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ERIC Number: EJ1153780
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1871-1502
EISSN: N/A
Special Ways of Knowing in Science: Expansive Learning Opportunities with Bilingual Children with Learning Disabilities
Martínez-Álvarez, Patricia
Cultural Studies of Science Education, v12 n3 p521-553 Sep 2017
The field of bilingual special education is currently plagued with contradictions resulting in a serious underrepresentation of emergent bilinguals with learning disabilities in professional science fields. This underrepresentation is due in large part to the fact that educational systems around the world are inadequately prepared to address the educational needs of these children; this inadequacy is rooted in a lack of understanding of the linguistic and cultural factors impacting learning. Accepting such a premise and assuming that children learn in unexpected ways when instructional practices attend to culture and language, this study documents a place-based learning experience integrating geoscience and literacy in a fourth-grade dual language classroom. Data sources include transcribed audio-taped conversations from learning experience sessions and interviews that took place as six focus children, who had been identified as having specific learning disabilities, read published science texts (i.e. texts unaltered linguistically or conceptually to meet the needs of the readers). My analysis revealed that participants generated responses that were often unexpected if solely analyzed from those Western scientific perspectives traditionally valued in school contexts. However, these responses were also full of purposeful and rich understandings that revealed opportunities for expansive learning. Adopting a cultural historical activity theory perspective, instructional tools such as texts, visuals, and questions were found to act as mediators impacting the learning in both activity systems: (a) "teacher-researcher learning from children," and (b) "children learning from teachers." I conclude by suggesting that there is a need to understand students' ways of knowing to their full complexity, and to deliberately recognize teachers as learners, researchers, and means to expansive learning patterns that span beyond traditional learning boundaries.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A