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ERIC Number: ED564502
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 203
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3036-1665-5
Teaching for Diversity: Addressing Diversity Issues in Responsive ESL Instruction
Fu, Jing
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
Student diversity has become a typical phenomenon in American public schools. The impact of increasing diversity on literacy instruction is unchallenged. Teachers reinforce this message by often citing ESL student diversity as a barrier for literacy teaching. In order to better understand the complexity of diversity issues, I explored two ESL teachers' perspectives on how student diversity figures in literacy instruction in an elementary ESL class, and the extent to which interventions both teachers received help them teach literacy to ESL students with diverse backgrounds. I analyzed how they conducted responsive literacy instruction based on their understanding of diversity issues. Both teachers' explorations of diversity issues are in many ways unique to their personal and professional experiences. Their personal and professional experiences with ESL learners, immigrants and other foreigners register their understanding of ESL student diversity: caring, sensitivity to diversity, and intention to use student diversity as teaching resources. Their preliminary explorations of diversity issues in this particular school started with the ESL Student Language Proficiency Plan, the guidance of the required language and literacy policies, and critical reviews of the changing demographics of ESL students, coupled with their multicultural and ESL teaching experiences. However, their first impressions were often at odds with the reality of ESL student diversity. They were also confused by the diversity that they themselves brought into the multicultural settings. They did not receive any assistance for addressing their confusion. Accordingly, when exploring diversity-related issues and teaching in response to diversity, both teachers felt they had to purposefully ignore their own diversity. This study identified three categories of student diversity that impacted ESL teachers' design and enactment of responsive literacy practices: intercultural diversity, intracultural diversity and human variability. ESL students' intercultural diversity played a decisive part in their enforcement of multicultural awareness at the school level, in selecting teaching materials, and setting up ESL learning goals and interpreting mistakes. Intercultural diversity of ESL students from a particular ethnic group is necessary to help teachers design responsive activities especially when teachers had limited knowledge of ESL students' backgrounds, but was an insufficient condition for providing opportunities for effective ESL students' learning. Intracultural diversity such as socio-economic power could significantly moderate or even counteract cultural control. Students from the same ethnic group sometime might demonstrate similar learning styles, but they were not necessarily the best ways for them to learn. Understanding diversity issues only with cultural insights might lead teachers to overestimate the power of culture on ESL learning. Additionally, when applying the research-based strategies to classroom instruction, both teachers cautiously took human variability into consideration, and demonstrated that effective instruction should be not only linguistically and culturally responsive but also individually responsive. Therefore, responsive ESL instruction calls for us to look beyond ESL students' collective diversity and draw upon students' individual funds of knowledge. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A