Language and Identity in a Dual Immersion School Author: Kim Potowski

Ebook(PDF) - 240 pages
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23 Jan 2007
Bilingual Education & Bilingualism
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148


This book describes the educational experiences and linguistic outcomes of students in Chicago, Illinois, who are attending one of the oldest Spanish-English dual immersion schools in the United States. The author follows a group of students during fifth grade and again during eighth grade, documenting their Spanish use and proficiency as well as how Spanish and English intersect with the ongoing production of their identities.


This volume offers valuable insights into the inner workings of two-way immersion classrooms and helps us understand why students resist using Spanish. Everyone who cares about bilingualism as a goal of two-way immersion should know about this research.

- Donna Christian, President of the Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, USA

Identity investment is key to understanding how two-way immersion (TWI) programs function on the local level. Potowski demonstrates that when students invest in their identities as Spanish speakers (regardless of their ethnic or linguistic background), they are more likely to develop expertise in Spanish. Educators who understand this fundamental sociolinguistic notion can find creative ways to actively counter student resistance to Spanish at school.

- Rebecca Freeman, Adjunct Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania.

Author Biography:

Kim Potowski is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she directs the Spanish for heritage speakers program. Her research focuses on the Spanish of bilingual speakers, including how Spanish is spoken in the United States, the effectiveness of curricula for heritage speakers, and professional development for teachers. She is the author of Fundamentos de la enseñanza del español a hispanohablantes en los Estados Unidos (Arco Libros, 2005).

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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