Mixing Time in a Bilingual Program: When Science Time is English Time

Jorge L Solís


The setting of this study reflects a common approach for teaching science to K-5 bilingual/multilingual learners combining science time with English-only language instruction. While programs that use both languages to teach bilingual students are more effective in preparing K-5 Latin@ students in science, instruction in science in K-5 classrooms remains largely taught in English. The paper examines how a recurring classroom routine, Community Circle time, exposes the academic and behavioral expectations of a 3rd classroom composed of bilingual/multilingual students learning science. The paper presents analysis of classroom interactions and teacher interviews connected to “science time” which is also English-only time in this school. Several types of activities and participation structures emerge from observations of Community Circle time. During this time, students talk about sharing, planning, and doing activities related to science. This study finds that, while there are productive opportunities for all students to learn a range of academic language and content knowledge during science time, a more expansive approach to language and literacy is needed for teaching and learning science.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24974/amae.11.336


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