That Child Is a Yellow: New Immigrant Children's Conceptions of English Language, Literacy, and Learners' Identities in the NCLB Era

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In this article, we utilize the concepts of conceptual metaphors, cultural models, and master myths to discuss the ways by which three new immigrant children, native speakers of Spanish, were developing conceptions of English language, literacy, and learner's identities. Our findings point to 3 main metaphors that were often implicit in the school environment: (a) writing as procedures, (b) English as success, and (c) learners as test scoring categories. These metaphorical conceptualizations appear to be a reflection of the discourse around No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policies that permeate American school contexts. We argue that this discourse can serve to promote reduced conceptions of literacy (and writing in particular), to essentialize learners' identities, and to preserve the hegemony of English. We suggest that a focus on meaning during literacy instruction can be helpful in providing opportunities to counteract these conceptions and to foster the development of more robust ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalTheory Into Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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