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Spanish heritage language learners in Canadian high school Spanish classes : negotiating ethnolinguistic… Abdi, Klara 2009

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SPANISH HERITAGE LANGUAGE LEARNERS IN CANADIAN HIGH SCHOOL SPANISH CLASSES: NEGOTIATING ETHNOLINGUISTIC IDENTITIES AND IDEOLOGIES  by KLARA ABDI  B.A., University of British Columbia, 1998 B.Ed., University of British Columbia, 1999  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  (Modern Language Education) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver)  August 2009 © Klara Abdi, 2009  Abstract Many young people today are growing up with two or more languages. The development of their heritage language (HL) plays a role in the learners’ intellectual development, cultural identification, and family and HL community relations. Growing numbers of students are thus choosing to enrol in high school or post-secondary language classes for their HL development, posing challenges for teachers who generally have to teach them alongside other (non-HL) “foreign language” (FL) students. Although this area of research, particularly in relation to the teaching of Spanish in the United States, is growing, few studies have looked at the interactions of HL and FL students in mixed classes at the high school level in Canada or elsewhere. This ethnographic case study investigated the interactions and positionings of Spanish HL (SHL) students in intermediate high school Spanish FL (SFL) classes. Three classes were observed over a six-month period and interviews were conducted with all participating students and teachers. One class was then chosen for in-depth analysis for this thesis. The goal of the study was to analyse the nature of the interactions of SHL and SFL students in order to provide insights into how best to accommodate various types of students in one language course. The study found that the SHL students were positioned in various ways depending on the instructional (whole class or group) setting and the nature of the students’ relationships to those they were working with. Their various types and levels of language expertise was one factor in how they were perceived, with greater oral expertise at times making their cultural heritage more salient to their teacher and classmates. The SHL students’ ages and social group affiliations were also important factors affecting their status in class. In fact, their ages or particular groups of friends were sometimes found to be greater factors in how their classmates and teacher perceived them than their language expertise. The study offers new insights into the complex nature of teaching SHL and SFL students in one class at the high school level and offers implications for pedagogy, theory and future research.  ii  Table of Contents Abstract ................................................................................................................ ii Table of Contents ................................................................................................. iii List of Tables ....................................................................................................... vi List of Figures ...................................................................................................... vii Acknowledgments................................................................................................ viii Dedication ............................................................................................................ x Chapter 1  INTRODUCTION .............................................................................  1  1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5  Background ........................................................................................ Statement of the Research Problem ................................................... Researcher Positionality..................................................................... Research Questions............................................................................ Significance of the Study ................................................................... Thesis Outline ....................................................................................  1 2 5 6 7 8  Chapter 2  REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ...................................................  9  2.0 2.1  Introduction........................................................................................ Terms and Definitions........................................................................ Heritage Language Learner.......................................................... Hispanic or Latino/a?................................................................... Benefits of Heritage Language Learning........................................... The Relationship between HL Proficiency and Identification with the Heritage Culture ................................................................. Identity and Positioning Theory......................................................... Language Ideology............................................................................. Language Expertise, Affiliation and Inheritance Model.................... Demographics and Enrolment in SHL Classes: The United States and Canada ........................................................... Teaching HL Students in Mixed Classes ........................................... HL Learners’ Negative Experiences in Mixed Classes ............... HL Learners’ Positive Experiences in Mixed Classes................. Summary............................................................................................  9 9 9 15 16  2.1.1 2.1.2 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.8.1 2.8.2 2.9 Chapter 3 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3  18 19 22 25 26 28 29 30 32  RESEARCH METHODOLOGY....................................................... 34  Introduction........................................................................................ Research Questions............................................................................ Ethnographic Case Study Design....................................................... Case Selection, School Access, and Ethical Considerations ............ 3.3.1 Site ............................................................................................... 3.3.2 Participants................................................................................... Ms. Lopez ...........................................................................  34 34 34 37 40 41 43  iii Tony .................................................................................... Princess ............................................................................... Pat ....................................................................................... Claude ................................................................................. Data Collection Procedures................................................................ Data Analysis Procedures .................................................................. Summary............................................................................................  3.4 3.5 3.6 Chapter 4 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5  5.0 5.1  Chapter 6  6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5  7.0 7.1 7.1.1 7.1.2  73 73 81 88 92 105 116  NEGOTIATING LITERACY PRACTICES: GRAMMAR, TRANSLATION AND SPELLING........................... 118 Introduction........................................................................................ Tony and Princess: Weak Literacy Skills .......................................... Pat and Claude: Strong Literacy Skills .............................................. Valued Language Expertise and Marks ............................................. Group Work Interaction Examples .................................................... Summary............................................................................................  Chapter 7  51 51 52 57 66 72  ORAL EXPERTISE AND PERFORMANCE ................................. 73 Introduction........................................................................................ SHL Students as Idealized Speaker Models and Language Experts........................................................................ SHL Students as Co-Teachers ........................................................... Contestation in Whole-Class Interactions.......................................... Resistance, Withdrawal and Intimidation .......................................... A Whole-Class Interaction Example ................................................. Summary............................................................................................  5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6  7.2  SOCIAL GROUPINGS, AGE AND GENDER ................................ 51 Introduction........................................................................................ Classroom Configuration and Seating Plans...................................... Friendship Groups.............................................................................. The Issue of Age ................................................................................ Gender................................................................................................ Summary............................................................................................  Chapter 5  44 44 45 46 47 48 50  118 118 122 137 140 156  HERITAGE, CULTURE AND NATIONALITY ............................. 158 Introduction........................................................................................ Bringing Language Resources from the Home.................................. The Hispanic Home as a Place of Language Learning ................ The Hispanic Home as a Place of the Uneducated Immigrant .... Visibility and Cultural Stereotypes ....................................................  158 158 158 159 164  iv  7.3  Displays of National and Cultural Affiliation during Class Activities .................................................................................. 7.3.1 Nationality Exercise..................................................................... Tony ....................................................................................... Pat .......................................................................................... Princess .................................................................................. 7.3.2 Hispanic Artist Project................................................................. 7.4 Summary............................................................................................ Chapter 8  173 173 174 175 177 179 182  CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS........................................... 183  8.0 8.1 8.2  Introduction........................................................................................ Summary of Findings......................................................................... Implications for SHL Theory............................................................. 8.2.1 SHL Students’ Language Proficiency and Use............................ Orality and Literacy Skills ..................................................... Language Variety and Language Ideology ............................ 8.2.2 SHL Students’ National and Cultural Affiliations....................... 8.2.3 SHL Students in High School Spanish Classes: The Importance of Social Context ............................................... 8.2.4 Re-examining Theories of Positioning, Identity and Language Ideology....................................................................... 8.3 Pedagogical Implications ................................................................... 8.3.1 Getting to Know Your Students................................................... 8.3.2 Student Groupings ....................................................................... 8.3.3 Instructional Activities and Strategies ......................................... 8.4 Directions for Future Research .......................................................... 8.5 Scope of the Study ............................................................................. 8.6 Concluding Remarks..........................................................................  183 183 187 187 188 190 194  199 200 201 204 205 208 209 211  References............................................................................................................ Appendix A Certificate of Approval.................................................................... Appendix B Recruitment Letter........................................................................... Appendix C Informed Consent and Assent Forms .............................................. Appendix D Questionnaires................................................................................. Appendix E Interview Questions ......................................................................... Appendix F Transcription Conventions...............................................................  213 225 226 227 233 246 253  198  v  List of Tables Table 2.1 Table 3.1 Table 3.2 Table 4.1  Focus of Instruction for HL Students ................................................ Class Demographics........................................................................... Participant Demographic Information ............................................... SHL Students and Their Friendship Groups .....................................  11 41 42 53  vi  List of Figures Figure 2.1 Figure 4.1 Figure 4.2 Figure 4.3 Figure 6.1  Linguistic and Cultural Continua of HL and non-HL Students......... Seating Plan 1 (September 20)........................................................... Seating Plan 2 (November 10)........................................................... Seating Plan 3 (January 4) ................................................................. Seating Plan 4 (February 2) ...............................................................  13 52 60 62 126  vii  Acknowledgements This work would not have been possible without the support of many people. First, I would like to thank the three participating teachers who, generously and courageously, allowed me the opportunity to observe their classes as well as their students (along with their parents), who overwhelmingly agreed to participate in my study. I would like to thank the school boards which agreed to support my study as well as Dr. Wendy Carr, who enthusiastically assisted me in the recruitment process. My sincere appreciation goes to my committee members. First, Dr. Patsy Duff, who has supported me from our very first meeting and always showed great faith in my potential. I invariably left our meetings with much greater insight, understanding and excitement; she was truly a great mentor and role model. Dr. Steven Talmy has been a great source of encouragement and has been especially helpful in the development of my discourse analytic skills, as well as constantly challenging my understanding of various theoretical concepts. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Monique Bournot-Trites for taking on the task of reading my lengthy thesis and offering her wisdom, insights and support at a very busy time. My thanks also goes to other faculty members of LLED who have contributed to my knowledge through courses or other interactions, as well as offering support in other ways, including Drs. Geoff Williams, Bonny Norton, Carl Leggo, Margaret Early, George Belliveau, Theresa Rogers, Ken Reeder, and Jim Anderson. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Carmen Medina, an original member of my committee, who always showed me great warmth, as well as support for my work. My peers have been a source of encouragement and support, both academically and personally. I appreciate the support of the three “amigos,” Sandra Zappa-Hollman, Martin Guardado, and Jeremie Seror – you have been great mentors and friends throughout my program, never turning down a request for help. Also, a special thanks to Diane Potts for always making time to hear my quirky ideas and scaffolding my learning, as well as making me laugh. I would like to thank Kim Lenters, my fellow peer advisor in the first year of my program – I enjoyed working with you and learned much from you. I am grateful for many other peers and friends with whom I shared time, classes and thoughts, including Lyndsay Moffatt, Chiyo Mori, Ena Lee, Jean Kim, Mi-Young Kim, Beverly Binder, Yanping Zhao, Jenny Gallant, Noreen Cross, Reg D’Silva, Harriet Mutonyi, and Mia Perry. A note of thanks to Rachel Wang who helped me with my final formatting and printing. A special thank you to my mother who has supported and encouraged me endlessly, even through the hardest times. She has also taught me much about courage, perseverance and positive thinking through her life’s example. Thank you also to my dear friends in the Baha’i Community for their support and encouragement, including the Jauca family, the Nourredin family, the Akhavan family, Erika and Juliet Hastings, Juliet Ghodsian, and Lorena Stewart. You are all great role models in all aspects of life.  viii  The biggest thank you of all goes to my wonderful family, Peiman, Roya and Milad. You have shown amazing patience, support, and self-sacrifice during these long years. Without such a supportive husband, I could never have completed this work. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) through their award of a Master’s Scholarship that supported this research project. I am also thankful to the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Department of Language and Literacy Education at UBC for various travel awards which allowed me to present my research, as well as the Department of Language and Literacy Education for the Service to the Department Award.  ix  Dedication  To my beloved family: Peiman, Roya and Milad.  x  Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 1.0 Background With increasing globalization and immigration, many young people today are growing up with two or more languages. While the learning of English among immigrant children and youth in Canada, the United States, and other English-dominant societies is clearly important, the development of their first language, if other than English, commonly referred to as their heritage language (HL)1, also has great potential value and significance in their lives. The development of the HL plays a role in the learner’s intellectual development, cultural identification with their heritage culture and family and HL community relations. The home is an important site for the development of children’s and youth’s HLs and over the last two decades several studies have focused on the role of socialization in the home in HL maintenance (Bayley & Schecter, 2003; Guardado, 2002, 2008; Schecter & Bayley, 1997, 2002; Tannenbaum, 2005; Tannenbaum & Berkovich, 2005; Tannenbaum & Howie, 2002; Thomas & Cao, 1999; Wong Fillmore, 1991; Zentella, 1997, 2005). Aside from HL support that may be provided by parents in the home, many families choose to place their children in community HL programs. These programs have also been a topic of study (Bae, 2004; Curdt-Christiansen, 2006; He, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006; Hu, 2007; Jia, 2006; Lo, 2004; Maloof, Rubin & Miller, 2006; Silver, 2004). Finally, growing numbers of students choose to enrol in high school or post-secondary language classes for their HL development. With this influx, the face of language education is changing. No longer are languages other than English taught exclusively to groups of (monolingual) English speakers learning a language “foreign” to them. This diversification of language learners creates an interesting dynamic in classrooms, where these HL students may interact in particular ways with their fellow HL and foreign language (FL) classmates and teacher, while also having their own distinct language learning needs. For example, linguistic and cultural expertise may be negotiated to a greater extent among HL students, and between them and their teacher, than would occur in a traditional foreign language classroom. 1  See Chapter 2 for a detailed definition of the term “heritage language.”  1  1.1 Statement of the Research Problem The challenge of teaching Spanish as a heritage language (SHL) and Spanish as a foreign language (SFL) students in the same class is one currently faced by many secondary, post-secondary and, to a lesser extent, elementary Spanish teachers in metropolitan centres throughout Canada and the United States. In Canada, the number of Hispanic immigrants has steadily increased since the 1970s and native and heritage Spanish speakers are now the fifth largest minority language group2 in Canada according to the 2006 Census figures (Statistics Canada, 2007a). In the United States, the teaching of Spanish to native or heritage speakers gained importance in the 1970s (Roca, 1997) and continues to increase as that country’s Hispanic population grows. The number of Spanish speakers residing in the United States grew from 11.1 million in 1980 to 17.3 million in 1990 to just under 28.1 million in 2000, two decades later (Ingold, Rivers, Chavez Tesser & Ashby, 2002; United States Census Bureau, 2003; Valdés, 1997). These numbers represent an ever-growing percentage of the United States total population, rising from 5% in 1980 to 7% in 1990 to 12.5% in 20003 (Garcia & Sanchez, 2008; United States Census Bureau, 1993a, 1993b, 2003). In fact, the percentage increase of the Hispanic population between 1990 and 2000 was 58 percent, a much higher rate than that of the general population which was 13.2 percent. Another significant trend in the United States was that, “despite the continuous immigration flow from Latin America, a larger portion of the Latino population increase … was due to a high birthrate rather than immigration” (Garcia & Sanchez, 2008, p. 61). According to Suro and Passel (2003), cited in Garcia & Sanchez, projections indicate that second-generation Hispanics will emerge as the largest component of the Hispanic population in the next twenty years. For the education system, this ever-increasing proportion of U.S.-born Hispanics means that there will be more and more SHL students trying to reconnect with their linguistic and cultural roots. Consequently, most of the research conducted in HL education has been done in the United States, especially at the post-secondary level (Blake & Zyzik, 2003; Dunlap, 2003; González Pino, 2000; González Pino, 2001; Potowski, 2002; Webb & Miller, 2  After the official languages of English and French, the minority languages of Chinese, Italian, German and Punjabi have more speakers than Spanish. 3 Since the United States census takes place every ten years, these are the most recent statistics.  2  2000). However, in spite of the large numbers of SHL speakers in the United States, only a small percentage of that country’s post-secondary institutions offer separate classes for this population. A survey conducted in 1990 (Wherritt & Cleary, 1990) found that 26% of post-secondary institutions with Spanish programs offered separate classes for this population (40% response rate), and in a 2002 survey (Ingold, Rivers, Chavez Tesser & Ashby, 2002) only 18% of the responding institutions reported offering such programs. These surveys are important first steps to producing a national picture of educational options available to SHL students in the United States.4 Whatever the accurate figure is, the number of special classes for SHL speakers appears to be quite low compared to the numbers of Hispanic students present at these institutions, which grows every year. Furthermore, no surveys looking at SHL course offerings have been conducted at the secondary level. In Canada, with its much smaller numbers of SHL speakers, HL classes at schools and universities, aside from the few offered on a non-credit basis by cultural communities themselves, are virtually non-existent, except perhaps in Toronto or Edmonton. Mixed classes are therefore the norm in both countries (González Pino, 2000). The research literature (e.g. Hancock, 2002; Peyton, Lewelling, & Winke, 2001; Roca & Colombi, 2003; Valdés, 2000), however, strongly recommends separate classes for SHL learners, who are often more linguistically advanced and have different needs, and only a few studies (Dunlap, 2003; Potowski, 2002) have looked at effective (and ineffective) practices in mixed classes to accommodate the different needs of the SHL and SFL student populations. Moreover, these studies were conducted at the post-secondary level. At the secondary level, a research project jointly conducted by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and Hunter College examined three successful innercity heritage language classes in New York City over a three year period (Webb & Miller, 2000). The focus of the study was to identify effective methods for teaching and connecting with HL students. However, although one of these classes was actually a mixed class, with advanced FL students as well as advanced HL students, very little mention is made of this fact or any possible implications for pedagogy. As a result of this lack of research into effective instructional practices and curriculum for mixed classes, 4  However, the low response rates preclude generalizations beyond those institutions to all others.  3  Roca (1997) identified this area of research as one of the current needs in the field. Furthermore, Lacorte & Canabal (2003) and Valdés (1997) both emphasized the difficulties that FL teachers face when teaching traditional FL students alongside HL learners. Aside from the issue of how to effectively teach HL students in mixed FL classrooms, it is also important to look at how both the HL and FL students in such classes interact on both a pedagogical and social level. Lacorte & Canabal propose that “the analysis of classroom interaction from different theoretical and methodological perspectives could provide better and more comprehensive explanations of classroom phenomena” in FL classrooms with HL learners (p. 120) and that such research “needs to account for the different levels of interaction between all classroom participants” (p. 121). For example, teachers might interact with various HL students differently and position them differently than their FL classmates as part of their instructional practices and interactions. Such positionings could include, for example, those of “expert,” “illegitimate learner,” or “role model,” among others. HL and FL students may also position one another in various ways. Such positionings may impact the students’ social groupings and learning in class. For all these reasons, it is important to conduct further studies in the area of mixed Spanish classes at the secondary level. Therefore, the purpose of the present study will be to look closely at the interactions of SHL students, SFL students and their teachers, within the context of a regular secondary-level SFL classroom. It will also analyse how learners of Spanish are positioned, intentionally or unintentionally, on the basis of their “FL” or “HL” status. The analysis will draw on “positioning theory” (Davies & Harré, 1990; Harré & van Langenhove, 1999), in which discourse is analyzed to show how identities are produced and negotiated in social interaction.5 The ways in which HL students are positioned in classroom interaction as, for example, “language experts” or “cultural models”, can influence their own, as well as their HL and FL classmates’, participation, retention and language learning. This study will serve secondary SFL teachers by giving them insights into ways of creating effective and inclusive classrooms, as well as advancing the state of  5  This concept will be described in detail in Chapter 2  4  research around the issue of how best to accommodate HL learners in general language courses. 1.2 Researcher Positionality My own interest in this area stems from having taught SHL students in a high school Spanish class some years ago. After finishing my education degree as a teacher of Spanish and French, I was hired to teach French in a private Jewish school where students were also learning Hebrew. During my first year at the school, during a school promotional event at the local Jewish elementary school, I was approached by several parents who had recently immigrated from various Latin American countries. Having found out that I was also a qualified Spanish teacher and very interested in teaching that language, they spoke to me about helping them start a Spanish program at the secondary school, which their children would eventually attend. While my own background is Czech-Canadian, I have always been very interested in learning languages and have a particular interest in the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures. Although their children were in grade 6 at the time and would only begin their Spanish classes from grade 9, these parents’ and my own enthusiasm for the idea resulted in the program being offered the following year. When the HL students reached grade 9, they were enrolled in my beginners’ Spanish class (Spanish 9) in spite of having received schooling in Spanish in their home countries for the first few years of elementary school. Based upon their Spanish language ability I had felt that the best placement for them would have been in Spanish 11, a more advanced course generally offered to students who had previously completed Spanish 9 and 10. Spanish 10 would have been too easy for them while Spanish 12, which was not offered that year and which included a provincial examination, would have been too advanced. However, due to the small size of the school and scheduling issues, it was impossible for them to take Spanish 11. I finally succeeded in having them come to one Spanish 11 class every two weeks (the Spanish 11 class met for 2 hours per week) in addition to regularly attending the Spanish 9 class in which they were placed by the administration. That year, in my beginner Spanish 9 class, it was hard to balance the teaching of true beginners of the language learning to greet each other while also teaching students who were already completely fluent in oral Spanish but needed to work on their  5  literacy skills. After consultation with them, I had the more advanced (SHL) students read Harry Potter in Spanish and practice their writing about themes from the book for their Spanish 9 course. However, only one of the three really engaged with the reading. The other two were not very academically inclined and felt that this work was “extra,” while also finding the actual reading more difficult than the former student. At the same time, in my Spanish 11 class, I planned to help the students for one hour every two weeks with the grammar points that I was teaching the rest of that class while also having them speak to the SFL students in the class to help improve the SFL students’ and their oral skills. But the HL students struggled with gaps in their grammar knowledge from not having learned metalinguistic concepts the rest of the students had learned in Spanish 9 and 10. Furthermore, the fact that they were actually present in the class only once every two weeks did not allow for any continuity in their instruction in that class. As for their conversational practice together, the FL students were very uncomfortable speaking with these very advanced and only occasional classmates. Overall, I felt that my teaching of these HL students was not a success. The lingering question of how I might have taught these students better was one of the reasons I decided to pursue my MA and focus on this research area. Although perhaps an extreme case in a fledgling program, the issues encountered are similar to those reported by others integrating HL and FL students. 1.3 Research Questions This study addresses how teachers of Spanish conduct classes in which SHL students are studying their heritage language alongside SFL students studying a language foreign to them. While the Spanish 5-12 Ministry of Education curricular guide for British Columbia calls Spanish an “international” language, the target population for the course are students studying it as their “second”, “new” or “foreign” language (BC Ministry of Education, 2001, p. 2). This is further reinforced in the description of the rationale for studying the language, which states that “learning Spanish enhances the learning of first and additional languages” (BC Ministry of Education, 2005, p.1), which shows that Spanish is not seen as being the target students’ possible first language. Furthermore, another rationale for Spanish language study is that it “encourages the development of positive attitudes toward Hispanic and other cultural groups, and  6  increases students’ awareness of their own cultures” (ibid). The implication, again, is that the “Hispanic” culture would not be a student’s “own” culture. This raises the important question of how to teach and integrate this group of students in a setting and with a curriculum not designed, by definition, to meet their needs. Specifically, this study is concerned with how SHL students are perceived and positioned in classroom interactions in terms of their Spanish language and cultural expertise, when learning Spanish alongside SFL students and the influence that such positionings have on various classroom interactions among the students and their teacher. The three guiding research questions of this study are: 1. How do the SHL learners identify and position themselves and how are they positioned by their teacher and classmates with respect to their prior knowledge of Spanish, as well as their various Hispanic backgrounds and cultural affiliations? 2. What are the different factors (e.g., oral versus written expertise, age, social groupings in the class) that impact the various positionings of the SHL learners? 3. How do these positionings impact the classroom interactions among the SHL students, their SFL classmates and their teacher? 1.4 Significance of the Study The Spanish as a heritage language student population in Canada is generally not large enough to allow for separate Spanish classes for these students and in some contexts (e.g., British Columbia) the policy and curriculum for international languages like Spanish is not intended for HL students. Many SHL students do, however, wish to improve their Spanish language skills and therefore frequently attend SFL high school classes. Having such students in the SFL class can be challenging for teachers and students, as my own experience revealed; yet it may also provide unique opportunities, if a skilled and experienced teacher is able to build on the strengths and interests of both SHL and SFL students. This study is therefore significant because it explores ways in which this can be accomplished, as well as obstacles which need to be overcome if such classes are to be a success. This study, then, is meant to contribute to the limited research in this field, especially in Canada, but also to assist Spanish secondary school teachers facing these kinds of issues in their classrooms. Insights from this study can also have applicability for the teachers of heritage students of other languages. Knowing how to  7  enhance HL development for bilingual students and second language learning for monolingual students in our global age has great importance and relevance. 1.5 Thesis Outline The thesis is structured as follows. In Chapter 2, I define key terms and present the theoretical framework and research literature related to the benefits of HL learning and the teaching of SHL students in mixed FL classes. I also discuss ways of theorizing identity, especially in relation to language learning and the concept of language ideology. In Chapter 3, I present the research methodology employed in the study. In Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7, I present my main research findings. Chapter 4 deals with the social positioning of the SHL students, specifically in relation to their friendship networks in the class, the significance of students’ ages within the context of a multi-age class and gender. In Chapter 5 I analyse the positioning of the SHL students in relation to their oral language expertise, while in Chapter 6 I focus on their literacy skills. Chapter 7 deals with various issues related the SHL students’ heritage, such as the role of the home in their language learning and their cultural and national affiliations. Finally, in Chapter 8, I discuss the research findings in relation to the SHL literature and propose how the research can contribute to the field of HL learning, as well as to improve pedagogy.  8  Chapter 2 TEACHING HL STUDENTS: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 2.0 Introduction In this chapter, I first introduce a few key terms used throughout this thesis. I then review previous research illustrating the benefits of HL education under the subthemes of benefits of HL learning and the relationship between HL proficiency and identification with the heritage culture. In the next sections, I explain key theoretical constructs used in this thesis, namely positioning theory, language ideology and the language expertise, affiliation and inheritance model. I then provide more detail about several surveys which report on the demographics of SHL student enrolment in SHL classes reported in Chapter 1. Finally, I review previous research on the teaching of SHL students in mixed SFL classes. 2.1 Terms and Definitions 2.1.1 Heritage Language Learner The term heritage language (HL) education is reported to have originated in Canada in the 1970s (Baker, 2001; Duff, 2008a; Hornberger & Wang, 2008) whereas the United States has been using the term since the 1990s (Hornberger & Wang, 2008; Valdés, 2001). The definitions of heritage language also vary in the two contexts. In Canada, the term refers to languages other than the two official languages, English and French, or the aboriginal, indigenous or “First Nations” languages (Cummins, 1992; Duff, 2008a). In the United States, on the other hand, heritage language refers to any language other than English spoken by Americans at home (i.e. not a FL/international language they speak or learn), and has been used only more recently. Other terms have also been used to refer to this population. In specific reference to Spanish, the term Spanish for native speakers, has and continues to be used to some extent (see, for example, Peyton, 2008). Since the term heritage learner is more accurate and also broader than native speaker and is now the most widely-used term as well as the term used in Canada, I will be using it throughout my thesis. The phrase Spanish for native speakers will only be used when it appears in a direct quotation. Many definitions have been proposed for HL learner in the research literature due to the great diversity of the population described by the term (Hornberger & Wang,  9  2008). One way in which definitions of HL learners differ is in the emphasis they place on language proficiency and the relationship of the HL to the dominant language in the community. For Spanish, definitions have been more based on language proficiency because they have been used mainly in the context of discussions of how to teach this group of students. For example, the most common definition, from Valdés (2001), is that a heritage language learner is “a language student who is raised in a home where a nonEnglish language is spoken, who speaks or at least understands the language, and who is to some degree bilingual in that language and in English” (p. 38). Fishman’s (1999, 2001) definition, on the other hand, emphasizes HL learners’ heritage language’s relationship to the United States. He categorizes heritage languages into three major groups, namely indigenous languages, colonial languages, including French, German, Italian or Spanish, brought by earlier European settlers and immigrant languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Cambodian or Korean. One problem with Fishman’s definition is that Spanish, for example, could be classified as both a colonial and an immigrant language, depending on each learner’s personal history. Carreira (2004) summarizes the various definitions of HL students in the field. The purpose of her paper is not just to create comprehensive definitions of the term but also to suggest how students from each definition category should be taught. She presents three criteria or defining characteristics for HL students, which are based on the HL group they are from. Her first defining factor is membership in the HL community, which applies to those belonging to communities with low numbers of native speakers of the ancestral language, such as some indigenous and immigrant groups. The key features of those belonging to this group are that they have a strong heritage culture or language identity, and that the community has a limited number of speakers of the HL and is trying to reverse language shift. Carreira calls these HL learners HLL-1. The second factor in her work is a personal connection through family background, which applies to those individuals who have been residing in the United States (or Canada) for three generations or more or those whose language is rare and not commonly taught and who then choose to study a related language. For example, Ghambir (2001, as cited in Carreira, 2004) gives the example of native speakers of a Dravidian language enrolling in Hindi classes out of a perceived affinity between the two  10  languages but little personal linguistic history with or exposure to either language. Carreira also cites Giengreco (2000) who grew up speaking Sicilian as a child and “sought to rekindle his connection to his roots by studying Italian” (p. 7) as an adult. These HL learners are designated HLL-2. Finally, for Spanish-speaking and most other major immigrant groups, linguistic proficiency is the defining factor for Carreira. This last definition is one typically used in the HL literature. Both Valdés (2001) and Carreira stress that the use of a definition based on proficiency stems from its use by foreign language educators who are, for professional and practical reasons, most affected by this factor. Carreira further subdivides the last factor, proficiency, into those who are more (HLL-3) or less (HLL-4) linguistically proficient and who would therefore be placed in either the heritage or regular language track, respectively. In Canada, where there are insufficient numbers for such a track, the students from these two categories would all be placed into the regular Spanish program, perhaps at different levels. Carreira then summarizes “the main concepts underlying instruction for each of the categories proposed” (p. 20), using the table below: Table 2.1 – Focus of Instruction for HL Students (Carreira, 2004, p. 20) HLL Type  Focus of instruction  HLL-1  Group notions of culture, membership in the HL community, the learner’s part in preserving the cultural and linguistic legacy of his community. Individual notions of culture, the search for personal identity, the learner’s prerogative to define himself in terms of his ancestry. Building linguistic and cultural skills that are consonant with external realities of how the HL is used outside the classroom. Countering identity negation, tapping into background knowledge, student as resource.  HLL-2 HLL-3 HLL-4  While her instructional strategies for HLL-1 and HLL-2 students seem more related to their identity than linguistic needs, probably due to having defined those learners and their communities in those terms, her suggestions for HLL-3 and HLL-4, of which Spanish HL learners are one example, do provide interesting insight. She suggests that teachers of HLL-3, namely those more proficient in their HL, build on their linguistic skills, reinforcing what these students have learned from their uses of the HL outside the classroom. For HLL-4, she suggests “tapping into their background knowledge” and  11  using them as resources. This is presumably not mentioned for HLL-3 since those students would be placed in HL tracks while the HLL-4s would be placed in mixed FL classes. The suggestions for both HLL-3 and HLL-4, then, focus on building on their more or less extensive experiences with the HL. The various definitions of HLLs have a significant impact on how these students are viewed. For example, Carreira’s (2004) suggestion for teaching HLL-4, who she defines as a lower proficiency HL learner group, includes “countering identity negation” (p. 20). This implies that a student with a lower language proficiency would also have a corresponding lower identification with their heritage culture. This is an assumption which teachers may bring to their classes and which may be erroneous.6 According to Beaudrie and Ducar (2005), language proficiency and personal cultural background may not come hand in hand. They give two examples of students they would include in the definition of HL student. The first are students who have no linguistic background in the language but it is part of their cultural heritage and they wish to reconnect with it. Their abilities and language acquisition process would most likely parallel those of FL students, although they may have some latent receptive skills. The others are students who have no cultural background in the language but who learned it by living in a country where the language was spoken or who were exposed to it in other ways, such as through a nanny, etc. In this case, HL is really a misnomer – it is actually experiential background, not HL background. As well, according to Hornberger and Wang (2008), the definitions do not account for children of inter-racial or multi-racial marriages or adoptions. For example, students with mixed backgrounds may have several heritage languages and cultural affiliations and various proficiency levels. For the purposes this study, I would make a distinction, like Beaudrie and Ducar (2005), between the language proficiency and cultural background of HL students. The term HL most clearly connotes a language associated with one’s heritage. Therefore all students who have a cultural connection with the language they are studying through their heritage or ancestry should be considered HL students, regardless of their language proficiency in that language. However, since language teachers’ main focus is with their students’ language proficiency and language learning needs, we can talk about those 6  The relationship between HL proficiency and identity will be explored in more detail in section 2.3.  12  learners with extensive exposure to a language, such as an extended period of living in a country, as well as those with exposure in the home, whether the language is part of their heritage or not, as those with a linguistic profile most often associated with a HL learner. These students can be called HL (if the language is part of their cultural background) or HL-like (if it is not) learners, meaning that their language proficiency and learning needs are similar to those of HL learners. Their greater language proficiency is most often in the area of orality as a result of their extensive, informal exposure to the language. Those students who have a cultural background in the HL but low exposure to and proficiency in the language, we could call beginner HL students, as Beaudrie and Ducar also designate them. Figure 2.1, below, is a graphic representation of the four types of students. Figure 2.1 Linguistic and Cultural Continua of HL and non-HL Students + ancestral cultural (+/- experiential) background (inheritance)  variable affiliations  beginner HL students  HL students with a HL linguistic profile (+/- written) + (oral) expertise  - (oral) expertise  non-HL students  non-HL students with a HL-like linguistic and some experiential / cultural profile7  - ancestral cultural (+/- experiential) background (inheritance)  7  For example, those with extensive out-of-class exposure to language of study, such as from having lived abroad for a significant period of time  13  In Figure 2.1, the students in the top half of the diagram are HL students, while those below are non-HL students. The HL students’ language expertise should not take away from their HL status and identification with their cultural background. In terms of their linguistic abilities and needs, the students on the right and left sides are most similar, whatever their cultural heritage, and can be taught in similar ways. While the figure may appear complicated, this is because the profiles of HL students are also full of complexity. Overall, I feel that language teachers should not be concerned only with their students’ linguistic needs, therefore grouping them only in those terms, but should also be aware and acknowledge their cultural backgrounds (inheritances) and affiliations, and that these two dimensions should remain separate and important aspects of their students’ profiles. One important problem with many of the current definitions of HL students (and the reason why such definitions are often contested and elaborated on) is that they present an “etic” definition which is necessarily limited and cannot account for the many diverse types of HL students. A more “emic” definition would be more easily adaptable to a greater range of HL students. Drawing on the Language Expertise, Affiliation and Inheritance Model8 proposed by Rampton (1990), I put forward the following definition of a HL learner: “A language student with an inheritance in the (minority)9 language of study, who may have variable levels of affiliation to the language and who may have a certain (oral and/or written) expertise in it.” This definition recognizes that HL learners’ affiliations to their HL may vary under different circumstances or situations and may also change over time, independently from, for example, their level of expertise, which may also change over time. Furthermore, their expertise may be oral and/or written and so they may not conform to the widely accepted view that most HL students are orally proficient but have difficulties with their written skills. There are also various ways of calling the non-HL learners in a language class. In the United States and Europe, the term foreign language students is most commonly used. However, in Canada, the additional language courses offered in secondary and 8  See Section 2.6 for a detailed description of this model. I use the term “minority” rather than “non-English” (Valdés, 2001) since it recognizes that the majority language of many countries is not English. For example an Anglo-Canadian child growing up in China would have English as her HL.  9  14  post-secondary institutions are most often referred to as international languages or modern languages. These terms are broader and do not connote the kind of “us” versus “them” notion that the term foreign language does. However, since foreign language (FL) is the term we most often find in HL literature, which mainly comes from the United States, and using phrases such as Spanish international language learner or Spanish modern language learner would be awkward, I will use the phrase Spanish foreign language (SFL) learner to designate the non-HL learners in my study. 2.1.2 Hispanic or Latino/a? Another term which needs to be addressed is the one used to refer to SHL learners’ cultural background. In order to analyse the terms used for this population, one must look to how they are used in the United States where large populations of Spanishspeaking peoples from Latin American countries (and elsewhere) reside and where the uses of various terms has been debated for a long time. According to García (2003), prior to the 1970s, ethnicity in the United States was largely described in terms of national and ancestral origin (e.g. Mexican American, Cuban American, etc.). In the 1970s and 1980s, various factors led to the increasing use of a pan-ethnic label for the population. One of the main examples of this was the introduction of the term “Hispanic” in the 1980 Census. Although the Census Bureau is often credited with creating this term, Garcia and Sanchez (2008) state that this is a myth whereas in fact, the term was suggested and coined by Hispanics themselves at a meeting in Washington, DC, of the Lyndon Johnson’s Committee of Spanish Speaking Americans in the 1970s. Furthermore, according to García, it was, in fact, Mexican American policy groups that sought to introduce the Spanish-origin category into the census as a way to insure greater accuracy in the counting of Mexican Americans and other Hispanics. Nevertheless, critics like Gómez (1992) suggest that the term was a product of United States media outlets and government bureaucrats. According to Garcia and Sanchez, advocates of the term Latino/a feel that it has many advantages over Hispanic. First, it is a Spanish language word and clearly refers to residents of Latin America rather than Spain, while also emphasizing the indigenous side of Latinos’ backgrounds. Oboler (2002) and González and Gándara (2005) view the choice of Latino/a as a political one in which Latinos identify themselves with their struggle for social justice in the United  15  States. González and Gándara distinguish between the two terms, stating, “’Hispanic’ emphasizes historical connections among people of Spanish-speaking origin, whereas ‘Latino’ points to political differences between these people and the Anglo population” (p. 396). However, according to various surveys conducted in the 1990s and cited in Garcia and Sanchez (2008),10 Latin Americans in the United States prefer labels referring to their national origin (e.g. Mexican American, Cuban American, etc.). When asked to choose a pan-ethnic label, they have consistently chosen Hispanic (over 50%) over Latino (around 11%). While Garcia and Sanchez feel that the preference for Latino has since increased, especially in the media, they also suggest that the two are increasingly being used interchangeably as is the case in their own book. In the Canadian context, terms such as Hispanic and Latino/a are also often used interchangeably and do not seem to carry the same political connotations. In my own years of Spanish language study and use, as well as my interactions with Latin American people, I have consistently heard and used the term Hispanic. That is why in this study, use the term in interview and elsewhere. The various participants in the study have also used different terms, most frequently using the term Spanish, a conflation of the language and cultural background of Spanish-speaking individuals. 2.2 Benefits of Heritage Language Learning The literature shows that there are many benefits to heritage language development. Cummins and Danesi (1990) provide an excellent summary of these benefits. In terms of positive benefits for the individual heritage language speaker, these include an increased sense of confidence, cognitive growth, and success in acquiring additional languages. Attaining a high level of proficiency in additional languages, however, appears to depend on the level of first (heritage) language development. When first language skills, especially literacy skills, are not adequately developed, learners are not able to transfer skills from one language to the other. Swain and Lapkin (1991) report on two studies (Bild & Swain, 1989; Swain, Lapkin, Rowen & Hart, 1991) examining the impact of heritage language literacy on third language learning. The results of both  10  Latino National Political Survey (de la Garza, Falcon, Garcia & Garcia, 1990), Garcia, F. C. (1995). U.S. Department of Labour, Bureau of Labour Statistics 1995  16  studies show that those children who were literate (rather than just having oral/aural skills) in their heritage language outperformed both the non-literate minority students and the majority students in all four language skills on French language proficiency tests. Heritage language development in English-speaking countries also allows for more personal contact with parents and grandparents who may not be fluent in English, and beyond that, with the larger ethnic community to which the speaker belongs (Cummins & Danesi, 1990). Group interviews conducted with students from three high schools with heritage language programs (two in Spanish and one in French) as part of the ACTFL/Hunter College Project (Webb & Miller, 2000) support this finding. One of this project’s researchers, Romero (2000), describes how during their group interviews, many students spoke of language loss prior to their enrolment in HL classes, and described their enhanced language skills resulting in an improvement in communication with their parents as a consequence of taking these classes. The teachers in this study, aware of this benefit, planned class assignments involving family interviews, letter writing to relatives living in the country of heritage and article writing from the point of view of the local heritage community. Another study, conducted by Cho and Krashen (1998), reports related results. In their study, Cho and Krashen interviewed 12 Korean Americans and administered a survey to 60 Korean Americans about conflicts they experienced in their daily lives as a result of HL loss. The results show that a large majority of the participants encountered problems communicating with family and HL community members. A few also reported having problems when travelling in their country of heritage since people there expected them to be fluent. However, most of the participants in both studies (all participants in Romero and 66/72 in Cho and Krashen) were students in heritage language classes, presumably there because they felt a need to improve their heritage language skills, which might not have been as important to students not enrolled in heritage language courses. Nevertheless, the two studies support the social and interpersonal benefits of improving one’s heritage language, as outlined by Cummins and Danesi (above). Cummins and Danesi (1990) also discuss benefits of heritage language development for society at large. They point out that in the increasingly global world, having additional language skills is highly valuable. Specifically, business people and  17  diplomats with multilingual competence are in increasing demand and the language training of monolingual English speakers in other languages is not only costly but does not guarantee a high level of proficiency. The training and/or maintenance of heritage language competence, however, is much more likely to produce a bilingual individual and is also more cost-effective. Cho (2000), similarly, found that the Korean American participants in her study described how developing their HL competence had professional benefits for them, while they also saw their HL competence as a resource for society. For all these reasons, it is in the best interest of the individual, the community and the society at large to promote heritage language instruction for children and youth. 2.3 The Relationship between HL Proficiency and Identification with the Heritage Culture A number of studies have also been conducted to assess the relationships between HL proficiency and cultural identification with the heritage culture. Cho (2000) conducted a questionnaire (n=98) and interview (n=16) study of Korean Americans, who were either born in the United States or arrived at an early age to investigate the positive consequences of HL proficiency. According to Cho (2000): Those who had ‘strong HL competence’ had a strong sense of who they were (i.e., being proud of their culture and ethnicity), were strongly connected to their ethnic group (i.e., had strong group membership, had no fear or avoidance of HL speakers), and had greater understanding and knowledge of cultural values, ethics, and manners. These factors enabled them to have better relationships with HL speakers, both in and outside the HL community (p. 338) Two studies (Lee, 2002; Triantafillidou & Hedgcock, 2007) found that participants with higher HL proficiency were more likely to embrace their bicultural identities. In a questionnaire study of 40 second-generation Korean-American college undergraduate and graduate students, Lee found that a high level of Korean proficiency was correlated with a stronger identification with the heritage culture as well as American culture. Therefore, the same students also identified themselves as being more bicultural. Thus, Lee concluded that “those who are more proficient in the heritage language are also more successfully balancing the two cultures” (p. 129). Triantafillidou and Hedgcock found a similar result in their exploratory study of how HL (n=26) and FL (n=16) adult students of Greek differed in terms of language proficiency, motivation, learning styles,  18  metalinguistic awareness and sociocultural affiliation patterns. With regards to HL proficiency and sociocultural affiliation, they found that “those who identified most strongly with their ethnolinguistic backgrounds and who embraced their biculturalism outperformed their peers (both Greek American and non-Greek American) on measures such as the Greek OPI [Oral Proficiency Interview] and classroom performance” (p. 20). The results of both studies show that those with high levels of HL proficiency not only identify strongly with their heritage culture but also embrace their biculturalism more strongly. These participants then appear to be better adjusted to living in their new culture while being able to retain pride in their heritage culture. Maloof, Rubin and Miller (2006) examined the role a Vietnamese HL school played in cross-cultural adaptation by analyzing the relationship between two variables, namely language competence and integrated cultural identity. Thirty-three HL students took part in this qualitative and quantitative study. The findings indicated that the HL school experience was correlated with HL proficiency but had little impact on cultural identity. As for the correlation between HL proficiency and cultural identity, the study found that proficiency in and frequency of use of the HL were both positively correlated with Vietnamese cultural beliefs. However, proficiency in English was also strongly correlated with an affinity toward the Vietnamese culture. These findings point to a complex relationship between HL and English proficiency and affinity with the heritage culture. 2.4 Identity and Positioning Theory While the studies described in the previous section show interesting relationships between HL proficiency and cultural identity, they conceive of identities as relatively stable and independent of context. Bucholtz and Hall (2004) critique this view of identity when they state that “[one] of the greatest weaknesses of previous research on identity, in fact, is the assumption that identities are attributes of individuals or groups rather than of situations” (p. 376). Presenting an alternative conception of identity, social constructionists (Davies & Harré, 1990; Edwards, 1997; Harré & van Langenhove, 1999) have viewed it as interactionally and discursively negotiated and accomplished, using the concept of “positioning,” which allows us to focus on the dynamic nature of social encounters (Davies & Harré, 1999). Furthermore, Davies and Harré (1990) note that “the  19  individual emerges through the process of social interaction, not as a relatively fixed end product but as one who is constituted through various discursive practices in which they participate” (p. 46). Using “positioning theory,” discourse can be analyzed to show how identities are produced, negotiated and socialized in social interaction. Davies & Harré (1990) define “positioning” as “the discursive process whereby selves are located in conversations as observably and subjectively coherent participants in jointly produced story lines” (p. 48), while Wortham’s (2004) definition is “an event of identification in which a recognizable category of identity gets explicitly or implicitly applied to an individual” (p. 166). Within conversations, then, participants are constituted in certain ways; at the same time, they can use discourse as a resource to negotiate new positions or foreground others. People are viewed as having multiple and often contradictory “identities,” some aspects of which are taken up in and through discourse with others to create “positions.” Davies and Harré make a distinction between “interactive positioning” where one person positions another and “reflexive positioning” where one positions oneself (in relation to others). Moreover, interactive and reflexive positioning may be concurrently achieved since positions are relational and complementary. For example, when one participant positions herself as “teacher,” in a classroom, she is likely positioning her conversational partner as “student.” On the other hand, speakers may also assign similar positions to their interlocutors, such as when one student asks another what their teacher said, thereby positioning her interlocutor as knowledgeable fellow student. According to Pavlenko and Blackledge (2004), positioning is most clear and interesting when it is contested or constitutes a site of struggle; in other words, when there is a negotiation between interactive and reflexive positioning. They also point out that “in many contexts, certain identities may not be negotiable because people may be positioned in powerful ways which they are unable to resist” (Blackledge & Pavlenko, 2001, p. 250). That is because acts of positioning are often influenced by relations of power between participants (Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, & Cain, 1998; Holland & Leander, 2004; Leander, 2002). Various recent studies have applied positioning theory to study classroom discourse in primary and secondary schools (Black, 2004; Davies, 2001; Duff, 2002;  20  Leander, 2002; Wortham, 2004). In the area of (second, foreign or heritage) language classes, few researchers have conducted a detailed analysis of the interactions and positionings of language students as well as their effects on language learning. However, Talmy (2004) analysed how newcomer ESL students were positioned as fresh-off-theboat (FOBs) by their Generation 1.5 classmates in a Hawaiian high school during the formers’ presentations of a pop-up holiday project. In this way, the Generation 1.5 students, who had lived in Hawaii for many years, resisted being assigned the negative subject position of ESL student by positioning their classmates in this way. Their resistance not only perpetuated the very stereotype they were trying to escape but also created a very negative atmosphere in the classroom, where little learning was accomplished. Talmy suggests changing the curriculum to allow students to critically examine the issues present in the class and society in order to interrupt the cycle of linguicism. Menard-Warwick (2007) analysed the positioning of Latina immigrant women in a community language class in California. During a unit on employment, she found that, although these learners exercised considerable agency in attempting to reposition themselves in ways consistent with their “pre-existing ideas of themselves” (Davies & Harré, 1990, p. 56), some were unable to resist the interactional positioning of their teacher, who took up society’s notions of realistic career goals for Latina immigrant women. Those whose reflexive positioning most closely matched these societal views were able to empower themselves to a much greater extent. Additionally, MenardWarwick found that these students’ second language development was closely tied to their positioning in the classroom since those whose reflexive positioning was accepted were then empowered to speak and defend their ideas to a much greater extent. She therefore recommends that “educators can best facilitate learners’ constructions of L2 identities and voices when they listen for and support their diverse reflexive positionings” (p. 286). Furthermore, like Talmy (2004), she advocates “integrating language practice and social critique” (Menard-Warwick, p. 286). In the area of HL education, He (2004, 2006) has conducted studies where she analyzed the interactional construction of identity in a Chinese heritage language school. She proposed that, “heritage language development is grounded in learners’ participation  21  in social practice and continuous adaptation to the multiple activities and identities that constitute the social and communicative realms they inhabit” (2006, p. 21). Furthermore, she proposed a theory of Chinese as a heritage language (CHL) learner identity in order to “describe and predict the key variables responsible for CHL development” (ibid). Overall, these variables show the interrelationship between HL learner identity, their motivation for learning their HL, their interactions in and messages they receive about, their HL from various contexts (home, HL community, English-speaking community) and HL development. The above-cited studies show the importance of a detailed micro-analysis of classroom interactions (as well as a macro-analysis of the learning context) in order to gain a better understanding of the dynamic positionings taking place, as well as their effects on learning in the class. Bucholtz and Hall (2004) demonstrate a similar view when they urge researchers to “attend closely to speakers’ own understandings of their identities, as revealed through the ethnographic analysis of their pragmatic and metapragmatic actions” (p. 371). 2.5 Language Ideology Woolard (1998) defines language ideology as people’s representations, either explicit or implicit, about language and language use, “that construe the intersection of language and human beings in a social world” (p. 3). According to Blackledge (2000), language ideology is a field of study that was originally developed “as a means of interpreting cultural conceptions of language, and analysing collective linguistic behaviour” (p. 26). He goes on to characterize more recent studies of language ideology as “recognising the social positioning, partiality, contestability, instability and mutability of the ways in which language uses and beliefs are linked to relations of power and political arrangements in societies (Gal, 1998; Woolard, 1998; Gal & Woolard, 1995; Blommaert, 1999; Blommaert & Verschueren, 1998; Kroskrity, 1998)” (ibid). In other words, when there are struggles for power in a society, language ideologies serve as one tool for the validation and devaluation of various languages or language varieties. In this way, they “come into being in the context of power relations at local, national, state and global levels” (Blackledge & Pavlenko, 2002, p. 121).  22  Woolard (1998) describes various widespread language ideologies, all of which have potential importance in the areas of foreign and heritage language education. One such ideology is the nationalist language ideology in which people from a certain national background are expected to speak that country’s language and practice its dominant culture (pp. 16-17). This historical, ideological construct impacts how people are perceived and judged by others and by society, with regards to the language(s) they speak as well as their cultural affiliations. Another prevalent ideology has been “an insistence on the authenticity and moral significance of ‘mother tongue’ as the one first and therefore real language of a speaker, transparent to the true self” (p. 18). This ideology affects multi-lingual individuals’ use of languages other than their mother tongue and impacts foreign and heritage language education. Finally, Woolard describes language ideologies related to language standardization and grammatical correctness (pp. 20-21), which often become relevant when HL students speak non-standard varieties of their HL. In the area of education, Woolard (1998) states that ethnographic studies of language and schooling “have made early moves to incorporate dimensions of power and ideology into the analysis of communicative practices” (p. 15). Yet, Blackledge and Pavlenko (2002) argue, language ideology “has not been sufficiently considered yet with regard to foreign language instruction” (pp. 129-130). Thus, they argue that Pomerantz’s (2002) study makes an important contribution in the field by analysing how university Spanish as a foreign language students “construct themselves as legitimate speakers of Spanish in a society that discriminates against heritage speakers of Spanish” (p. 130). Other researchers have focussed more specifically on the language discrimination faced by SHL learners mentioned by Pomerantz. For example, Train (2007) addresses how the teaching of Spanish in the United States is based on the language ideology of a standard or “real,” Euro-centric version of the language and how such a view renders the Spanish of many (particularly HL learners) inadequate. He calls this the concept of “Native Standard Language, … a constellation of hegemonic ideologies of language, (non)standardness, and (non)nativeness that has come to define within the dominant culture of standardization the constructed realities of language, community, and identity” (Train, 2007, p. 209). It is also a colonial view in that it perpetuates the colonial hegemony. Similarly, he and other researchers have looked at how educational  23  institutions categorize SHL learners as “deficiently native speakers” (Train, p. 229) in relation to the “monolingual native standard speaker model” (ibid; cf. Leeman, 2005; Valdés, 1998; Valdés, González, García & Márquez, 2003, 2008; Villa, 2002). For example, Valdés et al. (2003) describe the hierarchies existing in SFL departments at five post-secondary institutions and the ranking of Spanish-speaking faculty and students. Although such rankings are very complex, reflecting “native and non-native ability as well as other characteristics such as regional origin, ethnicity, and class,” as well as issues related to the individuals’ specializations and distinctions in the field, the Spanish of “ethnic minority speakers” (i.e. (former) heritage language speakers or descendants of U.S. Latino immigrants) was ranked as the least valued (p. 9). In fact, these Spanish speakers were ranked below their non-native colleagues, the highest ranking being given to native speakers from Spain (in particular those from Madrid rather than other areas). In another post-secondary HL learning context, Jeon (2007) addresses the conflicting ideologies between herself, a Korean as a heritage language teacher and advocate of two-way immersion and those of her students, young adult Korean HL students who value the Korean language but see it as belonging to the private realm and secondary to the knowledge of English. These students looked unfavourably on new Korean immigrants proficient in the Korean language but not in English, labelling them FOB (cf. Talmy, 2004). For them, knowledge of Korean, however important, was not as important as the knowledge of English. Therefore, when asked by Jeon, they were not in favour of two-way immersion for their future children. Similarly, studying the language use of grade 1 students in a 50-50 SpanishEnglish dual immersion class, Volk and Angelova (2007) argue that the children’s language use was greatly influenced by their (American) society’s language ideology privileging the use of English. As a result, by the end of the year, although the Englishdominant children’s Spanish competence was growing, they were not always comfortable using it in academic contexts; on the other hand the Spanish-dominant children felt more comfortable speaking in English, sometimes even as much or more than in Spanish. These studies show that language ideologies have an important impact on the kind of learning which takes place in different language learning contexts (a more detailed examination of the impact of some of these ideologies is presented in Section 2.9).  24  Conducting a study at the high school level and in a Canadian context adds to the scope of the literature in this important area. 2.6 Language Expertise, Affiliation and Inheritance Model In contrast with the nationalist language ideology as well as those ideologies extolling the pre-eminence of the mother tongue and native speaker, the Language Expertise, Affiliation and Inheritance Model proposed by Rampton (1990) (see also Leung, Harris & Rampton, 1997; Rampton, 1995) recognizes that there are different characteristics of people’s relationships with the language(s) in their lives. He successfully argues that multilingual speakers have a variety of relationships with their various languages and that these may change situationally and over time. He encourages educators to look at each individual language learner’s relationships to each of these components instead of making assumptions about how one aspect necessarily relates to the others. The first aspect is learner’s level of expertise in the language. This expertise may be of different types (i.e. oral or written) and should be seen as independent of the student’s relationship to the language. For example, it is very important for teachers not to equate their students’ level of expertise in a language and their affiliation to it. Just because a student does not have (written or oral) expertise in a language does not mean that they do not feel a strong affiliation to it and, conversely, proficiency in the HL may not imply affiliation. The second aspect is the learner’s level of affiliation to the various languages in their lives. This refers to the language(s) that students feel an affiliation for, but that are not necessarily the language(s) they inherited as part of their family background. Although teachers often assume that students show a strong allegiance to their language(s) (as well as culture) of inheritance, this may not be the case and conversely, it is possible for learners of a language to feel an affiliation for a language to which they have no relationship of inheritance. Students can also show varying levels of affiliation to the cultures associated with these languages. The third aspect is the learner’s language inheritance. This refers to the language(s) students inherit from their family background and their allegiance to it. Rampton, however, points out that it may not always be the case that people show a  25  strong allegiance to such language(s) and in the case of mixed backgrounds, may show a preference for one part of their inheritance over another. Language inheritance is also tied to cultural, ethnic and national inheritance. The key point is that students’ relationships with these three inheritances are complex and cannot be assumed to be simple and straightforward. This model has interesting implications for the teaching of HL students. These students are often viewed as having certain language proficiencies and affiliations to their language of inheritance. In fact, there may be assumptions that students’ level of HL proficiency has a correlation with their level of affiliation to the language (see, for example, Table 2.1 – Focus of Instruction for HL Students – Carreira, 2004, p. 20). Yet, students’ affiliations are not static, and may change over time or even in various situations when in the presence of various interlocutors. Such changes may or may not be linked to changing levels of language proficiency. Teachers must therefore attend to students’ levels of HL affiliation and not simply assume what they are by looking at their HL proficiency. 2.7 Demographics and Enrolment in SHL Classes: The United States and Canada As reported in Chapter 1, in Canada, the number of Hispanic immigrants has steadily increased since the 1970s, and native and heritage Spanish speakers are now the fifth largest minority language group in Canada according to the 2006 Census figures (Statistics Canada, 2007a). Their relative number is still quite low, however, accounting for only 1.1% of Canada’s population or 345,345 out of 31.2 million people in 2006. The concentration in urban centres is higher, with the percentage in the metropolitan area studied in this thesis being 1.3% (Statistics Canada, 2007b). This is a much smaller population than that of the United States where the number of Spanish speakers was 28.1 million in 2000,11 accounting for 12.5% of the population (Garcia & Sanchez, 2008; United States Census 2003). Several surveys have been conducted about the availability of SHL classes at the post-secondary level in the United States. In the most recent survey of 240 randomlyselected higher-education (college and university) institutions (Ingold, Rivers, Chavez Tesser & Ashby, 2002), 26 institutions (18%) reported having SHL classes, 65 (45%) 11  Since the United States census takes place every ten years, these are the most recent statistics.  26  reported having no such classes, and 55 (38%) did not answer the question. When asked why SHL classes were not offered at their institution, 93% cited insufficient enrolments; 69% pointed to a lack of funding; 64% cited a lack of trained faculty; an important 48% stated that there was a lack of interest by heritage learners themselves and 44% indicated a lack of faculty interest. Also noteworthy is the percentage of SHL students who actually enrol in the special classes. Of those institutions which offer SHL classes, 15% reported that almost all their SHL students enrolled in the SHL classes; 7% reported about three-fourths enrolment; 19% reported about one-half; 37% reported one-fourth; and 22% reported almost none. These results show that even when such classes are offered, a majority of the SHL students choose not to enrol in them, opting instead to enrol in SFL classes. The reality then is that, not only are absolute numbers of SHL speakers too low at many institutions to warrant an offering of separate classes for this population, but also, when such classes are offered, most of the SHL students choose not to take them.12 González Pino (2001) conducted four surveys (in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001) of a combined total of 642 lower-level students of Spanish in her post-secondary institution, 482 (75%) of whom listed themselves as Hispanic. Only 42% of all respondents thought heritage courses should even be offered (but not required), 80% of the Hispanic students stated that they would not register for heritage classes (but rather prefer taking SFL classes) and 70% of them called themselves true beginners, even though more than half of them indicated hearing or speaking Spanish in the home, with the family or in the community. In terms of their feelings about mixed classes, 76% thought that they were helpful so that the less proficient could learn from the more proficient. This is in direct contradiction to what the literature (e.g., Hancock, 2002; Peyton, Lewelling, & Winke, 2001; Roca & Colombi, 2003; Valdés, 2000) recommends for these students, namely specially-designed and separate classes or tracks. Not only did these students favour mixed classes, many of those whom the literature would call heritage speakers did not consider themselves so. González Pino suggests that this latter finding may have something to do with how these students were treated in their previous Spanish classes in  12  It should be noted that this survey had a low response rate when it came to certain key questions (such as the number of SHL student enrolments and the offerings of SHL classes).  27  terms of their teachers’ views of their Spanish proficiency and/or variety. 60% agreed that although they were exposed to Spanish in the home, they were not “Spanish speakers.” (p. 97) Some students also felt that HL classes would be too demanding and their wish to receive an A also had a strong influence on their choice of classes. Finally, 10% stated that offering two tracks was “discriminatory.” (ibid) The survey findings are also supported by enrolment data: in her previous article, González Pino (2000) describes how at her institution, where minority Mexican heritage students make up almost 50% of the student population, there used to be lower-division SHL classes which heritage students objected to so strongly that they ceased to be offered. The results of these two surveys show us that there are many factors which stand in the way of the development of and enrolment in SHL classes at many post-secondary institutions. SHL student enrolment in SFL classes, then, continues to be a reality that must be addressed. In Canada, the numbers of SHL students at both the secondary and post-secondary level are not sufficiently high to warrant offering separate classes for them. Therefore any SHL students wishing to enrol in Spanish classes in those institutions must enrol in mainstream (SFL) Spanish classes. 2.8 Teaching HL Students in Mixed Classes As pointed out in several different studies (e.g., González Pino, 2001; Ingold, Rivers, Chavez Tesser & Ashby, 2002; Potowski, 2002; Roca, 1997), many SHL students are being taught in SFL classes that are not designed for them and this situation requires further attention. Additionally, as González Pino’s survey shows, many such students enrol in mainstream Spanish classes even when given a choice of both types of classes. Because “SFL” represents “mainstream” L2 education in Canada, SHL students have no choice but to enrol in SFL classes if they wish to take Spanish class in high school or at a post-secondary institution, though they are sometimes placed into higher level classes. For these reasons, it is important to look at what factors make a mixed SHL/SFL class successful in meeting the needs of all its students. In the next two sub-sections, I will look at the results of those studies which report on unsuccessful as well as successful mixed classes from the HL learner’s point of view to see what has been learned about how best to teach such classes and what remains to be looked at.  28  2.8.1 HL Learners’ Negative Experiences in Mixed Classes In her 2001 article, Kondo-Brown performs a thorough statistical analysis of the correlations between placement test (multiple choice and essay) results for incoming Japanese students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1998 and 1999 and the number of years of their high school Japanese study. She found that for non-heritage language students, there was a high positive correlation between the number of years of high school language study and the students’ receptive and written skills; however, there was no detectable relationship between the two for heritage language students. Kondo-Brown attributes this finding to a mismatch between the needs of HL students and the goals of FL classes, inappropriate placements of HL students and negative attitudes toward them from their non-HL classmates, a finding in Kondo’s (1998) earlier study. Kondo (1998) conducted case studies of six second-generation JapaneseAmerican students that she interviewed extensively about their life histories, especially in relation to learning and maintaining their Japanese language skills. Four of these students had taken Japanese in high school, all with negative experiences. Three stated that their (FL) classes were too easy and boring and that they got an easy A without learning anything, although one said that her Japanese improved during that time because she starting using it more at home with her parents. The fourth student had a particularly negative experience in her high school Japanese classes. Her classmates criticized her about being in a beginners’ class and speaking Japanese with the teacher because they did not find this fair, to the point that she switched to a higher-level class. Even then the teasing and criticisms continued. HL students’ negative experiences in FL classes were also found in Potowski’s (2002) study. Potowski interviewed 25 SHL learners enrolled in regular (SFL) first or second year university Spanish classes taught by approximately 50 Spanish graduate student TAs, half of whom were native Spanish speakers and half of whom were nonnative speakers, while only two were SHL speakers. She, along with two other TAs, conducted four group interviews of these students, asking them about their experiences in the SFL classes. The results showed that many of these students felt that their variety of Spanish was inferior to that of their classmates, one of whom described her Spanish as “ghetto Spanish.” Furthermore, these students felt that although they had a certain  29  advantage over the SFL learners in oral fluency, pronunciation and comprehension, they actually had more disadvantages than advantages in comparison with these classmates. For example, they felt that they were at a disadvantage because they had less metalinguistic knowledge of grammar. They also mentioned having to deal with higher teacher and classmate expectations. In fact, some pointed out that they were afraid to ask questions in class since they felt that they were expected to know everything already. In terms of their results, they actually received lower grades than their classmates and felt that their TAs’ correction of their written work was excessively harsh. Potowski also interviewed seven TAs as part of her study. When asked about their SHL students, the TAs, much like these students themselves, emphasized their language weaknesses, such as faulty spelling, grammar and questionable vocabulary choices. The majority of the TAs engaged in traditional correction of the students’ written work: they circled the form in question and offered their correct version, without further explanation (such as pointing out use of the wrong register or dialect differences). Only one described her dilemma of accepting different dialects while still trying to correct any incorrect forms. Furthermore, none of these TAs were aware of any students’ negative reactions to their correction. Potowski states that since SHL students are likely to continue to take SFL classes, we should focus on improving instructional policies and practices in those classes. She also asserts that TAs and other educators need to be trained in awareness of the profiles, needs, experiences, and language varieties of HL learners and effective teaching strategies for this population. 2.8.2 HL Learners’ Positive Experiences in Mixed Classes In contrast to the Potowski (2002) study described above, where the TAs’ negative attitudes and excessive correction of SHL students’ Spanish created a very negative experience for these students, Dunlap (2003) describes very positive outcomes for her SHL speakers and Spanish native speakers,13 whom she used as pronunciation coaches in her upper-division Spanish phonetics classes. She describes how these students worked on pronunciation exercises with groups of three to four SFL learners. 13  Dunlap classifies those born in Spanish-speaking countries as native speakers (regardless of their age of arrival in the United States) and those born in the United States to Hispanic immigrant parents or grandparents as heritage speakers.  30  Since dialect awareness was one of the goals of her course, Dunlap had students working with different coaches throughout the term and also invited native speakers from other backgrounds to the class to talk about their particular dialect. She found that this strategy had many advantages, including improved pronunciation and dialect awareness for the SFL learners and increased confidence in their language skills for the heritage and native speakers. As part of her study, Dunlap sampled 16 out of 31 pronunciation coaches from five previous phonetics classes, ten heritage speakers and six native speakers. The results of her questionnaire were that 81% of these coaches believed that the SFL learners benefited from their help and 75% felt better about their Spanish speaking skills after being coaches. This study shows how teachers’ and peers’ acceptance and valuing of their dialects increases SHL speakers’ self-confidence and perceived language proficiency. There are, however, a few possible flaws with Dunlap’s study. First, she was the teacher of the students she did her study on, and so could be biased in her interpretations of what went on in her class (i.e., supporting her phonetic interventions). Second, we cannot be sure if the students’ improved pronunciation skills came from the work they did with the SHL speakers or from other activities which were part of the course, nor were the SFL students asked about their views of the usefulness of this instructional activity. Finally, Dunlap sampled only those students from her previous classes for whom she had email addresses, possibly the students who had enjoyed her class more and so maintained email connections with her. Blake and Zyzik’s (2003) study also demonstrated how SHL students and SFL students can successfully work together to their mutual benefit. Although the SHL and SFL students in their study were not in the same class, these students do provide an example of successful collaboration between the two groups. In the study, 11 pairs of SHL/SFL students completed two-way apartment-hunting jigsaw tasks through computer-mediated communication. The one hour long interactions yielded 30 negotiations (24 lexical, 4 grammatical, 2 pragmatic) by the 11 pairs. Of these, 23 were resolved by the SHL learners, 5 by the SFL learners and 2 were self-corrections made by the SFL learners.  31  Although the corrections made by the SHL speakers clearly outnumbered those of the SFL learners, the SHL speakers nevertheless benefited from the interaction in several ways. First, they felt that they expanded their bilingual range by acquiring certain vocabulary which the SFL learners knew from their classroom learning and which was not part of the SHL speaker’s normal repertoire. Second they were reportedly able to gain some dialect awareness when they used terms unfamiliar to the SFL learner and had to come up with synonyms to explain their meaning. The SFL learners, on the other hand, seemed to learn a lot of new vocabulary from the SHL speakers, which they frequently used subsequently in their exchanges. Nevertheless, the study has certain limitations. First, it is not clear if students actually acquired the vocabulary items they were given by their partners since no posttest was administered. Second, there were very few grammatical negotiations, which the authors felt could have been improved had there been more of a focus on form in the task (such as having to co-write a paragraph about their apartment-hunting experience at the end). Although this study does not document SHL and SFL learner interactions in an actual mixed-class setting, it does present some insights into effective task-based instructional strategies that a teacher in such a classroom might use. 2.9 Summary It is clear that further research is needed in the area of SHL and SFL mixed classes, since such classes are a continuing reality in both the United States and Canada. The few studies that have presented HL student experiences in mixed classrooms (Dunlap, 2003; Kondo, 1998; Potowski, 2002) mostly looked at HL student experiences as reported retrospectively by these students. In the case of Dunlap’s study, although she was the teacher of her class and so was able to observe her participants, she did not do any qualitative analysis of the interactions taking place in her classes, choosing to report only the quantitative results of her questionnaires. These studies also clearly lack FL students’ perspectives, which is an important omission since these students need to function as well in their language classes as the HL students do. The Blake and Zyzik (2003) study shows what SHL/SFL student interactions could look like using computermediated communication but such interactions may or may not be similar in an actual mixed class setting with students working face-to-face. Furthermore, almost all the  32  mixed-class studies (with the exception of Webb & Miller, 2000) conducted thus far have involved students at the post-secondary level, the data from which may not be applicable to or representative of the secondary level when identity and social positioning may be particularly salient and sensitive, especially with adolescent learners. This is because the social dynamics of secondary classes often differ significantly from post-secondary ones due to the typically long-term relationships amongst the students who went to school together for many years and the common formation of peer groups or cliques (Eckert, 1989). These dynamics may then have an important impact on the kinds of interactions and learning which takes place in class. Finally, the mixed-class studies described here have all focussed in large part, on SHL students’ self-reported learning experiences in the class and not very much on their observed interactions and positionings in the class. This is an area that warrants more investigation as students’ interactions have a significant impact on their learning and on their sense of self (Gass & Selinker, 2008). It is therefore clear that studies need to be conducted in mixed classroom settings at the secondary level and such studies should present a detailed, qualitative analysis of the classroom interactions amongst SHL students, SFL students and their teacher to complement earlier quantitative surveys and to address questions of perhaps greater current interest in second language classroom research related to identity.  33  Chapter 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.0 Introduction In this chapter I describe the research methodology employed in this study. After describing the nature of my qualitative multiple-case study design, I present the research site and participants, including a detailed description of the teacher and the four SHL students that are the focal participants of this study. Finally I give a detailed description of my data collection procedures and data analysis methods. 3.1 Research Questions In this study, I sought to observe how SHL students were positioned in classroom interactions in terms of their Spanish language and cultural expertise, when learning Spanish alongside SFL students and the influence that such positionings had on various classroom interactions among the students and their teacher, as well as how these were viewed by the participants themselves. The three guiding research questions of this study are: 1. How do the SHL learners identify and position themselves and how are they positioned by their teacher and classmates with respect to their prior knowledge of Spanish, as well as their various Hispanic backgrounds and cultural affiliations? 2. What are the different factors (e.g., oral versus written expertise, age, social groupings in the class) that impact the various positionings of the SHL learners? 3. How do these positionings impact the classroom interactions among the SHL students, their SFL classmates and their teacher? 3.2 Ethnographic Case Study Design In order to answer these questions, an ethnographic case study was conducted of Canadian SHL students in a mainstream high school Spanish 11 courses. According to Gall, Gall, and Borg (2003), case study is the “most widely used approach to qualitative research in education” (p. 433), and Duff (2008b) characterizes this research method in applied linguistics as “very productive and influential” and instrumental in the development of various models and theories in the field (p. 36). Duff states that “[most] definitions of case study highlight the ‘bounded’, singular nature of the case, the importance of context, the availability of multiple sources of information or perspectives  34  on observations, and the in-depth nature of analysis” (p. 22). The nature of this study, in which I examine the interactions between a teacher and her students in the natural context of a high school SFL classroom, relying on the multiple perspectives of the researcher, teacher and students involved, lends itself to this type of research method. Highlighting the need for emic or triangulated perspectives, central to a qualitative research design, Marshall and Rossman (2006) stress that “human actions cannot be understood unless the meaning that humans assign to them is understood” (p. 53). Duff (2008b) further elaborates this idea, stating: Qualitative researchers in the social sciences and humanities, especially in the 21st century, believe that the same phenomenon or event may be viewed from different perspectives or interpreted and explained differently by the research participant, researcher, or another observer … Because of differences in the way individuals perceive, interpret, and remember an event or behaviour, accounts from different participants naturally vary … It is this recognition of diverging observations and multiple realities that underlies interpretivism, which is arguably the most common approach to qualitative case studies in the social sciences (including applied linguistics) at present (emphasis in the original, p. 29) It is therefore important that the researcher analyse the data from multiple participant perspectives in a triangulating fashion in order to seek to understand the complexities of the phenomenon as well as any (apparent) contradictions. This is, according to Duff, one of the advantages of conducting ethnographic case study research in that “by concentrating on the behaviour of one individual or a small number of individuals (or characteristics of sites), it is possible to conduct a very thorough analysis (a ‘thick’ or ‘rich’ description) of the case to include triangulating perspectives from other participants or observers” (p. 43). Furthermore, triangulation can involve more than the inclusion of the researcher’s and participants’ perspectives. Data collection methods can also be triangulated (Duff, 2008b). I therefore combined observations and in-depth interviews in this study. Through my observations, I sought to “discover complex interactions in [a] natural social [setting]” (Marshall & Rossman, 2006, p. 99). I took on the role of a participantobserver, immersing myself in the classroom setting, becoming a kind of “co-participant within the local culture” of the classroom (Duff, 2008b, p. 138). My role in the class changed over time as did my focus. I began with observing the general participation  35  patterns and the types of interactions taking place in the class as a whole. For example, I wanted to see which students were asked questions first or more often, as well as the types of questions they were asked (e.g., about cultural knowledge, grammar, etc.), what language was used to address them, and so on. Over time, although I continued to focus on whole-class discussions, I also began to focus more on the SHL students and their interactions at their table groups. The purpose was to analyse the possible differences between how these students were interacting with their teacher and classmates in various participation structures. For example, I wanted to examine the setting(s) in which the various SHL students would be positioned as language experts by their interlocutors and how they might take up this positioning differently in different settings and with different interlocutors. To understand the subtleties of the SHL students’ interactions and positionings in the class and what they tell us about the relationships among the different classroom participants as well as their own self-concepts and identities, I conducted an in-depth, detailed and systematic qualitative analysis of classroom behaviours and perceptions of those behaviours (Marshall & Rossman, 1999, p. 16). Therefore, aside from observing their behaviours in class, I interviewed all my participants in order to become more aware of their understandings of their own and others’ classroom interactions as well as how they presented these understandings to me (i.e., how they positioned themselves and others in their interviews, as language experts or novices, idealized speakers or cultural models, for example). However, according to Duff (2008b), “it is important to recognize that a research interview is a ‘construction’ or joint production by interviewer and interviewee (Briggs, 1986; Coughlan & Duff, 1994; Mishler, 1986)” (p. 133). It cannot therefore be taken as a reflection of “truth” or “fact” and must be analysed as any other interaction, as socially situated. This research project makes use of an embedded case study design, with multiple subunits of analysis. On one level, my initially sampled cases were the three Spanish 11 classes. I chose Spanish 11 because it is a more advanced course generally offered to students who had previously completed Spanish 9 and 10. It is a level at which SFL students may be advanced enough in their study of Spanish to be able to interact at least at a basic level with any SHL students. At the same time, the coursework is also  36  advanced enough for SHL students to be challenged, in contrast to Spanish 9 and 10, which would likely be too simple for them. Different schools have different placement procedures for SHL students. Some allow them to take whatever level they wish while others try to place them in higher levels. In some schools, they are discouraged from taking Spanish class altogether. In many schools, Spanish 11 is also the most senior Spanish class since many universities recognize this level of Spanish as a fulfillment of their entrance language requirement. Furthermore, where it is offered, Spanish 12 is often a small class whose curriculum is often specifically geared to the Spanish 12 provincial examination.14 Within each case, I focused specifically on the SHL students in the class, who became my focal participants (described in detail below). In this way, I was able make comparisons between these individual cases within one setting. Furthermore, I attempted to relate what I observed at the classroom micro-level to social, cultural and pedagogical issues at the macro-level (Duff, 1995, 2002, 2008b). The goal was to examine how SHL students were positioned in interactions taking place in their SFL classes while, at the same time, analysing the impact these positionings had on their interactions in the class, that is, in a dynamic, two-way interaction. 3.3 Case Selection, School Access, and Ethical Considerations After passing an ethical review of my research protocol at the University of British Columbia as well as a review by several school boards, I began the process of identifying possible research sites (initially suitable schools and then Spanish courses). I wrote a letter of introduction for my study and placed it in the letterboxes of Spanish teachers throughout the approved school districts. I was then contacted by two interested Spanish teachers and set up meetings with both. In one of the schools, the teacher also introduced me to a colleague who was teaching Spanish in the Francophone program15 based in the same school. After meeting with three teachers, they all consented to participate in my study. In what follows, the names of the schools, teachers and students 14  This examination was still mandatory at the time of the research. Students’ final grades were based on their coursework (60%) and this examination (40%). 15 In a Francophone program, all courses are taught in French. Children with at least one parent with a Francophone background or who previously attended a French school are accepted into the program. Some students were therefore immigrants who had lived in Quebec or France and attended French schools there.  37  are all pseudonyms. The students and teachers chose their own pseudonyms. In order to further protect the identity of the participants, some biographical details have been changed. The classes I designated as A and B were regular Spanish 11 classes in mainstream English school programs and Class C was an intermediate Spanish class taught within the Francophone program. The intermediate Spanish class was the second in a series of three classes taught to native speakers of French. It differed from the Spanish 11 classes in several ways. First, students began their study of Spanish upon entering high school, in grade 8, instead of grade 9. The curriculum was somewhat more condensed as they took three courses instead of four to reach Spanish 12 (though the same number of classes per week, typically 2½). In this way, it was somewhat similar to students in regular high schools who took Beginner’s Spanish 11, Spanish 11 and then Spanish 12, the first course covering the curriculum for both Spanish 9 and 10 but in that case, generally offered to students in grade 10 or higher who had not begun taking Spanish 9 in the regular track. The students in this class were therefore much younger than those in the other class, most being in grade 9, with two in grade 11.16 As well, the teacher used a textbook of her own choosing, called Soleado (Martín Clavero, 1996), which was not one of those recommended by the Ministry of Education. This book was written by a local author in Western Canada and designed for adult learners of Spanish. One reason the teacher gave for choosing this particular book was that it was written entirely in Spanish except for the stated objectives at the beginning of each unit which were written in English, French and Spanish. Since she was teaching in a Francophone program, the teacher used only French and Spanish in class and did not want to have a textbook written in English. In order to gain the consent of parents of prospective student participants (as well as the students’ own assent, as minors), I went to one class and presented my study, answering questions and handing out consent and assent forms. I then returned in one week and collected the signed forms. As a result of being contacted by the teacher in Class A and gaining access to that class first, I began observing it at the end of September 16  The grade 9 students were those who had taken the beginner Spanish class in the school the previous year while the grade 11 students had moved to the city from Quebec at the beginning of the year and had previously taken Spanish there.  38  2005. In Classes B and C, I presented my study to the classes in early October but was unable to commence observations due to a two week province-wide teachers’ strike, which also interrupted my observations of Class A. I therefore began my observations of Classes B and C in late October. I observed Class A for a six-month period, ending in late March 2006 and Classes B and C for a five-month period ending in early March 2006. In Class B, I found out that one student identified as a HL student by his teacher was actually not Hispanic but had lived and studied in Mexico for several years.17 That student was also absent from the class for a period of several weeks and tried to drop the class altogether. The only HL student in the class was a girl with certain learning and behavioural difficulties who, aside from taking this regular Spanish class, had all her other classes as part of an alternative program in the school. Although I found her to be a very interesting participant and wanted to explore the ways that she might find some success and validation in the class as a result of her oral expertise, she unfortunately had a hard time connecting with her classmates and her expertise was, for the most part, unacknowledged by them. Furthermore, she was, sadly, expelled from the school two months into my fieldwork. Finally there was another interesting participant in that class. Although not a HL student by birth, he had a Hispanic stepfather and his mother was a high school Spanish teacher. This student, who was also in French immersion at the school, had very good literacy skills in Spanish, although he was not more orally fluent than his classmates. His teacher, however, did not see his skill set as any different from those of his classmates and did not single him out in any way. In spite of this interesting participant, I limited the amount of time I observed this class for several reasons. One was that the very traditional grammar-translation method of teaching employed by the teacher did not lend itself to many interesting interactions (or much learning, I would argue) in the class. Second, the other two cases were much more compelling and had “real” HL students in them and due to scheduling conflicts between the classes, I had to choose which to focus on more. I therefore continued to observe this class only one time per week with the intention of doing analysis of some of the interesting conversations I recorded there to publish in future publications. 17  I will explore the implications of this situation as part of Chapter 8.  39  I typically observed Classes A and C two times per week.18 They were both very interesting and I completed my observations, interviews and analysis of both. However, having completed my data analysis, I realized that the Francophone class (Class C), having only one SHL student,19 being taught in such a different context and presenting in many ways very different data from the other class, did not answer my research questions as well as the regular Spanish class (Class A). The latter class, on the other hand, had four SHL students, all very interesting and distinct cases yielding rich data that answered my research questions very well. In addition, the Spanish class in the regular program seemed to represent a much more common or typical setting for secondary-level Spanish instruction in Western Canada than the Francophone program did. At that stage, in consultation with my supervisory committee, I decided to write up my research of that one case only for the thesis.20 Below, I describe the research site and participants, providing a detailed description of the four SHL focal participants. 3.3.1 Site Ansler High School was a school serving just over 1000 students from grades 8 to 12, located within Greater Vancouver (now called Metro Vancouver). Many staff members and students talked about the closeness and diversity of its population, including a range of socio-economic levels. Close to 50% of the students spoke a language other than English at home and the largest minority ethnic groups in the school were Chinese and Italians, with the Italian students usually being 2nd-generation Canadians or more. The school had well-developed extra-curricular programs, diverse course offerings and prided itself on encouraging student participation and service. Outside the staff room a bulletin board displayed clippings from local newspapers reporting Ansler student service and achievements. The collegiality and closeness of the staff were evident inside the staff room, where warm interactions and conversations were often heard, as well as outside of school grounds, e.g. when many staff, including student 18  Each class took place in alternating periods of two and three times per week but due to the aforementioned scheduling conflicts between them, I was not able to attend all the classes. 19 This class was small, with only 12 students, one of which (the SHL student) was half-Mexican and halfFrench. Another student in the class had lived in Mexico two times for a total of one and a half years, in a similar way to the student in Class B. He was therefore transferred from the beginning to intermediate class at the beginning of the year but had did not do well in class, having many gaps in his Spanish knowledge. 20 However, I plan to do an analysis of the Francophone class for future publications.  40  teachers, came out to celebrate the focal teacher’s birthday at a restaurant, and from the comments of different staff members. 3.3.2 Participants There were a total of 22 students in Ms. Lopez’s Spanish 11 class, with 21 taking part in the study (the various seating plans used in the class are illustrated in Chapter 4). Below is a breakdown of the participants from the class by first language and gender (see Table 3.1): Table 3.1 – Class Demographics First Language  # of Students  Gender  Participants21  English  7  1 M; 6 F  Spanish  4  1 M; 3 F  Portuguese23  2  2M  Ben, Funk Machine, Katrina, Marissa, Janet, Silvia Tony, Princess, Claude, Pat22 Terry, Cristiano  Asian languages24  6  1 M; 5 F  Other languages25  3  1 M; 2 F  Rusty, Kimiko, Honey, Rose, Jiffydam, Jo Ann Prince, Kelly, Julia  In order to provide a better sense of the different participants, many of whom, although not focal students, are mentioned in various parts of the thesis, Table 3.2 gives more demographic details about each participant. The first four are the (focal) SHL students in the class (in bold), after which I have listed the rest of the participants in order from the most recent Canadian arrivals to those whose families had resided in Canada for the greatest number of generations.  21  Where the group includes both male and female participants, the male participants are listed first in order to make clear each participant’s gender. 22 Although Pat put English as her first language, she also stated that she learned both English and Spanish at “birth”. I am therefore including her in this group for that reason. 23 I listed Portuguese separately since it is in the same language family as Spanish, impacting how easily native speakers of it learn Spanish. 24 This includes Cantonese, Mandarin, Filipino and Thai. 25 This includes Russian, Persian and Arabic.  41  Table 3.2 Participant Demographic Information Students  Gender; Grade  First Language  Dominant Language  Birthplace (Heritage – Mother/Father)  Tony Montana Princess  M; 11  Spanish  El Salvador  F; 9  Spanish  English / Spanish English  Pat Ruiz  F; 11  Claude Monet Terry Smith  F; 11  English / Spanish Spanish  M; 12  Canada (Honduran/Canadian) English Mexico (Canadian/Mexican) Portuguese Portuguese Brazil (Japanese)  Kelly Smith  F; 12  Arabic  English  Jordan  Julia  F; 11  Russian  Russia  Jiffydam  F; 11  Chinese  English/ Russian English  Rusty Shackleford Cristiano Ronaldo Jo Ann  M; 11  Thai  English  M; 12  Age began learning English (Context) 5 (school)  Number of Generations in Canada (Age of Arrival) 1.526 (2)  Canada (Salvadorian) 6 (school) 2nd birth (home) 10 (ESL)  2nd  1.5 (15)  China  ? (EFL in Brazil) 4 (EFL in Jordan) 10 (EFL in Russia) 10 (ESL)  Portuguese English  Thailand (Thai/British) Canada (Portuguese)  1 or 2 1.5 (9) (home) 5 (school) 2nd  F; 11  Tagalog  English  Canada (Filipino)  2nd  Rose  F; 11  Cantonese  English  Canada (Chinese)  Kimiko Chang Prince of Persia Honey  F; 11  Cantonese  English  Canada (Chinese)  4 (preschool) 3 (preschool) ?27  M; 11  Farsi  English  Canada (Persian)  2nd  F; 11  English  English  Canada (Guyanese)  2 (preschool) Birth  Ben Dover  M; 11  English  English  Canada (Canadian/Italian)  Birth  2nd (dad; mom not indicated)  English  1.5 (10)  1.5 (15) 1.5 (12) 1.5 (10)  2nd 2nd  2nd  26  Generation 1.5 students are children of first-generation immigrants who received at least part of their compulsory schooling in Canada (Harklau, Losey & Siegal, 1999; Kim, 2008; Talmy, 2005) 27 Kimiko did not fill out a questionnaire or otherwise specify when she learned English. In her interview she talked about how she spoke English, Cantonese, Mandarin and a little of another Chinese dialect (she called it Chin Chinese) with different relatives.  42  Age began learning English (Context) Birth  Number of Generations in Canada (Age of Arrival) 2nd / 3rd  Canada (Ukrainian/Irish / New Zealander) Canada (Scottish)  Birth  3rd / 2nd  Birth  3rd  Canada (heritage not indicated) Canada (heritage not indicated)  Birth  Not indicated Not indicated  Students  Gender; Grade  First Language  Dominant Language  Birthplace (Heritage – Mother/Father)  Marissa  F; 11  English  English  Canada (Czech)  The Funk Machine  F; 11  English  English  Janet  F; 12  English  English  Silvia Smith  F; 12  English  English  Katrina Smith  F; 11  English  English  Birth  Looking at the student demographics, the class can be divided into roughly four groups: SHL students (who will be described in detail below); Generation 1.5 students who arrived in Canada with their families between the ages of 9 and 15, most of whom began learning English before their arrival; 2nd generation Canadians whose parents are both from the same background and who began speaking their HL at home and began learning English in pre-school or school; and those 2nd generation (or more) Canadians with various backgrounds whose first language was English. As a group, the SHL students were quite diverse in terms of their HL abilities, backgrounds, etc. Below, I will provide a detailed description of Ms. Lopez, the Spanish teacher in this class as well as each SHL student. Ms. Lopez Ms. Lopez was an experienced teacher of Spanish and French. She was in her early 40s and had been teaching for 13 years. Her parents were French and she identified strongly with her French roots. She had previously been married to a Mexican-Canadian and had kept her married name, which she felt helped her gain more credibility with her students, especially the Hispanic ones. She loved the Spanish language and considered herself fluent and at ease speaking it. She also enjoyed teaching Hispanic students, feeling they added to the class atmosphere and were able to demonstrate authentic language use to the other students.  43 Tony Tony was a Salvadorian-Canadian student who moved to Canada at the age of 2 and was raised by his mother who spoke to him only in Spanish since, according to Tony’s own statements on several occasions, she did not speak English. As a result of having to speak only Spanish at home, Tony was completely fluent and comfortable speaking Spanish. Tony had not taken Spanish class previously and did not learn Spanish literacy skills at home. He was therefore the most orally proficient student but struggled with his literacy skills. In terms of personality, Tony was a very outgoing and dominant student in class. He enjoyed speaking Spanish with the teacher, making jokes with his friend Cristiano and generally trying to make his classmates laugh. He also listened to popular Spanish music in class on his MP3 and would sometimes, in the middle of class, sing a few lines from these songs, along with Cristiano. Tony was new to Ansler High School, having begun going there at the beginning of the school year. He had previously attended various schools, changing schools frequently (once every year or two). Many of his school changes were as a result of being expelled for fighting. He also spent time with gangs and had been in trouble with the police on more than one occasion. At Ansler, he began the year well but soon began spending most of his time with troubled students in the school. By the end of my observations, he had been suspended two times for fights and had skipped more and more classes as the year went on. Although he attended Spanish class much more than his other academic classes, his truancy in that class was also increasing. His grade in Spanish also suffered, going from a B in Term 1 to a C- in Term 2. When I visited Ms. Lopez’s class in September 2006 (one year after the start of my fieldwork), I found out that Tony had been expelled the previous May but was back at the school in September with various strict conditions. He, along with the other three SHL students, was taking Spanish 12. That was my last contact with the class. Princess Princess’s background was also Salvadorian and she was born in Canada soon after her family’s arrival there. Her parents were divorced and her mother’s boyfriend was also Salvadorian. She grew up speaking Spanish at home, not learning any English  44  until she began school. She was also forced to speak Spanish at home, especially by her mother’s boyfriend. Otherwise, however, Princess preferred to speak English with her Salvadorian cousins and friends. Like Tony, Princess was very comfortable speaking Spanish and orally proficient. At the beginning of the year, Princess enrolled in Spanish 9 (since she is in grade 9) but found it too easy and transferred, with Ms. Lopez’s encouragement, into Spanish 11. Again like Tony, Princess was not literate in Spanish from her exposure to Spanish at home and therefore found writing to be a challenge in this course. She received average marks in the class and was also an average student in her other academic classes. At the beginning of the school year, Princess participated a lot in class discussions, especially when asked about her own Spanish language use by Ms. Lopez. However, she did not talk to other students very much as she did not know any well due to her lower grade level. She then began speaking and working with Pat, who sat near her and gradually with other students, like Marissa, as well. However, Princess’s participation changed dramatically when she was seated with three grade 12 students. She became very silent in class and no longer participated in class discussions. This topic will be discussed in detail in Chapter 4, Section 4.2. Pat Pat was born in Canada to a Honduran mother and a Anglophone Canadian father. Since her father was an only child, all of Pat’s other relatives were Hispanic. She had never been to Honduras but frequently visited her relatives in Miami. She also had many Hispanic friends who did not attend Ansler and with whom she spent time on weekends. She was therefore surrounded by a great deal of Spanish and understood it completely. However, Pat was uncomfortable speaking Spanish and she hardly ever did, either in or out of class. She indicated that the only person she was comfortable enough to speak some Spanish with on rare occasions was her mother. However, she enjoyed being in a Spanish-speaking environment and encouraged those around her to speak Spanish to her. Pat had previously taken both Spanish 9 and 10. Although the pace of those courses as well as this one was too slow for Pat, she nevertheless attended them because she did not want to have any gaps in her knowledge of Spanish and she felt that if she skipped a grade she might miss out on some (grammatical) knowledge. Pat’s mother had  45  previously enrolled her in community HL classes when she was in grade 4 but she did not attend for a long time, finding that she did not learn much there. Finally, Pat had also enrolled in night school Spanish at the beginning of the year but dropped the class because it was too easy for her. She planned to enrol again at a higher level. In the future, Pat wanted to travel and live abroad in Latin America. She was a very motivated learner who embraced her Hispanic heritage. As a result of her discomfort in speaking Spanish, Pat did not participate very much in class discussions. She answered Ms. Lopez’s questions with short responses and on several occasions refused to read aloud in Spanish during class. Although she did not participate very actively, her written abilities were excellent. She, along with Terry and Jo Ann, were the top students in the class and she was often sought out for her Spanish ability by her friends and tablemates. She was also the student who generally finished all her work first and sometimes complained of boredom. Claude Claude had an interesting linguistic history. Her mother was Anglo-Canadian (though highly proficient in Spanish) and her father was Mexican. She was born and lived for 10 years in Mexico where she went to school and gained Spanish literacy skills. She was largely spoken to in Spanish at that time since her father did not want her speaking English. She speculated, in her interview, that perhaps even though she was in Mexico he feared the influence of English on her Spanish abilities. Her parents then divorced and she moved to Canada with her mother at the age of 10. She stated that this was when she really began learning English, taking a one year ESL class upon arrival. Claude took Spanish 10 (instead of the typical Spanish 9) when she was in grade 9, did not take Spanish in her grade 10 year, and then enrolled in this class in her grade 11 year. She explained that she was taking Spanish because she felt she was forgetting it. In class, she would sometimes forget words and expressions and would complain to her friends. However, she also searched for English words when translating for them. Overall, however, Claude did very well in class, both in oral and written work. Her Spanish skills were the most balanced of all the SHL students in the class. Nevertheless, Claude did not participate in class in the same way as Tony and Princess. She appeared to be comfortable answering Ms. Lopez’s questions but did not often  46  engage in a more extended discussion with her as the other two did. Still, on occasion, she was singled out for her Spanish knowledge and accepted this role. Although she did not speak Spanish at home, except occasionally for fun with her sister, she did speak Spanish with her Hispanic friends (who did not attend this class). They often code-switched between English and Spanish, sometimes in front of their other non-Hispanic, mostly Asian, friends. 3.4 Data Collection Procedures In my fieldwork, I began as an observer, sitting in the back of the class. During my observations, I took extensive field notes and audio-recorded each class. At first my recorder(s)28 were placed at the back and sides of the class but over time, when my participants became more comfortable with my presence, I would ask their permission to place recorders at their tables for better recording quality of their group interactions. I also sought to gain the trust and “insider” point of view (Yin, 2003, p. 94) of my participants by engaging with them gradually in class. This was a process that developed over time. I began my observations sitting in the back of the class alone and interacting minimally with the students. After a few weeks of observations, I would sometimes come to their tables at the end of classes when they had finished their work or at other times and talk to them. This was a two-way process in that it was initiated at different times by both myself and the participants. My purpose in interacting with the students was to gain their trust and establish a greater rapport between us, as well as to informally ask them about various comments they were making or had made in previous classes. Since I was transcribing my recordings after each observation and doing some informal thematic analysis, I would notice interesting discussions which had taken place and the following class I might ask them to clarify some of what they had said. Duff (2008b) refers to this kind of process when she states, “From the earliest data collection and transcription stages, … data analysis is already taking place” (p. 159). My participants, on the other hand, were often eager to tell me about their social networks, families and 28  During different times, I had between one and three recording devices. I chose not to use a video recorder for several reasons. First, due to the difficulty of passing ethical review and possibly having more difficulty obtaining participant consent. Second, because the video would have been more intrusive and may have also affected participant behaviour to a greater extent. And third, because I wanted to give all my attention to observations rather than worrying about where the camera was pointing (even a well-placed camera could miss certain things and if I was busy with it, I would miss them too.)  47  world-views as well as ask me for help with their Spanish. In this way, my role gradually changed from observer to participant-observer. At that time, I also handed out questionnaires to the students, which I used to gain background knowledge about their family backgrounds and their past and present language learning and use. Finally, at the end of November, I began interviewing my participants, using a standardized open-ended interview format. According to Gall, Gall and Borg (2003), this interview format introduces consistency in data collection as the same set of questions is asked of all participant groups, while allowing for freedom to follow a line of response initiated by the interviewee. I interviewed Ms. Lopez two times, in late November and mid-January for a total time of over two hours. I interviewed my 21 student participants once either alone or in pairs. The interview times ranged from 20 minutes to over an hour. By combining questionnaires, participant-observations and in-depth interviews, I was able to analyze interactions from both etic (outsider) and emic (insider) perspectives. Combining these various collection methods and conducting recurrent analysis throughout the observation period also facilitated data triangulation. Stake (2005) speaks to this ongoing analysis when he states that case study research “gains credibility by thoroughly triangulating the descriptions and interpretations, not just in a single step but continuously throughout the period of study” (p. 443). 3.5 Data Analysis Procedures As mentioned above, I engaged in recurrent analysis of my various data. According to Duff (2008b), “qualitative case studies are increasingly associated with iterative, cyclical, or inductive data analysis” (p. 159, emphasis in the original). During my fieldwork, I tried to type up my field notes and listen to my recordings as soon as I could after observations. At that time, I conducted a thematic analysis of my data by “identifying salient themes, recurring ideas or language, and patterns of belief” (Marshall & Rossman, 2006, p. 158), coding my data according to these themes, and compiling interactions within each theme in separate Word documents. For example, some of my themes for this class were: interpersonal,29 language expertise, Hispanic culture,30  29  Discussions in which students would directly discuss their relationships with each other or in which indirect reference to these was made.  48  heritage, teacher’s identity, desire to learn (or resistance), seating arrangements and participation, researcher’s role, and so on. Some themes came from previous research (e.g., Chapter 2) and some from the data itself. I would also type up a summary overview of each class, making note of the important themes which came up. This, in turn, impacted what I looked for during my subsequent observations and asked about in my interviews. During my fieldwork and afterward, I continued to go back to my field notes and transcripts in order to “become intimately familiar with those data” (Marshall & Rossman, 2006, p. 158). Having compiled my coded data excerpts under themes, I selected the most striking or representative examples of various themes and conducted discourse analysis on these excerpts using Positioning Theory (Davies & Harré, 1990; Harré & van Langenhove, 1999) in combination with microanalytic tools for the investigation of social interaction. For example, when looking at the theme “language expertise,” I analyzed extracts according to who (the student or teacher) initiated the interaction. If the student volunteered his or her expertise, by correcting a classmate’s pronunciation, offering a new lexical item, and so on, I coded this occurrence as an example of reflexive positioning of “language expert,” whereas if the teacher or a classmate initiated the interaction, it was an example of interactional positioning. I also made note of whether the student would support or reject the teacher’s positioning of him or her as expert or, in the case of reflexive positioning, if the teacher sanctioned or rejected the student’s selfpositioning as expert. With such analyses, I took note of patterns regarding who was positioned by whom as language expert, in which situations (e.g., whole class discussions or group work), and the type of language he or she was positioned an expert of (e.g., pronunciation, spelling, grammar, etc.). For example, I could see that some students, while seldom positioned as experts in whole-class interactions, were nevertheless positioned that way by their classmates in group work, or students would be positioned as experts in relation to one but not other types of expertise. These kinds of patterns were important because they showed that SHL students might or might not be seen or see themselves as experts of various types of linguistic knowledge. As well, the patterns showed that various other factors (such as age, friendship groups, etc.) can mitigate 30  Interactions in which reference was made in some way to one of the Hispanic cultures.  49  certain SHL students’ positionings as experts. Having discovered the different themes and patterns, I used them to come up with an effective way to structure the results chapters and then chose those excerpts which I felt demonstrated well the patterns I found to include in these chapters. 3.6 Summary In this chapter, I described my qualitative multiple-case study design. I then explained how I found and selected my primary or focal case, going on to describe the site and participants. Finally, I described my data collection and analysis procedures. In the next three chapters, I present my study results. Chapter 4 describes with the friendship groupings in the class and their impact on interaction patterns, as well as issues of age and gender as they relate to various SHL students in the class. Chapters 5 and 6 deal with the positioning of the SHL students in relation to their oral and written language expertise, respectively. Chapter 7 examines various issues related to the SHL students’ heritages and their cultural and national affiliations.  50  Chapter 4 SOCIAL GROUPINGS, AGE AND GENDER 4.0 Introduction In this chapter, I describe and analyse the social groupings of the Spanish 11 class in Ansler High School and how the SHL students fit into these groupings. Particularly in a high school setting, students’ networks of friends can have a significant impact on their participation and interaction patterns. As well, when SHL students enrol in regular Spanish high school classes (i.e., those designed in terms of curriculum and policy for students without a Spanish background), they may be placed in higher-level classes where they may be one or more years younger than their classmates. In a high school setting, this age difference can have an important impact on these students’ interactions in the class, as well as on their confidence or sense of legitimacy. Gender also has an impact on students’ interactions and participation. Boys are often more dominant in classes and girls may be reluctant to participate if it means “competing” with a particularly dominant boy. These themes are explored and illustrated in greater depth below. 4.1 Classroom Configuration and Seating Plans Ms. Lopez’s Spanish 11 classroom was configured into seven large tables, each made up of four small tables pushed together. Students’ chairs were on the right and left sides of each table and students usually faced each other across the table. This created groups of four for group work, except for the few tables that had a smaller number of students. When Ms. Lopez was lecturing and writing on the overhead projector, students would sometimes turn their chairs to look at her. She would lecture from the front of the class but also move around to other parts of the class, especially to stand by tables where students were talking and not paying attention. She would seldom go her desk at the back of the class, except to retrieve a teaching resource. Likewise, she only went to her computer when inputting student marks, typically at the end of the term while students did group work. I normally sat between her desk and the computer desk unless I went over to students’ tables to talk to them during group work. Windows covered the wall to  51  the left of the class and the right side had two doors to the hall, one in the front and one in the back. Figure 4.1, below, is the first seating plan of the beginning of the year:31 Figure 4.1: Seating Plan 132 (September 20)  4.2 Friendship Groups From the start of my observations, it quickly became obvious what the friendship groupings in Ms. Lopez’s Spanish 11 class were. As is the case in most high schools (Bucholtz, 1999; Duff, 2002; Eckert, 1989; Talmy, 2004), the students at Ansler High formed friendship groups or cliques over their years together. These friendships had a significant impact on how students interacted in class and who they interacted with, both on a social and academic level. Furthermore, two of these groups were very disruptive in class and were therefore resented by their classmates who commented on how little was 31  Further seating plans are inserted, where relevant, throughout the chapter. Grade 12 students are in bold. Students making up the two popular groups are in italics. SHL students are underlined. “Female” is a non-participant in the study. Princess joined the class on September 20. She first sat at the front table indicated in the diagram. On October 27 the teacher moved her beside Patricia, where there is a “(#)” on the diagram. 32  52  being accomplished in class as a result. Table 4.1, below, shows the membership of the main friendship groups of each SHL student33 in the class (see Chapter 3, Section 3.3.2 for a more detailed description of these and the rest of the class participants). Table 4.1: SHL Students and Their Friendship Groups34 Students  Gender  Grade  Birthplace (Heritage)35  F F F  11 11 11  Canada (Honduran/Canadian) Canada (Chinese) Canada  F F F F  11 11 11 11  Mexico (Canadian/Mexican) China Canada (Chinese) Canada (Philippines)  M M F F  11 12 12 12  El Salvador Canada (Portuguese) Canada (Scottish) Canada  F  9  Canada (Salvadorian)  Gr. 11 “Preppy”36 Girls: Pat Ruiz Kimiko Chang Katrina Smith Gr. 11 “Non-Preppy” Girls: Claude Monet Jiffydam Rose Jo Ann Gr. 12 Group: Tony Montana Cristiano Ronaldo Janet Silvia Smith Other: Princess  In Ansler’s eleventh grade, there had been a group of “preppy” girls since Grade 8, several members of which had been friends since elementary school. Membership in the group had changed and grown over the years but the core group consisting of seven girls had been in place for years. Three girls from this group, Pat, Kimiko and Katrina, were in the Spanish 11 class I observed. The “preppy” girls were very proud of their 33  There was no one term used to describe these groups. The members of the first grade 11 group did not have a name for themselves, while the most common term used by non-members to describe them was “preppy” girls. As for Claude’s group, she, herself defined it in terms of non-membership in the “:preppy group”, telling me when I asked her who her friends in the class were: “All the girls in grade 11, not the preppy ones.” 34 SHL students are in bold italics. 35 For students whose parents had different ethnicities, the mother’s heritage is written first in the parentheses, followed by the father’s. The heritage is omitted when it is the same as birthplace. 36 Cf. “Jocks and Burnouts” (Eckert, 1989)  53  group of friends. In fact, on November 2, during one of the earliest times I went to sit with Pat and Kimiko at their table near the end of class, Kimiko suddenly took out a picture of their group of friends and began telling me about them. She described the group as “very multicultural” (11/2/06-TR17) and went on to list their ethnic backgrounds. Some of the other Grade 11 girls in the class, however, did not see this group of girls in a very favourable light. In fact, in this and other classes,37 there was a rift between the “preppy” girls and “non-preppy” girls. This was the result of the non-preppy girls resenting the disruptive behaviour of the preppy girls in the classes they had together. Claude began to stand up to these girls and conflict ensued. In our interview, Claude described this incident in the following excerpt (Interview 11/28/05):38 They all transferred into [biology] class. So now they’re like all over the class and they’re really obnoxious. I feel like they’re taking away from my learning. Taking away from me by like (.) the teacher’s just like doesn’t know how to deal with it cause they’re so many. One time we spent one hour and thirty minutes to copy like (.) a page of notes. It was really bad. So I like walked out. Xx remarks. You’d tell them to like be quiet and they would mock you kind of like. You can’t stand up to them cause it’s just wrong. Can’t do that. They mock you and xx. And I’m not gonna take that. That’s my right. So I just walked away. Yeah. That’s what started the whole thing. In the Spanish class, although there were few confrontations between the two groups, this tension between the preppy girls and Claude and her friends created a kind of split in the class. There was practically no interaction between the two groups and when the class had free seating such as during movie watching or library research, the two groups sat separately. This split had an impact on learning since students were not able to benefit from interacting with others who were not part of their friendship group. In other words, Claude’s friends did not have the opportunity to interact with Pat and Pat’s friends with Claude, thereby missing out on learning that could have resulted from such academic interactions. Moreover, the preppy girls also disrupted class with their almost constant talking and contributed to the slow pace of the class.  37  Both members and non-members of the group described this rift to me in their interviews and made some comments about it during class. 38 For transcription conventions used throughout the thesis, see Appendix F.  54  An interesting friendship pair in the class was Pat and Tony, whose relationship was quite different in and out of class. In class, Tony frequently copied Pat’s work, though they also had social interactions such as when they shared Latino music on their iPods. Outside of school, however, the two were close friends who often went out and had some of the same Hispanic friends. In his interview, Tony stated, “I hang out with Pat Ruiz a lot…She lives two blocks away from me, I always go to her house xx. We’re really good friends” (Interview 1/24/06). None of Pat’s other Hispanic friends attended Ansler but she reportedly spent “every weekend” with them (Interview 11/30/05). Pat therefore had two distinct friendship groups: her multiethnic girlfriends from school and her Hispanic (mostly male) friends outside. Aside from his interactions with Pat, Tony spent most of his time with Cristiano, Janet and Silvia. Together they formed the Grade 12 group, though Tony was actually in Grade 11, having started school one year late, but was the same age as them. Even when they were not sitting together, according to the seating plan, Tony and Cristiano, especially, would cross the class to sit with each other. Led by Tony and, to a lesser extent, Cristiano, members of this group received the most attention in class and took up the most class time. Tony and Cristiano would often make loud and frequently funny comments in class or even regularly broke into song, singing several lines from various, currently popular Spanish language songs. The group members themselves admitted how much attention they took up in class in their interviews. For example, in their pair interview, Janet and Silvia described how much of the teacher’s attention different students in the class generally received, with Silvia stating that, “Tony gets 50%, we get 20%, Pat and them get 20% and the rest of class gets 10%” (Interview 1/16/06). She later rephrased her estimate to, “Tony 60%, Cristiano and us 30%, Pat and them 10% and the rest of class 2%.” When I asked why the rest of the class received so little, they said, “cause they’re not loud, or pushy” and “the most they talk is when you talk to them.” Ms. Lopez also admitted paying more attention to this older group of students. When she mentioned she spent a lot of time in class talking to the Grade 12 group and Tony and I asked her why, she said: I don’t know, I get carried away with them, I just do, I don’t know why. I think because I have favourites. Janet and Silvia go back a long way  55  – I taught them since Grade 9, for four years. Antonio39 is mine – I think he’d be considered teacher’s pet, for sure … I’m totally biased. I spend way too much time with them. I don’t know why – I do. I think that I probably ignore other kids when I shouldn’t. Sometimes I give more attention to Hispanic students than I do the others. (Interview 1/16/06) In this excerpt, Ms. Lopez described getting “carried away” and spending “way too much time” with Janet, Silvia and Tony. Her explanation for having Janet and Silvia as her “favourites” was that she had taught them for four years. Tony, however, was a new student that year. Yet, she referred to him as “mine,” a very possessive and protective statement, and “teacher’s pet.” Her final statement about giving “more attention to Hispanic students than I do the others” was interesting since, as she herself mentioned, Tony was the only Hispanic student that she spent extended periods of time interacting with. Yet, for her, he seemed to be a kind of representative of the Hispanic students in the class.40 Although almost all students mentioned Tony’s classroom behaviour in their interviews, their reactions to it ranged from amusement to indifference to indignation. His friends Cristiano, Janet and Pat found him funny and liked having him in the class. For example, Janet described her reaction to Tony’s behaviour on her first day in class as: “It was hilarious, with Tony running around. I didn’t know what to think the first day. I just sat here and kind of like just observed everything. What the hell’s going on?” (Interview 1/16/06) Some of the other students also commented on him being funny or cool and during class, his actions frequently elicited laughter. However, others felt bothered by his behaviour. Jiffydam, for example, was particularly upset by his disruptions, which, she claimed, interfered with her learning. She called him “really annoying” and when I asked her why, she explained, “cause he’s so loud and he can’t stop, and he can’t keep his mouth shut” (Interview 3/7/06). However, unlike with Tony and the “preppy” girl group, the other students in the class did not make many comments about the amount of attention the other three members of the Grade 12 group received. Although they received greater attention from Ms. Lopez than Kimiko, Pat and Katrina did, the other students did not seem to resent 39 40  Ms. Lopez always called Tony by the Hispanic form of his name. This idea and Tony’s positioning in the class in general will be explored in detail in Section 4.3.  56  them as much. This could be because of the cumulative effect of having more classes with the “preppy” girls and their disruptions in the other classes, as well as being in the same grade and interacting more closely over their high school years together. The disruptive behaviour of the “preppy” Grade 11 group and the Grade 12 group had a significant impact on how much got done in class. In our interview Jiffydam talked about this, saying, “It takes so much time, like a whole period for one reading activity.” When I asked if she got bored in class as a result, she said, “Well, I usually, sometimes get bored, but usually I just do other work.” She went on to say that the teacher did not ever say anything to her about doing other work and her reasoning for this was that “she’s not giving other work to people, you would expect them to do something else” (Interview 3/7/06). Other students made comments during class about being bored or getting little done. They were clearly frustrated by the situation. When it came to who students preferred working with in class, almost all students said that they preferred working with their friends, regardless of their Spanish ability. For example, Kimiko told me in class that if she and Pat were not friends, she would not be working with her, no matter how good her Spanish was (11/2/05-TR17). It therefore cannot be assumed that students who have SHL classmates in their classes would seek out these students to work with, by virtue of their Spanish language expertise. In conclusion, friendship groups and students’ interactions and/or conflicts with one another had a significant impact on this Spanish class. Particularly among those in the same grade, interactions both outside of class and in other classes also affected the interactions in this class. The effects impacted not only who students interacted with socially and wanted to work with but also the general class atmosphere and level of productivity. 4.3 The Issue of Age When SHL students are placed in mixed SFL classes, they sometimes go into higher level classes. This means that they can be significantly younger than their classmates, which has an important effect on their interactions in the class, particularly at the high school level where age and grade are very salient, and associated with social status. In this class, Princess was one such case. She transferred to the class from Spanish 9, which was too easy for her, on September 20 and so was not only a new  57  student but the youngest, being two to three years younger than the other students in the class. She did not have any friends in the class and only knew some of the students from having gone to the same elementary school. Interestingly, Princess also went to elementary school with Pat but, at the time, they “did not like each other.” In her interview, Pat described their relationships as follows: We went to elementary school together and we did not like each other at all and the only time we ever liked each other was because of this class, because we ended up having to sit beside each other, and we started talking and um, yeah, I like her, like we talk and I say “hi” to her in the halls and stuff like that outside of school. (Interview 11/30/05) Princess and Pat’s relationship developed gradually in the class. At first they hardly spoke because Pat worked and socialized with Kimiko. However, on Oct. 5, when Kimiko was away, Ms. Lopez asked the two to work on a dialogue together. Having quickly finished the assignment, they gradually began talking about some students they both knew. That class was followed by a two week teacher strike. The second time the class met after school resumed, Ms. Lopez moved Princess to sit beside Pat at her table. This soon led to more interactions between the two, both related to work and of a social nature. In fact, the two, along with Kimiko, Cristiano and Tony (who sometimes came to their table during class), had various discussions about nationality and family background, which will be discussed in Chapter 7. On November 8, Princess initiated a discussion with Pat about how they did not like each other in elementary school and much like in Pat’s later interview, the two credited the class with bringing them closer together. Princess also had interactions with Marissa during which they helped each other with their work. For the first few weeks of classes, Princess was singled out almost every class by Ms. Lopez for her linguistic expertise or volunteered such expertise herself during class discussions. She then began interacting more with her table mates, both socially and academically. However, on November 2nd, in order to illustrate the use of menor [youngest] and mayor [oldest], Ms. Lopez positioned Princess as the youngest student in the class, explicitly stating her grade compared to the rest of the class (11/2/05-TR14):  58  Entonces, ¿quién es la menor en nuestra clase de español? ¿Quién es la menor estudiante? ((Princess smiles slightly and laughs self-consciously)) ¿No saben? Es Princesa (.) que está en grado nueve. Ustedes están en grado once y doce, ¿verdad? Translation: So, who is the youngest in our Spanish class? Who is the youngest student? ((Princess smiles slightly and laughs self-consciously)) You don’t know? It’s Princesa (.) who is in Grade 9. You are in Grade 11 and 12, right? Princess was clearly uncomfortable at being singled out as the youngest in the class. Rather than being positioned as the language expert in the class, as she had been previously, her age was explicitly identified as her defining characteristic in this interaction. Comparing her age to her classmates made the age gap between them even more overt. Princess’s age contrast with the rest of the students became even more salient when Janet transferred into the class and Ms. Lopez seated Princess at the same table as the Grade 12 group of friends: Cristiano, Janet and Silvia. When Janet first transferred into the class on November 8, she sat in Cristiano’s seat, across from her friend, Silvia, as Cristiano had not yet arrived in class. An argument with Ms. Lopez ensued, in which Ms. Lopez tried to persuade Janet to move beside Kimiko, across from Princess. Finally Ms. Lopez and Janet went outside and Janet did not come back to class that day. The next class, Ms. Lopez created this new seating plan (see Figure 4.2, below):  59  Figure 4.2: Seating Plan 241 (November 10)  Neither Princess nor the Grade 12 students were happy with the new seating plan and both Princess and Janet commented on it in their interviews. Describing her first day in class, Janet mentioned being a 12th grader going into an 11th grade class and only knowing Silvia and Cristiano. Then she went on to say: Not only does she make me go sit with someone I don’t know but the girl’s in ninth grade! She’s in ninth grade! So what am I supposed to do? I don’t know her. I don’t know anyone else in the class. And it’s not like I can associate with her and have anything in common cause she’s so much younger than me. (Interview 1/16/06) Princess began her new seating plan with a positive attitude, engaging her new tablemates in interaction. However, Janet and Silvia found her comments strange and inappropriate, as described by Janet in their interview: 41  Grade 12 students are in bold. Students making up the two popular groups are in italics. SHL students are underlined. Shaded tables indicate those from/to which various students moved.  60  When Cristiano and Silvia moved over, she – a lot of younger girls like the older guys, like they think they’re hot or whatever and she was asking Cristiano if he liked her friends, if he loved them, if he’d marry them and stuff and we’re kind of sitting there like, ((Janet and Silvia laugh)) she’s like, “How would you rate her from 1 to 10? Do you think she’s hot? Would you marry her?” Those kind of questions. That’s what I mean, the different mind frames of like a ninth grader and twelfth grader, cause you do develop so much between those couple of years. (Interview 1/16/06) In these comments, Janet was positioning Princess as a young and immature ninth grader, not a Spanish language expert or an expert in any other facet of life. In terms of their relationship, Janet precluded the possibility that they could not have one, as a result of the significant age gap between them. This rift between Princess and the Grade 12 students was evident almost immediately after the move. When I had my recorder on their table, an entire class would go by and I would hear almost nothing said by Princess. When I asked Princess in our interview who she preferred working with in class, she stated that, “You know, actually, I don’t really care as long as it’s not the Grade 12s.” Further along in the interview she commented that she did not feel that she could talk to the Grade 12s because she did not know “anything what they’re talking about” (Interview 11/24/05). Princess even talked about not wanting to sit with the Grade 12 students during class. On November 22, she asked me to ask Ms. Lopez to move her because she felt “antisocial” sitting with the Grade 12 students (11/22/05-TR24). I did not feel that it was my place to ask on Princess’s behalf, especially during class in front of other students, so I resisted her positioning of me as a social mediator and instead encouraged her to ask Ms. Lopez herself. Ms. Lopez told her that she could only move if she traded seats with someone else. Princess then unsuccessfully attempted to switch with several classmates. Ms. Lopez told her that Tony was probably the only one who would be willing to switch with her since he was friends with the Grade 12 students but at the time Princess did not want to switch with him because she did not know Rusty, Tony’s tablemate, either. However, after winter vacation she changed her mind and took Tony’s seat.42 Funk Machine, who had been (unhappily) sitting with the preppy girls then switched to Rusty 42  Tony was not in class until the second day after winter break and when he saw Princess in his seat, went to sit with his friends at the Grade 12 popular table.  61  and Princess’s table as well. Over time, Princess and her new tablemates developed a good working relationship where she felt valued for her Spanish expertise. Figure 4.3, below, illustrates this third seating plan in the class: Figure 4.3: Seating Plan 343 (January 4)  Princess’s interactions with her table mates during the various seating plans also had an impact on her participation in whole class discussions. During her time of sitting at the Grade 12 table, Princess became silent. She did not engage in class discussions nor did she have anything but minimal interactions with her table mates. Even after she moved to her new seat, Princess never went back to her enthusiastic participation of the first seating plan. At that time, she had frequently engaged Ms. Lopez and Tony in discussions about vocabulary and happily chatted with her tablemates. In her third  43  Grade 12 students are in bold. Students making up the two popular groups are in italics. SHL students are underlined. Shaded tables indicate those from/to which various students moved.  62  seating place, she did befriend and assist her tablemates and shared laughter but she had stopped volunteering her participation in classroom discussions. Since Tony had two classes with Princess, he was able to share his perspective on her interactions in the two classes. In our interview, Tony described how Princess behaved in her P.E. class,44 where she was with her friends and classmates her age: She’s a very loud girl. In this class, she’s very quiet. Oh, my God, in other classes. In P.E. class, oh my goodness. She’s like me in a girl version, she’s the centre of attention. She’ll do the funniest thing, the stupidest thing, things that people wouldn’t even do, she’ll do it. (Interview 1/24/06) To describe Princess as a girl version of himself speaks to her usually very outgoing and loud nature. In Spanish class, however, we only had a few small glimpses of this side of Princess (cf. Morita, 2004). In fact, in a class exercise where students were to describe their classmates, several described her as “serious.” This shows how much “expertise,” competence, silence or outgoingness are socially situated, co-constructed, and fluid. Princess was not the only one who felt uneasy around the Grade 12 students. In her interview, I asked Claude who she liked to work with in class and she replied, “It doesn’t really matter, just someone that I’m comfortable with cause like some of the kids are kind of intimidating too.” When I asked her who she was referring to, she said, “Some of the Grade 12s, they’re just kind of like (.) I guess because of the age or whatever” (Interview 11/28/05). This shows that even a Grade 11 student can feel intimidated by Grade 12 students. In my interview with Marissa and Jo Ann (2/20/06), we discussed Princess’s presence in the class and the topic of having students of different ages in the class. First Marissa began talking about Princess, saying that when she sat near Princess during the first half of the year, she “talked to her [Princess] all the time.” She continued, saying “That’s how I met her pretty much cause I’d never seen her before and yeah we became (friends).” She described how she and Jo Ann sat with Princess during a field trip to a Mexican restaurant at the beginning of the year and talked to her about her “family”,  44  Tony was in Princess’s P.E. class because he did P.E. leadership, i.e. was an assistant to the P.E. teacher in her class (interestingly a role he also often “unofficially” sought in the Spanish class).  63  “background” and “life in general.” Marissa then asserted that “it was cool cause she’s like two years younger and you don’t like, people don’t usually talk to kids who are two years younger, right? That’s just not right. ((we all laugh)).” Jo Ann agreed, repeating “Just not right.” And adding, “It’s like you don’t have any classes or hardly even see them cause – ” and Marissa overlapped her utterance, saying “That’s what I like about our class, cause there’s Grade 12s and then there’s Grade 9s.” In this interaction, Marissa described having the opportunity to meet Princess as a result of being in the same class as “cool”; however, her subsequent description of the generally unacceptable practice of talking to “kids who are two years younger” nevertheless positioned Princess as one of those “kids.” On the other hand, Marissa said she appreciated the fact that there were students from various grades in their Spanish class. Therefore, in Marissa’s statements there is contradictory discourse with regard to older students’ perceptions of younger ones and sentiments about Princess’s status in the class. A little later in the interview, I brought up the subject of Princess’s age again: Excerpt 4.1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  Klara:  So, I guess like it must be hard for Princess in the class cause she’s [so much younger Jo Ann: [Um, [hm. Marissa: [Yeah, but she’s outgoing so Klara: Yeah she was, I think now she’s more quiet, I don’t know. Marissa: Yeah, I noticed that too! Klara: Did you notice that? Like she seemed to participate more in the class before. Marissa: I wonder why that is.  I began the conversation by putting the focus on Princess’s younger age, making it a salient issue in the interaction. Although in other parts of our interview, I had positioned Princess as a HL student with excellent oral skills, here I was positioning her as the youngest student in the class, much as Ms. Lopez had done in the class interaction described earlier. Jo Ann and Marissa, though mildly agreeing, did not appear to think it was such a big problem since as Marissa put it, “she’s outgoing” (line 4). I, however, continued with my positioning of Princess, now as the “quiet” young student (line 5). To this Marissa strongly agreed, saying, “Yeah, I noticed that too!” (line 6) However, when I reiterated that “she seemed to participate more in the class before,” Marissa responded  64  with, “I wonder why that is.” Clearly then, Marissa did not make a connection between Princess’s significantly younger age, the salience of that age difference as it related to that of her Grade 12 tablemates, and her later lack of participation. Although she mentioned in the first part of our interview that Princess, “moved to the other side cause she didn’t like sitting with that other group,” she was probably not aware of the extent to which Princess’s being seated for six weeks with the Grade 12 students affected her behaviour. When it came to interacting with Princess, then, Marissa described how strange it was for students of different grades to interact but did not see this phenomenon from the younger student’s (Princess’s) point of view. Ms. Lopez also did not appear to realize that Princess’s younger age was a problem for her in the class when I brought it up in our interview (1/16/06): Excerpt 4.2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22  Klara:  Ms. Lopez:  Klara: Ms. Lopez:  Klara: Ms. Lopez: Klara: Ms. Lopez: Klara: Ms. Lopez:  Do you think it’s a problem that Princess is in a class where she’s so much younger – and other kids who are in her position? Do you think it’s [difficult [No, 2 years I don’t think is – 2 years I think is easy to handle for any kid like the maturity level is not (1.3) you know, we do it all the time in French where we have a French immersion student going into a French or go from – they don’t go to French 8, they go straight to French 10 so they’ll be Grade 8 kids in a Grade 10 class. Yeah. When we talked about among our department heads, we felt that two years was reasonable and that there was enough social (1.1) commonalities that they would get along well. Now Princesa didn’t like sitting with the Grade 12s if you noticed.= Yeah. =So I let her sit with the – now she’s sitting with the – who’s she sitting with? Funk Machine? Yeah, Funk Machine. And Rusty. When did that happen? Well, after I moved the seating plan she came and said to me “Can I sit somewhere else”…  In this part of our interview, I asked Ms. Lopez if she thought that it was a problem for Princess to be “in a class where she’s so much younger” (lines 1-2) and Ms. Lopez explained that she thought that it was not and that “two years … is easy to handle for any kid” (lines 4-5). She then went on to explain that putting students in classes two  65  grades higher was also being done with students who came from French immersion in their elementary school and that the “department heads… felt that two years was reasonable and that there were enough social commonalities that they would get along well” (lines 11-13). She did then bring up the fact that Princess did not like sitting with the Grade 12 students and that she let her move (lines 13-4, 16). However, it was clear that Ms. Lopez was not aware of this until Princess asked to sit somewhere else (lines 2122). Interestingly, as Ms. Lopez suggested, Princess did not seem to have as many problems sitting with students two years her senior. But Ms. Lopez did not take into account her age and its implications when she moved her to the Grade 12 table. Not only were the Grade 12 students so much older but they were also the highest step in the high school hierarchy. Clearly, then, Ms. Lopez was not aware of the importance of age in her high school students’ social relations and did not take this issue into account when she considered how to best integrate Princess into the class. In fact, the question of age in relation to SHL students in SFL classes is an important one. Since the regular SFL course sequence is often too easy for the SHL students, some, like Princess, chose to switch to higher level classes. While the higher grade level is generally a better match for their language skills, it has a significant impact on their interactions and participation in the class and thus, potentially, their language learning. In a high school setting, as aptly pointed out by Janet, two or three years’ difference in age is a considerable gap for the SHL student to negotiate. It is clear from Janet’s comments that she was positioning Princess not as a confident and competent SHL student but as a young and immature ninth grader. Princess described feeling “antisocial” while seated with the Grade 12 students and during her time seated there, became silent in both class and group interactions. After finally moving to a new seat, she regained confidence in displaying some of her social behaviour when interacting with her new table group but no longer singled herself out as a class language expert with her own form of (linguistic/cultural) authority and credibility in whole class discussions. 4.4 Gender Gender also played a role in how the four SHL students interacted in class. Being the only male SHL student, having a dominant personality and “bad boy” image, Tony created a very overpowering presence in class. The three other SHL students, Claude, Pat  66  and Princess, on the other hand, kept mostly to their own groups of friends. Princess was the only one who came into class with a strong presence and whom Tony described as “a female version” of himself but as we saw in the previous section, her young age, perhaps coupled with her gender, did not allow her to showcase this personality and she soon faded into the background. Tony also had a unique relationship and dynamic with Ms. Lopez. On the one hand, she had very low expectations of his ability to do well in an academic setting, partly due to his own actions and partly as a result of her views of male (Hispanic) students as being weaker academically than female ones. On the other hand, perhaps having been previously married to a Hispanic, she expressed a certain attraction to his personality and heritage. Various studies have found that in mixed-gender classes, boys, particularly lowachieving ones, often dominate classroom interactions more than girls. Younger, Warrington and Williams (1999) found that “the noise level of the boys, their off-task activities, their poor behaviour pattern and apparent limited attention span, inevitably attracted more attention” from their teachers (p. 329). While they found that teachers directed more questions to boys and boys also responded more to questions directed to the whole class, they found that much of the teachers’ attention directed to boys focussed on management rather than teaching and learning. On the other hand, they found that “regardless of the subject, girls interacted more inquisitively with the subject matter being taught, participated more in the enquiry process, and showed more interest and intellectual curiosity” (p. 338). They concluded that “boys appear to dominate certain classroom interactions, while girls participate more in teacher-student interactions which support learning” (p. 325). In a recent Norwegian study, Aukrust (2008) studied the participation of boys and girls across four grade levels (first, third, sixth, and ninth). Although boys participated more than girls at all grade levels, the participation gap was greatest in ninth grade and least in first grade. Boys were also found to have more overlapping utterances with the teacher and made more uninvited comments. The majority of girls’ turns were in response to the teacher calling on them to speak. Summarizing three decades of research in the area of differential teacher attention to boys and girls, Beaman, Wheldall and Kemp (2006) concluded that in more recent studies, the type, rather than the amount, of teacher attention has been identified as more significant.  67  Furthermore, they stated that “the influence of a few boys in the class with externalizing behaviours, not boys per se, has been demonstrated” (p. 361 emphasis in the original). In Ms. Lopez’s class, while Tony and, to a lesser extent, his friend, Cristiano, were often at the centre of attention in class, the girls tended to chat with their friends and tablemates. Although some of these groups of girls, such as the preppy girl group, which included Pat, and the Grade 12 group were disruptive due to their loud socializing, Tony and Cristiano disrupted (and participated) in a way that took over whole-class discussions. Not being able to stop their dominating behaviour, Ms. Lopez instead tried to harness their attention and focus it on her lesson, allowing them to have extended interactions with her during class. Hearing Tony speaking Spanish with Ms. Lopez, however, was only helpful to his classmates to a certain extent since it also limited their ability to participate in class and showcase their knowledge (this is discussed in detail in Chapter 5). In terms of Tony’s interaction and the findings of the studies mentioned above, it is interesting to note that although Tony was a low-achiever in most of his classes (and in Spanish class to a lesser extent), he was able to showcase his excellent oral Spanish skills in Ms. Lopez’s class. His utterances in this class could therefore be seen as being “ontask” because they were spoken in Spanish; however, he would sometimes change topics or overelaborate on Ms. Lopez’s questions. In significant ways, Spanish class allowed Tony to dominate classroom discourse in more positive ways while at the same time allowing him to showcase his abilities in ways that may have been harder to do in his other academic classes. His oral skills therefore gave him a kind of “right to speak” (Bourdieu, 1977) in this class. As described by Beaman, Wheldall and Kemp (2006), Tony was one of those “few boys in the class with externalizing behaviours.” A researcher simply counting the number of turns spoken by male and female students in this class would find that male student utterances significantly outnumbered those of female students. However, it was this one male student that participated significantly more than his (male and female) classmates. Therefore, studies looking at the participation patterns of male and female students must also look at who is participating rather than simply which gender is participating more. And, as rightly pointed out in the Younger, Warrington and Williams (1999) study, a variety of aspects of student  68  participants, such as their achievement level, should be studied so gender is not given over-exaggerated importance. In addition to being a dominant male student, Tony also personified the “bad boy” in the class (and school).45 In his other courses, Tony also had problems. On my last day, Tony was absent from class but I found him outside the building with his friends. At that point, he had missed three out of the last four Spanish classes. He shared with me that his overall average went down from 73% to 40% between terms 1 and 2. He also said he was failing all his classes aside from Spanish, P.E. leadership and cooking. In fact, he told me that he had skipped all but one or two English classes that term and was getting 12%. When relaying this information, Tony seemed a little disappointed but rather resigned and not surprised by this outcome. He described, wistfully, becoming trapped by the reputation he had created and friends he had made at the school.46 By the end of my observations, Tony had also been suspended two times for fights. When it came to disciplining Tony for coming late to class or leaving for extended periods of time, Ms. Lopez told me in our interview, “I can’t be too strict or he’ll rebel” (1/16/06). With this statement, Ms. Lopez showed that she recognized Tony’s negative tendencies. She described how she talked to him once about coming late to class and he told her that he was late for all of his classes. She then told him that “she understood because she was the same,” perhaps referring to her own school days, though she was still late at times to her class and her students relayed to me that when their class had been during first period, she was often late.47 In fact, Ms. Lopez repeated this statement two times in our interview. With it she expressed a certain understanding of his behaviour and a kind of kinship and empathy she felt with him. When he told her that he would only come late to one class per week, she told me that, “he set himself a higher goal than I would’ve.” This shows that Ms. Lopez (perhaps rightly so) had quite low expectations for Tony’s behaviour and felt that the best approach to use with him was to encourage him to use and be confident in his Spanish rather than disciplining him too harshly and losing him altogether. 45  See Section for more detail on his behaviour and performance in the Spanish class. See Section 7.2 for more on this topic. 47 The course schedule changed four times during the year so all classes would be in all different time slots during the year. 46  69  As for Tony, he appeared to enjoy being the “bad boy” in class, which formed a part of his rebellious identity. This can be seen in his interactions with his classmates. For example, when he was working with Marissa in a group work activity, and their interaction changed to a discussion of their grades in English class, he told her with a smile and proud tone of voice, “I don’t study. I don’t do my homework at all. She still passes me” (11/10/05-TR6).48 With this statement, he was portraying himself as a poor student who was able to pass classes with no effort whatsoever, perhaps just by using his charm. He made similar statements about how he did not need to do any of the written work in Spanish class either. For example, when I once confronted him about copying Pat’s work, he told me that he did not need to learn to write, that he “[didn’t] care” and that he would “still pass,” which is what he really “cared about” (11/8/05-TR14).49 In fact, he did not pass but was expelled from the school in May. However, the following year he was in the Spanish 12 class so perhaps he had received a “standing granted” grade. In class, Ms. Lopez did not show very high expectations of Tony’s ability to improve his literacy skills. For example, one time just before a test, he was asking her what would be on the test. She mentioned a few things but then told him, “Don’t even bother studying. Just wing it. See what you know” (11/04/05-TR3). To this Tony answered, “I’m gonna wing it.” Of course, it was rather late at the point to be asking about a test he had not known about; still her comment was somewhat uncharacteristic of a teacher. During tests, Ms. Lopez would often give a lot of help to Tony and a few other students who were struggling and asking many questions. She also seldom made any comments when Tony frequently copied Pat’s work. In our interview (1/16/06), Ms. Lopez revealed, perhaps partly based on her own past experience, that she had generally low expectations of male Hispanic students. For example, when I asked her about her experiences with SHL students in the past, she said, “very few Hispanics are academically inclined,” then added that the ones who were so inclined were “mostly girls – girls are more academically inclined than boys.” Later on in the interview, she related that she had “had some top academic achievers – always girls.  48 49  For a detailed analysis of the interaction, see Chapter 5, Excerpt 5.5. For a detailed analysis of the interaction, see Chapter 6, Excerpt 6.3.  70  The boys wouldn’t write, had poor grammar. I think it goes back to the literacy thing – boys don’t read, you know. That generation of boys didn’t read.” With these two statements, Ms. Lopez makes strong generalizations about the academic abilities of male Hispanic students, which no doubt affected how she interacted with these students. Although Ms. Lopez does not specify why she thinks that boys don’t like to read, it nevertheless affects how she looks at her male Hispanic students, in this case, Tony, and the kinds of expectations she has of his ability and motivation to improve his literacy skills. Tony, then, fit Ms. Lopez’s stereotype of a male Hispanic student quite well and perhaps that is part of the reason why she accepted his behaviour in class and felt that his oral participation was as much as she could expect from him. Finally, the fact that Ms. Lopez had a strong affiliation to the Hispanic culture and had been married to a Hispanic affected how she saw Tony. By way of describing the kind of interactional relationship that Ms. Lopez had with Tony, she stated in her interview, “Antonio50 is mine – I think he’d be considered teacher’s pet, for sure” (1/16/06). When I asked her, in response, how Tony became the “teacher’s pet” she elaborated: He started talking to – I just like – because he rep-, he – cause I’m attracted to Hispanic people, right. So I’m attracted to the Hispanic culture. And so his, his, I like his sense of humour, his looks, his friendliness, his interest in music, the way he talks is so beautiful to listen to and so I found myself quite intrigued by him and so I have to be careful about that because I don’t wanna – and he can hook me, he knows how to hook me, right, how to get me to give him what he wants. So I gotta be careful, I gotta keep my distance. Here Ms. Lopez is expressing that being attracted to Hispanic people and their culture had an effect on her interaction with Tony. Her description shows that her attraction to his way of being is rooted not only in his cultural background but also his gender. For example, she talks about “his looks” and that she found herself “quite intrigued by him.” She further elaborates that her attraction to Tony gives him a kind of power since “he knows how to … get me to give him what he wants.” Tony had this kind of power with many of his female classmates as well and it affected how much his classmates and  50  Ms. Lopez always called Tony by the Hispanic form of his name.  71  teacher would tolerate or even encourage his interactions with them and how much he was allowed to dominate the class. Gender, therefore had an impact on the kinds of interactions and participation that the four SHL students exhibited and were expected to exhibit. Tony, with his outgoing and dominating personality, his “bad boy” persona, and his low academic inclinations, displayed greater tendencies for both participation and domination in whole class discussions. This behaviour was also sanctioned by Ms. Lopez who had low academic expectations of Tony, due to both his own behaviour as well as that of her previous male Hispanic students. At the same time, Ms. Lopez showed high expectations of Tony culturally and interpersonally. 4.5 Summary It is clear that friendship groups, age and gender all played a significant role in the positioning of SHL students in the class and in their interactions. Claude and Pat, along with their respective friendship groups, positioned one another in negative ways and avoided any kind of interaction in class. Tony, along with his friend, Cristiano, was very outspoken and dominated class interactions. Princess, being the youngest student in the class, was positioned particularly by her Grade 12 tablemates as young and immature rather than as a competent Spanish speaker, which led to her feeling “antisocial” and being effectively silenced in class. Who students worked and socialized with and how was therefore primarily based on their friendship groups, on their age and grade, and their gender. Yet, the few HL studies conducted at the high school level (Webb & Miller, 2000) did not undertake an in-depth analysis of classroom interactions of HL or HL/FL students in the classes they observed nor discussed the importance that social context plays in high school settings. Where student groupings were discussed (e.g. Blake & Zyzik, 2003; Dunlap, 2003), such groupings were made purely on the basis of HL/FL student status, perhaps due to the (post-secondary) setting in which the studies took place. I contend that the HL literature, particularly when referring to the teaching of HL students at the high school level, needs to take into account such social factors as described in this chapter when discussing the grouping of students in productive ways, rather than limiting their discussions to students’ HL/FL status or language proficiency.  72  Chapter 5 ORAL EXPERTISE AND PERFORMANCE 5.0 Introduction One significant way in which SHL students were often positioned was in relation to their Spanish language expertise. Although they were often looked to by their classmates and teacher as language experts, they were not expected to show the same amount of expertise in literacy as they were in orality. Ms. Lopez, as a result of her previous experiences with SHL students, had a certain understanding of the kinds of expertise which they generally possess. Specifically, she expected SHL students to be orally proficient and to demonstrate their expertise in class. Moreover, she linked certain SHL students’ (and one SFL student’s) performed oral abilities to their heritage. Their performed abilities played a large part in giving them the status of “idealized speaker model” or even “co-teacher” in the class. In the following sections, I will describe how the four SHL students in Ms. Lopez’s class were positioned with regard to their oral abilities and the effects of these positionings on them, their classmates and the class. 5.1 SHL Students as Idealized Speaker Models and Language Experts Ms. Lopez was very enthusiastic about having SHL students in her Spanish classes. In her interview, she talked about the advantages associated with their presence in the class. She felt that by speaking Spanish in class, “they can provide an authentic learning experience, immersion for our students” (12/8/05). Her use of the term “authentic” shows that she felt that SHL speakers spoke much like native speakers of the language would. She also explained that when her SHL students spoke to her in Spanish, she, in turn, spoke Spanish back to them. She explained that in a class of only FL students, she would not speak as much Spanish because she would find it unnatural but, she explained, “when I look at Princess, I talk Spanish; when I look at Antonio, I speak Spanish, and the kids benefit from that, so I will speak more Spanish” (12/8/05). So aside from hearing Spanish from the SHL students themselves, they would also hear more Spanish from their teacher. Interestingly, while Spanish was not her native language, Ms. Lopez felt very comfortable speaking it. Her comments as well as my observations in class showed that she was not intimidated by her SHL students’ Spanish oral proficiency and that she felt comfortable conversing with them. However, her comments also had an  73  important implication for her language use with her SFL students. After all, one of her roles as a Spanish teacher was to speak to her students in Spanish. If she felt unnatural doing that with her SFL students, she was less likely to address them in Spanish in class, something which I did in fact observe. Most of Ms. Lopez’s comments in Spanish were addressed to Tony. In fact, the two often had extended interactions in Spanish, typically on the topic being covered. Ms. Lopez spoke to the other three SHL students much less frequently and such exchanges were not always in Spanish, though some began in Spanish. The SFL students were most frequently addressed in English. According to Ms. Lopez, then, one of the roles of SHL students in the class was to carry on Spanish conversations with the teacher which the FL students could listen to and learn from. This is significant since the FL students were not expected to participate in Spanish conversations with SHL students but merely listen to them. Having SHL students in the class then, according to Ms. Lopez, helped FL students improve their listening comprehension but not their speaking skills. For example, Ms. Lopez told me in her second interview that in some of her previous classes, the SHL students only wanted to work together because they were friends and they did not want to do all the work which they felt they did when they worked with FL students. She therefore let them work together and explained that, “if Hispanic kids work together, you can challenge them to use more idiomatic expressions and the class benefits because they hear an authentic conversation” (1/16/06, emphasis mine). This principle makes the SFL students peripheral participants or auditors in the classroom with respect to Spanish oral discourse and Spanish-mediated interactions (cf. Lave & Wenger, 1991). Some students mentioned Ms. Lopez’s tendency to have more frequent interactions with certain SHL students as something negative. In her interview, Claude asserted that the fact that Ms. Lopez singled out Tony and Princess in class was “quite bad” (11/28/05). When I asked her why she thought this, she answered: Cause the other students need to interact obviously, they need to have that and she’s doing too much of – and I’m finding that like when we start an activity and you put your hand up or whatever, and um one of them are always giving one of the answers like out of all the kids, out of all the kids that are in the classroom, those two are the ones that always put their hand up or that she always singles out for answers.  74  When Tony and Princess were given too much participation time in class, then, this took away from the time given to the other students in the class and their ability to improve their Spanish through interaction. Having students like Tony and, to a lesser extent, Princess being idealized speakers in the class was therefore only beneficial to a certain extent since merely hearing them would at best improve the SFL students’ listening skills; however, not having enough opportunities to speak themselves would adversely affect their abilities to improve their speaking skills. Moreover, it also did not allow them the opportunity to be showcased and ratified as valued or idealized speakers, good students, and so on. I use the term “idealized speaker models” to describe a certain kind of positioning of (some of) the SHL students. The reason for my use of the term “idealized” is twofold. First, it shows that the students’ (oral) Spanish abilities are idealized in that they are seen as being the same as those of (monolingual) native speakers of the language or perhaps perfectly bilingual role models, which they are not. Second, they are viewed as having more of a “right to speak” in the class by virtue of this status (Bourdieu, 1977; Norton, 2000). Therefore, they are those who should “ideally” be speaking in the class, so their classmates could learn from them. The SHL student most often positioning by Ms. Lopez as the idealized speaker model was Tony. Ms. Lopez described how she “was intrigued” by Tony’s way of speaking in our interview (1/16/06), saying, “the way he talks is so beautiful to listen to.” In class, she asked him on occasion to serve as a pronunciation model. Excerpt 5.1 was one such interaction which showcased Ms. Lopez’s enthusiasm for Tony’s accent. Excerpt 5.1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12  Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez:  Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Ss:  Es muy antiguo. {He’s very old.} Sí. {Yes.} What’s the opposite of antiguo? {old} Jóven. {Young} ((Little laugh to self.)) Are you catching that accent? ((Tone of fascination.)) Repeat after Antonio. Okay, you say it and everybody else say it after you say it. Why? ((looking down, hesitatingly)) Because it’s beautiful. ((class laughs)) Say it, viejo. VIEJO. ((head high, smiling)) Oh, you should catch the v/b. Viejo. Repitan. Viejo↑ {Old. Repeat. Old.} Viejo.  75  13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26  Tony: Ss: Ms. Lopez:  Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony:  JOVEN. Jóven. Excelente! Se aprende mucho (.) en esta clase. {Excellent! One learns a lot in this class.} So as I was x, some of the kids when they hear Spanish, they want to pronounce the “v” like we do in English, like “viejo” but most Spanish speakers pronounce it like a “b” – “biejo”. Okay, muy bien. {very good} (.) Number six is “mi primo”↑ {my cousin} Mi primo es (alto). {My cousin is tall.} ¿Cuántos años tiene? {How old is he?} Dieciseis. {Sixteen.} Quién {Who} – okay, um, Rusty you’re in block x now, I thought… It’s so easy – I learned it in kindergarten. How old are you xxx ((says to Cristiano but loud enough for others to hear))  In this interaction (10/03/05), Ms. Lopez showed her fascination with Tony’s accent, asking the class, “Are you catching that accent?” (line 4) and calling it “beautiful” (line 8). Her reaction was exaggerated, generating laughter from the class (line 8). Tony responded with some embarrassment, lowering his head and asking uncertainly, “Why?” (line 7) but quickly took up the role of pronunciation model, raising his head high, smiling and increasing his volume in a way that showed he was quite proud of himself (lines 9, 12). Here Ms. Lopez positioned Tony as a language expert and he, after a little hesitation, took up this positioning himself. She did this, for example, when she asked, “Are you catching that accent” (line 4), with “you” referring to the students, but not to Tony, when she commanded his classmates to repeat, in chorus, after Tony, and with her subsequent comment that “Se aprende mucho en esta class” {one learns a lot in this class} in lines 15-16. As for Tony, he reinforced this positioning with his unprompted continuation with “jóven” in line 13 and the way he took up answering question six as if he had been nominated to do so, in lines 21 and 23. Ms. Lopez’s statement “one learns a lot in this class” (lines 15-16), also seems to beg the question of “who” one learns a lot from. The answer seemed to be Tony since he, and not the teacher, was the one being asked to be a pronunciation model. Furthermore, in line 17, Ms. Lopez talked about how “we” (including herself) pronounce things in English and this seemed to be contrasted with how “they”, the “Spanish speakers” actually “pronounce” (line 18). In this way, she positioned herself as a pronunciation non-expert in contrast to Tony’s expertise. Finally,  76  in line 25, Tony loudly commented to Cristiano that “It’s so easy – I learned it in kindergarten.” This comment suggests that the phrases that Ms. Lopez was having Tony model were extremely easy and that he, like a native speaker would, supposedly learned them in kindergarten. This is a contrast with Ms. Lopez who learned Spanish as a young adult. Interestingly, though, Tony came to Canada at the age of two and never went to a Spanish language kindergarten and therefore the comment is meant to position himself as an expert rather than to reveal anything about his education. His comment could also be interpreted as a put down to others (and by extension to the course content), who could not even say things in a Spanish 11 class that kindergartners would know how to say. Dunlap (2003) also used her SHL and Spanish native speaker (SNS) students as pronunciation coaches in her upper-level phonetics class. Since the goal of the class was dialect awareness and improved pronunciation, she found that having the SHL and SNS students work with groups of three or four SFL students had positive results for all students, giving the HL and NS more confidence in their language skills and the FL students greater dialect awareness and improved pronunciation. However, Dunlap’s setting was quite different in that all her students were advanced Spanish language learners, who presumably felt confident with their Spanish and also wanted to focus on their pronunciation in her class. The students in Ms. Lopez’s class, on the other hand, had a much lower proficiency in Spanish and may not have been as interested in listening to their SHL student classmates coaching them. Moreover, being high school students and allowing their classmates to coach them was quite different from young adults who did not have a long history of knowing each other doing so. Although she never asked them to be pronunciation models, Ms. Lopez did once use Claude and Princess to illustrate grammar in use to the class when she asked them to improvise two dialogues with her.51 The dialogues were about buying purses and pants and showcased the use of “this” and “that” in Spanish (2/10/06-TR26). These dialogues, in which Ms. Lopez, using actual student purses in different parts of the room, asked both girls which they liked, using the demonstrative adjectives and colours, worked very well and showed another way in which SHL students’ oral abilities could be used as effective models in structured activities. 51  Tony was away that day so it is uncertain whether she would have asked him or not.  77  Ms. Lopez also mentioned that SHL students could serve as models for vocabulary and idioms or colloquial expression models, not only for their classmates but also for her. In answer to my interview questions, “What else are Hispanic students resources for? What do they bring to class?,” she stated: Well, I think the most important one is to be able to show the kids that Spanish, it has different vocabulary words for the same thing, like, you know, that we say bolígrafo {pen} and they say lapicero {pen}. I like the fact that they can constantly give me words that they use. And it would be great to do a whole unit on modizmos {idioms}, like what do you call those – slang expressions, that’d be great to do. Here’s the expressions in xxx slang – in Spain they say this, in Guatemala, they say this, in El Salvador, Mexico they say this but they’re all expressions for the same meaning. That’d be fun to do – a whole thing on slang. (1/16/06) True to her statement above, Ms. Lopez was very interested in learning new vocabulary and slang expressions from the SHL students. In fact, she even adopted some of them such as the one she gave as an example in her interview, namely the two translations for “pen.” Tony used the word lapicero and whenever she asked students to use their pens for something in class, she would first use the more common bolígrafo to which Tony would frequently respond with lapicero, which she would then repeat and use when repeating the command again. Tony was the main source of alternative vocabulary and slang. However, Princess also frequently volunteered words at the beginning of the year before she became silent in class at the grade 12 table. Claude also, on occasion, offered new vocabulary words to the class or participated in the discussion of slang expressions. Ms. Lopez occasionally used Tony as an expert of grammar usage and asked him to correct his classmates. For example, on September 27, she asked Tony to correct Katrina’s wrong use of a verb and he did so quickly, even though he had not been paying attention: Excerpt 5.2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  Ms. Lopez: Katrina: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Katrina: Tony:  Use the verbs, in like use the verbs in first person singular. Oh, estoy cómica? {I’m funny. – wrong verb usage} Do you want to correct her there? What? Correct her. What did she say? Estoy cómica? {I’m funny. – wrong verb usage} Soy cómica, would it? {I’m funny. – correct verb usage}  78  9 Ms. Lopez:  Um, hm.  In the exercise, students were asked to describe themselves using one of four verbs (ser – to be, estar – to be, tener – to have, llevar – to wear), some which are used differently in Spanish and English. Asking Tony to correct Katrina, in this instance, served two purposes for Ms. Lopez. It allowed for the validation of Tony’s language expertise while also bringing his attention back to the class and keeping him from distracting other classmates. In fact, Ms. Lopez’s use of Tony as an idealized speaker could have been as much by reason of his oral expertise as for reasons of keeping him interested in and coming to class. In our interview, Ms. Lopez spoke to this latter reason. She called Tony “very lazy” and described how he needed help with his “work ethic,” much like “a lot of the Hispanics” she had taught in the past. When I asked her how she helped her Hispanic students with their work ethic she explained (1/16/06): Just what I did with Antonio today, trying to get him to come on time. Trying to get them to keep a notebook or understand that it’s not just about showing up and speaking, it’s about keeping a binder and keeping notes and (2.1) But I don’t have that problem with most of my Hispanics this year. Like Princesa, Claude, Pat Ruiz, I mean, Terry, they’re all studious. For Ms. Lopez then, Tony was an example of a “typical” Hispanic student52 who needed a lot of supervision, encouragement and help with his work ethic. In fact, in this excerpt, she described “just…showing up and speaking” as not enough to succeed in the class. This is in stark contrast to the way she described Hispanic students’ speaking as an “authentic learning experience.” The same act, then, can be seen in various ways and positioned Tony either as an idealized speaker or as a student lacking in a strong work ethic. As described previously in Section 4.3, Tony did indeed have a poor work ethic and reveled in his “bad boy” persona and Ms. Lopez understood this very well. Not wanting him to rebel and stop coming to class altogether, she did not discipline him very much, choosing instead to encourage him to use his strengths of speaking Spanish in class, as a way to help him work on something positive in his academic life and keep him in the  52  This was discussed in detail in Chapter 4, Section 4.3, in relation to gender and ethnicity.  79  class. By positioning Tony as an idealized speaker, then, Ms. Lopez may have been trying to help him feel successful in her class and building up his confidence. In her interview, Claude speculated about the reasons that Ms. Lopez may have had for her frequent interactions with Tony. When I asked her why she thought Ms. Lopez interacted so much with Tony in class, she first expressed the opinion that, “I guess she’s probably doing it to make the kids hear it a little more, I guess, cause he’s really into trying to teach them or trying to help them and he repeats the words all the time, after she says them and stuff, so I guess she likes that” (11/28/05). Here Claude is describing Ms. Lopez’s positioning of Tony as the idealized speaker, since by “it” she is referring to his “authentic” Spanish. This echoes Ms. Lopez’s comments about the advantage of having SHL students in the class discussed at the beginning of this Section, namely to improve their learning by immersing them in “authentic” Spanish. According to Claude, Tony was “really into trying to teach them;” in other words, he enjoyed the status of language expert and co-teacher to Ms. Lopez. However, shortly after, Claude speculated that Ms. Lopez called on both Princess and Tony the most because she was trying to get them involved in the class because “you know they’ll get bored” (11/28/05). Perhaps Claude observed that Tony and Princess were less academically inclined (than she and Pat) and struggled with their literacy (see Chapter 6 for details), which may have prompted them to get “bored” more easily in class. In her interview, Claude stated that Ms. Lopez called on both Tony and Princess “a lot.” However, from my own observations, this was not entirely accurate. At the very beginning of the year, Ms. Lopez did, in fact, call on Princess frequently, quite possibly because she was new to the class, did not know anyone well due to her younger age, and because Ms. Lopez wanted her to be an active participant. However, after the first few classes, she ceased singling Princess out in this way. Perhaps, Claude was recalling examples of this singling out from late September and early October during her November interview. Tony, on the other hand, continued to have frequent interactions with Ms. Lopez whenever he was present in class.53 This was not only because he was singled out by Ms. Lopez, though he was singled out more than any other student, but  53  In term 2 Tony began skipping classes more frequently and his absence created a very different dynamic in class.  80  also because he was the only student in the class who actively sought out the role of language expert by constantly volunteering answers and comments due to his confidence in his oral expertise as well as his great need for attention. It would seem that at the beginning of the year, Ms. Lopez treated Tony and Princess differently from Claude and Pat. She had taught Claude and Pat before, was familiar with their abilities and, from past experience, did not expect them to participate more than their classmates. However, this was her first time teaching both Tony and Princess, and, having interviewed them in Spanish as part of their admittance into the class, she would have seen that they were comfortable with and proficient in their oral Spanish, as well as outgoing. She therefore began the year singling them out and using them as resources to which they both responded favourably. However, Princess, as she became more aware of her lower status in the class as a result of her younger age, especially after she was seated with three grade 12 students, no longer sought out the role of language resource; conversely Tony sought out this role very actively and was supported in taking it up by Ms. Lopez. Tony, then, was often used as a model of oral conversation, vocabulary and colloquial expressions, pronunciation and grammar usage. Princess and Claude were also infrequently called upon to serve as models. Pat, however, by virtue of her resistance to speaking Spanish in class, could not take on the role of language expert. In Section 5.4, I describe the various effects of her unwillingness to speak Spanish. 5.2 SHL Students as Co-Teachers Tony was Ms. Lopez’s most common Spanish conversation partner. They both engaged each other in Spanish conversation and Tony was by far the student who most often answered Ms. Lopez’s questions in class. But his status in class went beyond that of an enthusiastic Spanish speaker. He routinely positioned himself as the class language expert and at times he would almost act as Ms. Lopez’s co-teacher, scaffolding other students’ responses, as he did in the following interaction with Marissa, during a beginning of the year review of adjectives (10/03/05): Excerpt 5.3 1 Ms. Lopez: 2 3  Who has a younger, who has a younger brother or sister? Okay, Marissa. ¿Cómo se lla-? {What is the name - ?} Can you describe your sibling?  81  4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25  Marissa: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Marissa: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Marissa: Tony: Marissa: Ms. Lopez: Marissa: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Marissa: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez:  Um, how do you say thin again? Delgado. {Thin.} Delgado. ¿Es hermano or hermana? {Thin (ms). Is it a brother or a sister?} Hermano. {Brother.} Okay, mi hermano= {my brother=} =es delgado. {=is thin.} es: delgado: {is thin.} ((says as writes on overhead)) y {and} ojos↑ {eyes} azul {blue} Brown, how do you say brown? Tiene ojos café↑ {He has brown eyes.} Dark skin. Moreno. {Dark skinned.} Moreno. {Dark skinned.} ((as writes)) How about personality? Y {and} Cómico. {Funny.} Cómico. {Funny.} ((laughs slightly)) y es muy= {and is very=} =chistoso {=funny} cómico. {funny.} Okay, that’s good.  In this excerpt, both Tony and Ms. Lopez scaffolded Marissa54 as she tried to describe her brother. For example, when Marissa asked for the translation of certain adjectives in lines 4, 15 and 17, Tony answered her two times in lines 5 and 18, and both times Ms. Lopez repeated his answer. Tony’s turns and how he latched his turns to Ms. Lopez’s in lines 10 and 24 demonstrate in interactional terms how Tony was coconstructing himself as (co)teacher of Spanish with Ms. Lopez, and thus, his Spanish expertise. That she did not censure him, but instead echoed his turns (lines 6, 11, 19), displays her role in this co-construction. Line 25 was the only place where Ms. Lopez did not take up Tony’s choice of adjective. In this case, she showed a preference for his initial rendering of the English adjective “funny” as “cómico” in line 21 instead of his subsequent use of “chistoso”. This is most likely because “cómico” is a much more common translation of the word and also the one given in the book.55 In the excerpt, Marissa does not object to Tony’s self-positioning as co-teacher though her reaction to it is ambiguous. For example, in line 15, she ignores his statement that her brother’s eyes 54 55  Marissa was a second-generation Czech-Canadian, a confident and very good student in the class. This point will be further clarified in the analysis of Excerpt 5.6 below.  82  are blue, asking instead how to say brown, which Ms. Lopez answers. On the other hand, she takes up his response that her brother is funny in line 22 and laughs slightly. Marissa and Jo Ann’s interview segment, below, sheds some light on how Marissa viewed Tony’s interactions in whole-class discussions. Overall, Marissa and Jo Ann indicated that they felt that Tony was naturally loud and outgoing but the fact that he was a SHL student who was very comfortable with his speaking skills in Spanish added to his disruptions because he often spoke Spanish with Ms. Lopez and answered her questions before anyone else had a chance to do so. They discussed this with me in their interview, transcribed below (2/20/06): Excerpt 5.4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13  Klara: Jo Ann: Marissa:  Klara: Marissa: Klara: Marissa:  Tony, what do you think of him? He’s really loud. Yeah, he just kind of overrules the whole class and when we try to answer questions he just blurts it out or whatever and sometimes he says things that we don’t even understand and he kind makes us look like we don’t know anything but he was just born that way so right, so he can’t like help You mean it’s his personality? Yeah, (.) well and that he knows the language so he just, he just grew up with the language so he can’t help it I guess. Well, no, there’s others in the class who grew up with it and they don’t just say it all the time. I guess, I don’t know.  In this excerpt, Marissa asserted that Tony “just kind of overrules the whole class and when we try to answer questions he just blurts it out” (lines 3-4). This tendency can be seen in Excerpt 5.3 above, in lines 14 and 21, when Tony answered for Marissa, in describing her brother’s eye colour and personality characteristic. It is in fact highly doubtful that Tony knew Marissa’s brother as Tony was new to the school and mostly spent time with grade 12 students, while her brother was younger than her. His answers, then, were not attempts to help Marissa describe her brother resulting from knowing him, but more likely examples of “blurting out” that Marissa described in her interview. Marissa further showed frustration that even when students “try to answer,” they are unable to because Tony answers very quickly and “overrules the whole class,” which can also be seen in Excerpt 5.3. Continuing, she also stated that “sometimes he says things that we don’t even understand and he kind makes us look like we don’t know anything”  83  (lines 4-6). This is significant in that it puts forth another point of view with regard to the effect of having SHL students in the class. First, Marissa asserted that sometimes they “don’t even understand,” putting into question whether Ms. Lopez’s goal of having students listen to SHL students actually improved their comprehension.56 Additionally, she asserted that Tony made the other students look like they lacked knowledge when perhaps they had the knowledge but were not able to participate because he answered too quickly. In whole class interactions, then, Tony’s role was somewhat hegemonic but his classmates were not able to stand up to him. For example, students knew that Tony had a bad temper, demonstrated in his well-disseminated interactions with several students in the school where he had beaten them up over a little misunderstanding, so would most likely resist confrontations with him that could lead to repercussions. On the other hand, they often showed an appreciation of his sense of humour and charisma in class, such as frequently laughing at and following with interest his interactions with Ms. Lopez. Many girls also sought to get his attention during class and looked very happy when he spoke to or interacted with them. In terms of why she felt that Tony dominated the class, Marissa suggested that “he knows the language so he just, he just grew up with the language so he can’t help it” (lines 9-10), an interesting justification for his behaviour based on the premise that if someone knows a language very well, they cannot help but speak it all the time. However, this was clearly not the case for Princess and Claude who also grew up speaking the language but were much more reserved in class. Marissa’s justification of Tony’s behaviour implies that she, like others in the class, sanctioned Tony’s behaviour for reasons described above. It can be argued then, that perhaps the presence of orally proficient SHL students who assert the positioning of language expert in a SFL class inhibit the SFL students from having the opportunity to participate fully in the class and improve their oral skills, while at the same time, making them appear less proficient than they are, since their participation and abilities stand in stark contrast with those of the SHL students. In Section 5.5, I will show an example of Tony’s interaction in a whole class discussion, which illustrates some of the points that Marissa and Jo Ann elaborated in their interview. 56  This point will be demonstrated in Section 5.5.  84  When students worked in groups, however, Tony’s status was not as clear. His classmates did not always sanction his self-positioning as teacher or helper. On November 10, Ms. Lopez did a jigsaw activity for which she needed the same number of students in each group. Since Tony and Rusty were at their own table, she had to place them in other groups. When she was placing Tony in a certain group, she stated that her choice of placement was “so we can have one Hispanic helping in each group” (11/10/05TR6).57 This statement then set up the (orally proficient) Hispanic students, including Tony, as the “helpers” in the activity, or as those with relatively more expertise called to mentor their peers in their respective groups (cf. Lave & Wenger, 1991). For the activity, students were first working in groups to come up with questions they would be asking of other groups. The following excerpt is from the second part of the exercise when Tony, Marissa and three others formed a second group to ask each other the questions they had created in their original groups and were recording everyone’s answers: Excerpt 5.5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22  Tony: Julia: Tony: Julia: Tony: Julia: Tony: Julia: Marissa: Julia: Marissa: Julia: Marissa: Tony: Julia: Marissa: Tony: Julia: Tony:  Ya terminé. {I’m already done.} Next person. You can go. Okay. Pasaste un rato con tus amigos la semana pasada? {Did you hang out with your friends last week?} Huh? (1.1) Can you repeat it again? No, you heard me. No, do it again. Did you hear her? They heard me. (1.3)58 Yeah, see? Pasaste un rato con tus amigos la semana pasada? {Did you hang out with your friends last week?} xxx? Yeah. Am I first? Yeah. Oh. (1.2) Sí, (.) pa-sas-te. {Yes, you spent.} Pasé. {I spent.} Isn’t it (.) [I don’t know what it is. [Pa:sé. {I spent.} Sí, pasé. {Yes, I spent.} She’s supposed to say yo {I} but I’m writing it as – Pasó, you say pasó. {She spent, you say she spent.}  57  See also Section 5.4 for a more detailed description and analysis of the groupings for the activity. One or more of the other group members probably indicated that they did not hear Julia but I was not present during the interaction, nor could I hear anything on the tape.  58  85  23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43  Prince: Julia: Tony: Julia: Tony: Julia: Marissa: Tony: Marissa: Tony: Marissa: Tony: Marissa: Tony: Marissa: Tony: Tony: Marissa:  [xxx [xxx That’s what you’re supposed to write! The way she says it, is gonna be different from the way you write it. Yeah, I know. Sí, pasó tiempo con sus amigos. {Yes, she spent time with her friends.} Yeah, I know. Sí, pasé. {Yes, I spent.} You say pasé but she writes pasó. {I spent; she spent} Yes! We know that! ((laughter in voice)) ((clapping loudly)) You’re smart then. What did you get in your quiz in English? Eight (.) because I got one wrong. The Barbara thing? The Barbara thing. Barbara. Ha, ha, ha ((laughs)) I beat you. Well, what are you getting in English? ((laughing)) Sixty↑ ((Marissa still laughing)) (1.3) I don’t study. I don’t do my homework at all. She still passes me. Yeah, it’s really easy. That’s why you can get an A easily.  In this excerpt, Tony took charge in directing his group’s interactions. For example, in line 1 he designated Julia as being the next to ask her question, to which she agreed. He also told her to repeat her question in lines 4 and 6, which she finally did in line 10, though it seems that only did this because perhaps another student in the group also indicated that she did not understand in line 8, which Tony took up in line 9. Their exchange in lines 4 – 9 is reminiscent of one Tony had during a Trivia game when Kimiko began reading out game scores in Spanish and Tony asked her to repeat, saying, “Repite. {Repeat.} No te eniendo. {I don’t understand you.} I’m sorry, I don’t understand.” When her friend, Pat, objected, Tony answered, “If I can’t understand it!” (11/24/05-TR6), implying that if he, a SHL student, did not understand, how could anyone else in the class. By taking charge of the group work in the excerpt above, Tony was positioning himself as the leader in the group, by virtue of being designed as “helper” by Ms. Lopez. Tony also corrected Marissa’s answer in line 17 and explained to Julia in lines 22, and 25-26 what to write, positioning himself as their teacher. In lines 20 and 28, when he told Marissa and Julia, respectively, their correct answer in full-sentence  86  form, he was also positioning himself as their teacher, whose complete answers they should be emulating. Tony’s self-positioning as helper and teacher was taken up in various ways in the interaction. At first his positioning was accepted, such as when Marissa repeated his answer in line 19. However, in response to his strong insistence “That’s what you’re supposed to write! The way she says it, is gonna be different from the way you write it.” (lines 25-26), Julia responded with “Yeah, I know” (line 27). She had the same response in line 29 after he told her in line 28 exactly what she was supposed to write. These two responses positioned Tony as someone whose expertise and teaching was neither needed nor welcome. But Tony continued to explain, this time to Marissa in line 31. To this Marissa responded with a strong “Yes! We know that!” laughing as she spoke (line 32). In response, Tony used humour to save face, clapping loudly and telling Marissa “You’re smart then.” His exaggerated clapping and statement could be interpreted as (humorous) sarcasm with which he was telling Marissa that it was great that she (finally) understood what he had been trying to explain. He then changed the subject to the grade she had received on her quiz in English, stressing once again his expertise over hers in line 38 when he laughed and told her, “I beat you.” Marissa, laughing as well, changed the subject to Tony’s overall performance in English, asking about his mark in that class and continued to laugh as he told her that he had sixty percent. This then repositioned Marissa as the “smarter” student. After a pause, Tony explained that the reason for his mark was that “I don’t study. I don’t do my homework at all,” rather than a lack of ability. To this Marissa replied, “Yeah, it’s really easy. That’s why you can get an A easily,” once again repositioning herself as “smarter” since according to her it was easy to get an A in the class and yet Tony was only getting sixty percent. This interaction shows very interesting positioning and contestation between Tony, and Julia and Marissa. Although at first both girls accepted Tony’s positioning of expert and “helper,” when he began to assert it too much, they counter positioned him as an annoyance trying to impose his knowledge when they in fact knew the answer as well. This interaction shows how SFL students like Marissa and Julia did not accept Tony’s self-positioning as expert or teacher unconditionally. Rather they accepted this positioning only to a certain point and if Tony stepped beyond that point and their own  87  positioning as capable Spanish students was threatened, he put himself in a position of no longer being accepted in his aspired role. This goes back to Marissa’s statement in her interview, Excerpt 5.4 above, where she expressed resentment that Tony “kind of makes us look like we don’t know anything.” In their group work, Tony made Marissa and Julia look like they did not know much Spanish by continually correcting them and restating their answers but in the small group interaction, unlike in whole-class ones (see Excerpt 5.3, above, for an example), they, perhaps feeling more secure in that setting, were able to stand up to him and assert their understanding and abilities in Spanish. 5.3 Contestation in Whole-Class Interactions In whole-class interactions, Ms. Lopez often supported Tony’s self-positioning as expert and co-teacher, but this was not always the case. As was also seen in Excerpt 5.3, she did not take up Tony’s answers if they did not reflect what she would have taught herself. In the interaction below (10/03/05), which took place just prior to Excerpt 5.3, when Ms. Lopez used a discussion about famous actors to practice adjectives given to students in their textbook (in a box), this phenomenon is demonstrated: Excerpt 5.6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22  Ms. Lopez:  Tony: Terry?: Ms. Lopez: Terry: Ms. Lopez: Terry: Ms. Lopez:  Students: Ms. Lopez: Students: Ms. Lopez:  Tony: Ms. Lopez:  So supposing I just know this actor, I’ve never seen him before, how would you describe him using the adjectives in the box? (4.2) Por favor, no hablen! ((looking at Pat and Kimiko)) {Please, don’t talk!} Sh! ((exaggeratedly, as turns to face Pat and Kimiko)) xx Ese actor, ¿cómo es el actor? {That actor, how is the actor?} Uh, would you want us to say like (.) good (.) actor? Es un actor muy bueno. {He’s a very good actor.} Does it have to be in this box? Um, well, no it doesn’t actually. If you know other adjectives xx (4.5) How would you describe the hair colour? Is he a blond? Is he a blond actor? Xxx ((laughter)) Okay. Xxx I can’t remember exactly what he looks like. Okay. ¿Quién es un actor muy bueno? Un actor muy bueno. ¿Quién es un actor muy bueno? {Who is a very good actor? A very good actor. Who is a very good actor?} Ben Affleck. OK. Ben Affleck. ¿Cómo es Ben Affleck? Es alto, bajo, [fuerte? {How is Ben Affleck? Is he tall, short, strong?}  88  23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33  Cristiano: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Cristiano: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Cristiano: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez  [Es alto. {He’s tall.} [Es al:to. Musculoso. Musculoso. {He’s tall. Muscular. Muscular.} Vamos a escribir [fuerte. {We’ll write strong.} [Musculoso. {Muscular.} Musculoso. {Muscular.} Vamos a escribir fuerte, [porque es la palabra que se nos da. {Let’s write strong, because it’s the word that [the book] gives us.} [Musculoso. {Muscular.} Fuerte y es bajo también? {Strong and is he short too?} No, es feo. ((some laughter in class)) {No, he’s ugly.} Es feo, okay. {He’s ugly, okay.}  In this excerpt, Ms. Lopez asked students to describe an actor, “using the adjectives in the box” (line 2) in their textbook. When Terry59 asked if the adjectives they should use “have to be in this box” (line 9), Ms. Lopez answered that they did not. Since Terry had excellent Spanish skills as well as fluency in Portuguese, a language related to Spanish, Ms. Lopez encouraged him to use other adjectives he might know. Terry, however, did not contribute further to the interaction; instead Cristiano60 and Tony interacted with Ms. Lopez to describe Ben Affleck (lines 20-33). In describing the actor, Tony used the adjective musculoso {muscular} (line 24). However, Ms. Lopez did not like this adjective, preferring the synonym from the box, fuerte {strong}. When both Cristiano and Tony insisted on using musculoso (lines 26, 27), Ms. Lopez defended her choice of fuerte, stating, “Vamos a escribir fuerte, porque es la palabra que se nos da”. {Let’s write strong, because it’s the word that [the book] gives us.} Here, in contradiction with her previous statement, Ms. Lopez argued that (only) adjectives from the book should be used in the exercise. Cristiano insisted on musculoso one more time, overlapping Ms. Lopez’s previous turn but she put an end to the discussion by restating fuerte and then changing the subject to ask if Ben Affleck is bajo {short} (line 31). Tony took up this change of subject and went on to describe the actor as feo {ugly},61 rather than bajo {short}, as suggested by Ms. Lopez, eliciting laughter from the class. Ms.  59  Terry was a Japanese student who was born and grew up in Brazil and moved to Canada two years before this study. He was one of the top students in the class with excellent oral and written skills and a serious nature. More details about how Ms. Lopez viewed Terry are in Section 5.4. 60 Cristiano was a Portuguese-Canadian student, fluent in Portuguese but born in Canada. He was a good friend of Tony’s and often interacted with him in class, both on- and off-task. 61 In contrast, perhaps, with his own good looks.  89  Lopez accepted this adjective (from the box) and subsequently changed the subject to the description of an actress. From this interaction as well as Excerpt 5.3, where Ms. Lopez did not accept Tony’s use of chistoso as a translation for funny, preferring the more common cómico, which was also given in the book, it seems that Ms. Lopez did not in fact accept many less common words from Tony, in contradiction with her statement in our interview (see Section 5.1), as well as her answer to Terry’s question in this excerpt. However, in various other classroom interactions with Tony and Princess, she seemed happy to learn the word chaparro, which Tony used instead of bajo to mean short, accepted his use of chistoso (the same word she did not sanction in Excerpt 5.3), and showed interest in Princess’s slang term, bayunco {goofy}. Perhaps it was the context that determined whether Ms. Lopez accepted or rejected Tony’s (and Princess’s) word choices. In the context of an interaction where she was trying to review certain adjectives from the book for the other students’ benefit, she preferred that Tony, too, use those adjectives, perhaps to keep the other students focused on learning those particular words. However, when having interactions with Tony and Princess in which they enquired about various synonyms to the words given in the book, she allowed their alternatives and showed that she was happy to learn new words from them. It may also be that she accepted those words because they asked her about their acceptability rather than imposing them on her, as Tony and Cristiano were doing in the previous excerpt. Yet, it seems that by not accepting the use of other vocabulary during actual class exercises, she was limiting the very benefit she described in having SHL students in the class. Moreover, musculoso is very similar to the English translation muscular and so should not have been a difficult word for students to learn (unlike chaparro and bayunco, which are actually uncommon, most likely regional, words). The reasons for her rejection of the use of musculoso (and chistoso in Excerpt 5.3) is therefore somewhat ambiguous. Tony (and Cristiano) were not the only students who insisted on their own translations of certain words. Princess, at the beginning of the year, also had interactions with Ms. Lopez where she disagreed and defended her use of a word, such as in Excerpt 5.7 below (09/27/08):  90  Excerpt 5.7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18  Ms Lopez: Tony: Ms Lopez: Princess: Ms Lopez: Princess: Ms Lopez: Princess: Ms Lopez: Tony: Princess: Ms Lopez: Princess: Ms Lopez: Tony: Princess:  Antonio? How would say it if you said a dog was cute? (1.1) I don’t know. So how would you describe a dog was cute? ((looking at Princess)) ¿Chula? {Pretty? (fs)} ¿Cómo? {What?} ¿Chula? {Pretty? (fs)} ¿Chulo? {Pretty? (ms)} Chulo, chula, chulo. {Pretty. (ms, fs, ms)} Or if it’s a little boy, niño es cariñoso {the boy is affectionate} – but you wouldn’t say that for a dog. Chulo. {Pretty. (ms)} xxx Or linda? {cute? (fs)} Lindo {cute (ms)}, yeah, for a child, but not for a dog. You could do it if you want. I’ll have to check in my dictionary. Yo creo que {I think that} xxx Where are you from? El Salvador.  In this interaction, Princess provided two different terms for “cute” appropriate for describing a dog. The first term chulo/a was new to Ms Lopez and she was reluctant to accept this new word, repeating it several times with Princess and finally changing the subject in line 10. Here Ms. Lopez offered the word cariñoso {affectionate} as one which would not be used for describing a dog. The way she brought it up, as a bad translation, could be interpreted in different ways. It could be that she was showing how some adjectives can be used for people but not dogs or perhaps she was implying that she considered Princess’ translation as a bad one as well. Princess then offered another possible translation for “cute”, namely lindo/a. This time, Ms. Lopez was familiar with the word and rejected it in reference to a dog (line 14). Princess, however, equally strongly asserted that this translation was indeed appropriate. Ms. Lopez then backed off of her initial strong rejection and showed uncertainty, saying that she would have to check her dictionary. In this way, she positioned herself as less of a Spanish expert than Princess, who came up with her words without needing to use a dictionary. At the same time, she referenced a dictionary as a credible source for word usage, which could be in opposition to an insider’s (native or heritage speaker’s) tacit knowledge.  91  Overall, this exchange could be viewed as a kind of vying for Spanish language expertise between Princess and Ms. Lopez, with Princess “winning” in the end. In their interaction, Princess positioned herself as a clear Spanish expert, coming up with different translations and asserting their appropriateness, more hesitantly at the beginning but with more conviction as the interaction continues, even at the end in opposition to her teacher. At the end of the exchange, Tony, picking up on this positioning, asked her where she was from. She unhesitatingly stated that she was from El Salvador. Her level of engagement with her Salvadorian heritage seemed to be based on her level of engagement with her Spanish language expertise: a strong engagement resulting in a clear assertion of herself as Salvadorian. It is important to note that this interaction took place on Princess’ first day in class since she transferred in from Spanish 9 at the end of September. During that first class, Princess showed much confidence in responding to Ms. Lopez, having several extended interactions with her and even contesting her views, as she did in the excerpt. However, within a few classes, as described in Chapter 4 (Section 4.2), she was responding to Ms. Lopez in short answers and no longer had extended interactions with her. Perhaps she had become more aware of her classmates and their older age, as well as Tony’s domination of the class, and became more reserved. In group work, however, she grew in confidence interacting more and more with her table mates until she was moved to a table with grade 12 students, a move which effectively silenced her in class. 5.4 Resistance, Withdrawal and Intimidation Unlike Tony and Princess, who were (at various times) singled out by Ms. Lopez in class and responded favourably to being positioned as idealized speakers or even coteachers, Pat and Claude were not often positioned in this way. In this section, I explore the varied reasons why this was the case and how their positioning was interactionally accomplished, as a result of a combination of factors, including ones related to both Ms. Lopez and themselves. One student who was never asked and never volunteered to act as a language expert was Pat. Because she was not confident about her Spanish-speaking abilities, Pat often kept her responses to Ms. Lopez’s questions to a minimum and at times resisted speaking Spanish in class. In one instance, Pat was asking Ms. Lopez a question before  92  her test and Ms. Lopez, wanting her to speak in Spanish, responded with “No hablo inglés. {I don’t speak English.} (1.1) No entiendo. {I don’t understand.}” To this, after a two-second pause, Pat responded with “Okay, never mind” (11/4/05-TR3). On another occasion, Ms. Lopez asked her to read a paragraph out loud, as other students had done, and she resisted, saying “No, I don’t like reading in front of the whole class” (2/6/06TR12). Kimiko then read the paragraph. Pat also displayed evident self-consciousness when having to listen to herself on her group’s news broadcast video. She sat covering her ears and looking down during her portion of the tape (3/28/06). Pat’s resistance to giving more than minimal responses in Spanish had an impact on how she was positioned by Ms. Lopez in terms of her Hispanic heritage. Oral (language) performance affected how Ms. Lopez viewed Pat as well as other (SHL and SFL) students in the class, as she linked the students’ oral language with their heritage. This was suggested by both Ms. Lopez’s statements in class as well as her interview responses. Ms. Lopez’s view of Pat as a non-Hispanic student had an impact, in turn, on how she treated her in class. For example, on November 10, during a class jigsaw activity, Ms. Lopez moved Tony from Princess’s group to Pat’s saying: Okay, you know what? I need four even groups. Um, Rusty and Antonio, join one of these groups here, so you can, um, would you like to join this group? Rusty you can join that group. (1.3) No! You know what, I’m sorry, Princesa’s here so you can go in that group so we can have one Hispanic helping in each group ((Janet laughs)) and then Rusty come join this group. (11/10/06-TR6) There were spaces for Tony in two groups and since Ms. Lopez considered Princess – and not Pat – a Hispanic she asked Tony to join Pat’s group. In this instance, Ms. Lopez positioned Pat as a non-Hispanic who could not “[help]” the SFL students in her group. This legitimized only those (orally proficient) Hispanics as possible experts or helpers in the class and created a dynamic where SFL students were not being valued for their many contributions and expertise, nor were SHL students with considerable HL literacy but not orality. In reality, depending on the task, Pat, as well as some of her SFL classmates, were often able to offer more help to others than, for example, Tony and Princess.  93  In my first interview with Ms. Lopez, I noticed that when I asked general questions about Hispanic students, she almost always used Tony and Princess as examples in her answers. In our second interview, I again asked Ms. Lopez various questions about HL students in general, such as if she thought there was a difference between the Hispanic students that were born in Canada and the ones who immigrated here. She went on to talk about various HL students she had taught in the past, their backgrounds and their needs. I then asked her how she would group these various HL students and she came up with five groupings, based on place of birth, age of immigration and whether they had one or two Hispanic parents. Picking up on her groupings, I asked her if the fact that Pat and Claude had one Hispanic parent affected how she viewed them (1/16/06): Excerpt 5.8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18  Klara:  Ms Lopez:  Klara: Ms Lopez:  Klara: Ms Lopez:  So would you say you look at, um (.) say Antonio and Princesa differently than (.) Pat and Claude, (.) who like have one Hispanic parent? [Like do you [I look at Pat Ruiz, I treat Pat Ruiz (.) mu- the way I treat Kimiko Chang and um, (.) because she’s with, I associate her with her peer-, with her friends, (.) whereas Claude I, I consider a His-, like Hispanic. When Claude walks into the room, I automatically talk to her in Spanish. Okay. Um, Prin-, so I consider Claude Hispanic, I consider Terry Hispanic, I just talk to him like a Hispanic. Um, (1.2) I consider (3.0) like Claude’s comfortable speaking Spanish, whereas Pat Ruiz is not, she, she’s learning but she really only speaks English. So it’s more to do with how they act. Are they comfortable speaking the language. Yeah, I mean, if they, if they speak, if their first language is Spanish and that’s the language they use with me (.) more, then I’m likely to stick with Spanish with them.  In this interaction, Ms. Lopez first explained that she treated Pat the same way as her non-Hispanic friends, such as Kimiko Chang, a Chinese-Canadian. This shows that these friendship groupings had a powerful effect on the class and even on Ms. Lopez.62 In fact, Pat had already taken Spanish 9 and 10 with Ms. Lopez and in both of those classes, she and her group of friends sat together and were, according to their own and others’ 62  For a more detailed discussion of the friendship groupings and their effects, see Section 4.1.  94  statements, very loud and disruptive, therefore making a long-lasting impression on their classmates and teacher. However, many of Pat’s friends from other schools, whom she spent time with on the weekend, were Hispanic, but Ms. Lopez, as well as most of her classmates, were not aware of these friendships. She was also friends with Tony but her interactions with him were less frequent in class and more frequent outside of school. Ms. Lopez then went to explain that she considered Claude and Terry to be Hispanic because they were “comfortable speaking Spanish” (line 12), whereas Pat, in contrast, “really only speaks English” (line 13).  It would seem, then, that Pat’s  affiliation with non-Spanish speakers at school, combined with her mixed parentage and her aversion to speaking Spanish in class, together gave Ms. Lopez the impression that her Spanish-language identity/identification was very weak. As for Claude and Terry, whom Ms. Lopez described as two students that she considered Hispanic, they had quite different backgrounds and friendship circles. Claude, having lived more than half her life in Mexico, was comfortable speaking Spanish, as I heard her use it on several occasions with her Hispanic friends outside of class and she also did not hesitate to use in class when called upon by Ms. Lopez. She also had a strong Hispanic identity, which she described in her interview with me. Although her friendship circle included several Hispanics, none of these were in the class, where her friends were mostly Asian (see Chapter 4). Terry, however, had quite a different background. His parents were Japanese and he was born and grew up in Brazil, where he attended Japanese school. In our interview, he described a very fluid and hybrid identity and affiliation to both his Portuguese and Japanese languages, as well as Brazilian and Japanese cultures. He came to Canada two years prior to the study and began taking Spanish at that time. He was an excellent student to whom Spanish came quite naturally, being proficient in Portuguese. He was also more comfortable speaking Spanish than Pat. His oral fluency (and comfort level) seemed to be the only factors affecting Ms Lopez’s view of him as Hispanic and not Pat. In fact, although Terry was also in Ms. Lopez’ class the previous year, when he was a beginner in the language, she thought of him as Hispanic to such an extent that she told me at the beginning of the year that she was not sure if Terry had grown up in Peru or Brazil. The fact that she placed more importance on oral proficiency as a criterion for  95  ethnic identity than actual heritage or self-identification demonstrates her orientation toward a language ideology equating students’ oral language with proficiency (i.e., expertise, according to Leung et al., 1997) and linking these to their heritage (i.e., inheritance). Therefore, Ms. Lopez positioned Pat as a non-Hispanic mainly as a result of the language she chose to speak and was comfortable speaking in class. This shows a limited, proficiency-based definition of what a SHL student is since the language she chose to speak could negate her actual Hispanic heritage. Beaudrie and Ducar (2005) propose a more inclusive definition of HL learners based on these learners’ “heritage connection to the language” (p. 13), rather than Valdés’ (2001) more widely used definition, which is based on both heritage and proficiency. Beaudrie and Ducar further suggest that “beginning level” HL students, like Pat, may have a more similar language acquisition process to those of “regular second language [learners]” while being very motivated to learn their HL (p. 13). Pat did indeed show both tendencies, having very good literacy and grammar skills and being very motivated to improve her Spanish, by, for example, taking additional night school Spanish classes (these ideas will be explored further in Chapter 6). Her close friend, Kimiko, also asserted how “Pat just loves Spanish” in her interview with me (2/22/06), which shows a very strong affiliation (Leung et al., 1997) to the Spanish language on her part. Aside from how she grouped students during group work based on whether she considered them Hispanic or not (see above), another effect of Ms. Lopez’s view of Pat was what she herself said in her interview in lines 16-18: “I mean, if they, if they speak, if their first language is Spanish and that’s the language they use with me (.) more, than I’m likely to stick with Spanish with them.” Ms. Lopez therefore addressed Pat in English depriving her of more opportunities to practice her listening skills and potentially her oral skills. This had important consequences not just for Pat but also for the SFL students in the class. After all, they could not practice responding to Spanish if they were not addressed in it by their teacher and if she did not encourage the SHL students to address them in Spanish as well. Indeed, Pat welcomed opportunities to have others converse with her in Spanish. In her interview, Pat shared that “everybody (in my family) speaks Spanish but I usually  96  answer in English, like the only person that I can feel like completely comfortable speaking Spanish with is my mom and I have, I have said some stuff.” About her Hispanic friends she said, “they speak Spanish a lot and I understand, like they’ll be like having a conversation in Spanish and I’ll like comment, but it’s always in English” (11/30/05). Pat therefore seemed to enjoy having Spanish spoken around her and being spoken to in Spanish but had not yet built up the confidence to speak it freely herself. Beaudrie and Ducar (2005) discuss how the students in their beginner-level SHL classes gained comfort and confidence in speaking Spanish when their teachers promoted a “Spanish only” environment by speaking only Spanish themselves and gradually easing their students into speaking more and more Spanish. Their students were also more comfortable speaking Spanish together in groups rather than in front of the whole class. Therefore, doing more group work and encouraging students to speak more Spanish, in groups facilitated by SHL students comfortable speaking Spanish, seemed to be a helpful strategy. Although Ms. Lopez’s class was mainly made up of SFL students and not beginner SHL students, these SFL students (and Pat), would also benefit from hearing more Spanish addressed to them rather than most often hearing it addressed to their SHL classmates. It is, however, unclear whether being immersed in a Spanish-speaking environment would be enough to encourage Pat to speak Spanish since she was immersed in such an environment with her family and friends and still chose to speak English. An interaction between Pat and Princess provides some insight into why Pat chose not to speak Spanish with others. Miller (2000, 2003) uses the term “audibility” to refer to the assumptions people make about someone based on how they speak. In her study of mainstreamed high school ESL students in Australia, she found that those who spoke with a foreign accent were judged as not belonging to the mainstream. In the following interaction, in which Pat and Princess discuss their mothers’ (Spanish) accents, we can discern a similar judgement, especially by Pat (11/2/05-TR17): Excerpt 5.9 1 Princess: Is your mom, um does she um, was she born and raised here? 2 Pat: No, she was born and raised in Honduras. She moved here when she was 3 like twenty something. 4 Princess: Does she have an accent when she talks?  97  5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25  Pat:  Princess: Klara: Princess: Klara: Princess: Pat: Princess: Klara: Princess: Klara: Princess: Pat: Kimiko: Pat: Kimiko:  ((laughs)) Yeah, she used to She used to have, when I was a little kid, she used to have such an accent and then she like fixed it…It’s just some things, like when she’s nervous, instead of, I don’t know, just words. My mom has an accent, like harsh accent, it’s really funny though. And your dad? Hm? My dad? I don’t live with my dad. Okay. Okay, yeah, but he speaks English. Does your mom speak English? Yeah, she does, but like, she speaks it with an accent. But both your parents are from El Salvador? Um, um, well my dad is (1.3) from like Argentina but like they just moved there, to El Salvador, but his background is from Argentina. Oh. Yeah. Do you think my mom has an accent, (.) when you hear my mom talk? Well, yeah, yeah, obviously she [xxx [I think she’s gotten rid of it now. Like, you can tell, like, it’s not bad or anything.  This interaction begins with Pat explaining that her mom moved to Canada in her twenties and Princess asking if she has a (Spanish) accent (line 4). This question initiates a long discussion about accents in which Pat seems very selfconscious about her mother’s accent. At first she explains that her mom “used to” have an accent but that she “fixed it” (lines 5-6). Using the term “fixed” implies that having the “wrong” accent makes your speech flawed in some way and that this flaw must be fixed. Later in the interaction, Pat once again resumes talking about her mom’s accent, asking Kimiko if she thinks her mom has an accent (lines 21-2). This shows Pat’s concern about her mother’s accent and her worry that perhaps she had not “fixed it” as she had previously stated. When Kimiko replies that obviously (she does have an accent), Pat overlaps her turn with the statement that “I think she’s gotten rid of it by now” (line 24). With this statement Pat describes her mother’s accent as something bad that should be overcome. Picking up on this, Kimiko responds that “it’s not bad or anything” (line 25). In this interaction, then, Pat is showing that she views accent as an important part of how someone speaks a language; that even if someone is otherwise fluent, a strong  98  (foreign) accent makes that person’s speech inferior to others who can speak with a “native-like” accent. An accent therefore affects how one views the speaker’s language expertise. Judging her mothers’ speaking by the accent she has shows a form of audibility (Miller, 2000, 2003). Although Princess explains that her mother has an accent as well, her use of terms like “harsh” and “funny” to describe it (line 9 and 15) shows a different attitude than Pat’s, one of amusement rather than dislike and embarrassment, Judging others by their accent has important implications for a language class. In a Spanish class, the goal is presumably to learn to speak Spanish with as much of a “native-like” accent (of a certain “standard” variety) as possible. As we have seen in earlier sections, having “authentic” Spanish accents and being models of pronunciation was, according to Ms. Lopez, one benefit of having SHL students in the class. In her view, Tony, was such a model. The fact that Ms. Lopez singled Tony out for his nativelike accent positioned students like Pat (not to mention many SFL students), who did not have such an accent, as having lower language expertise. This and Pat’s own strong views about accent, as expressed in this excerpt, may offer insights into why she resisted speaking Spanish. It is quite possible that she judged her own accent in Spanish in the same way that she judged her mother’s accent in English – as something flawed which needed fixing. Moreover, Tony, Pat’s friend and a very fluent speaker of Spanish also judged her accent. In our interview, he shared that Pat “sometimes … makes me speak to her in Spanish” but “she’ll respond in English”. He added that “her pronunciation’s very weird” and that “I make her speak sometimes” and then laugh at her “because it’s funny sometimes” (1/24/06). Having her Hispanic friend characterize her accent as “very weird” and “funny” would likely only serve to reinforce her own negative view of her accent and certainly not add to Pat’s confidence to speak Spanish. Of all the SHL students in the class, Claude’s positioning as language expert was the most ambivalent. While she was considered to be a Hispanic by Ms. Lopez (see Excerpt 5.8 above), she did not frequently position Claude as an idealized speaker in the class, though she certainly positioned her as one more frequently than Pat. Claude appeared generally comfortable answering questions in class and infrequently had more extended interactions with Ms. Lopez during a class discussion. Overall, however,  99  Claude did not assert her presence in the class very much nor was she frequently singled out by Ms. Lopez. There seemed to be several reasons for Claude’s low level of participation. First, she often articulated that she was forgetting her Spanish vocabulary, yet expressed that she felt she should know more than others. Second, she resented the disruptions of the preppy girl group (Pat and her friends) and did not feel that Ms. Lopez disciplined them enough, as well as, becoming frustrated by how little got done in class as a result of their disruptions as the year went on. In our interview, when I asked Claude if she felt being a SHL student affected her interactions in class, we had the following discussion (11/28/05): Excerpt 5.10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Klara: Claude: Claude:  Klara: Claude:  Do you think that the fact that you have a Mexican heritage affects how you interact in class with students or the teacher? Not really. (2.3) … She [Ms. Lopez] intimidates me sometimes too, makes me feel like if I ask her something – that if I don’t know how to say this word or spell it, she makes me feel like “You should know this.” Really? Yeah, it makes me kind of not really want to ask her, just ask one of my friends or whatever, just totally freaks me out like that.  In this interaction, Claude stated that she did not feel that her Mexican heritage affected her interactions in class. She went on to describe how she felt intimidated by Ms. Lopez because she felt that if she asked her a question in class, Ms. Lopez would make her feel like, “You should know this” (lines 5-7). This, she said, made her “not really want to ask her” and she opted for asking her friends (lines 9-10). Here Claude is describing feeling positioned as an idealized speaker by Ms. Lopez and feeling intimidated as a result of such a positioning, as if it meant that she “should know” everything. This feeling kept her from asking Ms. Lopez questions in class, which may have impeded her learning. This is important, since it shows that being positioned as an idealized speaker may not always have positive results for the SHL student. In classes where there are several SHL students with various abilities and perceptions, it is quite possible for some of them to feel the same kind of expectation and intimidation that Claude spoke of. In fact, some of the SHL students taking Spanish at a post-secondary  100  institution in Potowski’s (2002) study shared similar feelings of being afraid to ask questions because they felt that they were expected to know everything already. This feeling of intimidation Claude described was perhaps compounded by her own insecurities resulting from her perception that she was forgetting her Spanish. In our interview, she told me, “I’m forgetting my Spanish, that’s why I’m taking this class, it’s kind of scary” (11/28/05). This sentiment was corroborated when I observed Claude, on several different occasions, expressing frustration at forgetting Spanish words, their translations into English or being unable to explain a grammar point to her tablemates during group work. For example, while working on a Trivia game project, she could not think of the word for “mayor” and asked Ms. Lopez, who also did not know the word. When Ms. Lopez found the word in the dictionary and said that it was alcalde, Claude exclaimed in frustration, “I’m forgetting my Spanish! Oh, my God, I’m so bad!” (11/10/05-DAT) Interestingly, by making such a statement when Ms. Lopez herself did not know the word, shows that she held herself to a higher standard of Spanish knowledge than her teacher. In fact, Claude’s Spanish was excellent but her expectations of it were even higher. Once she received 32/35 on a test while Prince, her tablemate, who was also an excellent student, received 33. Upon discovering this, she exclaimed, “You beat me?! That’s hilarious. I’m so dumb.” (12/14/05-TR16) Claude expressed the feeling that maybe Ms. Lopez had as high expectations of her as she had of herself and she did not want put herself in the position of not “measuring up” in some way to what she perceived her Spanish should be. After all, she was not only a SHL student but one who had lived the first ten years of her life in Mexico. Previously I described how Ms. Lopez positioned Claude as a Hispanic because she was comfortable speaking Spanish. However, I rarely observed the two speaking Spanish together. I asked Claude about this in our interview (11/28/05): Excerpt 5.11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7  Klara: Claude: Klara: Claude: Klara: Claude:  Do you use Spanish with her? (1.1) Ever? Ms. Lopez? Yeah, sometimes. Like when she talks to me in private or whatever, she always tries to speak to me in Spanish. In like class, when she comes to talk to you individually? No, she always speaks English. Okay, so when does she speak Spanish to you? Like when everybody’s gone and she like wants to talk to me about  101  8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20  Klara: Claude: Klara: Claude: Klara: Claude: Klara: Claude: Klara: Claude:  something, she speaks Spanish. Like about my, like, (0.9) life outside of class, she speaks Spanish. So you see her outside of class, like in the hall and stuff? Yeah. And she speaks to you in Spanish? Yeah. So what do you think about that? I don’t know, (.) I don’t know, (.) she’s just trying to, (.) I don’t know what she’s trying to do ((laughs)) Trying to get you to practice, I guess. Yeah. But do you mind it or No, I think it’s fine.  In this interaction, as was also confirmed by my observations, Claude described how Ms. Lopez did not speak to her in Spanish except outside of class time (lines 7-9). In her interview Ms. Lopez spoke about speaking Spanish with Claude, saying, “When Claude walks into the room, I automatically talk to her in Spanish.” (Excerpt 5.8, lines 78). She explained doing this because “I consider Claude Hispanic” (line 10). Moreover, Ms. Lopez also said that “Claude’s comfortable speaking Spanish” (line 12), which Claude seemed to confirm in this excerpt when she said that she was “fine” with speaking Spanish with Ms. Lopez outside of class time (line 20). However, it is significant that this positioning of Claude as an orally proficient Hispanic did not translate into Ms. Lopez positioning her as an idealized speaker during class. It is not clear why Ms. Lopez did not often position (and affirm or validate) her in that way. Claude described feeling intimidated by Ms. Lopez in the previous excerpt and perhaps Ms. Lopez sensed this in Claude while sensing more confidence in Tony and Princess. Another possible explanation is that Claude did not take up the positioning of idealized speaker when given the floor by Ms. Lopez in class, while Princess (at least at the beginning of the year) and Tony did. Nevertheless, although comfortable speaking Spanish with Ms. Lopez, Claude did not seek to be positioned as the idealized speaker in the class nor did Ms. Lopez frequently position her in that way. Overall, Claude did not participate very much in whole-class interactions. Unlike with Pat, however, the reason was not that Claude was not comfortable speaking Spanish. A reason for Claude’s lower participation in class may have had more to do with class dynamics. Specifically, as described in Chapter 4, Claude (and others) resented the  102  disruptions of particularly the preppy girl group (Pat and her friends) and, as the year went on, they expressed greater and greater frustration with how little was getting done in class as a result. In her interview, when I asked Claude about her positive and negative experiences in class she said about Ms. Lopez: I don’t think she does a really good job – lets kids slack off and stuff and doesn’t really have any authority over them…Her activities are kind of, I don’t know, pointless sometimes, or she doesn’t drill things into your mind as much as she should, she just let’s them go and stuff. And she’s all over the place too so like even me, I can’t even keep up. Sometimes she starts talking about something else and I’m like “Oh. What are we supposed to be learning, what’s the point, what’s she trying to get across?” Cause she’s all over the place. And she’s very interested in learning like Antonio’s way of saying a word or whatever, which is interesting, but she’s really, she neglects the kids and stuff. (11/28/05) In this interview segment, Claude described how she did not like that Ms. Lopez did not have “any authority” in class and that she was “all over the place” with her teaching. She made similar comments during class to her tablemates, in which they complained about the lack of organization in the class. One of the reasons that Ms. Lopez was “all over the place” could have been due to her attention to Tony, such as when she was “very interested in learning like Antonio’s way of saying a word,” as well being distracted by the disruptive students in the class (see Section 4.1 for more detail). It is clear that Claude resented this and perhaps it was for this reason that she did not get very involved in class. In their interviews, students have widely-ranging perceptions of Claude. Some of the grade 12 students did not know who Claude was or that she was a Hispanic. This could have been due to her infrequent participation in class, the teacher not calling on her in Spanish, and the fact that they had not worked with her. Some of the grade 11 students talked about her social positioning in class, and especially her rift with Kimiko and Pat, much as they often discussed this in relation to Pat. Her friends and those who had worked with her also talked about her excellent Spanish ability. Interestingly, various of her classmates saw Claude’s relative lack of participation in class in different ways. Terry, for example, had just described how he thought that most of the SHL students in the class did not have strong grammar skills, saying, “when we’re having like verb, verb, uh, conjugation, new stuff, like how to conjugate this verb,  103  in the past tense, these people have problems. Sometimes, they’re asking Ms. Lopez, ‘How come it’s this? How come it’s that?’ I usually get it like right away” (2/24/06). I then asked him if he thought Claude was like that, since he had not mentioned her by name and we had the following interaction: Excerpt 5.12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  Klara: Terry: Klara: Terry: Klara: Terry: Klara: Terry:  Okay. And what about Claude, you think she’s like that? No, no, she has both, speaking skills and grammar skills. How do you know that? I know the way she speaks and the way she writes. She doesn’t ask questions at all so I’m assuming that she has the skills. Cause she doesn’t ask questions? Also cause when I see her work and stuff, long essay, for example. Oh, like when you see her hand stuff in and stuff. Yeah.  In this interview excerpt, Terry shared that he thought Claude had strong oral and literacy skills based on his observations of her rather than from direct experience of working with her. He viewed the fact that Claude did not ask questions in class as an indication that she understood everything. This was in contradiction with Claude’s own stated reason for not asking questions, namely that she felt intimidated and pressured to know the material without asking (see Excerpt 5.10 for details). Terry’s assumption shows that silence can be interpreted in very different ways and that it may not always be seen as a lack of knowledge or confidence. Claude’s friends, Jo Ann and Marissa, also commented on Claude’s knowledge of Spanish and saw her less frequent interaction in class as positive. After discussing how she resented how Tony often “blurts” out answers (see Excerpt 5.4 for details), Marissa stated, referring to Claude, “she knows the language too but she doesn’t blurt out, only if the teacher asks her to talk. But yeah, she’s good at like participating and she doesn’t make us (.) feel (.) less (.) adequate.” This shows that Marissa appreciated Claude’s less frequent participation in relative to Tony. She viewed Claude as having good language skills but not feeling the need to overpower the class discussions, a behaviour which may result in her classmates feeling “less adequate.” Instead, she saw her less frequent interaction as a way of respecting her classmates’ abilities and their rights to participate and showcase those abilities in class. In fact, Claude did feel that the SFL students  104  should have more opportunities to participate and that if SHL students were too vocal or if they were called on too much by their teacher, they were depriving the SFL students of such opportunities (see Section 5.1 for an Excerpt from Claude’s interview on this topic). Perhaps then her consideration for the learning of others was also a factor in Claude’s lower rate of participation in class. In conclusion, Pat’s resistance to speaking Spanish in class had a significant impact on her positioning in class. Her unwillingness to speak not only precluded her from attaining the status of language expert but also seemed to jeopardize how her teacher viewed her Hispanic heritage. Claude’s infrequent participation and positioning as idealized speaker in whole-class discussions, on the other hand, was not due to a lack of comfort in speaking Spanish but was more due to her dissatisfaction with how the class was taught, particularly as a result of the preppy girls’ and Tony’s disruptions. She also expressed feeling that she “should know” much more than the SFL students in the class as a result of her SHL status and this, coupled with a sense that she was “forgetting” her Spanish, made her somewhat reticent. 5.5 A Whole-Class Interaction Example In the next series of excerpts from a classroom discussion, I analyse the four SHL students’ interactions in class as well as the kinds of issues raised by their interactions. In the first interaction, characteristic of Tony’s exchanges with Ms. Lopez during class, especially in the first half of the year when he attended class more regularly, we can see how Tony dominated the class discussion about travel (11/8/05-TR9): Excerpt 5.13 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13  Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Honey: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony:  ¿Te gusta viajar o te gusta quedar en casa? {Do you like to travel or stay at home?} Me gusta mucho viajar. {I like to travel.} Yeah, y tú, Honey? ¿Te gusta viajar o prefieres quedarte en casa? {Yeah, and you, Honey? Do you like to travel or stay at home?} [Me aburro en la casa. {I get bored at home.} [What does viajar {to travel} mean? ¿Qué quiere decir “viajar”? {What does “to travel” mean?} Viajar means to travel. Would you like to travel xx Okay. ¿Adónde te gusta= {Where do you like=} viajar {travel} =viajar? [Adónde te gustaría {=to travel? Where would you like} [El Salvador.  105  14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46  Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Ms. Lopez:  Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Student: Ms. Lopez:  Terry: Ms. Lopez: Marissa: Ms. Lopez: Claude: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Student: Ms. Lopez: Tony:  El Salvador, un país que te gustaría visitar. {El Salvador, a country you would like to visit.} Hawaii, ¿cómo se dice Hawaii en español? {How do you say Hawaii in Spanish?} Hawaii. ((Ss laugh)) Un país que te gusta - ¿Adónde te gustaría viajar (1.2) en todo el mundo? {A country that you like – Where would you like to travel (1.2) in the whole world?} (0.9) A mí me gustaría viajar en Italia otra vez. {I would like to travel to Italy again.} Venezuela. También. Okay. ¿Adónde te gustaría viajar? {Also. Okay. Where would you like to travel?} Port – Portugal. Europa. {Europe.} Europa, sí. Shh, (.) silencio. Okay, (.) ¿adónde te gustaría viajar (.) a tí, (.) puedes decir? (1) ¿Dónde te gustaría viajar? (.) ¿Terry? {Europe, yes. Shh, (.) silence. Okay, (.) where would you like to travel (.) can you say? (.) Where would you like to travel? (.) Terry?} Ah, Hawaii. Hawaii. Marissa? India. India. Claude? Japón. {Japan.} Japón. {Japan.} Japón, Korea. {Japan, Korea.} X? Hawaii. Hawaii también. {also} En las playas más bellas del mundo. {To the most beautiful beaches in the world.}  Counting each participant’s turns (Ms. Lopez – 16; Tony – 10; Marissa, Honey, Terry and Claude – 1 each), we can see how much Tony dominated this interaction. Tony also had the most extended turns, while Claude, Terry and Marissa gave one word answers for where they wanted to travel (lines 35, 37, 39) and Honey was overlapped by Tony when asking what “viajar” meant (line 7), and, in the end, did not even get a chance to answer the original question. Tony also overlapped or pre-empted others’ turns. For example, as just mentioned, in line 6, he continued to talk even though Ms. Lopez had clearly addressed  106  her question to Honey in lines 4-5. In line 11, he completed Ms. Lopez’s question before she had a chance to complete it herself in the following line. He then continued to answer her questions, in all listing six different countries he wanted to travel to throughout the interaction. Additionally, all the other students, including Claude, a SHL student, only answered Ms. Lopez’s question when addressed by name. This interaction exemplifies what Marissa discussed in her interview. Marissa said that Tony, “kind of overrules the whole class and when we try to answer questions he just blurts it out or whatever” (Excerpt 5.4, lines 3-4). By constantly “[blurting] out” the answers, Tony positioned himself as the language expert in the class – the one that should be the centre of attention and whom all the other students should (want to) listen to. This did not allow any other student in the class to participate in the discussion. Although only Tony dominated the interaction in Excerpt 5.13, in the next part of the interaction, below, Princess took on a more active role. In this segment, Ms. Lopez changed the topic of conversation from travel destination to the amount of luggage students usually brought when they traveled. This topic was more complex than simply naming travel destination, above, and students’ (Tony’s and Princess’s) answers were more complex. This caused the SFL students to have difficulties in following the interaction: Excerpt 5.14 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64  Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Princess: Ms. Lopez: Princess: Ms. Lopez: Princess: Tony: Marissa: Princess: Marissa:  Cuando viajas, ¿prefieres llevar mucho o poco equipaje? {When you travel, do you prefer to bring a lot of luggage or a little bit?} ¡Mucho (equipaje)! {A lot (of luggage)!} ¿Por qué? {Why?} Porque más ropa puedo escojer. {Because more clothes to chose from.} (What’s equipaje?) {What’s luggage?} Okay, Princesa, a tí, ¿prefieres viajar con muchas maletas o pocas? {and you, do you prefer to travel with a lot of suitcases or a little bit?} Pocas. {Few.} ¿Por qué? {Why?} Por que así – {Because that way -} Le gusta xxx ropa. {She likes xxx clothes.} ((Ss laugh)) ºWhat?º No, porque no quiero estar preocupada por (.) si se me pierden. {No, because I don’t want to worry about losing them.} ºBusy with something? º (.) ºMaletas?º {Bags?}  107  65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99  Ms. Lopez: Princess: Ms. Lopez:  Princess: Marissa: Marissa: Princess: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Silvia: Marissa: Silvia: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Prince: Ms. Lopez: Silvia: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony:  Sí, puedes viajar. {Yes, you can travel.} xx same clothes everyday. Es más fácil, es mas fácil x No tienes que llevar todo el equipaje así. {It’s easier, it’s easier. That way you don’t have to bring all the luggage.} Sí. {Yes.} ºxxx bring a lot of clothes?º (1.2) ºIs she asking if you would bring a lot of clothes?º ºYeah.º xxx puedes comprar más. {xxx you can buy more.} Para una semana, dos semanas, no necesitas mucho. {For one week, two weeks, you don’t need much.} xxx Si vas a viajar para {If you are going to travel for} unos meses {a few months} unos meses {a few months} necesitas mucho equipaje xx espacio. {you will need a lot of luggage xx space.} We can’t understand. I have no idea what they’re saying. Xxx Escucha. {Listen.} Some students understand. Raise your hand if you can understand the conversation when it’s happening in Spanish? Levanta la mano si entiendes. {Raise your hand if you understand.} ((Tony, Princess, Pat, Claude and Cristiano raise their hands)) Prince, no entiendes? {Prince, you don’t understand?} Kind of. So maybe if um It’s like “na na na.” If we don’t all talk at once and talk slower and xx. Yo (.) voy (.) a (.) hablar (.) despacio. {I (.) will (.) speak (.) slow.} ((Claude and other students laugh)) Let’s do the questions on page 31. Come on, Silvia, x talk to me.  In this segment, Tony once again designated himself as the first to answer Ms. Lopez’s question. Then, after Princess quietly asked “What’s equipaje {luggage}?” (line 53), Ms. Lopez addressed the same question to her. It is not clear whether Ms. Lopez heard Princess’s question as she did not answer it directly; however, she did change the word she was using from “equipaje” {luggage} to “maleta” {suitcase}, which Princess knew since she answered her question without any problems. Although Princess did not take the floor herself, once given the floor by Ms. Lopez, she did make several comments  108  about her luggage preferences, with Tony, also, making one comment (line 59) during her interaction with Ms. Lopez. Aside from his one comment, however, Tony “allowed” Princess to have five turns. This is significant because it shows that Tony accepted Princess’s positioning as another idealized and legitimate speaker in the class as a result of her competence and comfort in speaking Spanish. Based on her demeanour and her willingness to participate, it seemed clear that Princess also felt comfortable speaking and taking on this positioning. During Princess’s interaction with Ms. Lopez, Marissa was actively trying to understand what they were saying. In line 61, she asked “What?” and in line 64 she tried to guess what the word “preocupado/a”{worried} in Princess’s previous turn meant but got it mixed up with “ocupado/a” {busy}. Finally, in lines 71 and 73, Marissa twice asked Princess “Is she asking if you would bring a lot of clothes?” which Princess answered in line 74 with “Yeah.” This segment of the interaction shows, first of all, that Marissa was not comfortable asking what things meant in front of the whole class. This was certainly a problem since a lot more learning could take place if students felt comfortable enough or able to take the floor to ask a question. Here the floor was being dominated by two SHL students, leaving little room for the SFL students. Second, Marissa did feel comfortable enough to ask Princess her questions since they sat near each other and interacted on occasion, helping each other with assigned work. This shows that SHL can help their SFL classmates with their learning but if SFL students only feel comfortable asking them in private, only those sitting close-by benefit from this help. In line 75, seizing the opportunity of no one speaking, Tony once again took over the interaction and continued to interact with Ms. Lopez. It is significant that during the entire interaction from line 47 to line 83, no other student was asked or answered Ms. Lopez’s second question. Claude ably described this phenomenon in her interview (transcribed in full in Section 5.1), when she referred to Tony and Princess, saying, “when we start an activity and you put your hand up or whatever, and um one of them are always giving one of the answers like out of all the kids, out of all the kids that are in the classroom, those two are the ones that always put their hand up or that she always singles out for answers” (11/28/05). When I asked Claude why this was “bad” she said, “cause  109  the other students need to interact obviously, they need to have that”. In this part of the interaction, as well as in the previous one, for the most part, the SFL students were not interacting at all. Moreover, the SFL students in the class often did not understand Ms. Lopez’s interactions with Tony, who spoke at his normal speaking speed, which was too fast for the FL students to follow. At times this caused frustration for the students, as is evident in the last several lines of Excerpt 5.14. In this interaction, both Silvia and Marissa complained that they did not understand what Ms. Lopez and Tony were saying (lines 84, 85). Even though, as documented above, Marissa had had trouble following the interaction for a while, it was not until Silvia spoke up in line 84 that she, too, expressed her frustration at not being able to follow. Ms. Lopez then asked the other students in the class to raise their hands if they understood the Spanish conversations in the class (lines 87-88). Tony then repeated Ms. Lopez’s request in Spanish, positioning himself once again as a kind of co-teacher in the class. Significantly, the only students who raised their hands were the SHL students and Cristiano, who was fluent in Portuguese. I was surprised that Terry, whose first and dominant language was Portuguese, since he was born and grew up in Brazil, did not put his hand up and when I asked him about it in our interview, he told me that, “sometimes I don’t put my hand up but I always understand.” (2/24/06). Terry further commented about Tony speaking Spanish in class that, “it’s good that he speaks a lot of Spanish, like really fast so people can learn and um, it’s good to have in their head like how he speaks.” This shows that those students who have a background in Spanish or a language related to it could understand the conversations between Ms. Lopez and the SHL students. Moreover, it could be argued that some of the other students benefited from listening to the conversations – for example, Marissa was actively trying to understand the interaction between Princess and Ms. Lopez and she did correctly understand that Princess and Ms. Lopez were talking about bringing a lot of clothes (lines 71, 73) but this could also partly be because Princess talked about clothes in English in line 66. Lave and Wenger’s (1991) model of legitimate peripheral participation explains how those who with lower expertise can be socialized and apprenticed by those with higher expertise. At first, they may be peripheral to the conversation but they are nevertheless learning the  110  language from their more expert peers as well as observing how they interact with the goal that they too may later take a more active role. Here Marissa was acting as a legitimate peripheral observer since she was actively trying to understand the interaction between Ms. Lopez and Princess and she was able to ask Princess for clarifications of her understanding of the interaction. However, most students were not in Marissa’s position since they may not have been sitting near a SHL speaker or may not have been comfortable asking one of them about the interaction. Also, the fact that they were not given opportunities to participate in the conversation, perhaps after having listened to the “experts” for a time, meant that they had limited possibilities to practice and become more “legitimate” participants. This is the point that Marissa and Claude spoke to above. Furthermore, the main difficulty for students in trying to understand Ms. Lopez’s conversations with the SHL students was the quick pace at which the SHL students spoke. Ms. Lopez alluded to this idea when she told Silvia that she, Ms. Lopez, and the SHL students should talk “slower” (line 95). Tony, however, showed how unnatural that would be when he said, “Yo (.) voy (.) a (.) hablar (.) despacio.” {I will speak slow.} (line 96-97) with artificial pauses in between all his words. Moreover, his exaggeratedly slow speech seemed to mock Ms. Lopez’s comment and positioned those who speak in such a way, for example SFL students, as incompetent speakers of the language. In general, Tony spoke so fast that on at least one occasion at the beginning of the year even Ms. Lopez had trouble understanding what he said and asked him to speak slower. (10/3/05) In the next segment of the interaction, Ms. Lopez, apparently finally having had enough of Tony’s dominance of the interaction, asked Tony to “take a three minute timeout, just to give [her] a little bit of peace” (lines 100-101) and an extended interaction between the two ensued: Excerpt 5.15 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106  Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez:  Tony: Cristiano: Tony:  Let’s do the questions on page 31. Come on, Silvia, x talk to me. Okay, Antonio, would you please take a three minute timeout, just to give me a little bit of peace. Necesito un poco de paz. {I need a little bit of peace.} xxx Tony! Voy a tomar un, un vuelo. {I am going to take a flight.} ((Ss laugh))  111  107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138  Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Ms. Lopez: Tony: Marissa: Jo Ann: Marissa: Ms. Lopez: Silvia: Ms. Lopez: Silvia: Ms. Lopez: Silvia: Ms. Lopez:  Silvia: Cristiano:  Puedes ir afuera para tomar un poco de aire. {You can go outside to get a bit of air.} xxx xx fresh air xxx ((Ss laughing)) Puedes ir abajo, no? Afuera un poquito {You can go downstairs, can’t you? Outside a little bit} xxx No. Don’t I need a pass? Won’t I get in trouble? No, I don’t have time to issue you a pass. (1.2) You won’t get in trouble, just walk on x Street. Voy a correr. Voy a tomar un viaje. Xxxxx {I am going to run. I am going to take a trip.} What’s he saying? ((Tony leaves and takes board eraser w/ him, slamming the door)) I don’t know. He’s gonna go walk outside? Okay, he’ll be back in 3 minutes so. Okay, how about we talk in English next time. No, it’s xxx I don’t like It’s just conversation, it’s good practice for you. But I don’t like how you guys talk in Spanish and no one else understands. But it’s just, at the beginning of the class x conversation only. If you never hear the Spanish, you’re never gonna improve so try and listen and try to see what words you can understand. You don’t have to understand everything. I don’t understand anything. La, el. {The (fs), the (ms).}  In this interaction, Tony and Ms. Lopez exchanged several turns in which Ms. Lopez tried to convince him to leave the class since she could no longer put up with his interruptions and domination of the interactions. In response, Tony, rather than leaving obediently, was joking with Ms. Lopez and mocking the previous interaction about travelling to say that he was going to take a flight and a trip (lines 105, 120). His classmates responded to his jokes with laughter (lines 106, 112), knowing he was joking even if they did not clearly understand what he was saying, as Marissa, for example, articulated (lines 122, 125). Tony was certainly enjoying the laughter and attention of his classmates as was seen from his loud, theatrical and exaggerated speech and gestures  112  (field notes). In the interaction, Ms. Lopez went from asking Tony politely to leave to almost begging him to do so, changing her request to a question and using the diminutive poquito to ask him to go at least for a short, little time (line 113). Then in line 117, Tony code-switched to English to come up with excuses why he could not leave, such as needing a hall pass. This was a tactic to avoid leaving since I never saw hall passes issued in the class nor any student ever asking for one. With the question, Tony was also mocking the positioning of a “good student.” In turn, Ms. Lopez code-switched into English, and responded to his query, taking on the corresponding position of Ansler teacher (and not just Spanish teacher). When he did not respond to her statement that she did not have time to write him a pass, that she wanted him to leave fast, she further advised him to just go outside into the street instead of wandering in the halls. With this comment, Ms. Lopez seemed to be running out of ways to persuade Tony to leave the class as she had asked him to over and over again, while he continued to skilfully resist her request. Tony’s code-switch in line 117 is also interesting because it shows that Tony would use English to talk about procedural things, such as a hall pass, something he would also talk about in school and in English. His Spanish utterances, however, both before and after his English statements in line 117, were much more playful. There he was playing with the vocabulary and topic of the preceding on-task interactions with Ms. Lopez. This interaction shows Tony’s two distinct positionings in the class, as described previously at the beginning of this section. On the one hand, he was positioned by Ms. Lopez as the idealized speaker when she told Silvia, “It’s good practice for you.” (line 130) in reference to listening to the Spanish conversations in the class, as well as her comment, “you’re never gonna improve so listen and try to see what words you can understand.” (line 134-5) Tony also positioned himself (as did Ms. Lopez) as the idealized speaker (who everyone should want to listen to). On the other hand, after her long previous interaction with Tony (excerpts 5.13 and 5.14), Ms. Lopez told him in lines 100-101 to leave so that she could have “a little bit of peace,” displaying an orientation to him “overruling” the class. Here Ms. Lopez was positioning Tony as a tiring, draining, and domineering student to her and as someone she has to make much effort to manage in class. In response, Tony performed his “bad boy”  113  identity by not listening to his teacher, and acting as a class clown. This made him even more difficult to handle and was perhaps the reason why Ms. Lopez resisted trying to discipline him or sending him out of class since his subsequent mocking of her lesson undermined her authority. In fact, Ms. Lopez was in a difficult situation, having Tony in the class. On other occasions, I had observed Ms. Lopez frequently trying to negotiate Tony’s participation in an attempt to find a balance between encouraging him and making room for other students to participate in the dialogue in class. On the one hand, she stated his Spanish speaking helped the students with their Spanish and so she wanted to encourage him to speak for that reason and also as a way of keeping him involved and interested in the class. On the other hand, he was so dominant, she had to find a way to limit his interaction and sometimes the only way was to ask him to leave. Although he may be an extreme case, SHL students like Tony, then, can be both an asset and a challenge for their teachers. In the final segment of the interaction for that activity, Tony was absent from the class and we can see how much his absence changed the interaction: Excerpt 5.16 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160  Ms. Lopez:  Ms. Lopez: Terry: Cristiano: Student: Katrina: Marissa: Ms. Lopez: Marissa: Ss: S: Ms. Lopez: Cristiano: Marissa: Ms. Lopez:  Okay, vamos a continuar. {Let’s continue.} I’m on number 4. Can you see the questions in the purple box? (1.1) Prefieres un asiento de ventanilla o de pasillo? {Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat?} xxx Window. Window. What’s ventiella? {window (mispronounced)} The window or the seat aisle. (.) Aisle. Aisle xxx Ventanilla. Sshh, ventanilla, ¿por qué? {Window, why?} Window. (0.8) I like to see the view. How do you say that in Spanish? (.) Porque me gusta (1) me gusta ver (.) el paisaje. {Because I like, I like to see the scenery.} El paisaje {the scenery} is the scenery or the landscape. I like to see xx Okay. (1) But what is the advantage – ¿por qué es bueno un asiento  114  161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193  Silvia: Marissa: Ms. Lopez: Ms. Lopez: Student: Ms. Lopez:  Silvia: Marissa: Prince: Ms. Lopez:  Cristiano: Ms. Lopez: Student: Student: Ms. Lopez: Katrina: Ms. Lopez: Marissa: Ms. Lopez: Marissa: Ms. Lopez:  de pasillo es también?= {Why is it good to have an aisle seat also?} =Because you’re not all stuffed in, you can just [xx [Yeah, you can move around You can say “Puedes levantarte más fácil”. {You can get up easier.} (1.3) You understand that? “Puedes levantarte más fácil”. {You can get up easier.} You can get out. Yeah. Número cinco, (1) número cinco. ¿Qué necesitas llevar para ser un pasajero? {Number five, number five. What do you need to bring to be a traveler?} (0.9) What does that mean? To come prepared, no? Yeah, xxx ¿Qué necesitas llevar para ser un pasajero (.) preparado, sorry, preparado? {What do you need to bring to be a prepared traveler, sorry, prepared?} Visa. When you go to the airport, if you’re prepared for your flight, what do you carry with you? Boleto. {Ticket.} El passport. {The} Boleto. {Ticket.} Pasaporte. {Passport.} Pasaporte. {Passport.} El equipaje. {The luggage.} Equipaje. {Luggage.} La maleta. {The suitcase.} Okay, vamos a – la otra página, el diálogo. {Let’s go to the next page, the dialogue.} I’m gonna ask you some comprehension questions.  In this segment, many more students participated in the discussion and no one dominated, although Marissa had the most student turns overall. Although there was less Spanish spoken than in excerpt 5.13 and 5.14, a tendency Ms. Lopez described in her interview when she said that she was more likely to use Spanish with SHL students than SFL students, there was more negotiation of meaning and SFL students were able to ask questions as well as show their expertise. For example, both Katrina (line 147) and Silvia (line 174) asked about Ms. Lopez’s questions and, significantly, Marissa offered an answer to both (lines 148, 175). In this interaction, then, not only were students able to  115  practice speaking, they could ask questions and answer each other’s questions. Unlike when Tony dominated the interaction when, according to Marissa, “he kind makes us look like we don’t know anything” (excerpt 6.6, lines 5-6), here students, like Marissa, were able to show their expertise. From these four excerpts, we can see the various interaction patterns and positionings of the four SHL students. While he was in class, Tony dominated the interactions, positioning himself as the idealized speaker in the class. Although Ms. Lopez upheld this positioning at first, she later repositioned him as a disruptive student when she asked him to leave the class. Princess also positioned herself as an idealized speaker when she had an extended interaction with Ms. Lopez in excerpt 5.14. This was typical of the first few weeks of Princess’s interaction in class, before she became more and more silent. Claude was called on and responded to Ms. Lopez’s question but did not provide an extended response nor was she further questioned by Ms. Lopez as Princess had been, therefore not choosing to position herself as an idealized speaker. Finally, Pat was neither called on nor did she make any comment during the entire interaction, and was therefore not positioned as a language expert nor did she position herself as such. Overall, Tony was the only student who spoke (continuously) without being called on in class, while Princess and Claude responded with, respectively, more and less extended turns to Ms. Lopez’s questions. 5.6 Summary The four SHL students had varying statuses in the class, that depended on several factors. The most important factor seemed to be their performed oral proficiency, which Ms. Lopez equated with their heritage. In other words, Ms. Lopez positioned her SHL students as being orally proficient in Spanish and, for her, their SHL status was dependant upon this skill. Tony, who displayed his oral Spanish knowledge the most, positioned himself and was positioned by Ms. Lopez as an expert and model of the Spanish language. Pat, on the other hand, who was not comfortable speaking Spanish was positioned as not being Hispanic while Terry, a very successful SFL student due to his fluency in Portuguese, was positioned as being “like a Hispanic.” However, whether or not certain SHL students spoke up in class and took on the role of idealized speaker depended on other factors as well. For Princess, the most important factor was her  116  younger age which was made more salient when she was seated with three grade 12 students. Being positioned as a “young, immature girl” did not allow her to take up the positioning of language expert, in spite of her oral proficiency and confidence in her oral language skills. Claude, on the other hand, expressed feeling intimidated and like she should know everything, as a result of her SHL status. She also resented the disruptions of other students and their effects on the class. This resentment made her reluctant to take a more active role in class. Overall, how the various SHL were viewed and how they participated in class were affected by many linguistic as well as social factors and interaction among those factors.  117  Chapter 6 NEGOTIATING LITERACY PRACTICES: GRAMMAR, TRANSLATION AND SPELLING 6.0 Introduction When it came to literacy skills such as writing, spelling, translation, and grammar, Ms. Lopez did not expect SHL students to be very proficient. When describing their language needs in her interview, she stated that, “they need more help with written skills, for verb conjugation and just grammar in general” (1/16/05), and there is plenty of evidence in the research literature that HLLs often have that profile. When discussing “literacy,” in this chapter, I will be referring to a rather narrow conception of the term, reduced to the skills described above by Ms. Lopez. In fact, I observed few instances where students were asked to perform more complex literacy tasks in class. Looking at the SHL students’ actual abilities in the area of literacy, in the case of Tony and Princess, their literacy skills were indeed quite poor; on the other hand Claude and Pat both had strong literacy skills. However Claude and Pat’s expertise in the area of literacy was not seen by Ms. Lopez as an asset in the class in the same way that orality was. In fact, in certain cases, Ms. Lopez described it as more of a problem. On one hand, Pat’s strong literacy skills meant that she often finished her work very quickly and then did not have anything else to do. Ms. Lopez stated many times in her interview that Pat was “bored” in class but did not seem sure about how to address this “problem.” Ms. Lopez also did not always like how much help Claude and Pat were giving their classmates with written assignments and it was difficult to see where the line between helping with work and allowing friends to copy was. Such difficulties did not arise with SHL students giving oral help to others, perhaps because writing was a much more high stakes activity since most of students’ marks came from this area of language expertise. 6.1 Tony and Princess: Weak Literacy Skills In our interview Ms. Lopez talked a great deal about the kinds of language skills that “typical” SHL students usually had. When speaking about grammar ability, she created a kind of dichotomy between the ability to do grammar exercises and the ability to put innate grammar knowledge to use in speech (1/16/06):  118  I don’t really find Hispanic students an asset when it comes to explaining grammar, other than the fact that they know a lot, they’ll be able to, actually they always, the grammar exercises in the book that they always have to be directed. They’ll always say to me, well, they’ll always wanna make it more complicated than it really is. They’ll say, “Am I doing this right?” “Yeah, you’re doing this right.” They can’t read the instructions and know what to do until you give them an example. So the Hispanic students need more direction and more support when it comes to doing a grammar exercise cause they didn’t learn Spanish that way. Whereas the non-native speakers, give them a grammar exercise and they’re so used to doing them but then they can’t apply that into their conversations whereas the Hispanics can apply what they learn, right? They can apply that knowledge of grammar and knowledge of vocabulary, of course they can apply it. So what’s more important, knowing the grammar or being able to apply it? At the beginning of her explanation, it seems that “the fact that they know a lot” was not significant as she quickly glossed over it to go on to explain how SHL students needed much more direction when it came to completing grammar exercises, which, significantly, was also the basis for grading students.63 However, she went on to point out that “non-native speakers … can’t apply that into their conversations whereas the Hispanics can apply what they learn.” She ended with a significant question, namely, “So what’s more important, knowing the grammar or being able to apply it?” In her own class, the answer seemed to be both. When it came to practical oral skills, being able to apply grammar knowledge in expert ways was very important and was the advantage of having SHL students in her class, as described in the previous chapter (see Excerpt 5.2, for example). On the other hand, the knowledge of grammatical metalanguage and the ability to complete isolated grammar exercises also seemed to be important goals in this class. And on this front, both Tony and Princess found themselves lacking. For example, true to how Ms. Lopez described it the quotation above, Princess often asked other students, me or her teacher for explanations of what to do in grammar exercises. Tony needed even more support with extensive explanation, which he would receive from Ms. Lopez and, later on in the year, he also sometimes asked me. However, more often, he chose to copy from Pat’s work. 63  See Section 6.3 for a detailed discussion.  119  Tony’s and Princess’ lack of isolated grammar and spelling knowledge was demonstrated to the entire class near the beginning of the year when Ms. Lopez decided to conduct a simple grammar game. She would give the students a verb conjugated in the first person singular in the present tense (e.g., nado – I swim) and they had to write the infinitive form (nadar – to swim) on the board. The difficulty in the game was knowing which ending, -ar, -er or –ir, each verb takes since the first person form offers no clue, itself always ending in –o.64 As this was a review exercise from beginner’s Spanish, students generally found the game easy. In fact, Ms. Lopez shared with me after class that one of the purposes of the game was to show the SFL students that they could do well in Spanish (in certain areas even better than the SHL students). Even before it was his turn, Tony continuously exclaimed that he did not understand and even left class briefly to avoid playing. He and Princess were the last two students to participate and did poorly. Tony refused to go up and write anything except for once writing what Cristiano wrongly told him, while Princess made spelling mistakes, such as mixing up “b” and “v” in “beber” (to drink). They got three different words before Princess finally wrote one correctly. The whole class was laughing and at one point Silvia exclaimed, “they’re both Spanish and they can’t even xxx.” (10/25/05) Even after the game was finished, Tony continued to exclaim that he did not understand. Unable to ignore his exclamations, Ms. Lopez finally asked Tony if there was “someone at home that can help you practice?,” to which he replied that his mom could. After that Ms. Lopez assigned some grammar exercises to the class and went over to help Tony individually. Because they were going to have a quiz on the present tense verb conjugations, she told him, “Okay,  ang necesitas, para el-, para el Jueves, ¿no? En  dos días tienes que memorisar.” {Okay, you only need to for, for Thursday, no? In two days you have to memorize.} To this Tony replied that, “Yo quiero aprender como hacer las cosas.” {I want to learn how to do the stuff.} (10/25/05) This opposition of Ms. Lopez’s use of “memorize” and Tony’s use of “learn” stressed how he did not understand the conjugations and did not simply want to memorize them. On the other hand, Ms. Lopez’s insistence that he “only [needed] … to memorize” them, he seemed to feel, 64  Each Spanish verb ends with one these three endings, which must be memorized because the ending affects how the verb is conjugated in different persons/tenses. E.g., tú nadas {you swim} (from the verb nadar) but tú comes {you eat} (from the verb comer)  120  positioned him as a student who would have perhaps have trouble understanding the material and should therefore simply memorize it. This positioning could be the result of Ms. Lopez’s expectation that SHL students have difficulties with grammar and that such difficulties are to be expected. This has important implications since if she felt that their difficulties were “typical” she may be less inclined to help them improve in this area of language expertise, an idea implicit in her interaction with Tony during and after the grammar game. Tony and Princess’s difficulties with grammar and spelling, however, did not alter their positioning by Ms. Lopez as oral language experts (see Chapter 5). Therefore, while a lack of oral expertise had the potential of positioning Pat as a non-Hispanic, a lack of written expertise did not have the same potential for Tony and Princess. In fact, as seen from various quotations above, this lack of written expertise was congruent with the kinds of expertise that Ms. Lopez expected her SHL students to have. In other words, Ms. Lopez expected her SHL students to lack in written skills and when they did, this reinforced their positioning as SHL learners. The conjugation game left a deep impression on other students in the class, several of whom mentioned the game specifically in their interviews months later. When asked about whether she thought that Tony was good in Spanish, Rose, for example, answered, “he’s good at speaking it but spelling, it’s kind of weird – he doesn’t know how to spell certain things – when we were playing a game on the board and he couldn’t spell most of it. Ha ha.” (2/27/06) In Terry’s interview, when I asked him about what he thought of Princess, he explained that, “I think her speaking skills are really, really good but her grammar is not that good.” I then asked if his assessment was based on having worked with Princess, and he said, “No, I saw once in the game like, she, the Spanish speaking people couldn’t write something xx it was a pretty easy word.” When I asked what he thought about that, he told me, “I was surprised that’s it. Like people were like, ‘You guys speak Spanish and you don’t know how to write that? You don’t know how to spell that?’ ha ha.” Terry’s use of the term “Spanish speaking people” and his subsequent characterization of Pat as having the “same” abilities as Princess, shows that having seen Princess and Tony struggle with the game, he created a stereotype that SHL students were  121  not good at spelling. This was clearly not the case for Pat or Claude, who were very good at it and who did fine in the game as well. This illustrates interesting positioning with regards to expertise by the SFL students in the class. Unlike Ms. Lopez, these students did not come to class with prior expectations of the kinds of expertise that SHL students have as seen by their reactions during the game as well as Terry’s statement about being “surprised.” However, the game created new linguistic profiles for them, namely those of lacking grammar and spelling skills. This was probably because since Tony and Princess were the most vocal SHL students in the class and stood out the most, they were seen as the SHL student archetypes and therefore their demonstrated lack of written expertise had the potential to position some of the other SHL students as lacking those skills. Tony and Princess’s weak literacy skills were seen by Ms. Lopez as being typical of SHL students in general and their struggles, therefore, were not really seen as a problem. On the flip side, Ms. Lopez did not spend much time trying to address their struggles with literacy, and worked with them in similar ways to the ways she helped SFL students. The two students were often frustrated and did not seem to be making much progress. For example, I witnessed Princess asking the spelling of quiero many times in various classes of both myself and Pat. As for Tony, he made infrequent efforts to improve his literacy skills. Rather than only focussing on the strengths they brought to class, namely their oral proficiency, it would also be important for their teacher to work on finding ways to encourage their literacy development to a greater extent. 6.2 Pat and Claude: Strong Literacy Skills Unlike Tony and Princess, Pat and Claude did not fit the typical profile of a SHL student in that they both had strong literacy skills. In Pat’s case, since she had taken both Spanish 9 and 10, she found both these classes and Spanish 11 very easy and was therefore often bored in class, having quickly finished all her work. This was a challenge for Ms. Lopez who struggled with what to do with Pat. Both Pat and Claude’s literacy skills were also often sought after by their classmates, particularly their friends. Both willingly helped their friends but differed in the amount of help they gave. Pat often let her friends simply copy her work while Claude was more likely to answer questions and proofread her friends’ work. When they helped their friends, it was sometimes objected  122  to by Ms. Lopez, since writing was a high stakes activity which carried most of the marks in the class.65 Her reaction, however, differed based on which students copied which, namely, she was less likely to object to students copying Pat for reasons developed below. Overall, Pat and Claude’s skills in the area of grammar and writing were not always seen in the same positive light as Tony and Princess’s speaking skills were. For Pat, the reason for her strong literacy skills and metalinguistic knowledge was a combination of being exposed to the language from birth as well as having enrolled in the typical SFL course sequence of Spanish 9, 10 and 11. Pat was not only a talented Spanish language learner but also a very motivated one. In our interview, she described her language learning in relation to school and home: Excerpt 6.1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 65  Klara: Pat: Klara: Pat:  Klara: Pat:  Klara: Pat: Klara: Pat:  Klara: Pat:  And you haven’t taken Spanish before this one? No, I’ve taken it in, let me think, grade 9, 10 and 11. Oh, you have? And when I was a little kid, I used to take classes but they were stupid, they didn’t help, like. Spanish class for me doesn’t really help, I learn some things but, and I don’t know (1) but I just continued with this, with the grade because x So when you were a kid, did you take those ones on the weekend like, in the Hispanic, the Spanish cultural – Yeah, it was like when I was in grade 4, something like that, my mom signed me up for these classes but then they were stupid, like it was just vocabulary and I don’t know, it was stupid. ((laughs)) Weekend classes. Yeah. So if you took Spanish 9 and 10 wasn’t that like really boring for you? Spanish class has always been boring for me cause even though I like to learn things, I, like almost all that I’ve learned from Spanish class, like there’s a lot of things that I knew from before, but like all the con-, like exactly how to conjugate it and a lot of vocabulary, but for me, like, I learn it so quickly that I just need to see it once and go over it once and I don’t need, like five classes on how to conjugate something. So why didn’t you transfer, like why didn’t you just take Spanish 11 when you were in grade 9? I never, cause I don’t, cause like there’s things that I don’t know yet, there’s always things that I don’t know yet, so then I couldn’t have passed that without knowing, it’s just that she spends so much time going over it that, that’s why it’s boring. It’s repetition, it’s not really that I know the stuff, it’s repetition.  See Section 6.3 for a detailed discussion.  123  29 Klara:  Right, okay.  Before this excerpt, I had been discussing with Pat which, if any, Spanish classes her Hispanic friends had taken. I then asked her if this was her first Spanish class, which is what I had thought. However, Pat explained that not only did she take it previously in grades 9 and 10 (line 2) but that she had also taken it as a child in weekend heritage language classes (lines 4, 10-11, 14). She did not like the heritage classes, calling them “stupid” several times (4-5 and 10-12). As for the high school classes, she explained that “Spanish class has always been boring for me” (line 16) because “there’s a lot of things that I knew from before” (line 17-18) and “I learn it so quickly that I just need to see it once and go over it once and I don’t need, like five classes on how to conjugate something” (lines 19-21). When I then asked her why she did not take a higher level class, she explained that, “there’s always things that I don’t know yet” but, at the same time she complained again that, “it’s just that she spends so much time going over it that, that’s why it’s boring. It’s repetition.” (lines 24-27) This interview segment provides further insight into Pat’s language expertise and positioning. In it she admitted that “there’s a lot of things that I knew from before” (line 17-18), positioning herself as a SHL learner who was exposed to the language in the home and learned in that way. This exposure also increased her ability to “learn it so quickly that I just need to see it once” (line 20). However, she also saw that she lacked certain knowledge such as “how to conjugate it and a lot of vocabulary” (line 19) and explained that she took Spanish 9 and 10 because “there’s always things that I don’t know yet” (line 25). This showed that Pat was very motivated to improve her Spanish, even taking classes in which she was bored most of the time in order to learn the literacy skills that she had lacked. In fact, she had even taken night school Spanish in term 1, although she dropped out because the level she signed up for was too easy. In her interview she shared her intention to sign up for the highest level that January. Pat’s seemingly insatiable desire for taking Spanish classes seems a little strange given the fact that “Spanish class has always been boring” (line 16) for her. Perhaps the reason behind taking all those courses is actually a lack of confidence in her Spanish abilities, or even an overcompensation for her fear of speaking Spanish. In fact, by taking more courses, Pat did not seem to be increasing her speaking confidence in any way. In class, Ms.  124  Lopez once showed Pat some brochures for study abroad, which Pat seemed very interested in. This, rather than more courses, would, very likely, provide many more opportunities to gain confidence in her ability to speak the language. Pat’s statements about the ease with which she acquired new knowledge in Spanish was corroborated by what I observed in class. For one thing, Pat invariably finished her work first in class, so fast that it often elicited comments from her classmates. One time, she finished a textbook exercise in about one minute, just as Ms. Lopez finished explaining it to the class. When her friend, Katrina saw, she asked incredulously, “You actually finished?” to which Pat replied, “I did it as soon as she started talking about it.” (10/3/05) This also speaks to Pat’s rapid comprehension of grammar exercises, in contrast to Tony and Princess, who, as described above, needed a lot of explanation to complete the exercises. Pat was also very sought-after for her abilities by her friends and certain other classmates. She often explained activities and grammar to them and they also often copied her work. On February 2, Ms. Lopez did a final rearrangement of the seating plan, with Janet, Tony and Kimiko being seated with Pat (who was absent that day) (see Figure 6.1, below, for an illustration):  125  Figure 6.1: Seating Plan 466 (February 2)  In the following excerpt, her new tablemates discuss Pat’s expertise as they set about completing a task (2/2/06-TR3): Excerpt 6.2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11  Okay, Tony (2.1) What does this mean? Janet: Tony: For what? Kimiko: How do you do it? ((Janet laughs)) (1.8) Tony: That’s why we need [Pat here. Kimiko: [Where’s Pat? Janet: I know. She knows the xx of the group. Tony: No, she’s like really fast. Janet: I don’t know Spanish. Tony: No (.) Pat. She thinks – Janet: Pat is here?  66  See Chapter 4, Section 4.2, Figure 4.3, for a comparison with the previous seating plan. Grade 12 students are in bold. Students making up the two popular groups are in italics. SHL students are underlined.  126  12 13 14 15  Tony: No, (.) yeah [she xx Kimiko: [Pat sits here. Janet: Nice. Tony: She does the work so fast, man. Xxx  In this extract, Janet and Kimiko were asking Tony how to do an assigned exercise (lines 1 and 3) but instead of answering, Tony remarked, “that’s why we need Pat here,” in other words to help them with it (line 5). Janet then commented about Pat’s knowledge (line 7) while Tony commented twice about how fast she worked (lines 8 and 15). And when Janet found out that Pat was to sit at their table, she called it “nice” (line 14). In this interaction, then, her tablemates positioned Pat as a very smart student who it was good to have around for help. Much like her tablemates above, Ms. Lopez readily recognized Pat’s abilities. Pat and her abilities, however, did not readily come up when Ms. Lopez talked about Hispanic students in the class. In our first interview, Ms. Lopez grouped Princess, Tony and Claude together when she discussed their language abilities, saying, “with kids like Princesa and Antonio, with Claude, she’s half-Hispanic, they want to learn to read and write Spanish so they benefit from doing the grammar exercises and they love the conversational part” (12/8/05). This was in response to my question about the advantages and disadvantages of having Hispanic students in the class. Pat was not mentioned by Ms. Lopez at all until near the end of the interview when I asked her if she sometimes had Hispanic students who were at a “higher level” and what she did to challenge them. Ms. Lopez then replied that Pat Ruiz was like that and that she was “getting a hundred percent.” She further elaborated, saying: I will encourage her to – I was supposed to give her some books to read. It’s nice to just provide them with a novel to read so they can pull out and read the book when they finish their work. Some teachers try and get them to do presentations and research on “your country” to the class. I don’t do that. I’d rather just say to them “here’s a novel that I think you might be interested in reading and it’s in Spanish” or encourage them to go to the library – they know what they like to read, they can get Spanish version of what they like to read. It might be a novel that’s at a younger level. I also told Pat, she could read in the textbook – there’s lots to read – or work ahead in the textbook if you want. She was very bored up until now, but the preterit tense, she’s enjoying learning that. Finally it’s new stuff. (12/8/05)  127  In her comments, Ms. Lopez recognized not only Pat’s abilities, which led to her “getting a hundred percent” but also that she “was very bored up until now,” much as Pat herself described in her own interview. Ms. Lopez described how she resisted giving Pat or others like her projects such as presentations on their country. Although she did not elaborate on why she did not give such projects, her comments in her second interview gave a possible explanation. During that interview, I asked her if she thought that SHL students could be resources for culture teaching. She answered that she had never had much success with that, “because they don’t necessarily know a lot about their country or they don’t want to share.” Talmy (2004) also made a strong case against asking students to do such projects, which served to position them as exotic and stereotyped foreigners, whose heritage was to be displayed for others. Although the students in his study were Generation 1.5 English language learners, in some ways, these were quite similar to those SHL students who were born in their country of heritage. In fact, Claude could be seen as a Generation 1.5 student, having moved to Canada at the age of 10. Different factors such as length of time in Canada, how much their families talked to them about their country of heritage, how much contact they had with other local members of the heritage community, and whether or how often they visited the country would affect how much they knew about it. Whether or not they wanted to share their knowledge with others was no doubt also a complex issue, related to how much they saw and wanted to been as representatives of it. As for Ms. Lopez, she stated that she preferred to have SHL students read material that they were interested in when they were finished their work. Researchers (e.g., Chang & Krashen, 1997; Kim & Krashen, 1998; Krashen, 2004; McQuillan & Krashen, 2007) have found that in the area of first, second and foreign language development, free voluntary reading (sustained silent reading) has led to improved vocabulary acquisition and writing as well as gains in other areas of literacy. In fact, Lee (2005) found that “free voluntary reading was the only significant predictor of writing performance” (p. 335). Cho and Choi (2008) also found that students who regularly engaged in free voluntary reading and read-alouds additionally showed greater enjoyment of and lower anxiety toward language learning. In the area of HL education, Romero (2000) found that teachers of HL students in the ACTFL/Hunter College Project (Webb  128  & Miller, 2000) often used literature from HL students’ own backgrounds and works dealing with issues such as migration and conflict, which their students faced. This led to students making a greater connection to the literature and more contribution to class discussion. Reading can therefore make a significant contribution to both academic and affective factors for language students of all types. Although Ms. Lopez spoke about using free reading for students like Pat, I only observed her doing it one time. Early in the year, when Pat finished her work, Ms. Lopez came over to encourage her to read a magazine called “Spanglish” and the following interaction took place (10/03/05): Excerpt 6.3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11  Ms. Lopez: Pat: Ms. Lopez:  Pat: Ms. Lopez: Pat: Ms. Lopez: Pat:  Okay, I think that it’s time for you to do some reading. Open up that Spanglish magazine. I don’t wanna read. ((in whiny voice)) xxx How else are you gonna keep from getting bored (.) now? What else would you like to do? Xxx Have you seen this xxx. It’s very interesting. Xxx magazine. It’s called Spanglish.= Oh, okay. =It’s all about the events in xxx (It’s written) in Spanish and English. Xxx So you might find this interesting. All right.  Although at first Pat resisted reading the magazine, prompting Ms. Lopez to encourage her a great deal to read it as well as describing its positive characteristics, such as its interesting content and the fact that it was bilingual, she later read it for a significant amount of time, even laughing at the content to herself and then showing it to her friend, Katrina. Having Pat read, then, seemed to work well, at least on that occasion. In our second interview, Ms. Lopez once again made several general statements about the SHL students and two times referred to them not being bored in class. Answering my question about SHL student participation, Ms. Lopez said, “Do heritage students participate more? Depends. Antonio – you can’t get him to stop participating. Claude’s great. This year all the Hispanic students participate at a good level. They don’t seem bored” (1/16/06). Much like in the segment above, Pat is not only omitted but the description of “[participating] at a good level”, like “[loving] the conversation part” does not fit her interactions in class. Later, Ms. Lopez also stated that, “I don’t think my  129  Hispanic kids are bored – I don’t try to give them extra work.” However, in another part of the interview, when Ms. Lopez mentioned Pat specifically, she admitted that Pat “gets her work done really quick and then wants something else to do or else she starts talking – she needs to be challenged more.” At that point, she did not elaborate but further in the interview, in the context of sharing her views on the Spanish abilities of different students in the class, Ms. Lopez said of Pat: Pat will do well no matter what. She really wants to learn something new – she’s like a sponge. She was so happy to learn about “y” changing to an “e” [in front of a word beginning with “i/y”]. You really need to feed her stuff because she has a lot of potential to get bored. I don’t know how to stimulate her, I think it’d be good to bring her stuff to read, like comics – I gotta find out what she’s interested in and bring it; so it’s fun and doesn’t seem like work. In this and the previous segment, Ms. Lopez presented Pat’s tendency to do her work quickly and get bored as a problem for her teacher. In fact, she shared that she did not really know what to do with her. Here Ms. Lopez once again referred to the idea of bringing material for Pat to read and wanting to “find out what she’s interested in and bring it.” Perhaps finding out what Pat was interested in, remembering to and finding the time to find and bring it was just one extra that a busy teacher did not have time to do. However, if she was able to amass various materials in the class and have them ready to give to students, this idea might well have worked very well for students like Pat. It would also likely be an effective activity for SHL students for those with low literacy skills who would be more likely to read if they found something that they were very interested in reading. As for Pat’s literacy skills, in contrast to how she viewed the other SHL students’ oral abilities as an asset, Ms. Lopez did not speak to or show by her actions in class that she saw these as a benefit and something that she could share with her classmates. Rather, this talent was presented as a challenge for Ms. Lopez to find ways of keeping Pat from getting bored. There was also another “problem” with Pat and also Claude’s excellent literacy skills. That was the issue of allowing their friends to copy their work. Although they both helped their classmates with their written work in different way and often answered their classmates’ questions or proofread their work, in Pat’s case, particularly, there was also a tendency on the part of her friends, Kimiko, Katrina and Tony, to simply copy her  130  work. Ms. Lopez did not often address this issue with these students, although once she talked to Pat during class, with her friends present, about how letting them copy was not being fair to herself. However, since her friends were there, Pat did not respond very much to Ms. Lopez but rather defended her friends. At the same time, Pat did make several statements to Tony to the effect that he only talked to her in class to copy her work and that he was using her. Although said in a joking fashion, these statements probably had a basis in how Pat felt about his copying. Claude, on the other hand, was not seen allowing her friends to copy her work. Perhaps she felt that this was wrong or perhaps they never asked to copy her work. Unlike Pat’s friends, many of Claude’s friends were good students and did not need to copy her. However, her close friend, Rose,67 did struggle with her Spanish and received a lot of help from Claude. In our interview, Rose was talking about how she resented the preppy girl group for being loud and “irritating.” She then begins to talk about how she thinks Ms. Lopez favours them because she lets them copy Pat, while penalizing her for the help she received from Claude on one essay assignment (2/27/06): Excerpt 6.4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 67  Klara: Rose:  Klara: Rose:  Klara: Rose: Klara: Rose: Klara:  So what do you think of their group in general? I don’t know, like I think the teacher favours them more, cause every time I want help for my Spanish stuff, she completely ignores and goes to wherever it’s like loud and she can talk to them and stuff and like get along with them. So then I usually go to Claude for her help and yeah, the teacher always thinks I’m copying from her but I’m not, I’m just asking her questions. Oh, really, she’s actually told you that you’re copying from Claude? Okay, um, the artist project, I wasn’t here and she told me to come ask her for the vocabulary but then I wasn’t here so I sent it to Claude so she can proofread it but then and then I handed it in and Ms. Lopez is like, “Yeah, it looks like a Spanish person wrote it cause it has Spanish errors, common errors.” And I didn’t know how to spell most of the words so I asked her and she deducted a mark cause I didn’t ask her for help but I asked Claude for help. I don’t see how that’s fair. And is that why she was asking Claude= Yeah =what is this and what is this and Yeah. Oh, cause I didn’t get that. I thought like why is she doing that? Okay. So she told you that she thought you got help from Claude.  Rose was an athletic and not very academically inclined 2nd generation Chinese-Canadian.  131  22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43  Rose: Klara: Rose: Klara: Rose: Klara: Rose:  Klara: Rose: Klara: Rose:  No, she thought Claude wrote it for me. And you told her you were just trying to get some help cause you weren’t there. Yeah. So why do you think she does that cause it seems a lot of people copy Pat’s work. Yeah, I saw that – they just pass around the paper. ((we both laugh)) So do you think she doesn’t notice that or she has a different standard for them and you? Yeah, she just lets it go on – even though if she catches them, she’s like “Girls, don’t copy.” And then she hands it back to the owner but then they just pass it back to each other. And then when I go over to where Claude’s sitting and go and sit next to her and like start asking her what this means, she says “Go back to your seat.” Or “Don’t copy her.” So why do you think she treats them differently? It’s cause she can talk to them. They’re more involved in the class, they’re more (1.2) I don’t know, they’re just (2.3) What do you mean they’re more involved in the class? I think they kind of suck up to her and like compliment her and such like that even though they don’t like what they’re doing but they compliment her and say “Oh, this is a great idea.” And like you can see them saying “Oh, I don’t wanna do this.”  In this excerpt, Rose described how she did not get enough help with Spanish from Ms. Lopez because Ms. Lopez generally spent more time with the preppy girls and grade 12 groups, the loudest groups in the class. In my observations, I noticed that other students often had their hands up for a long time while Ms. Lopez was with those groups and did not notice them. When she did notice and help them, she often quickly went back to one of the louder groups. This was probably due to a number of factors, such as that they called her attention more often and louder, that she wanted to keep them on task, but also, at other times, I noticed and she corroborated that she simply enjoyed talking to them (see also Chapter 4, Section 4.1, for more details). As a result of paying more attention to those groups, Rose felt that she was not getting enough help from Ms. Lopez and would go to Claude for help. From Rose’s point of view she was simply “getting help” from Claude and “asking her questions” (lines 5-7). According to Rose, however, Ms. Lopez thought that Rose was copying off Claude’s work (lines 5-6). In my observations, I never saw Claude giving any student, including Rose, her work to copy. She would, however, proofread her friends’ work.  132  In our interview, Rose then related how for a project in which each student had to write a short composition on a Hispanic artist, she was absent and decided to get help from Claude because she was not able to get help from Ms. Lopez. In this case, Claude’s help was in the form of proofreading and one could speculate that she made many changes to Rose’s composition. Ms. Lopez then found spelling errors in the composition consistent with those SHL students would make and deducted a mark from Rose’s work, stating, according to Rose’s recollection, that “it looks like a Spanish person wrote it” (lines 9-15). In our interview, Rose insisted that she wrote the work herself but that Claude helped her (with proofreading) (lines 14-5, 22). When students receive help from SHL students who are strong in literacy, it is often a dilemma for their teachers. That is because it is not clear how much correction or help the SHL student gave. Because marks are involved, teachers, like Ms. Lopez, may be less pleased and supportive of SHL students giving this kind of help. With speaking help, however, they may be much more encouraging since this gives the SFL students practice speaking and the activity is not as high stakes. When I was conducting this interview, I was not aware that this had happened to Rose and it clarified what I had observed in class when Ms. Lopez was asking Rose and Claude the meaning of some words from Rose’s composition, presumably to see who knew those words and who did not and therefore who was the true author of the work. I clarify that was indeed what I witnessed in lines 16-21. As Rose related the incident, I was struck by the fact that students often copied Pat’s work and I also recalled how much help Pat and Tony gave to Pat’s friends when they were all working on the artist project in the library (see Section 6.4, Excerpts 6.9 and 6.10). Therefore, in lines 26-27, I introduced the idea that many students copy off Pat’s work. Students were generally aware that this copying was common and many mentioned it in their interviews and here, too, Rose corroborated that she had noticed such copying taking place (line 28). When I then asked Rose her opinion about this, she told me that, in her view, Ms. Lopez “just lets it go on” and that she does tell them not to do it but then gives them their paper back and they copy again (lines 31-33). As mentioned above, this is what I had also observed in class. Rose then explained how Ms. Lopez behaved differently with her when she told her to “‘Go back to your seat.’ Or ‘Don’t copy her,’” when she would come to get help  133  from Claude (lines 33-35). In fact, I seldom saw Rose getting help from Claude in class although they were close friends. This was most likely because they were not sitting at the same table and Ms. Lopez did not like students switching seats. However, Ms. Lopez did allow the preppy girls to sit together for most of the year and when Tony, Pat or another students from the two disruptive groups went to his or her friend’s table, she was more likely to tolerate it, perhaps because they were harder to control. This shows that even with the same issue as giving help in the area of literacy, two highly proficient SHL students may be treated differently as a result of other social dynamics in the class and their relationship with their teacher, something which was explored also in Section 4.1. Although I was not able to see how much help Claude gave to Rose when she proofread her work, I did witness Claude proofreading Kelly’s work on the project (1/24/06-TR4): Excerpt 6.5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19  Kelly:  Claude: Kelly: Claude: Kelly: Claude: Kelly: Claude: Kelly: Claude: Kelly: Claude:  Can you read this? (.) Only the last part cause that’s the Spanish part. I don’t think it makes any sense. ((addressing Claude)) (7.1) Can I write on this? Yeah. (.) Of course! You’re saying Pablo Picasso fui nacido {literally I had been born – perfect tense, passive voice}, I was born. Xx Fue {he had been} – or you can be like nació {he was born – preterit tense}. Do you remember we learned nació? I don’t know. Instead of Spain, you should put España. El fue {He was} or instead of fue {was – imperfect tense} actually, era {had – imperfect tense} Which means? Era, was, 15, yeah, él era quince años cuando él {he was (literally “had”) fifteen years old when he} ((dictating as writes)) What does that mean xx came? (1.2) Okay. ((gives paper back to Kelly))  When correcting Kelly’s composition, Claude asked if she could write on her paper. As can be seen from what she explained while writing, she made significant changes to her work, even rewriting a whole sentence (line 16). She did not simply correct errors, such fui to fue, but also changed tenses to make the sentence sound  134  better.68 Moreover, when relying on what sounded right to her, Claude realized that if the class had not learned a tense, she should not be using it. She therefore asked Kelly if the class had learned nació (line 10), which Kelly did not know. This shows an awareness of the kind of help that Claude felt she could and should provide without overstepping the boundaries. However, the kind of help she provided was complete correction rather than the kind of help a teacher might give, such as pointing out errors and asking students to try to self-correct them. Therefore, this kind of help might indeed be objectionable to teachers, as was demonstrated in Rose’s case above. In general, Claude was the only SHL student who had lived for a significant amount of time in her country of heritage and received schooling there. She had lived in Mexico until the age of ten, when she immigrated to Canada with her Canadian mother after her parents’ divorce. Claude’s language abilities, both oral and written, were evident to both her classmates and teacher, though Claude, herself, felt at times that she was “forgetting” her Spanish.69 Many students, both close friends and acquaintances, expressed enjoying working with her or wanting to work with her, due to her excellent Spanish expertise. In our interview, Claude commented about her feelings about students asking her for help in class when I asked her about previous Spanish classes she took (11/28/05): Excerpt 6.6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14  Klara: So you didn’t take 9 or 10, you just took 11? Claude: I took grade 10 too. Yeah, when I was in grade 9, I took grade 10 too. Klara: How was that? Claude: Um, it was interesting, it was okay. Klara: Why? Claude: A lot of the kids take advantage of it, I guess. Klara: What do you mean? Claude: A lot of the non-speaking-Spanish people take advantage of it and um, yeah, so. Klara: Take advantage of having you in the class? Claude: Yeah. Klara: So what do they do? Claude: I don’t know, they always come and ask you questions. They’ll be  68  Both fue nacido and nació are correct but nació or ha nacido [he was born – present perfect] are better because Spanish does not like to use passive voice. 69 See Chapter 5 for more details.  135  15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22  your friend if you help them and stuff. ((I laugh)) Oh, yeah, that kind of taking advantage. Klara: So you didn’t like that? Claude: No, no. ((little laugh)) Klara: And what about in this class Claude: Yeah, but they’re people I know so it’s not that bad. Also, they’re doing better and they understand me now when I speak slowly. We speak in Spanish when we’re fooling around. In the excerpt, Claude talked about disliking the fact that many SFL students  asked her for help when she took Spanish 10. She was in grade 9 at the time so was not friends with these students and was younger than them so perhaps she felt a certain intimidation and pressure to help them when they asked her questions. She then reported that the same thing happened in the Spanish 11 class she was in now but that she did not mind as much because “they’re people I know” and “they’re doing better and they understand me now when I speak slowly” (lines 20-21). Claude was therefore expressing the attitude of not minding helping people she knew (and presumably, liked). Pat made similar comments in her interview when I asked about Tony, Kimiko and Katrina copying her work, saying that she let them do it because they were her friends. Claude’s second point about her classmates understanding her Spanish more brings up an important idea about integrating SHL students. When taking a lower level class such as Spanish 9 or 10, their knowledge level is so much higher than their classmates that they cannot have much of an interaction with them apart from acting like their teacher, which they may not like. As well, in their interviews, Princess and Claude brought up the fact that their friends had taken Spanish 9 and 10 and found it “too easy” and very frustrating. Pat talked about the same experience when taking Spanish 9 and 10 in Excerpt 6.1 above. This too is another reason when SHL students should be placed in higher level classes, such as Spanish 11, although, of course, their lower age must be taken into account when trying to integrate them into the class, as described in Chapter 4 (Section 4.2). Among the SHL students in Ms. Lopez’s class, Pat and Claude were two who had strong grammar and literacy skills. This was not only “atypical,” according to Ms. Lopez, but also provided some challenges to her. These included boredom on the part of those who finished their work quickly and not knowing what to do with them, as well as the  136  issue of them giving their friends too much help in class. Unlike with oral expertise, strong literacy expertise on the part of SHL students was therefore not always seen in a favourable light in this class. 6.3 Valued Language Expertise and Marks The “communicative-experiential approach” to language teaching advocated by the Spanish 5-12 Integrated Resource Package (IRP) Curriculum Guide of the B.C. Ministry of Education (B.C. Ministry of Education, 2005) privileges real-life communication and the sharing of ideas and downplays the role of grammar instruction: In this approach, the focus of instruction is the purposeful use of language to perform real-life tasks, share ideas, and acquire information. Grammar instruction plays a supportive role only – to provide useful strategies to facilitate communication and comprehension. (p. 1) It is also specified that “the goal of language learning is performance with language rather than knowledge about the language.” (ibid) Yet, in direct contradiction with the curriculum guide, much of what was valued by the giving of marks in this class and perhaps others in the province, was performance on written tests, often full of grammar and translation exercises, which were artificial, rather than real-life tasks and ones which were based on the knowledge about language. The same was not the case for the Spanish 12 Provincial Examination. Discussing this examination and the skill set it required, Ms. Lopez stated: If I were to have a Spanish 12 class, one of the first things I would do in September is create the exam specifications so that in September you’re already aware of what is gonna be the format of the exam. And then we can work towards practicing our writing. (3.1) This is why traditionally the Spanish students do very well on the exam because they’re not necessarily (1.2) when a Spanish student is given a grammar test and has to conjugate verbs they’re not necessarily gonna get the right answer because they didn’t learn that way, they don’t learn by, (.) they learn by listening and speaking so when you give them a topic to write on, they do very well. Whereas if you’re studying Spanish as a second language, you’re often, like myself, I’m much better at grammar cause I understand grammar so if you give me a grammar test, I’ll do well on it. But maybe writing a paragraph would be more challenging for me. So if you are planning to take Spanish 12, the provincial exam will require you to write paragraphs on it. (12/14/05-TR2)  137  Here, Ms. Lopez characterized writing in opposition to grammar exercises as a situation in which SHL students, who are orally fluent, easily composed paragraphs on a topic. She was not, however, talking about the mechanics of writing, which she characterized many times as being a trouble spot for SHL students. In the same way as in the first quotation of Section 6.1, we see grammar being described as a mechanical exercise which FL rather than HL students are good at. Ms. Lopez’s statement that SHL students often do better on the Spanish 12 Provincial Examination because writing authentic language comes more naturally to them, is more in line with the Spanish IRP which emphasizes the testing of authentic language use rather than grammar rules. Unfortunately, this is often the opposite of testing in the class, which is why SHL students often get a much higher mark on their Provincial Examinations than in their classes. In her statements above, Ms. Lopez described a cause and effect relationship between good at “listening and speaking” and being a good writer (of authentic language). Unfortunately, this “real-life” writing and speaking were not very valued in the class. Students also noticed this phenomenon. One class, Tony had a discussion about the importance of speaking vs. writing and marks with Silvia70 (1/24/06-TR10): Excerpt 6.7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18  Silvia: Cristiano: Silvia: Tony: Silvia: Tony:  Tony:  Silvia: Tony: Pat: Tony: Silvia: Pat:  Tony, what’d you get in this class? Xxx Are you serious? Why, what’d you get? 95. You got 95, I got 74. Put us in El Salvador, who would people talk to? Who would survive? ((Silvia laughs)) (1.5) See I think the marking situation was wrong there somehow. I think I should automatically get 100. (1.8) You have to learn how to spell it too. Why do we need how to spell? “Can I have this? – Oh, no, spell that first for me.” ((laughs)) That’s true. No one’s gonna ask you to spell anything. That’s if you live there, no? What if you went to school there, though? Like if you got sent there  70  Silvia was one of the grade 12 popular group who talked constantly in class but who also worked hard to do well in class.  138  19 20 21 22 23 24  right now to go to university?= Tony: I would die. Pat: =You’d suck. Cristiano: Who’d wanna go there for university. Tony: Yeah, no one would go there. Pat: Okay, I’m just saying. When Tony found out that Silvia was getting more than 20% more than him in  Spanish, he asked her, “Put us in El Salvador, who would people talk to? Who would survive?” (lines 6-7) Here Tony was positioning himself as the idealized speaker, the one that people from El Salvador “would talk to” and who could better talk to them. He then suggested that in fact he should get 100% in Spanish (lines 9-10), presumably due to his excellent speaking abilities. With this statement Tony was placing speaking ability as the most important and useful skill in knowing a language. However, though rewarded on many levels such as speaking time in class, being positioned as a language expert and model, and so on, his speaking skills did not translate into high marks. His statement about being better able to speak to people in El Salvador also underscores his ability for “real-life” communication, something students like Silvia lacked but something valued in the Spanish IRP. Furthermore, the Spanish IRP seems to equally emphasize both oral and written “real-life” language use since the two skills are often mentioned together in the learning objectives. Yet, while speaking seemed highly valued by someone observing Ms. Lopez’s class, looking at her assessment one could see that writing was valued to a much greater extent. The same is true of Spanish 12 Provincial Examination, which, for practical reasons, tested only reading and writing, in apparent contradiction with the curriculum guide. Likewise, in the interaction above, Silvia suggested that Tony needed to learn spelling as well (line 12) which began a discussion of whether spelling was an important skill or not. Tony argued that it was not necessary, with Pat at first agreeing (line 15) but then suggesting that he would need it if he went to university there (lines 18-19). To this Tony admitted that he “would die” (line 20) if he went to university there. At this point, Tony was repositioned as a student lacking in necessary writing expertise. Cristiano then suggested that going to university there would not be very desirable, a statement with  139  which Tony quickly agreed, asking “no one go there.” (line 23) Cristiano and Tony’s comments about the undesirability of going to university in El Salvador perhaps puts higher education in Spanish and in Latin America as less sought after than higher education at an English-speaking university in North America and shows that even if one is proud of one’s Hispanic heritage, this may not go as far as wanting to wanting to move to a Hispanic country to study. This interaction also shows that having high literacy skills was indeed an important goal for many students in the class and one which was rewarded by marks. As Ms. Lopez, herself, stated, class was “not just about showing up and speaking.” (1/16/06) Metalinguistic literacy knowledge, then, was the area of language expertise which had the greatest influence on students’ marks in this class. Moreover, except in the case of the Provincial Examination, grammar exercises were the form that this expertise most frequently took. For these reasons, those students with strong literacy skills and also good metalinguistic knowledge did the best in this class. This was in contradiction with the Spanish curriculum guide which stressed the importance of the “purposeful use of language to perform real-life tasks, share ideas, and acquire information,” namely much more communicative goals. Such a paradox meant that although in appearance those students with excellent oral skills were positioned as language models, those same students were also the ones with the lowest grades in the class. 6.4 Group Work Interaction Examples When it came to working with others, the four SHL students were sought out for different kinds of expertise and their expertise was accepted differently by different group members. Project work was not common in Ms. Lopez’s class; it was also one of the few times that students got to choose who to work with.  Although they never worked on any  project together, since they generally worked with their closest friends in the class, Pat, Tony and Princess nevertheless asked each other questions, while working on projects with others, when they did not know how to say something. Claude, on the other hand, never had any interactions with the other three SHL students and when she did not know something, she preferred to look it up in the dictionary or ask her teacher. In this section, I explore how the SHL students worked in groups and helped their classmates, particularly during a trivia game group project and an artist project.  140  The trivia game group project was assigned at the end of term one. Students chose groups of three or four students and each student was to come up with two questions about their city. They then translated the questions into Spanish, wrote them on question cards (which Ms. Lopez kept for future years) and brought prizes (candy) on game day to give out to winners. For this project, Tony worked with Cristiano, Janet and Silvia, Pat with Kimiko and Katrina, Claude with Jo Ann, Jiffydam and Rose, and Princess with Honey and Julia. Whereas Tony, Pat and Claude quickly chose their groups, which consisted of their closest friends in class, Princess, who did not have any friends in class, did not at first form a group. In the end, Honey and Julia, who were also friends of Pat, Kimiko and Katrina but could not join their group because it would be too big, asked her to join them. In fact, Princess enjoyed working with Honey and Julia and at the end of class asked me and then Ms. Lopez if she could move to their table since sitting with the grade 12 students made her “antisocial” (see Chapter 4, Section 4.1 for details). When it came to working with his group, Tony was often off-task. Since it was the end of term 1 and Tony was missing many grammar exercise assignments, he spent most of the class copying Pat’s exercises which had been handed in for marks and returned earlier in the year. He then gave them to Ms. Lopez to mark. During the class, Tony’s group and Ms. Lopez called him over to help the group countless times but he actually only came once for about 10 minutes to help them translate a couple of their questions. He also continually insisted that his mother had already written his questions for him and that they were at home. Ms. Lopez scolded Tony for having his mother do his work for him; later on in the class, however, she expressed her doubt to Janet about the questions being completed and in Tony’s home. At the same time, his group members expressed doubt about the kind of help Tony could give them. For example, once when Janet asked Tony to help them, Cristiano remarked, “He doesn’t know how to spell anything,” to which Janet answered, “Yeah, but he can tell us what to write.” (11/22/05-TR12) When finally working with his group, Tony also told them that he couldn’t write and that he would make up the questions and they would write them. Tony’s lack of expertise in the area of literacy therefore made him less able to contribute to his group’s work. However, his ability to translate ideas into Spanish was still an asset.  141  In spite of his ease and confidence in whole-class oral interactions, where he easily expressed his ideas, during group work, when he had to translate into Spanish, he showed a lack of confidence, often asking Ms. Lopez for a second opinion. Translation, then, was a different skill from simply expressing his ideas in Spanish or “thinking” in Spanish. Ms. Lopez talked about Tony’s tendency to ask for her reassurance in our interview, saying (1/16/06): Is Tony lazy or has he never been taught – is he hiding behind his not knowing? I don’t know how he does in his other courses. Many kids ask him vocabulary – his confidence is building but he always checks with me – he says, “Is it like this?” and then tells them. One would never have thought of Tony as lacking confidence in Spanish from watching him during whole class interactions, but in a one-on-one or small group setting when he was asked how to translate words or sentences, he demonstrated this lack of confidence and need for confirmation of his translations by Ms. Lopez. Much like Ms. Lopez described above, students often asked Tony for vocabulary, much as they asked the other three SHL students. Tony was also more likely to help others when he was not actually in their group but could wander over, help and leave again. Helping in that way required much less focus and pressure to stay in the group. It was also an opportunity for him to demonstrate his expertise in Spanish without sustained effort that group work required. This kind of help was demonstrated when students were working on an assignment in which they had to describe a Hispanic artist. To give students time to gather research about their artist, one whole class was spent in the school library. Neither Tony nor Pat worked on their project during that class, both preferring to do it at another time. However, they both offered much help to Pat’s friends, Kimiko, Katrina, Honey and Julia, who were all seated together (1/16/06-TR7): Excerpt 6.8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  Kimiko: Honey: Kimiko: Honey: Kimiko: Tony: Kimiko:  How do you say “the painting”? La pintura. Is kept? How do you say “is kept”? (3.7) Um. Wait. Pat Ruiz? Antonio? How do you say, “is kept”? Is kept, like, Like “The painting is kept.”  142  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25  Tony: Kimiko: Tony: Kimiko: Tony: Pat: Tony: Kimiko: Pat:  Tony: Pat: Tony: Pat: Tony:  “la pintura está” {the painting is} um está? Um hm La pintura está guardada. {kept} Guardada? What are you asking for in English? Kept. The painting is kept in the New York museum of modern art. ((Tony leaves to go talk to Ms. Lopez)) Well, to stay, to stay is quedar so (1.6) Cross out the está and put la pintura queda, or something. Q u e d a. Something like that. I don’t know, that means stays, like is. Yeah. Just go está. No, like noLa pintura está en and just put that No. Yeah, it is. I just asked Ms. Lopez, you dummy.  This interaction began with Kimiko asking Honey for her help translating “the painting is kept.” Honey was able to translate “the painting” (line 2) but when she did not know the translation for “is kept,” Kimiko called Pat and Tony to help her. Tony responded first and offered a literal translation of “is kept”, namely está guardada (lines 9 and 13). Pat then asked in line 14 what Tony was translating, showing that she was not paying attention to the previous interaction between Kimiko and Tony. Although the translation was for Kimiko, Tony answered Pat’s question in line 15 before Kimiko got a chance in line 16 to offer a more complete answer. This demonstrates Tony’s involvement in the interaction. Right after, however, Tony left to go ask Ms. Lopez if his translation of the sentence was correct. In the meantime, Pat tried to translate the sentence, using the verb quedar {to remain}, although a more correct form would have been the reflexive form of the verb, quedarse {to stay}. In addition to providing the translation, Pat also spelt the verb she used (line 19), unlike Tony in his interaction earlier. However, this verb is mostly used for living things so her translation is not the best either. Finally, in line 23, Tony came back, telling both girls that the answer should be la pintura está {the painting is (located)}, without mentioning that his answer was from Ms. Lopez. Had the two simply accepted this translation, he could have passed it off as his own. However, Pat objected and Tony resorted to defending the answer by telling them that Ms. Lopez had offered it (lines 24-25). This ended the discussion as  143  everyone accepted Ms. Lopez’s expertise. Although Ms. Lopez’s was probably the best translation, both Tony’s and Pat’s versions were good attempts. Tony going to ask his teacher gives an example of what she described earlier as his lack of confidence and reliance on her confirmation. The previous interaction also showcases how Tony and Pat were able to help their classmates. In fact, Tony and Pat had complementary types of expertise in Spanish and their contrasting language expertise was sometimes juxtaposed in class. Near the end of the same class, Tony asked Pat for help with his project and they had the following interaction (1/16/06-TR10): Excerpt 6.9 1 Pat: 2 3 Tony: 4 Pat:  You say it in Spanish and I’ll write it for you. I’m not better at Spanish than you are, you know that. You can do this faster than I can. You can say it and I’ll write it.  This interaction and others like it show that Pat and Tony both had very good expertise in their respective areas and that they recognized and valued that expertise in themselves and in each other. However both students faced obstacles which kept them from benefiting fully from one another’s respective expertise. Tony’s lack of effort to work and learn from those with greater literacy expertise, like Pat and his teacher, kept him from working with Pat and learning from her. Many times I observed Pat trying to explain something to Tony and him giving up quickly and telling her he did not care and that he just wanted to copy her work, which he did. Other times, when he said he wanted to understand but was not able to focus on what she was saying, Pat would also become frustrated with him and began telling him that she would not help because he was not listening to her (e.g., 10/25/05). As for Pat, her hindrance from benefiting from her interactions with Tony was her reluctance to respond to him in Spanish. Ms. Lopez also recognized that Tony and Pat could benefit from their mutual expertise so she moved Tony near Pat during the second seating plan. When she told Tony about his new seat, she also told him that Pat could help him with grammar and he could help her with speaking. However, Tony was aware of Pat’s reluctance to speak and answered Ms. Lopez that he could not help her since, “She’s too shy (to speak).” (11/10/05-TR3)  144  Pat often stood up for Tony’s expertise if it was put into question. This allowed Pat to negotiate a language expert identity alongside Tony, since by claiming that he was an expert she showed herself to have enough expertise to judge his. Tony, too, defended his expertise (and Pat’s in an earlier example of when she was away), often by choosing to emphasize his excellent oral skills. On several occasions near the beginning of the year, he and I had discussions about his abilities in Spanish in which he stressed the importance of speaking versus writing. Being a teacher myself, although not having that role in this class, I sometimes found it hard not to comment when I saw Tony copying Pat since I felt that he could be learning much more if he made more effort. Tony resented my interference here but perhaps my taking on the position of teacher was one thing which contributed to him asking me for help in a later class, something he had not done before that. At the beginning of this interaction, though inaudible on tape, I made a comment to Tony that he should not be copying Pat and the following discussion ensued (11/8/05-TR14): Excerpt 6.10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24  Klara: Tony: Pat: Tony: Klara: Tony: Tony: Klara: Tony: Klara:  Pat: Klara: Tony: Klara: Tony: Klara: Tony: Tony:  Xxx Are you kidding me? He already knows it. (0.8) Xxx top of my head. Really? (1.5) Then why are you copying it? Cause it’s faster. (2.3) Test me. You wanna test my knowledge? I bet you I know more than you. Would you like to speak Spanish with me? I’m not talking about speaking. Xxx writing. Xx practice x. Yo hablo muy bien el español. {I speak Spanish very well.} Yo sé que hablas muy bien {I know you speak very well}… I think you’d feel more confidence if you practice more and then you could compare [(your answers) [He is confident with his Spanish. With his writing? Xxx to write but I don’t care, I’ll still pass. Aren’t you here to improve,= No. =not just to pass? No, I’m here to pass. (2.1) I can get my mom, she can teach me so good, my mom.  145  25 26 27 28 29 30 31  Klara: Tony: Pat: Klara: Tony: Princess: Tony:  Xxx Exactly, I don’t want to. What if you have to write one day? Yeah. Xxx get a better job. Shit, I can talk Spanish. Does you mom speak English? I’ll just call Pat. “Pat, how you write this?”  In this interaction, both Tony and Pat defended his language expertise. In line 2 Tony answered my comment with “Are you kidding me?,” thereby implying how ridiculous it was for me to question him about copying. Then Pat came to his defence, saying he “already knows it” (line 2) which positioned them both as language experts whose expertise and practices I was challenging and made his copying a sign of something else, such as his laziness or ethics, rather than a lack of expertise. Tony then confirmed this with his comment in line 5, with which he implied that his Spanish knowledge came naturally to his head since it was his first language. But I continued to challenge his expertise, asking him why he was copying (line 6) and he told me that it was because it was faster (line 7), again implying that he was able to do the work if he wanted to. When I did not offer a response, Tony took my silence as an indication that he had not convinced me and he then began a more intense and confrontational interaction in which he challenged me to test his Spanish knowledge and made the claim that his knowledge of Spanish was greater than mine. With this comment, Tony put my expertise into question, challenging my positioning of him as one lacking in literacy by positioning me as a non-native speaker who could not challenge a native speaker like himself (lines 9-10). Relying on his oral expertise, he then challenged me to speak Spanish with him to which I replied that I was talking about his writing, not speaking, abilities. Tony, however, continued to stress his strong oral skills, even code-switching into Spanish to emphasize his statement that he spoke very well (line 12). This code-switching once again emphasized his native-like oral expertise and my lack thereof. I concurred with his statement, in Spanish, but continued to talk about (in English) how he should be practicing (his writing) to gain confidence (lines 13-15). Once again, Pat spoke up in Tony’s support, saying that he was confident (line 16). This too did not distract me from my focus on writing and finally Tony seemed to give up his defence of his abilities, opting instead to make a series of excuses about why he did not need to work on his  146  writing in class. These included that all he wanted to do was pass the course (not improve) (lines 20 and 22), that his mom could help him (line 24), and finally that if he ever needed to write something (as Pat suggested in line 27) he would call Pat to ask her. In this interaction, Tony resisted my positioning of him as a student weak in the area of writing (and one who cheated due a lack of this expertise) by positioning himself as an (oral) language expert, in opposition to myself, and one who cheated simply out of laziness. He mounted a strong defence of his skills and confronted me, positioning himself as more of a Spanish language expert than myself with his challenge, “Test me. You wanna test my knowledge? I bet you I know more than you. Would you like to speak Spanish with me?” (lines 9-10). This and his subsequent code-switch into Spanish were attempts to reposition himself as the expert in opposition to me. From line 18, however, Tony began to concede his difficulties in the area of writing and was therefore repositioned as a struggling student who only cared about passing (lines 18, 20, 22). Pat’s positioning of Tony in this interaction is equally interestin