Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Carole Pelttari

Abstract

Significant shifts in demographics across the United States continue to impact educational demands and decisions. This article is an initial investigation of the behaviors and understandings of a bilingual student participating in an academic literacy community. In order to begin exploring my topic, I posed the question: “What traits are evident in a bilingual student’s writing at home and at school?” The participants included a 5th grade male and his mother; both speak English as a second language and are of South Korean heritage. I approached my research qualitatively; using discourse analysis of written text and oral conversation and ethnographic research to generate possible answers to my question. My findings include (a) writing traits are positively influenced by text-based responses, voice, and choice; (b) writing is negatively impacted by vocabulary and conventions; (c) understanding of reading and writing is cultivated through heritage language and second language. I concluded that (a) ESL students may exhibit progress towards proficiency in writing when presented with opportunities to write in genres related to their primary discourse; (b) text-based responses may require less orchestration, benefiting English Language Learners; (c) a teacher’s professional knowledge and instructional expertise concerning English Language Learners might benefit from conducting ethnographic research while working with such students.

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