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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Ed. by Fishman, Joshua A. / García Otheguy, Ofelia

6 Issues per year

ERIH category 2011: INT2



Indigenous students in bilingual Spanish–English classrooms in New York: a teacher's mediation strategies

Patricia Velasco1

1Queens College, CUNY

Correspondence address:

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 2010, Issue 206, Pages 255–271, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: 10.1515/ijsl.2010.057, December 2010

Publication History

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US bilingual classrooms were originally created for students who had limited proficiency in English, but who came from homes where reading and writing formed an integral part of their lives. This article explores the challenge of having a growing number of indigenous Mexican students in US bilingual classrooms who do not come from literate backgrounds and whose oral expression is not associated with the academic registers of school. This article documents the role or mediation (or interactional scaffolding) taking place in conversations between a teacher and two indigenous Mexican-Mixteco students who were attending a New York City dual-language, bilingual kindergarten class (Spanish–English). This article sheds light on the complex process that mastering academic language requires and the vital role that teacher–student interactions play in the development and understanding of academic language. These interactions cannot be left to chance; they require thoughtful planning and have to be collectively constructed and practiced.

Keywords:: indigenous students; bilingual education; mediation

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