From Everyday Language Practices to Pedagogies of Biliteracy
Leah Durán

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Arizona

Primary Discipline

Literacy and/or English/Language Education
The educational outcomes of bilingual students in U.S. schools suggest that they are poorly served by the most common educational practices. This likely stems both from inadequate instruction and from the tendency to perceive bilingual students from a deficit perspective: as disadvantaged by their bilingualism (Bartolom�©, 1994). However, studentsâ�� bilingualism can instead be recognized as an advantage, one which provides them with both metalinguistic insights and the potential to become biliterate: capable of using, creating and understanding text in two or more languages. While many agree that this is a worthwhile goal, there is still relatively little guidance for teachers who wish to support their studentsâ�� biliteracy. Drawing on the tradition of cultural modeling (Lee, 1995;1997; 2000: Orellana & Reynolds, 2008; Martinez, 2010), this study proposes studying the language practices of bilingual children, identifying areas where their language practices reflect embodied knowledge analogous to literacy skills and standards, and then co-designing and evaluating approaches to literacy teaching which could build on this knowledge. Through a formative/design methodology, this study aims to generate new understandings of ways that teachers can leverage bilingual studentsâ�� linguistic abilities to support their literacy learning in two languages.
About Leah Durán
Dr. Leah Durán is an Assistant Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona. She is former elementary school teacher who worked in bilingual and ESL classrooms in Texas. Her research focuses on bilingualism and biliteracy in young children, and the design of literacy pedagogies for culturally and linguistically complex classrooms.

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