Oral academic language instruction in English for first-grade emergent bilinguals: A case study

Juliet Mary Luther, Fordham University


Research has shown academic language is necessary for school success and a known challenge in pedagogy for emergent bilinguals. Emergent bilinguals must learn this language in English. Oral academic language is academic language expressed orally. It is part of the oral language emergent bilinguals must learn. Research shows oral language has been neglected in teaching, and research. Notwithstanding, teachers of emergent bilinguals must teach oral academic language. For this they need guidance about how to teach this language. This quantitative, descriptive, case study explored one English as a Second Language teacher’s practices for teaching oral academic language, and her related theory of practice. A two-tiered, multi-faceted analysis led to major findings. These included that oral academic language practices constituted a small part of classroom teaching, and they were implemented through two approaches. Furthermore, implementation approaches varied in frequency, depending on content area. The use of text, and instructional priorities influenced this variance. I also found that practices fell into five types. In addition, I found practices addressed the word, utterance, or discourse units of language. The teacher’s theory of practice revealed congruencies and incongruences between beliefs and practices. It also revealed influences on the practices, external to the teacher. These included the school, teacher preparation, curriculum, and policy. Recommendations were identified for professional development, teacher preparation, and further research.

Subject Area

English as a Second Language|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Luther, Juliet Mary, "Oral academic language instruction in English for first-grade emergent bilinguals: A case study" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10154262.