A Survey of Elementary Teachers' Language Ideologies and their Perceptions of Biliteracy



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Some U.S. educators hold language ideologies that favor the English language over other languages, while, at the same time, equating fluency in other languages as problematic. This ideology potentially affects how teachers instruct in both monolingual and bilingual classrooms in U.S. schools. This study addressed language ideologies among select teachers in south-central Texas. Examining teacher ideologies might enlighten school and district administrators on how to improve their efforts to offer effective bilingual and multilingual education options in their schools. The purpose of this study was to explore elementary teachers' language ideologies and perceptions of biliteracy and their understanding of the types of supports needed to develop student biliteracy in the classroom. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected by administering a version of the Beliefs About Language Survey (Fitzsimmons-Doolan, 2011) and five semi-structured interviews. Using a mixed-methods approach, I explored the perceptions of explored the language ideologies of 172 Grade 3 teachers at one of the Educational Service Centers in Texas. The results of this study revealed the prevalence of four different language ideologies. The four ideologies were: (a) Americans Should Value Multilingualism; (b) Using English Language Ensures Success in the United States; (c) Speaking Multiple Languages Creates Social Conflict; and (d) Language Use is Situational. The results suggested that most of the participants agreed with the ideological statement Americans Should Value Multilingualism, and somewhat disagreed to Using English Language Ensures Success in the United States. However, when studying teachers' responses to interview questions, my analysis revealed that the enacted practices were more aligned with subtractive bilingual viewpoints. The results of this study add to research regarding teachers' ideologies in elementary classrooms and explore perceived structures of support needed to foster biliteracy development



Biliteracy, Language ideologies, Teachers’ perceptions, English learners