Using Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Electronic Storybooks in ESL Teacher Education

Using Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Electronic Storybooks in ESL Teacher Education

Ho-Ryong Park (Murray State University, USA) and Deoksoon Kim (University of South Florida, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8668-7.ch009
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Abstract

In this chapter, a qualitative approach used to investigate the experiences and learning of 110 preservice teachers in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) courses when they read electronic storybooks for their school projects. During their online class, participants were asked to read one culturally and linguistically familiar electronic storybook (e-storybook), develop a reading lesson plan, and participate in two online discussions after reading four culturally and linguistically familiar or unfamiliar e-storybooks. After these discussions, the participants revised their lesson plans. The findings provide insight into what ESOL preservice teachers learn and the strategies they use in reading e-storybooks. The participants revised the original lesson plan based on these reading experiences and learned about their future students who will study English as a second language. The article concludes by discussing the influence of this online task-based instruction on ESOL preservice teachers' learning and technology use in teacher education courses.
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Background

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

Cultural and linguistic diversity is critical for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)1 preservice teachers. Culture has been defined in many ways (Robinson, 1985; Smith, Paige, & Steglitz, 1998; Snow, 1996). It can refer to (a) observable activities and items, such as art, drama, pop music, and mass media entertainment, (b) distinctive groups and societies, such as adolescents and the French and their culture, and (c) intangibles, such as beliefs, values, rules, roles, and so on (Díaz-Rico & Weed, 2010). For a teacher to be familiar with a culture requires familiarity with learners’ experiences as well as the typical beliefs of a culture (Kim, 2005). In this paper, we adopt a view of culture as fluid and dynamic, as something that changes over time as new ideas and practices spread to different groups and subgroups (Street, 2005).

Language is an integral part of being human (Denham & Lobeck, 2013), and the primary means of interaction between people (Bonvillain, 2013). Linguistic abilities are diverse, depending on the speakers’ language learning or acquisition stages. Since language proficiency refers to “the ability to use a language effectively and appropriately throughout the range of social, personal, school, and work situations required for daily living in a given society,” in both oral and written form (Peregoy & Boyle, 2008, p. 34), appropriate and necessary language skills vary substantially across different situations. We must attend carefully to culture and language, as well as readers’ knowledge of these two critical components, when helping others to develop skills in both one’s first language (L1) and second language (L2).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Computer-Mediated Communication Literacy: A component of electronic literacies. This refers to the knowledge and skills to use asynchronous CMC (e.g., email, blogs, etc.) and synchronous CMC (e.g., Internet chat, instant message, etc.).

Preservice Teachers: Student teachers who do not undertake teaching yet.

English as a Second Language: A language, program, or context in which English is taught as a non-native language while learners are exposed to the target culture and language.

Multimedia Literacies: A component of electronic literacies. This refers to the knowledge and skills to develop and comprehend multimedia resources.

Computer Literacy: A component of electronic literacies. This refers to the knowledge and skills to use computer hardware and software.

Information Literacy: A component of electronic literacies. This refers to the knowledge and skills to search for, analyze, and evaluate information on the Internet.

Electronic Literacies: A new literacy concept, which encompasses computer literacy, computer-mediated communication literacy, multimedia literacy, and information literacy.

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