in understanding the literacy practices of an immigrant Mixteco family. We thank Miriam Baigorri, who co-​authored the chapters on disability evaluations with Cate Crowley, and Sara Horne for her assistance with these chapters. We want to express our gratitude to Angela Giraldo, Rosemarie Sepulveda, Qi Li, and Nakyung Yoo, who worked with families and are co-​authors with Elizabeth Ijalba on various chapters in this book. We express our gratitude to the preservice teachers who collaborated with Patricia Velasco on her chapter about a course on multiculturalism. Their commitment and willingness to serve immigrant students and their families is inspiring, as is their capacity to find creative solutions to situations not encountered before. Our thanks to Dr.  Peishi Wang, Sara Wolf and Michael Perrone from Queens College. Their dedication to bilingual children and to special education was evident in their generosity with their time and comments. Their suggestions were always precise and conveyed with kindness. We are grateful to Sayume Romero, who helped in editing chapters in this volume and provided valuable suggestions to enhance their presentation. We express our thanks to Amy Lu, Amy Yao, and Sky Yang who helped in our research with

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Chinese families. We are grateful to Citlatic Jeffers-​Peña and to Jennifer Meza for their collaboration in parent education and direct contact with many of the Latino families in the studies presented. We finally want to thank the families who participated in the studies we are sharing. Their daily struggles and their resilience in the face of adversity continue to inspire us.

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Introduction to the Immigrant Experience Elizabeth Ijalba

It is fair to say that from its inception the United States has been, and still is, a nation of immigrants; a racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse nation. However, immigrants were (and are) often viewed as suspicious and threatening to nativist American values, such as English as the language of the land, Christianity, and Anglo-​Saxonism (Ricento, 2014; Ricento & Wright, 2008). Thus, the political discourse, policies, and education in the United States have been rife with conflict between those identifying with such values and those who embrace diversity (i.e., multiple languages, religions, ethnicities, and races). The roots of diversity in the United States can be traced not only to immigration, but to the violent treatment of Native Americans, a long history of slavery, segregation, the annexation of parts of Mexico, and the colonization of Puerto Rico (see Takaki, 2008). In addition, the United States’ sphere of influence in Latin America and the Caribbean has led to civil unrest and sustained migrations from these regions, maintaining a steady flow of newcomers to major cities in the United States. As a consequence, New  York City and other regions are home to large collectives of Latinos with their origins in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and the rest of the Latin American countries. Likewise, large Asian communities owe their existence to discrimination and to migratory exclusion policies dating back to the nineteenth century and only lifted in 1965. For the Chinese, Koreans and other Asian immigrants, as well as for Latinos, coming together and forming ethnic enclaves not only provided a means to preserve their own traditions, languages, religions, food, and music, but also ways of supporting and protecting one another. New York City is home to many of these thriving communities and to the studies we share in this volume. The US has a long history of anti-​immigration policies and discrimination. The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 barred immigrants from Asia and the Pacific from coming into the United States, whereas the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924, severely restricted immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe. In contrast, the presence of Latinos went unabated due to geopolitical changes. The annexation of parts of Mexico 1

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in 1848, the acquisition of Puerto Rico and the invasion of Cuba in 1898, uprooted and solidified large numbers of Spanish speakers in the United States (Gerber, 2011; Takaki, 2008). Their presence brought about the establishment of new communities, a recognition of their language needs and an assertion of their cultural influence on the mainstream. This growing presence of Latinos continues to threaten nativist American values, heeding calls for restrictive language policies, restrictions on bilingual education, and school segregation, which are not new, but are part of a recurring cycle. Several examples of US anti-​immigration policies are worth noting for their severity and parallels to the present-​day restrictions on immigrants. Currently, several thousand children have been separated from their parents at the border with Mexico, when they sought to enter the United States. These forced family separations have generated national and international condemnation (see Ferguson, 2018). In the modern history of the United States, immigrants (and often their descendants) are the only group that can be stripped of their civil rights, divested from their possessions and livelihood, and ultimately be separated from their families. The most poignant examples are the treatment of Mexican-​Americans and Japanese-​Americans in the twentieth century. During the 1930s, under President J. Edgar Hoover, more than a million Mexican nationals and Mexican-​ Americans were apprehended, forcefully removed from their communities and “repatriated” to Mexico, ostensibly to preserve jobs for Americans. More than 60 percent of those removed were US-​born citizens of Mexican descent, primarily children (Balderrama & Rodriguez, 2006). An analogous scenario took place under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, when Japanese-​American families in the West Coast were dispossessed of what they owned, removed from their communities and ordered to live in War Relocation Camps during World War II. This ordeal affected anyone with a Japanese name, including US-​born citizens, who were reclassified as “non-​aliens” and stripped of their civil rights (Muller, 2012; Takaki, 2008). Although worthy of condemnation, it should come as no surprise that under the Trump administration new immigrant children are separated from their parents at the border. Our history has many precedents. We introduce our work by pointing out that once again these are difficult times for immigrants in the United States. With President Trump, a distinctly anti-​immigrant and nationalist agenda was ushered into the White House, an agenda that has precedence in our history. With echoes from the 1930s, Mexican immigrants today are vilified as criminals who illegally cross the border to take jobs from honest American workers. These fears are stoked with calls to build a border wall with Mexico (Lopez Paul, 2018). In addition, the recent separation of young immigrant children from their parents at the border and subsequent placement in camps across the nation, bring back memories of

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how Native American children were separated from their families and of the Japanese internment camps in the 1940s (Hirschfeld Davis, 2018). The Trump administration has also condemned Muslim immigrants as dangerous to our national security. A travel ban on immigrants from several Muslim majority countries was upheld by the United States Supreme Court (Liptak & Shear, 2018). This travel ban echoes the restrictions based on ethnic, race and religious background that were enforced with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. As we note in several chapters of this book, these policies, rhetoric, and images have affected our children, who bring their fears to the classroom. They have also placed a burden on our teachers and schools, who must comfort students, while creating safe learning environments and school protected zones for families. And these policies and rhetoric have restricted the provision of bilingual education for countless numbers of children across many generations and into our present. In addition to the turgid rhetoric against immigrants, deportations increased dramatically in the first year of the Trump presidency, including the removal of young people who had been brought to the United States as children and were protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Schools, hospitals, and the courts became places where immigration officials began to routinely round up undocumented immigrants. A  gripping example, which increased school involvement in protecting immigrant families, is that of Romulo-​Avelica Gonzalez, an unauthorized immigrant father who was arrested while driving his 12-​year-​old daughter to school (Castillo, 2017). His arrest was captured on video by his older daughter, who witnessed how her father was handcuffed and taken away. The arrest of Mr. Gonzalez shook several school communities, where many parents are unauthorized immigrants. This event gave the impetus to teachers to discuss with immigrant parents how to create a family plan in case of detention and deportation. Such family plans include having a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit filed with the child’s school or healthcare provider in order to allow a non-​parent designee to pick up their children from school and to make school-​related, medical, and care decisions on behalf of the children if the parents are taken away (Immigrant Legal Resource Center, 2017). Many of the parents in the studies presented in this volume have those plans in place, assigning someone with legal status to care for their children in case they are detained by the US Immigration and Customs Authority, otherwise known as ICE. Therefore, this book is written within this urgent reality facing immigrant families. Our research, teaching, and the personal relations that we hold with many of the families in the following chapters take place in New York City, where immigrants from all over the world make their home. Our work provides a window into their lives, language, health, and education needs. We are indeed fortunate to live in such a diverse city and to be part of this global and yet

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localized community. Under the progressive leadership of Mayor Bill De Blasio and former Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, immigrants have found some level of reassurance that their schools and communities are protected from immigration authorities. The recognition of bilingual education found support under Chancellor Farina, who lent her voice to validate bilingual education and opened up many dual-​language programs during her tenure. We expect this trend to continue under the new Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, the son of Mexican immigrants, who grew up in Tucson, speaking Spanish at home and learning English at school. Nevertheless, as the stories woven into the narrative of the chapters in this volume convey, New York City is ill prepared to support the language and education needs of immigrant children who come from homes where a language other than English is spoken. That is, one out of four students in New York City public schools come from bilingual or multilingual backgrounds and are not afforded opportunities to learn in their home language. The language abilities of these children are routinely viewed from a deficit perspective and blamed on their parents, who are not fluent English speakers. All too often, educators and school systems fail to value their students’ diverse language and cultural backgrounds, by focusing their efforts on closing language gaps in English. There is a disproportionate number of children from immigrant families who are evaluated inappropriately and placed in special education, including the provision of speech-​language therapy services, which means their language needs are interpreted as a “language disorder.” New York City has the highest number of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (English Language Learners) in special education, when compared to the rest of the nation (see chapters 2 and 3 by Crowley and Baigorri in this volume). It is difficult to understand why a culturally and linguistically diverse city like New York spends large sums and resources on placing emergent bilingual children in special education, rather than affording them the opportunity to learn in multilingual settings. Main Goals across the Chapters in This Book In this volume we attempt to lace together several strands, the social context for immigrant families and their children, the challenges they face, the commitment of parents to their children’s education, the attitudes and skills of professionals working with the children of immigrant families, and the specific factors that influence language acquisition and learning. We address this by covering different immigrant groups, their languages and cultures (Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Arabic). Many of the families in the studies presented are from low-​ income segments of the population. We discuss the intersectionalities of language development and learning, literacy, and

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developmental disabilities and how families strive to improve conditions for their children. Thus, we attempt to describe the diversity and multi-​ethnic fabric of families with young children residing in New York City or in similar urban settings. This book is framed within two major theoretical perspectives: 1) a sociocultural approach (Bourdieu, 1991; Moll et  al., 1992; Vygotsky, 1978), and 2) an ecological approach (Bronfenbrenner, 1986; Haugen, 1972). Under the sociocultural approach, we point out that schools preserve the status quo by setting up language and cultural standards (Bourdieu, 1991, 1998) that largely exclude immigrants from active participation. We include funds of knowledge and the recognition that many immigrant families possess cultural, linguistic, and specific knowledge that can translate into social capital for their children (Bourdieu, 1991; Moll et al., 1992). This would be particularly true, if schools were willing to recognize the families and integrate such social capital into their curricula. Under the ecological approach, we recognize that the stakeholders in the studies in this volume are immigrants, and as such, their actions and language choices, and education opportunities for their children are influenced by policy, history, and the sociopolitical climate in the society where they live (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Moreover, we point out that during development, emergent bilinguals integrate all of their linguistic resources in communicating within their social contexts, in learning, and in developing their own identities. However, these linguistic resources and processes are not always recognized by the professionals serving our children, resulting in language loss and a shift away from the home or heritage language(s) to English, the majority language. Translanguaging or learning by accessing more than one language (García & Li Wei, 2014), language separation and the need to integrate learning (Cummins, 2007), and language loss resulting from ignoring the home language (Wong Fillmore, 1991) are explained in many of the chapters of this volume. In this volume we will explore questions on how immigrant families support their children through school, within the context of their own expectations, preservation of traditions, language, and cultural values. Whereas these factors become more expressly evident as children get older, little is known about home language use and early-​literacy practices during the preschool and early school years. These early factors can determine language and academic outcomes for children. There is also scant research on the particular challenges faced by low-​income immigrant families (especially recent immigrants), and by families with children with disabilities. This volume aims to give voice to the families, and in so doing it also aims to foster connections between the home and school cultures. The ultimate goal of this collection of writings is to document the particular challenges faced by immigrant families with young and school-​ age children, as reflected in their own voices, and also in the attitudes of the professionals who serve them.

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This collection of writings is expected to contribute toward much-​needed policy reforms to improve how culturally and linguistically diverse families are included and integrated into decisions affecting their children’s education. There is currently no book linking research and practice from the fields of speech-​ language pathology, bilingual education, and public health on the needs of immigrant families and their children. In this interdisciplinary volume, we bear in mind the vital role of speech-​language pathologists in differentiating language disorders from language variation (see chapters 2 and 3 by Crowley and Baigorri) and in providing guidance to parents on how to raise their children with more than one language (see Chapter 4 by Castilla-​Earls). We consider perspectives on heritage language and in raising their children transnationally from Chinese immigrant families (see Chapter 6 by Ijalba and Qi), we learn about educational expectations and parenting styles in Korean immigrant families (see Chapter 7 by Ijalba and Yoo) and in Hispanic families (see Chapter 5 by Sepulveda and Ijalba, and Chapter 9 by Ijalba and Giraldo) and factors influencing the language needs of Arab-​Americans (see Chapter 12 by Khamis-​Dakwar). We open a window into the literacy practices at home of immigrant parents who speak Mixtec and Spanish (see Chapter 8 by Velasco and Kabuto). We highlight the crucial role of teachers, their unique potential to bridge the classroom and the home and to make immigrant parents feel welcome in our institutions (see Chapter 13 by Velasco). We present a comprehensive view of bilingual education, including the many roadblocks in providing a fair and equitable education to diverse students (see Chapter 1 by Ijalba and Velasco). Finally, we integrate the health needs of immigrant families by considering early intervention (Chapter  11 by Puig), perceptions on disability (Chapter 10 by Ijalba) and alternative health practices (Chapter 14 by Tuñón Pablos). Our work includes participatory research, bringing the voices of the families as stakeholders into the topics of study. Thus, our book is aimed at a readership that includes parents, educators, speech-​language pathologists, psychologists, social workers, and healthcare professionals. Methodology and Perspectives The research compiled in this volume offers a mixed-​methods methodological lens to the linguistic experience of immigrant families in the United States. Every chapter includes extensive reviews of the literature in related areas of study. In addition, many chapters provide empirical data and detailed analyses based on quantitative and qualitative data gathered from interviews, language samples, home visits and ethnographic observations, surveys, and focus groups. The studies presented in this volume aim to provide a personal perspective, thus they are based on case studies and small groups.

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The Ecology of Language in the Home, Education, and Society In the current volume we include manuscripts reflecting the range of experiences in raising children with more than one language, as viewed by major ethno-​linguistic groups in New York (Hispanic, Chinese, Korean). These three immigrant groups were expressly chosen because of differences in their cultural, social, and academic outcomes for children. In addition, we include a chapter on Arab-​Americans, highlighting their cultural and linguistic diversity and some of the particular challenges they face in our society. In spite of these differences, commonalities among these groups include the parents’ manifest desire to raise their children with more than one language and to pass on their cultural heritage. Despite important family values, parents must confront strong societal pressure that advances a monolingual English culture and education from an early age. When we compare the families and children presented in this volume, we can find distinctions in parental beliefs, early socialization practices, educational expectations, afforded opportunities, and markedly different school experiences. These combined factors operate to demarcate starkly dissimilar paths and education outcomes for the majority of children from immigrant families. In this book, we aim to pay particular attention to disentangling the issue of “disabilities” from what can be academic gaps based on language, social, and cultural differences. Recognizing the fact that children can have different cognitive and learning abilities, how these abilities are maximized from an early age is an issue for all children. Multiple languages and cultures are great learning resources that are under-​recognized and under-​utilized. Moreover, the view that “bilingualism” can be detrimental to learning is evident in educational policies that translate into the removal of bilingual programs from the general and special education settings. By reviewing research showing the benefits of learning more than one language for children across the range of cognitive and learning ability levels, the importance of advancing multiple languages, literacies, and cultures becomes more explicitly evident. Additional factors we aim to cover in this volume are those that are crucial in defining policy for bilingual education, including health priorities and public health interventions for immigrant families. When educational systems and political structures create policies that only advance the majority language and culture, such policies can be disabling rather than empowering to children from diverse cultural and language backgrounds. In the United States, the over-​ representation of children from ethnic and language minorities in special education, attests to the ineffectiveness of such language policies and practices in education. Extending the problem, children from low-​income immigrant families have diminished access to healthcare and to early education than children

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from parents who were born in the United States. Such inequities in the social support networks can be particularly harmful to low-​income immigrant families and to their children who are US citizens. Our book aims to invite reflection on the strength, resilience, and rich diversity of immigrant families and their children. Only by inviting such reflection can we aspire to avoid deficit perspectives and learn to appreciate the contributions of immigrants to our society. The studies presented ahead are conceptualized within a sociocultural approach, by acknowledging the crucial role of schools as gatekeepers of knowledge and cultural capital (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990), the importance of social interactions in language acquisition and in teaching and learning (Moll, 2014; Vygotsky, 1997), and the accumulated funds of knowledge that all families bring to the table and influence how their children learn (Moll et al., 1992). In addition, the language samples and situations presented are discussed from the perspective of ecology of language (Haugen, 1972) or the interactions between how speakers use language within their environments, such as the home, family, school, and community. We consider the unified nature of language in bilingual and multilingual speakers from the perspective of translanguaging or the advantages of accessing all their linguistic resources in learning (García & Li Wei, 2014). Finally, we frame these interactions within the larger societal context and its influence on families and how they raise their children (Bronfenbrenner, 1986). The chapters in this volume are grouped within three Parts to provide a wide lens of analysis: I) Immigration, bilingual education, policy, and educational planning; II) Bilingualism, literacy ecologies, and parental engagement in immigrant families; III) Cultural perceptions on disability, the home language, and healthcare alternatives among immigrants. This collection of writings showcases the heterogeneous nature and linguistic diversity within immigrant groups (e.g., the case of Mixteco and Fujianese). They also address issues on language differences vs. language disorders, with particular attention to policy and best practices in the educational planning for children of different ages (early intervention 0–​3, preschool 3–​5, and school age 5–​18). We consider the challenges faced by culturally and linguistically diverse families in low-​income brackets, who often have unauthorized legal status and are first-​generation immigrants with US-​born children. When these families have children with disabilities or special needs, they face legal hurdles in obtaining services for their children. Analogously, numerous families experience an educational system that disables and deprives their children of their heritage language and cultural identity. We also report on immigrant mothers of children with autism and how they often encounter difficulty understanding autism and accessing specialized services. We detail how emergent bilingual children from various language backgrounds (Spanish, Chinese, Korean) are deprived of a dual-​ language

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education and how their parents support their children’s learning at home. Many parents teach the heritage language, including literacy at home or share their concerns about language learning. This is contrary to widespread perspectives about immigrant parents as unengaged in their children’s education (see Valencia & Black, 2002). This volume is different from other books published in the field, in that it aims to integrate the voices of parents as participants in the research and the topics of study. As such, this volume will serve to bridge concerns at both ends: What families experience in raising their children bilingually or multilingually and how our institutions support or fail to support diversity when educating the children of immigrant families. In conclusion, the multiple perspectives in this volume bring together the voices of families, children, and professionals within a social and human ecological framework. The studies presented highlight the diversity of cultures and languages (Hispanic, Chinese, Korean, Arab-​Americans), and how immigrant families negotiate their expectations about language and education for their children within US institutions and at home. We conceptualize our work within a social framework to consider the sociopolitical context of immigrant families and how this impacts how children are raised at home and their educational opportunities. We consider the numerous forms of language by recognizing that our participants communicate and use language(s) in different contexts and for different purposes at home, within their family, work, and within our institutions. We provide a window into the lives of participants by sharing their challenges, struggles, strength and what they are willing to sacrifice for a better future for their children. We frame this collection within the current social context and political discourse that feeds anti-​immigrant attitudes, while highlighting the resiliency of immigrant families in the face of adversity.

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Part I

Immigration, Bilingual Education, Policy, and Educational Planning

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Political, Social, and Educational Challenges in the Struggle to Develop Bilingual Education as a Pedagogical Model in the United States Elizabeth Ijalba and Patricia Velasco

In this chapter we trace the history of bilingual education in the United States, its political roots as part of the civil rights movement, the political opposition to teaching children bilingually, and how bilingual education continues to evolve as a pedagogical model. Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to emphasize that bilingual education is more than a pedagogical model that exclusively aims to develop a student’s minority and majority language. Like other educational models, bilingual education should aim at developing the identity, creativity, and problem-​solving abilities of its students, by implementing a content-​based curriculum that supports the integration of new information. Bilingual education differs from other pedagogical conceptualizations in that it uses two or more languages as the vehicles of instruction in order to implement instructional practices that are unique to bilingual learners. The use of two or more languages is the area in bilingual education that has posed the most challenges for educators. In American classrooms, many of these pedagogical practices reflect monolingual conceptualizations of instruction that enforce strict separation of languages and interfere with students’ access to their own cultural and linguistic knowledge. Thus, an emphasis on assessing the progress of bilingual students is based on measuring language proficiency in the majority language while disregarding mastery of knowledge in content areas. However, new pedagogical conceptualizations (Canagarajah, 2011; Celic & Seltzer, 2012; Cummins, 2007; García, 2009; García & Kleyn, 2016) about how bilinguals learn and develop academic skills across the curriculum, not only challenge monolingual instruction and the practice of language separation, but also promise to place bilingual education as a model that can stand on its own right. In this chapter we will describe the slow and arduous progress that implementing bilingual education programs has posed in this country. In the following sections we review the long history toward protecting the civil 13

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rights of the children of immigrants and the educational failures of English-​ only policies exemplified by California, Arizona, and Massachusetts, which hold large Latino populations. We finish by describing new pedagogical conceptualizations of bilingual education as a model representing a strong educational paradigm in our pluralistic society. 1.1

Bilingual Education as a Civil Right

The demographics of American society have drastically changed since 1965, raising bilingual education to the fore in the national discourse. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 removed migratory restrictions based on national origin and welcomed new immigrants based on their skills and on family relationships with US citizens. This facilitated an influx of skilled immigrants from Asia, displaced refugees from wars, and sustained arrivals from Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, there was a sustained influx of unauthorized immigrants to the United States, reaching 11.1 million in 2014, with 52  percent coming from Mexico. After the 2008 economic recession in the United States, there was a drop in the number of immigrants from Mexico and an increase in the number of immigrants from Asia, Central America, and sub-​Saharan Africa (Passell & Cohn, 2016). We know that a majority of immigrants arrive in their 20s and 30s and often establish families while living in the United States. Thus, a major civil rights issue is the right to an education and safe living conditions for the 5.1 million children of unauthorized immigrants, most of whom were born in the United States and live under the constant threat of losing a parent to deportation. About 7.3 percent of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade have at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant (Passel & Cohn, 2016). The unauthorized legal status of their parents condemns three-​quarters of US-​born children to live in poverty and to several risk factors, including lower preschool enrollment, limited English proficiency, and reduced socioeconomic progress (Capps et al., 2016). There is a high correlation between low income and low education levels, which tends to perpetuate poverty from one generation to the next. Unauthorized status denies parents access to advanced education, legal employment and worker protections, health insurance, social security benefits, and basic financial rights, such as obtaining a mortgage to buy a home. Even driving privileges are severely curtailed for unauthorized immigrants. Making matters worse, deportation of one parent places an added financial burden on the remaining parent, who must support a family with only one salary. An average of 396,000  yearly deportations took place in the period 2009–​2012 (Pew Research Center, 2014), and with increasing anti-​immigrant attitudes and policies and under the Trump administration those numbers will likely rise.

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Therefore, US-​born children of unauthorized immigrants face complex social conditions that will impact their education. The 2008 economic downturn in the United States rekindled misperceptions that immigrants take the limited jobs available from US citizens. The costs of providing housing, healthcare, and education to newcomers are a frequent argument against providing pathways for legal status to unauthorized immigrants. Immigration reform has stalled in Congress during the past decade, with suspension of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) that would have extended work permits and a temporary reprieve from deportation to unauthorized immigrant parents (Capps et  al., 2016). Additionally, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection was discontinued in September 2017 and continues as a focus of national attention. DACA provided two-​year work permits and reprieve from deportation for young people who were brought to the United States as minors. There are an estimated 1.2  million DACA-​eligible students, also known as “dreamers,” with about one-​half holding DACA status and enrolled in high school or in college, who are currently at risk for deportation (Barshay, 2017). What makes their situation particularly painful is that “dreamers” grew up as Americans, often unaware of their legal status, attending US schools, and becoming part of US society. President Trump’s anti-​immigrant rhetoric has also reached the classrooms, with a doubling of bullying incidents reported against children from immigrant families, targeting Latino, Asians, and particularly Muslim students in schools (Ochieng, 2017). Perhaps, the most blatant example of xenophobia is the ongoing promise to build a border wall on the US–​Mexico border, which raises symbolic fears in young children of immigrant families, as depicted in Figure 1.1 from a first-​grade student. Bilingual education has long been influenced by how immigrants are perceived. In her treatise on language rights, Del Valle (2003) stated:  “The legislative, judicial, and public response to bilingual education is a weathervane by which the national sentiment toward language minorities and new immigrants can be gauged” (p. 6). On the one hand, immigrants bring time-​ tested traditional practices, customs, and knowledge from their countries that can inform and uplift American culture. However, immigrants are also seen as a threat to the established way of life and a disturbance to the national cohesion of the country. This is particularly salient in light of the ethnic and linguistic diversity brought about by large numbers of Asian and Hispanic immigrants arriving since the 1970s, or what has been referred to as the “browning of America” (Bryant et al., 2017; Ovando & Jensen, 2018). Moreover, bilingual education is shaped by different perspectives. For immigrant parents and their children, learning English is a necessity; for English speakers, learning an additional language is beneficial, but not a necessity;

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Figure  1.1 Drawing by first-​grader on first day of school after Trump’s election.

and for policy makers, English-​only vs. bilingual or plurilingual education can reflect widely divergent political views that essentially view bilingualism as a problem and not as a resource. 1.2

Impact of Immigration and Struggles for Bilingual Education

In order to understand current US language policies in education, it helps to situate them within a historical perspective. The US Congress passed the Bilingual Education Act (BEA) in 1968, authorizing special programs for language-​minoritized students. The beginnings of bilingual education can be traced to the anti-​segregation laws and the Civil Rights Act (Title VI) of 1964, also known as the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, which granted a fair education to all children, regardless of their race, color, or national origin. This recognition, that all children have the same rights to an education, opened up spaces for the BEA to be passed. However, it took a Supreme Court decision in 1974, Lau vs. Nichols, to interpret the law beyond segregation and to determine that lack of linguistically appropriate accommodations prevented children with limited English proficiency from comprehending what was being taught in the classrooms. In the Lau vs. Nichols decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that through immersion in classrooms where English was the only medium of instruction, the San Francisco School District had failed to provide meaningful education to 1,800 children of Chinese ancestry who could not understand, speak, read, or write in English. However, in its 1974 decision, the US Supreme Court

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side-​stepped ruling on language, by stating that teaching English, providing instructions in Chinese, or using other remedies would have to be determined by the expertise of the Board of Education. This broad ruling has been influential in the range of interpretations and perspectives on bilingual vs. English-​only instruction that unfolded in the aftermath of BEA. Moreover, the US Supreme Court’s ruling mandated to remedy the students’ LEP, which was deemed a deficiency. Accordingly, only transitional bilingual education programs were allowed, which did not encourage maintenance of the home language. Reauthorization of the BEA in 1978 lifted the ban on two-​way bilingual programs and on developmental bilingual programs, which supported development of both English and the home language. However, increased support for English-​only instruction was evident under the Reagan administration. Reauthorization of BEA in 1984 introduced 4  percent funding for English-​ only Special Alternative Instructional Programs, increasing to 25  percent of all funding by 1988. A  more positive attitude toward bilingualism returned under the Clinton administration, which supported the increase of developmental bilingual programs and changed students’ labels from Limited English Proficient (LEP) to English Language Learner (ELL). Note that later in this chapter the term English Learner (EL) is introduced. This change in terminology removed the deficit perspective associated with the LEP label. In 2002, however, President G. W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which disguised the dismantling of bilingual education. A symbolic first step was to remove the word “bilingualism” from the official discourse. For example, the Office for Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs became the Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students (OELA). Similarly, the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education became the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs (NCELA). Accountability and grants favoring English-​ only programs were enforced on school districts. ELL students were allowed a maximum of three years in transitional bilingual programs. Increased pressure was placed on schools to conduct yearly testing, to teach ELLs quickly, and to re-​designate them into mainstream classes. In terms of funding, only transitional bilingual programs, aimed at building language skills in English were supported. Therefore, the passage of NCLB under the G. W. Bush administration fully legitimized the English language-​ only movement and removed democratic ideals about language rights for immigrants –​to be “American” meant to speak English. As the English language-​only movement gained strength, restrictions against bilingual education were first passed in California in 1998 (Proposition 227), in Arizona in 2000 (Proposition 203), and in Massachusetts in 2002. After massive student failure, California reversed this English-​only law in November

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2017 and Massachusetts in January 2018. Sadly, restrictions on bilingual education are still in place in Arizona. 1.3

Traditional Categorizations and Theoretical Frameworks in Bilingual Educational Programs

Bilingual education is a pedagogical model that centers on developing the individual talents of each child, including the language(s) a student brings to the task of learning and, like all educational models, it aims to use a content-​ based curriculum. In the case of bilingual education, the vehicles used to achieve these goals are the two (or more) languages to teach the content areas. However, traditional views of bilingual programs have focused on whether students can successfully learn at least two languages or if a program uses the home language as a scaffold to promote learning English. This conceptualization places language development and proficiency at the forefront, while situating content knowledge in a secondary place. In categorizing these programs, classrooms that develop a curriculum using two languages are referred to as additive programs (i.e., dual-​language programs), and classrooms that emphasize the use of the home language for the purposes of learning English (or any majority language) are termed subtractive programs (i.e., transitional bilingual programs). It should also be noted that most bilingual education programs are provided in Spanish, simply because Hispanics constitute the largest ethnic-​ minoritized group, with 56.6 million people, making up 17.6 percent of the nation’s total population (see US Census Bureau, 2010–​2016. Population Division. Annual estimates of the resident population). In New York City, a small number of bilingual programs are also available in other languages (i.e., Chinese, French, Korean). Overall, bilingual programs are small and insufficient to accommodate the linguistic diversity of students in public schools. 1.3.1

Categorization of Bilingual Education Programs

Transitional bilingual education programs (TBE) have been the most widely implemented since the enactment of BEA in 1974. They involve providing temporary support in the home language, while shifting to increased instruction in English. Most TBE programs involve “early exit,” transferring the student to mainstream English-​only classrooms within one to three years. For example, Proposition 227 in California emphasized that children could learn English within one year and should be mainstreamed after that period. The transitional late-​exit bilingual programs provide early instruction in the first language and increased instruction in English as the child builds proficiency. Thus, in kindergarten through first grade, the child might receive 90 percent instruction in the first language and 10  percent instruction in English,

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however toward the higher elementary grades, the child would receive 90 percent instruction in English and 10  percent instruction in the first language. Therefore, the emphasis of transitional bilingual programs is to build language proficiency in English, while decreasing support for developing the first language. These programs fall under the umbrella of subtractive bilingualism, where the target majority language is gained, while the native language is lost or suppressed. According to Hornberger (1991), TBE programs emphasize a language shift from the first language to English, aim for cultural assimilation, and the social goal is to incorporate children into the mainstream culture. In New  York, TBE programs have been modified to include English as a New Language (ENL) stand-​alone classes, home language arts in the language other than English, and two content areas taught in the two languages. Many TBE programs expect students to have the same linguistic background as that taught in the home language arts. In addition, ENL teachers are now expected to push into classrooms and provide content area instruction. Research findings about the effectiveness of TBE are mixed, showing that children in early-​exit TBE programs show advantages in vocabulary and reading in Spanish, which decrease after they are transitioned to English. In a comparative study of children who had transitioned to English by second or third grade, with peers who were immersed in English from kindergarten, there were no differences in vocabulary and reading in English by the fourth grade (Slavin et al., 2010), suggesting that education in the first language can be as effective as education in English to develop academic oral skills and literacy in English. Developmental “late exit” bilingual education programs (DBE) emphasize academic and literacy instruction in both the first language and English. Sustained teaching is carried out in both languages through the higher elementary grades, building academic language competence in both languages. A  typical implementation model might be 90  percent instruction in the first language in kindergarten through first grade and 50  percent instruction in each language toward the higher grades. DBE programs are considered to be additive, because emphasis is placed in gaining both languages, English as the second or additional language, while maintaining and growing the child’s first language. Longitudinal research by Collier and Thomas (2004) reports the effectiveness of developmental bilingual programs in closing the achievement gap between students learning English as a second language and their monolingual peers. On average, their research indicates that students require eight years of one-​way bilingual instruction in order to close the academic gap. In addition, developmental bilingual education programs were found to be more effective in promoting academic achievement than all-​English and transitional approaches (Rolstad et al., 2005). Perhaps the most comprehensive additive bilingual programs are the ones involving two-​way bilingual or dual-​language immersion. These are based on

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providing developmental language and literacy instruction in two languages. These programs first opened in Dade County, Florida. Dual-​language classrooms started with the influx of the first Cuban exiles who arrived in Miami in the 1960s and who wanted their children to learn English, but not at the cost of losing Spanish. These programs required balanced numbers of both –​Cuban children who only spoke Spanish and students whose first language was English. The aim of dual-​language programs is to educate both groups to be bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. As such, these programs are not only aimed at helping ELLs in building proficiency in English, but to support English speakers to learn a new language. From that perspective, dual-​language programs follow an “enrichment” model, where the aim is not only language development, but also cultural pluralism and social autonomy (Hornberger, 1991). In New York City, the model followed by most public schools requires that instruction be firmly divided into 50 percent language allocation for English and 50 percent for the language other than English. In other parts of the country, the format varies from 90 percent instruction in the home language and 10 percent instruction in English in kindergarten through first grade, with subsequent increases as children build proficiency in their second language. Two main issues faced in the implementation of two-​way dual-​language programs are that children do not come to school solely knowing one language, and that the programs enforce a strict separation of languages. 1.3.2

Structured English Immersion

Structured English Immersion (SEI) programs were conceived as a result of restrictions on bilingual education imposed in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts. The structure of SEI includes four daily hours of mandatory explicit instruction of English in sequential lessons. Explicit teaching is provided in pronunciation, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary, however students are not taught in content areas (i.e., math and science). Because the aim is to build proficiency in English within one year, students receive little academic instruction until they can be promoted or mainstreamed through testing, placing many students at risk for academic failure. Implementation of SEI has shown that many students take longer than one year to demonstrate English proficiency, which raises questions about how much they are learning. 1.4

Limiting Access to Bilingual Instruction in Favor of English Immersion

Policy makers who support English-​only education are intentionally ignoring research that shows the benefits of bilingual instruction. A meta-​analysis by Rolstad et al. (2005) showed that bilingual education approaches resulted in

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better academic outcomes than education approaches solely based on English language immersion. Their findings showed that two-​way bilingual programs had best results, followed next by developmental late-​exit programs, and then by transition early-​exit programs. This is consistent with findings from longitudinal research by Collier and Thomas (2004), and with earlier meta-​analyses by Greene (1998) and Willig (1985), which revealed improved academic outcomes for children who received bilingual instruction. In contrast to pedagogical approaches that include instruction in the students’ first language, teaching that is solely based on English, as the majority language, is referred to as “submersion,” “immersion” or “sink or swim.” Such an approach was used prior to the passage of the BEA in 1968 and the US Supreme Court’s decision in Lau vs. Nichols in 1974, which stated that schools had to take appropriate steps to remediate students’ language deficiencies in comprehending and communicating in English. Broad interpretations of the Supreme Court’s decision have given rise to many practices in order to “remediate” English language deficiencies (i.e., SEI programs). Whereas some form of bilingual instruction is granted under the court’s ruling, we must note that English immersion is still widely spread, with adaptations that allow schools to circumvent or limit the provision of bilingual instruction. One way of limiting bilingual instruction in elementary school is by introducing English immersion in preschool, prior to the age of 5. A majority of young children exposed to English immersion while still acquiring their first language incur primary language loss or a rapid decline in the learning and use of their first language. Wong Fillmore (1991) reported findings from a nationwide survey of language-​minoritized families whose children had participated in preschool programs conducted solely in English. Their findings revealed that children who received formal instruction in English without support for their first language tended to shift to English. The families also reported a negative shift, whereby more English was used at home, even when parents were not proficient in English. This raises concerns about programs such as Universal Pre-​Kindergarten in New York City, which was recently implemented and is primarily conducted in English, with the exception of a few schools with dual-​ language programs. Early instruction in the majority language, without support for the home language, can result in primary language loss (Anderson, 2001; Ijalba, 2014; Wong Fillmore, 1991). Because child development draws from many factors, primary language loss is deemed to affect the social, emotional, cognitive and academic development of language-​ minoritized children (Kohnert et  al., 2005). Through this early assimilation, parents who speak a language other than English are also marginalized from engaging in their children’s education. For example, research by the first author with immigrant families who only spoke Spanish, showed that parents were reluctant to speak or read with their children in

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Spanish, even though they could not engage in rich conversations and read books with their children in English (Ijalba, 2014). In terms of limiting the provision of bilingual education, as children lose their first language, their transition to elementary school proceeds toward English-​only education. Later academic problems, particularly in literacy, can be traced to this early and accelerated form of assimilation that is increasingly imposed on language-​ minoritized children. Another way of limiting the provision of bilingual education involves how students are enrolled in special education. For emergent bilingual children enrolled in preschool special education programs, their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) often mandate bilingual instruction, particularly when a language other than English is spoken at home. However, one way in which schools in New York bypass the legal mandate in the IEP is by assigning the child to an “alternate bilingual placement class” (New York City Department of Education, 2017). The alternate bilingual placement allows schools to seek temporary exemptions from providing a bilingual classroom by officially informing their district that the school does not have a bilingual teacher, but is searching for one. In New York City, schools are only required to provide teachers with ten hours of staff development on how to work with children who have limited English proficiency. In addition, schools are required to place in the alternate bilingual classroom a teacher assistant who is proficient in the child’s first language. However, because teacher assistants tend to follow the lead of the main teacher, most of their communication is also provided in English. In this way, schools serving a majority of children whose first language is other than English are able to legally implement English immersion at a young age, under the guise of “alternate bilingual” instruction, thus effectively suppressing the children’s first language. 1.5

The Banning of Bilingual Education: English-​Only Instruction in California

Proposition 227 or the English Language in Public Schools Statute was passed in California on June 2, 1998. The law overwhelmingly dismantled bilingual education by mandating that ELLs be taught only in English through sheltered/​ SEI for a period of one year and then transferred to mainstream English language classrooms. Key to this mandate was the unrealistic expectation that ELLs would be reclassified as Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) within one year and mainstreamed into classes with a regular curriculum. In spite of its many shortcomings, the Proposition stood under the law by calling previous methods of education for ELLs to have failed (Gullixson, 1999). However, the implementation of Proposition 227 was plagued by lack of accountability and a flagrant violation of the civil rights of millions of children

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of immigrant families. A 5-​year report by the American Institutes for Research (Parrish et al., 2006) concluded that schools and districts were not collecting data in a way that allowed conclusions about the effectiveness of the program. Parrish et al. (2006) estimated that the probability of reclassifying ELLs into RFEP after ten years would be less than 40 percent. Jepsen and Alth (2005) found only 7–​8 percent of ELL students met the combined criteria of fluent proficiency in English and academic performance to be reclassified as RFEP. This was most evident for the higher grades, where students are required to demonstrate more academic language proficiency than in earlier school grades. In later reports the situation of ELLs did not seem to improve; only 12.5 percent were reclassified as RFEP in the ninth grade (Hill et al., 2014). The rates of reclassification for the years 2008–​2009 through 2012–​2013 were 42.1 percent for students completing eight years of education, not significantly different from the estimated prediction by Parrish et al. (2006). Students are considered to be long-​term ELLs when they have been schooled for more than six years and fail to gain sufficient proficiency in English to be reclassified. Olsen (2010) found long-​term ELLs comprised 60 percent of secondary level ELL students in California. Long-​term ELL students often require remedial classes and they are less likely to graduate from high school, explaining the low 63 percent of high school graduation rate among ELL students, as compared to 80 percent for English-​speaking students. The lack of well-​trained teachers ranked first among the main problems in implementing English-​only instruction in California. Only 5  percent of all teachers working with ELL students had appropriate competencies and the required teaching certifications (Gándara et al., 2003). State budget cuts further impacted teaching, with an 11  percent reduction of teachers, while student enrollment remained the same (Hooker et  al., 2014). In addition, Gándara et al. (2003) point out evidence of inequitable access to appropriate assessment, inadequate instructional time to complete learning goals, inequitable access to instructional materials and curriculum, and over-​placement of ELLs in special education resulting from a weak curriculum and lack of appropriate assessments. These factors explain the intense segregation of ELL students into schools and classrooms away from English-​speaking students that took place. It took many years to restore bilingual education in California. Proposition 58, the California Multilingual Education Act of 2016, was approved by 73.5 percent of voters on November 8, 2016. The law came into effect in July 2017, opening the door to institute bilingual programs in schools where twenty or more parents per grade or thirty parents for an entire school make a collective request for such a program. However, the shortage of bilingual teachers to address the needs of 1.4 million ELLs throughout the state is one of the main challenges in reversing the damaging effects of Proposition 227.

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1.6

Uninterrupted Banning of Bilingual Education in Arizona

Following in the footsteps of California, Arizona passed Proposition 203, banning bilingual education in 2000. This mandate also required students to learn English within one year and then be reclassified as fluent English proficient. Implementation of Proposition 203 was aggressively pursued in Arizona, often with blatant tones of discrimination against students of minoritized language backgrounds. For example, teachers were forbidden to speak in any other language but English to students. A case that went before the courts is that of a 7-​year-​old Mexican student, who was denied lunch after requesting it in Spanish. This student also fell behind academically after she was removed from her bilingual second-​grade class. Under the law, her parents were allowed to request a waiver to have her placed in bilingual education, where she had been making progress. However, the school denied this request and the parents of the student sued the Tucson Unified School District. The case was eventually resolved after the school granted the family a waiver and the student was allowed to return to her bilingual class (Del Valle, 2003). As we will see, under Proposition 203, Arizona has failed in providing an equitable education to its diverse student population. In Arizona, ELL students have low reclassification rates into RFEP and there is insufficient data collection for accountability. The Office of the Auditor General for the State of Arizona reported that, on average, only 7 percent of 7,590 ELL students from eighteen districts acquired English proficiency within one year. Moreover, the same report found that 63  percent of ELL students were simply mainstreamed into English-​only classes and without additional support to learn English (Davenport, 2008). Three years later, the situation for ELL students in Arizona did not seem to improve. A review of seventy-​five districts by the Auditor General indicated schools did not maintain data on the quantity and quality of instruction for ELL students (Davenport, 2011). In addition, Lillie et al. (2010) found discriminatory practices against ELLs. After observing 18 SEI classrooms in K-​12 grades across different schools in Arizona, Lillie et al. found that ELL students were consistently segregated within their schools, stigmatized as less capable than their English-​speaking peers, and were denied an age-​appropriate and stimulating academic curriculum. The Lillie et al. report exposed how SEI classes were often situated on a different floor, next to classes for students with learning disabilities and away from the main academic classes. Throughout the day, ELL students remained effectively segregated from their English-​speaking peers and only socialized with other ELL students. Because of these conditions, ELL students often encountered racist comments and rejection from English-​speaking students. In addition, there was a notable lack of materials and resources available for ELL students. Teachers reported a reduction in their photocopying budgets, even though they had to resort to the photocopying of old workbooks and textbooks. The lack of age-​appropriate reading materials was most evident

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for ELL students in high school, who were often given books appropriate for middle school or younger students (i.e., one of the books described was Norman Bridwell’s (1963) Clifford the Big Red Dog, written for 3–​7-​year-​ olds). ELL students often looked bored, unchallenged, complained they were being treated like babies, and slept through their classes. These factors contributed to the isolation of ELL students within their school communities and influenced their sense of identity as being different and less capable than their English-​speaking peers. Moreover, almost one-​half of the teachers in SEI classrooms lacked college preparation in bilingual education or in the teaching of English as a second language. Whereas there is limited research available on the outcomes of SEI, the findings of Lillie et al. (2010) and that of the Auditor General in Arizona (Davenport 2008, 2011) raise serious concerns about civil rights violations. Consequently, denying children of their first language can easily cross over into denying them a fair and equitable education. 1.7

Reversal of Ban on Bilingual Education in Massachusetts

Bilingual education was banned in Massachusetts in 2002, resulting in the implementation of English-​ only instruction in public schools. However, on November 16, 2017, the Massachusetts legislature passed the Bilingual Education Bill, reinstating bilingual education. The failure of English-​only instruction was evident in sustained academic gaps for ELs and in their drastically low graduation rates. Sixty-​one percent of male ELs graduated high school within four years, compared to 90 percent white male students in 2016, not much different from prior years (Slama et al., 2015). Under the new law, the term “Limited English Proficient students” was replaced with “English Learners” (ELs), removing the deficit perspective implicit in the former label. The new law removed the artificial one-​year term for ELs to achieve proficiency in English and it allowed schools to open up two-​way immersion and transitional bilingual programs, in addition to sheltered English immersion. Under the new mandate, groups of parents or guardians of twenty or more students can request a school district to open up such a program. The law also established the state Seal of Biliteracy for students attaining a high level of proficiency in English and in one other language. Moreover, this Bill specified that any programs for teaching ELs must be research-​based, include components of subject matter and English language acquisition, and be based on best pedagogical practices. 1.8

The Current Landscape: School Testing

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) into law. ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary

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Education Act of 1965, which provides federal funds to improve elementary and secondary education. ESSA replaced President Bush’s NCLB Act of 2001. For ELs, ESSA requires that each state develops a plan describing the design and implementation of a statewide accountability system to improve student academic achievement and English language development. Until the current administration decides to ratify or change the measures embedded in ESSA, these are the parameters that states have to use in order to frame their educational outcomes and accountability measures. For immigrant children coming to the United States, ESSA means that schools must comply with two accountability options. The first one requires the mandatory implementation of language proficiency testing in all states. The World-​ Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) is currently the most widely administered English K–​12 proficiency test in the United States. It is mandated for ELLs attending public schools in more than thirty states and surrounding territories (WIDA, 2017). In New York, language proficiency is evaluated through two standardized assessments used exclusively in the state: The New York State Identification Test of English Language Learners, which is administered when a student has been initially termed an English language learner/​multilingual learner, and the New  York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test which is used to assess a student’s yearly English progress. Needless to say, an ongoing problem is the validity of these testing instruments with a highly diverse and dynamic multilingual population. This yearly accountability factor is the second option that ESSA expects from schools that have ELs/​MLs students. Thus, a major problem in schools across the United States is the emphasis on testing that has been in place since the passage of NCLB and continues under ESSA. Schools are held accountable for student progress and federal money depends on showing such progress. However, EL/​ML students continue to show lower achievement in reading, math, and science, when compared with their white American peers. The achievement gaps remain essentially unchanged since 1998 (Kena et al., 2016). For those who see bilingualism and diversity as part of the problem, English-​only education is the solution. But for those who value bilingualism and diversity, bilingual education and the trend toward multilingual education hold the right answers. At the heart of these decisions are the civil rights of EL/​ML students to a quality education based on a bilingual education model that pursues social and educational equity. Content Based Instruction (CBI) was the first attempt to describe a best practice unique to bilingual students that centered on content area instruction and language. 1.9

Bilingual Education and Content Based Instruction

Content Based Instruction (CBI) is a teaching methodology where the focus of teaching is on integrating content into the teaching of language (Brinton et al.,

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1989). Language is used to learn content, and content is used to learn language (Kaufman & Crandall, 2005). The emphasis in CBI is that teachers working with bilingual learners must focus on content areas in addition to language teaching (Stoller & Grabe, 1997). Learning should be based on a student-​ centered curriculum, where students take responsibility for learning and teachers step back from their centralized teaching roles. Student interaction is crucial to the co-​construction of meaning, from topic discussions, information gathering, negotiation, and sharing. For example, in learning about science, students focus on the subject area and use follow-​up exercises to draw attention to linguistic features, such as vocabulary and cause-​and-​effect structures that are common in science texts. Kaufman and Crandall (2005) point out that teacher training programs in ESOL must prepare teachers who can create learning environments where ELs can learn language, literacy, and achieve knowledge in content areas, while supporting the students’ cultural identities. The shift to CBI in current bilingual instruction is in response to the academic achievement gaps in literacy and math between non-​ELs and ELs. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows the reading gap was thirty-​seven points at the fourth grade and forty-​five points at the eighth grade in 2015, not measurably different from gaps reported in 1998 and 2013 (Kena et al., 2016). In integrating CBI across school levels, an important aim is to reverse academic gaps for EL/​ML students. Moreover, the focus of CBI in bilingual education programs is to integrate content and language, while de-​emphasizing the dichotomy based on the separate teaching of languages. This has been at the core of conceptualizing bilingual education as a model and of creating pedagogical practices that are unique to bilingual learners. 1.10

Language Separation or Integration in Learning

A central question in bilingual education is whether languages should be taught separately or integrated. Early bilingual models were influenced by Weinreich (1968), who proposed that coordinate bilinguals learn each language in separate contexts and maintain separate conceptual systems; whereas compound bilinguals learn two languages in the same context, use them concurrently, and develop a unified conceptual system. Arguing against a fractioned view of bilingualism, Grosjean (2009) contended that bilinguals have communicative competence to use languages separately or together, depending on the situation, and that proficiency in each language can change across the lifespan. Currently, two major theoretical frameworks are influential in bilingual pedagogical practices. One based on the interdependence of languages (Cummins, 1981a) and the other one on translanguaging or language integration (García, 2009).

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The first framework was proposed by Cummins (1981a), who aimed to bridge language and learning in bilinguals. He proposed the interdependence hypothesis, stating that effective instruction in one language can transfer to another language when there is adequate exposure and motivation to learn the other language. Cummins further proposed that instruction in reading and writing in L1 generates a deep conceptual and linguistic understanding or common underlying proficiency that facilitates the acquisition of literacy in L2. The framework of separate but interdependent languages has lent support to pedagogical practices whereby languages are taught separately, since language skills are expected to transfer. More recently, Cummins (2006) has stated the need to rethink monolingual teaching strategies in multilingual classrooms by creating shared spaces where students can use all of their languages and make cross-​linguistic connections, regardless of their learning in a bilingual or immersion program. The second framework has been advanced by García (2009), who characterizes bilingual education as heteroglossic and fully supporting language integration in the classroom. In what García describes as pedagogical practices for the twenty-​first century, she advocates for the use of translanguaging: “the multiple discursive practices in which bilinguals engage in order to make sense of their bilingual worlds” (p. 45). From a sociolinguistic perspective, in translanguaging, both languages in a bilingual are seen as functionally integrated along a continuum, and not as separate systems. The bilingual student is encouraged to engage in discursive practices that can include translating and code-​switching in a dynamic manner, to mediate mental processes in comprehension, oral expression, literacy and learning (García & Lin, 2016; Velasco & Fialais, 2016). In pedagogical practices that involve translanguaging, the focus is each student’s active use of their languages across listening, speaking, reading, and writing modalities and for understanding. Students may be from multiple language backgrounds and use their languages dynamically to learn by interacting with one another across modalities. The teacher is no longer the one controlling what languages students can use or how students are using their languages, thus the direction of learning flows both ways, with the teacher as co-​learner and students as teachers in the classroom. A key aspect of translanguaging is that it builds on the heterogeneity of individuality that is evident in the plurilingual classroom. By placing value on all languages, it serves as a leveraging tool for students who tend to have different backgrounds, languages, and experiences. In addition, translanguaging is a methodology that can be used in monolingual classrooms, or bilingual classrooms, or in multilingual classrooms –​because it is based on plurilingual instruction (García & Sylvan, 2011). 1.11

Creating Pedagogical Practices Unique to Bilingual Learners

As we saw in the prior sections, most available bilingual programs are transitional and subtractive in nature, whereas dual-​language programs are additive.

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However, across programs, languages are taught separately and students are allowed to learn and communicate only in the selected language of instruction, which is contrary to how bilinguals communicate, by accessing all of their language resources. Under language separation, students are not allowed to access all of their language resources to learn. Rather, they are taught to separate languages through prolonged periods in which they can only use one or the other language. For example, in most dual-​language programs in New York City, color coding is used to demarcate the languages taught, thus on classroom walls, one can find words printed in red or blue in accordance with each language. Also, entire classrooms can be color coded in one language or the other, where teaching and communication only take place in the coded language. In one recent example seen by the first author, a taped red line was placed through the middle of the floor in a classroom, with everything blue to one side and everything red to the other side of the line to indicate language separation. Students could only speak one or the other language depending on whether they were standing in one or the other side of the classroom. In spite of the difficulties faced in the implementation of dual-​language programs, they have been found to be effective even among children from low socioeconomic status (SES). Lindholm and Block (2010) found that Hispanic students from low SES backgrounds attending dual-​ language programs achieved similar or higher results as their mainstream peers in tests of English. Students also achieved above grade-​ level performance in assessments in Spanish. In addition, Collier and Thomas (2004) report the achievement gap between monolingual and ELL students has closed faster in six years than with late-​exit developmental programs, which require on average eight years of bilingual instruction. 1.12

Conclusions and Discussion

In this chapter we reviewed the concept of bilingual education, its theoretical frameworks and various forms of implementation, showing that bilingual education is a pedagogical model that is still “under construction” and not progressing as favorably as it could. A focus of this chapter has been to consider bilingual education within the broader perspective of social, educational, and political changes that affect immigrant families and their children. Current bilingual frameworks are increasingly recognizing and adapting to the needs of bilingual students by integrating CBI and by moving away from pedagogical practices that fail to recognize the integrity of language systems in bilinguals. However, the reality is that most bilingual children will not have access to bilingual education or to an educational environment that promotes and values their bilingual/​multilingual cultural identities and languages. In the United States, there is a political climate that does not support diversity or the rights of

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the children of immigrant families to a content-​based bilingual education. We still have insufficient programs that can respond to the needs and demands of students, while there is still an emphasis on federal and state assessments based on monolingual norms. We must remember that bilingual education has been the subject of political and social tensions that have not been part of any other educational model. The BEA or Equal Education Opportunities Act arise from the anti-​segregation laws and passage of the Civil Rights Act, which granted a fair and equitable education to all children, regardless of their race, color, or national origin. The ethnic diversity among our more recent immigrants has raised fears in white sectors about the “browning of America.” The short history reviewed in this chapter shows how language-​minoritized children can easily lose their protection under the law. Thousands of students from minoritized language backgrounds were denied access to an equitable education based on sound research and best pedagogical practices. It would be difficult to count how many US citizen children from immigrant families have been affected from 1998 until 2016 in California, from 2000 until 2017 in Massachusetts, and from 2002 until now in Arizona. Under the current Trump administration, anti-​immigrant policies are being enacted and anti-​ immigrant fervor pervades the national discourse with increasingly racialized overtones. It is difficult to know how this swelling anti-​immigrant climate will affect access to a fair and equitable education for the millions of bilingual children across the nation. However, researchers and educators should not be deterred by the current political landscape. The task at hand is to solidify how best to teach bilingual students with evidence-​based pedagogical practices. Bilingual education can be a viable and successful model to address the needs of our pluralistic society. In this context, the words that former President Obama pronounced in response to the growing racial tensions in our country can also be applied to the urgency of solidifying bilingualism as an educational model: What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before that dates back centuries. Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That has folks looking fifty years back. It’s the twenty-​first century, not the nineteenth century. Come on! (Oct. 20, 2017)

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Distinguishing a True Disability from “Something Else”: Part I. Current Challenges to Providing Valid, Reliable, and Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Disability Evaluations Catherine J. Crowley and Miriam Baigorri Introduction

What is a child with a disability as prescribed by the federal law on special education, the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004? According to the federal law, a child with a disability means a student evaluated and determined to have one of certain conditions including intellectually disabled, hearing impaired, serious emotional disturbance, autism, speech or language impaired, and specific learning disability (20 USC 1401(3)). In addition to being identified with one of these conditions, this condition must “adversely affect” a student’s “educational performance” (Part 300 § 300.8). However, as we will see in the following sections, identifying a learning or language disability in bilingual children is not a straightforward or simple process. In the following sections we explain and discuss many of these challenges. 2.1

The Challenge of Distinguishing a Disability from “Something Else”

Some of these disability categories can be fairly easily diagnosed and verified, such as through a hearing test, vision test, or neurological testing such as with traumatic brain injury. Even a diagnosis of autism has some degree of reliability as it is identified by its symptoms that are a set of observable behaviors (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). However, it is much more challenging to identify these categories with similar confidence for other disability categories such as specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, or other health impairments. Even the condition of intellectual disabilities has been shown to over-​identify particular racial and ethnic groups (Shifrer & Fish, 2014).

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2.1.1

The Possibility of Academic Gaps but No Disability

In these categories, students are generally identified if they are having academic difficulties, thus something is adversely affecting the student’s educational performance. The challenge with the categories of specific learning disability, speech or language impairments, or other health impairments is that there are many reasons why a student might seem to present with one of these disabilities, but not actually be disabled. That is, while a student may have academic gaps and be falling behind classroom peers, that does not mean that the student has a disability. Students can have academic gaps for many reasons other than having a disability. For example, students are likely to come to school with a variety of different experiences prior to coming to school. These prior experiences result from the students’ sociocultural backgrounds, linguistic backgrounds, and socioeconomic backgrounds (Paradis et  al., 2011). If a student’s prior experiences are different from those that the school expects the students to have when they come in the door, there already is an experiential gap that can easily convert to academic gaps (Crago et al., 1997). In addition to these broad experiential differences, there are myriad reasons why a non-​disabled student might present with academic gaps including that the student had less than adequate prior academic instruction, frequent absences from school such as a result of the student’s own illness or family disruptions, inconsistent attendance at one school due to economic or familial issues, or unattended medical conditions such as hearing loss, visual impairments, or nutritional deficits. Finally, all students, including those with and without disabilities, follow different courses of development and may have need for additional support based on the subject matter at different developmental stages. Some non-​disabled students may simply need additional classroom support to acquire certain academic skills. Other students may have had interrupted formal education or might have been with a teacher who was not strong for a year or two. Those students will present with academic gaps but not have a disability. These reasons, and many others, are the “something else” reasons whereby a student would present with academic gaps but not have a disability. 2.1.2

Ways to Distinguish Academic Gaps Alone without a Disability

Several approaches have been suggested to close the academic gaps for all students, both those with and without disabilities. One approach provides a multi-​tiered system of supports for students who may be struggling academically, including Response to Intervention (RTI) and early intervening services. These supports provide students with the academic skill sets needed to close those gaps (Hoover & Klingner, 2011; California Special Education Task

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Force, 2015). Others suggest an expansion of Universal Design for Learning, a set of principles for curriculum development that give students equal opportunities to learn by instructional goals, methods, materials, and evaluations and provide a flexible pedagogical structure that can be customized and modified depending on individual needs (Hehir et al., 2012; California Special Education Task Force, 2015). This chapter focuses specifically on what is generally the final step before a student is identified as having a disability –​the disability evaluation. These disability evaluations must be effective and accurate to identify students with academic difficulties who have true disabilities consistent with IDEA 2004 versus those students with academic gaps due to something other than a disability. The federal law on disabilities sets forth the minimum standard that must be met for disability evaluations. 2.2

What the Federal Law Requires to Identify a Disability

When a student with academic difficulty is referred to the special education evaluation team, that evaluation is supposed to meet or exceed the standards for evaluations set forth in the federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004. In 2016, all fifty states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico received funding under IDEA 2004 (US Department of Education, 2016b). This means that IDEA 2004 describes the minimum standard required by law for a disability evaluation anywhere in the United States. Thus, states cannot require evaluation procedures less rigorous than those laid out in the federal law. IDEA 2004 expressly requires that the evaluation employs a “variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information, including information from the parent” (20 USC 1414(b)(2)). Assessments and other evaluation materials must be selected and administered so as “not to be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis” (20 USC 1414(b)(3)). These evaluation materials must be “provided in the language and form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally” and they must be “valid and reliable” and “administered in accordance with any instructions provided by the producer of such assessments” (20 USC 1414(b) (3)). Evaluations must also distinguish between a child with “lack of appropriate instruction in reading” or “lack of instruction in math,” or “limited English proficiency” (20 USC 1414(b)(5)). It is noteworthy that the federal law is consistent with the perspective on disability promulgated by the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization’s 2004 International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health classification system characterizes the severity of disability by

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how the disability limits the person’s function, activities, and participation in the community. Similarly, IDEA 2004 focuses on what a student can do “academically, developmentally, and functionally.” Disability determinations based primarily on the results of standardized norm-​referenced test scores are inconsistent with IDEA 2004 and the classification system of the World Health Organization (Spaulding et al., 2012). 2.2.1

Consistency of Disability Determinations in the United States

If the states and districts employed evaluation materials consistent with the federal law, that is those that were valid, reliable, free of racial or cultural biases, and distinguished a true disability from poor academic instruction and from limited English proficiency, one would expect that there would be some consistency in the percentage of US students diagnosed as having disabilities. But the numbers vary widely. The nationwide percentage of students with disabilities was 13 percent for 2013–​2014. However, across states, the percentage of students identified as having disabilities differs considerably. At the low end is Texas (8.6 percent), Idaho (9.3 percent), with California at 10.8 percent. The high end is New  York (16.6  percent), Pennsylvania (16.8  percent), and Massachusetts (17.5 percent). Puerto Rico is the highest with 29.2 percent of its students identified as having a disability (US Department of Education, 2015). One would expect about the same percentages of students with disabilities across states. But this is contrary to what the numbers show. Rather, these numbers show there are twice as many students with disabilities in New York and Massachusetts than there are in Texas or Idaho. These numbers bring into question the validity of disability determinations nationwide with such great disparities across states. These numbers also raise the question of why some states identify so many more students with disabilities, while other states identify comparatively few. 2.2.2

Reasons for “High Incidence” Disability Categories

Most concerning is that by far the majority of students identified as having disabilities under Part B of IDEA 2004 for Fall 2014 in schools were identified under one of the three “high incidence” categories that are most likely (Hehir et al., 2012). According to the US Department of Education, 39.2 percent of all students with disabilities were identified as having a “specific learning disability” as of Fall 2014; while 17.6 percent were identified as speech or language impaired; and 14.4  percent as other health impaired (US Department of Education, 2016a, p. 37). This means that these three disability categories comprised 71.2 percent of all students in the United States who were identified as having a disability under Part B of IDEA 2004. Two additional categories,

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“intellectual disability” and “serious emotional disturbance,” are similarly prone to misidentification, with intellectual disabilities making up 7 percent of the categories and serious emotional disturbance 5.7 percent of the categories nationwide. In total, these five disability categories make up 83.9 percent of all students identified as having disabilities in US schools under IDEA 2004. In a study of the Massachusetts special education system, Hehir and colleagues (2012) named the three most commonly diagnosed disability categories “high incidence” disabilities (Hehir et al., 2012, p. 6). That is, a student with academic gaps may be more easily identified with one of these “high incidence” disability categories-​specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, or other health impaired. Hehir and colleagues (2012) noted that identifying students as having one of these “high incidence” disorders “may be more subject to interpretation” and related to policy issues (Hehir et al., 2012, p. 6). Policy decisions appear determinative as to the low number of students identified with disabilities in Houston Independent School District according to the investigation in the Houston Chronicle (Rosenthal & Barned-​Smith, 2016). The high incidence of disability determinations of the three most common diagnoses may lie in the rather porous definitional outlines of the most commonly diagnosed disability categories leading to subjective decisions on disability categories (Shifrer & Fish, 2014). For example, the definition of “specific learning disability” under IDEA 2004 is “a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations” (20 USC Sec. 1401 (30)(A)). Virtually any student who has academic gaps related to classroom learning could appear to meet the criteria for this disability. There is no valid way to discern accurately a disorder of “basic psychological processes.” The federal law provides that those students with a true “disorder” should receive the diagnosis and an individualized education plan (IEP). As mentioned previously, there are a multitude of reasons why a student might have academic gaps including poor prior educational instruction, moving from school to school, missing school due to illness, acquiring the language or dialect of the classroom, lack of exposure to vocabulary and literacy activities due to socioeconomic status, or simply cultural differences in upbringing. The skill of the educational staff and the disability evaluator is to gather the data needed to make the differential diagnosis between a disorder needing an IEP and an academic gap that needs filling for the student to move forward and achieve academic success. The district and the evaluator have the legal obligation to make this differential diagnosis. When a student is having academic difficulties, an all-​too-​easy answer is to give the student the traditional battery of standardized tests and, from those results, identify that student with one of these disability categories. This

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can lead to unreliable and invalid approaches to identifying disabilities when students have academic gaps. Then these students can fit into one of these disability categories with more fluid definitions without any assurance that the student even has a disability, let alone has the particular disability assigned. This approach to disability determinations is likely to lead to misidentification of minority students, students who speak different dialects and languages in their homes and communities, and students from lower-​income homes and communities. 2.2.3

Disproportionate Referral of Minority Students for Special Education

One significant concern in IDEA 2004 is the disproportionate referral of minority students for special education. In the congressional findings and purposes these concerns are made explicit. Additionally, Congress built protections into the law to ensure that minority students and Dual Language Learners (DLLs) would not be disproportionately identified as students with disabilities. 2.2.4

Congressional Findings and Purposes Regarding Disproportionate Referrals

The congressional findings and purposes at the front of IDEA 2004 set forth the context within which to read the entire law. These findings and purposes are explicit in demanding that states address the disproportionate referral of minority and bilingual students to special education. In the front of IDEA 2004, Congress included that “[g]‌reater efforts are needed to prevent the intensification of problems connected with mislabeling among minority children with disabilities” and “[m]ore minority children continue to be served in special education than would be expected from the percentage of minority students in the general school population.” The findings and purposes go on: “Students have found that schools with predominantly white students and teachers have placed disproportionately high numbers of their minority students into special education” (20 USC § 1400(c)(12)). Regarding students who are “limited English proficient,” the findings and purposes state:  “Studies have documented apparent discrepancies in the levels of referral and placement of, and provision of services for, our Nation’s students from non-​English language backgrounds.” The law continues: “Such discrepancies pose a special challenge for special education in the referral of, assessment of, and provision of services for, our Nation’s students from non-​ English language backgrounds” (20 USC § 1400(c)(11)). The concern about disproportionate referral of minority students and DLLs has only increased since the law was enacted. In 2016, the US Department

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of Education proposed a rule to address disproportionate referral of racial and ethnic minorities by establishing a common approach finding that states used inconsistent and inaccurate analysis to determine disproportionality (US Department of Education, 2016c). Also in the 2016 proposed rule, the US Department of Education looks to expand the use of early intervening services to students who have not been identified as having a disability but who may need additional academic or behavioral supports to succeed academically (IDEA (20 USC 1413(f)(1)). These “early intervening services” are designed to provide intensive interventions to close academic gaps and to move some of the funding for special education services to pre-​referral support for students. The first approach will help to identify what states have significant disproportionality based on a nationwide standard and the second provides intensive support for students. 2.2.5

Variability of Disproportionate Referral Rates

Disability identification should not be based on where the student lives, whether the student is bilingual, a student’s race or ethnicity, or the family income. Yet, this is the case. The 2012 Massachusetts study found that socioeconomic status seemed to affect disability identification in most cases (Hehir et al., 2012, p. 2). In that study, districts with a larger percentage of lower-​income students identified greater numbers of their students in these “high incidence” disability categories. Wealthier districts are even more likely to identify students from low-​income backgrounds as one of the “high incidence” disability designations (Hehir et al., 2012, p. 18). A Houston study on special education found English Learners were over-​ or under-​represented as having disabilities depending on their grade (Hehir et al., 2011, p. 11). Similarly, the 2012 Massachusetts study by Hehir, Grindal, and Eidelman found an overall pattern of equitable-​or under-​representation of students with limited English proficiency as eligible for special education (Hehir et  al., 2012, p.  2). Simply being a DLL made students much more likely to be labeled as “disabled” in New York City. In New York City, 21.6 percent of DLLs are identified as disabled while under 16 percent of their non-​ DLLs have IEPs (www2.ed.gov/​fund/​data/​report/​idea/​partbspap/​2013/​ ny-​acc-​stateprofile-​11–​12.pdf). Within one city, results can vary greatly. In the Borough of Staten Island in New York City, almost 37 percent of bilingual students are identified as having disabilities and receive some kind of special education services (New  York City Department of Education, 2015, p.  62). Even the language the student speaks seems to matter. For example, in New York City in 2012, 63.4 percent of DLLs spoke Spanish but 84.7  percent of DLLs with IEPs were Spanish speaking (New York City Department of Education, 2013, pp. 2, 7).

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How minority students with disabilities fare compared to non-​minorities and non-​DLLs also varies considerably. A Houston study found that African-​ American students were dramatically over-​represented in the categories of intellectual disabilities and emotional disturbance (Hehir et al., 2011, p. 11). The Hehir Massachusetts study found that the number of Spanish-​speaking students designated as intellectually disabled was nearly double the number of English proficient students (Hehir et al., 2012, p. 22). 2.3

Reasons for Disproportionate Referrals of Minority and Bilingual Students

At a certain point, students who have academic gaps that are not responding to classroom instruction or whatever additional supports the student may have received, are then referred to have a disability evaluation to determine whether that student does have a disability. There are many reasons why a student might be misidentified during the evaluation process. This can lead to either a finding that the student does have a disability when they do not or that the student is not identified as having a disability when that student does have one and needs specialized supports.

Cause 1: Perceptions of Identical Skills Changes with Race and Ethnic Variability

One reason for this disproportionate referral of minority students for special education may lie in the teachers’ view of students. A study by Fish (2016) examined how teachers identify the needs of students based upon preconceived notions about race and ethnicity. The researchers surveyed seventy third-​and fourth-​grade teachers about three fictional male students with the same profiles, but with different names –​Jacob, Carlos, and Demetrius. These profiles related to giftedness, behavior/​emotional deficits, and academic deficits. How teachers responded to identical skill sets depending on the students’ ethnicity and race was instructive. White students were seen as having “medicalized problems to fix” while “low academic performance was seen as normal for students of color and not a problem to remediate.” African-American and Latino boys with the same profile of behavioral difficulties were seen as more aggressive and problematic than white boys with the same behavioral profile. In giftedness profiles, the white boys’ skills were more likely to be considered gifted than the identical skills demonstrated by the African-American and Latino boys. The results of this study indicate teachers’ preconceived notions about students of color may inform over-​and under-​referrals for appropriate school placements (Fish, 2016). Consistent with the Fish findings, a California special education task force found a disproportionate referral of students of color or DLLs for special

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education. The task force suggested this disproportionate referral might be due to waiting for documented failure before providing services or that educational staff may not be adequately equipped to distinguish cultural and linguistic issues from other contributory factors, such as disability or trauma at home (California Special Education Task Force, 2015, p. 24).

Cause 2: Restrictions on Disability Evaluation Referrals

Districts can adopt an artificially low percentage of students who may receive special education services. In an investigation of the Houston school district, the Houston Chronicle (2016) found that one year after cuts to special education were implemented, the Houston Independent School District evaluated almost 50 percent fewer students for special education. In the 2010–​2011 school year, 2,942 students were evaluated but in 2011–​2012, only 1,572 students were evaluated (Rosenthal & Barned-​Smith, 2016). The Houston Chronicle (2016) also found that teachers were instructed to wait until the students were in second grade before referring them for an evaluation. For a student with a disability, this creates even greater problems, as the student fails to receive the services to intervene and address the possible disability or, if not a disability, the instructional support needed to close the academic gap before it widens. According to the investigation into the special education gap by the Houston Chronicle (2016), teachers could not request an evaluation without ensuring that the student’s academic issues “could not possibly be explained by trauma, moving between different schools, ‘any variables related to the student’s medical history,’ ‘any variables related to family history,’ ‘the student’s cultural background,’ or other ‘exclusionary factors” (Rosenthal & Barned-​Smith, 2016). By these criteria, without an in-​depth evaluation by a qualified and knowledgeable evaluator, a teacher could not be certain why the student was having the academic problems. The student’s academic problems might be due to cultural, familial, or other issues, but in the evaluation that differential diagnosis takes place and the student might have these identified issues and also have a disability. Only in the process of gathering data about a student’s ability to learn over time  –​through teacher and parent interviews together with other relevant evaluation materials  –​can the chances of making an accurate disability diagnosis be increased. Cause 3: Over-​Referral through Out-​of-​Date Assessment Practices Because states and districts must at least meet the federal standards on evaluations, regulations and policies about disability evaluations at most can require standardized test scores where “appropriate.” Other states have gone

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farther in clarifying disability evaluation guidelines such as the New York State Education Department 2014 Field Advisory that reaffirmed that culturally and linguistically appropriate evaluations are mandatory and that standardized test scores should not be used to identify disability when those tests fail to identify disability due to biases or validity and reliability issues (New York State Education Department, 2014). But even in a state like New York, with its decades of policies and guidelines and advisories on appropriate disability evaluations (University of the State of New York, 1990, 1997), clinical practice remains virtually unaffected by the federal, state, or city’s long-​standing laws, policies, and regulations. In the 2005 study of the special education system of the New York City Department of Education, Hehir and his colleagues found the New York City Department of Education assessment practices were fundamentally driven by a traditional medical model of disability, meaning “that the problems related to underachievement reside in the student and that current diagnostic practices and procedures are reliable and valid for operationalizing special education eligibility criteria irrespective of cultural and linguistic considerations” (Hehir et al., 2005, p. 54). The Hehir study continued: “[u]‌nder this model, assessments tend to be very similar across students and very focused on the results of testing, on the scores” (Hehir et al., 2005, p. 54). The Hehir study noted that this approach to special education disability evaluations was the same one that had been over twenty years before in a consent decree related to poor special education services especially for bilingual students (Hehir et al., 2005, p. 54). Given the continued disproportionate referral of minority and bilingual students for special education in New York City Department of Education, it is unlikely that this practice has shifted much, at least as regards evaluations completed by outside agencies (Seubert, 2016). 2.4

Continued Use of Demonstrably Flawed Assessment Instruments

In too many districts nationwide, disability determinations are based on standardized tests without sound psychometric foundations. Recent research into the use of standardized tests in identifying speech-​language disabilities offers additional insight. A study by Betz, Eickhoff, and Sullivan (2013) found that speech-​language evaluators did not choose standardized tests based on psychometric qualities. This study found that the frequency of test uses to identify a speech or language disability did not correlate to the quality of psychometric properties in the tests used. Rather, these authors posited that what test evaluators used to identify a speech-​language disability had more to do with what they were accustomed to, and so required significantly less time to learn new assessment procedures. Rather than use assessments more consistent with

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the current research on what makes a language disability and how to identify it, Betz and her colleagues (2013) found that speech-​language pathologists often simply opted to use the newest revision of tests originally published decades ago, finding that test use was not highly correlated with test accuracy. A study by Arias and Friberg (2016) further confirmed the continued heavy reliance on standardized tests by speech-​language pathologists to identify disability, with little change from an earlier study by Caesar and Kohler (2007). The long-​standing omnibus standardized language tests and the vocabulary tests that are updated regularly continue to be the most used standardized tests to identify disability by speech-​language pathologists (Betz et al., 2013). This “prevents SLPs [speech-​language pathologists] from using tests that have been recently designed based on cutting-​edge research findings” (Betz et al., 2013, p.  140). This is true in spite of the fact that “many recently published tests are updated versions of measures that were originally introduced more than 50 years ago” (Betz et al., 2013, p. 140). As the Betz et al. (2013) and Arias and Friberg (2016) studies show, even with the clear language of the federal law requiring valid and reliable tests, the choice of test used to identify disability does not correlate with validity, discriminant accuracy, or overall quality of psychometric properties. These flawed clinical practices remain and are perhaps reinforced or even mandated by unwritten district administrators’ idiosyncratic or district-​wide requirements. 2.4.1

Continued Reliance on a Flawed Approach to Disability Evaluations

The focus on a medical model of testing and determining disability where a test is given to identify something that is “wrong” with a student is not consistent with IDEA 2004 or with the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health classification system set forth by the World Health Organization (2004). Both IDEA 2004 and the World Health Organization’s classification system look at how the disability affects the person’s ability to function (Spaulding et al., 2012). This tiered approach to disability determinations is contrary to the language and spirit of the law and is damaging to the students who are misdiagnosed by such faulty procedures. 2.4.2

Current Legal and Evidence-​Based Approach to Disability Evaluations

As has been seen, the federal law requires that assessment instruments and evaluation materials are “valid and reliable,” free of racial and cultural biases, and distinguish a disability from lack of adequate education in reading and math and from limited English proficiency. The law would appear to restrict the

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kind of misidentification of minority students, students who have not acquired Standard American English, the language and dialect of the classroom and texts, and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. But the data show that this is not the case. 2.4.3

The Problem with Norm-​Referenced Tests to Identify Disability

Standardized tests are typically administered in evaluations to determine whether a student has a disability. According to a 2016 study by Arias and Friberg, except for language sampling, standardized tests continue to be the most commonly used method by the speech-​language pathologists to identify a disability in bilingual populations. Arias and Friberg found the most commonly used standardized tests are the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-​ Fourth Edition (CELF-​4; English: Semel et al., 2003; Spanish: Semel et al., 2006), Preschool Language Scale-​Fifth Edition (PLS-​5 English: Zimmerman et al., 2011; PLS-​5 Spanish: Zimmerman et al., 2012), Receptive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test-​Fourth Edition (Martin, 2012), Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test-​Revised-​Fourth Edition (EOWPVT; Gardner, 1990), the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-​Fourth edition (PPVT-​4; Dunn & Dunn, 2007), and the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (Carrow-​ Woodfolk, 1999) (Arias & Friberg, 2016, p. 8). In analyzing the assessment materials used with monolingual English speakers, Betz et al. (2013) found a similar list of standardized tests used to identify disabilities. These tests do not assess how a student might be affected functionally, academically, or developmentally, but instead assess whether a student has acquired a set of learned content based on the inherent assumption that all US students should have had essentially the same prior experiences including the same exposure to English, specifically the grammar of the dialect Standard American English, to the same vocabulary, and to the same sociocultural understandings related to topic, participant, setting, and function. These standardized tests are normed on a cross section of students so that the mean is an amalgam of the most recent US census in effect when the test was created. Thus, the mean of a standardized language test is based on the average performance on the test of a person reflecting the average percentages of ethnicity and race, socioeconomic status, region, gender, etc., based on whatever census the test publishers used to define the normative sample. These standardized tests measure whether a student has acquired certain linguistic skills that the test makers assume the student has been exposed to through prior linguistic experience. That is, the test assumes that all students taking the test will perform at the mean of that hypothetical student representing an amalgam of the ethnic/​racial/​socioeconomic/​regional/​gender of the average mean of US students based on the census used to define the normative sample

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(Abedi, 2011). Inclusion of a certain percentage of ethnic minorities in normative samples has been shown not sufficient to create non-​biased assessment instruments for those ethnic minorities as the issues are far more complex (Stockman, 2000; Barragan et al., 2018). Additionally, when a standardized test is used to identify disability, that single score does not mean that the student performs at that precise point. Rather, each standardized test must calculate the Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) of a test, that relates to reliability of the test including human error such as the student, or even the evaluator, being hungry, sick, or tired or less motivated to do well, and thus performing less well than that student would without those factors. SEM also calculates the error within test items so that one student might misunderstand a test question related to question ambiguity. Each score on a standardized test must be analyzed within a confidence interval derived from the SEM. Generally, scores are considered through a 90 percent or 95 percent confidence interval. That is, those who are making the disability determinations choose to be 90 or 95 percent sure that the student’s true score falls somewhere within that confidence interval. It is not that the student’s true performance is the full range of the confidence interval, but it shows with 90 or 95 percent certainty that the student’s true score falls within that range. In disability evaluations of language and cognition, confidence intervals for such tests often span an entire standard deviation, making identification of a disability quite difficult unless the student scores very high or very low so that a standard deviation around that score would still qualify for services or indicate no disability. These norm-​referenced standardized tests should not be used to identify disability based on a particular cut-​off score. As Spaulding, Plante, and Farinella (2006) found, a number of US state education departments provide guidelines on what score on a standardized test might indicate a disability. This research demonstrated the flaws in that approach, as many of the tests often used by clinicians to identify language impairment failed to provide important psychometric information such as sensitivity and specificity. Without this information, clinicians cannot assess the test’s discriminant accuracy, which is at the core of construct validity (Dollaghan, 2007). Nonetheless, a number of US state education departments continue to provide cut-​off scores for disability determinations and even severity of language impairment based on these norm-​ referenced tests (Spaulding et al., 2006; Spaulding et al., 2012). In order to determine the diagnostic accuracy of a standardized test, a reference standard is used. A reference standard, known as the “gold standard,” measures the accuracy of the child’s diagnostic classification. It has a high degree of accuracy in determining sensitivity (identification of children as having a language disorder) and specificity (identification of children with typical language development) groups. The reference standard should be calculated from a large

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sample, a minimum of one hundred children per age group, to detect differences between groups and minimize chances of false negatives and misdiagnoses (Dollaghan, 2007; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Additionally, the diagnostic status of the child should be determined by a valid measure. The reference standard used to identify children as having a language disorder in the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-​ Fifth Edition (CELF-​5; Wiig et al., 2013) included a group of sixty-​seven children ranging in age between 5 and 15;11 recruited from speech-​language pathologists in multiple centers across the United States. This sample is too small to be considered representative of the test population. Additionally, it did not include the entire age range of the CELF-​5. Even more concerning is the reference standard itself. The reference standard for the CELF-​5 sensitivity group is those students who received a score of one and a half standard deviations or below on any standardized test and were receiving speech-​language services. The discriminant accuracy of these tests was not considered. Almost 50 percent of the students were identified as language disordered (49  percent) using the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-​Fourth Edition (CELF-​4; Semel et  al., 2003), and 17.9 percent with the Preschool Language Scale (PLS-​3; Zimmerman et al., 1992), both measures with unacceptable diagnostic accuracy (Vance & Plante, 1994). Additionally, where those tests are accurate can vary, meaning that a score of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean might not be indicative of a language disorder in the tests given to the students in the sensitivity group (Spaulding et al., 2006; Spaulding et al., 2012). The reference standard used to classify children as “typically developing” was taken from the normative sample and included children who were not previously diagnosed with a language disorder and were not currently receiving speech and language services. The entire age range of the CELF-​5 was not included and therefore is not representative of the test population. Moreover, based on the reference standard for the specificity group, there could be a number of children who had a disorder but who had not yet been identified as having a disorder. According to Dollaghan (2007), the reference standard must be applied to the sensitivity and specificity groups in order to determine the test’s determinant accuracy and “need(s) to be described clearly enough that an experienced clinician can understand their differences and similarities and can envision applying them.” The CELF-​5 does not meet these standards, making it also an invalid measure in identifying the specificity group. 2.5

Racial and Ethnic Biases in Disability Evaluations

As stated before, the federal law requires that evaluation materials be free of racial and cultural biases and be valid and reliable. However, these standardized

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tests measure “decontextualized communication skills […] and may ask children to engage in activities unfamiliar to their school and communication experiences” (Pavelko et al., 2016). In fact, over several decades, studies have shown that standardized tests may ask students to perform and respond to activities unfamiliar to their prior experiences (Heath, 1983; Peña & Quinn, 1997; Figueroa, 2002; Pavelko et al., 2016). 2.5.1

Biases in Vocabulary Tests

Vocabulary tests are another area of great concern. The tests identified by Arias and Friberg (2016) and Betz et al. (2013) as widely used to identify disability have a great focus on a student’s vocabulary skills, which is the student’s knowledge of labels. Here again, decades of research have shown that vocabulary tests have very significant biases. The underlying theory of vocabulary tests to identify language disorder is that students have been exposed to the vocabulary words on the tests and have been given enough exposure to know the words or to have an idea about the meaning of the words. The assumption is that all students have similar exposure to vocabulary words and the tests help us identify whether students could learn those words they were exposed to in their lives. The theory goes that those students who did not learn enough of those words did not do so because they have a problem or a disability in their ability to acquire new words. The flaw in using expressive and receptive vocabulary tests to identify disability is the assumption that all students have the same exposure to vocabulary words in their lives. Unless all students taking these tests have had essentially similar exposure to the vocabulary words on the tests, the use of these tests to identify disability is fundamentally flawed. While it is true that a student with a true language disability may have difficulty acquiring new vocabulary, there are many other reasons why a student might do poorly on these vocabulary tests. Vocabulary tests are more likely to correlate to socioeconomic status of the student’s family than to identification of disability. A number of studies have shown that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds tend to have significantly less exposure to vocabulary words (Hart & Risley, 1995; Peña & Quinn, 1997; Stockman, 2000; Horton-​Ikard & Weismer, 2007; McCabe & Champion, 2009). Therefore, the use of tests measuring vocabulary size, such as the PPVT-​4, is an inaccurate measure of diagnosing children with language disorders (Hart & Risley, 1995; Roseberry-​McKibbin, 2008; Pruitt, Oetting, & Hegarty, 2011). Other studies have demonstrated that learning labels of vocabulary words reflects a sociocultural pattern of language development. While some cultures focus on labeling objects and activities in the environment, others focus on deeper semantic knowledge such as knowledge of function (Peña & Quinn,

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1997). Studies have shown how to assess whether a student has the ability to acquire new semantic information from the environment, including learning new words and through non-​word repetition tasks (Dollaghan, 1998; Horton-​ Ikard & Weismer, 2007; Oetting, Cleveland, & Cope, 2008). A low score on a standardized vocabulary test may show a disability or it may show simply sociocultural, socioeconomic, or some other reason for the lack of vocabulary unrelated to a disability. The continued use of vocabulary tests to identify disability by speech-​language pathologists (Betz et  al., 2013; Arias & Friberg, 2016) underscores the limited implementation in the clinical practice of evidence-​based practice. 2.6

Linguistic Biases for Second Language Learners and Bidialectal Students

The norm-​referenced tests identified as being widely used to identify speech and language impairments have been linked to the potential to over-​identify children who speak dialects other than Standard American English or who are English-​language learners (Peña et  al., 2006; Ellsworth & Fuse, 2008; Hendricks & Adolf, 2017). The Developmental Evaluation of Language Variations is one test that is dialect neutral and focuses on assessing the student’s linguistic system (Seymour et al., 2005). Many of the standardized language tests commonly used to identify speech-​ language impairment focus on whether the student has acquired the features of Standard American English. While acquisition of this dialect of English is likely essential for academic success, those students who are DLLs or who have acquired the dialect of their home and community, cannot be identified as having a language disability because they have not mastered Standard American English. States and districts that permit or encourage disability determinations based on these standardized tests are in violation of IDEA 2004. Use of these tests violates the federal law in that these tests are racially and culturally biased against students who come from homes and communities where dialects other than Standard American English are spoken because the assessment instruments cannot distinguish a disability due to inherent racial and cultural biases. Similarly, the most widely used assessment instruments to identify disability will also identify disability in DLLs who do not have disabilities, violating the federal law (Charity Hudley & Mallinson, 2011; Crowley & Grossman, 2014; Hendricks & Adolf, 2017). Given that the speech-​language evaluators use standardized tests that look at student acquisition of Standard American English, a significant portion of the disproportionate referral of minority students for special education must be related to, or even caused by, the use of these standardized tests on such a widespread basis (Betz et  al., 2013; Arias & Friberg, 2016).

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Bias in IQ tests for Dual Language Learners

The over-​identification of DLLs as intellectually disabled is likely related to a misuse of the standardized tests to identify intelligence (Styck & Watkins, 2013, 2014). For example, the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI-​III; Wechsler, 2002a) Technical and Interpretive Manual expressly recommends that neither the Verbal Intelligence Quotient nor the Full Scale Intelligence Quotient scores be used to estimate intellectual ability for children with “Limited English Proficiency” (WPPSI-​ III; Weschler, 2002b). The authors of this test further state that, consistent with the research, children with limited English proficiency have significantly lower scores than the matched controls for the Verbal IQ and Full Scale IQ scores (WPPSI-​III; Weschler, 2002b). A student is not supposed to be determined to have a language disorder based on a standardized test score. The standard for determining disability is whether the student’s language skills differ significantly from peers from the same speech community (Adger et  al., 2007). Assessment instruments and evaluation materials must not penalize students for not sharing the same prior knowledge as that which the test makers assume is shared by all students who take the test. The next chapter focuses on how to conduct accurate disability determinations for all students. It will establish procedures that lead to culturally and linguistically appropriate disability evaluations that provide data to make that differential diagnosis between a true disability and other reasons for a student’s academic difficulties beyond a disability determination.

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Distinguishing a True Disability from “Something Else”: Part II. Toward a Model of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Speech-​Language Disability Evaluations Catherine J. Crowley and Miriam Baigorri Introduction

A student is determined to have a language disorder if the student’s language skills differ significantly from peers from the same speech community (Adger et al., 2007). Assessment instruments and evaluation materials must not penalize students for not sharing the same prior knowledge as that which the test makers assume is shared by all students who take the test. Yet, the disproportionate referral of minority and bilingual students for special education establishes the limitations in the current approach to disability evaluations (Hehir et al., 2012; New York State Education Department, 2014; California Special Education Task Force, 2015; US Department of Education, 2015). As recent research has shown, most speech-​language disability evaluators base disability determinations on the results of norm-​ referenced and standardized omnibus language and vocabulary tests (Betz et al., 2013; Arias & Friberg, 2016). As shown in Chapter 2, virtually all the tests identified are the updated versions of tests that are decades old. These tests reflected the research when they were created. This was not cutting-​edge research on how to distinguish a true language disability from a student who is struggling in the classroom due to academic gaps, but not a disability. 3.1

Considerations in Developing Appropriate Evaluation Approaches

All students come with a distinctive set of experiences, including cultural and linguistic influences. This means that when a student is referred for a disability evaluation, that background must be identified and the assessment instruments and evaluation materials selected and modified to best determine whether the student has a disability. Whether the student has a disability or not, the evaluator also recommends what supports the student needs to close any academic gaps and reduce the student’s educational struggles. 48

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Linguistic Considerations

Evaluators must ensure that evaluation materials are not linguistically biased. The results of an evaluation cannot be affected because the student speaks a dialect other than Standard American English or is in the normal processes of second language acquisition of English. The process of acquiring English can include periods during which the student can be misidentified as selectively mute. Students in normal second language acquisition can appear to have significant delays in both their home language and English through language loss. Language attrition is fairly common when students have significantly more exposure to English when they enter a monolingual English classroom and begin to lose their skills in the home language. The morphological features of students acquiring English and going through language loss can appear identical to the morphological features of students who truly have language disabilities (Paradis, 2005). Linguistic differences within communities affect all parameters of language. For example, in one block in New York City, Zentella (1997) found no less than five rule-​governed dialects of Spanish and English. These dialects present with a variety of features and the language of the pre-​teen girls studied by Zentella flowed seamlessly among the various dialects. Evaluations to identify disability for students raised within this multi-​dialectal repertoire, or who might also be in the process of acquiring English and perhaps losing their non-​ English language, cannot rely on traditional methods, such as standardized tests. In addition, analysis of the presence of Brown’s morphemes (1973) or calculations of mean length of utterances, are only appropriate for speakers of Standard American English with no other linguistic influences. Mean length of utterance (MLU) analysis relies heavily on morphological development of Standard American English. Even if MLU calculations were modified for a different dialect of English, students like those in Zentella’s study, and indeed most students in the New York City Department of Education, live with significant exposure to several dialects of English. This means that the student might switch among those dialects and their morphological features. 3.1.2

Sociocultural Considerations

Assessment materials must be designed to reduce sociocultural biases. For example, students may not be responsive because they are obeying the sociocultural parameters of how to respond given the topic, participants, setting, and function (Patterson & Rodriguez, 2005). This sociocultural bias can occur whether disability is being identified through standardized language tests or language sampling. For example, if a student is shown a fire truck and asked to talk about it, this activity assumes that the student is comfortable with known

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questions, where the questioner knows the answer (Heath, 1983). The activity also assumes that it is culturally appropriate for the student to talk to an adult and, in effect, “show off” the student’s linguistic skills (Adger et al., 2007). Any of these sociocultural features may limit the quality and quantity of the language sample that the student produces during the evaluation, leading to misdiagnosis of language disability. 3.1.3

Socioeconomic and Educational Considerations

As mentioned previously in this chapter, many students from lower socioeconomic status are identified as disabled (Hehir et  al., 2012). While there are likely more students from lower socioeconomic status with disabilities (Donovan & Cross, 2002), any determination of a disability must distinguish between a student from a family from the lower socioeconomic levels and a student who shares the lower socioeconomic level but who also has a disability (Stockman, 2000). Students from lower socioeconomic levels are unlikely to have the same richness of exposure to a variety of experiences as students from middle-​class families, including exposure to quality educational experiences and to a wide range of vocabulary (Hart & Risley, 1995). In addition, those students potentially speak a dialect of English other than Standard American English in the home and also perhaps a language other than English. 3.2

Gathering Data from Parent/​Caregiver, Teacher, and Student

Instead of assuming that all students have had similar prior experiences as is consistent with norm-​referenced standardized tests, disability evaluations must distinguish differences in prior experiences from a true disability. Culturally and linguistically appropriate disability evaluations are intended to reduce the bias and validity and reliability problems with the traditional score-​based approach to evaluations. Through these materials, evaluators seek to understand and identify who is the student being evaluated and what does the student bring to the classroom and to the evaluation. The evaluation materials seek to learn more about the student in a variety of situations and over time in the student’s home, school, and community. 3.2.1

The “Critical Questions” in the Parent/​Caregiver Interview

To begin to understand what are the student’s prior experiences that might impact their performance in the classroom and during the evaluation, evaluators must learn about the student’s prior experiences. The parent/​caregiver is the best source of information. Generally, this person knows the student’s cultural and linguistic background and has seen the student in a number of different settings, with different people, and over time. For younger children, it is useful

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to ask about how the child spends the day to get a more global sense of the child’s life through this kind of ethnographic interviewing (Westby, 1990). These critical questions provide a framework through which evaluators can learn information that is critical to distinguish a language difference or “something else” from a true disability (Crowley, 2015).

What Exposure Does the Student Have to Other Languages and Dialects?  The student’s prior exposure to languages or dialects and the student’s current exposure to various dialects and languages are critical if the evaluator is to know what to expect. This question also often includes discussion of the student’s family and extended family, of any family’s migration, and of the community where the student is being raised. If a student is only exposed to Standard American English and yet has difficulty with noun-​verb agreement in the third-​person singular (“He cook”), that raises concerns about development. If, however, the student is in the process of acquiring English, that student may not have acquired the morphology yet or that student may be demonstrating strong language skills by transferring the linguistic structures of the student’s stronger language. A student may be exposed to a dialect of English where the third-​person singular form is non-​ obligatory, such as in African-​American English. Virtually all standardized tests to identify language disability look to see whether a student has acquired noun-​ verb agreement. Without knowing a student’s language and dialect acquisitional history, the evaluator cannot determine whether a student has a disability or a language difference that is a gap with the language skills needed for academic success (Adger et al., 2007). Often, students come to school with limited English skills and go through the process of normal second language acquisition in the school. In addition, they may be losing much of their first language as their days are filled with English, and often their peers use English (Anderson, 2004). During this period of language loss of their first language a student may be in the rather lengthy process of acquiring English. Without this knowledge an evaluator may identify a disability because the evaluator correctly identifies delays in both the parts that assess English language and the student’s first language, but incorrectly identifies them as disabilities. In the event the student is a sequential bilingual in the process of language loss, the evaluator must ask the parent/​caregiver whether the development of the first language was typical before the language loss began (Paradis et al., 2011; Paradis et al., 2013).

What Is the Parents’ Highest Level of Education?  Parents’ educational level, especially that of the mother, is most strongly correlated with socioeconomic level and academic achievement (Magnuson, 2007). The mother’s educational level has been shown to affect vocabulary

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skills and performance on IQ tests (Stockman, 2000). There are certainly parents with very low levels of education who make sure their children go to museums and libraries and provide enriching opportunities for their children so that, when they begin school, they have the skills that the teachers expect. But this question is important to learn about the family background and to begin that discussion.

Is There a Family History of Speech-​language or Academic Problems?  A significant percentage of speech-​language and academic disabilities have a genetic component (Tallal et al., 1989). This question opens the discussion to identify genetic issues in the family (Restrepo, 1998). If the parent/​caregiver identifies such a family history, evaluators do further probing to determine whether what the student presents with in the classroom is similar to that of the family member. One caveat is to remember that in many districts there is an over-​referral of minority and DLLs for special education so that the evaluator must distinguish poor identification from true disabilities.

Have There Been Any Significant Changes in the Family Structure?  Changes in the family structure, including illness, divorce, changes in living situations, and family separations, and new additions including a new sibling, can affect a student’s performance in school. This question provides more insight to changes that might have occurred that would likely impact a student’s educational performance.

How Does the Student Compare to Peers or Siblings at the Same Age?  A disorder is present when a student compares unfavorably to peers from the student’s own speech community (Adger et al., 2007). Through this question, the parent/​caregiver provides valuable information because it asks for a comparison by people who know the student over time and in a variety of situations (Restrepo, 1998). These comparisons can be the student’s current peers or the student’s siblings or cousins when they were the same age. This can be the most important of the critical questions in making a differential diagnosis between a disability and something else.

Were the Student’s Language Skills Shown in the Evaluation Representative of His/​Her Typical Skills?  Often, a student will not show off his/​her true language skills. The evaluation may be uncomfortable or uninteresting to the student. Additionally, the sociocultural parameters of topic, participant, setting, and function may lead a

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student to limit the amount they speak or how much they push themselves in an evaluation. This question can reveal when the sociocultural factors, or other reasons relating to how the student is feeling that day, have negatively affected a student’s performance.

Is the Student Clumsy?  This question comes from the work of DiDonato Brombach and Goffman (2014) who identified that students with specific language impairment function in the lower average range in gross motor coordination. The answer to this question can move the diagnosis closer to a disorder if the student is clumsy.

What Are Ten Examples of the Student’s Most Advanced Communications?  Between the time the appointment for the evaluation is made and when it actually happens, evaluators can ask parents/​caregivers to write the ten most advanced communications. Parents/​caregivers may have trouble recalling this during an interview, but if they are given time to write down these communications, they will do so and generally keep the information recorded in their smartphones. As it is often difficult to obtain examples of the student’s most advanced language skills in the evaluation, the parent/​caregiver can do this in authentic situations where the student has actual need to communicate and, in those situations, does so at his or her highest level of communication. While few parents bring ten examples, virtually all bring at least a few. These sentences often provide the greatest insight into the student’s true language abilities. In summary, these parent/​caregiver interview questions begin to provide the evaluator with information about the student within a familial and community context. Some of the questions will not provide much useful information with certain students but those same questions can be the most important to ask and to pursue with other students. Evaluators seek other information about the student, including developmental milestones, significant medical history, parent concerns, prior academic or other specialized support the student has received, kind and quality of prior education, and hearing status. Part of any evaluation is to determine the reliability of any evaluation instrument, and that is also the case with the parent/​caregiver interview. Reliability can be assessed based on how the parent/​caregiver answers the questions and how those answers compare to the information the evaluator gleans from the teacher interview and the clinical interactions with the student. 3.3

The Teacher Interview

Often, the evaluator has limited time with the student’s classroom teacher. The following questions for the teacher interview provide evaluators with

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valuable information in determining the reason for the student’s academic gaps (Crowley, 2015). 1 . What is the student’s grade level in reading and in math? 2. What are the student’s strengths and weaknesses? 3. What supports does the student benefit from? 4. Does the teacher have a portfolio for the student or even classroom notebooks to show how the student is doing and any progress or regression? 5. How do the student’s language skills and learning skills compare to peers with similar backgrounds and similar language histories? 6. Does the teacher agree with the evaluator’s findings? (This is especially important because the teacher generally knows the student much better than the evaluator and can provide significant insight.) 7. What are the results of any pre-​referral services such as response to intervention or academic intervention services before the student was referred for a disability evaluation? During the interview the evaluator looks for signs of the quality of instruction going on in the classroom. What insight does the teacher have beyond the fact that the student is struggling? Does the teacher seem to like the student and know the student? Do the classroom and teacher seem organized and aware of the student needs? All these questions can assist the evaluator in making the differential diagnosis between a student who is having academic difficulties due to a disorder or to something else. 3.4

Clinical Interactions with the Student

Culturally and linguistically appropriate evaluations demand that disability evaluations focus on assessing acquisition of skills to which the student has had a similar amount of exposure as other students. This is quite challenging when evaluating students with various linguistic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The corpus of assessment instruments must be selected with the least bias. Then any of those assessment instruments must be disregarded if they are not reflective of this particular student’s background. 3.4.1

What Information Should Be Elicited

In a language assessment, evaluators look for evidence of complex linguistic cohesion such as reference contrasting, temporal expression, mental state description, and understanding a behavior based on a false belief (Burns et al., 2012). In addition, evaluators look for the development of academic language, including the ability to problem solve, make inferences, compare and contrast, justify and persuade, synthesize and evaluate (Bloom et  al., 1956; Chamot,

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2009). These skills include expression and comprehension of questions, directions, and stories. Evaluators must ensure that their evaluation materials can elicit this information. One approach is to select a photo or illustration that most, but not all, students have experienced. For example, an illustration of a shoe stuck between two closed subway or train doors with a series of questions meant to stress the student’s linguistic system might be appropriate for students who travel by train or subway (Crowley & Baigorri, 2014a). Students could be asked questions of basic comprehension (“What happened?”), inferencing and problem-​solving skills (“How did this happen?”), a question to elicit a person narrative (“Did this ever happen to you?”), and a question that requires the student to make meaningful predictions (“What would you do if this happened to you?”) (Crowley & Baigorri, 2014a). 3.4.2

Culturally and Linguistically Sensitive Evaluation Materials

Another set of evaluation materials to elicit the language skills are language elicitation cards that the student must put in order, then tell the story, and answer questions. The story and questions are meant to elicit cohesion and complex sentences. The stories are fanciful, such as a boy bringing a bunny to school (Crowley & Baigorri, 2014b), a girl finding a dog and bringing the dog home against her mother’s wishes (Crowley & Baigorri, 2014c), a teenager losing his cellphone and running to find it (Crowley & Baigorri, 2014d). While not all students can relate to the stories, much of the prior knowledge and low-​frequency vocabulary that characterizes current standardized language disability tests is eliminated from these assessment instruments. Story comprehension tasks should be reviewed to ensure that the activities are common to most students. One story comprehension task developed for students in New York City involves sisters ordering food at Burger King for a family party but who leave the money on the kitchen table, while another story focuses on a day in school when the students learn that the following day will be a “snow day” and everyone will stay home from school (Crowley & Baigorri, 2015). These story comprehension topics were developed because most students in New York City bring some prior knowledge to the task. By leveling the playing field in terms of prior knowledge, these story comprehension tasks allow evaluators to see whether the student can understand a story and respond to questions about it. It reduces the likelihood that a student performs poorly on an oral story comprehension task primarily because the student had no experience with the context or they did not know key, low-​ frequency vocabulary words. The student still may be bored or tired or disinterested in the task, but at least the prior knowledge biases, and in turn the cultural and linguistic biases, are reduced.

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With a variety of assessment instruments selected and developed for students from the cultural and linguistic background of the student being evaluated, the biases and validity problems are lowered. With several evaluation materials focusing on the same features of language, evaluators can confirm their findings by doing similar tasks to assess language skills. Additionally, evaluators have materials that are matched in terms of what they are looking to elicit and the level of difficulty across tasks so they can be used in one language and the other for bilingual students. 3.5

Dynamic Assessment

Dynamic assessment is based on Vygotsky’s sociocultural approach to learning and looking at whether a person could learn in a stimulating environment (Vygotsky, 1978). Dynamic assessment initially was introduced in a format of giving a pretest, then having some kind of mediated learning experience, and then giving a posttest to see whether the student was modifiable; that is, whether the student responded to the evaluator’s “teaching” the skill. The essence of dynamic assessment moved testing away from “static assessment” that tested what the student brought into the evaluation, assuming that all students had the same prior experiences. If a student did not do well enough, it indicated a disorder of some kind. Dynamic assessment moved toward a model that looked at the student’s ability to learn new information presented during the assessment. As a result, dynamic assessment has acquired this broader definition which does not restrict the dynamic assessment tasks to pre-​test-​mediated learning post test. Dynamic assessment is an important component of culturally and linguistically appropriate evaluations because it permits heterogeneity of experiences across students, rather than the homogeneity assumed by standardized tests. The pre-​test–​teach–​post-​test model of dynamic assessment has been shown to be effective with students from diverse backgrounds. The types of learning that can go on in the teaching phase of dynamic assessment includes the ability to categorize (Ukrainetz et  al., 2000) and the development of story-​telling skills (Peña, Gillam, Malek, Ruiz-​Felter, Resendiz, Fiestas, & Sabel, 2006; Peña et al., 2014). Another effective dynamic assessment task aims to assess a student’s ability to learn invented words in context (Horton-​Ikard & Weismer, 2007; Kapantzoglou et al., 2012) or real words that the students did not know in the pre-​test (Peña et al., 2001). Non-​word repetition tasks assess the student’s ability to hear and repeat non-​ words of varying syllabic length (Dollaghan, 1998; Gutiérrez-​Clellen & Simon-​ Cereijido, 2010). While not structured as a test–​learn–​posttest task, non-​word repetition tasks are dynamic assessment in that they do not assess static knowledge that assumes prior experiences. Bilingual children with varying amounts

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of bilingual exposure perform with high accuracy on non-​word repetition tasks and are not affected by the length of the non-​words, suggesting that performance on non-​word repetition tasks is not affected by exposure to a language. Additionally, non-​word repetition has been shown to accurately distinguish children with Primary Language Impairment from children with typical language development (Thordardottir & Brandeker, 2013). Sometimes, dynamic assessment occurs when the evaluator gathers data over time about the student’s ability to acquire English as a new language or to fill academic gaps even when there are significant gaps that remain (Crowley, n.d.). Again, while not in the pre-​test–​teach–​post-​test model, information on a student’s ability to fill academic and linguistic gaps over time provides crucial information in determining whether a disability exists. For example, Kaushanskaya, Gross, Sheena, and Roman (2017) examined bilingual children’s performance on a morpheme-​learning task. Bilingual children were characterized by distinct language acquisition histories when compared to monolingual English-​speaking children, Spanish-​L1 bilingual children, and English-​L1 bilingual children. They were taught a novel derivational morpheme (/​ku/​) marking part–​whole distinction. All three groups of children accurately learned the morpheme and generalized its use to untaught nouns, suggesting that this learning task is insensitive to differences in language exposure and language skills, thus making it a promising tool across diverse language backgrounds. These dynamic assessment approaches and others that observe or document the student closing academic or linguistic gaps with some speed over time, support the conclusion that a student does not have a disorder, but instead academic gaps that can be filled with quality instructional support. 3.6

Analyzing the Data for the Differential Diagnosis

Once the evaluator has collected data from a variety of sources and over time that provide support for either the presence or absence of a true disorder, the evaluator must review all the data gathered during the evaluation. In that review the evaluator looks to confirm whether the data supports a conclusion that the student has simply academic gaps or academic gaps and a true disorder. An appropriate differential diagnosis by an evaluator requires a high level of competence by the evaluator. That competence, otherwise known as clinical judgment, is the knowledge and skills that an evaluator brings to the evaluation. An evaluator with clinical judgment knows what capacities need to be assessed in the disability evaluation, and how to assess those capacities in a valid, reliable, and culturally and linguistically appropriate way. A competent evaluator modifies his or her approach to assessing a student’s linguistic capacities based on what will provide the best information about that

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student’s linguistic abilities. For example, if a student performs poorly on a non-​word repetition task, the evaluator must have the clinical and cultural competencies to determine whether more probing is necessary to identify the cause or causes of the student’s poor performance. It could be short-​term memory, phonological awareness, a phonological disorder, problem with sequencing, lack of attention, boredom with the task, lack of familiarity with the testing protocol, or other reasons for the student’s difficulty with the non-​word repetition task. The evaluator has to be able to probe further to disentangle the results in order to have an appropriate diagnosis from which to suggest specific treatment approaches. The evaluator must have the clinical and cultural competence to make these determinations (Crowley et al., 2015). The distinction between a disorder and something else matters. If a disorder is found and the student has a disability, that student is entitled to a variety of rights and protections under IDEA 2004 and other federal laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973), and under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution (US Const. amend. XIV). But research shows that there remains stigma attached to students identified with disabilities, including lower expectations, less likely to graduate from high school, and less time with non-​disabled peers (Harry & Klingner, 2006). Thus, this distinction is vitally important for the student, the family, and the society that the student will enter. A culturally and linguistically appropriate evaluation requires more than giving one or two standardized tests to a student and then determining disability based on the student’s score, but evaluators have been shown to hold onto the traditional standardized tests to identify disability, even with decades of research showing that these approaches are unfounded and violate the express language of IDEA 2004 and congressional intent as described in that law’s congressional findings. The disproportionate referral of minority and bilingual students to special education in this country is overwhelming. With pressure from the federal government and leadership by the states and certain districts, the evaluation process that leads to the disproportionate referral can be changed to promote culturally and linguistically appropriate evaluations. But as IDEA states, these evaluations require “trained and knowledgeable” evaluators and evaluation reviewers (20 USC 1414(b)(3)(A)(iv)). That is exactly what students deserve.

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Part II

Bilingualism, Literacy Ecologies, and Parental Engagement among Immigrant Families

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4

Raising Children Bilingually: What Parents and Educators Should Know about Bilingualism in Children Anny Castilla-​Earls Mother: Santiago: Mother: Santiago:

¿Con cuál dinosaurio quieres jugar? What dinosaur do you want to play with? El verde one. The green one. ¿Quieres jugar con el verde? Do you want to play with the green one? Si mamá, el verde one. Yes mom, the green one. Age 2;4

Mother: Santiago, es hora de dormir. Santiago, it is time to sleep. Santiago: I don’t want Ø. Mother: Dime eso en Español. Say that in Spanish. Santiago: No quiero dormir. I don’t want to sleep. Mother: ¿Entonces, que quieres hacer? What do you want to do, then? Santiago: Jugar. Play. Age 2;6 Santiago:

¿Mami, como se dice “umbrella” en español? Mom, how do you say “umbrella” in Spanish? Age 2;8

Gabriela:

Esmeleme, mami. Smell me, mommy.

Gabriela:

Mama, esta snowando. Mom, it is snowing.

Age 3;1

Age: 3;0

The excerpts above are only a small sample of the many communicative interactions that take place in our bilingual home. I am the mother of Gabriela 61

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and Santiago who are 3  years of age at the time I  am writing this chapter. I am a Spanish-​English bilingual speech-​language pathologist and researcher investigating ways to improve language assessment practices in both monolingual and bilingual children. My first language is Spanish, but I have been a proficient English speaker for the past twelve years. My husband’s language profile is similar to mine, but he is a native speaker of English and Spanish is his second language. We are both highly proficient in Spanish and English, but we learned our second languages as adults. Our children were born in Buffalo, NY, where English is the majority language. Although there are minority languages in the community, such as Spanish, Karen, Arabic, and Somali, Buffalo is mostly an English monolingual city (Fike et al., 2014). There are only two elementary schools in the city that offer some type of bilingual education for Spanish-​English bilingual children. While we lived in Buffalo, our children were exposed to English every time we left our house: at the store, playground, library, when the radio and/​or television were on. Finding support for the Spanish language development of our children while we lived there proved to be a challenging task. Our friends were English speakers, we did not have any family in town, and play dates and library time in Spanish were non-​existent in our area. However, we used other resources, such as finding a bilingual nanny (instead of using English-​only day care) and using Spanish exclusively in our home to maximize Spanish exposure for our children. And this approach worked for my family’s language goals: At age 3, Gabriela and Santiago were able to speak and understand both Spanish and English, although I must –​proudly –​admit that their Spanish language skills were stronger than their English skills. I knew that learning English was not going to be a difficult process for my children, so I have made sure that they have ample resources in Spanish to guarantee their Spanish development. In general, I am more concerned about maintaining their Spanish language skills than I am about them learning English. They will continue learning English from the community, but I have to remain proactive in their use and exposure to Spanish to ensure that they will grow up to be bilingual. We recently relocated to Houston, Texas, primarily for work reasons, but an important decision factor for us in this relocation was the overwhelmingly positive support that our children will receive for their Spanish development. For example, Houston is a bilingual environment in which at least 40 percent of the population identify themselves as bilinguals. The education system has specialized schools for bilingual children, and libraries have sections dedicated to Spanish books. This environment is a more supportive context for our family language goals than where we were located before, but it is still our responsibility to adhere to our bilingual family plan. I know first-​hand the challenges of raising bilingual children. Many parents have questions about the bilingual development of their children and what they

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can do to support bilingual acquisition. Because of outdated views of subtractive bilingualism, parents also sometimes wonder if raising their children bilingually is their best choice. In addition, as children grow older, they might be at risk of losing their first language, and parents wonder what they can do to support home language maintenance. I believe that informed parents are more empowered to make decisions about language development for their children. It is my purpose with this chapter to address important ideas that I think parents should understand to make language decisions for their family. I divide the chapter into four sections. In the first, I briefly discuss the advantages of raising bilingual children. In the second, I outline the importance of language planning in bilingual families and discuss the role of family, environment, and schooling in bilingual acquisition. In the third section, I offer some strategies that have proven successful for our family to foster bilingual development. In the last section, I discuss some normal language patterns/​behaviors that bilingual children exhibit. I intertwine research findings with real-​life experiences in an effort to make this chapter both informative and relatable to the experiences of parents and educators. 4.1

Advantages of Bilingualism

I believe that there has been a general shift in perception, and that nowadays being bilingual has a better status than thirty years ago. My kids’ hairdresser, an Italian woman who immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 5 years old, told me that when she was little, her parents decided that speaking Italian was detrimental for her. A teacher, who told them that it was too hard to learn two languages at the same time, influenced her parents’ views about language learning. In this subtractive (and outdated) view of bilingualism, language-​learning abilities are considered of limited capacity and learning two languages at the same time is thought to be too difficult. Fortunately, today, we know that many children around the world are successful bilingual learners and that this does not pose a problem for language acquisition or schooling. However, our education policies regarding bilingualism are still somehow influenced by negative political and socioeconomic views about bilingualism and immigration. As best said by Claire Bowern quoted in Valerie Strauss’ column published in the Washington Post:  “Bilingualism is often seen as ‘good’ when it’s rich English speakers adding a language as a hobby or another international language, but ‘bad’ when it involves poor, minority, or indigenous groups adding English to their first language, even when the same two languages are involved” (Strauss, 2014). In all my conference presentations, I  discuss the advantages of being bilingual and promote bilingualism with information from research findings and my own experience raising bilingual children. It is important that we continue to promote bilingualism by reinforcing the advantages of being bilingual.

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There are many advantages to being bilingual, including literate, economic, cultural, and cognitive advantages. Being bilingual offers benefits in a globalized world. For example, Hispanic Population Census Briefs (2010) confirm that Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the United States, and that approximately fifty million people speak Spanish in the United States. The Census Office estimates that the United States will have more than 138 million Spanish speakers by 2050, making it the biggest Spanish-​speaking country in the world. Being able to speak, understand, read, and write in two languages (in Spanish and English in our example) will open doors for job opportunities and professional and personal advancement. In addition, being able to speak more than one language and to engage with more than one cultural system encourages a person to appreciate cultural and linguistic differences throughout the world and increases appreciation for a variety of worldviews. In my own experience, once I became fully bilingual, I realized that I could see the world with alternative lenses. In the area of cognition, researchers have made interesting advances in our knowledge of cognitive function in bilinguals. For example, Ellen Bialystok and her colleagues have found evidence that bilinguals have cognitive advantages in comparison to monolinguals, and that these advantages are independent of cultural background, immigration history, and the languages of the bilingual (Barac et al., 2014). For example, bilingual children are better than monolingual children in tasks that require solving problems with conflicting information. An example of such tasks is the dimensional change card sort. In this task, children are presented with cards with figures that differ in color and shape (e.g., blue square, red circle, yellow star). In the first step, children sort the cards following shape, and during the second step, the task is switched to sort the cards based on color. To accurately complete the second task, children have to ignore the information about shape for which they were just primed, and only use the color information to sort the cards. The performance of the bilingual children in this task is considerably better than that of monolingual children. Researchers hypothesize that this advantage lies in the bilingual children’s ability to inhibit/​monitor information. Studies on brain activity during language tasks show that both languages of the bilinguals are simultaneously activated, even in situations where only one language is being used. Therefore, it seems that bilinguals must constantly inhibit/​monitor their languages while they communicate. Interestingly, this cognitive advantage appears as early as 7 months of age (Kovács & Mehler, 2009). Recently, some minor controversy has emerged regarding the benefits from this type of task performance (de Bruin et al., 2015), but advantages reported in the literature also extend to other types of tasks. Bilingual children are also advantaged in other forms of cognitive flexibility (Adi-​Japha et al., 2010). When both monolingual and bilingual children were

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asked to draw flowers that did not exist, bilingual children were better able to imagine exemplars. For example, bilingual children drew “giraffe flowers” while monolingual children drew flowers without petals. This suggests that bilingual children “think well outside the box.” Another area in which bilinguals show an advantage vis-​à-​vis monolinguals is in Theory of Mind (ToM) tasks. ToM refers to the ability to take others’ perspectives by assigning mental states to them (e.g., knowledge, desires, intents). False belief tasks are a classic example of ToM. In a false belief task, children observe a scene in which something has changed. For example, something is deliberately put into a different place. A new character introduced after the change of location comes into place, and children are asked about this new character’s knowledge of the location of the object. Bilingual children are better than monolingual children at taking the new character’s perspective (the new character does not know the location of the object). This advantage extends to more advanced ToM tasks. For example, Greenberg, Bellana, and Bialystok (2013) found that bilingual children have an advantage over monolingual children in a complex spatial perspective-​taking task (complex spatial reasoning task), which is an indicator of academic success. Researchers in the field of cognitive development in bilinguals are also exploring the possibilities that these cognitive advantages can translate into a problem-​solving advantage. I find it interesting that most of the previously mentioned advantages are more evident in the most complex tasks while no difference appears in simpler tasks (Morales et al., 2013). For example, monolingual and bilingual children were asked to recall the position of figures previously presented in a three-​by-​ three grid. There were two conditions in this experiment. In the easier condition, three figures are presented at the same time and after two seconds children are asked to recall the position of the three figures in the grid. In the more complex condition, the three figures are presented one by one within one second of each other, and, at the end, children are asked to recall the position of all three figures in the grid. Bilingual and monolingual children perform about the same in the easier condition, but bilinguals show a definite advantage in the more complex condition. It seems that more complex tasks tax the cognitive system making advantages evident. In sum, there are many advantages to being bilingual reported in the literature. As a parent, I believe that I am giving my children important skills and capacities by raising them to be bilingual. 4.2

Importance of Language Planning in Bilingual Families

It is interesting to have to plan the language development of your child. In monolingual families this is never an issue since there is only one language that children will learn and, therefore, no planning is needed. After all, humans

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learn language from natural input without specific instruction. Mothers are not formally taught to teach language to their children, and instead we do this instinctively. However, in a bilingual environment, planning and instruction are sometimes needed. I use the term “language planning” here to define the process in which families choose language goals for their children and establish strategies to accomplish these goals. This is a similar process to planning education goals. Families plan education goals by discussing and making decisions on issues such as homeschooling versus traditional schooling, public versus private schools, and even choosing the specific schools their children will attend (in some cases, residence decisions are based on schooling factors, e.g., where a family chooses to buy a house). In language planning processes, families need to discuss and make decisions regarding what language they want their children to speak, understand, read, and or/​write (language goal). In our family, our language goal is for Gabriela and Santiago to be able to speak, understand, read, and write in both Spanish and English. It is also part of our language planning to include another language in a couple of years. Language goals don’t need to be as comprehensive as ours, of course. Some families might want to choose language goals only for oral language (speaking and understanding), or perhaps just for understanding a second language. Language goals must be based on specific family needs and wishes for their children, and one comprehensive goal does not fit every family profile. To illustrate the variety of language profiles, I am going to introduce now three different stories of children who are bilingual. These stories will help me to make the discussions in this chapter more applicable to real-​life situations, and hopefully you as a parent can identify yourself with one of these cases. I will also continue to bring in my own children as examples throughout the chapter and discuss what we do in our home regarding language planning.

Juan Andres

My nephew Juan Andres was born in Colombia and Spanish was his first language. His family moved to Texas when Juan Andres was 2 years old. He is an only child, and both of his parents are Spanish-​English bilinguals. He is 10 years old now and he can have a conversation in English and easily switch to Spanish with no effort. He is also biliterate (he can read and write in both Spanish and English). He is very proud of his language abilities and he likes being bilingual. Camila Camila is now a college student. She grew up hearing Spanish at home because her mom is a Spanish speaker. Her dad, a native English speaker, does not

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speak Spanish, and therefore speaks English to Camila. Camila attended an English-​only school because it was the only possibility in the community where she lived at that time. Currently, Camila does not speak Spanish fluently, but understands about 90 percent of the Spanish conversations that take place around her. Her receptive knowledge of Spanish is large compared to a person who does not know any Spanish. She knows Spanish receptively, and she could potentially develop her productive Spanish skills with ease in comparison to someone who has never been exposed to Spanish before. Mark My friend Sarah and her husband John are both native speakers of English. They have traveled extensively around the world, and although they are not fluent in a second language, they recognize the value of bilingualism. Their son Mark goes to a bilingual (Spanish/​English) school. Mark is exposed to English at home, and in half of his schooling time, he is exposed to Spanish. He is 8 years old now and has the potential to keep developing his Spanish skills through fifth grade (last year of bilingual schooling in his school). English is his stronger language, but his Spanish knowledge is growing. The bilingual profiles of these three children are all different, but they all have in common that they have been exposed to two languages throughout their development. Their parents planned for their children to be exposed to two languages, although the strategies used and the resources available were different in each case. Regardless of the outcomes, all three cases are examples of bilingualism. Interestingly, the definition of the word “bilingual” is often interpreted as a categorical variable: You are either bilingual or you are not. However, bilingualism is better understood as a continuous variable in which different levels of bilingualism can exist within a continuum of proficiency in two languages (Bialystok, 2001), as shown in our case studies. Balanced bilingualism, knowing both languages with a similar level of proficiency, is probably the most common interpretation for bilingualism, but it is definitely not the only possibility. Juan Andres is probably an example of a balanced bilingual, but both Camila and Mark are within the continuum of bilingualism. Based on the second language knowledge they have, I don’t think they should be referred to as monolinguals. This is important for language planning, because parents should realize that there is not one single goal for being bilingual, but instead there is variation in linguistic profiles. Family language planning and bilingual acquisition is influenced by three factors: the status of a language in a community, the family patterns of language use, and schooling. I briefly discussed the importance of the status of a language in a community when I described my own experiences raising Gabriela and Santiago. A given language can be either the majority or minority language

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depending on the bilingual context (Genesee et  al., 2004). For example, Spanish is a minority language in Iowa City, but a majority language in certain areas of Miami. The status of minority versus majority is important because of the numbers of speakers in the community, which is directly reflected in the number of opportunities a child will have to hear and use the language in real-​ life contexts. In our case, we did not hear Spanish at all outside of our home when we lived in Buffalo, but now that we live in Houston, we use Spanish in many venues including the store, park, doctor’s office, post office. In some cases, a minority language is also referred to as a heritage language. In the United States, a heritage language is a minority language learned from the family. There are various studies documenting the high risk of children losing their heritage/​minority language as they grow older. Of particular importance, Portes and Rumbaut (2001) conducted a longitudinal study in Southern California and South Florida with approximately 5,000 adolescents from 77 different nationalities. They found that children gradually shift their language use from the minority to the majority language, and only one-​fourth of students were considered to be bilingual by the time they graduated from high school. The implications of this study for parents who want their children to be bilingual are drastic. Seventy-​five percent of the children in this study shifted their language profiles and experimented with language loss (a process in which a bilingual person loses knowledge of one language in which they were previously proficient to at least some degree; Anderson, 1994). Therefore, the status of a language in a community will have an impact on the development and adult use of a language. Similar to the impact of the language of the community, the influence of family language dynamics is undeniable when considering raising children bilingually. The decision a family makes regarding language use heavily depends on the languages known and used by various family members. For example, in Camila’s case, her mom was the only Spanish speaker in the home. In my nephew’s case, both parents were bilingual and the extended family spoke Spanish as their main language. Lastly, for Mark, neither mom nor dad spoke any Spanish, so the only language they spoke at home was English. Interestingly, although these variations in patterns are well described in the literature, very few studies have investigated their direct impact in the language skills of children. Annik De Houwer, a Belgian researcher specializing in bilingualism, conducted a study that included both the role of family and community on the impact of language skills. She wanted to know why some children who were raised in bilingual environments were able to speak two languages and other children under the same conditions were not. She investigated the patterns of language use in bilingual families in Belgium, a country with three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. Among the three official languages, Dutch is considered the majority language.

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De Houwer (2007) studied 500 families with children who primarily spoke Dutch, the majority language, although they were all raised in bilingual environments. These children could be considered monolingual because they were not able to speak two languages, but there were differences among them. De Houwer examined the various patterns of language used in these families to see if perhaps a specific pattern was yielding more monolingual children than others. Families were divided into five types based on language usage for the majority versus the minority language, and whether one or both parents were able to speak only one or both languages: a) Families with both parents speaking only the minority language at home, b ) Families with one parent speaking a minority language only and the other parent speaking both a minority and the majority language, c) Families with both parents speaking both the majority and a minority language, d) Families with one parent speaking both the minority and the majority language and the other parent speaking only the majority language, and d) Families with one parent speaking only the majority language and the other parent speaking only the minority language. De Houwer’s results (see Figure 4.1) suggest that the most frequent pattern (54 percent) in this group of monolingual children was one parent speaking only the majority language and the other parent speaking both the majority and the minority language. This most frequent pattern of language use tended to result in unsuccessful bilingualism or monolingualism, probably because with only one parent speaking the minority language in addition to the majority language the home environment would be dominated by the majority language. In contrast, the pattern most clearly associated with productively bilingual children was seen when both parents spoke the minority language exclusively (3 percent). The results of this study are a reason we have chosen to speak Spanish exclusively in our home, although we are all proficient speakers of both Spanish and English. Interestingly, the pattern in which a parent spoke the majority language only and the other parent spoke the minority language only, commonly known as one-​parent-​one-​language, occurred in 12 percent of the families in this group. In general, the patterns with less parental use of the minority language at home are considerably more likely to be associated with monolingual children. These findings provide some evidence to support the use of the minority language in the home as much as possible to foster bilingual development in children. Similar results are found in studies in the United States. Place and Hoff (2011) investigated patterns of language use in Spanish-​English bilingual families living in Florida and their impact on vocabulary development. They grouped the bilingual families into three groups:  a) Mother native speaker of English and father native speaker of Spanish, b) Mother native speaker of

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Figure 4.1  Bilingual acquisition findings by De Houwer (2007). Note.  Image source:  www.clker.com/​clipart-​human-​figure.html I  changed colors. Terms of use do not prohibit reproduction.

Spanish and father native speaker of English, and c) Both mother and father native speakers of Spanish. Their results show that children raised in bilingual families with a native English-​speaking mother have richer vocabularies in English than in Spanish. In comparison, in families with a native Spanish-​ speaking mom, children had similar vocabularies in Spanish and English. In the context where this study was conducted, Spanish was considered the minority language. Therefore, the results of this study are similar to those of De Houwer in that parents who speak the minority language at home are more successful at raising bilingual children. Another family factor that is important for bilingual development is siblings. Bridges and Hoff (2014) studied how the language used by older siblings

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influenced the language development of toddlers in bilingual families. In their study, they included toddlers, with and without older siblings, who were exposed to Spanish and English from birth, and had a native Spanish-​speaking mother. Their results suggest that having an older sibling in the home had a significant effect on the language development of toddlers. Toddlers with an older sibling were more advanced in their English language skills than children without siblings. Interestingly, they found that older siblings used more English than the minority language in the home, and that the mother used more English when there was a school-​age child in the household. In summary, these studies suggest that children tend to be more successful at bilingualism when: a) the minority language is spoken at home by both parents, b) the mother speaks the minority language, and c) older siblings speak the minority language at home. If we consider the fact that children tend to switch their language proficiency to the majority language (Portes & Rumbaut, 2001), we can see that our efforts as parents should be directed to teach and maintain their minority language, and we can do this by using that language at home as much as we can. Schooling factors are also important to consider for language planning. In the United States, bilingual education is not widely available. In most states, the only option is English-​only education. However, when bilingual education programs are available, there are various factors that parents should consider. There is some variation among bilingual education programs, and bilingual education is used as an umbrella term that covers a variety of educational programs. For example, in my current school district there are two bilingual programs. In the first program, a dual language program, the goal is language proficiency in Spanish and English, high academic achievement, and cross-​cultural understanding. In the second program, the goal is for children to learn English with support from the first language. There are obvious differences in these two programs as they relate to bilingual outcomes:  The dual language program is more likely to promote bilingualism than the second “bilingual program” (more on bilingual education programs in Chapter 1). It is the parents’ responsibility to obtain information about the bilingual education programs available in their area and make schooling decisions that align with their language goals. 4.3 Strategies I have developed a list of strategies that we use in our home to foster bilingual development. These strategies are based on what I know from research studies, but these strategies have not been tested directly in a research environment. They have worked for us, and it is my hope that they may also work for your family.

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Some of the strategies I  use with my children to encourage their use of Spanish are: a) I closely monitor the amount of exposure my children have to Spanish and English, and purposefully aim to have more Spanish exposure. This strategy is based on the fact that my children are more likely to lose their Spanish than their English. I  know their cumulative English input will be greater than their Spanish input, so I  try to make up for that by increasing the number of opportunities they have to hear the language from other native speakers and use it in real-​life contexts. b) At home, we only speak Spanish, and this is a “rule” in our home. It is a flexible rule, of course, because there are times in which we naturally switch to English, but I estimate that we speak Spanish at least 95 percent of the time. We can do this because both my husband and I are proficient Spanish speakers, but this might be more difficult for homes in which only one of the parents speaks the minority language. If I hear my children speaking in English with each other, which is the only context where this happens at the present time, I kindly ask them to switch to Spanish. They have been responsive to my request up to this point and, on some occasions, they call each other out when they are using English in our home. It is not an easy rule to follow, because many conversational topics might come more naturally in English, but we try our best to keep up with our Spanish use. c) Although television and electronics (tablet, computers, etc.) are limited in our house, we try to have Spanish programming in their devices available. For example, now that Santiago and Gabriela are showing a strong interest in letters and reading, we bought an app that has phonological awareness tasks in Spanish. Certain television shows are available in Spanish, and we have a preference to watch those when screen time is allowed. d) Because my children are still young, we read books in Spanish only. There is a lot of reading happening in our daily lives, and Gabriela and Santiago love books, and are very interested in print and decoding. We have a big collection of books in Spanish and some in English. There are some very cute books in English only that my kids like, so I “read” them in Spanish. I use dialogic reading, a strategy in which you are creating a dialogue as you read a book. This strategy has been proven to be successful to increase vocabulary in young children, and I believe that makes the reading more fun because children feel they are active participants in the process. We will probably read books both in Spanish and English when my children enter preschool to practice reading in both languages, but for now we are keeping up with our Spanish reading to increase their Spanish input. e) I use sentence recasting in Spanish, when my children use English. Sentence recasting is a strategy in which you repair or expand a sentence that the

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child uses. This has proven to be successful in language development for monolingual children. I  adapted it to bilingual contexts by providing the sentence in Spanish in response to either an English expression, an expression that presented some code-​switching, or an ungrammatical Spanish expression. There are certain occasions in which my children use English perhaps because they want to express something they want to say that they only know in English. For example, Santiago said yesterday:  “No puedo esperar para ver a mis amigos” [I can’t wait to see my friends]. Although this is an expression that exists in English, this is not the case in Spanish. So in response, I said, “Yo sé que estás muy emocionado; Yo también estoy muy emocionada de verlos” [I know you are excited to see your friend; I am too]. Another example is when Gabriela said, “Smeleme mama.” I replied, “Quieres que te huela? Sí, hueles muy bien. Huéleme a mi” [Do you want me to smell you? You smell very nicely. Smell me]. f) I tell my children how much I love it when they speak Spanish. I believe that positive reinforcement of their language use is important. For example, I tell them that their “voices” sound very pretty when they use Spanish and make reference to the other family members who speak Spanish. We talk about people around us and discuss what languages they use, and I comment positively on people who speak two languages. g) The last strategy I am going to suggest was inspired by a friend of mine who uses it to reward good behavior. I have not used this strategy yet because I have not needed it up to this point, but I think it will be very useful in the future. You will need a transparent jar or container, and a number of pebbles or something similar that can be used to fill up the jar. The idea is to add a pebble to the jar every time you want to positively reinforce your children speaking the minority language at home. Once the jar is full, you can offer a reward to your children in any way you feel is appropriate. 4.4

Interesting “Things” Bilingual Children Do with Language

Observing the language development of any child is an amusing process. Children make up words and expressions and create unique sentences. This process is even more interesting for bilingual children because one can observe how their bilingual minds process their bilingual environment. I clearly recall the first time that Santiago chose to use English first when approaching a gentleman on the elevator. He looked at the gentleman and described his toy in English for him. Up to that point, Santiago had always attempted to speak Spanish to everyone in his environment. However, at that point and after many failed attempts, he realized that he needed to change his strategy for initiating communications since he was never successful in Spanish first. I  could see that day that he had established a new intrinsic social rule in which he spoke

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English first to everyone, except to family and nanny. This type of experience (choosing what language to use) is unique to bilingual children because monolingual children have only a default option. It is my purpose in this section to describe some common and interesting aspects of language development that are unique to bilingual children. Among the many unique aspects of bilingual development, I am going to elaborate on three aspects of language acquisition:  vocabulary acquisition, code-​switching, and language transfer. I  have chosen these three aspects because bilingual parents often ask me the following two questions: My child’s teacher says I have to work on my child’s vocabulary; is this normal? My child is combining two languages; is he/​she confused? 4.4.1 Vocabulary The vocabulary development of bilingual children is fundamentally different from the vocabulary development of monolingual children. Bilingual toddlers’ early vocabularies are composed of words that they know in one language (e.g., Spanish), words they know in the other language (e.g., English), and words they know in both languages (Spanish and English) (Pearson et al., 1993). For example, a Spanish-​English bilingual toddler might know the word “apple” in English only, the word “piña” [pineapple] in Spanish only, and know the word “banana/​platáno” in both Spanish and English. The vocabulary we learn is highly mediated by the context in which we use a language, so, for the example above, a child might be exposed to apples at the English day care, pineapple at home, and bananas at both places. Context differences such as the language used for schooling versus the language used at home might have an effect on the words a child masters in each language. However, we must distinguish whether a child knows a concept, a word, or both. For example, I see many bilingual children in my research studies who know the shapes in English only, but not in Spanish. These children have the concept of shapes (e.g., know the shapes) and can identify and name a triangle, a square, and/​or circle when they see it, but they don’t know the names/​words of these shapes in Spanish. This is probably due to the fact that shapes are part of academic language, and some children learn academic language exclusively in the language used in their school. So, these children know the concept of shapes, have English names/​words for the shapes, but they don’t know the Spanish names/​words for shapes. I don’t think anyone can argue that these children don’t know the shapes because they don’t have words for them in Spanish. Therefore, this phenomenon cannot be attributed to children not knowing the shapes, because they do know/​understand the concepts, but do not use the names of shapes in their home language. As bilingual children grow older, their vocabulary increases. They learn more words in each of their languages (assuming input in both languages is present), and the number of words they know in both languages (translational

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equivalents) also increases. However, the acquisition of words they know in both languages never reaches complete equivalence. For example, bilinguals in college still have words they know in only one language. There are two reasons for this: First, as mentioned before, vocabulary acquisition is context dependent. Second, not all the words in a specific language will exist in the other language. There are many words that are exclusive to a language and have no translation equivalent in the other language. For example, there is no translation equivalent to the following Spanish words: estrenar [to use something for the first time], tuerto [a person who is missing one eye], madrugar [to wake up early]. It is a similar case from English to Spanish, words such as “to circle,” “to fundraise,” and “trade-​off” are clear concepts in English but have no direct translation in Spanish. Therefore, we cannot expect to a bilingual person to know the same words in each language. Bilingual children are often reported in the research literature as having low vocabulary scores in individual languages when compared to monolinguals. This might not be a fair comparison, since bilingual children are acquiring two language systems instead of one. In fact, someone could argue that bilingual children know more words than monolingual children if the total number of words used is taken into account when describing their vocabulary. It is common for bilingual children to test low in vocabulary tests that are language specific. For example, if you test a bilingual child in one of his/​her languages only, chances are that the child’s results in that test are going to be low because that test is only a representation of one of their languages. I use the analogy of a photograph when I explain this to my graduate students. When you test a bilingual child in only one of their languages, it is the same as taking a picture of only half of their face. The only way to truly know what a child looks like is to take a complete picture that includes him/​her as a whole. This is true for language/​vocabulary assessment; the only way to know the true language capabilities of a bilingual child is to test that child in all the languages they know. It is important that parents are aware of this difference in vocabulary development in bilingual children, and understand that low vocabularies in a bilingual might be an artifact of bilingual development and not a sign of language difficulties. 4.4.2

Code-​Switching and Language Transfer

Another interesting aspect of bilingualism in child development is that bilingual children have the ability to switch between the languages they know. Children might be using one language and switch to the other language within a sentence. The examples below illustrate code-​switching in my children: Gabriela: Mother:

And then, vamos al zoológico. And then, vemos el elefante. Age: 3;6

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¿Mami me das un snack? Quiero cranberries y cashews. Age: 3;5

Some people view code-​switching as a lack of language proficiency because children need to code-​switch to be effective communicators. However, there is overwhelming evidence to argue that, instead, code-​switching is used as a strategy to improve communicative competence with peers (e.g., Reyes, 2004). In addition, there is no evidence that code-​switching suggests a deficit in language skills (Gutierrez-​Clellen et  al., 2009; Miccio et  al., 2009). Children code-​switch with other speakers who share their languages and are able to code-​switch. Garcia (2009) regards code-​switching as part of the discursive practices used by bilinguals and calls it “translanguaging” (see Chapter 1 by Ijalba and Velasco and Chapter 5 by Sepulveda and Ijalba). In our own home experiences, I see code-​switching as a normal part of our communication. Parents often ask me if their children will get confused if they learn two languages. My very emphatic response is no. As I said before, there are many bilinguals in the world, and there are no signs of confusion in their development. Perhaps some people interpret typical aspects of bilingual acquisition as signs of confusion. Some parents may think that children are confused because their children code-​switch, possibly because it seems that they cannot keep their languages separate. As I explained before, children code-​switching is a normal aspect of bilingual development and of communication among bilinguals. Another typical characteristic of language development that can be misunderstood as “confusion” is language transfer. We sometimes observe that children use specific language patterns in one language that are given in the patterns of their other language. Take a look at the following communicative interaction with Santiago: Santiago: Aquí voy a dormir. “I am going to sleep here.” Mother: ¿En dónde? “Where?” Santiago: En papi carro. “In dad car.” Age: 3;8

His response “En papi carro” is spoken with Spanish words, but the language structure used belongs to the English system. In Spanish, one expects a response such as: “En el carro de papa” [In Daddy’s car], but he used instead “En papi carro” [In Dad(’s) car]. I am not worried that he does this type of language transfer. We in fact know there are some interactions between the languages of the bilingual. We observe patterns of transfer in which, for example, the syntactic structure of one language is reflected in the productive

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use of the other language. These patterns of language transfer can accelerate the learning of the new structure (when both languages have the same pattern) or sometimes slow down the acquisition of that structure (when the languages differ in that pattern) (Paradis & Genesee, 1996). The language transfer can occur from the first language to the second language or vice versa, and is a typical characteristic of the acquisition of two languages. 4.5

Closing Remarks

It is my hope that this chapter will be helpful to parents and to educators of bilingual children. I would like people who are around my children to understand the intricacies of being bilingual. From a research perspective, we have learned that the benefits of being raised bilingually outweigh the detriments. However, raising a bilingual child in a minority language community is not an easy task. Language planning might be required to ensure that your child reaches the language goals planned by your family. I presented here some strategies that have been helpful in our experience raising Santiago and Gabriela. Remember that there is a lot of variability in the language profiles of bilingual children, and that language patterns interpreted by some as “confusion” just represent typical aspects of being bilingual. Embrace bilingualism and biculturalism in your home. We will continue to do the same in our home with the hope that our children will grow up to be fluent bilinguals.

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Language Acquisition in Emergent Bilingual Triplets Rosemarie Sepulveda and Elizabeth Ijalba

This study looks at the language profiles of three emergent bilingual siblings of the same age (triplets), in order to determine the influence of English and Spanish on their vocabulary acquisition and narrative abilities. There is limited research about language acquisition in triplets and we do not know of other studies among bilingual triplets. We were interested in learning about how the shared linguistic and social environment of the triplets in this study influenced their acquisition of English and Spanish. For vocabulary, we compared their comprehension for low-​frequency cognate nouns across languages. For narrative abilities, we compared retelling of a story from a picture book that was first narrated by the examiner. In addition, we report on the language used by the children to communicate with each other and with their mother, who predominantly spoke Spanish. In contrast, the children predominantly spoke English, while they understood both languages. Finally, we add observations about the home and family dynamics to describe their shared environment. An important aim of this chapter is to show the contributions of the home language in learning and communication, even when the children participating in this study receive school instruction in English. Bilingual education or dual-​ language instruction is often not available for the children of immigrant families, as stated by Ijalba and Velasco (see Chapter 1 in this volume). In this chapter we recognize the importance of the home language, culture, and the crucial role that parents play in their children’s education. The theoretical framework for this study is based on translanguaging and funds of knowledge (TFoK). This combined framework posits that bilinguals draw from resources in their known languages and cultural backgrounds in order to learn and to make sense of their environment. Consequently, all languages used to communicate important life experiences and family factors must be considered in the assessment and education planning for children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In addition, this study is different from other case studies on bilingual acquisition, because the participants are triplets. They have shared the same social and linguistic environment from birth and served as models for each other in acquiring language. Given their 78

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shared histories, a study of their bilingual profiles will shed light on the similarities and differences in their language acquisition. In the following sections, we review the literature on TFoK, on Specific Language Impairment (SLI) in bilingual children, and on what we know about SLI in twins and triplets. 5.1

Translanguaging and Funds of Knowledge in Bilingual Language Acquisition

5.1.1 Translanguaging Translanguaging is defined as the use of “multiple discursive practices in which bilinguals engage in order to make sense of their bilingual worlds” (García, 2009, p. 45). Multiple discursive practices naturally take place in any family or large group of people with different languages and abilities in communication. For example, in many immigrant families the parents have not acquired proficiency in English, while their children become English proficient by school age. For a majority of emergent bilingual children, school instruction is only provided in English, which tends to limit their progress in acquiring the home or heritage language. Thus, discursive practices may include parents using the home language, while children respond in English and even a reversal, as parents use English and children use the home language, both in their more limited capacities within each language. Alternating the use of languages expands on the concept of code-​switching between languages, because it incorporates how the various languaging strategies are used to make sense of particular meanings and circumstances. Translanguaging is an inclusive and complex process that comes naturally, that takes place without planning. That is, bilingual/​multilingual speakers have access to all their languages and use them seamlessly with other bilingual/​multilingual speakers. It is contrary to the belief that languages must be separated during learning and communication, as is the case in most school settings, where students are only allowed to speak, read, and write in one language at a time. At home or in familiar settings, the natural discursive practices of bilinguals include all the languages that are shared (see Chapter 8 by Velasco and Kabuto for a description of natural discursive practices between a father and his daughter as they alternate between Spanish and English during shared reading), although, during developmental periods of early language acquisition, parents may plan how to expose their children to the home language and separately to English, in order to balance how they build their proficiency in each language (see Chapter  4 by Castilla-​Earls on language planning for raising children bilingually). Grosjean (1989) warned us that bilinguals are not two monolinguals in one, and thus their skills in each language should not be compared to those of

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monolinguals. García (2009) explains that the language practices of bilinguals are not the same as the language practices of two separate monolinguals, because in bilinguals their languages influence each other and allow for greater choices in expression. Bilinguals and multilinguals have a combined and often shared knowledge that reflects how they communicate with one another. Translanguaging, or the ability to access their accumulated language knowledge and experiences, guides how bilinguals act (i.e., how they behave socially), what they know (i.e., how they integrate knowledge), and simply how they are (i.e., how they identify) (García & Li Wei, 2014). In this way, multilinguals transcend each single language and function within an integrated language framework. 5.1.2

Funds of Knowledge

“Funds of knowledge is based on a simple premise: that people are competent and have knowledge, and their life experiences have given them that knowledge” (Gonzalez & Moll, 2002, p. 625). The term “funds of knowledge” refers to all of the historical and cultural knowledge that a person has accumulated and needs for their everyday living and well-​being (Moll et al., 1992). It developed from research into the cultural and social fabric of immigrant families living along the US–​Mexico border, with the aim to bridge the social and cultural divide between the schools and families. Moll et al. developed study groups with teachers who were able to visit and get to know the families of children in their classrooms. For each family, the researchers conducted an ethnographic analysis of the household dynamics. Likewise, for each teacher, the researchers examined classroom teaching practices. Study groups were then formed to assist teachers in developing teaching practices that could connect the classrooms and households through the use of strategic connections and ethnographically informed practices. The researchers found there was a need to understand the history of the region and the sociopolitical and economic context. This was crucial in order to understand their students and the social history of their households, including the labor history and accumulated bodies of knowledge within each family. By getting to know the students within their own families, teachers found that each family possessed accumulated bodies of knowledge in various areas such as farming, construction, food preparation, and trading on both sides of the border. By getting to know the household social networks, teachers learned to know the student as a whole person, and not as a passive learner within the encapsulated system of the classroom. Learning activities were thus created to reflect the students’ interests, their parents’ expertise, and by adapting the curriculum in the different content areas. Thus, by recognizing that each family is rich in their accumulated bodies of knowledge, teaching practices based

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on funds of knowledge have helped to reduce deficit perspectives of immigrant families. Moreover, this framework reinforces the importance of teachers understanding that all individuals are culturally rooted and that their teaching practices must be congruent to reflect those experiences (Hogg, 2010). 5.2

Cultural Competence in Professional Interactions with Immigrant Families

Immigrant families and their children often have a set of values, traditions, and parenting styles that are different from those advanced by schools (see Chapter 13 by Velasco on training teachers to make home–​school connections). TFoK strategies are vital in establishing meaningful interactions between education professionals and immigrant families of school-​age children. These meaningful connections are also crucial in facilitating parental engagement for intervention activities when children have developmental delays or special learning needs. Westby (2009) identifies a variety of ways that a professional can use to create a comfortable environment for communication with families. Skilled dialogue, for example, is a way of gathering information about the child and the family in ways that are welcoming and respectful (see Barrera & Corso, 2003). Skilled dialogue includes the posing of open-​ended questions during interviews with parents or caregivers to learn about their needs and expectations for their child. In addition, professionals should gain knowledge about the culture, including language, socio-​historical context, and migration. Anchored understanding of the child’s family needs is achieved by careful listening to the parents’ narratives and understanding of the family’s experiences within their particular circumstances. The concept of anchored understanding involves reaching a place of mutual understanding between parents and professionals, where both can negotiate education planning and interventions for the child (Barrera & Corso, 2003). The approach of skilled dialogue helps to create equity in the relationship between parents and educators and to recognize that parents play pivotal roles in their children’s education and well-​being. Such framework fosters increased parental engagement in educational interventions to build language and literacy. In a study with mothers of preschool children with language impairment, Ijalba (2014) showed the effectiveness of a parent-​implemented language and literacy intervention in the home language. Mothers were taught to use interactive books based on activities from their daily routines and what they enjoyed doing with their children (i.e., getting fruit at the market, playing with familiar toys). The children’s gains in vocabulary were evident across languages, when compared with their peers who did not participate in the intervention. In addition, mothers who participated in the intervention increased their use of the home language and early literacy, turning their homes into additive language learning environments

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(see Chapter 9 by Ijalba and Giraldo on early literacy in bilingual families). Lack of support for the home language of a child who has problems with language acquisition can result in loss of the child’s home language and decreased communication in the household, as is shown in several chapters of this volume (Chapter 6 by Ijalba and Li, Chapter 9 by Ijalba and Giraldo, Chapter 10 by Ijalba, and Chapter 11 by Puig). 5.3

Specific Language Impairment in Bilinguals and in Twins

5.3.1

Learning Two Languages and Vocabulary

Although bilingual children are exposed to two languages (and multilingual children to more than two) the circumstances triggering language development in each child may differ. Researchers commonly make a distinction between simultaneous and sequential bilinguals. Simultaneous bilinguals are children who learn both languages before the age of 3.  Sequential bilinguals, on the other hand, learn their second language (L2) after their first language (L1) is already established, generally after the age of 3 (Genesee et  al., 2004). For sequential bilinguals, it is common to learn their L2 when beginning school (Paradis, 2010). Regardless of when a child learns each language, he or she tends to have a more dominant language and this situation is dynamic over time and influenced by many factors, including amount of language exposure, communication needs associated with each language, and cultural identity. Loss of L1 is associated with early childhood education that is only provided in the L2, academic instruction only in L2, and even with changes within the home language environment, as is the case when English is introduced through older siblings or through other people entering the family structure (see Chapter 11 by Victoria Puig). Vocabulary has been identified as one area where bilingual children often perform lower than monolingual children. Uneven developmental profiles in each language are influenced by different language learning contexts, amount of exposure in each language, opportunities to use each language, and a child’s language preferences (Patterson & Pearson, 2004). Thus, recommended practice when analyzing vocabulary in bilingual children is to elicit items in each language and to derive combined conceptual scores (Pearson & Fernández, 1994; Umbel et al., 1992). Such an approach is taken in this study by measuring vocabulary in each language context and deriving a conceptual score where each word is counted only once. In light of the fact that bilingual children learn words across languages, researchers have questioned whether bilinguals possess an advantage in learning cognate words. Cognates are words that share meaning and phonological form across languages. Cunningham and Graham (2000) found that

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children immersed in Spanish instruction showed an increase in English vocabulary for cognate words. Such an advantage was also found in 4–​7-​year-​ olds, typically developing (TD) Spanish-​English bilinguals, who were able to name more cognates than non-​cognates and also had a greater number of doublet responses (correct naming in both languages) than their monolingual peers (Sheng et al., 2016). These findings were extended for Spanish-​English bilingual children with SLI. In a study by Grasso, Peña, Bedore, Hixon, and Griffin (2018), the researchers used cognate words in English and Spanish to determine if naming a word in one language could predict naming the word in the other language. Their results showed that the responses of bilingual children in one language predicted their responses in the other language. In addition, bilingual children had a large number of doublets, or responses across languages. Thus, the use of cognate words can be a valuable method to study vocabulary learning in emergent bilinguals. 5.3.2

Specific Language Impairment in Bilinguals

Specific Language Impairment (SLI) is a developmental language disorder known to affect about 7 percent of the general population. It is characterized by language difficulties that are not the result of hearing impairments, neurological damage, cognitive deficits, or environmental conditions. Among English-​speaking children, SLI is characterized by difficulty in the acquisition of grammatical rules such as verb inflection, use of the copula “be,” auxiliary verbs, negative and interrogative forms, third-​person singular, and prepositions (Leonard, 2014a). In addition, children with SLI often have reduced vocabulary, difficulty learning new words, difficulty with word retrieval, problems in reading and spelling, and deficits in short-​term phonological memory (Grasso et al., 2018; Kohnert, 2010; Leonard, 2014a). In other languages, SLI symptoms can vary in accordance with characteristics of the language. Leonard (2014b) points out that in any given language, those features that are difficult to learn for young TD children will prove to be dramatically difficult for children with SLI. For example, the present tense third-​ person plural inflection and direct object clitic pronouns tend to be challenging for TD monolingual Italian-​speaking children; however, these are extremely challenging for Italian-​speaking children with SLI (Dispaldro et  al., 2013). Among Spanish-​speaking monolingual children with SLI, there is a greater tendency to omit articles, connectors, and prepositions, and there is a higher number of ungrammatical word-​level and sentence-​level errors when compared with their TD Spanish-​speaking peers (Jackson-​Maldonado & Maldonado, 2017). Jacobson and Schwartz (2002) found that 4–​5-​year-​old emergent bilingual children with SLI had particular difficulty in acquiring direct object clitic pronouns (la, lo, las, los) and in the use of gender agreement for clitics, while

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they also had difficulty with verb inflections (Jacobson & Schwartz, 2005). Their findings were similar to deficits reported in Italian children with SLI. Jacobson and Walden (2013) worked with forty-​ eight Spanish-​ English bilingual children, twenty-​six described as TD and twenty-​two with SLI. They found that word and morpheme omission were significant indicators of language impairment across languages. The children with SLI had longer word retrieval and difficulty in language processing than the TD children. In a comparative study between sixteen Spanish-​English bilingual children with SLI and sixteen TD Spanish-​ English bilingual children, Castilla-​ Earls, Perez-​ Leroux, Restrepo, Gaile, and Chen (2018) found children with SLI showed underspecification errors in verb tense and also difficulty producing temporal clauses in their narrative language samples. In addition, this study showed that level of bilingual proficiency, language clinical status, and age predicted accurate production of the subjunctive form in Spanish, which tends to be used in complex sentences with a subordinate clause. In spite of different challenges across languages, Leonard (2014a) points out that the severity levels in the grammatical profiles of bilingual children with SLI are similar to those of monolingual speakers with SLI. Thus, learning two languages or more should not impose a negative effect on language acquisition. In addition, given that SLI presents different linguistic challenges for children across languages, Leonard points out the inefficacy in attempting to identify specific universal grammatical markers for SLI. Instead, Leonard advances the notion of a language learning continuum from ease or extreme difficulty, in which children with SLI are at the extreme end of difficulty in language learning. Since the definition of SLI is heavily defined by exclusionary criteria, meaning that a child can only be diagnosed with SLI if his or her language impairment cannot be explained by other causes (i.e., hearing impairment), there is much disagreement as to what qualifies as SLI in bilinguals (Paradis, 2010). Therefore, it is easy to confuse a TD bilingual child, who may have first-​language loss and incomplete second-​language acquisition, with a child with SLI. For example, Paradis and Crago (2000) elicited language samples from three groups of children to determine how TD bilingual children, monolingual children with SLI, and TD monolingual children compared. They found that the TD bilingual children and monolingual children with SLI had similar accuracy rates when using auxiliary verbs, which were in turn lower than their TD monolingual peers. Paradis et al. found that TD bilingual children and monolingual children with SLI both showed more errors of omission (omitting words in spoken sentences) than commission (adding extra words in spoken sentences). In addition, Paradis (2010) describes that TD bilingual children and monolingual children with SLI have language profiles that overlap by approximately two years, underscoring the importance of a differential

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diagnosis. Restrepo (1998) found that the number of errors per communication unit and the length of communication units were identifiers of SLI among Spanish-​speaking children. In a case study, Restrepo and Kruth (2000) identified morphosyntactic errors across languages and first-​language loss in a child with SLI. These studies show why it can be difficult to tease apart TD bilingual children from bilingual children with SLI (see chapters 2 and 3 by Crowley and Baigorri for more on identifying SLI in emergent bilingual children). Kohnert (2010) identified three key characteristics of TD bilingual children that should not be confused with SLI. First, that the skills of bilinguals are spread across languages and that the abilities of bilingual children are often unequal across languages. This means that when a bilingual child is asked to perform certain language tasks, he/​she might do better at one task in one language and at another task in the other language. Second, bilingual children often make structural or conceptual crosslanguage associations. An example of this is when Spanish-​English bilingual children transfer Spanish phonemes to English or vice versa and when root words are used across languages. Third, individual language ability varies greatly across developmental stages and the circumstances of bilingual speakers. As to the benefits of bilingualism for children with SLI, Paradis (2010) reminds us that dual-​language learning may help to compensate for limited processing abilities. Children who know two languages tend to have improved cognitive functions such as control of selective attention and metalinguistic awareness (Bialystok, 2007). These skills might help compensate for processing deficits in SLI. Similarly, an L1 may help to “bootstrap,” or build upon, the L2. For example, similarities in the grammatical and lexical rules of Spanish may help in developing those rules in English. When one language helps the other and vice versa, it eases the effects of deficits such as limited auditory and phonological processing or difficulty in acquiring grammatical rules. Finally, bilingualism also supports cultural identity within the family by maintaining the home language and intergenerational communication. Thus, Kohnert et  al. (2005) underscore the importance of including the home language in interventions for bilingual children with SLI. 5.3.3

Specific Language Impairment in Twins

As previously discussed, factors such as order of language acquisition, socioeconomic status, and home literacy all play a role in how children acquire language. The presence of these characteristics can be seen across vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, and narrative skills. In the case of children who are twins or triplets, their shared social and language context is an additional factor influencing language acquisition. There is a high incidence of language delays among twins and it is difficult to disambiguate genetic from environmental

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factors in accounting for these delays (Oliver et al., 2004). Viding et al. (2003) found that the presence of a language disorder in one twin predicted non-​ verbal ability in the co-​twin, more particularly for monozygotic twins than in dizygotic twins, adding support for a strong genetic component in their developmental profiles. In a study with nineteen sets of multiple birth siblings (seventeen twins and two triplets), McEvoy and Dodd (1992) found that only 10  percent showed typical language development or the acquisition of language milestones at age-​expected levels, whereas 75 percent showed atypical phonological development, which in most cases was shared by the other sibling. This high incidence of phonological disorders was confirmed by Lewis and Thompson (1992) who, in a study with fifty-​seven sets of twins, found that 79 percent presented with phonological disorders. Several proposals have been advanced to explain the high incidence of problems in language acquisition among twins. Tomasello, Mannle, and Kruger (1986) found that mothers of twins showed a more directive communication style when compared with the mothers of singletons, suggesting that mother–​child interactions were less focused on communication and more on taking care of the children. Mogford-​Bevan (1999) points out that turn taking for verbal interactions in triadic situations may be shorter than in dyads, but she did not find that twins make less of an effort to communicate with adults when compared with singletons. Savic (1980) proposed that when there is a dominant child in language, the other sibling may be inhibited from developing language. Thus, the research shows higher prevalence of language disorders among twins than in singletons and a strong genetic component. There are, however, social factors that play a role in language acquisition, such as the shared social-​linguistic environment, and the fact that twins or triplets may model language behavior for each other. Mogford-​Bevan points out that we should not rule out the possibility of a shared language disorder, or a language disorder in one sibling, but not the other. We must also remember that in spite of the higher incidence of language delay and language disorders, twins may also have an early social and long-​term advantage over singletons by having a constant communication partner during their early language development, during the school years, and often through the lifespan. 5.3.4

Narrative Discourse in Children with SLI

In general, children with SLI tend to produce short narratives, include extraneous information at the end of narratives, and retell events out of sequence. They also use fewer pronouns and more demonstratives, such as “this” and “that” in place of nouns when compared with their TD peers (Bliss et  al., 1998). However, narrative samples can vary in children with language impairment from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. For example, it

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is common for Spanish-​English bilingual children with language impairment to provide extended narratives, which are told like a conversation. Children may also be unfamiliar with formal and linear narrative styles, used by monolingual English-​speaking children (Bliss et  al., 2001). For this reason, specific suggestions that include these differences have been made for eliciting narratives from children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Gutierrez-​Clellen and Quinn (1993) suggest using a dynamic approach that involves analyzing the child’s narrative style and determining what type of context would be more generative. The idea is to recognize that a child may lack the necessary background or cultural experiences for understanding a story. For example, the second author recalls working with a 4-​year-​old Mexican child who did not understand the concept of “picnic” in a story supported with a picture book. Therefore, she was baffled that the characters in the story had set their meal on the ground, since her mother had always taught her to eat at the table. The colorful pictures showing food set on a tablecloth on the ground seemed wrong according to all that she knew. Her lack of experience with “picnic” interfered with her understanding of the story. Hence, in order to improve the narrative abilities of children from diverse language and cultural backgrounds, the solutions might be to conduct language samples that are inclusive of the child’s family or cultural background, experiences the children can recognize, and in a variety of settings, such as at home, in the classroom, in conversations with peers or caregivers, and by selecting narratives with different topics, themes, and genres. Narrative samples are also an important opportunity to evaluate fluency in discourse. A maze is a type of disfluency that includes repetitions of parts of words or a series of words that do not add meaning (Loban, 1976). When mazes are removed from a sentence or communication unit, the message becomes more fluent and comprehensive. Mazes can include false starts, repetitions, filled pauses, and reformulations (Thordardottir & Weismer, 2002). They are most common in abstract, undeveloped, or complicated thoughts (Leadholm & Miller, 1995). A  study by Fiestas, Bedore, Peña, and Nagy (2005) used three groups of 4-​to 7-​year-​old children (an English-​speaking, a Spanish-​ speaking, and a bilingual group) to compare percent of maze words over total words, types of mazes between groups, and types of mazes across languages in narrative samples. The study found that although bilingual children did have a slightly higher percent of maze words over total words, there were no significant differences between the two groups. Bilingual children, however, used twice the amount of repetition mazes than did monolingual children, which might indicate uncertainty when accessing and producing words. Finally, the bilingual children used more grammatical revisions in Spanish than in English, which may be associated with their metalinguistic skills and with crosslanguage comparisons.

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5.4

Vocabulary for Cognates and Narrative Abilities in Emergent Bilingual Triplets

In the following sections, we describe a comparative study with three siblings of the same age (triplets). The purpose was to compare discovery of vocabulary through receptive identification of cognate nouns in English and Spanish. Our questions centered on whether the children would draw from both of their languages (English and Spanish) identifying words with which they would have little familiarity. Thus, we presented them with low-​frequency cognate words, such as harp/​arpa, cactus/​cacto, anchor/​áncora. In addition, we elicited language samples in English and Spanish to determine lexical and syntactic characteristics across languages. Finally, we wanted to find out about language practices in the home and how children communicated across languages with their mother, who was only proficient in Spanish. 5.4.1 Method



Participants and Their Background 

The participants in this study were a mother and her three children (triplets). The triplets were 8.1  years old (one girl and two boys). For the purposes of privacy, they will be called Tania, Eddie, and Danny. The parents were from Puebla, Mexico and had been living in the United States for eighteen years. They were from a rural area and possessed detailed knowledge about farming, raising animals, and rural administration. In the United States, the father developed knowledge as a warehouse manager for a large business and had been at that place of employment for more than ten years at the time of this study. The mother had worked as a nanny for a wealthy family until her own children were born. She was articulate in her use of Spanish and, as a nanny, she served as a natural teacher to the children. The parents averaged eight years of education. They regularly sent money to assist their families in Mexico. For both parents, family separation was very difficult. The father had not been able to see his own mother, who was 90, for several years at the time of this study. Because of their immigration status, they could not travel to Mexico. The mother described her own family as maintaining traditional values; they were devout Catholics and attended church regularly but also held traditional beliefs, such as curanderismo by relying on prayers and herbs during times of stress or illness (see Chapter 14 by Esperanza Tuñón Pablos). The mother enforced discipline at home and taught her children to respect adults, to be obedient, and to be diligent with their homework. Both parents only spoke Spanish at home. The mother had limited proficiency in English. The father had conversational levels in English, but he came home late from work and

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could not help the children with homework. The mother did not work outside the home and her primary responsibilities were to care for the children. At the time of this study, the two boys had a diagnosis of language impairment and were receiving speech-​language therapy through the school. All three siblings spoke first words after the age of 3 and attended a preschool for children with special needs. Tania was described as extremely shy when she was younger, a possible reason for her lack of verbal communication. However, she was mainstreamed into general education after kindergarten. Eddie continued in special education, and he received speech-​ language therapy to improve grammar and narrative discourse. He was enrolled in a classroom with a reduced student-​to-​teacher ratio and received special education instruction (twelve students, one special education teacher, one teaching assistant). He frequently had altercations with peers at school or became irritable; thus, he was receiving counseling. Danny also received speech-​language therapy to improve grammar and narrative discourse. He was in an integrated classroom, with a regular teacher and special education teacher. He began to show oppositional behaviors around the age of 6 and his mother sought play therapy and counseling with a therapist outside the school. Tania was in general education. She had received one year of bilingual instruction in first grade, but was mainstreamed to a monolingual classroom for the second grade, following recommendations by her teacher, who believed learning two languages would be confusing for Tania. Even though bilingual education was available at their school, all three children were in monolingual English classrooms.

Tasks and Materials  We elicited two types of responses from the siblings:  1) receptive identification of cognate words across languages, and 2)  narrative samples in both languages. For the vocabulary task we used Spanish-​English cognates, words that are spelled similarly and sound similar in both languages. We expected that in presenting low-​frequency cognates the children might use knowledge from one language to recognize a word in the other language. We selected cognate pairs that the children might have learned from reading or in an academic setting, but that would not be generally used in everyday conversations. In that sense, most of the low-​frequency cognate words would have been learned in English, but not through conversations in Spanish at home. See Appendix for words identified across languages by each child. This receptive vocabulary task was presented on an iPad, four pictures per frame, but only one was named and had to be identified. There were eighty-​ two cognate pairs to be identified in Spanish and English. The three children were accustomed to using a tablet and were enthusiastic about the activity on an iPad.

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Finally, for the narrative samples, we chose two stories of similar reading level for second grade, one in English and one in Spanish. In English we chose Silly Willy by Anne Hanzl (1996), and in Spanish we chose Rintimplín Rintimplón Plon Plon Plon by Joy Cowly (1998). These stories were read to each child individually using the picture books. After each reading, the child was instructed to retell the story while looking at the pictures, but with the text covered. Their narrative retells were audio-​recorded and later transcribed. In addition, we conducted ethnographic observations of the family dynamics and language practices at home. Over the course of our sessions, we noted how the mother structured the learning environment at home, how she interacted verbally with the children, and how the children interacted verbally with their mother.

Procedures  Our study was conducted in 90-​minute sessions over a period of six weeks (seven meetings) in the family’s home. The mother provided signed informed consent and welcomed us into their home. The first meeting was used to introduce ourselves and to become better acquainted with the children and their mother. The language tasks were spread out over the subsequent six meetings in order to respect the family’s time and to prevent the children from getting tired. We also spent time observing the family dynamics, interviewing the mother, and interacting with the children in games and conversations. The children’s responses on the vocabulary and narrative tasks were audio-​recorded. In addition, we kept observation notes from each session. 5.4.2 Results

Vocabulary  Each child’s conceptual score indicates the number of unique words the child identified ([Spanish + English] -​pairs). For example, if a child identified a concept in both languages, only one response was counted toward the conceptual score. Tania identified forty-​seven words in at least one of the languages, giving her a conceptual score of forty-​seven. She identified forty-​one words in Spanish, thirty-​seven in English, and seventy-​eight in total. She had thirty-​one pairs, or words identified in English and Spanish. In Spanish only, she identified ten words (babuino, kelp, güiro, tentáculo, tapir, cemento, arco, horizonte, altar, halo). In English only, she identified six words (anaconda, constellation, spiral, radiator, carpenter, cascade). Danny identified thirty-​seven words in at least one of the languages, giving him a conceptual score of thirty-​seven. He had twenty-​three pairs. He identified thirty-​one words in Spanish, twenty-​nine words in English, and sixty words in

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Table 5.1 Vocabulary scores Vocabulary scores English Spanish Pairs (English/​Spanish) Conceptual* Combined**

Danny

Eddie

Tania

29 31 23 37 60

22 39 13 48 61

37 41 31 47 78

Note. *  Conceptual score is equal to (English + Spanish scores) -​ pairs. **  The combined score is the sum of the English and Spanish scores.

total. In Spanish only, he identified eight words (noni, cojín, plantación, altar, póster, sarape, milicia, iris). In English only, he identified six words (cabriolet, dictionary, pedal, timbal, tulip, hydrant). Among the words they identified in only one language, Danny and his sister only had one word in common; they both only knew “altar” in Spanish, but not in English. Eddie received a conceptual score of forty-​eight. He had thirteen pairs. He identified thirty-​nine words in Spanish, twenty-​two words in English, and sixty-​ one words in total. Eddie’s conceptual score (forty-​eight) was closer to Tania’s conceptual score (forty-​seven) than it was to Danny’s (thirty-​seven). However, Eddie identified more words in only Spanish than his siblings: twenty-​six items (tarántula, tornado, áncora, cabriolé, géiser, güiro, arpa, pérgola, diccionario, banjo, dinamita, néctar, planetario, pedal, asterisco, banquete, cerebro, timbal, lichi, noni, entomólogo, póster, sarape, cascada, hidrante, halo). He identified nine words in English only (cement, chimney, arch, barrel, pitaya, cape, cushion, remedy, iris). See Table 5.1 for vocabulary scores on the three siblings. For the three children, vocabulary conceptual scores were higher than single scores in each language. Words that were known by at least two of the siblings in Spanish included: altar, sarape, güiro, halo, póster –​all words that would have been learned at home: altar and halo associated with church, sarape associated with traditional Mexican dress, güiro with Latin music, and póster associated with home decorations on the walls. Words not known in either language by any of the children included: cerumen, chameleon, autograph, coast, abdomen, mate, kinkajou, carambola, mantis, cicada, spatula, canary, rosary, and scapula.

Narrative Samples  We used Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT) to quantify the narratives. The transcriptions were divided into Communicative Units (CUs), which consisted of a main clause and dependent clauses. The following measures were quantified from the CUs:  Mean Length Utterance (MLU) or

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average number of words and morphemes per communicative unit; Number of Different Words (NDW) and Number of Total Words (NTW) in the entire language sample; Type Token Ratio (TTR) or the proportion of NDW to NTW (provides a measure of lexical diversity); Omitted Words and Omitted Morphemes within communicative units; Word-​Level Errors (i.e., incorrect articles, prepositions, verb tense); Number of Maze Words (i.e., word repetitions, fillers, false starts, revisions in a CU) out of the total number of words (provides a measure of fluency); and Syntactic Complexity or the number of clauses per CU. When English and Spanish were compared, the children showed similarities and differences influencing use of each language. Results are presented for each child. See Table 5.2 for language measures on narrative samples for the three siblings.

Tania  Tania’s MLU for words in English (8.92) was close to her MLU in Spanish (8.13), with slightly higher scores across languages when morphemes were counted. The TNW in her English narrative (455) was not much higher than her Spanish narrative (447). The NDW used in English (143) was higher than in Spanish (111), and consequently the TTR was higher in English (0.31) than in Spanish (0.25). There were fewer word-​level errors in English (20) than in Spanish (39), but there were more word omissions in English (13) than in Spanish (10). There was a higher proportion of maze words in English (214 or 47 percent) than in Spanish (163 or 36 percent). Syntactic complexity was low in English (1.31) and low in Spanish (1.14).

Tania’s Word-​level Errors and Sentences in English  As to the type of word-​level errors in English, Tania consistently substituted “in” for on, “she” for he, “her”/​his, “to”/​with, and “there”/​they. She omitted the possessive morpheme (-​’s). She over-​regularized the verb “buyed”/​bought. She also omitted words that included prepositions, pronouns, connectives, nouns, and verbs: for, him, it, the, a, milk, went. Her sentences had excessive mazing (see S1); they also demonstrated word-​level errors/​omission of pronouns, word-​ level errors for adjectives, and mazing (see S2). See the following two examples: S1. And then (and then) when the (when the) sun (when the sun) was (was was) actually (dripping the) melting the butter (in) all over his neck. S2. And then her [1]‌mother said, “Oh silly Willy, why don’t you (you you) cold [2] it and take water and carry [3] in your hands?” [1]‌her: his (error pronoun) [2]‌cold: cool (error verb) [3]‌omission pronoun: it.

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Table 5.2 Language measures from narrative samples in English and Spanish Measures

*MLU in words *MLU in morphemes Total number of words Number of different words Type token ratio Word-​level errors Omissions words Omissions morphemes Maze words Percent of maze words Syntactic complexity: Number of clauses per communication unit

Danny

Eddie

English Spanish

English

Spanish English Spanish

6.34 6.80 583 154 0.26 18 15 6 47 0.08% 0.95 2

7.25 7.81 522 134 0.26 14 7 0 266 50% 1.11 72

4.9 5.08 289 102 0.35 42 10 0 140 48% 0.62 59

4.7 4.82 439 131 0.30 20 10 4 33 0.07% 0.96 94

Tania

8.92 9.82 455 143 0.31 20 13 1 214 47% 1.31 51

8.13 8.60 447 111 0.25 39 12 0 163 36% 1.14 55

Note. MLU is Mean Length of Utterance. All measures are derived from the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT).

Tania’s Word-​level Errors and Sentences in Spanish  Tania’s word-​level errors in Spanish reflected difficulty with gender:  “lo”/​la, “comido”/​ comida, “pegajoso”/​ pegajosa, “todo”/​ toda. She also had difficulty with verb tense:  past tense (“está”/​estaba), present progressive (“caminado”/​ caminando), the subjunctive (“tiene”/​ tuviera), and infinitive (“cocinando”/​ cocinar). She had word omissions for the verb haber: (hay and ha). She omitted the personal pronoun “se” and the articles “la” and “lo.” In addition, she associated words in Spanish with her knowledge in English, as in “pacó”/​empacó and “pacando”/​empacando, which were likely derived from “pack” and “packing” in English. Her sentences were characterized by excessive mazing, word-​level errors for gender and verb tense, and omission for verb and connectives (see S1); she also demonstrated pronoun omission and mazing (see S2): S1. Y después (y después) la mujercita pasó todo [1]‌(lo) las noche/​s (uh…uh) (a ir) caminado [2] (con caminado) con las hierbas y las ollas para [3] [4] su casa y hacer sopas. S2. [5]‌Veía feo porque (porque) él (él) estaba muy feo. [1]‌todos: todas (error gender) [2]‌caminado: caminando (error present progressive) [3]‌llegar (omission infinitive) [4]‌a (omission article) [5]‌se (omission pronoun).

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Danny  Danny’s MLU for words in English (6.34) was higher than his MLU in Spanish (4.7), with slightly higher scores across languages when morphemes were counted. The TNW in his English narrative (583) was higher than in his Spanish narrative (439). The NDW used in English (154) was slightly higher than in Spanish (131), but the TTR was somewhat lower in English (0.26) than in Spanish (0.30). There was a comparable number of word-​level errors in English (18) and in Spanish (20), but there were more word omissions in English (15) than in Spanish (10). There was a comparable proportion of maze words in English (47 or 0.08  percent) as in Spanish (33 or 0.07  percent). Syntactic complexity was very low across languages: English (0.95) and Spanish (0.96).

Danny’s Word-​level Errors and Sentences in English  As to the type of word-​level errors in English, Danny consistently used “in” for on, and “he-​self” for himself. He had difficulty using modal verbs (i.e., “can”/​could). He omitted grammatical morphemes (possessive -​’s, -​ed, -​ing). He omitted connectives (a, to, the), pronouns (who, she, it, him, them, that), and past tense of “be” (was). His sentences in English showed difficulty using prepositions and reflexive pronouns (see S1); he also showed difficulty with the use of modal verbs and infinitive (see S2): S1. He’s sitting in [1]‌a couch relaxing he-​self [2]. S2. His mom wanted him to work so that he can [3]‌have more money and buy her something. [1]‌in: on (error preposition) [2]‌he-​self: himself (error reflexive pronoun) [3]‌can: could (error modal verb).

Danny’s Word Errors and Sentences in Spanish  Danny’s word errors in Spanish included difficulty with gender (“todo”/​ toda, “lo”/​la, “sucio”/​sucia), verb tense (“tiene”/​tenía), and person (“pegó”/​ pegaron). Omission of connectives and conjunctions (que), pronouns (la, le, se, él), omission of copula verbs (está) and plural morpheme (-​s). He also had difficulty including clitic or attached pronouns (“mirando”/​ mirándola) and reflexive (“riendo”/​riendose). He did not know the word for insects in Spanish and used the word “flies.” His sentences in Spanish included dependent clauses, but conjunctions were often missing (see S1); he demonstrated errors in verb tense, omission of personal clitic pronouns and conjunctions (see S2): S1. Y después ella [1]‌contestó [2] ella es [3] una cocinera de sopas. S2. Él está [4]‌mirando [5] [6] tiene [7] ollas.

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[1]‌missing pronoun: le [2]‌missing conjunction: que [3]‌error verb tense: era [4]‌error past tense: estaba [5]‌error clitic pronoun: mirándola [6]‌missing conjunction: porque [7]‌error verb tense: tenía.

Eddie  Eddie’s MLU for words in English (7.25) was higher than his MLU in Spanish (4.9), with slightly higher scores across languages when morphemes were counted. The TNW in his English narrative (522) was notably higher than the number of words in his Spanish narrative (289). The NDW used in English (134) was lower than in Spanish (102), when we consider the TNW in each narrative. Consequently, the TTR was higher in Spanish (0.35) than in English (0.26). There were few word-​level errors in English (14) and a higher number of word-​level errors in Spanish (42). There were also more word omissions in Spanish (10) than in English (7). He code-​switched to English in 10 out of 59 CUs. There was a comparable proportion of maze words in English (266 or 50 percent) and in Spanish (140 or 48 percent). Syntactic complexity was low in English (1.11) and even lower in Spanish (0.62).

Eddie’s Word-​level Errors and Sentences in English  Eddie had difficulty with the use of prepositions (“in”/​on, “to”/​for, “at”/​to) and the use of pronouns (“it”/​them, “it”/​he, “they”/​he). He over-​regularized verbs (“camed”/​came). He had word omissions for connectors, verbs, and nouns (the, will, are, day, milk). He had phonological confusions for vowels (“most”/​must) and for consonants (“nekt”/​neck). In addition, Eddie had semantic confusions for words in English. For example, when viewing pictures of bamboo growing from the ground, the second author said, “Look, these are bamboo shoots,” to which Eddie responded, “They can hurt you.” He confused bamboo shoots as a plant with shooting, which can hurt. Interestingly, he did not use the visual context to derive the new meaning of “shoot,” which is indicative that he only associated one meaning with each word. Eddie also used gestures when unable to retrieve words, as in the case of scratch (i.e., like this + uses hands to scratch air). His sentences in English included dependent clauses, but excessive mazing, phonological errors, and difficulty using referents (S1), and he exhibited mazing, omissions, and over-​ regularization (S2). See the following examples: S1. You most [1]‌have to get a string and put it in its nekt (in its nekt) [2] [3] to (to uh to uh to) leave it at home.

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S2. And (and and) then, [4]‌neighborhood dog [5] camed [6]. [1]‌phonological error: must [2]‌unable to recall verb: tie [3]‌addition of phoneme /​t/​ [4]‌omission article: the [5]‌omission of plural morpheme: dogs [6]‌ over-​regularization: came.

Eddie’s Word-​level Errors and Sentences in Spanish  Eddie had difficulty recalling many words in Spanish, stating that he did not know the words (“Yo no know”). His word-​level errors included gender (“lo”/​ la, “un”/​una, “pegado”/​pegada). He had difficulty using past tense (“dice”/​ dijo, “lleva”/​llevó, “corta”/​cortó). He over-​regularized verbs (“ponió”/​puso). He omitted adverbs (ahí), verbs (venir), pronouns (la), prepositions (de), and conjunctions (que). Similar to his sister, Eddie associated “empacar” with “pack” (English), using words as “pacó” and “paca.” His sentences were characterized by mazes and pronoun errors (see S1), as well as mazes, pronoun errors, and failure to recall nouns in Spanish (see S2): S1. Y después (y después) el [1]‌mujer ponió [2] los puso (lo puse pusieron lo) los [3] ollas. S2. Ella corta [4]‌los [5] las (uh) (las las) potato. [1]‌ Error pronoun: el/​la [2]‌Error verb tense: ponió/​puso [3]‌ Error pronoun: los/​las [4]‌Error past tense: corta/​cortó [5]‌Error pronoun: los/​las (followed by self-​correction) [6]‌Omission of plural morpheme: potato/​las potatoes. 5.4.3

Ethnographic Observations of the Home and Family Dynamics

In our observations about the home and family dynamics, several aspects stood out and are described in the following sections. We point out the centrality of the family, the mother as a unifying force, the father as authority, the stability of their home environment, the mother’s engagement with their children’s school work and academic success, and how the mother and children managed to communicate in English and Spanish, in spite of their different proficiency levels in each language.

The Mother Was Ever Vigilant of the Children  She exerted control to maintain peace and harmony at home, but she also allowed the children freedom to do what they wanted within the constraints

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of their responsibilities. When the children were reading or doing homework, she observed from a distance, but always made herself available. If there was a question, the children usually helped each other in English, but the mother always made sure the question was resolved. The mother also prevented arguments and monitored that the children were getting along. The two boys often argued, but the mother readily stepped in and did not allow disagreements to escalate.

The Mother Provided Structure and a Strong Sense of Family Identity  She maintained a home environment that was well organized, comfortable, and free of distractions. Even though this was a small apartment, there was no clutter. The living room area, where the children spent most of their time, consisted of a large sofa, a table with chairs, a television in one corner (that remained turned off), and books on low shelves. There was also a small altar in one of the walls, family pictures of the triplets, and a picture of their 90-​ year-​old grandmother in Mexico. The children frequently spoke with their grandmother and other relatives in Mexico, even though they had never met them. The kitchen was another area that was central to the mother, since she always cooked at home and made sure the children ate well. It was a small but spacious kitchen, with one table, where the children sometimes sat to do homework, while she was there. We should also mention that the mother always welcomed us with rice, beans, crackers, and coffee. She imparted the sense of a welcoming, stable, loving family and that of a safe home environment.

The Mother Remained Engaged in the Children’s School Work  She explained to us that the children’s typical day consisted of coming home from school, relaxing for a little while, then having dinner and doing homework. Afterwards, the mother played soft music, which calmed the children down until they went to sleep. On extended holidays, the mother made sure the children continued to study. For example, once she explained that she had spent the entire day working on homework with her children, because they were off from school for Presidents’ Week. Each of the children had three packets; they completed all of them except for Eddie who had one more left. On another instance, we were eliciting a language sample from Eddie. During Eddie’s retell of the story in Spanish, his mother walked over and noticed that he was moving around a lot as he spoke. She calmed him down by rubbing his shoulders, and in that moment, she saw that he was having difficulty recalling the word for “leaves” in Spanish. Without hesitation she pointed to the leaves in the storybook and reminded him that the word was “hojas.” Eddie repeated the words and continued to tell the story.

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The mother also visited the children’s school frequently. She personally knew the children’s teachers and talked to them when picking up the children or when dropping them off. She attended workshops the school provided for parents (i.e., knitting) and she volunteered for classroom activities (i.e., chaperoning during school trips). The mother saw the school as an extension of their home. She also felt welcomed at the school, and stated that it helped that many of the teachers and staff were Hispanic or spoke Spanish, and that many of the other parents were also Hispanic. The school was close to the triplet’s home, in a community that is primarily Hispanic, in Manhattan’s upper West Side.

The Father Provided Authority and a Strong Sense of Respect  Our analysis of the father is derived from how the mother and children referred to him, since he was working and could not be present during our visits. The mother explained how much he worked to support his family. Every day he left the home early, before the children went to school, and he arrived late in the evenings, close to the time the children were going to bed. The father had been at the same place of employment for ten years or more. In the last five years, he had only once taken a one-​week vacation and was not paid for his time off. He frequently worked on Saturdays and he did not get paid for extra time, even though he worked more than forty hours per week. In fact, he was often threatened with being fired if he complained about pay or benefits, since he was undocumented. Moreover, his employer refused to provide him with a work contract that would have allowed him to legalize his immigration status and that of his wife. Thus, for years, the father endured difficult work conditions in order to provide for his family. As a father, he was described as loving with the children but imposing respect. He only had to say things once for the children to follow. As an example, the mother recalled that Danny and Eddie were recently arguing over a misplaced toy and they would not stop in spite of her many requests. When the father came home and learned about their behavior, the children lowered their eyes and apologized, then went to play together.

The Three Children Were Always Together  Tania, the sister, was often apart from her brothers, yet she always knew what was going on between Eddie and Danny. When the mother needed to know the reason for a squabble, she first asked Tania, who tended to know the exact reason for the boys’ disagreement. In spite of frequent disputes, the children enjoyed doing things together. For example, even though they each had a tablet, which had been given to them by the school, they preferred reading along together on only one tablet, often learning about different animals and plants. They seemed to enjoy reading very much.

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The Children Spoke English Most of the Time, While Their Mother Spoke Spanish Most of the Time; However, They Understood Each Other  As we worked with the triplets, it became more evident that they were more comfortable communicating in English. At home, they always spoke to each other in English. We also noticed that the children felt less confident and less comfortable speaking in Spanish during the tests and in structured conversations. Although their mother spoke to them in Spanish about 95 percent of the time, the children frequently responded in English. However, the children were also aware of what they could say to their mother in English. In turn, the mother never indicated that she could not understand something her children said in English. A good example of this dynamic took place during a game of charades between the mother and the children. During this game, each player wore a plastic headband on his or her forehead. Each headband had a slot in the front to place a card, which had a picture of an object and the name of the object written above it. For each player’s turn, a card was placed into his or her headband, so that the player could not see it. That player would then ask the other players yes/​no questions such as, “Am I alive?” or “Am I an animal?” in order to figure out the object on the card. This game offered a good example of translanguaging, as the cards were in English and the mother would often ask and answer questions to her children in Spanish. In one instance, there was a misunderstanding in English. That is, Tania had a picture of a turtle on her headband and asked her mother, “Am I alive?” The mother, after pausing for a moment, answered, “No.” However, she then proceeded to give hints, including, “Vives en el agua,” which means, you live in the water. This showed that she had experienced confusion in English, but rather than saying that she did not understand, she chose to continue the game by expressing herself in Spanish. Tania then disregarded the previous answer and used the correct information in Spanish to get to the correct answer. In this way, both the mother and daughter managed to communicate across languages, in spite of their very different proficiency levels in each language. 5.5 Discussion In this study we conducted a comprehensive assessment of language acquisition in English and Spanish for emergent bilingual triplets. Our assessment aimed to include translanguaging practices in mother–​child interactions, funds of knowledge, lexical knowledge through the use of low-​frequency cognate nouns, and language samples in both languages. Our results yielded similarities and differences in language acquisition among the siblings. There are few studies of same birth children (i.e., twins and triplets) and most are limited in scope. The focus of research has been on isolating genetic determinants of

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language disorder, since monozygotic twins share their DNA, whereas dizygotic twins share 50 percent of their DNA. In addition, twins and triplets most often share their social environment, but are sometimes raised apart, which sets the stage for natural experiments on genetic and social influences on development. In the case of the triplets in this study, they shared the same social and linguistic environment at home and quite similar environments at school (different classrooms, but same schools). They were always exposed to Spanish at home through their parents, and to English at school since they were 3 years old. In addition, they were late talkers, since they started producing first words after the age of 3. In that sense, they simultaneously began to use speech (spoken words for communication) in English and Spanish, even though their receptive language would have been higher in Spanish than English. Over the years, as their schooling was provided in English, the children shifted to communicating in English. However, their mother always supported their learning by monitoring homework at home and by using Spanish to explain concepts the children were learning through school. In addition, the mother always accepted her children’s communication in English, responding in Spanish, and sometimes even learning English from her children. In turn, the children continued to learn Spanish from their mother, even though their proficiency continued to grow in English, but less in Spanish. In analyzing the children’s receptive vocabulary, it is remarkable that Spanish contributed significantly to their lexicon, in spite of academic instruction in English and the fact that English was used most of the time for conversation among the triplets. Their vocabulary scores showed Spanish slightly above English for Danny (31/​29) and Tania (41/​37), and well above for Eddie (39/​22). In addition, their conceptual scores (English + Spanish) -​pairs, were a better reflection than their single scores in either language, which were lower, or the combined scores, which were inflated. The children clearly had influence from their home language and cultural experiences, as evident in their knowledge of the words sarape, güiro, altar, póster, and halo, which were only known in Spanish. Thus, our recommendation for assessment in bilinguals is to always assess vocabulary across languages and to derive a conceptual score. Likewise, our recommendation for educational planning and instruction is to always include both languages and cultural experiences, as there are contributions from both languages and social contexts in how children build their lexicons and in how they make sense of their experiences (see chapters 2 and 3 by Crowley and Baigorri for more on bilingual evaluations). Analysis of the language samples added several dimensions to our understanding of how the triplets used their languages. It is remarkable that the children’s MLU (average number of words/​morphemes per communication unit) was higher in English than Spanish, even though their vocabulary scores were higher in Spanish than English. Among the three, Eddie had the highest

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vocabulary scores in Spanish, but the lowest ability to combine words and to form sentences in Spanish. In the case of Tania, her MLU scores in English (9.82) and Spanish (8.60) were similar, but indicated gains in English. Across languages, the children omitted grammatical morphemes, connectives and conjunctions in sentences, and they had difficulty using modal verbs and verb tense markers. For the three siblings, narrative abilities in English came at a price. They had more mazes (false starts, repetitions, filled pauses, revisions) in English than in Spanish. In the case of Eddie and Tania, the amount of mazing was present in 50 percent of their utterances, which notably interfered with their speech fluency. Likely, their reduced use of Spanish contributed to mazing, more so for Eddie, who had the most difficulty recalling words in Spanish and combining words into sentences. The three children had difficulty formulating complex sentences in either language, which is a strong indicator that their languages were very close at the grammatical level. Finally, our analysis focused on the influence of Translanguaging and Funds of Knowledge (TFoK) on how the children learned and in their daily communication with each other and with their mother at home. Clearly, the children had an excellent learning environment at home, both in terms of the setting and the context of their interactions. Even though this was an immigrant family, they had low income, the parents had limited English proficiency, and they lacked higher education (these are all “high risk” factors associated with the language gap in bilingual children when compared with monolingual white children), we can appreciate from our analysis that the mother was deeply engaged and committed to her children’s education and academic achievement. She maintained a home that was well organized and geared to learning; she implemented discipline and a daily schedule; she was always ready to teach and to interact with her children in Spanish, even when they were learning or communicating in English. In addition, she made her presence known in their school and she maintained close communication with the teachers. These aspects show parental engagement with her children’s schooling and the strong influence that family values and parental interactions had on how the children learned. We should also acknowledge the father, who was not present during our visits, because he was working. The family’s traditionalism was evident in the fact that the father worked extra time, while the mother stayed home and focused on raising their children. Thus, the father was not physically present, but his presence was always felt in how the mother and the children referred to him. In fact, when the mother felt that the children were not listening or following directions, she would warn the children that their father would learn about their misbehavior. This was often sufficient for the children to complete their homework, to stop arguing, or to assist one another. The father held a high level of authority, as is typical in traditional Hispanic families, whereas the mother was the one always present, who catered to their needs, and who facilitated socialization, learning, and language on a daily basis.

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5.6

Summary and Recommendations

Recognition of the home language, culture, and the crucial role of parents is integral to a good education. This is the case for most children from middle-​ class families, who speak English and fit in with mainstream school cultural values. However, this is not the case for the children of immigrant families, who have to learn in English and without support for the home language, learn a culture that is different from their experiences at home, and where teachers often replace the parents as role models. In urban centers like New York City, where diversity is the norm rather than the exception, there is a need to recognize the central role of immigrant parents and the cultural and linguistic richness that immigrant families bring to our communities. There is also a need to recognize the hybrid identity of the children of immigrant families, who grow up loving their families, learning their language and traditions, but who also identify as Americans. We must advocate for dual-​language programs and curricula that not only teach languages, but that provide content-​based instruction inclusive of funds of knowledge. Children can learn more efficiently when they can integrate all of their linguistic resources and their experiences. In the case of the triplets, monolingual instruction was a disservice to them. From our analysis it is clear that Spanish and the home culture exerted strong influence, even after years of English-​only instruction. Our recommendations for the triplets, and for so many other emergent bilingual children, would be dual-​language instruction based on translanguaging and that integrates funds of knowledge as part of the curriculum.

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Appendix. Vocabulary Identification for Cognates in Spanish and English, Spanish only, and English only

Note. The column titled “Spanish and English” contains words that were identified successfully in both languages. The columns titled “Spanish only” and “English only” contain words that were identified successfully only in Spanish or only in English. Tania Spanish and English

Spanish only

English only

telescope/​telescopio tarantula/​tarántula tornado/​tornado millipede/​milpiés harp/​arpa tentacle/​tentáculo cauliflower/​coliflor chimney/​chimenea dynamite/​dinamita barrel/​barril confetti/​confeti violin/​violín cape/​capa camel/​camello iguana/​iguana scorpion/​escorpión cube/​cubo radiator/​radiador calendar/​calendario traffic/​tráfico cactus/​cacto armadillo/​armadillo carpenter/​carpintero

noni cojín plantación altar póster sarape milicia iris

cabriolet dictionary pedal timbal tulip hydrant

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Danny Spanish and English

Spanish only

English only

telescope/​telescopio tarantula/​tarántula tornado/​tornado millipede/​milpiés harp/​arpa tentacle/​tentáculo cauliflower/​coliflor chimney/​chimenea dynamite/​dinamita barrel/​barril confetti/​confeti violin/​violín cape/​capa camel/​camello iguana/​iguana scorpion/​escorpión cube/​cubo radiator/​radiador calendar/​calendario traffic/​tráfico cactus/​cacto armadillo/​armadillo carpenter/​carpintero

noni cojín plantación altar póster sarape milicia iris

cabriolet dictionary pedal timbal tulip hydrant

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Eddie Spanish and English

Spanish only

English only

marionette/​marioneta violin/​violín camel/​camello iguana/​iguana scorpion/​escorpión spiral/​espiral cube/​cubo calendar/​calendario traffic/​tráfico cactus/​cacto sculpture/​escultura plantation/​plantación militia/​milicia

tarántula tornado áncora cabriolé géiser güiro arpa pérgola diccionario banjo dinamita néctar planetario pedal asterisco banquete cerebro timbale lichi noni entomólogo póster sarape cascada hidrante halo

cement chimney arch barrel pitaya cape cushion remedy iris

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6

Multilingualism in Chinese Families and Raising Their Children Bilingually: Fujianese Immigrants Elizabeth Ijalba and Qi Li

Introduction New York City has served as a magnet for immigration from China for nearly 200 years. In spite of a long history of exclusionary migration laws against the Chinese, a steady flow of immigrants from China has given rise to thriving communities in many parts of the United States. Manhattan’s Chinatown is a New York City landmark, much like the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. In addition, there are large Chinatown communities in Brooklyn and in Queens. According to data derived by the Asian American Federation Census Information Center (2013) Chinese residents make up 6 percent of the overall population in New York City, with 80 percent comparably distributed between Queens and Brooklyn and the remainder located in Manhattan. In fact, New  York City is home to the largest concentration of Chinese people outside of China. In addition, more than 13 percent of English and dual language learners in the New York City public schools come from homes where a Chinese language is spoken (New  York City Department of Education, 2016–​2017). Whereas the first waves of Chinese immigrants in New York City were from Guangdong and Canton, most Chinese immigrants today originate from the coastal region of Fujian and many are unauthorized residents (Liang, 2001; Wang, 2001). Thus, the Fujianese have become a major Chinese group in New York City, known for working long hours at restaurants or in the garment industry and for accepting low wages under harsh working conditions (Guest, 2011). Children from Fujianese families have a growing presence in the New York City public schools, however we have limited understanding about their language educational and social and emotional needs. For example, many Fujianese immigrant families are multilingual and parents may have to make choices about heritage language. Schools are tasked with providing adequate instructional support and bilingual programs that are suitable. In addition, many children are sent back to China during infancy and return to the United States to start school in what may be a very difficult transition. In this chapter we explore two main issues among Fujianese families: 1) parents’ educational 106

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and language expectations for their children, and 2) consequences of raising their children within a transnational framework between the United States and China. We begin this chapter by exploring issues on migration, raising children transnationally, linguistic diversity in Fujian, and heritage language maintenance. We then follow by presenting findings from our research with Chinese parents of preschool children in New York City. In addition, we discuss a case study of a child from a Fujianese family who was sent to China to be raised by his grandparents and then returned to the United States to begin school. 6.1

The Context for Fujianese Migration

Chinese migration history to the United States can be divided into two main periods, the first during the mid-​1800s and the second from the 1970s to the present (Zong & Batalova, 2017). The first wave of Chinese immigrants were low-​skilled workers, who were employed for low wages in building the railroads, coal mining, and in farming, primarily on the west coast. They suffered considerable discrimination and were paid lower wages than low-​ skilled white immigrants, which made them cheaper to hire and increased labor disputes with white workers. Racism and a fear of growing numbers of Asian immigrants led to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which severely restricted immigration of Asians to the United States until its repeal in 1943. A  softening of immigration policies took place after World War II, when citizenship was granted to Chinese immigrants who fought on the US side. Immigration restrictions were finally lifted with the passage of the US Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, allowing family reunification and a surge of new arrivals from Asia, leading to the second wave of migration from China and other parts of Asia. However, and in tandem with the lifting of sanctions in the United States, anti-​emigration policies were implemented in China (1949–​1978), banning emigration from China well into the 1980s, following the rise of the Chinese Communist Party. These restrictions generated the growth of international human smuggling organizations, also known as snakeheads, which brought large numbers of unauthorized Chinese immigrants to the United States for sums that today can range from $45,000 to $75,000 (Guest, 2011; Liang & Ye, 2011). These immigrants were primarily from rural areas in Fujian and paid their smuggling debts by working for years under harsh conditions and for low pay in the service industry. The proliferation of Chinese restaurants in urban areas of the United States since the 1970s is due in great part to this constant flow of cheap labor supplied by unauthorized and deeply indebted immigrants from Fujian (Guest, 2011). In order to understand this tide of immigration, it helps to have a view of the social context in China. The coastal province of Fujian is located in

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southeastern China, with a population of about thirty-​five million people. It is a mountainous region located directly across the Taiwan Strait, where farm labor and fishing are the main sources of income outside of urban industry. In spite of being a rich region, Guest (2011 reported that farming and fishing workers in Fujian make the equivalent of $500–​750 a year, placing them at significant financial disparity with urban workers. Such low wages are the main reason for a continuous wave of migration to the United States, Japan, and Australia, which are the main places of destination for many Fujianese emigrants. In addition, there are stark differences in the gender and education of Chinese immigrants to the United States. Demographic characteristics of immigrants from Fujian indicate that 74 percent are male, primarily from rural areas, whereas immigrants from Beijing are balanced in gender and are former city residents. Also, 80  percent of Fujianese immigrants have an education level of junior high school or lower, coupled with limited English proficiency, whereas 76 percent of immigrants from Beijing have a college degree and are proficient in English (Liang & Morooka, 2004; Zong & Batalova, 2016). These are factors that place Fujianese immigrants at a social and economic disadvantage among other Chinese immigrant groups in the United States. Notably, a large number of Fujianese have unauthorized legal status in the United States. In 1993, the Golden Venture disaster brought the plight of Fujianese immigrants to national attention. On June 6 of that year, the Golden Venture, a Honduran ship, ran aground on the coast of Queens, prompting the ship’s captain to tell its illegal human cargo of Chinese on board (most of them from Fujian) to swim to US shores for freedom (Kyle & Koslowski, 2011). The ship was carrying 286 immigrants who had paid an average of $47,000 per person to snakeheads to come to the United States. The high profit of human smuggling from China is one of the reasons why illegal migration has continued to surge, with New York City being one of the main destination ports for migrants. We note here that illegal migration from China should be distinguished from the majority of legal immigrants that arrive every year from China to the United States. Most legal immigrants tend to be highly educated and from urban centers such as Beijing. The highest number of foreign college students in the United States today come from China, as well as professionals with H-​ 1B temporary visas and EB-​5 investor visas. In fact, Chinese immigrants are more likely than other immigrants to legalize their residency status through employment references rather than family connections (Zong & Batalova, 2016). In this chapter we focus on the plight of Fujianese immigrants, who often face particular challenges due to any or a combination of factors such as financial circumstances, unauthorized legal status, low education, and low English language proficiency.

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Transnational Families and Raising Children across Oceans

As is the case with many other immigrants, the Chinese have been described as maintaining a sojourner status, adhering to their group culture and sustaining a strong mental orientation toward their homeland (Yang, 1999). This is evident in the remittances sent to family and in the practice of sending their young children to be raised in China, often by grandparents. In spite of their financial challenges and harsh working conditions, those who emigrate often help support their close relatives in China. According to a report from the World Bank Group (2017) China is second only to India in the amount of remittances it receives from those living abroad. In many home villages, these remittances are used to build large houses, which are a source of pride for the families (Guest, 2011). In addition, immigrants with young children in the United States often rely on extended family in China to help raise their children (Kwong, 2017). These close family ties, even across large geographic distances, can be viewed within the context of intergenerational solidarity as grandparents in China play an increasing role in contributing to family needs. By assuming child-​care responsibilities, grandparents allow many families to adapt to the demands of a transitional economy in China, which encourages maternal work, but provides few child-​care options (Sun, 2017). For example, in China, flexible work arrangements that allow part-​time work and child care are rare, particularly for low-​skilled workers. In addition, there has been a constant migration of workers from rural areas to cities since the 1990s, who must often leave their children behind to be cared for by relatives and grandparents. Analysis of a representative sample of families in China pooled from 1991 to 2004 showed that 54 percent of grandparents co-​reside with their grandchildren up to 6 years of age, in contrast to 11 percent in the United States and 9 percent in Europe. In addition, 10 percent of that sample included skipped-​generation households, where parents were absent and grandparents were solely in charge of caring for the children (Chen et al., 2011). These surveys also report health and psychological benefits for grandparents, who tend to enjoy raising their grandchildren. Thus, while extended family arrangements in China were historically conceived for adult children to care for their aging parents, in today’s global economy it is grandparents who are helping to care for their grandchildren. This growing trend in China of grandparents as caregivers may influence the decision of immigrants in the United States to send their young children to China to be raised by grandparents or other relatives. For low-​income immigrants, there are substantial challenges in forming a family and in raising young children, particularly if they have unauthorized status. Immigrants often work long hours for below-​minimum wage, pay debts, help support relatives abroad, and even share their living arrangements with strangers in order to afford exorbitant rents in New York City. In addition,

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child-​care fees can be steep and immigrant parents often lack the support of extended family to assist them in caring for their children. Moreover, immigrant parents may be under cultural pressure to allow grandparents to raise their grandchildren, even if this means sending their newborn child across the oceans to be cared for in China. The practice of sending their American-​born infants to be cared for in China and to reunify with them as they approach school age is described in the literature as “reverse-​migration separation” (Kwong et  al., 2009) and also as raising children “transnationally” (Bohr, 2010). This trend has increased significantly in the last twenty years and it is a poorly understood phenomenon. In a study that included 219 Chinese immigrant pregnant women in New York City, 57 percent planned on sending their infants to China shortly after birth and from that group, 90 percent planned to bring their children back between the ages of 3 and 6 (Kwong et al., 2009). Bohr and Whitfield (2011) point out that transnational families live in two cultures and in more than one geographical location, often making child-​care arrangements that involve physical separations over great distances, while satisfying cultural expectations. There are many questions as to how immigrant parents reach this decision and about its repercussions, the emotional impact on parents, and how this separation affects bonds between children and their parents. Whereas attachment theory would predict negative effects for both the child and the parents, Bohr (2010) points out there may be benefits that should be considered as resilience factors in the face of adversity for these immigrant families. However, interviews with providers (e.g., social workers, teachers, pedia­ tricians) paint a difficult picture for parents and their children. According to Kwong (2017), providers reported that children returning from China often experienced difficulties with bonding and attaching to parents, they often had delays in learning and language development, and they often experienced behavior difficulties. One common situation described was that grandparents living in rural areas in China are often illiterate or do not have the practice of reading to young children. In addition, they may feel it is not appropriate to teach another language to a child that will be returning to the United States to learn English. Moreover, providers found that immigrant parents often failed to interpret their child’s problems as the product of an interaction that involved their parenting methods. In their view, children were to blame for not being cooperative. When children are sent to be raised in China, they are typically infants or toddlers and they return to the United States in time to begin school around the age of 4 or 5. Their adjustment is part of a long cycle that includes early separation from parents, growing up in China with extended family (usually grandparents), learning Chinese as a first language (often a regional Chinese speech form), separating from caregivers in China and returning to the United

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States, adjusting to their parents as their new caregivers, communicating with their parents in Mandarin, which may be different than the regional Chinese speech learned by the child in China, adjusting to US culture, and learning to communicate in English, often by English immersion in US schools. These are not easy transitions and parents are often unaware of the social, emotional, language, and learning consequences for their child. There is, however, increased public awareness thanks to reports in the media and to parent education programs in schools. For example, on National Public Radio, Wang (2016) described the plight of a Fujianese family of restaurant workers living in Boston, who sent their children to be raised by relatives in Fujian for four years prior to school age. The mother described this as a heart-​wrenching decision due to their need to work long hours in a restaurant, while living in a cramped room in a shared apartment with strangers. The situation was also difficult after her children returned from China, because they missed their grandparents. Wang went on to describe that school officials often note behavior problems in children who were sent abroad. Given the limited research in this area, it is difficult to tease apart if children’s problems are due to separation from loved ones, cultural shock and shifts in identity, problems in acquiring English as an additional language, difficulties in adjusting to little-​known parents, or to a combination of these factors. There is also a critical need for affordable child care for immigrant families in order for parents to have choices about sending their children away or raising them in the United States. We can hypothesize that implementation of universal preschool1 in New  York City will influence some parents to keep their children with them, even though families will still experience strong cultural pressure to send their infants to China. However, the practice of sending children to be raised by grandparents abroad and its consequences are not well understood. In this chapter we emphasize that these decisions must be considered within a culturally sensitive framework that considers the role of extended family among Chinese immigrants. Grandparents and extended family may have important decision-​making roles for many Chinese immigrant families. The risks and benefits of sending children abroad during their growing years should be considered on a case-​by-​case basis and interpreted within the unique social and historical circumstances of transnational families. In addition, culturally sensitive family support mechanisms provided through the schools and community could help to alleviate the strain and the consequences of these decisions. 1 “Universal preschool” refers to free access to a preschool education regardless of a family’s income. Under Mayor de Blasio, New York City has implemented universal preschool for 4-​ year-​olds and is expanding the program to 3-​year-​olds.

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6.3

Linguistic Diversity in Fujian

China is made up of fifty-​six “minzu” or nationalities, many of which speak their own languages and dialects. Since 1956, language policy in China recognizes standard Mandarin as the only official Chinese language, rendering all other languages as subordinate to Mandarin (Dwyer, 1998). Around the same time, recognition as regional languages was afforded to Uygur, Tibetan, Mongolian, and Yi, which had their own written scripts. Other languages without written systems were classified as “fangyan” (regional speech). DeFrancis (1984) points out that regional speech should not be confused with dialect, since dialect implies variations of a language that are mutually intelligible. Language policies in China have undergone several changes, from support of minoritized languages in the early 1950s, to their suppression during the Cultural Revolution (1966–​1976), to their acceptance in the late 1970s (Wang & Phillion, 2009). However, in spite of the current recognition for regional languages and regional speech forms, China maintains a strong one-​ language policy, in both spoken and written form, which serves as unification under the concept of “one-​nation, one-​language” (Dwyer, 1998; Kurpaska, 2010). This one-​ language policy is also evident in bilingual education in China. Transitional bilingual programs in China introduce Mandarin in the third grade, but these programs are not designed to preserve or to maintain minoritized languages and cultures. In addition, Mandarin is the only language used in all official documents, in higher education, and in most professional fields. Therefore, standard Mandarin is the only language that carries prestige or cultural capital in China and it has progressively displaced regional languages and regional speech forms (Dwyer, 1998). In addition, over the course of 2,000 years, China has developed a rich character writing system known for its complexity and for its retention of traditional written forms. Old written Chinese accumulated a multitude of characters and complexity, resulting in high illiteracy rates among the population, primarily in rural areas. A simplification of written Chinese was introduced in 1956, by eliminating characters no longer in use and by simplifying the number of strokes in characters. Simplified characters in Modern Written Chinese are called Hanzi. In common with traditional characters, Hanzi represent morphemes, but do not reflect phonetic changes. Therefore, a given Hanzi character will have different pronunciations in the standard Mandarin and in the regional languages, but will represent the same concept. Thus, Modern Written Chinese characters allow communication for speakers of regional languages and regional speech that are not mutually intelligible (Chen, 2004). In addition, any of the regional languages and regional speech forms can be written using pinyin, a Romanized script derived from phonetics that is easier to learn than the thousands of Hanzi characters required for reading. Thus, Pinyin has been advocated as a means

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of providing a writing system to regional speech in China. A point of contention, however, is that the written systems promulgated for regional speech are based on standard Mandarin grammar and not on the vernacular forms spoken in each region. Thus, regional speech speakers must be bilingual and know standard Mandarin in order to learn the written systems proposed (Chen, 2004; Dwyer, 1998). Fujian province is home to the Min group of regional speech forms, which are mutually unintelligible in spite of their relatively close proximity. The primary split among the Min regional speech forms is between the coastal and inland varieties. Among the coastal varieties, Eastern Min or Fuzhou is the most prestigious form and it is spoken around the city of Fuzhou. Other coastal Min include Pu-​Xian spoken by a smaller number of speakers in the city of Putian, and Southern Min, which has three major divisions and is spoken all along southern Fujian, eastern Guangdong, Hainan, southern Zhejiang, and in Taiwan. Hokkien is the main group of Southern Min and is also spoken in Taiwan and by many Chinese living overseas in Southeast Asia. Among the inland varieties, there is Northern Min, spoken in Nanping prefecture and Central Min spoken in Sanming prefecture (Ho, 2015). Because of these regional speech and language differences, Fujian is often described as one of the most linguistically diverse regions of China. 6.4

Heritage Language Maintenance among Fujianese Immigrants

Fujianese immigrant parents may speak one or more regional speech forms from Fujian and in addition communicate in Mandarin. This raises the question of whether parents teach Fujianese regional speech forms to their children growing up in the United States. Whereas standard Mandarin is the primary language associated with schooling in China, it is also the primary language used in bilingual programs and in heritage language schools in the United States. Therefore, most immigrant families from Fujian raise their children bilingually in English and Mandarin, and believe their children would not benefit from learning the Fujianese regional speech (Zhang & Slaughter-​Defoe, 2009). However, in spite of the effort that many Chinese immigrant parents’ place in raising their children bilingually to learn Mandarin, their success rate can be limited and is complicated by many social factors that add distancing between parents and their children (Qin, 2006). In general, the children of Chinese immigrants are more likely to show a preference for speaking English rather than Mandarin within one generation, compared with the children from Spanish-​speaking immigrant families, who are more likely to retain Spanish into the second or third generation (Portes & Rumbaut, 2001). The shift to exclusively using English and away from Mandarin is gradual, but

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clearly evident as children get older. In a study by Zhang (2004), with eighteen Chinese immigrant parents and their children (aged 5 to 14), younger children described using Mandarin to navigate everyday routines, but felt more comfortable using English. However, older children reported increased difficulty using Mandarin and primarily communicated in English. In turn, parents attributed their children’s limited proficiency in Mandarin to weak literacy skills, which hindered their ability to learn more age-​appropriate and complex language forms. Zhang posed three reasons for the limited success in developing bilingualism among children in Chinese families. The first is that the children simply have more exposure to English than to Mandarin due to schooling in English during the week, while attending heritage language school only one morning on weekends. The second is due to weak literacy skills in Mandarin. Although literacy is not a prerequisite for developing oral language skills, literacy increases exposure to vocabulary and to more complex syntax forms. The third and major reason is the negative societal attitude toward languages other than English in the United States, which may influence identity formation and self-​esteem (Rumbaut, 1994). In addition, the fact that Chinese parents often speak different regional languages or regional speech forms may predispose them to shifting communication to English at home. To summarize, there is scarce research on language maintenance among the children of Fujianese immigrant families. The limited research indicates that parents prefer that their children learn Mandarin rather than the Fujianese regional speech forms. Difficulty acquiring literacy in Mandarin is a complicating factor for children to become proficient in Mandarin and to become bilingual. Because of these factors, children of Chinese immigrants often lose their heritage language within one generation. 6.5

Findings from Our Research in Working with Fujianese Immigrant Families

Our work with Fujianese immigrant families was part of an outreach to the Chinese community in the surrounding areas of Queens College, which is close to Chinatown in Flushing. The research assistants and volunteers at the Bilingual Biliteracy Lab were undergraduate students in Linguistics and Communication Disorders at Queens College, City University of New York. Our research was in part funded through a grant from the Office of Multicultural Affairs of the American Speech-​Language-​Hearing Association in 2012. The main questions in our research centered on identifying parents’ challenges and expectations for their children regarding education and bilingualism. In addition, we were approached by several families who had sent their children to be raised in China and were in need of guidance when their children returned to the United States. In our methodology we used ethnographic

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observations, that included visiting homes and interviewing parents. We also ran an initial survey to identify language(s) used at home by families. We regularly conducted semi-​structured interviews, group discussions with parents, and language assessment in children. We present a qualitative analysis of our data. 6.5.1

Survey on Home Language Practices

The purpose of this survey was to learn about the language background of parents in Chinese families, what languages were used in the homes, and what language(s) children were acquiring at home. The survey questions were distributed to fifty-​two parents of preschool children (average age of children 4.3) at a bilingual Chinese-​English preschool in Manhattan and at a Chinese weekend school located in Queens. We had three groups: thirteen respondents who reported speaking regional Fujianese, thirteen respondents who spoke Mandarin, and twenty-​six respondents who spoke Cantonese as their first-​learned language. Among the thirteen Fujianese-​speaking parents, ten used Fujianese at home, and only two children had acquired Fujianese, whereas three families had shifted to using English at home. Among the thirteen Mandarin-​speaking parents, eleven used Mandarin at home, seven children had acquired Mandarin, and two families had shifted to using English at home. Lastly, among the twenty-​six Cantonese-​speaking parents, twenty-​five used Cantonese at home, twenty-​three children had acquired Cantonese, and only one family reported shifting to English at home. See Table 6.1 for survey responses on the home languages. We ran a paired t-​test to compare the Fujianese-​and the Mandarin-​speaking families on how children were learning their home languages and found a statistically significant difference (p < 0.01). Mandarin families were more successful than the Fujianese families in passing on the home language to their children. However, it should be noted that the children from the Mandarin-​ speaking families were exposed to Mandarin at home and at preschool, while the children from the Fujianese-​speaking families were only exposed to Fujianese at home. In addition, an unexpected finding was that almost all the Cantonese families reported use of Cantonese at home and that nearly all their children (twenty-​three out of twenty-​five) learned to speak Cantonese. These children were exposed to Cantonese at home and at their preschool. The Cantonese families were from Chinatown Manhattan, where Cantonese is one of the prevalent languages. It may be that the community social context supported Cantonese learning beyond the home and school contexts for these children. Our data is limited and further research is needed to understand these differences. It should also be noted that the children in this sample were under the age of 5, and had not been systematically exposed to English at school. The literature indicates that children tend to shift to English during the school years

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Table 6.1 Survey responses on home languages in Chinese families Home Parents Children English

Fujianese (N = 13) 10 2 3

Mandarin (N = 13)

Cantonese (N = 26)

11 7 2

25 23 1

because of increased exposure to English and difficulty in acquiring literacy in Mandarin (Zhang, 2004). 6.5.2

Semi-​structured Interviews with Chinese Immigrant Parents

In this section we report findings from interviews with eight parents (two fathers and six mothers), who participated in six parent education workshops. In addition, we share findings from group discussions during these parent meetings. We note the importance of building cultural competence and understanding of the families through semi-​structured interviews based on skilled dialogue (Barrera et al., 2012), learning about Fujianese language and culture, and by reaching a place of mutual understanding with the parents. All eight parents were immigrants from Fujian. They reported education through junior school in China (nine years of schooling) and they had been living in Queens for an average of 8.5 years. Their children ranged in age from 3.5 to 5.8 years. Five of the eight children were enrolled in Kindergarten and one child was attending preschool in English. All six children were receiving speech-​language therapy at school and were shifting to using English at home. All parents reported limited English proficiency and they had difficulty carrying out simple conversations in English. A multilingual environment was reported in seven of the eight families, where regional Fujianese, Mandarin, and some English were spoken. All parents wanted their children to be able to speak and read Mandarin, but they felt that their children first needed to learn English. As to employment, all parents worked in the service industry and described demanding work schedules. Two fathers and five mothers worked in restaurants and one mother worked as a sales person. All parents reported working an average of ten hours or more per day; one father was employed at a restaurant far from home and he came to sleep at home only one night during the week. In two families, the mother and father alternated schedules, with one working in the day and the other parent working at night to care for their children. In general, parents described feeling isolated and not having extended family nearby that could help them in caring for their children. Parents described having little time left for recreational activities with their children or to enjoy as a family.

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Even attending parent workshops with us was demanding. However, parents appreciated the opportunity to get together as a group and talk about their children. Three of the six mothers were able to attend all six weekly meetings and one father attended five meetings. As to developmental history, two of the families reported sending their children to be raised in China by grandparents and in both cases the children came back close to the age of 5. In one case, the parents described their child did not adjust well when returning to the United States. The mother was disappointed that her son did not express affection for her, whereas the father was disappointed that his son was not doing well at school and often opposed his mother at home. In addition, during group discussions, parents expressed their concerns and the high expectations they had for their children. These concerns can be grouped in terms of their children’s learning ability, social relatedness, and language acquisition. As to learning ability, four parents reported their children had difficulty learning Kindergarten math. All parents perceived their children were easily distracted and feared this would interfere with learning. These topics showed the parents’ preoccupation with their children’s ability to learn math and to have strong attention skills from an early age. As to socialization, most parents stated that their children could be too emotional or get easily agitated; they also described their children were extremely shy with adults, including teachers and family friends. These topics indicated that parents had difficulty understanding how their children self-​regulated emotions and were responsive to adult authority figures. Finally, in regards to language, parents reported their children had poor verbal communication in their home language and in English, their speech was often difficult to understand across languages, and they had difficulty learning to read in Mandarin and in English. This last set of concerns matched the fact that six of the eight children were receiving speech-​language therapy through the schools. It also revealed that parents had concerns about dual language acquisition and reading in more than one language. None of the parents had been advised on how to raise their children bilingually or on how to promote biliteracy at home. To summarize findings from these interviews and meetings with parents, most of the children in this sample were school age and attending either Kindergarten or preschool. The children enrolled in school were experiencing a language shift from the home language to English. It is surprising that six of the eight children in this sample were receiving speech-​language therapy, rather than bilingual instruction or support to learn English as an additional language. Speech-​ language therapy comes under the umbrella of special education services. Children must undergo bilingual speech and language evaluations and often complete psychological and educational evaluations. Following these evaluations, an individualized education plan is created, which must be

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revisited every year to determine progress. More importantly, emergent bilingual children should not be placed in special education because of being bilingual or multilingual, as was the case with these families (see chapters 2 and 3 by Crowley and Baigorri for information on speech-​language evaluations in bilingual children). In addition, their parents were not aware or did not express concern that their children were receiving special services. In contrast, parents had high expectations for their children, such as learning to read in English and Mandarin, being communicative with adults –​which implied efficient use of language –​and learning mathematics, which parents considered an important academic skill. Finally, most parents expressed concern about their children losing the home language, but they also felt that learning English was most important. 6.5.3

Raising Children Transnationally: The Case of SC, a 5-​Year-​Old  Boy

We met SC when he was 5.5  years old and in Kindergarten. His parents contacted us because SC appeared angry most of the time, he often refused to follow his mother’s directions, and he was not showing progress at school. SC was born in the United States and sent to China in the care of a relative when he was 3 months old. SC was raised in Fujian by his paternal grandparents and came back to live with his parents in Queens, when he was 4.6 years old. He was enrolled in Kindergarten at a school with a predominantly Chinese student population, but he only received instruction in English. His parents’ main concerns were that SC did not socialize well with other children and that he did not communicate well with his parents. His mother stated that SC did not engage in conversation with them. She worried that he preferred to spend most of his time on the computer. In his mother’s words, SC “can easily spend all day in front of the computer, playing fighting games.” She also said that her son often had altercations with other children at school and that he could not make any friends. SC’s teacher complained that he did not pay attention in class and that he was falling behind academically. His parents stated that they spoke Mandarin at home. They were both from Fujian, but from different regional speech areas and they could not understand each other’s local language, therefore communicating in Mandarin was easier for them. SC primarily learned regional Fujianese when growing up with his grandparents in China, however his mother was not sure about how much Mandarin he had been exposed to when growing up with his grandparents. SC and his parents lived in a shared apartment with two other families. They occupied a large bedroom with a private bathroom, while sharing the kitchen and common areas of the apartment. When we visited, there was a large bed in the middle of the room and a small bed by the window with folded clothes

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on top. There were boxes with plastic water bottles in a corner by the small bed. There was a dresser with a mirror and an open laptop that was used by SC to play games. There were no books or any designated area for reading and writing in the room. When we asked for a place to sit with SC, the mother brought out a small fold-​out table, placed a plate with grapes on top to treat us, and provided us with two stools. In the meantime, she sat on the bed while SC’s father remained standing. It was winter and the air felt dry in the room, which affected everyone’s breathing. SC repeatedly picked his nose during our visit. His mother complained that SC spent a lot of time picking his nose, but she made no reference to the dry air or to the fact that she and her husband were also experiencing breathing problems. The father explained that he worked at a restaurant out of state and only came home to see his family once a week. Thus, SC spent most of his time with his mother, who did not work outside the home. Our visit was planned on a Monday, when the father could be home to meet us. As to SC, he remained observant, but silent and serious during most of our visit. Twice he reached for the laptop on the dresser and his father sternly told him to stay away from it. At one point he reached for a large plastic sword and jumped on the bed as he brandished it in the air. This was a gift from a family friend and the only toy in the room. It took nearly an hour for SC to warm up and speak to us. This chapter’s second author, Qi Li, read a picture book in Mandarin with SC, a simple story about a boy who finds a duckling and raises it as a pet, then releases it when the duck gets older and can fly. SC paid attention and partially retold the story using two-​to three-​word combinations in Mandarin as he turned the pages in the book to follow the picture sequence. He remained shy and avoided eye contact during most of the interview. He later pulled out a notebook with loose sheets from under a pile of papers on the floor and he spoke more when showing us his own drawings. He liked to draw spaceships and dragons. He told Qi Li about one of his drawings with little aliens that came out from a spaceship, but he did not elaborate to produce a story. SC again used simple sentences, combining two to three words and supporting his speech by pointing to the pictures. In addition, we administered two picture vocabulary tests (receptive and expressive) that we adapted and translated to Mandarin (i.e., we removed items such as “skateboard” and “fireplace” which were not culturally relevant). When we first administered these tests in English, SC provided few or no responses. However, SC responded when we repeated these tests in Mandarin, but his responses were very limited, showing reduced vocabulary in Mandarin. We then asked SC to describe the function of some of the items that he could not label, such as “footprints” and he provided appropriate descriptions, such as “dirty feet walk,” showing that he had background knowledge, but lacked vocabulary for many of the items shown.

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SC’s overall language performance was marked by limited verbal interactions, reticence about engaging in conversations, and limited vocabulary and use of syntactic structures in Mandarin. He communicated best with visual support, as evident in his retelling of the picture story by pointing to the pictures or when he pulled out his own drawings and indicated the small aliens coming out of the spaceship. He also initiated communication based on physical activity, such as playing with his sword and approaching the laptop when he wanted to use it. We could not assess him in Fujianese, as his parents indicated they did not engage in their regional speech with him. His home environment did not support literacy, as there were no books that he could share with us, except the drawings he created. When we inquired about the type of books that SC liked to read, his parents said they did not know what to get for him and that SC did not have any interest in books, only in drawing or in using the computer. His parents wanted to communicate with him, but they did not know how to engage in conversations. In addition, they did not consider that their son’s knowledge of Mandarin might be limited and that exposure to English at school could be difficult for him. His parents also had difficulty understanding why SC did not appear happy. They had waited more than four years to be with him and they had anticipated a happy reunion. They were unprepared for an unhappy boy, who refused to talk with them, spent most of his time on a laptop, did not listen to his mother, and was misbehaving at school. Within two weeks, we saw SC and his mother again at our office. SC was excited when he saw that we had kitchen toys and he readily took to playing with a microwave. He repeatedly placed plastic food in and out of the microwave and pressed its buttons. At one point he became upset with Qi Li, who sat down to play with him and attempted to engage him in conversation. He stood up and loudly told her in Mandarin that girls were not good and that bugs would come to her house and it would explode. When Qi Li asked him why he was upset, SC said that he had no toys at home and that his friends did not like to come and play with him, because there was nothing to do or play with at his home. Then, in what could amount to an apology, he said that he did not play with girls because there were not enough toys to share with them. Although we had not observed SC at school, this episode showed us how difficult it was for him to socialize and how easily he could become confrontational. He needed to be in control of his play situation, even though he could not control everything else in his life. It was also at this meeting that we learned SC’s mother was expecting a second child and they had decided not to send their expected newborn to China. We saw SC three years later, during a summer vacation, when he came to our office with his father. At that meeting, SC showed respect by avoiding eye contact with us and looking down or sideways. His behavior had improved at school and there were fewer complaints about fighting with his peers. His

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language acquisition in English had improved, but he had difficulty in academic areas that included narrative discourse, reading comprehension, and in writing. He was in an integrated class, run in collaboration with a general education teacher and a special education teacher, and he was receiving speech-​ language therapy in English. He had completed second grade and he had been promoted to third grade. We worked with him in two different sessions to assess his ability to learn sequencing and new vocabulary. We used a mediated learning task, by engaging him in two science activities, one to make “slime” and another one to inflate a balloon on a bottle. SC was actively engaged with these activities, although he remained shy when talking. He provided detailed accounts in writing for the materials and procedures, including drawings. He learned target words such as “particles,” “suspended,” “colloid,” “substance,” “inflate,” “energy,” “gas,” “carbon dioxide,” “chemical reaction,” “invisible.” He used these target words within the context of complex sentences, even though he omitted the third-​person singular marker, article “a,” and he had some difficulty with punctuation. SC also had difficulty using the transition words “even though” and spelling the word “invisible.” See the following sample from his writing and notes on errors: When the yeast eat [1]‌the sugar it get [2] enrgy [3] and let [4] out the gas and blow [5] the balloon. This is call [6] [7] chemical reaction [8] the chemical reaction change [9] the original ingredients in some way. Yeast, warm water, [10] sugar react together and produce carbon dioxide even [11] carbon dioxide is inviside [12] we spot it when the balloon blows up. [1]‌ [2]‌ [3]‌ [4]‌ [5]‌ [6]‌ [7]‌ [8]‌ [9]‌ [10] [11] [12]

eat: eats (third person) get: gets (third person) engry: energy (misspelled) let: lets (third person) blow: blows (third person) call: called (verb  tense) omission: a (article) omission of punctuation change: changes (third person) omission: and (conjunction) even: even though (omission in compound word) inviside: invisible (misspelled)

In another example, this is how SC defined one of the new words he learned:  “colloid, a special kind of mixture where particles of one type of materials are suspended in another kind of materials.” Even though SC still showed difficulty in oral expression and conversation, his writing revealed the ability to acquire complex concepts and to relate cause and effect within a complex sequence of events. The fact that he did not use third-​ person singular is likely due to Chinese-​ influenced English

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in his linguistic environment. In Mandarin, grammatical functions cannot be indicated through inflectional morphemes as in English, but are denoted through word order, particles, and prepositions (Li & Thompson, 1989). Thus, many Chinese speakers experience difficulty using grammatical morphemes in English. Interestingly, at this point in our interactions, and slightly more than three years after he returned from China to be with his parents, SC only communicated in English and he did not respond to verbal interactions in Mandarin. His father said they had tried sending SC to weekend school to learn Mandarin, but he refused to go and he would not talk to either parent or to his young sister in Mandarin; SC only used English. Moreover, he only understood English. Both parents spoke limited English, enough to communicate within context and to manage everyday situations, but not for conversations. By the age of 3, SC’s sister used few words to communicate in Mandarin or English and the family again reached out to us for guidance. At that point the mother was working full-​time and the father had assumed more parenting responsibilities. He came several times to learn how to stimulate first words in Chinese with his young daughter. She was subsequently placed in early preschool in English and provided speech-​language therapy to improve her language skills. The father’s main fear at that time was that his young daughter might develop similar problems as her brother. The father did not attribute any of SC’s behaviors and early language problems to the transnational situation in which he was raised. In the father’s own words (translated from Mandarin): “Many children are sent to China and they come back and are well. If there are 100 children that are sent, maybe only one has the problems and that is my son.” 6.6

Discussion and Recommendations

In this chapter we explore the experiences and challenges of Fujianese immigrants in the United States, a rapidly growing, but not well-​understood group. Our research indicates that Fujianese families often have a multilingual home environment, but tend to focus on Mandarin as the heritage language for their children. Maintenance of the heritage language can be complicated because of insufficient exposure to the language and the complexity of its writing system. Among our group of families, we also found that children were often placed in special education or received speech-​language therapy, rather than appropriate bilingual instruction through the schools. See chapters 2 and 3 by Crowley and Baigorri and Chapter 9 by Ijalba and Giraldo for information on overreferral of emergent bilingual children to special education. In addition, most of the Fujianese immigrant parents that we worked with came from rural areas, lacked higher education, and had limited English

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proficiency, which impacted on how well they could understand the education system in the United States and how their children were learning. For example, most parents were unaware that their children were receiving special education services and they had not considered placing their children in dual-​language programs. These parents also faced social challenges that impacted the home environment and how they raised their children. For example, harsh working conditions did not leave much time for child care; living in shared apartments and having financial debt also added to parental stress and communication breakdown between family members. These factors were present among many of the families that we worked with. Moreover, the practice of sending their children to be raised in China for extended periods can be particularly difficult for parents and their children, as was seen in the case of SC. Raising children transnationally involves the delicate balance of living in two cultures and communicating in two or more languages. There is a dire need for expert support to guide parents on these decisions and to assist them when their children return. Providers such as speech-​language pathologists, teachers, and mental health professionals must coordinate their efforts to lend support to transnational families. In addition, when considering the language needs of children with transnational experiences, we must evaluate the cultural and educational contexts and how the child is able to integrate and develop attitudes toward learning, which will ultimately influence the child’s motivation to learn in the second language (see Gardner, 2007). Crucial to this motivation is how the child identifies with the other language community and is influenced by those social forces (Gardner et al., 2004; Schumann 1978). In the case of SC, his early cultural, educational, and family contexts in China were suddenly withdrawn and replaced with living in New York City with his parents and attending school in the United States. His motivation later developed toward learning English and refusing to speak Chinese with his parents. What stands out in the case of SC is that there were deep social, emotional, and language needs that were unmet for him, as a developing child and for his parents who expected him to communicate bilingually. SC refused to acquire the heritage language, which resulted in a dramatic language shift in the household. From a resilience perspective, it is obvious that the immigrant families we met through our research were hard-​working people, with a deep love and commitment to their children. They left their villages and loved ones, endured years of hardship in the United States, went through the agonizing decision of separating from their children, and then tried to put the pieces back together in restructuring their families. Our society has a great debt to these immigrant families.

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Bilingualism in Korean-​American Children and Maternal Perceptions of Education Elizabeth Ijalba and Nakyung Yoo

Introduction Korean immigrants have a well-​established presence in many cities of the United States. In the New York area, the largest concentration of Koreans is in Queens, extending into Manhattan, Long Island, and parts of New Jersey. In 2016, this Korean population was estimated at 228,020, constituting the second largest group after California, where Koreans are estimated at 461,305 (US Census Bureau, 2012–​2016 American Community Survey 5-​Year Estimates). From the limited research available, we know that Korean-​American families place great value in maintaining the home language and in raising their children bilingually. However, a majority of Korean-​American children experience a language shift to English around the age of 5, after entering kindergarten (Lee, 2009). An accelerated language shift can create communication problems among children and family caregivers who are not proficient in English. In addition, a language shift can disrupt family traditions and values, such as hierarchy and respect for elders, including parents and grandparents. Among immigrant groups, there are also cultural differences about how children are raised and the educational expectations that parents have for their children. Early literacy practices, parental perceptions about bilingualism, and parents’ education levels, are important factors influencing how children learn and the types of difficulties they may encounter in school. For children with language impairment, identifying these differences may be crucial in determining language learning differences or the presence of a language disorder. In this chapter we describe our research on parenting perceptions in five Korean immigrant mothers of school-​age children. We interviewed mothers, observed their interactions in real-​ life situations with their children, and conducted ethnographic observations within the homes. In addition, we elicited vocabulary and narrative language measures in Korean from the children. The purpose of our study was to learn about mothers’ perceptions on the home language, early literacy practices, and children’s language development in Korean immigrant families. In the following sections we review the literature to gain a better understanding of Koreans living in the United States, the role of mothers 124

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in teaching at home and in planning for their children’s education, and the types of challenges that mothers face in raising their children bilingual. 7.1

Koreans in the United States and Their Dissatisfaction with Education in South Korea

The majority of Korean immigrants arrived in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, seeking economic and professional advancement, much like other immigrant groups. However, Koreans were distinguished by having higher education than other immigrants, often holding college degrees that afforded them opportunities for advancement. They established enclaves in large cities, such as Los Angeles and New  York, forming networks where newcomers helped one another. Koreatown in Queens, New York is an example of a thriving Korean business and resident community. According to data reported by the Pew Research Center (Lopez et  al., 2017) and the Policy Migration Institute (Zong & Batalova, 2017), there are approximately 1,900,000 Korean immigrants and Korean-​Americans living in the United States. These two groups comprise the 1.9  million Korean diaspora residing in large cities like Los Angeles and New York. Overall, Korean immigrants are characterized by higher education levels than the native-​born US population. In the year 2015, 37  percent of foreign-​born Koreans and 32 percent of US-​born Koreans held a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 29 percent of the rest of the US native-​born population. Koreans were also less likely to experience poverty than other immigrant groups; more than 50 percent held professional jobs and had access to health insurance. In addition, because of their extended family networks and professional status, most Koreans find an easy way to permanent residence or citizenship. In 2015, 61 percent of the one million Korean immigrants were naturalized US citizens (Zong & Batalova, 2017). As South Korea transformed into a powerful economy, the number of Korean immigrants arriving in the United States for economic reasons decreased. Notwithstanding, recent immigrants from South Korea tend to be parents seeking a better education for their children. This can be explained by two reasons: the dissatisfaction that many Korean parents have with the education system in South Korea and the high prestige of the English language. The education system in South Korea is highly competitive, based on rote learning and rigorous testing. University entrance exams typically last eight hours and acceptance is highly selective. It is common that students prepare by attending “hagwon” or cram schools after their regular school hours, where they receive tutoring in specific subject areas, such as math and English as a foreign language. Most students attend several cram schools, each specializing in different subject matters. They have little time left to pursue creative

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or extracurricular activities, since cramming takes place every day and into the night. Koo (2014) describes the education system in Korea as abusive to students’ health and well-​being, where students are seen as commodities, both to the thriving “hagwon” industry and to families who stand to benefit from their children’s success. In addition, the hagwon are expensive and not all parents can afford to send their children during the school years, which limits children’s educational opportunities. Many Korean parents prefer American education because of its stress-​free nature. It does not emphasize rote learning, children can develop creativity, learn problem-​solving skills, and they can gain entry into US universities. The fact that education is so competitive in Korea is an important factor for many families seeking to educate their children abroad (Lee, 2009). However, as the number of Korean children increases in our schools, we have limited knowledge about their needs and how Korean immigrant parents adapt to educating their children in the United States. 7.2

Language Shift to English among Korean-​American Children

Among Korean families living in the United States, there is a strong value placed on their children learning the Korean language. In a study by Park and Sarkar (2007), parents expressed the need for their children to develop high levels of proficiency in Korean to maintain their cultural identity as Koreans, ensure future financial opportunities, and to be able to communicate effectively with their grandparents. However, Korean immigrant parents are principally concerned that their children learn English and attain success in American schools, prompting many families to forego use of the Korean language at home. In the 2010 US Census, a majority of Korean parents reported limited English proficiency, yet they also reported speaking English at home. Information on the census revealed that 52 percent of Korean immigrants (aged 5 and older) reported limited English proficiency, but they were also more likely to speak English at home than other immigrant groups (US Census Bureau, 2012). It is significant that even though there are more than 200,000 Koreans in New York, only 0.05% (N = 561) of Korean-​American children are classified as English language learners. This indicates that a majority of Korean-​ American children are exposed to English prior to school entry, even if Korean is spoken at home. Indeed, the literature indicates that a majority of Korean-​ American children experience a language shift to English around the age of 5 or soon thereafter, when they enter kindergarten. This language shift can further place pressure on parents to use English at home (Lee, 2009). Moreover, an accelerated language shift can create communication problems for the child with family members who are not proficient in English. This is confirmed in

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a study by Kim and Hong (2007), where parents described the importance of teaching their children discipline, but reported difficulty communicating because their children only spoke English and parents reprimanded them in Korean. In explaining the shift from Korean to English in the home context, there are also social factors to consider. Korean mothers are responsible for teaching at home and ensuring that their children succeed in school. However, Korean immigrant mothers report that they often face difficulty communicating with teachers and they feel underrepresented at schools (Sohn & Wang, 2006). Such lack of communication can undermine parents’ ability to work with their children at home and to sustain activities in the home language. Mothers interviewed by Sohn and Wang also expressed concern that their children would encounter discrimination at school. They feared that teachers would treat their children differently from other students and that their children would not be able to integrate with their English-​speaking peers. These factors partly explain why there is a strong shift to English in 77 percent of Korean-​speaking homes after children start attending school (Lee, 2009). 7.3

Parenting Perceptions and Teaching at Home among Korean Immigrant Mothers

In Korean families, mothers play a crucial role in socializing and in making educational decisions for their children. The structure of Korean families is hierarchical, maintaining respect for elders and placing the father as head in each family, but the mother remains as the authority and primary caretaker at home. Park and Kim (2009) describe the traditional Korean family as intergenerational, with grandparents, parents, and children living under one roof. However, this extended family structure is no longer prevalent in modern South Korea, where the nuclear family has replaced the way that families live and how children are raised. Whereas grandparents continue to play a supportive role and the father holds a leading position in providing for the family, it is the mother who is responsible for educating children and ensuring that they succeed academically (Park & Kim, 2004). In so doing, Korean mothers must negotiate their own cultural perceptions based on collectivism and traditional family values versus the more individualistic cultural values of modern society and living in the United States (Chao & Tseng, 2002; Park & Cheah, 2005). Thus, there is strong pressure on Korean mothers to have their children succeed academically, whether in their home country or abroad. This pressure may originate from the rigorous upbringing of how mothers were educated in South Korea, where students are expected to study excessively and to rank at the top of their class. In addition, the hierarchy of the Korean family demands that children obey and not question their parents, thus placing mothers in an

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authoritarian role. In a study by Jillian (1996), Korean mothers’ parenting style was described as authoritarian, teaching their children to conform to their parents’ wishes and to respond to direct instruction and commands. This authoritarian style is confirmed in other studies. Kim, Im, Nahm, and Hong (2012) report that Korean parents are the exclusive decision makers for their children; they perceive what is best for them in their daily lives, education, studying, playing, and feeding. Mothers expect immediate compliance, based on their perception of what is best for their child and not what their child desires. However, Kim et al. conclude that Korean parents’ perceptions of parenting are deeply rooted in the social contexts of where parents were brought up, but are also influenced by acculturation based on where they are raising their children (Berry, 2006). This suggests a combination of authoritarian parenting alongside the teaching recommendations and curricula of the schools their children attend. Authoritarian parenting is associated with direct teaching in early childhood, that involves repetition and rote learning or memorization. In contrast, child-​ focused strategies are associated with following the child’s lead and using the context to facilitate language (Weitzman et  al., 2017). Distancing strategies in teaching differentiate high-​level distancing, where children learn through planning and problem-​solving, from low-​level distancing, where children learn by labeling, demonstration, and observation (Sigel et al., 1993; Wang et al., 2005). Whereas high-​level distancing learning is associated with education in US schools and parenting perceptions of white European-​American parents, low-​level distancing strategies are associated with the direct teaching style of many Asian families (Wang et al., 2005). However, research does not provide evidence for one method to be more or less effective than the other. Rather, the effectiveness of each method is maximized by how parents use teaching strategies and their interactions within their specific contexts. The factors that have been shown to influence learning in young children are the level of parental responsiveness and positive encouragement that parents provide (see Chapter 8 by Velasco and Kabuto and Chapter 10 by Ijalba for more details on parent–​ child interactions in literacy and early learning). We have limited information about the teaching strategies that Korean immigrant mothers use at home with their children and how mothers make sense of how their children learn in US schools. Acculturation would predict that Korean immigrant mothers living in the United States would use less authoritarian or direct teaching strategies and incorporate more child-​focused strategies. One area in which Korean families excel is in early literacy. Kim (2009) points out the importance of early literacy practices in Korean families. When interviewing families of young children in South Korea, parents indicated the presence of up to a hundred children’s books at home and reading daily with their children. Reading at home was positively correlated with children’s early

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literacy skills and with conventional reading in Korean. Notwithstanding, we have limited knowledge about the early literacy practices in Korean immigrant families. For example, parents using direct teaching or low-​level distancing strategies in shared reading would be less likely to encourage conversations with their children, which could influence language development. That is, parents model language during dialogic interactions that expose children to vocabulary, phonology, grammar, and narrative structures (Ijalba, 2014; Justice, 2006; Lonigan & Whitehurst, 1998). In this way, literacy experiences serve as a medium for parents to mediate language for their children. 7.4

Findings from Our Research: Vocabulary, Mean Length of Utterance, and Mothers’ Direct Teaching Style in Five Korean-​American Preschool Children

In our work with Korean immigrant families we wanted to find out the effects of direct teaching on the language development of preschool-​age Korean-​ American children. We also wanted to find out about Korean mothers’ communication style with their children and mothers’ perceptions regarding bilingualism and their children’s schooling. We recruited five Korean mother–​ child dyads that included four boys and one girl. Three of the mothers expressed concerns about language delay in their children (aged 35–​53 months), while two mothers described typical language acquisition for their children (aged 32–​47 months). All mothers described using direct teaching of vocabulary with their children, such as naming flash cards. Only the Korean language was used in all the homes. The mothers had lived in the United States for ten years or longer. They were all college educated in Korea. Their native language was Korean and it was described as their most proficient language. One mother was bilingual and reported conversational levels in English. We formulated the following questions: 1. What characterizes the communication style used by mothers while playing with their children? 2. What is the relationship between receptive-​expressive vocabulary scores and sentence length for preschool-​age Korean-​American children? 3. What are mothers’ perceptions and expectations regarding bilingualism and schooling for their children? 7.4.1 Method In order to learn about the communication style used by mothers with their children, each mother was interviewed and observed at home playing and reading with her child. Mothers and their children were followed for one year

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or longer. As part of their assessment, each mother–​child dyad was observed while playing for thirty minutes with a set of toys and reading a picture book. These play/​reading sessions were video-​recorded and analyzed to identify direct teaching or child-​focused behaviors used by the mothers. For direct teaching, we counted the number of Wh-​questions (What, Where, Who), Yes/​ No questions, and labeling used by mothers. For child-​focused behaviors, we counted when mothers used describing, complimenting, recasting, and responding to their child’s questions or requests. To learn about the children’s vocabulary, we used standardized picture vocabulary tests to measure comprehension and expression. For comprehension, the children had to listen to a word in Korean and point to the corresponding picture in a field of four. For expression, the children were shown single pictures and they had to name them. Four out of the five children only responded in Korean, but one child also responded in English. These responses were included in his total scores. The tests were standardized on monolingual English-​speaking children, since there are no available vocabulary tests for Korean-​American children. Thus, the norms in these tests reflect the experience and vocabulary knowledge of children growing up in the United States in homes where the primary language is English, which could be different from the experience and knowledge of the Korean-​American children in our sample. The word lists corresponding to pictures for each test were translated to Korean, reviewed with mothers, and adapted by removing items that were not culturally appropriate (e.g., “fireplace”). The use of these standardized measures allowed us to compare the vocabulary of our Korean-​American children with their monolingual norms (matched by age). In addition, we wanted to see how the Korean-​American children suspected of language delay performed on these measures. To measure sentence length, we elicited language samples from each child. The children were asked to listen to a story based on a picture book and narrated in Korean by a native speaker. They were subsequently asked to retell the story while viewing the pictures. The story was simple, based on a child who encounters a duckling and brings it home as a pet. Sentence length was counted in terms of number of words per sentence (mean length unit in words [MLU-​ W]) and by the number of morphemes (mean length unit in morphemes [MLU-​ M]) per sentence. Since the children were exposed to reading books at home with their mothers, the shared reading task worked well with all the children. To learn about the Korean mothers’ perceptions and expectations regarding bilingualism for their children, we interviewed each mother. We used semi-​ structured interviews to inquire about the language(s) used at home, early literacy practices, children’s enrollment in daycare/​preschool, parents’ planning regarding education, and the types of pressures or concerns that mothers were experiencing regarding their children’s education and language development.

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7.4.2 Results



Communication Style 

In terms of the communication style used by mothers with their children, we found that all mothers overwhelmingly used more direct teaching (low-​ level distancing strategies) than child-​focused behaviors (high-​level distancing strategies). For direct teaching behaviors we added the number of times that mothers used Wh-​questions to request labeling, Yes/​No questions to test their child’s knowledge, labeling objects to elicit repetitions, and simple directives to instruct their child to do something during the activity. The total number for these direct teaching behaviors was 278 (M = 17.38, SD 9.54). For child-​focused behaviors we added the number of times that mothers used describing for objects and actions, complimenting their child, responding to their child’s questions, and recasting by repeating what their child said while using clear speech and sentence expansions. The total number for these child-​focused behaviors was 120 (M  =  7.12, SD 9.59). We conducted a T-​test for two dependent means and found there were significant differences between the number of direct teaching behaviors and child-​focused interactions, p ≤ 0.05. See Table 7.1 for scores on the communication styles used by mothers.

Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary  In terms of comprehension or receptive vocabulary, we administered the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-​III adapted to Korean. In this task the children were asked to listen to a spoken word and point to the corresponding picture in a field of four. The children’s responses approximated scores ranging from one standard deviation above the mean (112) to one standard deviation below the mean (88). These scores fall within the 68 percent of the area of a normal distribution and are considered within the average performance range. In regards to expressive vocabulary, we administered the Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test, where children had to name pictures presented one at a time. All five children scored higher than on the receptive measure. Their expressive vocabulary scores ranged from average (100) to more than one standard deviation above the mean (123). Their performance fell in the average-​to-​above-​average range for a normal distribution.

Sentence Length  Sentence length was measured in Korean from a narrative language sample based on the retelling of a story from a picture book. Children first listened to the story and then retold the story while looking at the pictures. For sentence length in words, the children’s scores ranged from using one-​word utterances (MLU-​ W 1.0) to using sentences that combined four words (MLU 3.9). Their use

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Table 7.1 Communication styles used by Korean mothers Mothers

Direct Communicative Interactions

Total

WH-​Q

Y/​N-​Q

L

DR

M1 M2 M3 M4

15 34 14 15

8 8 12 5

17 17 29 3

34 25 19 23

Total Mean SD

78

33

66

101

Child-​Focused Communicative Interactions

Total

DC

CP

RC

RP

AT

74 84 74 46

5 7 26 33

7

12 3

1 5

1

10

5

5

278 17.38 9.54

71

7

25

11

6

26 19 26 53 120 7.12 9.59

Note. Direct communicative interactions: WH-​Q is Wh-​questions; Y/​N-​Q is Yes/​No questions; L is labeling; DR is directing. Child-​focused communicative interactions: DC is describing; CP is complimenting; RC is recasting; RP is responding; AT is drawing attention by calling child’s name.

of grammatical morphemes was higher, except for the child who used single utterances (MLU-​M 1.0 to MLU-​M 5.7). When the children were matched for age, these differences became more evident: The 32-​month-​old with typical language development had an MLU-​M of 3.1, while the 35-​month-​old with language delay had an MLU-​M of 1.0. The 47-​month-​old with typical language development had an MLU-​M of 5.7, while the 53-​month-​old with language delay had an MLU-​M of 2.7. See Table 7.2 for language measures on all the children.

Comparison between Vocabulary and Sentence Length Scores  Next, we wanted to find out if there were significant differences in vocabulary scores among the typically developing children (C1 and C2) and the ones reported with language delay (C3, C4, and C5). We added receptive and expressive scores and compared the children matched by age. There were no differences among the typically developing children and the three suspected of language delay. However, when we compared their MLU for words and morphemes, and established the same comparisons, we found significant differences. That is, for C1 (32 months, M = 2.65, SD 0.63) and C3 (35 months, mean 1.0, SD 0), the p-​value is 0.033 and the result is significant at p < 0.05. For C2 (47 months, M = 4.8, SD 1.27) and C4 (43 months, M = 1.4, SD 0.28) the p-​value is 0.041 and the result is significant at p < 0.05. As for C2 and C5 (53 months, M = 2.25, SD 0.63) there were no significant differences at p < 0.05. However, C5’s reduced language scores in spite of being older than his peers, raised concerns about his language development.

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Table 7.2 Language measures in children with typical language development and those with language delay Language measures

TD C1

TD C2

LD C3

LD C4

LD C5

Age (months) PPVT-​III Receptive vocabulary EOWPVT Expressive vocabulary MLU-​words MLU-​morphemes

32 100

47 112

35 90

43 88

53 94

105

123

112

104

100

2.2 3.1

3.9 5.7

1.0 1.0

1.6 2.0

1.8 2.7

Note. PPVT-​III:  Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (receptive vocabulary measure); EOWPVT is Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary (expressive vocabulary measure); MLU-​words represents Mean Length Utterance in Words (average number of words per communicative unit); MLU-​morphemes represents Mean Length Utterance in Morphemes (average number of morphemes per communicative unit).

7.4.3

Mothers’ Perceptions and Expectations about Bilingualism and Education for Their Children

To learn about the mothers’ perceptions and expectations regarding bilingualism and education for their children, we conducted semi-​structured interviews. We found that all mothers exclusively used Korean at home with their children. Whereas Korean was the only language used in three families, there were two exceptions: In one family a father was bilingual and used Korean and English, in another family an older sibling used English at home. In addition, three children were attending Korean preschool, whereas the older child (53  months) was attending preschool in English. In this case, the child was suspected of language delay and the preschool teacher had advised the mother to stop using Korean at home and to use English. This mother was not fluent in English and she continued using Korean at home. Her experience of being advised not to use her home language with her child is consistent with that reported by other mothers in this volume (see Chapter 9 by Ijalba and Giraldo, Chapter 10 by Ijalba, and Chapter 11 by Puig). As to language planning, all mothers planned to introduce English when their children turned 4.  That is, English would be introduced at preschool, since most Korean preschools provide English instruction for one year prior to school entrance. In our sample, C2 (47 months) was about to start English instruction, whereas C5 (53) had been attending preschool in English for about six months. In spite of this structured planning in how English was introduced in all families, mothers remained concerned that their children would not have sufficient English proficiency to succeed in school once they entered

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kindergarten. Thus, all mothers had questions about whether learning Korean would influence their children’s academic performance in the future. As to early literacy, all five mothers reported having more than fifty children’s books in Korean at home and to read daily with their children. In addition, all families had many picture books in English. One family had an entire collection of educational books categorized by reading level, which had been imported from Korea and was described as “very expensive.” As to reading practices, mothers read books in Korean and pointed to pictures, but they did not use print referencing. None of the mothers were introducing their children to the Hangul alphabet, although all the children could name letters in English and write their names in English. During home visits to four of the families, we observed that children’s books were always neatly stacked in shelves placed close to the floor and in full access to each child. In addition, children had their own reading areas that included their own small tables and chairs. The children also had toys, but books predominated in every home. In one case, a mother kept an album with art projects that she completed at home with her child and that she displayed proudly. In the other cases, mothers hung and displayed their children’s art on the walls or kept them in folders. All the mothers were clearly proud of their children’s work and liked to show these pieces. In all five cases, the mothers talked about their efforts to import popular educational videos from Korea. The children treasured these videos, but they could only watch them for about an hour each day; the mothers exerted full control over access to the television. Each mother set clear limits on how much screen time their children could have. In the family with an older sibling, the television remained unplugged to prevent children from using it without parental permission. A popular video was that of “Pororo,” a small penguin who is an aviator and lives on an island with several animal friends. Each of Pororo’s adventures taught children moral lessons and how to overcome challenges. Through these videos, children also learned about letters and sounds in Korean. The children also had books about Pororo, play mats with the character, posters on the walls, etc. In terms of concerns regarding their children’s education, all mothers expressed fears that their children would encounter discrimination once they entered school; they were concerned that teachers would not be able to understand and care for their children. Mothers also wanted their children to be able to integrate with their American peers. All mothers had questions about whether learning Korean could interfere with learning English. In the case of one family, the parents wanted their daughter to take entrance exams for the talented and gifted kindergarten in a private school and they were concerned that her vocabulary scores would not be sufficiently high if she learned Korean. In that family, the father was bilingual and he used English with the daughter, but the mother only spoke Korean.

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All mothers expressed social pressure from their families and friends about schooling their children well at home. Mothers felt solely responsible for their children’s learning, as fathers worked and tended to come home late. Only one mother worked full-​time and the rest were homemakers. Four families lived in a Korean community in Queens, New York. They attended church in Korean and kept close contact with each other and events in their community. The fifth mother lived far from the Korean community. This mother also worked and sent her child to preschool in English. All families had close contact with their relatives in Korea. In all cases, the grandparents played supporting roles, even if they were in Korea. Grandparents sent books and educational videos, they kept close contact by phone and often visited the families. 7.4.4

Language Outcomes for C2 (47 months) and C5 (53 months) after Three Years

Three years after this initial study, we contacted the mothers of two children in our sample who were differentiated by having typical language development (C2) and language delay (C5). We wanted to know if the children had continued to develop Korean and about their academic performance at school. For C2, the mother reported that her son spoke fluently in Korean and that he could read and write in Korean, although his spelling was not perfect. She continued using Korean exclusively at home and her son was attending weekend Korean school. As to academic performance in English, her son was in fourth grade and he was performing well, even though he did not always score at the top of his class on tests. This mother expressed concern about how using the home language could be affecting her son’s academic performance, by stating that her son preferred speaking in Korean rather than English and that his reading comprehension in English needed improvement. For C5, he had been evaluated by a bilingual speech-​language pathologist and found to have vocabulary within the average range, which initially precluded him from receiving speech-​language therapy services. The parents sought additional help through child preschool special services, where he was enrolled at the age of 4 and received instruction in English. He went on to kindergarten and first grade, participating in integrated classes, with a teacher and teacher’s assistant. All instruction has remained in English. His mother continues using Korean at home and reported that she taught him to read and write in Korean. However, he has difficulty responding in Korean and uses many words in English. His mother was concerned that her son was also losing his basic-​level reading and writing ability in Korean due to lack of systematic instruction. Thus, she was considering sending him to weekend school in Korean, but she worried this would be too difficult for him.

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7.5 Discussion There is scarce research on the needs of Korean children and their families, even though Koreans constitute a large immigrant group in the United States, particularly in urban centers like Los Angeles and New York City. Our study looks at a small group of five families, and we concentrate on how mothers taught their children at home, their use of language(s) at home, and their early literacy practices. In Korean society, mothers play determining roles in guiding their children’s education from an early age. We wanted to know how this role is enacted when raising their children in the United States. Among our group of Korean immigrant mothers, we found that their role as educator and homemaker is preserved, placing great pressure on them to have their children succeed in American schools. We know from the literature that cultural differences and parental perceptions on parenting can influence how children learn at home and their school readiness skills. In addition, cultural differences and expectations about education can influence parental engagement with schools. The mothers in our study expressed difficulty communicating with teachers and were concerned about how their children would be treated once they left Korean preschool and entered kindergarten. This suggests that schools must reach out to Korean mothers and provide an inclusive environment where they feel welcomed and represented. Our focus in this study was to identify cultural values and practices associated with early literacy, language, and parental expectations about education for their children. We used a variety of tools, including observations of mother–​child dyads during play and reading, measuring vocabulary and sentence length with the children, ethnographic observations within the homes, and semi-​structured interviews with the mothers. Among the families in our sample, we found that direct teaching (low-​level distancing strategies) were predominant in how mothers interacted with their children during play and in shared reading. Across all families, there was a strong emphasis on early literacy practices, including well-​established reading routines and a variety of books available in Korean and in English. Mothers read aloud in Korean, and they also introduced Hangul and required their children to learn characters in Korean. Across families, there was also a strong emphasis on only using Korean at home when children were under the age of 4. Mothers believed that English should be introduced through preschool one year prior to school entrance. Four of the five families sent their children to Korean early-​childcare settings, where they were introduced to English one year prior to kindergarten. This transition prepared their children to communicate with their teachers and peers upon school entrance. However, all mothers worried about their children’s ability to learn sufficient English prior to elementary school.

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For all the families, maintaining Korean and raising their children to be bilingual was very important. However, in all cases, the mothers agreed that English would become their priority once their children entered elementary school. All mothers had high expectations that their children would achieve academic excellence. They had clear expectations and were able to plan well for their children’s education from an early age. All five children demonstrated high vocabulary scores for their age when compared with standardized monolingual English norms. They scored within the average range for comprehension and in the average-​to-​above-​average range for expressive vocabulary. This is an interesting finding, because children who are considered English learners (not proficient in English) tend to score low on vocabulary measures in the home language when compared to monolingual norms. It is also interesting that across the five children in our sample, their scores were higher in expressive vocabulary, when the children were shown pictures and they had to name them. This finding is likely related to the practice of direct teaching at home, whereby mothers tended to name objects, use flash cards, and name pictures in books to teach vocabulary to their children from an early age. We did not test for children’s ability to use definitions for vocabulary concepts, which could have yielded additional information on children’s vocabulary knowledge. In our sample, there were three children described as “typically developing” and two who were described by their mothers as “language delayed.” Whereas the vocabulary measures could not distinguish these children, the measures of sentence length revealed significant differences among the children. That is, children who had typical language development used longer word combinations than their age-​matched peers suspected of language delay. Accordingly, sentence length reflected the use of multiword utterances and a range of syntactic complexity for the children with typical language development, but not for the children with language delay. This is an important finding, as speech-​ language pathologists may miss identifying language impairment when focusing on vocabulary measures in Korean-​American children, who learn vocabulary through direct teaching methods at home. Whereas our findings are limited to a small sample of children and cannot be generalized, they indicate that speech-​language pathologists should rely more on language samples and not on standardized testing measures that are not appropriate for Korean-​American children. In particular, vocabulary measures may simply reflect the direct teaching practices (e.g., vocabulary flash cards, pointing to words and pictures during shared book reading) that Korean mothers frequently use with their children. Finally, in our sample, all five mothers were more proficient in Korean than in English. They also expressed the importance of learning Korean language for the children to communicate with their grandparents and to identify with

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their Korean culture. These mothers used Korean to maintain an enriched home language environment and consistent early literacy practices with their children. However, all mothers expressed concern that their efforts to teach Korean could adversely influence their children’s academic performance at school. Thus, mothers experienced a conflict in creating a bilingual environment, where their children could learn both languages. Schools did not provide guidance on how to support bilingualism. Contrary to best practices in education, in the case of the child with language impairment, several teachers advised the mother to only use English at home, even though the mother was not fluent in English. School teachers advised the mother that her son’s English would improve and that his learning in school would be easier if he only spoke English. Such advice is not consistent with research showing that bilingualism does not interfere with acquiring English or with learning in other areas. Our study underscores the importance of providing guidance to Korean immigrant mothers who want to raise their children bilingually. Teachers and speech-​language pathologists can be paramount in helping families achieve bilingualism and maintenance of their home language.

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Transgenerational Bilingual Reading Practices: A Case Study of an Undocumented Mixteco Family Patricia Velasco and Bobbie Kabuto

Introduction This chapter focuses on the transgenerational nature of biliteracy within families. Using a case-​study approach, we analyzed how a Mixteco-​Mexican father and daughter’s perceptions about themselves and each other evolved as they co-​ constructed bilingual literacy events. Biliteracy has been defined as “any and all instances in which communication occurs in two or more languages in or around writing” (Hornberger, 1990, p. 213). From this perspective, biliteracy is more than the sole act of reading and writing; it encompasses social practices that are mediated by language and texts. The study presented in this chapter incorporates Family Retrospective Miscue Analysis (RMA; Kabuto, 2009) during which parents listen to and discuss their children’s miscues, or observed responses that differ from the expected response (Goodman, 1996). The process is reversed so that children have the opportunity to observe their parents reading. Family RMA is built on RMA (Goodman & Marek, 1996), a research tool that asks readers to retrospectively reflect on their oral reading behaviors. Additionally, RMA is based on a constructivist model of reading in which readers use psycholinguistic strategies (including sampling, predicting, and confirming) and linguistic cues (comprising graphophonic, syntactic, and semantic cues) to construct meaning. Family RMA allows for both parents and children to socially co-​ construct a deeper, conscious awareness of the reading process. Through discussions of and around reading, Family RMA provides a social milieu for a better understanding of how language mediates reading practices, as well as the transmission of values about reading within families. Using Family RMA, we analyzed two aspects of the case-​study data. The first aspect was the transgenerational and translanguaging practices that existed between the Mixteco-​Mexican parent and child when they read and engaged in retrospective discussions of their reading behaviors. We use the term “transgenerational learning” to suggest that learning is not unidirectional and transmitted from the parent to the child. Instead, transgenerational learning 139

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transcends parent and child generations and brings in a constellation of familial history intertwined with future possibilities. The result of transgenerational learning is the creation of new and blended language and literacy practices, beliefs, and behaviors. These blended language practices are viewed through translanguaging, a practice associated with bilinguals that allows for the permeability of communicating and learning across languages (Garcia, 2009). Second, we analyzed the parent and child’s personal models of reading, or their perceptions and definitions of what makes a “good reader” and who “reads well” in English and Spanish. We considered how both the father and daughter held personal beliefs about reading. At the same time, their reading approaches were constructed and constitutive of each other’s reading process. The examination of these two aspects challenge the notion that immigrant, undocumented families of low socio-​economic status lack literacy knowledge and their children are potentially educationally “at risk.” 8.1

Albino and Melissa: A Mixteco-​Mexican Family

Albino is a 46-​year-​old Mixtec speaker born in Tlapa, Guerrero, part of La Mixteca region in southwestern Mexico. He immigrated to New York City ten years ago with his wife Teresa. La Mixteca is characterized by extreme poverty, low levels of literacy, and high levels of emigration to the United States (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática [INEGI], 2000). As of 2011, an estimated 150,000 Mixteco people originally from the state of Oaxaca were living in California, and 25,000–​30,000 in New  York City (Torrens, 2011). The Mixtecos who have established themselves in New York are originally from Guerrero, specifically from the city of Tlapa and its surrounding areas. Similar to many of the sacrifices that undocumented immigrants make in their travels to the United States, Albino and Teresa left four children in Mexico, who they have not seen for over ten years, since they moved to New  York. They described speaking every weekend with their children and with the maternal grandparents, who take care of them. In addition, Albino and Teresa have two children who were born in the United States, Melissa (8 years old) and her younger brother Emilio (3 years old). Although living conditions are very difficult in Tlapa, Albino and his wife want to return if immigration reform does not take place in the United States. The possibility of moving back gives their family a sojourner status, with deep emotional ties in Tlapa, while they forge a new reality for their family in the United States. Such is the reality for many immigrant families in the United States (see Chapter 6 on Fujianese immigrants, who are often separated from their young children while working in the United States).

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Teresa is a home maker and did not want to participate in this research because she explained that “I do not know how to read and write well.” In previous interviews, Teresa shared that she only attended school through the second grade and she felt at a disadvantage when it came to reading and writing. Low literacy levels are common in Tlapa, but are especially low for women. On the other hand, Albino holds a well-​regarded position within the Mixteco community. As with many undocumented immigrants, Albino holds several jobs by working in the kitchens of several restaurants in New  York City. However, in spite of his undocumented status, he is occasionally hired as a translator in the municipal courts, translating from Mixtec to Spanish and vice versa. Albino also supplements his income by being a spokesperson for a health product. He organizes weekly meetings in a rented apartment that focus on well-​being and nutrition. Albino and his daughter, Melissa, both described their interest in reading. Albino reported that he reads to Melissa almost every night. There are a few books in their home, and of those present, they are placed on a small bookshelf in the living room, rendering them accessible and important. Albino stated that he admires the emphasis that Melissa’s school places on reading and how children are allowed to bring books home. He was impressed with the technology in school and the way that it is used to support the learning of math and literacy. Albino explained that the teacher kept track of when and for how long her students log on to the specific websites to practice assignments. Melissa is a happy, well groomed, and polite second grader. She has long black hair held in place with braids and bows. Melissa reported that she enjoys books and reading. When asked about her favorite books, she does not hesitate and answers quickly, “Caps for Sale and Catch Me if You Can.” Melissa is not talkative at first, but she slowly opens up to adults. Once she feels comfortable, she shares anecdotes about her life with confidence and determination. The school she attends implements a balanced literacy program in English. In her classroom, Melissa is exposed to shared reading, read alouds, and, specifically, daily allocated time frames for reading and writing independently. According to her teacher, Melissa met grade level reading expectations and, based on the Fountas and Pinnell (2012) assessment, read on the second grade (Level M). Albino was taught to read and write in Spanish in a public school in Tlapa, Guerrero. The state has one of the lowest literacy levels in Mexico and, within indigenous communities, the low literacy levels reach alarming proportions. According to the 2010 census, some indigenous communities in the area (e.g., Cochoapa el Grande), have an average of two and a half years of schooling (Instituto Nacional de Geografía, Estadística e Informática [National Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Informatics], 2000). The Mixtec language and literature have survived for millennia by means of oral transmission.

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However, the Mixtec language within the context of formal, public-​school education within the United States remains invisible. When registering their children for school, Mixteco families rarely share that they are Mixtec speakers when reporting home languages on school documents or in conversations during parent–​teacher conferences (Velasco, 2010.) In a rare and unique case, Velasco (2014) documented how Kevin, a Mixteco first grader, acknowledged in writing his parents’ origin. Kevin was prompted by a supportive teacher Ms. M, who encouraged Kevin to take such a step. Unfortunately, these experiences and safe environments are not common in public-​school classrooms. Kevin’s mother was part of a larger study in which Velasco interviewed twenty-​three mothers and found that they rarely employed Mixtec when speaking to their children. Such is the case in Albino’s family. Teresa and Albino prefer to use Spanish; a language they both mastered with different degrees of proficiency and is the national language of Mexico associated with high status. Mixtec speakers, like other indigenous groups, continue to struggle against the racism imported from Mexico which labels them as inferior to other Mexicans in the United States (Stephen, 2007.) For Albino and Teresa, the choice of Spanish over Mixtec as a primary home language for their children becomes a tool for access and power within a variety of social and cultural settings. They believe that Mixtec is circumscribed to communicating with other family members and friends who grew up speaking Mixtec, but not for life outside their community. Thus, the parents decided that Spanish was more important to learn than Mixtec, and that is the primary language spoken at home. However, Melissa and her brother Emilio hear their parents speak Mixtec to each other and to their friends in the Mixteco community. Their parents also use Mixtec in their weekly phone conversations when they speak to their four children living in Mexico. Melissa and Emilio were not expected to learn Mixtec or to acknowledge it in their school settings. Learning within families is a social and cultural endeavor that transcends generations. Likewise, literacy is more than the ability to read and write; it involves social practices that include the construction of knowledge, values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings associated with the reading and writing of particular texts within particular contexts (Hornberger, 1990; Street, 1984). Because all families demonstrate literate practices, parents play crucial roles in co-​constructing children’s knowledge of reading and writing practices before children enter formal schooling (Compton-​Lilly, 2007; Taylor, 1983). From this perspective, understanding children’s biliteracy development lies in analyzing social activities and interactions, mediated by translanguaging practices, within the family. Vygotsky (1978) used the term “Zone of Proximal Development” to suggest that a child has the potential to engage in more complicated tasks with the support of a more knowledgeable family member. Building on the work of

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Vygotsky, Gutierrez, Baquedano-​Lopez, and Turner (1997) coined the term “third space” to indicate the joint achievement of adults mediating knowledge with children, whereas Lave and Wegner (1991) proposed that learning occurs through “legitimate peripheral participation.” Legitimate peripheral participation recognizes that learners move from peripheral participation to more full participation as they engage in learning activities with more expert members. From this perspective, more experienced adults guide the participation of more novice members. If these ideas are taken into account within a model of learning between parents and their children, then it is assumed that parents will guide their children as they participate in more complex tasks and activities, such as reading. This model, however, proposes an intergenerational framework, in which parents transmit values, practices, and beliefs to their children. We argue that this model is not sufficient to mirror the complex processes that occur between bilingual family members. Bilingual families navigate multiple ideological stances toward language as languages become tools for access and power within a variety of social and cultural institutions. Particularly within immigrant families living in the United States, children can be more proficient English-​language speakers than their parents, thrusting children into preponderant roles while navigating a new culture and language for themselves and their parents. Furthermore, bilingual learning situations can occur between siblings when there are age differences. Kabuto (2014b) illustrated how an older sibling mediated bilingual writing contexts in the home, allowing both siblings to co-​construct and to actively develop new knowledge. Gregory (2001) argues that an older sibling can act as a “cognitive facilitator” by translating, defining new words, providing a scaffold, and modeling for the younger child. Such is the case in many immigrant families, where older children are expected to take care of younger siblings, and where their language proficiency in English endows them with the responsibility to help their younger siblings with schooling. We propose a more complex and dynamic model of learning within families where the teaching–​learning context is not a unidirectional movement from parents to their children. Instead, the teaching–​learning context becomes a two-​way street in which the children assume the roles of culture brokers, mediating what the parents bring with them from their countries and the resources available to them in the communities where they settle. Through a transgenerational model of literacy, the literacy practices used within families evolve from generation to generation, changing the sociocultural environment in which families live. Whereas there is an extensive line of research that shows how middle-​class parents provide children with activities and practices in the home that mirror the literacy practices valued by schools (Heath, 1983), there is a growing interest in research focusing on literacy practices implemented by parents who

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have received limited formal schooling and who often do not master English. Such is the case of the Mixtecos, whose language has been transmitted orally for centuries and who have limited formal reading and writing skills in Spanish and English. While there has been little focus on the use of Mixtec within families, researchers have documented the use of Mixtec in informal, educational settings. Makar (2012) studied the community-​led bilingual efforts of the Asociación Tepeyac. This association offers after-​school programs that tutor children in English and Spanish and offers Mixtec as a language option. Within this setting, language and literacy development are seen as a single unit of interaction during which the use of the multiple languages are employed by the teacher, a practice referred to as translanguaging by García (2009). The following is an example of translanguaging described by Makar (2012): Juan, a 10-​year-​old Mixteco boy is drawing an elaborate picture of what a farm looks like. Nayeli, who is sitting next to him, grabs a brown crayon and draws a round animal. She then tells him “conejo” [rabbit]. He repeats, “conejo” and then writes down “leko” [rabbit in Mixtec] on his paper.

By the end of the session, the students used the three words: conejo/​rabbit/​ leko. Makar argues that the scenario above is not a language practice that was planned by the teacher. Instead, the ways in which the children used the languages available to them grew from their cultural referents –​a meaning-​ making activity that integrated what the students brought to the learning task. In Makar’s description, the interpersonal communication established by the students enabled the mediation (or facilitation) of oral language and literacy development for the benefit of each participant and the group as a whole. 8.2

Transgenerational Language Practices

In this research we were particularly interested in the bilingual language practices that occur between parents and children, as well as the models of reading that are passed through these practices. In particular, we used the notion of translanguaging (García & Wei, 2014; Hornberger & Link, 2012) to analyze how language(s) were used to mediate knowledge. Translanguaging moves away from linguistic conceptualizations of language as separate systems or codes and challenges the unidirectional transmission of knowledge within bilingual families in which successful bilingual learning is dependent on the “one parent, one language” practice (Harding-​Esch & Riley, 2003). For García and Wei (2014), translanguaging goes “between and beyond” linguistic systems that have traditionally been described as discrete, separate language systems (or codes) that exist side by side (p. 24). A bilingual individual does not have separate language personas for English or Spanish, or varying degrees

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of both. Instead, they use all of their linguistic resources within their capacity to conceptualize, comprehend, communicate, and problem-​solve in the everyday (and sometimes conflicting) social worlds in which they engage. While integrating this concept into bilingual education continues to reverberate across the field of bilingualism and bilingual education, less focus has been given to the bilingual language practices within families. The focus of our current study is to pay attention to the teaching–​learning interactions and situational context within the family. We argue that the concept of transgenerational biliterate practices needs to be viewed through translanguaging, an action that creates new meanings and new understandings, transforming not only semiotic systems but also social structures (García, 2009; García & Wei, 2014). For instance, Kabuto (2010) found that translanguaging practices provided both a situated problem-​ solving strategy between bilingual parents and children in reading transactions and a means of constructing a bilingual identity. Within that study, Kabuto documented how parents assisted their children in making sense of book-​ reading experiences by connecting the reading to other social spaces and family generations, such as the relationships with grandparents. Translanguaging practices between parents and children facilitate learning by allowing both to bring in the knowledge, beliefs, traditions, and behaviors that transcend their generations. The insights from these studies indicate that translanguaging can be a key factor in mediating literacy in bilingual families. These language practices can be described as a natural approach to integrating all linguistic, cognitive, and cultural resources that can facilitate learning. Translanguaging provides a view of how language mediates problem-​solving activities and creates spaces that allow for the collective construction of meaning within literacy events. 8.3

A Theoretical Foundation for Retrospective Miscue Analysis

Retrospective Miscue Analysis (RMA) is a research tool that employs a semi-​ structured interview in which the researcher gains insights into the readers’ perceptions of their miscues. Miscues are oral reading behaviors in which the reader produces an oral response different from the expected response (e.g., reading “house” for “home” in the sentence “I went into his home”). The term “miscue” comes from a constructivist, socio-​psycholinguistic view of reading (Goodman, 1996). Within this view, reading is about constructing meaning with text and miscues are windows on the reading process (Goodman, 1996). Miscues reflect language and personal experiences and are neither accidental nor random (Goodman, 1973). Studies that analyze the oral reading miscues and retelling patterns of bilingual readers continue to grow. Romatowski (1981) analyzed the oral reading miscues and retellings of Polish readers, who

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read in both English and Polish, while Mott (1981) did the same for German readers. Freeman (2001) studied the oral reading miscues, retellings, and eye movement patterns of bilingual readers reading Spanish and English texts. Kabuto (2014a, 2015, 2017) studied the oral reading and miscue patterns of bilingual readers reading in English and Spanish, Greek and Japanese texts. This research illustrates the need to study bilingual readers and their practices in languages and cultures other than English. The quality of oral reading miscues can be determined as either high or low. High-​quality miscues do not change the meaning or grammatical structure of a text, while low-​quality miscues can disrupt meaning and grammatical structure. For instance, the substitution of “home” for “house” in the previous miscue example (“I went into his home/​house”) is a high-​quality miscue; whereas substitution of “that”/​to (“I went that house”) would be a low-​quality miscue changing the form and meaning of the sentence. Researchers argue that high-​quality miscues demonstrate the reader’s effective and efficient use of both linguistic cues and cognitive strategies and should be viewed as a strength rather than as a deficit (Goodman, 1996). On the other hand, a large number of low-​quality miscues can result in the loss of meaning and can disrupt a reader’s overall text comprehension. A growing body of research argues that focusing only on miscues as either correct or incorrect, and not on their quality, can lead to misinterpretations of the reading process and reading performances. Rather than number of errors, reading is about a deeper construction of meaning through transacting with the text. Martens, Martens, Croce and Maderazo (2010) and Kabuto (2014a) take these theories further to argue that semiotic processes mediate how readers construct meaning with text. Taking a semiotic, socio-​psycholinguistic perspective to reading, Kabuto (2014a) showed how readers with less than proficient oral reading behaviors involving low-​quality miscues demonstrated strong story comprehension when reading picture books. The practice of RMA asks readers to reflect on their high-​quality miscues and how they understand texts. The resulting discussions are metacognitive in nature, evincing how readers’ ideas and beliefs are exchanged in a collaborative conversation. Thus, RMA is conducted as the reader listens to his/​her previously recorded high-​quality miscues. After listening to the miscues, the researcher engages the reader in a discussion based on the following interview questions (Goodman & Marek, 1996): 1 . Can you tell me what you did here? 2. Why do you think you made the miscue? 3. Does the miscue make sense? 4. Was the miscue corrected? Should it have been? Why? 5. Did the miscue affect your understanding of the text?

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Within the situational family context, RMA engages family members in RMA discussions. The parents listen to and discuss their children’s high-​ quality miscues and vice versa. By engaging in these interactions, both parents and their children gain access to each other’s understandings of the reading process and gain new and shared perspectives. The present study opens a wider space for understanding biliteracy development within the father–​daughter dyad. Parents and their children bring their personal models of reading with them and interpret their reading abilities in two languages through the creation of narratives (Kabuto, 2014a). There are times when these narratives support biliteracy development and there are times when they challenge the notion of becoming biliterate. Family RMA holds the potential to uncover parental and child personal frameworks of reading as reflective of a transgenerational model of reading. In other words, Family RMA facilitates the study of how transgenerational discourses conceptualize models of reading between parents and children. In the following sections we describe our expectations and the experience of Albino, the father, reading texts with his daughter Melissa. 8.4

A Case Study of a Mixteco Father–​Daughter Dyad

We started with the expectation that Melissa and Albino were able to read in Spanish, English, and Mixtec. Therefore, we collected a variety of reading materials in Spanish, English, and Mixtec to be shared by Albino and his daughter Melissa. Even though Mixtec remains an orally transmitted language, the Mexican Education Department (Secretaría de Educación Pública) published a book with stories, guessing games, and poems in Mixtec suitable for early elementary grades (http://​issuu.com/​dgei_​libros/​docs/​mixteco3). Albino had multiple conversations with Velasco about the importance of the development of Mixtec as a home language. He confirmed that Mixtec is used at home, particularly when he and his wife talk to each other and to other Mixtec speakers, and he described Mixtec as important when calling their other children and extended family living in Mexico. He also described their use of Mixtec as “an adult language” [es el lenguaje de los adultos], meaning that as Melissa became older, she would be expected to learn and communicate in Mixtec. By Albino’s own account, he wanted to try to infuse more Mixtec in the family. However, it soon became evident that Mixtec did not form part of the everyday language practices for Melissa. Thus, Mixtec could not be part of the literacy analysis in this case study. This realization surfaced during the first session, when Melissa simply stated that she did not speak Mixtec and that her understanding of it was very limited. When she was shown a text in Mixtec, she looked at it and remained silent. Albino tried to prompt her by pointing

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at the pictures accompanied by short sentences and isolated words in Mixtec, but Melissa did not participate and grew resistant. Thus, we discontinued this line of inquiry and only kept English and Spanish. Interestingly, Albino had assumed that Melissa understood and could figure out more Mixtec than she was able to show us. Alternatively, we could also argue that Melissa did not identify Mixtec as a literacy tool. In fact, there were no books written in Mixtec in the home and the history of the language is based on oral tradition. In addition, during the second session, we were further surprised to find out that Albino had incorrectly understood Melissa’s educational situation at school. He had consistently reported that his daughter was enrolled in a dual-​ language, Spanish-​English bilingual program. However, at the second session, Melissa stated that she was not in a bilingual program, but in an English-​only classroom. This finding is indicative of how immigrant parents often have incomplete understanding of US education and schools, remaining largely unaware of the types of learning environment and services that their children are getting at school. The following excerpt denotes the interaction that took place between Velasco, Melissa, and her father, as Melissa revealed that she was not learning Spanish at school: Velasco: Melissa: Velasco: Melissa: Albino: Melissa: Albino:

¿Tienes una bolsita para tus libros en español? Do you have a book baggie for the Spanish books? No tengo bolsita para mis libros en español, solo en inglés. I don’t have a baggie for Spanish books, just English. ¿Cómo te da tu maestra de español los libros? How does your teacher for Spanish give you the books? No tengo maestra en español. I don’t have a teacher for Spanish. ¿No tienes maestra en español? Pero si estas en una escuela bilingüe. You don’t have a teacher for Spanish? But you are in a bilingual school. No tengo maestra en español; nadie me enseña español. I don’t have a teacher for Spanish; no one teaches me in Spanish. Pero yo pensaba que sí. I thought you did.

Based on this information we changed the texts that we wanted Melissa to read. Because Albino discovered that Melissa was not learning how to read in Spanish, learning to read in Spanish became a priority for Melissa. Albino stated, “Yo le puedo enseñar a leer en español. Es mi hija y yo soy maestro” [I can teach her how to read in Spanish. She is my daughter and I am a teacher]. Melissa was equally happy to engage in the interactive sessions. She said, “Yo le voy a enseñar a leer en inglés. Yo voy a ser su maestro” [I can teach him how to read in English. I will be his teacher].

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Table 8.1 Books read by Albino and Melissa Session

1

2

3 4

5 6 7

8

8.5

Books in English: Melissa read the first half of the book and Albino the second

Books in Spanish: Albino read the first half of the book and Melissa the second

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business (Slobodkina, 1987) Catch Me If You Can!/​¡A que no me alcanzas! (Most, 2007) Blueberries for Sal (McCloskey, 1948) Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale (Aardena & Dillon, 1992) From Seed to Pumpkin (Kottke, 2000) Goodnight, Moon (Wise Brown, 2007) Children’s Book about Bees: A Kids Picture Book about Bees with Photos and Fun Facts (Jacobs, 2013) Ducks Don’t Get Wet (Goldin & Davie, 1999)

Martina, una cucarachita muy linda (Deedy & Austin, 2008)

Catch Me If You Can!/​¡A que no me alcanzas! (Most, 2007) El árbol generoso (Silverstein, 2011) Harry, el perrito sucio (Zion & Bloy Graham, 2003)

El jardín de las abejitas (Marichal Lugo, 2006) Un pez, dos peces, pez rojo, pez azul (Dr. Seuss, 2005) El viaje del pequeño ratoncito: Una pequeña historia (Spanish edition) (Hosby, 2013) El monstruo comedor de zanahorias (Balint, 2013)

Data Collection

Family RMA sessions were conducted in English and Spanish, and consisted of Albino, Melissa, and the researcher (Velasco). The data collection for this RMA case study consisted of eight sessions. In all eight sessions, Melissa and Albino read Spanish and English texts. Each session lasted approximately one hour. In sessions 1, 3, 5, and 7, Melissa read first in English, followed by Albino reading in English. In the second part of these sessions, Albino read first in Spanish, followed by Melissa. This structure was reversed for sessions 2, 4, 6, and 8. Table 8.1 presents the books that were part of this case study. Melissa and Albino read the books in a shared reading format, that is, both were looking at the book, while one was reading. In all eight sessions, Melissa started reading the book in English and, halfway through the book, Albino would read the rest in English. The order was reversed for reading in Spanish; Albino would start reading the book in Spanish when, at the midpoint, Melissa would continue. Of the sixteen books (eight English children’s books and

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eight Spanish children’s books), Melissa had previously read English versions for two: Catch Me If You Can! (Most, 2007) and Caps for Sale (Slobodkina, 1987). Velasco wrote observational notes that provided contextual information for every session. The sessions were audiotaped and transcribed. The transcriptions and observational notes were analyzed to develop a picture of what transpired in each session. 8.6

Translanguaging within Transgenerational Bilingual Reading Events

We will highlight two findings from Albino and Melissa’s case study. First, we will examine the transgenerational and translanguaging practices between Albino and Melissa as they read and later engaged in retrospective discussions about their reading. Second, we will explore Albino and Melissa’s personal models of reading or their perceptions and definitions of what makes a “good reader” and who “reads well” in English and Spanish. 8.6.1

The Bilingual Reading Context

The analysis of Albino and Melissa’s interactions illustrates how reading across languages allowed the parent and child to create a genuine teaching and learning exchange. In this way translanguaging became the means to achieve deeper levels of understanding. Their co-​constructed teaching and learning context paved the way for Albino and Melissa to explore metalinguistic knowledge, as well as story comprehension. 8.6.2

Graphophonic Knowledge of Words

Graphophonic miscues focus on the relationship between the sounds and the written language forms, including phonological information, word pronunciations, and spellings. Through their discussions, Albino and Melissa explored the phonological characteristics of words across languages. In the example below, Albino and Melissa discussed lexical homographs, which are words that share the same spelling in both languages but differ in their phonological characteristics and meaning. In this interaction, Albino stopped Melissa and clarified the pronunciation of “me” in English and Spanish. In English, “me” is pronounced /​mɛ/​and, in Spanish, it is pronounced /​mi/​: Albino: Melissa:

Es [m]‌[ɛ] tú lo lees como “mi” pero es “mɛ.” It’s [m]‌[ɛ], you read it as “mi” but it is “mɛ.” Es [m]‌[ɛ] en español; es [m] [i] en inglés. It’s [m]‌[ɛ] in Spanish; it’s [m] [i] in English.

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Albino and Melissa also discussed morphological elements shared by the two languages. During Session 7, Melissa and Albino analyzed the plural formation of words in English and Spanish. The discussion arose when reading Children’s Book About Bees: A Kids Picture Book About Bees with Photos and Fun Facts, by Emma Jacobs (2013). Here, Melissa took the lead in guiding Albino’s understanding of the differences between the singular and plural forms of the word “bee.” Albino extends the concept of the plural formation in English to Spanish: Melissa:

Y en inglés bee; bee y no es lo mismo que bees porque bees son muchos. and in English [it’s] bee; bee and it is not the same as bees because bees are many. Albino: Ah, como en español: la /​s/​se usa para el plural –​ abeja. Ah, like in Spanish: the /​s/​is used for the plural –​ bee. Melissa: (interrupting her father) abejas. bees.

Through discussing and comparing their understandings of the phonological characteristics of lexical homographs and morphological elements in English and Spanish, Albino and Melissa developed and shared their metalinguistic knowledge of both languages. In spite of his limited English knowledge, Albino moved swiftly and seamlessly into the realm of English to support Melissa in reading in English and listened to Melissa’s reading of the book. In another example, Melissa encountered the word “shoot” when reading From Seed to Pumpkin (Kottke, 2000). Even though she read “a shoot is growing from the pumpkin seed” without hesitating and making miscues, she stopped and turned to her father and said: Melissa: Albino: Melissa: Albino:

Is it “shoot” or “shout”? Es “shoot.” It’s “shoot.” ¿Cómo sabes? How do you know? Me lo grabé. En la otra hoja leíste esa palabra y dijiste “shoot” y me la grabé. Dijiste “shoot” –​ésta tiene que ser “shoot” porque se escribe igual. I memorized it. On the other page you read that word and you said “shoot” and I  memorized it. This one has to be “shoot” because the writing is the same.

In what can be considered a role reversal, Albino acquired word knowledge of English from their shared reading, which he was then able to use to assist Melissa in self-​monitoring her reading, as can be seen in the above excerpt of their interactions.

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Another example of Melissa taking a leading role in the teaching and learning context was evident for developing phonological knowledge. Melissa corrected her father’s pronunciation of the word “changing” in conversation and also while reading From Seed to Pumpkin. Albino pronounced the word “changing” as /​chɛnchin/​. He had difficulty pronouncing the long vowel /​ei/​ and the -​ing suffix within the word. Melissa repeated the word slowly, which aided Albino in achieving a better production of the word. When recasting the word, Melissa pointed to the word in the text and repeated it while she looked at her father; in this way, she provided a face-​to-​face model for her father to see its pronunciation. Albino attempted to pronounce the word following Melissa’s model, and again, Melissa repeated he word. Albino then responded, “Mi lengua no quiere” [My tongue does not want to], which implied that he could not pronounce the word as well as Melissa. Interestingly, Melissa next changed the way she supported her father. She left the phonological characteristics of the word aside and she focused on the meaning of the word, “Es como se está cambiando” [It’s like it’s changing], she said. Albino added, “cambio” [change], and Melissa assented as she repeated the word in Spanish in a low voice. In summary, we can see how in some instances Albino led Melissa in understanding the phonological characteristics of a homograph, as in the word “me,” while Melissa mediated knowledge for her father through modeling to support his pronunciation and meaning when he was not satisfied with his speech production. 8.6.3

Word Knowledge

Translanguaging practices mediated the development of word knowledge between Albino and Melissa. In Session 3, Albino and Melissa read The Giving Tree (Silverstein, 2011) in its Spanish translation El árbol generoso. During this session, Melissa and Albino discussed the meaning of the words “to earn” [ganar] and “to have” [tener], which have similar meanings in Spanish when discussing money. These words do not appear in the text, but as Albino and Melissa flipped through the pages of the book, they created a summary of the story. The meaning of these two words emerged spontaneously: Albino: Melissa: Albino:

Y el árbol le dijo que cortara su fruta para que tenga dinero. And the tree said to cut its fruit so that he would have money. ¿Tenga o ganar? To have or to earn? Es lo mismo. It’s the same.

There were times when Melissa took the lead in allowing Albino to select the words he wanted to know more about. In the following example, Melissa

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did not pre-​select what words Albino should know. Instead, she allowed Albino to independently determine which words he would like to learn. During this interaction, Albino pointed to the word “ripe” when reading From Seed to Pumpkin, and they developed its meaning together: Melissa: ¿Cuál palabra quieres saber? Which word do you want to know? Albino: Ésta. This one (as he points to the word “ripe”). Melissa ¿No más esa? Only that one? Melissa: Ripe; ya está listo. Ripe; it is ready. Albino: Para venderlo. To sell it. Melissa: O para comerlo. Or to eat it.

These conversations illustrate the reflective and engaging nature of the teaching and learning context between the father and daughter. Each participant focused on the task of reading by sharing meaning, pronunciations, and forming a dialogue, thus contributing to each other’s understandings of word knowledge across languages. 8.6.4

Comprehension: Summarizing, Synthesizing, and Self-​correction

When reading The Giving Tree, Albino and Melissa were moved by the story, which is not surprising given that the book has been described as a divisive one in children’s literature (Bird, 2012). The controversy concerns whether the relationship between the boy and the tree is a positive one (selfless love on behalf of the tree) or a negative one (egotism by the boy). Regardless, Silverstein’s book invites reflection, and Albino and Melissa did not disappoint as the book elicited various reactions by them. The following exchange took place at the end of Albino and Melissa’s collective summary after Melissa asked about the differences between the verbs “to earn” and “to have”: Albino:



Está bonito el libro:  los dos crecieron jóvenes, los dos necesitaban el uno para el otro pero el niño aprovechó más. Primero hizo una corona de hojas, y luego jugaba en sus ramas. This book is beautiful:  both grew up young, both needed each other but the boy took more advantage. First he made a crown made of leaves, then he played on its branches.

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Y el árbol le dijo que cortara su fruta para que tenga dinero. And the tree said to cut its fruit so that he would have money.

As this interaction continued, Albino generated a synthesis of the story that demonstrated an evolving understanding of the text, which included his insights, perspectives, and understanding. In the following excerpt, Albino integrated his personal experiences to the story when constructing his interpretation of The Giving Tree: Albino:

Eso es verdad, lo que dice el libro. Se saca mucho dinero, es una parte real de lo que dice el libro: Se beneficia mucho con esos árboles, con madera, como carbón y también frutas. That is true, what the book says. Lots of money is made, is a real part of what the book says: [people] benefit a lot with those trees, with wood, like coal and also fruit.

Albino compared how the boy in the story benefited from the tree’s resources, just like some people benefit from fallen trees, which occurs in the Mixteca region. In addition to summarizing and synthesizing, Albino and Melissa monitored their comprehension process through self-​ correcting. Miscue analysis considers self-​correcting as a strategy that illustrates how readers actively process information as they read. Albino was the first one to model this behavior during the first session when reading Martina, una Cucarachita Muy Linda (Deedy & Austin, 2008). Albino encountered the sentence “Mientras tanto su papá había mandado al perico a dar la noticia al malecón” [Meanwhile, her father had sent the parrot to spread the news at the pier]. Albino read the three-​syllable word “malecón” [pier] as a two-​syllable word, malcón. Albino made a point of making Melissa aware of how he reread in order to self-​correct: Albino:

Mientras tanto su papá había mandado al perico a dar la noticia al malcón…ma-​le-​cón…lo repetí dos veces…me dí cuenta… lo leí bien…tuve error…primero dije “malcón”…Yo dije “malcón” pero me dí cuenta y leí “malecón.” Meanwhile her father had sent the parrot to convey the news to the malcon…ma-​ le-​ cón…I repeated it twice…I realized it…I read it correctly…I made a mistake…first I said “malcón”…I said “malcon” but I realized it and read “malecón.” Melissa: Si. Yes.

Similarly, while reading Blueberries for Sal (McCloskey, 1948), Melissa read “pick” instead of “picking.” However, she followed Albino’s model of self-​correcting the miscue: Melissa:

Dije “pick” pero es “picking.” Yo dije “picking.” I said “pick” but it is “picking.” I said “picking.”

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The analysis of the self-​ corrections demonstrates how translanguaging provided an effective tool through which to view Albino and Melissa’s reading interactions. While Albino read books in Spanish and he used self-​corrections with Spanish texts, he acknowledged the self-​corrections produced by Melissa with English texts, and vice versa. On the one hand, self-​corrections require language competence or knowledge of what sounds right in each language. Albino’s self-​correction of the word “malecón” and Melissa’s self-​correction of “picking” illustrate how each reader monitored their reading for meaning, or what made sense as they read. A strict divide between English and Spanish did not organize their discussions about the self-​corrections. In other words, while Melissa read and self-​corrected in English, she used her father’s example in Spanish and used Spanish to discuss the self-​corrections with her father. Thus, translanguaging demonstrates the metalinguistic flexibility of thinking within each language and across languages as both father and daughter engaged in conversations about reading. These examples illuminate how reading practices within bilingual families are mediated by practices that include the readers’ overall language knowledge and are not unidirectional, but bidirectional between parent and child. In this sense, reading practices and knowledge construction are transgenerational, as the teaching and learning context are guided by both parent and child simultaneously. 8.6.5

Personal Models of Reading

The analysis of the oral data from the Family RMA sessions illustrates Albino and Melissa’s personal constructs of reading and how they came together to create a transgenerational model of family reading beliefs and practices. Goodman, Watson, and Burke (2005) identified three models of reading: subskills, skills, and holistic. A subskills model is based on a bottom-​ up perspective with the assumption that written text is hierarchically organized (i.e., on the graphophonic, phonemic, syllabic, morphemic, word, and sentence levels). The reader first processes the smallest linguistic units and gradually compiles the smaller units to decipher and comprehend the higher units (e.g., sentence syntax) (Dechant, 1991). Albino’s responses to both his readings and those of Melissa demonstrate a subskills model of reading. During the second session, Albino asked Melissa what she thought about his reading of Martina, una Cucarachita Muy Linda (Deedy & Austin, 2008): Albino:

¿Tú crees que yo respeté los puntos, los guiones [pointing at the periods]? ¿Aquí se para…aquí… y aquí? Y yo respeté eso, ¿segura? ¿Ya sabes el signo éste? ¿Cómo se dice éste? Do you think that I  took into account the periods, the hyphens [pointing at the periods]? Did I stop here…here… and here? Did I take them into account? Are you sure? Do you know what sign is this one? What do you call it?

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Question mark. ¿La raya ésta…¿cómo se dice ésta (pointing at the exclamation mark)? This line…how do you call this line? No más sé éste (pointing at the question mark). I only know this one.

During his discussion with Melissa, Albino connected good reading with paying attention to punctuation, particularly question and exclamation marks. When asked what he thought about Melissa’s reading in Spanish, Albino replied: Se le dificulta mucho cuando hay una letra consonante dentro de una sílaba; no toma en cuenta el acento…pero va juntando las sílabas. She has a hard time when there is a consonant inside a syllable; she doesn’t take into account the stress mark…but she is putting together the syllables.

Albino’s model of reading emphasized the micro components of language (i.e., letters, sounds, punctuation) and the rules that govern language usage. His emphasis on making sure that Melissa knew the meanings of periods, question and exclamation marks, and his assessment of Melissa’s first reading in Spanish, stands in sharp contrast with Melissa’s conceptions of reading, which were based on skills. The analysis of Melissa’s data illustrates how she possessed a skills model of reading (Goodman et  al., 2005). A  skills model of reading is reflective of most curricular reading programs in schools and emphasizes the integration of comprehension, phonics, and vocabulary skills needed for reading. Within a skills model, readers believe reading involves phonemic awareness, phonics, word recognition, and vocabulary, as well as knowledge of the language cuing systems and the use of picture cues in the construction of meaning within texts. Melissa integrated many of these components when discussing her oral readings. While reading Harry, el perrito sucio (Zion & Bloy Graham, 2003) a story about a dog who loves to be dirty, Albino read, “Fue a jugar a una calle que estaban reparando” ([Harry] went to play on a street that was being repaired). The accompanying picture shows several men fixing the pavement on a street, detouring traffic, and laying tar. Melissa used the context that the picture provided to figure out the meaning of the word “reparando” [repairing]: Albino: Melissa:

¿Sabes qué quiere decir “reparando”? Do you know what “repairing” means? ¿Arreglando?…arreglando…sí…yo me fijo en las palabras y en los dibujos. Fixing? Fixing…yes…I pay attention to the words and the pictures.

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During Session 8, Melissa started reading Ducks Don’t Get Wet (Goldin & Davie, 1999), the only nonfiction book that was part of this analysis. Melissa read the first page, “Ducks are water birds. All day long they go in and out, in and out” (p. 3). The picture depicts a series of ducks swimming on a lake. Melissa turned to her father and reflected, “Este libro nos va a enseñar porque no se mojan los patos; este libro es de los que te enseñan cosas de verdad” [This book will teach us why ducks don’t get wet; this book is one of those that teaches you real things]. Melissa understood the differences between fiction and nonfiction books and focused on reading by approaching the text as a whole, rather in its parts, denoting a skills-​based understanding of reading. Although Melissa and Albino epitomized different reading models, tension and contestation did not occur when their two approaches came into contact. The differences did not become the focus of the interaction. Rather, each participant gained knowledge by drawing from each other’s personal approach and constructs of reading. Reading, for this father–​daughter dyad, focused on the interactive nature of reading as an activity. It resulted in an effective and socially situated context of teaching and learning within the family. Albino and Melissa created a transgenerational space in which personal models of reading could harmoniously interact with one another so that both members learned about each other as readers and about the reading process. Albino articulated this point in the closing interview, when Velasco asked him about his experiences in reading with Melissa. Velasco to Albino: Albino:

¿Meli[ssa] cómo lo está ayudando a leer mejor? How is Meli helping you read better? Meli[ssa], sí, me está ayudando y ella también se ayuda. Ella sabe mucho. Muchos padres dicen eso, que aprendieron de sus hijos. Meli[ssa], yes, she is helping me and she also helps herself. She knows a lot. And many parents say that, that they learned with their children.

Albino recognized that parents and children learn together by creating a space where knowledge and understanding is created by joining forces. He also recognized that Melissa is learning to read with different tools than the way he was taught when he went to school as a child. For both, father and daughter, the experience was also meaningful on a social and personal level. Melissa stated that she enjoyed reading with her father by saying, “Me gusta que nos juntemos” [I like it when we get together]. Recognizing the knowledge that Albino brought to the reading context, she added with a tone of admiration, “Él sabe mucho porque fue a escuela. Se atrevió a leer en inglés; es valiente mi papa” [My father knows a lot because he went to school. My father dared to read in English; my father is courageous].

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8.7

Enacting Transformative and Transgenerational Biliterate Practices

This chapter addressed the transgenerational construction of knowledge within shared bilingual reading events in a Mixteco father–​daughter dyad. The prefix trans-​plays an important role in understanding how knowledge and beliefs around literacy were co-​constructed in this father–​daughter dyad. “Trans-​” means “across” or “through” and in the terms transgenerational and translanguaging, we see how Albino and Melissa’s interactions were able to transcend their generational and language differences. Knowledge was not transmitted directly from parent to child. Rather, knowledge was co-​constructed and resulted in the establishment of new knowledge between the two. Both Albino and Melissa drew on their background knowledge from different life experiences and from participating in a variety of social institutions, such as school, to make sense of the reading experiences they shared with each other. Translanguaging, in turn, was a tool that mediated their joint construction of knowledge. Albino and Melissa’s linguistic actions reveal that they did not see English and Spanish as serving separate functions in how they communicated about reading. English and Spanish, together, created a unified system to navigate the various problem-​solving and explorative situations that arose between them as they read together. The implications of viewing the teaching and learning context of bilingual families through transgenerational and translanguaging practices are critical for understanding the strengths and strategies and perspectives that immigrant families (and all families) bring to their children’s literacy development. Likewise, these practices are critical to understanding the wealth of metalinguistic and sociocultural knowledge that bilingual children bring to the process. Albino and Melissa’s case study challenges the deficit views that surround low-​income, immigrant families. Albino lives under financial stress, enduring family separation, and in fear of the sociopolitical context that offers no protection for the rights of immigrants. In addition, Melissa is attending a monolingual English school and learning through a language that her parents do not speak; and yet, Albino actively engaged with Melissa in the teaching and learning context. In addition, reciprocal teaching and socialization occurred as Melissa used that opportunity to assist her father in learning to read and speak in English. Translanguaging allowed both participants to actively engage in the learning context. The permeability and flexibility it offered allowed both parties to create seamless and harmonious exchanges that raised each other’s understanding of Spanish and English texts. The moment-​by-​moment exchanges bring forth the intimate relationship that Albino and Melissa had with each other and the texts. In the process, they forged each other’s identities as capable bilingual readers.

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9

Parent Education in Latino Families of Children with Language Impairment Elizabeth Ijalba and Angela Giraldo

Introduction For first-​ generation immigrant families with young children, parental perceptions regarding using the home language or replacing it with English are often at the core of communicative interactions. When children enter preschool, there is strong pressure on immigrant families to increase communication in English. On the one hand, their children start using English because they learn it in the classroom and with their peers. On the other hand, parents have a pressing need to communicate in English with educators, who work with their young children. In the case of children with special needs or language impairment, the pressure on parents to speak English at home is even greater, because most therapies and special education services are provided in English. Thus, children tend to improve communication in English and parents often start reducing their communication in the home language with their children. The difficulty arises when we consider that communication at home is multifaceted, including for example, extended conversations throughout the day, talking about routines, reminiscing about past events, making plans, and expanding the child’s knowledge through literacy. When parents are not proficient in English and are not using their home language, they simply cannot engage in enriched verbal interactions with their children. In fact, the linguistic environment at home can become impoverished and replaced with television to expose their children to English, as has been reported by many parents (Ijalba, 2014, 2016). Given the limited research available on meeting the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families and their children with language impairment, we need effective ways to support parents in mediating the home language with their children. In this chapter we describe research with a group of Spanish-​ speaking mothers of children with language impairment. The mothers were trained to socially mediate language interactions with their young children by engaging in shared reading and play activities with explicit visual support for word concepts and grammar. In the following sections we describe our theoretical framework in parent education, research on the benefits of bilingualism, 159

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ethical considerations in parent education, and a description of the materials we provided to parents. 9.1

Social Context

Immigrant families with young children face many challenges in adapting and integrating into a new society and culture that may be quite different from their own. Under the current anti-​immigrant policies in the United States, schools must act as safe havens where undocumented families can find guidance on how to educate their children in a safe environment. This message was supported by New York City Public Schools Chancellor, Carmen Fariña, in a statement reassuring parents that “schools will remain safe and welcoming environments for everyone, regardless of immigration status” (Fariña, 2017). However, in spite of this outspoken support, for many immigrant parents, schools remain difficult to navigate and language barriers are not easily overcome. In addition to learning a new language, immigrant parents are faced with understanding a complex school bureaucracy, what their children are expected to learn, and how to build meaningful communication with teachers. For immigrant parents of children with special needs, the need to effectively communicate with educators is even greater. Schools can provide necessary guidance in obtaining services for their children. These services may include early intervention and specialized preschool, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), classroom instruction within the least restrictive environment, speech-​ language therapy, occupational and physical therapies, counseling, and a range of evaluations to determine progress and the changing needs of the child. One out of four children in the New York City public schools comes from a home where a language other than English is spoken. In addition, 9–​10 percent of children in schools across the nation are in need of special education services. Therefore, language choice decisions for immigrant parents can hinge on whether to educate their children with more than one language or to focus on English. Whereas the home language is considered during a child’s evaluation process, there are few bilingual programs and most children receive instruction only in English (see Chapter 1 by Ijalba and Velasco on bilingual education). Moreover, immigrant parents with limited proficiency in English find limited guidance on how to stimulate language development using the home language and on how to raise their children to be bilingual. This is the case not only for children with special needs, but also for typically developing children. 9.2

Early Development and the Home Language

For many families, language choices are gradual and largely determined by their child’s educational environment. When children are systematically taught

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only in English, while they are still acquiring their home language (L1), they often experience a language shift to English and away from their L1 (Anderson, 2001, 2004; Wong Fillmore, 1991). Therefore, parental perceptions regarding use of the home language or replacing it with English are often mediated by how their children communicate as they shift to English, placing increased pressure on caregivers to speak English at home. This pressure can be stronger when children have a language impairment or a sustained difficulty in acquiring language, in part because most therapies and instruction are primarily provided in English (see Chapter 11 by Victoria Puig). Thus, many young children with language impairment who were having difficulty acquiring their L1 first start communicating in English, even when their parents are not fluent in English. Limiting use of the home language when parents are not proficient in English can interfere with parents’ ability to communicate and to engage in consistent verbal interactions and early literacy experiences with their children. It can limit children’s ability to engage with their parents in reciprocal social and verbal interactions. Moreover, it can interfere with children’s ability to communicate with elder relatives, such as grandparents and extended family, who are part of a child’s inner family circle. Adult caregivers play an essential role in mediating language, social communication, and cultural values for children (Bronfenbrenner, 1980; Bruner, 1983; Girolametto et al., 1996; Vygotsky, 1978 New York State Education Department 2014). For immigrant families, the home language is paramount in mediating these early and crucial social verbal interactions. When young children have delays in speech and language acquisition and when there is a language impairment, they are in need of systematic and consistent language stimulation from an early age (Leonard, 1998; Tomblin et al., 2003). A hallmark of language impairment in very young children is an early and sustained difficulty in acquiring vocabulary and grammar (Leonard, 1998), which limits a child’s ability to communicate. This reduced ability to verbally initiate and sustain communication often results in decreased verbal interactions with adult caregivers (Conti-​Ramsden, 1990; Hammer et al., 2001; Kohnert, 2010). In the case of children with autism spectrum disorders, language deficits are further compounded by social deficits, which are at the core of the disorder (American Psychiatric Association [DSM-​V], 2013). Consequently, training parents in the use of intentional and responsive social and verbal interactions with simplified linguistic input can help children to acquire vocabulary and grammar (Girolametto et  al., 1999; Girolametto et  al., 2003; Weismer & Robertson, 2006). Moreover, a positive communication environment, most often associated with using the home language, can be indispensable for language and social and emotional development in young children (Puig, 2010). Such findings reveal the importance of early parental involvement in mediating language through joint activities of high interest to the child, the

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encouragement of turn taking and communicative interactions, the use of language modeling, and early literacy within the familiarity of the home context (Girolametto et al., 1999; Kent-​Walsh et al., 2010). It is critical to consider that when children have difficulty acquiring language, they require more and not less input in their home language (Kohnert et al., 2005). For children growing up in homes where a language other than English is spoken, these studies also reveal the need to support use of the home language within a contextual framework of bilingual development. That is, learning to communicate in the first language (L1) is foundational to language acquisition, including the learning of English as an additional language (Cummins, 2001). However, when early educational planning fails to integrate the home language and home culture, essential parent–​child communication can be placed at risk (Puig, 2010). Such failure to recognize the family, while focusing on the learning of English at a young age, can affect overall language development. Thus, we need effective plans to guide culturally and linguistically diverse parents on how to plan language development and language choices for their children. 9.3

The Role of Parents in Socially Mediating Language and Literacy

Training parents to use early literacy activities in the home language with their children is consistent with social constructionist perspectives on language acquisition that recognize the important role of adults in mediating language and social cultural knowledge for children (Bodrova & Leong, 2006; Girolametto et  al., 2003; Klein, 2006; Vygotsky, 1978). Within this perspective, children acquire language through their early social communicative interactions with more knowledgeable adults in their inner circle, such as parents, other caregivers, and teachers. That is, in mediating new information for their young children, adults start out with concepts the child already knows and progressively use modeling and scaffolding within the child’s “zone of proximal development” or slightly above what the child already knows, to introduce higher and more abstract knowledge, such as decontextualized information (e.g., Bodrova & Leong, 2006; Gredler & Shields, 2007; Vygotsky, 1978). As children acquire higher language forms, they progress from inter-​ individual communication with others to the internal representation of concepts, which ultimately guides their learning through the school years (Gredler & Shields, 2007; Vygotsky, 1978). To mediate this process, adults provide structured and predictable communication formats in natural settings and at different stages during a child’s development. For example, Bruner (1983) observed infants and their mothers while playing games such as peek-​a-​boo.

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These interactions were described by Bruner as proto-​conversations in which children safely engaged in the systematic use of words, turn taking, and in distributing their attention over an ordered sequence of events. In a similar vein, child–​adult verbal interactions during shared reading of picture books expose children to the use of questions, contingent responses, descriptions, and verbal expansions of the child’s responses. These types of language interactions have been found to be effective in mediating language growth in children from diverse language, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds (Gesell et al., 2012; Lonigan & Whitehurst, 1998; Snow, 1983; Valdez-​Menchaca & Whitehurst, 1992; Whitehurst et  al., 1994). Along these lines, Lonigan and Whitehurst (1998) recommend using dialogic reading or conversations during shared reading of picture books as a systematic format in which children progressively increase their verbal abilities under adult guidance. Bodrova and Leong (2006) further indicate that adult–​child interactions, such as dialogic exchanges between a mother and child during shared reading practices, yield positive effects on children’s oral language and focused attention. This is largely the product of adult caregivers in modeling attention and in using questions within the child’s zone of proximal development to prompt and to guide reading. A  key aspect in these studies is that adults mediate language and literacy for children through predictable, repeated, expanded, and often simplified bidirectional verbal interactions within meaningful contexts of learning. For children of immigrant parents with limited proficiency in English, such early language and literacy interactions should be mediated in the home language and supported with English as appropriate, but not substituted by English. In other words, an additive linguistic environment at home, where both the home language and English are valued, can be beneficial to children at any developmental stage. The Vygotskian theoretical framework is consistent with research showing the benefits of early literacy and parental involvement on the language skills of preschool children (Ezell & Justice, 2000; Justice, 2006; Justice et al., 2005; Lonigan & Whitehurst, 1998; Whitehurst et al., 1994). Early literacy practices, including the types of dialogue and social interactions that take place during the shared reading of picture books are strongly associated with the vocabulary and sentences that children develop at a young age and with their later reading and academic success (Biemiller, 2006; Ehri, 2005; Tabors et al., 2003). For children with language impairment or a sustained difficulty in acquiring language, the repeated exposure to spoken words matched to print, the visual support of word concepts with pictures, the use of simplified syntactic scripts, and the dialogic interactions that take place during shared book reading with adults serve as scaffolding in the social mediation of language functions. Supporting parents and caregivers to mediate verbal interactions and early literacy experiences in the home language with their children can thus be an

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important malleable factor in preventing and reducing the effects of language disadvantages at a young age. 9.4

Learning across Languages and Becoming Bilingual

Children in the process of learning two or more languages actively compare and learn across languages, particularly when languages share lexical, phonological, and grammatical components. This dynamic learning across languages has been referred to in the literature as “transfer” (Cummins, 2006), as “translanguaging” (García, 2009), and differentiated as “metalinguistic awareness” and “executive control” (Bialystok & Barac, 2011). We pose that for bilingual children with language impairment, instruction that supports learning across languages can actively promote the “meta” or higher-​ level learning strategies involving conceptual vocabulary, narrative discourse, phonological awareness and literacy, and pragmatics across different sociolinguistic contexts. Several studies support the benefits of providing academic instruction in the L1. For example, emergent bilingual children with higher levels of oral and written proficiency in their L1 have better academic outcomes than emergent bilingual children who only receive instruction in English (Murphy, 2014; Valentino & Reardon, 2015). In addition, dual-​language immersion programs, in which 50 percent of the instruction is provided in the home language and 50 percent of the instruction is provided in the majority language or English, have the highest rates of academic success among bilingual children (Thomas & Collier, 2002). As to what transfers or is integrated across languages, there are several findings. Phonological awareness can be trained in a child’s L1 and effectively supports word learning in L2, even when proficiency levels are low in L2 (Durgunoglu, 2001; Durgunoglu et al., 1993). Moreover, studies reveal a high correlation between young readers’ ability to detect initial phonemes and rimes for words in their L1 and their ability to recognize printed words in English. These findings are robust across a wide variety of L1s, such as Chinese, Urdu, Cantonese, Farsi, Hebrew, and Spanish (Geva & Genesee, 2006). Likewise, vocabulary learning or semantic knowledge in L1 effectively influences acquisition of those concepts in L2 (Lugo-​Neris et al., 2010). In this regard, languages like English and Spanish share many word roots (e.g., audi-​|hear| → audition, auditorium, audición, auditorio) and have cognates (e.g., family/​familia; biology/​biología) that further facilitate transfer of vocabulary and thinking across languages (Kieffer & Lesaux, 2007). Cummins (2005) described six types of transfer in bilingual children: conceptual elements (vocabulary), metacognitive strategies, metalinguistic strategies, pragmatic aspects (such as using gestures), specific linguistic elements, and phonological awareness. Because

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transfer is largely influenced by students’ ability to think across languages, the use of translation and active engagement across languages can be an efficient bilingual instructional strategy (Cummins, 2006; García, 2009). This is important because emergent bilingual children learn and communicate with other bilingual speakers and in situations where languages are in contact. Notwithstanding the benefits of learning across languages, schools overwhelmingly promote English-​only instruction. In addition, bilingual instructional programs in schools enforce language separation, thus limiting the social and educational opportunities for students to engage in learning strategies that facilitate language integration and learning (e.g., García et  al., 2006; García & Kleifgen, 2010). Additionally, there are fewer bilingual programs and bilingual-​related services for children with language impairment, leaving parents with limited options to raise their children bilingually. Therefore, there is an urgent need for parent education and guidance on how to stimulate language growth and learning (e.g., extended conversations, oral stories, and early literacy) in the language(s) that constitute the linguistic environment at home. In the following sections of this chapter we will describe the methodology, materials, and findings from our early literacy work with immigrant families. 9.5

Methodology of Parent Workshops in Our Research

9.5.1

What Parents Learn during Parent Education Meetings

In our research we used parent instructional interventions based on a transactional model of understanding each other and reciprocity (Sameroff & Fiese, 2000). We used dialogue to understand each other and reach a position of trust (Barrera & Corso, 2003). Immigrant families can face many challenges in their lives, therefore language stimulation or reading books with their children may not be a priority. Trust between parents and educators must be built in order for parents to discuss issues that affect how they communicate with their child, such as difficult living conditions, problems at work, anguish when separated from other children living abroad, and even fear of deportation (Ijalba, 2016). Being able to empathize with each family’s particular situation leads to the building of trust and to transactional learning–​teaching opportunities between parents and educators. In step with the model of reciprocity, in our research we held group discussions on the types of parent–​child interactions to address that not only parents influence their children, but children also influence their parents’ behaviors. This is an important point for parents of children with language impairment or more severe communication disorders. Their child’s behavior influences how parents communicate and respond to their child. Our group

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discussions focused on parents’ ability to initiate communication, to expand on topics, and to understand nonverbal forms of communication; these were topics that parents could illustrate with examples from their own interactions with their children. In addition, we taught parents strategies known to be effective in stimulating language with their children. For example, parents learned how to use visual support systems in the form of picture books (e.g., by integrating laminated pictures and objects to manipulate with your materials and by using picture referencing in commercial books), how to create communicative situations by structuring their environment (e.g., by having children point to or ask for objects), how to build responsivity into their interactions (e.g., by practicing contingent verbal responses and stimulating dialogue), how to use focused stimulation in everyday situations (e.g., by repeating nouns and verbs during shared activities), and how to recast what their children said in order to model language for their children (e.g., repeating correctly their children’s verbalizations without the need for corrections). These intervention strategies were taught to mothers within meaningful contexts including play-​based activities with their children, role playing with other parents, discussing examples from their own situations, and through the use of interactive picture books with familiar topics. Importantly, parents gained knowledge on how to stimulate language within their child’s zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978). In order to do this, parents learned to observe and to understand their child’s communication and literacy behaviors. After identifying their child’s developmental level, parents introduced language targets slightly above that level. In addition, parents learned how to model expanded language through a range of distancing strategies, starting with direct teaching (e.g., labeling), and building up to indirect teaching (e.g., increased use of questions and dialogue). By focusing on meaningful reciprocal interactions within their own home context and by using materials that incorporated direct and indirect instructional strategies, most parents were able to develop their own teaching styles. Finally, a major ethical consideration in our parent education intervention was the nature of power and authority in a relationship where educators can be cast as the “professionals with knowledge” and the parents as the “recipients of knowledge.” Freire (1993) argued against the “banking” model in education, which defines such roles as the professional as prescriber and the student as recipient. Under the banking model, students are to remain silent and learn what they are taught. In contrast, learning that involves dialogue and reflection rooted in action, is empowering and can lead to change. In our research we aimed to reverse the teacher–​student roles by reiterating that parents are the ones who know their children best. As such, parents were encouraged to actively describe and analyze the challenges they encountered, find answers through dialogue, reflect and support one another.

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9.5.2

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Language-​Literacy Materials to Encourage Parent–​Child Conversations

In our research we created materials in the form of interactive picture books that were appropriate to the needs of the families and the children’s developmental level and language needs. These materials can vary depending on the needs reported by families, the language(s) used at home, the children’s communication and literacy levels, their preferred activities and toys, the children’s age and grade at school, the vocabulary and grammatical goals, the parents’ literacy levels across languages, and the availability/​adaptability of commercially available texts. This information can be obtained during interviews with individual families and caregivers, through direct observation of parent–​child dyads, through observation of the children at home or in the classroom, and by conducting focus groups with parents who will be participating in parent education. We asked parents of preschool children participating in focus groups to describe daily activities with their children, significant family occasions, “fun” activities with their children, the types of toys and objects at home, their children’s favorite books, how often parents read to their children, how they read to their children, and who were the most frequent reading partners at home. In these meetings parents described specific activities and contexts that generated improved communication with their children:  shopping for food, cooking, mealtime/​ eating together, bathing, birthday parties, playing with familiar toys, and learning the alphabet. In addition, most families reported having toys at home that included balls, teddy bears, cars, blocks, bubbles, and books. With this information we created an initial set of six picture books in Spanish with manipulatives:  Playing with toys; Buying fruit; Cooking; Birthday party; Bathing; and Alphabet letters and rhymes. See Figure 9.1 for sample frames of one book. These books provided parents with a framework to use language-​literacy strategies, such as modeling vocabulary and using simplified sentence structures, providing repetitions consistently, and encouraging print referencing (i.e., having the child point to printed words). The children were also engaged by playing with real objects and by manipulating laminated pictures for the target concepts. More importantly, these materials encouraged parents to have conversations and to read with their children while using the home language. For parents who had limited literacy levels in their own language, the simplified text structures, the repetition, and the use of pictures gave them confidence in being able to read books with their children. For example, one mother reported learning to read and write in Spanish through these parent education materials and later taking classes in English as an additional language. Therefore, parent education can have a lasting impact that goes beyond the immediate language-​literacy stimulation with children.

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Figure 9.1  Sample frames from three interactive picture books: Book 1 “Mis Juguetes” (My toys), Book 2 “Compro frutas” (I buy fruits), Book 3 ¿Qué comemos hoy? (What do we eat today?). Note. Each frame is one page. Target concepts are laminated and attached with Velcro (book, blue ball, apple, grapes, mango, chicken). The child takes each manipulative and places it in the cart by attaching it with Velcro.

9.6

Findings from Our Research: Children’s Vocabulary Gains across Languages, Improved Parental Perceptions about Using the Home Language

In the following sections we describe a study where we examined the effectiveness of a parent-​implemented early-​literacy intervention in the home language on building vocabulary in preschool children with difficulty acquiring language. We compared two groups of mothers and their children to measure vocabulary growth, early literacy practices, and mothers’ perceptions of use of the home language: an Intervention group and a Waiting control group. We formulated the following research questions in this study: 1. Can early literacy intervention in the L1 (Spanish) support L1 expressive vocabulary gains in bilingual children with difficulty in language acquisition? 2. Can these benefits extend to expressive vocabulary in the L2 (English)? 3. Do mothers’ home language practices change after the intervention?

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9.6.1 Method

Participants in Early Literacy Groups  Twenty-​four Spanish-​speaking mother–​child dyads were recruited from a special needs preschool in a low-​income district of New York City. The Intervention group included nine boys and three girls (mean age M = 43 months, SD 1.95). The Waiting control group included eight boys and four girls (mean age M = 42 months, SD 2.64). All children were identified with language delays through bilingual speech-​language evaluations and were new to the school. They produced on average less than thirty words in Spanish to communicate. They attended small group classrooms (twelve students, one teacher, one teaching assistant) with instruction in English. They received speech-​language therapy twice weekly for thirty minutes with bilingual providers. Family information was collected through a questionnaire with mothers in semi-​structured interviews. The families were from Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The mothers’ average age was 28 (SD 3.95). They described limited proficiency in spoken/​written English. Average years of residence in the United States were nine (SD 2.3). Mothers’ average years of education were 7.3 (sixth through tenth grade). Family income was below the poverty threshold for a family of four. Each mother–​child dyad was randomly assigned to one of two groups: the intervention (N = 12) or the waiting control (N = 12). An initial parent education meeting was held with all mothers. This meeting provided information on developmental milestones, the importance of early literacy at home, and how to stimulate language through everyday conversations in the L1. Mothers in the Intervention group went on to participate in six parent education meetings and a final evaluation meeting over the course of sixteen weeks. They received six interactive picture books in Spanish and were instructed on how to implement language and literacy activities in the home language. Mothers in the Waiting control group were supported through literacy activities promoted by the school (e.g., parent–​teacher meetings) and otherwise maintained their regular home language and literacy routines. They were invited to participate in the parent education program at the conclusion of the current study. 9.6.2 Results

Project Design  We conducted a mixed analysis of variance test to examine the effects of condition (Intervention and Waiting control groups) and time (pre-​test-​T1 and post-​test-​T2) on children’s language scores (vocabulary reported by mothers, standardized picture vocabulary test, vocabulary test based on the picture books, and a standardized preschool language test) in Spanish and English. We then calculated conceptual vocabulary scores (Spanish + English pairs) for the vocabulary tests. The within-​subjects variable was time, while the

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Figure 9.2  Study design: Groups and sequence of testing.

between-​ subjects variable was condition. The participants were randomly assigned to an intervention or to a waiting control group. The pre-​test measures were elicited from both groups prior to the intervention (T1). Mothers in the Intervention group participated in the parent education intervention, while mothers in the Waiting control group continued their regular home routines. Post-​test measures were elicited from all participants sixteen weeks after the intervention (T2). The within-​subjects effects were changes in the children’s language scores across time (T1 and T2). The between-​subjects effects were differences in language scores between the Intervention and Waiting control group. The condition x time interaction was measured as the effect of intervention on the groups. Independent sample t-​tests before the intervention indicated there were no differences between the groups on any of the four language measures. See Figure 9.2 for a description of the study design, indicating the measures and sequence of testing for the Intervention and Waiting control group. 9.6.3

Post-​intervention Measures for Vocabulary

Results for vocabulary scores were significant for all measures, showing that children improved their expressive use of words from the pre-​test to the

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Table 9.1 Pre-​intervention and post-​intervention language measures for children in the Intervention group and in the Waiting control group Language Measures Parent report or words in Spanish Preschool test. Language comprehension –​ Spanish Preschool test. Language expression –​ Spanish Vocabulary test “Spanish “ English Vocabulary test Conceptual scores Vocabulary test based on pictures from books “ Spanish “ English Vocabulary test based on pictures from books –​ Conceptual scores

Pre-​test Intervention

Post-​test Intervention

Pre-​test Control

Post-​test Control

20 (SD 4.76)

54 (SD 7.82)

19 (SD 4.68) 37 (SD 6.89)

73 (3.02)

80 (2.23)

73 (2.81)

77.16 (2.36)

57 (4.38)

67 (1.85)

58 (2.82)

61 (1.30)

5 (1.35) 0 5 (1.35)

19 (4.30) 17 (5.29) 23 (4.79)

5 (1.72) 0 5 (1.72)

8 (1.91) 11 (2.46) 11 (2.18)

16 (4.22) 0 16 (4.22)

48 (6.81) 40 (6.84) 52 (6.82)

15 (4.64) 0 15 (4.64)

25 (10.36) 29 (8.82) 29 (9.59)

Note. SD stands for standard deviations.

post-​test conditions. Mothers reported their children were using more words at home, F(1, 22) = 43.95, p < 0.001. Children achieved higher scores on the standardized picture vocabulary test in Spanish, F(1, 22) = 249.35, p < 0.001, and in English F(1, 22)  =  161.35, p < 0.001. Children also achieved higher scores on the vocabulary test based on the picture books, F(1, 22) = 361.35, p