A LangCrit analysis of teachers’ beliefs about language learning and language diversity

Authors

  • Christina L. Dobbs Boston University
  • Christine Montecillo Leider Boston University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jmtp.19104

Keywords:

LangCrit, Teacher Beliefs, Teacher Education, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners

Abstract

Research has suggested that teachers’ beliefs about multilingual learners directly impact their instructional practices, and teacher educators have called for more explicit focus on addressing beliefs related to language learning and multilingual learners in teacher training programmes. Drawing from LangCrit theory, we analysed 15 early-career teachers’ beliefs about language learning. All participants were enrolled in a teacher education programme and taking a state mandated course focused on teaching multilingual learners. At the start of the course, after completing modified versions of the Beliefs About Language Learning Inventory (BALLI) and the Language Attitudes Teacher Survey (LATS), participants were asked to identify survey items that represented truths or myths of bilingualism and to reflect on their own beliefs about the topic and how those beliefs were formed. We utilised positioning theory and LangCrit theory to make meaning of participant responses. Findings suggest that participants were likely to select similar items for reflection. Additionally, their responses connected to their personal experiences of language learning in their own lives or previous classroom experiences. In line with LangCrit theory, participant responses connected their individual stories to broader discourses and emphasised socially bounded hierarchies and the dominance of English as a teaching goal. However, responses rarely addressed how language diversity is related to race or racism. Implications for teacher beliefs, particularly with regard to teacher education and policy, are discussed.

Author Biographies

Christina L. Dobbs, Boston University

Christina L. Dobbs is an Assistant Professor of English Education at the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at Boston University. Her research focuses on adolescent writing in the disciplines, academic language, disciplinary literacy and teacher professional learning. Her work has been published in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Reading Research Quarterly, Professional Development in Education and the Journal of School Leadership. Her recent books include Investigating Disciplinary Literacy (2017) and Disciplinary Literacy Inquiry & Instruction (2019).

Christine Montecillo Leider, Boston University

Christine Montecillo Leider is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Language Education at the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at Boston University. Her research focuses on bilingual language and literacy practices; policy and civil rights issues regarding teacher training and multilingual learners’ access to education; teacher beliefs about language; and developing bilingual models of reading comprehension. Her work has been published in Reading and Writing, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism and TESOL Journal.

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Published

2021-05-04

How to Cite

Dobbs, C. L., & Leider, C. M. (2021). A LangCrit analysis of teachers’ beliefs about language learning and language diversity. Journal of Multilingual Theories and Practices, 2(1), 25–46. https://doi.org/10.1558/jmtp.19104

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Articles