English Language Learners (ELLs) usually spend most of the school day with regular classroom teachers. The ability of English-as-a-second-language (ESL) teachers to help these students, then, depends in part on their ability to influence how the classroom teachers think of ELL students and ESL itself. One way ESL teachers do this is through "positioning discourses"-discursive practices that connect the children in certain ways to neighborhood reputations, political imagery, policy priorities, and professional responsibilities. This paper examines how ESL teachers in two contrasting school systems produce different kinds of positioning discourses in responding to different contextual constraints and pressures. Drawing on interview data, we show how teachers in an urban setting use elements of neighborhood reputation to position their students, while teachers in a more affluent suburb use discourses of expertise and professional knowledge to reshape the way ESL is understood. Our goals are to explicate how these discourses are produced and used.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Urban Studies