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This dissertation is dedicated
to my support system--my family
Robin, Jenny and Gavin
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABSTRACT ... ..... ......................................... x
I BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY.......................1
Statement of the Problem.......................2
Design of the Study..........
Significance of the Study......................6
Definitions of Terms.......................... .8
Limitations of the Study.......................9
Scope of the Study............................10
Summary ....... ..............................11
II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE......................12
Introduction...... .... ..... .... ... ......12
Language Learning of Bilingual Children at
Language Learning of Bilingual Children at
School...... ...... ........ ...............15
Early Intervention Programs...................17
The Writing Development of Children...........25
Writing Development of Monolingual Children...24
Stages of Developments in Writing.......24
Oral Language and Writing........ ...... .....37
The Writing of Bilingual Children.............40
Summary ....... ... ....... .... ....... .... ......45
The Setting ..................................54
Entry to the Site.......................54
Description of the Site-Classroom.......57
Research Methods and Procedures...............61
Overview... .... .**.. ..*** ....61
measures. ... .....******. .....67
Informal and formal interviewing..69
Analysis of the Data....................71
Researcher qualifications and
Validity measures..... ..........81
IV DESCRIPTION OF THE SUBJECTS, TEACHERS AND
The Subjects... ......................*.......84
The Children as Subjects................85
The Subjects as Children...............86
Jos .................. ..... ......86
Yolanda.............. .......... ..93
arJesuos...... .... ....... ... ......97
Teachers' Descriptions .............. .......108
Mrs. Summer ..... .. ..... ......... ....108
Mrs. Path............. ... ...... ...... .112
Classroom Practices.. ....... ...... ..... ...115
V CHILDREN'S COMPOSING BEHAVIORS AND VIEWS OF
Talking while writing............155
A I i- I -- 1 1 s I j- 1 c
Summary.................. .................... 176
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS.................181
Summary of the Problem.......................181
Findings and Conclusions.....................182
Relationship of Findings to Previous Studies.191
A PROJECT OUTLINE..............................204
B PARENTS' INFORMED CONSENT FORM (SPANISH).....205
C PARENTS' INFORMED CONSENT FORM (ENGLISH).....207
D TEACHER'S INFORMED CONSENT FORM..............209
E SAMPLE FIELD NOTE PAGE.......................210
F STUDENT INTERVIEW QUESTIONS..................211
G TEACHER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS..................212
REFERENCES........... ......... ...... ................ 213
Linda Leonard Lamme
Curriculum and Instruction
as a Second
These observations focused on the writing-related
behaviors of subjects and teachers in this classroom.
Written field notes,
formal and informal interview data, a
and writing samples were collected.
Data analysis was cyclical in nature and revealed
twelve composing behaviors:
asking questions, s
and taking breaks.
talk while writing,
Statements about writing,
Of the twelve behavior
to be specific for these bilingual children
and concealing writing.
The following general conclusions were drawn from the
young children employed many of the
same composing behaviors
as younger monolingual writers;
all children used most of the composing behaviors cited
although all composing behaviors were not used by all of
teacher practice and teacher views of
to influence children's composing
their views of writing;
d) children in
this study held two distinct views of writing,
which may in
part be explained by
writing levels and the interaction within the setting where
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I1 1 I
BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY
Literacy for young bilingual children is an issue of
great importance in recent research in bilingual educa-
This study focuses on Hispanics
, who according to
recent census information,
population of the United St
comprise 6.4 percent of the
ates. Of the 15.9 million
reported to reside
in the United States,
percent were under the
of 10 years and 21
of 10 and 19 years of
Because a need exists to provide appro-
private instruction for the increasing numbers of bilingual
children in our school systems,
tive nature is necessary.
The great diversity of opinion
which exists about the best instructional methodologi
bilingual children i
at least in part,
a result of the
paucity of research directed at describing and under-
standing these children and their
step toward instructional planning must be
description of young bilingual children, t
behaviors during writing in a classroom situation and their
perceptions of writing.
Statement of the Problem
In studies of young writers,
described their writing products (Clay,
in a few
have given information about young children while
we know that some young children take frequent
breaks while writing
, write for an audience, and converse
copiously while writing (Childers,
composing behaviors the same for bilingual children?
Research on composing behaviors with young bilingual
children is in its infancy.
problem is essential to gat
A descriptive approach to the
.her information about these
Young bilingual children enter school with well
developed notions of literacy
factors in classroom life and their lives in general affect
their views or perceptions about literacy. As they
interact with their environment these views may change,
added to or
of making sense in
terms of the
is influenced by the social context
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components of writing is essential.
investigated the composing behaviors of five young
bilingual children and their views of writing.
focused on two guiding questions:
the behaviors that accompany the
composing processes of young bilingual children?
What do children do while they write (i.e.,
How do Spanish-speaking young children view the
Design of the Study
The researcher employed ethnographic methods to study
Ethnography provides a means through which
the researcher can attempt to gain the perspective of
the problem through the child's
order to understand the problem being
Geertz describes ethnography as a process of
interpreting the ecological web of significance in people's
From the textbook perspective,
S. establishing rapport,
. keeping a diary
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characteristic which distinguishes ethnography from other
research methods is the requirement that the researcher
utilize the participants'
understanding in interpreting the
This study focused on the dynamic context of everyday
classroom life where verbal and social interactions were
viewed as key
In this study,
s in the teaching and learning
individual learner was
described with his/her unique characteristics and his/her
interaction with others in this classroom,
Dynamic changes were occurring in these children
they made the transition from the Spanish to the English
It was important then to consider the
individuals in detail
they began to write.
crucial in facilitating the writing
interactions and research perspective provided the
scaffolding for this project.
the perceptions of
This perspective considers
learners and the teachers in
constant interaction and change.
classroom then was
as a social context in which the natural give and
take of participants affected the
Using an ethnographic approach,
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and collected samples of writings for
analysis in order to describe in detail
These methods were used in this study to document
the daily classroom writing episodes,
to describe what
children thought about writing and what they did while
Through the analysis of the field note records
and the other instruments employed,
patterns emerged which
"picture" of these bilingual children
behaviors and their perceptions of writing.
The researcher selected one English as a Second
Language Classroom (ESL) where bilingual children wrote
daily in small groups.
The subjects chosen for the study
were five Spanish-speaking students.
of their composing behaviors
This information was gathered in 47
Data were transcribed from written
field notes and then typed onto protocols such
example found in appendix E.
Informal interviews with the
and the students were completed
part of the field note record.
Audiotape cassettes were
made of formal interviews with the teachers and each
subject in the study.
The researcher kept a diary
including the following information about each
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Significance of theStuy
This study addressed the need for research in the
composing behaviors of
few studies in recent years
have explained the writing processes of
research studies with
bilingual children have centered on program evaluations and
quantitative studies to measure program effects.
this practice focused on final products
rather than specific observations to determine the
components of the composing process.
From qualitative studies which focus on few children
and describe bilingual writers in detail can come relevant
and useful information for theory building.
demonstrated that these five young bilingual children have
many characteristics similar to young monolingual
Other composing behaviors
described in this
study are not found in the research literature.
findings of this study also document the importance of
teacher practice in the composing behaviors of young
bilingual writers and,
how the teacher's view of
writing may influence
the child's perceptions of writing.
These findings complement the research findings (Ferreiro,
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can be supportive and children will develop their own
meaningful writing systems.
In other words,
interaction are crucial
to the development of
writing for young bilingual children.
In this study,
the supportive context described,
the children begin to
construct messages that hold meaning for them.
careful examination of
context and interaction provides
insights into the composing processes of young bilingual
children as well as their perceptions or view of writing.
well as practitioners can benefit from
The methodology chosen,
is not commonly used in conducting
By the products of
processes and perceptions involved can be described and new
questions and variables
for further study in bilingual
writing can be illuminated
bilingual writers are examined in their regular program
with their teachers,
and the external influences and how
these influences impact the children are described.
views of writing held by these children add a new dimension
to the existing studies of bilingual writers.
complete picture of the composing processes and these
s perceptions of writing can be derived from the
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In the findings which link teacher practice to
student behaviors and perceptions of writing,
importance of sensitive teachers and facilitative teaching
practice for young bilingual writers is emphasized. The
similarities and differences between monolinguals and
bilinguals is clearly described in this study and the
information can be valuable to
teachers who are assisting
children in their own classrooms to acquire a new
language--oral or written.
The importance of a child's
unique characteristics and perceptions is highlighted in
Teachers can find practical
in this type
of research because
similar children in their
classrooms and can
the importance of being sensitive to
the behaviors and the
children employ while
learning to write.
Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined
they are used in
Bilingual young children--children between the
six and ten
years who are fluent in oral and/or
written Spanish and are learning English
1-- A ----- -- S
described by teachers as a result of a writing
ESL Classroom--A classroom where children who have
limited English language skills are placed for 45
minutes daily to learn English
Hispanic--Any child whose primary
according to parent and/or teacher report and who
has been observed to converse in Spanish with
Perceptions of writing--Views of writing which are
actively constructed the individuals in contexts
the react and interact during writing.
Limitations of the Study
The objective of this study was to describe the
composing processes and perceptions of writing of
bilingual young children and their perceptions of
It may be,
that the findings can be
applied only to situations in similar ESL classrooms with
classroom teachers who hold the same meaning-centered
approach toward developing writers.
selected the children in this study because of their
limited knowledge of the Engl ish 1anu mat
where one or both parents were students at a university.
All of the subjects were middle to upper middle
may not typify all
Their composing behaviors
young bilingual children's composing
Scope of the Study
The proposed study was conducted in one ESL classroom
in a public school over a four-month period.
were Spanish speaking and varied in
The primary research questions provided the focus
for the study; new questions,
data collection in the form of field notes,
audiotaped interviews were analyzed.
directed the early stages of research:
Two guiding questions
accompany the composing processes of young bilingual
How do Spanish-speaking young children
view the writing?
The following questions emerged from the data
widespread in the observational
Answers to the following questions provide greater
depth for understanding the central questions:
What do teachers do while children compose?
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to existing knowledge
linked to the
(1) writing development of monolingual children;
between oral language and writing;
) the writing of
Language Learning of Bilingual Children at Home
Some Spanish-speaking children come to school speaking
only their native
Others have acquired,
a second language.
described the dual language acquisition of children before
Each stressed the value of
acquisition in the home environment.
(1977) reported the experiences of a child who
learned and mastered two
languages by the
The child was specifically exposed to only one
when he asked for Spanish
the surrounding community was Spanish
the boy had mastered both
languages with the same degree of phonetic,
and syntactic levels.
Evidence of coordinate bilingualism
was reported when a malignant brain lesion was found and
the child's languages were both
Findings indicate that coordinate
bilingualism ideally develops when one
1977) related the
experiences of the author as a father of two children,
languages before kindergarten,
read in both English and Spanish at the conclusion of their
that these children at the
interest in learning to read,
It is the contention of this researcher
of two years showed an
and teaching them in their
"infinitely more simple" than
attempting to teach skills in the language they would be
using in school.
has described her two-year-old daughter as
having mastered three
Past began with one
language at birth,
added a second
at 18 months when her daughter became interested in picture
books by simple vocabulary naming.
When her daughter then
was reading simple books in Spanish and English (age four),
Past exposed her to a
placed on interest of the child in a natural home
These studies support a natural learning environment
for dual language learning
A further implication for
educators is the importance of familial
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age possible if
in both native
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conclusions warrant further research to insure
all of the studies have been
cross-sectional in design,
offering no clear indication of
what happens to individual children within these
Ethnographic studies dealing with limited
samples might shed light upon how and why these programs
are effective for some individual children.
Schools accommodate the various language abilities of
bilingual children with various program models in which
variables are in effect.
How much time
the type of teacher,
and the subjects covered all
vary in different
Some of the more popular intervention program
models are summarized in table 1.
The program studied in this research project is an ESL
a transitional model in which children
while acquiring English (L2).
of this program is for children to make the transition to
speaking English with no Spanish instruction being
Other models mentioned have a different focus
one of maintenance or enrichment.
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because they focus on maintaining the Spanish language of
students while they are learning English in other
The Concurrent Translation Model and Alternate
Days Model would fit under the maintenance model since the
emphasis is on dual language acquisition and maintenance.
The enrichment model
in their curriculums.
the second language early
referred to as
, place a premium on acquiring the second
language first and in middle elementary years,
until a balance between L1
is reached in late
The environment in which langua
learning occurs has
received much attention in research studies recently
The role of
language input for second-language
learning focuses on the
setting and teacher
components in the rate of learner production.
(1977) studied the effects of language
choice by teacher in five bilingual classrooms.
s Multiple Coding System
, she coded frequency of
Spanish or English language used by both teachers and aides
in these classrooms.
were observed, the Cc
Two models of bilingual classrooms
current Translation Model and the
language choice of teachers;
(5) 80 to
percent of the
talk in classrooms is teacher talk if choral responses are
(4) that English is the primary
choice warming or accepting the child's contributions and
Legarretta found that the Alternate Days
generated an equal distribution of
Spanish and English by teachers and children overall.
expansion of this study would amplify the finding that
teacher's language choice is positively correlated with
If preschool programs are designed to
before public school entry
finding would have major implications for
choice time allocation.
Another study concerning language input by Hamayan and
(1980) compared the speech of six teachers.
teachers were in immersion schools and three in more
Immersion programs use L2 in early
years and gradually include L1
at late middle school.
Data collection techniques similar
to the previously mentioned study were used from which less
ific conclusions were reached.
Hamayan and Tucker
indicate that the frequency of
occurrence of certain
syntactic structures in teacher's speech is related to the
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in a child'
in a field
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bilingual education program in which children were immersed
in French (L1), and this methodology was shown to be just
as effective in promoting English proficiency
which received instruction in English
Carey and Cummins
(1980) reported that grade-five
children from French-speaking home backgrounds in the
Edmunton Catholic School System bilingual program (80%
French, 20% English)
from kindergarten through twelfth
grade performed at a level in English skills equivalent to
Anglophone children of the same IQ in either bilingual or
the comparison group which was matched on socioeconomic
status and IQ.
Another carefully controlled longitudinal
classroom study was carried out with Navajo students at
(Rosier & Holm,
in which all literacy
skills are taught in Navajo,
that by grades five and six,
The study demonstrated
students were performing at
the United States national norm in English reading.
instruction in the bilingual program,
years below the norm in English reading skills.
A final study,
documenting the preferred languages of
was carried out in
Mexico and compared two school systems where the national
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researchers are finding that children must be
immersed in meaningful written langua
in order to write
A review of these studies documents what i
known about the
development of writing for monolingual children.
Writing Development of Monolingual
The developmental process of writing begins before
children are able to write.
They begin by scribbling and
marking on paper to convey messages that have meaning for
s and random marks lead
to more recognizable signs and symbol
which are intended
sequence is developmental,
individually refined and
of Developments in Writing
Oral language plays a large role in the development of
the sounds of langua
to aid them
in their first invented words or what Read
termed invented spellings.
messages using a code that
Children write down their
; they have constructed from their
perceptions of sound/symbol correspondences.
researchers have described the developmental nature of
- A I 1 -
children described may skip stages or may not follow each
sequential step in the development of their writing.
Early reading studies have documented a sequence of
writing which included scribbling/drawing,
asking questions about spellings,
being able to read
In a later study,
Chomsky (1971) confirmed Durkin's research and suggested
that children may be taught to read by writing first.
s argument calls for the reversal of standard read-
then-write policy to expose children to a more concrete
instructional practice in preparation for the more abstract
She suggested that writing
provided a more active and child-centered thought process
which involves the child in concepts important to him/her.
In New Zealand
, Clay (1975)
looked further into
writing development and focused on the young child's
of written language,
which she calls awareness of
research focused on the writing behaviors of
children in a setting where copying and
tracing behavior has been encouraged by teachers. Sh
generated thirteen principles in the writing of young
A sign carries a message.
A child real
1 t a
experiment with letter forms--by
repositioning or decorating standard forms.
Children will arrange,
list what they know.
tendency to repeat an action.
Children extend their
repertoire by knowing some rules for
combining or arranging elements.
Directional principles: Children experiment
with left to right and top to bottom
Reversing directional pattern:
mirror writing when selecting a starting
point toward the right-hand
edge of the
contrasts between shapes,
and word patterns.
Space concept: Children use space to show
the end of one word and the beginning of
Page and book arrangements:
to ignore directional principles when they
cannot fit a word or sentence on a line or
Abbreviation principle: Children use
abbreviations to stand for words that could
In her research,
Clay accounted for variability in children
by stating that children do not learn about writing at one
level in a strict sequence.
She postulated the following
sequence for writing which is not hierarchical:
1. understanding that print talks
2. forming letters
3. building up memories of common words they
can construct out of letters
4. using those words to write messages
5. increasing the number and range of sentences
drawing to writing nor has it included a naturalistic look
at the development of
writing since her subjects were drawn
from public school classrooms where writing instruction was
The writing research of Ferreiro
(1978) described a
developmental sequence for young Spanish-speaking children
The following developmental stages were
Only nouns are written.
The entire sentence is written in a single
segment of the text;
the child prop
sentences compatible with the first one.
It is impossible to find a division in the
could be made to correspond
with the segments of the text.
4. Nouns are written independently but not the
Everything is written except the articles.
Everything is written,
(Ferreiro, 1978: pp. 5
including the articles.
s research complemented the findings of the other
studies on stages of writing development in that the
writings of children appeared to move
from the global
concept to the more differentiated concepts of print
children move from mastery of letters or words to attempts
to communicate in complete thoughts and messages.
studied the spontaneous writing of
children two to seven years old and found that their
writing was char
acterized by five concepts: (1)
recognizable stages of writing moved from global concepts
about print to the more specific.
Her stages were
Differentiation between drawing and writing
Concepts of linearity,
Development of letters and letter-like
Combination of letters possibly with spaces,
indicating understanding of units
but may not show
Writing known isolated words--developing
Writing simple sentence with invented
Combining two or more sentences to express
Control of punctuation--periods
use of upper- and lower-case
Form of discourse--stories,
The above research studies confirmed that written
language appears to be
learned in much the same way
A study done in 1980 by Forrester illustrated
She noted many similarities between the
stages of oral language and written language development.
(1980) presented the comparison of oral and
written loan uage
development given in table
tied this notion of developmental
sequence to spelling development.
the research which has studied developing spelling
The work of Read
is similar in the
as he has documented the spellings of
young children and determined that a complex system was
used in developing spelling rules.
studying invented spellings have confirmed the research of
Read and found that although the actual spellings may vary
spellings at various
s had observable
studies with preschool children,
that children rarely repeated the exact invented
These children were not memorizing but were
. a complex,
but generally systematic
The spellings he
observed were motivated by a phoneti
construction by individual
children which was consistent
enough to be
tain that random spelling or adult model
was not the model.
His studies led to some conclusions
about strategies that preschool children use for
These strategies demonstrated that their
spellings are not random and are
linked to their
perceptions of the sound/symbol correspondence between
in his research,
of spelling which moved
s of Gentry
represented a message,
but not individual sounds or words,
to the use of consonants, and then consonants and vowels
messages grew in length.
mented the individual characteristics of her son and how
these appeared to affect his spelling and communications.
The research writings of early spelling behaviors have
dealt with observational studies of middle or upper socio-
economic status homes or schools.
Only one of the studies
has looked at the invented
spellings of bilingual children.
The research to date has
stated clearly that the ability to spell is a highly complex
and active intellectual activity and not mere memoriza-
Further studies with differing socioeconomic status
populations and bilingual writers will offer a more complete
theory for the development of
writing in young children.
Research studies of young writers have begun to answer
questions dealing with the developmental nature of learning
to write and learning to
Studies have changed their
focus from written products to the
of writing in
1980a) and classroom
In researching the process of writing some studies have
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children employ during writing?
This question when
answered will reveal much for practitioners and researchers
about the writing
of young children.
Graves and Giacobbe (1982) discussed a research study
which included data collected over a three year period with
The researchers framed a
six month period
during the third year to ask children specific questions
about their composing processes.
Ten of the twenty three
children in this classroom were interviewed before and
transcripts were made of the interviews, and
writing products photocopied to demonstrate the
relationship between concepts of writing and how the
writings changed over the course of the study.
research study concluded that
as children developed
writers 1) oral rehearsal before writing diminished,
options for how to proceed with writings increased,
composing sessions lasted longer and could span
days, and 4) a move from general concepts of writing to
more detailed and specific concepts about the writing
process was described.
found that when the context of
classroom writing allowed for verbal sharing of writing
S- j i_ --- _- --- - -- --- -_^ i -I I -
children sharing their writi
specific aspect of writing,
sharing which focused on
sharing about the composing
and sharing which involved giving writing to
friends or a class library.
Vukelich and Golden
(1982) collected writing samples
four-year olds and 39 five-year olds on two
different days in October,
January and April.
researchers asked small groups of
children to a writing
center gave them writing books and pencils,
to write anything they wished to write. Tt
and asked them
then asked each child individually to "tell me what you
The writings were categorized and analyzed and the
following conclusions were drawn:
1. Interpretation of children's writings can be
achieved better when viewed in the context of
the children's oral language.
2. Writing appears to begin before the child can
produce written words which can approximate
the correct alphabet models which can be
understood by adults.
3. Children do not write the same way every
with a response to a single writing
children may produce a variety of
there appears to be no
Unlike oral language,
fixed sequence that all children pass through
in the acquisition of
(Vukelich & Golden,
These conclusions demonstrated the value of
the composing process with learners in the classroom
Oral Language and Writing
A survey of the literature related to young children
writing processes reveals the
link between oral langua
Oral language is often a key element of the
writing process (Bissex,
Hoffman & McCully,
the writing processes of several young children using
qualitative observational methods.
In a longitudinal
(1981a) and associates found that oral
language almost always accompanied writing.
for this research were
16 first-through-third graders who
were observed during the writing
classrooms. The resea
writing samples, condu
while in regular
Lrchers made video tapes,
type of "talk" surrounding the
writing was classified
sounding to probe for sound/symbol relationship;
sounding to break off
phonetic unit from a word;
rereading the composition to reorient conversation
advanced statement of text;
conversation before and after composing.
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n ~rl/r in r'j r c-i i- a. yn 'i i IT c- r n
In another study
three children aged three
to five years were
studied using video taped sessions.
suggested a writing topic at each of the 16 sessions.
researcher functioned as a participant-observer in these
composing sessions which were in a laboratory setting.
Conclusions revealed that oral
language surrounded the
writing process and four types of exchanges were
and taking breaks.
of the sample,
and researcher bias limit the generalizability of
In a 1981
Dyson studied kindergarten writers,
using ethnographic methodology.
The research spanned a
six-month period and dealt with the relationship of oral
language to writing.
Dyson added much to our understanding
of the composing process because
as a participant-observer,
she saw and heard what
on with young
Dyson's research describes the
most common writings of kindergarten children:
family and friends,
texts relevant to their interests,
the young child'
s use of talk to
the child in
and that oral language is used for varying purposes.
longitudinal design and a larger more cross-sectional
sample would add to the generalizability of results for all
Hoffman and McCully
studied oral language and
its effect on written production in two situations--the
home and the classroom.
They postulated that young
children discover very early that
context) varies so must the
language vary according to the
This theory about varying speech mess
according to the participants is
also with the
and written products of
The natural development of oral language and
writing strategies is actualized only when the
environment supports these processes.
In their studies,
Hoffman and McCully reported their findings that young
s messages varied according to the directing or
controlling language of the parent or teacher in the
writing events they observed.
When the parents directed
the writing pr
how to write"
same children wrote with an adult with different
whose model of
written language valued the
--I- # --I 1 -..- .. .- I -_ I 1 I S
1 1 1 1
were influenced by
In this study,
the writing process and
product were shown to be highly influenced by teacher
strategies which supported the child's attempts to
communicate with his own written language.
The studies presented indicate that oral language and
interaction with peers characterizes the composing process
of young monolingual children.
No study to date has
investigated the composing behaviors of young bilingual
children in a similar fashion.
Since oral language appears
to play a vital role in the composing process,
studies of young writers need to be
in a context which
emphasizes social and verbal interactions.
The Writing of Bilingual Children
Research in writing with young bilingual children is
in its infancy.
The rationale for such research appears to
be the link between thought and language which is
represented by symbols or w
to scribble with meaning.
as young children begin
Writing is seen as a particular
way of transcribing language.
as the natural expansion of human
Their studies related writing to the
C, Vt r 1^ 4 c. ni n a in r. a n 4t1
. ~ 1. J- 1 1 -" ^
mA n YL i \rr rr r r k i A in
small observational study of monolingual and bilingual
She found that (1) preschoolers
year olds) are aware
that print has a message;
children made more print-related responses; and
(no matter the age) had a better understanding
of writing than of reading.
for both reading and writing instruction with young
the critical elements are meaning and purpose.
(19835) studied the writing development of
four native Spanish speakers.
The original purpose of her
study was to document writing development over a period of
these native Spanish speakers became literate in
through collection of field notes from their
audiotaped writing sessions,
and collection of
The study focused on
studies of two
children whose writings in class followed the form of what
was being taught directly.
The study describes their
with the researcher,
writing samples (mainly pictorial) early in the year.
composing activity was surrounded by talk and highly tied
to messages as the school
child, a second grader,
used invented spellings when asked
L I -- -- -- --- __-_- ._--i __
copying words and sentences correctly
(early in the
In the observation sessions with the researcher,
the children's writing evolved and revealed developing
experimenting with new writing,
making additions to a
and making use of
characteristics call for the expansion of this type of
research study to provide more concrete generalizations.
In a study of young bilingual writers,
clarified the second-language writing characteristics of
young children of migrant farm workers.
study complemented the findings of others
that performance in
writing is highly influenced by contextual features of
In this study,
all writings for a
one-week period of each of the subjects were collected four
times during one school year
sample of 524
Other data included teacher and aides
long classroom observations,
notes on parent organization meetings and
demographic data on the district.
a1 I1 a - -
toward conventionality through real/use rather than
practice or directed training.
is true with
move over time
conventional spellings and word segmentation based on the
language of instruction and from interaction with print.
strength of this study is that it captured the child's
perspective by not having the researcher impose writing
tasks per session but provided a look at writings collected
over time to ascertain the process of writing development
for each subject.
A second strength is the
large data bank
which was analyzed
many pieces of writing per child were
the choice of only one site
and of student socioeconomic status and small sample
from which to generalize results.
Ferreiro and Teberosky,
in their book Literacy Before
discuss writing with the bilingual
constructive process in which a child is actually
They hypothesize that writing is a
product of active construction and restructuring of
Ferreiro and Teberosky (1982)
have proposed an
experimental design for studies which is an individual
interview to attempt to build information about how young
- *, S S .
much knowledge about writing before they begin formal
instruction and that to understand the writing system,
child must engage in an active construction pr
opposed to a passive instructional sequence being imposed
on the child.
This study delineated socioeconomic status
and separated the 68 subjects into two socioeconomic
upper middle class and working class families of
five- and six-year olds.
individual interviews were performed prior to entry into
their first school settings.
Findings indicate that young
children have difficulty with separations between words
the age of six years,
refuse any separations in
Segmentation of text does occur early
subject tried to establish some form of correspondence
between graphic segments and their own analysis of the
sentence presented to them during the individual
Ferreiro's findings indicated that the written
text is related to spoken language,
and a developmental
sequence exists which recognizes first nouns
and then verbs,
and finally articles.
of this study within the second-language
population may provide important data for educators
planning writing curricula.
A limitation of her study was
+'^ ~13 ir hQ nrFnnC an4-n1 an t n n4, ,i .48-n
Many more studies are needed in bilingual settings to
describe our knowledge about the composing behaviors of
young bilingual writers,
their views of writing.
the writings they produce and
A crucial factor in the
development of writers from the most recent studies adds
the teacher practices
as an important variable in the study
of bilingual writing.
Few descriptive studies have defined the writing
behaviors of young bilingual children.
there is a
lack of information about the bilingual child's writing
behaviors and children's perceptions of writing.
(1985) and Hudelson
have begun a description
of the writings of bilingual children.
writing behavior and the views of writing held by young
in depth observational studies are
needed to further these beginning understandings.
has described the composing behaviors of young bilingual
Research has postulated the links between oral
language and the development of written discourse and
spelling strategies for monolinguals. Are these same
findings applicable for bilinguals? Many questions remain
4... ,,, t.l .2 .. 1 -
1 mrf h Pr AhY BA .-^h rr.3 h+ ^W 31- t^ W^ BA-
included classroom environment and teacher practices,
addressed in four studies (Dyson,
two of which included bilingual children.
What is the role
of social context and teacher practice in bilingual
settings with regard to the composing process?
factors influence the composing process of bilingual
The purpose of the present study was to address some
of the unanswered questions in this area of research.
following broad questions served to guide the
What behaviors accompany the composing processes of
young bilingual children?
What is the role of
oral languages in the composing
What is the teacher's role during writing with
How do young bilingual children view the writing
In the following chapters,
implications of the
study are discussed.
the methodology and setting for the study is described.
t -ft -r -. -. -
This chapter discusses the methods for data collection
and analysis using qualitative research methodology.
section begins with a statement of the problem and the
The selection of
and data-collection methods follows,
definitions of the instruments used in recording the data
The final segment describes how the data were
This study investigated the composing behaviors and
their meaning for five young Spanish-speaking bilingual
These children attended an ESL classroom in a
public school in a southeastern city.
The researcher chose
ethnographic methods b
the composing behaviors and
ceptions about writing must be discovered based on in-
depth observations of
their statements about their writings.
conducted within the particular setting where bilingual
children have opportunities to write.
participant-observer was the main tool for research as she
collected descriptive data regarding the writings and
interactions of young bilingual children.
questions of the study dealt with the writing processes of
a methodology was needed which
emphasized process and not product.
of perceptions of writing or children's views of writing
required a methodology sensitive to gaining insights and
understandings about the individuals in a group.
It can be
clearly seen why qualitative methods matched the problem
addressed in this study.
The features which typify
qualitative research are outlined by Bogdan and Biklen
(1) Research i
conducted within the
particular setting under study;
) The researcher is the
main research instrument;
focus is on ongoing
(3) Data are descriptive;
rather than products;
Data are analyzed inductively;
(6) The researcher
concerned with understanding the perspectives of the people
naturalistic approach would
provide the in-depth description lacking in the research
literature on young bilingual writers.
According to Wilcox
nn'l 11 -Frr 4 -4 Ira 4 n Aae ..a an I nn rt Jqr 4 n4.4 a
H1, cl_ 1 1
approach was necessary in this study
as a beginning point
to describe the composing behaviors of these five bilingual
The researcher used symbolic interactionism
theoretical perspective for studying the writing and views
of writing of these children.
purports that written language
This theoretical framework
development and development
in general--is accounted for by the interaction of the
thinking child with his/her genetic makeup and the
nature of the environment
(Genishi & Dyson,
is not a set of inherent skills that can be
taught in a package,
but a product of the interactions of
individuals in various contexts. To gain understanding of
the composing behaviors of children, the researcher must
closely examine the social interactions which occur while
writing is in progress.
Interactionist theory implies that
the context of development matters.
This focus on context
may be termed sociolinguistic because in viewing language--
written or oral--both linguistic and social abilities are
viewed in the classroom context.
The present study addressed the need for studying the
composing for children and studying this process
in a naturally occurring classroom for bilinguals--the ESL
(1981) in th? fiepd of
We must study children in occasions where they
are not experimental puppets,
adult-defined and adult-organized situations,
them operating naturally as social
beings in the everyday activity of
1981: p. 49)
This study investigated the day to day composing behaviors
by studying children in their typical classroom from an
The social interactionist perspective is grounded in
symbolic interactionist theory
described by Blumer
In this theory,
the actors in any socially
interactive situation through their interaction assign
meaning to people,
Bogdan & Biklen,
Meaning is constructed
individuals interact in a given situation.
g and constructing meaning through written
communication were the subject of the current study.
the children in this ESL classroom were
participants of interest and their composing behaviors and
emergent views of writing which evolved were the focus of
This investigation spanned a three-month period during
which the researcher visited the classroom three times a
week for 1
The researcher had
established a degree of rapport in the preceding semester
possible subjects while formulating the parameters of the
In order to investigate and understand the writings of
these young children and their perspectives about writing,
qualitative methods were employed.
A detailed description
of the setting,
the writing products,
a participant-observer in collecting this
Although some specific questions
as a focus,
the research perspective dictated a
flexible format which allowed for the discovery of the
composing behaviors and the perceptions of what writing
meant to these children.
The bilingual children in this particular county were
bussed to two schools which ho
classes and the ESL classes.
the bilingual education
One school was chosen because
time at one location would allow for greater depth of
Since the study dealt only with Spanish-
the school with larger numbers of
Spanish speakers was chosen to insure an adequate number of
children who could be selected according to the criteria
/^fln _W-_ A *
the bilingual classrooms had a skills focus with a very
specific curriculum (i.e.,
The ESL classroom was
selected because the
curricular focus was on language-arts-related activities.
An emphasis on communication was observed in pilot work in
both oral and written language.
At this particular school,
three instructional settings were available for the
the regular classroom,
or the ESL classroom.
were as follows: a c
the bilingual classroom
The criteria for classroom
(1) where children had
opportunities to write on their own and where writing was
as penmanship or copying
which would contain largely Spanish-speaking students,
where time was allotted for verbal interaction,
(4) with a
teacher who was comfortable having an observer present on a
(5) that represented a typical educational
approach to bilingual students.
The researcher observed in
and the ESL
during a pilot study done earlier in the school
In the regular classroom,
most written work was
copied or dealt with directed lessons,
classrooms were structured
to include instruction in reading and reading workbooks,
,1 a -
in English and Spanish.
Writing occurred only as a
consequence of an assignment or practice drill.
In the ESL
the following criteria for selection were met:
a high proportion of Spanish speakers,
a natural consequence of daily
most of the writing was done by the teachers,
"groundwork" was present for spontaneous writing by the
In order to define the writing policy of the ESL
the researcher visited this class for a two week
period in the fall of 1983,
and observed and inventoried
writing products and writing-related events
that occurred in the classroom.
Based on these
the researcher selected this classroom as
having the greatest potential for children who would begin
writing during the course of the school year and would be
given opportunities to write on their own in a social
In this ESL program,
30 children who were Spanish
speakers were observed for the initial
weeks of the
five were selected who met the
(1) the child was making the
.Li^ -- *J 2-: - 1 0 C. t -
This study focused on emergent writers and their
views of writing.
The kindergarteners observed were not
yet writing and were,
children in grades four and five who were well established
failed to meet the criteria for
A more in-depth description of the subjects
will be presented in chapter
Entry to the Site
In this classroom,
there were two teachers--a full
time head teacher and a 3/4-time teacher.
shared equal numbers of students who came
to ESL class in
grade level groups
the first graders at 9:1
, the kindergarteners at
consisted of five to seven children.
teacher spoke Spanish,
taught most of the Spanish-
once children became fluent in
English they were assigned to either teacher.
often combined their groups when an activity was appro-
private for a larger group
the children were accustomed
to working with either teacher or both teachers.
the researcher made it a policy to
ta*mharsz in in3nr ir iouct
fnr\ rl rnmnA inPnrmm
1 c1hn iirod 4t- ki
Once the classroom was selected,
the researcher met
with both teachers to discuss the study and plan a schedule
of observations which would begin in the spring.
statement of the goals of the research project and sample
letters of consent for parents
(in Spanish and English)
were shared with both teachers
appendix B and C).
specifics of observation were not discussed in order to
avoid influencing teacher behavior.
The discussion was
aimed at what the researcher would do in the classroom (see
In an attempt to clarify the role of
the researcher explained that she would be
taking notes and trying to get verbatim statements of
The possibility of some audio and video taped
sessions was discussed.
The teachers suggested that school
personnel would be helpful and related that they used the
video tape machine in several of their instructional
The teachers were assured that they would have full
to the product of the research and that their
would be protected.
Both teachers enthusiastically welcomed the researcher.
They assured the researcher that she could visit the
classroom at anytime,
scheduled or unscheduled.
the head teacher,
ressnrnh=nr tn thr nrn n nl wthnm
cha I '- t l hhn lA 4ar-1
study in his school.
The principal stated that he had had
many such requests for research studies and that he
disagreed with the demands some researchers made on
The principal indicated,
that since his
teachers were willing to participate he would approve the
project and hoped that the results would be shared with the
The principal al
stated that final approval
must come from the district office before the study could
Following the winter holidays,
the official paperwork
was filed with the school district central office and a
description of the proposed study and letters of consent
were submitted to the University of Florida's Committee for
the Protection of Human Subjects.
By the end of January,
the project was approved by the director of research for
the county schools and by the university committee.
Written parental consent was obtained from the parents of
The researcher then met with the teachers and arranged
an observation schedule even though she had already been
granted observations at any time.
The researcher began
with four 45-minute periods which contained Spanish
students who ranged in
from five to eleven
-- -- 1L .I -
would visit the classroom an average of 10 hours per week
from February through May.
more data were needed, the
The teacher suggested that if
researcher could follow many of
the subjects through a summer program which would be held
week period at the beginning of the summer.
teacher suggested also that she send the letters of
to the parents and,
she would return them to
the researcher. The first day of observation was scheduled
for February 1, 1984.
Description of the Site-Classroom
This study was conducted in a public elementary school
in a southeastern city with a population of approximately
The school was one of two schools in a district
where bilingual children were bussed daily for full-day
programs which include regular class instruction,
The surrounding suburban neighborhood
was characterized as lower to
student population of this
lower middle class.
member school was 350
per cent black and 70 per cent white and represented
families from both middle and lower socioeconomic groups.
The middle class children mainly were children of parent-
students who attend a nearby university and,
ided in university family housing.
The subjects in the
n r r\ yan4- cr1-n T n n CFtn 1 A t -. I 1 -l an .n -^ .3
A- t* -; ,- .- L 0- - -
In the school,
there were four classrooms for each
grade, kindergarten through fifth grade.
with special rooms included a media center--library with
over 11,939 volumes,
testing and diagnosis
special education room,
Ancillary teachers on the faculty
included a curriculum specialist,
specialist, four bilingual ESL teachers,
education teacher. One half-time art te
*acher and a half-
time speech therapist were available for most of the school
Art instruction was offered for half of the school
The classroom studied was known by the children as
"bilingual class" but was termed the ESL room by adults.
The room was a large classroom,
formerly a fourth-grade
One entrance was used,
although two front doors
faced the hallway which led outdoors and to the library.
shows the rather atypical
which allowed much room for movement and small group
Chalkboards lined two walls of the
which formed the directed teaching areas.
On the third
wall were individual stora
es" which were rarely
iinnri hv nh lriran
'V kn ni h Vtr k Tj 11 a, n 1 a tr4 ^ t n r I
sTflwaN, puy aeuo S
"cubbies" from the rest of the room was a
long shelving unit which had some teacher closets at one
end and then a series of low drawers covered by a working
counter top where all art supplies were housed.
At the end
of this unit near the sink was one teacher filing cabinet
and a desk which the
teachers used for plan books,
and mainly teaching supplies.
was not typically used by the teachers during the time of
this study although many notes,
pictures were often retrieved from it.
The center of the room had six work areas with tables
various shapes and chairs of different
based on friendships and were rarely
asked to move somewhere else unless a change of activity
switching from a directed lesson at
chalkboard to an art area for an art activity).
learning-center areas were roughly
two directed-teaching centers,
listening center, and book table.
circular tables were used primarily by the two teachers
when the children arrived for their ESL time.
The ESL time
was a 45-minute period daily.
or reading lessons were conducted at these centers.
i i -_---,-- -_
or playing a
r4rr It 'nf Vt r- fl fl '% tfl V% t fl r' .N( fl tr Nfl P %n I S
+-L-t n^s 'YI ^n / ^
Tn yn r"^ m <^ ir- '
data collection techniques were used to gather the data.
Data analysis was ongoing
the field note record was made
and throughout the analysis-of-data phase,
the four-month study and the final analysis phase.
section describes the methods used in the study and
includes research procedures and methodological issues.
The composing behaviors of young bilingual children
are difficult to ascertain.
Numbers of observations of a
specific behavior were made before a particular behavior
significant in terms of frequency of
The data clustered around a particular
behavior that was seen as a recurrent pattern.
observation may yield few behaviors related to composing
classroom where the main focus, acco
t, is the development of oral-langua
rding to teacher
skills in a
Special data gathering techniques and
methods were required to organize the data
collected into understandable segments which would describe
the composing process
as capture the perspectives
or views of writing of these five subjects.
research model was used in this
His ethnographic research model was chosen because
4i4- in,%aI IAOA 4-k. r v^r r.;P rR na -.4-4; 11a44n
,, ^ 1 I j<^ : ^ -1- n AU J^ ^k*A
65field nots which were transcribed onto
field notes which were transcribed onto orotocols.
Protocols were records of 145 hour
in the classroom.
s of direct observations
Two additional data sources were
records of formal and informal interviews with teachers and
(2) unobtrusive measures which aided in the
discovery of the composing behaviors and participant-
These three data collection strategies are
described in the following section:
and unobtrusive measures.
The researcher used
collection in this study.
the main tool for data
Participant-observation is most
often associated with the field of anthropology.
method has been used successfully by sociologists and
educational researchers who
attempting to construct the
social meaning of a given situation.
According to Schwartz
participant-observation is the principal
tool of the qualitative naturalistic method.
requires the researcher to assume a role in the situation
The researcher may or may not play an active
role but attempts to
" the subjects and the context as
the participants perceive the situation;
in other words,
understand the given situation from the participants'
_ .. .. b33 .. .. _1 __ r 1 l T I I 1 1 I i
acts mean to them at the time"
(Schwartz & Jacobs,
Participant-observation was used in this study to
describe the setting,
interactions within this context.
tion are described by Schwartz and Jacobs
unknown observer and the known observer.
Two levels of participa-
observer "undertakes to study a
ial situation that he is
or is becoming an integral part of"
(Schwartz & Jacobs,
The known observer
s role is detached,
has limited involvement.
The level of participation in
this study compares with the known observer
level of parti-
strategy insured the investigator
was less likely to take for granted the subject's knowledge
because he/she was an outsider and was discovering the
relevant information in the setting under study.
In this study
, the researcher assumed the role of a
"note taker" which is similar to the
described by Schwartz and Jacobs
The teachers were
aware of the researcher
who were told that the researcher was collecting note
about what bilingual
children do in ESL classrooms.
level of participant-observation for this study,
r~ipgri l h A hxr qnrAlb at?
(1 i "n
I.t c n nr r ce ,. rr 4 a 4 n n IA 4
present at the scene of action but does not participate or
interact with other people to any great extent;
passive participant occupies any role in the social
it will only be that of bystander,
In this study,
usually sat away from the group taking written notes.
she rarely spoke with the children and attempted
to be nonreactive to requests for information or help with
Later in the study,
the researcher asked
questions of the children and their written products in
order to understand their writing behaviors,
messages, and gain insights about their perceptions of
Taking written notes often was done
and questions were sometimes asked of subjects for
Interviewing with students and teachers
will be discussed in detail in a subsequent section.
After the initial observations of daily classroom life
the researcher began to focus on the writing-
related activities and written artifacts.
stages of the study,
In the beginning
few writing sessions were observed;
teachers wrote daily in front of the children and
these observations helped greatly in the final analysis
they formed the sections on teacher practices which
affected the comoosin a behaviors of children.
attended ESL class for 45-minute periods,
three of the
subjects were observed with one teacher first and were
followed by the next group of five children,
two of whom
were subjects in the study.
The researcher as well as the participating teachers
became concerned about the quantity of writing that
children were producing without teacher direction.
following excerpt from the field note record demonstrated
(I arrived late and let the teachers
know I will be .attending the
International Dinner that night.)
what are you bringing to eat?
Arroz con polio!
that sounds great.
been meaning to talk to you about
the last few classes.
They really aren't writing very much
lately. I feel so bad. I wish we
had more time.
Maybe during the
(In an earlier observation,
Summer informed me that many of
these subjects would be attending
After a discussion with the researcher's committee members,
it was decided that some suggestions which might generate
independent writing by these children could be shared
their students a one phrase message meaningful for the
This planned addition to the curriculum
took place in the final
three weeks of the study.
notes were written and the children responded by writing or
drawing "messages" back to the teachers.
An increase in
the frequency and quality of writing was observed during
this period of the study.
These findings are presented in
The researcher made a total of 47 observations to the
ESL classroom which involved 145 hours of classroom time.
The days of the week varied although observations were
fairly evenly distributed over all
the days of the week
during the hours of 9:00 a.m.
to 11:50 a.m.
for the two ESL times in which these five subjects attended
left the classroom each day at lunch
time and would informally schedule the next day of
observation with the teachers.
Observer impact--Unobtrusive measures.
observation without regard to the level of participation
As previously mentioned,
the teachers in this study were sensitive to the
archer's study when they both stated they "wished more
writing was occurring."
a~~~~~~~~~ ,jr a ..L..-t -- 1
4*\n ^rr\f^ T ^^^\^^/
familiarity with classroom scheduling and procedures also
may have reduced observer impact.
According to descriptions by several ethnographers,
unobtrusive measures are any data which remove the observer
from the interactional scene or context under study
1978; Schwartz & Jacobs,
These measures are items such
student documents like cumulative files,
school work like the writing samples collected in the
The collection of these types of data
attempts to minimize the possibility that the researcher's
presence "may change the world being examined"
Unobtrusive data were collected in this study from the
first visit to the school
through the last day at the
Some of these data included results of
ESL testing records, lesson
ork, writing samples of all
plan outlines for the
the ESL students
teacher-made artifacts related to writing,
newsletters from the bilingual classes,
artifacts found in the ESL classroom.
and photographs of
These data provided
information which would complete descriptions of teachers
and students and their writing processes.
4-Ckr-n n3 -+ / T n *K n ,rk U^ -- -. __ '^ _-l_ l -
Informal and formal interviewing.
In this study,
informal and formal interviews were held and recorded.
Informal interviews were written into the field note
Formal interviews were preplanned and scheduled
with teachers and were audiotaped for future transcrip-
These formal interviews were conducted in the nearby
library office with individual children and were planned in
advance with the teachers.
The researcher used as a guide
Spradley's description which stated that an informal
"interview occurs whenever you
someone a question
during the course of participant-observation"
The formal interview,
resulted from a
specific request by the researcher to hold the interview.
Preplanned-questions were used to guide the interviews.
These open-ended questions were used to elicit other
questions or comments from the interviewee.
the following interview questions were asked of the five
subjects in this study:
1. What do you do in bilingual class?
2. Tell me what it is you like about English class?
What you don't like?
do you know how people learn to write?
Do you ever write?
Do you like
1 T-T1 *
"My father writes and my mother writes.
father writes about plants and poison plants.
researcher had asked what do you write at home?
these interviews was conversational and guided by the
questions and by the response
Some of the interviews lasted 4
of individual children.
minutes and with other
less verbal children shorter interviews were recorded.
guided questions used by the researcher in student and
teacher interviews may be found in appendi
F and G.
The accuracy of interview data was judged by comparing
what interviewees said about writing and what they were
observed doing while writing during observation sessions.
Becker and Geer
(1970) emphasized the importance of
comparing observed behavior and verbal accounts.
the main data gathering technique employed in this study
the interviews provided
additional data to confirm emergent hypotheses about
composing behaviors and views of writing.
Much of the
interviewing was informal and functioned to focus on
discrepancies between verbal reports and observed
, in initial interviews,
indicated that invented spellings were acceptable.
teachers were observed correcting
S_ a 1-__- A 1_ .
In this example,
the impact of
interviewing was seen. The t
aware of the practice because
teachers were probably more
the researcher focused on
This effect was
unavoidable if interviews were held to supplement
A further check on the validity of teacher interviews
was the assurance by the researcher that all data collected
were confidential and that their anonymity was protected.
The relationship between teachers and researcher was judged
to be one of mutual tru
accepted the researcher
st and both teachers readily
plan for interview during the
Neither of the teachers
expressed concern over the
interviews conducted with the children.
Analysis of the Data
The data collected through observations,
and unobtrusive measures focused on the writing-related
and written products of the
children in one ESL classroom.
The major portion of the
data was handwritten and then typed onto protocol sheets
Written records from the study included
and a researcher
if I n $b 4 1r A a 4- -~ a a a A ,-. nrr ar a ,n 4. sq -4 A 1-. a arr
attempting to capture verbatim statements by the
children and teachers.
In the initial stages of the study,
all activities were observed and recorded.
As the study
observations focused on writing events only and
only the five subjects and their interactions with one
another and their teachers.
Following the observation,
field notes were "filled in" with longer more explanatory
statements which described the scene for that day more
The researcher attempted to keep verbatim
statements in quotes for
procedure follows the one described by Spradley
expanding field note accounts.
"expanded account" was
then typed onto more formal protocols which were dated and
line and page.
Comments and questions which
arose from daily observations were recorded in the
researcher's diary on each day of observation.
Examples of written work,
written to parents were collected or kept in that
particular day's field note record.
to this study
was an accurate and dated record of writing samples,
because many children wrote notes to each other and to
These notes were often photocopied by
and saved for the researcher.
In order to
understand the dialon in writing hotwoPn thh students and
student-generated samples were hand copied by the
the written message was to be taken
home or to another class and reproduction was not possible.
Formal interview data were
transcribed from the
audiotapes onto protocol forms and became part of the field
note record labeled "interview data.
The final written record
collected was the
In this study,
the researcher wrote
the following for
each day of observation:
questions or hun
activity observed, F
ches about the data,
to-do notes for the
next scheduled observation.
written down were any new
elements or people who might have become important at a
Questions or problems about the research
itself were also recorded along with the results of several
conferences with the researcher
s advisor or committee
The data analysis was an ongoing process which
incorporated the written data sources discussed
The Spradley (1980) DRS model was selected to
guide the data collection and analysis pro
cedures in this
The Spradley model is an ethnographi
model which is cyclic in nature.
In this methodology,
r.1w.C AAf ..a nj- n.na r. L .-t.. I .3 I_ V i
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they are analyzed and more focused observations
can then follow.
s task in analyzing these
data could be described as putting together a mosaic. The
data must be searched systematically to order and make the
Bogdan and Biklen described this
"working with (the) data,
breaking it into manageable units,
searching for patterns,
discovering what is important and
what is to be learned and deciding what you will
This process of data analysis
ongoing and consisted of four stages.
Each phrase of the
analysis related to the types of questions the researcher
asked and the focus of the observations.
This cycle of
collecting, and analyzing was repeated
throughout the study.
The four phases of analysis were
: The researcher found categories
of meaning from the field note records.
categories were formed by reading the protocols
with specific questions in mind to sort the data.
identified these questions
as kinds of things observed, kinds of
places observed, kinds of parts, kinds of
kinds of reasons for things,
- -- S 1 4
Examples of early domains were kinds of written
products and kinds of statements.
This was a
sorting process which uncovered the categories of
composing within the context studied.
The next step in the analysis
expanded the data by further analysis of the
how they were organized.
c analysis is organization of the
domains as they relate to one another.
the cultural domain kinds of statements
about writing was a large domain which was divided
into teacher statements and student statements.
building the taxonomy,
defined by more levels
these levels were further
("You write it this way!"),
like to write
to my cousin in
In developing the taxonomies,
(domains) were filled in further and
The third level of analysis
brought the subject
s into focus
the meanings or attributes they
signed to the
- - 1. 1 --. -
meaning for this particular setting.
confirmation questions were a type of teacher-
student question in this classroom.
characteristics which defined this type of question
components for student-teacher
The final level of analysis sought
to chart the more global or broader issues within
the context being investigated.
the parts of the
this level of analysis tied together
the elements of the
which were recurrent.
cultural-theme pattern or recurrent generality
emerged over several domains and could be used to
describe or make
of the whole context in this
study--the context of writing.
The DRS model utilized in this study
researcher a strategy which was
stematic and organized.
The data were analyzed to identify the composing behaviors
and the writing events which related to the children
views of writing.
Further analysis revealed other
variables which had an impact on
these composing behaviors
and views of writing.
The strategy of
data collection and
- 2 .. -I ^_ 1 1 1 i
(1) researcher bias and qualifications and (2)
validity of findings.
The effects of the researcher in a naturalistic
setting must be addressed
findings are presented.
Bogdan and Biklen
the researcher is the key
instrument in qualitative research.
The issues which
appeared crucial in the present study were researcher
and the validity of
Researcher qualification and biases.
the methods of data collection are dependent upon
the participant-observer--the researcher.
A discussion of
the factors which may affect the results of the study
because of the researcher's presence is necessary.
section discusses qualifications of the researcher and
potential areas of bias and the attempts made in this study
to control for these areas.
(1979) classified the essential characteristics
for a qualitative researcher
into two categories:
s knowledge of the research techniques,
s knowledge of and sensitivity to classrooms.
(1979) stated that experience in the classroom,
- -Is---- A.~.. ..~ S -
The researcher was a classroom teacher in a large
urban school district for five years in elementary
in grades one through four and worked
directly with children from Mexican-American and
Pima Indian backgrounds.
The researcher earned an M.A.
in special education
with specialization in learning disabilities and
The researcher worked
diagnostician for five years in a Spanish-speaking
where in addition to United States
children other children from multilingual-
multicultural backgrounds were schooled.
The researcher was responsible for writing
studies for children across three
elementary schools in the above mentioned system
as making observations of teachers and
students in their classrooms for diagnostic
The essential qualifications for an ethnographer
delineated by Wolcott
serve the qualitative
researcher equally well.
Wolcott discussed the importance
nf +ka Ir 1 0AM- I a A -P 4-linr nrl nn nl nn n 4n n 14 4 n n I-n
and perceptive observation,
personal stability and
and the skill
of a storyteller and writer
Criteria for doing the ethnography of
schooling in regard to Wolcott's definitions would include
(1) extensive reading in cultural anthropology; (2)
developing the skills of micro-ethnography focusing on
educationally relevant events;
topics in ethnography.
researcher are presented
(3) studying standard
The following experiences of this
related to Wolcott's criteria:
The researcher received her B.A.
anthropology and minored in Spanish and is
The researcher has completed coursework for a Ph.D.
in curriculum and instruction including coursework
in early childhood,
bilingual education and
Reading and writing
courses have been a special interest for her.
Extensive reading has been completed in these areas
as evidenced by the references listed in the
The researcher has taken two courses which provided
the knowledge and theoretical background for
Extensive reading apart from
4"nn IAIY n rt L- ?- ^ ^1 T- II -l -i i* *
the qualitative studies of others working i
area, writing and the language arts.
The researcher has completed a pilot study,
which was written for
presentation at a regional conference.
The researcher may have met the criteria for
conducting qualitative research suggested by Wolcott and
yet must clearly delineate the values or assumptions she
personally brings to this research study.
In this study,
data which confirmed researcher incoming biases were
The researcher searched for negative examples
of emergent findings especially in regard to conclusions
which corroborated researcher beliefs.
the writing curriculum was altered in the final stages of
the increase in frequency and quality of response
was methodically questioned since this finding matched a
The biases of the researcher may indeed
have effects on the outcomes of the research.
deal with this,
In order to
the following list of beliefs in relation
s research presents an awareness to the reader by
which the findings of the study may be
. |- *
teaching of bilingual
rich in child-centered meaning-based activities and
not formulaic models of discourse or sequences of
isolated writing skills,
written language meaningful
.pts to make oral and
as a constructive and
interactive process which must be nurtured by
adults--teachers and parents--in supportive and
believes that the teaching and learning of writing
are influenced by the actions of others--both peers
and adults--as well as numerous other variables
assumes a symbolic-interactionist perspective which
defines writing and children's views of writing
products of the interactions of individuals in
Some of the measures taken to
insure validity of this study have been discussed above.
Validity is a central issue for qualitative research.
the findings of the study represent
observed and do the categories devised by the researcher
correspond with those occurring in the classroom context
,L %r A r 1 i J 1-. L f -s *i i
Sr\ r nr \
1 nnnn 11 ^^ ri */- j>* i-
for negative examples of hypothesized behaviors,
discussion of findings with study participants.
period of time,
or what Spindler
(1982) termed "prolonged
and repetitive observation time,
" for data collection
allowed the researcher to become familiar with the
classroom scene and the participants.
The numbers of times
a single composing behavior was exhibited by one subject
and across subjects gave evidence for its inclusion as a
valid finding of the study.
The use of participant-observation,
unobtrusive measures allowed for triangulation or corro-
confirmation of the composing
behaviors and the perspectives of the participants.
researcher checked the
three data sour
for evidence of
a reported finding:
(1) observation by the researcher,
statements by the child or his/her teacher,
samples or school document.
If these data sources were
the researcher was satisfied that the finding
Another procedure discussed by Becker
and employed in this study,
was searching the data
for antithetical examples of the findings.
a particular composing behavior appeared in the data,
researcher collected all instances of this behavior and
.+4"4*amn4+-n P4 r" AP w* ^ J
, L- 1 ^ -1 10 1
on a daily
their ESL time and writing in English at various
All of the five Hispanic children who are the subjects
of this study had recently arrived from Central and South
American countries and all had at least one parent who
attended a university
as a full-time student.
whom the researcher called for purposes of this
study, Jesus, Jose
Teresa and Yolanda,* knew no
English upon arrival according to observations,
with the children,
and teacher report.
The average length
of stay in the United States
reported by the teachers
was one year while the parents) completed coursework at
One of the original subjects,
moved back to Venezuela during
spring holidays and the
researcher was gratified that she had designed the study to
include data on all Spanish speakers at the
Planned observations began in February 1984,
When the study began,
the youngest subject
and in first grade.
Yolanda were both seven years old and in second grade.
eight years old and in third grade.
subject was Marco who had just turned 10 years old and was
in fourth grade.
Each of the subjects came to the ESL room
daily for a 45-minute instructional period during the
In the second grade group
the teacher went to
the children's regular classroom and escorted the children
to the ESL room.
From the other group,
arrived daily at 9:50 a.m.
and chose their seats for the
Brief descriptions in the following section provide a
sketch of each individual child.
The Subjects as Children
It must be noted that each child brought with him/her
a unique set of skills and abilities with which he or she
acquired a new
Some of the factors which affect
this process are personality,
and general attitude toward
s and school
following descriptions served to put into perspecti
individual differences which may have affected these
acquisition of language and literacy.
years old and the most recent
to the United States at the time the
He spoke often of his family and
"his country," Costa Rica,
-- -_ 1 1_I_ -
in class each day and announced that he had mail and wanted
to read it immediately.
Jose, not yet a reader, attempted
all of the words he recognized before asking his teachers
He was confident,
friendly with his peers.
In a formal interview,
he had lots of friends and he like to play with them after
Jose rarely complained and most frequently was
excited about the daily plans in ESL class.
Jose's most outstanding characteristic was his
observation of everything.
In the classroom,
he seemed to
s every movement and tuned in to what
other children were saying and doing.
As a result,
though he knew no English,
understood most of what wa
going on and seemed not
dependent on the Spanish translations Mrs. Summer was
willing to provide.
in class activity
on around him.
Jose was an enthusiastic participant
and cooperated with all projects going
On many occasions,
he was observed helping
teacher or other students with their work,
getting some material.
School was obviously very important
, and he conscientiously asked for notes,
his unfinished work,
and brought in
homeworkk" with which
his parents had helped him,
or took things to his
I m -- -
Often, Jos6 was chosen
a buddy or asked a
friend to play a game with him.
Jose spoke very seldom in initial observations and
when he did his words were slow and heavily accented.
watched Mrs. Summer's every move and always sat near her
and listened attentively.
The first phrases noted were
totally in Spanish and often concerned something from or
about his parents.
Mi mama y pap4 quieren al feria y
la reunion pero no saben los
Puede poner o notar
tiempo en una nota.
[My mother and
father want to come to the fair and
the meeting but don't know the
details. Could you make a note
telling the time?]
(Mrs. Summer writes a note to his parents and
una nota a
la reunion y el
Ojala que te veo
[Here is a note
parents telling about the meeting
and the time,
I hope I will
As the study progressed, J
began to use one-word
of encouragement and usually used Spanish followed by the
we buy one.]
t, it helps
ST --- --