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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32821

Title: Pedagogical Orientations towards the Integration of Language and Content: English Language Learners’ Opportunities to Learn in Mathematics Classrooms
Authors: Takeuchi, Miwa
Advisor: Esmonde, Indigo
Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Keywords: English as a second language
English language learners
content-based language teaching
mathematics education
multicultural education
activity theory
sociocultural theory
opportunity to learn
second language education
content-language integration
multilingual classroom
linguistically diverse students
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2012
Abstract: Achieving equitable opportunities to learn has been recognized as an important issue in multilingual content classrooms. However, partially because mathematics is conceptualized as a language-free subject, there is limited research examining linguistic minority students’ opportunities to learn in mathematics classrooms. The purpose of this research is to identify linguistic minority students’ opportunities to learn in mathematics classrooms in a Canadian multilingual urban elementary school, where English was the main instructional language. Drawing on cultural historical activity theory, this study focuses on two aspects of learning: externalization, which emphasizes learners’ creation of new cultural artifacts and new contexts to apply the given artifacts, and internalization, which emphasizes learners’ acquisition of preexisting cultural artifacts. In this ethnographic study, I examined the activity systems of participatory action research (PAR) with the activity system of regular mathematics lessons. Within these activity systems, I focused on newly-arrived English language learners’ (ELLs) participation. Specifically, I examined the range of opportunities to learn afforded to students in the two activity systems and identified how focal ELLs accessed these opportunities to learn. In the activity system of PAR, which emphasized externalization, students conducted research and presented their conclusions in order to implement changes in their school environment. All students, however, did not participate equally. Specifically, the focal ELLs were not able to access these opportunities to learn as a result of group dynamics, marginalized social identities, and other students’ perceptions of their linguistic ability. In the activity system of regular mathematics lessons, which emphasized internalization, the teacher organized lessons in ways that allowed focal ELLs to receive extra support and resources to reach the curriculum expectations. These mathematics lessons allowed focal ELLs to increase their participation through mathematical reasoning, problem solving, and explanations with a variety of resources including visual representations. A critical examination of the interactions revealed that focal ELLs’ opportunities to learn were expanded or limited depending upon classroom configurations. Furthermore, this research suggests that students’ social identities serve as both a medium and a product of learning. These results have valuable implications for developing inclusive classroom practices and curriculum in multilingual content classrooms.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32821
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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