“We speak English in here and English only!”: Teacher and ELL youth perspectives on restrictive language education

Daisy E. Fredricks, Doris Warriner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This study operationalizes Ruiz’s language orientations framework (1984) and builds on his later work (e.g., 1997, 2008) by examining the ways in which local language policies influence the learning experiences of 12 multilingual youth and the teaching experiences of four of their classroom teachers. Using ethnographic and qualitative research approaches (i.e., observations, participant observation, interviews, a focus group, and artifact collection), over 150 hours of audio-recorded classroom interactions were collected, indexed, transcribed, and thematically analyzed. The analysis focuses on how restrictive language ideologies and policies mediate the everyday talk and classroom practices of both classroom teachers and ELL youth. Findings demonstrate that ideologies of language that privilege English monolingualism influenced restrictive language policies and practices and helped to shape the teachers’ and students’ beliefs about language and their own language use. Findings show that ideologies of language contributed to a linguistic hierarchy that positioned English at the top, followed by Spanish, then additional languages of students in the classroom. However, the analysis also illuminates how teachers and youth might resist ideologies, policies, and practices that devalue multilingualism by engaging in practices that allow and promote language-as-a-resource orientations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-323
Number of pages15
JournalBilingual Research Journal
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 6 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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