EAL in Public Schools in British Columbia: Reconsidering Policies and Practices in Light of Fraser's Social Justice Model

EAL in Public Schools in British Columbia: Reconsidering Policies and Practices in Light of Fraser's Social Justice Model

Roumiana Ilieva (Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/IJBIDE.2016070106
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

This article analyzes through the lens of Nancy Fraser's (2008) multidimensional social justice model policies and practices currently guiding English as an additional language (EAL) education in public schools in British Columbia, Canada on the basis of research published in the last decade or so. It highlights directions which Fraser's model guides us to explore in further depth in order to attend more adequately to the diverse linguistic, cultural, and integration needs of EAL students in the Metro Vancouver area. A continuous search for theoretical lenses allowing for more fine-grained analyses of challenges in educating diverse students would equip policy makers and practitioners alike with refined tools to engage more meaningfully with the complexities of diversities in the local contexts within which they work.
Article Preview

Introduction

The increasingly diverse student population in Canadian schools has become a focus of research for many academics in the last several decades (Beynon, LaRocque, Ilieva & Dagenais, 2005; Cummins, Mirza & Stille, 2012; Dagenais, 2013; Gunderson, D’Silva & Odo, 2012; Guo & Hébert, 2013; Ilieva, 2010; Toohey & Derwing, 2008). The continuous rise in English as an Additional Language (EAL) student numbers, as well as what some have called “hyper-diversity” (Biles, Burstein & Frideres, 2008) in Canada, continue to challenge policy makers and educational practitioners alike. This article builds on a discussion on EAL policies and practices in British Columbia (BC) started a decade ago (Beynon et al., 2005; Ilieva, 2010) hoping to expand on theoretical frames that would allow us to understand in more nuanced ways some of the challenges that BC schools face, particularly in the Metro Vancouver area. Policies and practices in BC with respect to the language and cultural needs of EAL students will be discussed and recommendations for directions to take to address some challenges in these areas will be made on the basis of Fraser’s (2008) social justice multidimensional model.

The article first presents demographic information about the current BC context and moves on to discuss theoretical frames of reference useful to tease out the policy and practices context in the Metro Vancouver area, with special attention given to Fraser’s model. On the basis of research published in the last decade or so, an analysis of policies and practices currently guiding EAL in BC public schools through the lens of Fraser’s theorizing follows. Grounded in the research synthesis in light of Fraser’s work, the article offers recommendations for moving forward with advocating for social justice for EAL students. Thus, directions which Fraser’s model guides us to explore in further depth in order to attend more adequately to the linguistic, cultural, and integration needs of EAL students in BC are highlighted.

This article addresses the question within the BC context, but research discussing other Canadian contexts attests that the situation in BC’s cities is similar to the circumstances EAL students and teachers face in many other urban settings in the country (e.g. Garnett, 2012; Guo & Hébert, 2013). The author contends that a continuous search for theoretical lenses that would allow for more fine-grained analyses of challenges in educating diverse students would equip policy makers and practitioners alike across urban Canadian settings with more refined tools to engage meaningfully with the complexities of diversities in the local contexts within which they work.

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Reset
Open Access Articles: Forthcoming
Volume 3: 2 Issues (2018): 1 Released, 1 Forthcoming
Volume 2: 2 Issues (2017)
Volume 1: 2 Issues (2016)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing