This qualitative, multi-case study employs a language and literacy research lens to explore how arts-based practices provide elementary English learner students in urban contexts with access to rich sensemaking opportunities. Grounded in mulitiliteracies theory, this study describes how arts-based pedagogies strengthen teacher and student agency by contributing to an assets-based view of ELs’ engagement in learning, knowledge construction, and communication of ideas through multimodal expression. Data sources include extensive classroom observations of arts-based practices within two programs: the Chicago-based Barrel of Monkeys writing and narrative/dramatic arts residency program; and, a Los Angeles school-based arts integration model supported by an artist-in-residence, arts pedagogist, and the Trash for Teaching STEAM-focused/maker organization. The study also draws insight from multiple semi-structured interviews with students, teachers, teaching artists, and administrators, and from a rich collection of written and visual artifacts created by students, teachers, and teaching artists over the course of one academic semester. Findings describe how arts-based pedagogies help English learners connect to, internalize, and communicate knowledge through approaches described in the findings such as pedagogy of participation, iterative group work, and “seemingly silly” instructional moments. Examples illustrate how learning through arts-based practices opens up a multimodal language for ELs and their teachers that is generally not recognized, valued, or assessed in most classroom and school contexts. The study ultimately offers suggestions of how the findings can be taken up by teachers, institutions, and teacher educators to positively affect change for linguistically and culturally diverse student populations.
|Adviser||Erica R. Halverson|
|School||THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN - MADISON|
|Subjects||Art education; English as a second language; Pedagogy; Education; Curriculum development|
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