Uncovering Preservice Teachers’ Positioning of Themselves and English Learners (ELs) during Field Experiences

in Teachers’ Professional Development in Global Contexts
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Because of refugees and immigrants, teachers face the challenge of educating the children of these populations to become literate and academically successful. Yet, most teacher education programs do not provide extensive education for preservice teachers to meet the needs of these students. Just as importantly, Goldenberg (2008) argues that even when teachers are educated about teaching children a second language they are often not willing to enact those practices. This study examined case studies of English learners (ELs) created by preservice teachers during student teaching and explored how preservice teachers positioned themselves in relationship to ELs. The researchers used positioning theory to examine case studies from 60 preservice teachers. The cases were of 3rd to 5th grade students in schools that had at least a 10% EL population. We identified three plotlines from the cases. Common across the plotlines was the positioning of ELs as positive, pleasant and progressing based on the preservice teachers work with them. There are implications for both teacher education and research.

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