ERIC Number: ED274193
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Mar
Using Ethnographic Methods in an ESL Program.
Hoekje, B.; And Others
An ethnographic study of a Philadelphia elementary school program in English as a second language focused on the way children's first and second languages were used in the classroom, and how this use of language was connected to the learning process. It was found that despite teachers' claims of emphasis on communication skills, a number of classes focused primarily on academic and socialization tasks promoting language skills. It was observed that socialization plays an important role in teachers' implicit definitions of communicative competence, and that emphasis on socialization may occur because of lack of shared cultural norms between teacher and students. It was also found that being a successful student is a more complex issue than it appeared initially, even in a well-structured program with supportive administration and a high-quality teaching staff, because children must decipher the teacher's goals in different situations. Finally, the use of ethnographic methods revealed that in order to examine language use in the classroom, much needs to be understood about the use of language in various classroom "events." These events, social, communicative, and academic, are often difficult for the students to distinguish as mutually exclusive. As a result, the student is often confused about the kind of language to use for a particular event, and the meaning of the event in the context of the school and even the community. (MSE/TR)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Based on a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (20th, Anaheim, CA, March 3-8, 1986).