Teachers’ Practices When Working with U.S. Latino English Language Learners with Reading Related Disabilities Dr. Rocio Delgado Trinity University San Antonio, Texas, USA Context Increasing cultural and linguistic diversity Latinos in the U.S. fastest growing “minority” 5 million identified as English language learners (ELLs) Latino ELLs have the lowest educational attainment Low performance on achievement tests High dropout rates Disproportionately represented in special education Purpose of the Study To investigate reading practices implemented by teachers of Latino ELLs with reading- related disabilities and the beliefs, knowledge, and skills reflected in their work. Research Questions What is the nature of reading instruction provided Latino ELLs with reading-related disabilities? What beliefs, knowledge, and skills are reflected in teachers’ reading instructional practices? What other factors do teachers perceive as influencing reading instruction? Participants • Elementary teachers who provided reading instruction to Latino ELLs with disabilities. Students provided the context for understanding what the teachers were doing in their classrooms. Three Special education resource room teachers - European American, female - Assigned to work with 2nd, 4th and 5th graders - Range of experience between 5 and 24 years Two Bilingual education teachers - Latino, female - Assigned to work with 3rd and 4th graders - Range of experience between 5 and 24 years Data Collection Procedures Eight 90 min. observations over 12 week period in each teacher’s classroom Debriefing sessions following each observation Two semi-structured 60 min. interview with each teacher Initial Final Document analysis Student records Lesson plans Daily reflection journals Mrs. Emerson: 2nd Grade There could have been a better way for Dinora Focus of Reading Instruction Strategies •Phonological instruction •Systematic instruction (blending/segmenting) •Sight words •Phonics •Small group instruction •Fluency •Immediate, corrective feedback Beliefs, Knowledge and Skills Reflected in Practices •Multiple purposes of reading, but limited opportunities to read for enjoyment due to on-going assessment of skills •Limited understanding of BICS and CALP •Difficulty translating theory into practice “I am very lucky that I have Mrs. Gómez [a bilingual teacher] to talk to. She is very knowledgeable about bilingual education and is always willing to explain to me what she knows about language and how to take that into consideration when making decisions.” “We decided to teach her in English only because the bilingual teacher and I felt she [the student] was getting confused by having to go from one language to the other.” “If I had really felt that Dinora needed to be in a bilingual resource, I could have really pushed the issue [with administration], but I did this before and was told to just do my job. With Dinora, we really feel this was a good decision, but it’s not that easy.” “I understand the theory about the need to work collaboratively and to talk about students’ language, but I think it is very different when it actually comes to having to make a decision about which language to instruct children, how to differentiate what's difference from what’s disability, and who that student is to work with in the classroom.” Mrs. Ornelas: 3rd Grade What are we doing to give Jorge success? Focus of Reading Instruction Strategies •Integrated ESL and other •Graphic organizers content areas •Think-alouds •Comprehension •Small and large group •Story sequencing instruction •Memory •Visual and auditory cues Beliefs, Knowledge and Skills Reflected in Practices •Perceptions about parents/families •Questioning language of instruction “He has been going to his special education teacher for the whole year. My concerns are that there are no set expectations for him in there. What is she [special education teacher] doing so that he has success? She can’t serve him there because she doesn’t speak Spanish! And we have some teachers who do, but not in his special class.” “I’ve said to him, “Jorge, you’re the only one that can help yourself. You need to focus on your story and study it from beginning to end. You can track your text to stay on the story.” We do little things like that. I show him how to keep his hands together, like rubbing his hands together instead of tapping them on the table. One of the things that helps me is sign language, because sometimes I will do the sign of words or letters he’s reading. Or squeeze a ball or rub your hands together; and it’s just having your body moving in a different way to focus on what you need to attend to, which is your reading. I do these little things for him to be able to be focused when he needs to be focused. He hasn’t implemented them. Sometimes I’ll have to re-direct him.” Mrs. Carrillo & Mrs. Glasser: 4th Grade Poco a poquito Melissa and Julio se van apagando Focus of Reading Instruction Strategies •Integrated ESL and other •Instructional content areas conversations •Vocabulary development •Culturally relevant lit •Letter/sound recognition •Individual tutoring •Visuals and TPR Beliefs, Knowledge and Skills Reflected in Practices •Need for raised expectations •Limited understanding of interrelationship of ELL status and disability •Lack of preparation to effectively teach ELLs with LD “I've heard many people who know more about bilingual education than me and they have different opinions on it. I feel sometimes bilingual students are kept in Spanish classes for too long. They have low skills not because of special education needs. I just think they haven’t had enough English.” [Mrs. Glasser] “A lady in the district told me they manage it [working with ELLs with LD] using a lot of pictures. I use more pictures and identifications to try help them get the meaning. I do more of this than I would with English speaking students. I guess it’s just providing more context. I feel I could do a better job if I actually had someone come in to show me how to do it.” [Mrs. Glasser] “I sometimes feel like I'm drowning. It's not that I don't want to help. I just don't know how to help. I try to read and read with them [bilingual special education students] but there's something else that's going on because they're not getting it.” [Mrs. Carrillo] “That’s one less kid that I'm responsible for. I've given it my best shot and I'm sure she [Melissa] has given it her best shot. I tend to put her aside because the responsibility has been shifted to special education teachers. They [special educators] should be the ones to bring Melissa along.” [Mrs. Carrillo] Mrs. Zimmerman: 5th Grade Linda doesn’t need the bilingual stuff Focus of Reading Instruction Strategies •Fluency •Summarization •Comprehension •Comprehension questions •Vocabulary development •Fluency •Vocabulary Development Beliefs, Knowledge and Skills Reflected in Practices •Limited understanding of BICS and CALP •No need for differentiated instruction “I’ve always had children that spoke English and Spanish in my classrooms, but generally I have not had to do any kind of differences in their assignments because they were able to understand and do what we asked them to do.” “I never felt they [ELLs with disabilities] needed bilingual support because they understand everything I say to them in English. If they don’t understand I don’t believe it’s because of the language barrier. It could stem from that, but it’s not because they want you to explain in Spanish. I think they just need further explanation in English.” “Problems might have to do with cultural or family exposure. There are many things we read about that they have never been around or never seen. For example, we read two poems to compare and contrast. I found they weren’t able to do it because I don’t think they’ve had a lot of exposure to poetry. I don’t know that has to do with them being bilingual. I think it’s just a matter of them thinking “we’ve never done this before” or “we’ve only done this one other time maybe and we don’t remember reading poems like these before,” or “I don’t even know what a poem is,” you know? That’s just my interpretation of the problem.” Factors Influencing Instruction Impact of high-stakes assessment on instruction Limited collaboration between general and special education Limited understanding of the interrelationship between students’ ELL status and their disability Results Reading instruction for Latino ELLs with disabilities in non- bilingual special education settings was characterized by limited student engagement and accommodations for culture/language or disability, but not both. The delivery of reading services for ELLs with LD reflected limited opportunities for collaboration and instructional planning between bilingual and special education teachers. Although teachers had a positive disposition towards bilingualism and family and cultural resources, their reading programs reflected limited understanding of the interrelationship between students’ ELL status and LD. Results - Continued The findings of this study illuminated two unintended consequences of the NCLB Act: (a) Pressures associated with accountability and high stakes assessment seemed to displace teachers’ attention and efforts from teaching reading to teaching to the test (b) The definition of highly qualified teachers for ELLs with LD seems inadequate in addressing these students’ instructional needs. Discussion and Implications Systemic inequities in educational system Children Left Behind Professional development in schools Shared responsibility for students and services Opportunities for sharing of teachers’ expertise Systemic, on-going collaboration across programs and personnel Working toward same instructional goals Preparation in teacher education programs Interdisciplinary classes Diversity infused throughout university courses Preparation of higher education faculty to teach CLD students with and without disabilities and to work collaboratively Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org THANK YOU!!