ERIC Number: ED273967
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Apr
Reference Count: 0
An Ethnographic Account of the Composing Behaviors of Five Young Bilingual Children.
Halsall, Sharen Weber
A study examined bilingual children's composing behaviors during classroom writing and their perceptions of writing. Students' descriptions of what occurred in their day-to-day environment were analyzed using ethnographic methods. The researcher observed five subjects--bilingual students in kindergarten through third grade--for 145 hours, and conducted both formal and informal interviews. Collected data were analyzed using the developmental research sequence described by J. Spradley, and 12 composing behaviors were identified: (1) reading back, (2) invented spellings, (3) copying, (4) body language, (5) prewriting, (6) concealing writing, (7) writing play, (8) confirmation questions, (9) talking while writing, (10) asking questions, (11) statements about writing, and (12) taking breaks. Many of these composing behaviors are also used by monolingual students. However, bilinguals talked while they wrote in order to make the transition to writing by using Spanish phrases to get started writing. Three other behaviors were specific to the bilingual children: reading back, confirming questions, and concealing writing. In this study, teachers served as models for both oral and written language in the classroom, encouraging verbal and written expression from children based on the children's agendas and important life events, and focusing on getting meaning from the children, learning from them, and accepting their individual composing levels and styles. (SRT)
Descriptors: Behavior Patterns, Bilingual Education, Bilingual Students, Bilingual Teachers, Classroom Environment, English (Second Language), Language of Instruction, Limited English Speaking, Primary Education, Protocol Analysis, Spanish Speaking, Teaching Methods, Writing (Composition), Writing Instruction, Writing Research, Writing Skills
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (67th, San Francisco, CA, April 16-20, 1986).