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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Daring to (re)imagine: A case study investigating the limits and possibilities of bilingual education

  • Author(s): Lo-Philip, Stephanie Wing Yan
  • Advisor(s): Baquedano-López, Patricia
  • et al.

This longitudinal study focuses on the idea that institutions are able to exercise some agency by re-imagining what language is, for what purposes people learn a language, and for whom a particular language is appropriate. It also assumes that there are conditions (in the material and ideological sense) that allow or hinder agents from creating alternative imaginings. This research investigated the limits and possibilities of re-imagination as a creative act of agency. In addition, it explored how re-imagination affected educational goals and everyday classroom practices. The study attempted to explore both issues through an ethnography of a bilingual Mandarin Chinese and English school. It examined how the school as an institution has re-imagined education in general, bilingual education and Chinese through official discourses and everyday classroom practices. Participants in this study included a focal class of 7th grade students, teachers, staff and parents. The findings illustrated how politics, economics and discourses were the sources upon which participants make sense of the world and drew upon for (re)imagining their educational visions and programs. The findings from this study can inform language educational policy and practical pedagogical, curriculum and program development for Chinese language educators and bilingual educators.

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