Enhancing equity for English learners through the seal of biliteracy: Policy/practice pitfalls and possibilities

Peter I. DE COSTA, Kasun GAJASINGHE, Curtis Allen GREEN-ENEIX, Robert A. RANDEZ

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

Abstract

The multilingual turn in TESOL (May in The multilingual turn: implications for SLA, TESOL, and bilingual education. Routledge, New York, 2014) is overdue with the field still viewing languages as separate entities that exist in individuals (Deroo et al. in Envisioning TESOL through a translanguaging lens. Springer, New York, pp. 111–134, 2020). By contrast, bilingual education, which has embraced the notion of translanguaging (Flores and Aneja in Res Teach Engl 51:441–463, 2017; Henderson and Palmer in Dual language bilingual education: teacher cases and perspectives on large-scale implementation. Multilingual Matters, Bristol, 2020), and critical sociolinguistics (e.g., Canagarajah in Reclaiming the local in language policy and practice. Routledge, New York, 2005; De Costa in J Multiling Multicult Dev 40(5):453–460, 2019) have long called for a recognition of suppressed local and indigenous languages and the need to help minoritized language users reclaim their home languages. The education system in the United States has been complicit (De Costa and Qin in English language education in a global world: practices, issues and challenges. Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, 2016) in not providing adequate space for local and indigenous languages to develop in schools. Following a brief trace of how such inequalities characterized U.S. language education, we review recent English language redesign attempts to prepare linguistically responsive teachers (Lucas and Villegas in Theory Pract 52:98–109, 2013) to serve emerging bilinguals, focusing on the most recent bottom-up language policy initiative—the Seal of Biliteracy (SoBL). Although SoBL acknowledges multilingualism as a resource on a wide scale by providing opportunities to develop the home languages of emergent bilinguals, we discuss the challenges associated with the implementation of this initiative in the U.S. Following a critical evaluation of SOBL, we provide exemplars for TESOL practitioner-policymakers and join a growing body of educational linguists who view TESOL and multilingualism as collaborative endeavors in order to make this initiative a sustainable endeavor for TESOL professionals (Dorner and Cervantes-Soon in TESOL Q 54:535–547, 2020). Copyright © 2021 The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolicy development in TESOL and multilingualism: Past, present and the way forward
EditorsKashif RAZA, Christine COOMBE, Dudley REYNOLDS
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer
Pages107-117
ISBN (Electronic)9789811636035
ISBN (Print)9789811636028
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Citation

De Costa, P. I., Gajasinghe, K., Green-Eneix, C. A., & Randez, R. A. (2021). Enhancing equity for English learners through the seal of biliteracy: Policy/practice pitfalls and possibilities. In K. Raza, C. Coombe, & D. Reynolds (Eds.), Policy development in TESOL and multilingualism: Past, present and the way forward (pp. 107-117). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-3603-5_9

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