FLES and the classroom teacher model: A multiple case study
The purpose of the present study is to investigate the implementation of Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) programs, in this case Spanish, through the regular-classroom-teacher model—an instructor who is not a foreign language specialist. The traditionally accepted model for teaching foreign language in elementary school is the use of a language specialist as the person in charge of the program in one or more schools. A look at the history of FLES in the United States reveals that one of the major challenges programs always face is the lack of FLES teachers.
The viability of the FLES regular teacher model is assessed through studying the issue at all levels: from the schools and the administration to the teachers and learners. This dissertation examines the implementation of the classroom teacher model in four FLES programs. Each of the schools constitutes a single case-study, since each institution tailored the teaching model to its own needs and circumstances.
Data was obtained from a variety of sources: A teacher and staff survey, a parent survey, children's questionnaires, class observations, teachers' journals reflecting on their FLES teaching experience, and interviews with the superintendent, the principals, and two selected teachers from each school.
The rich description and analysis of the data illuminates the rationale for adopting a FLES program in each one of the schools, the circumstances under which the FLES model works effectively, and the specific details about teachers, parents and students. The analysis of data points out that the critical issue is not to ascertain which FLES teaching model yields better results, but to explore how a community approach to FLES may serve as a valid teaching model for FLES programs.
The final analysis shows that a variety of conditions, as opposed to one single cause, are critical in the implementation of a FLES program, and that regardless of teaching model, the support of the community, especially the parents, the classroom teacher's involvement, and teachers' professional development all seem to be necessary components for the implementation of successful FL programs.
0524: Elementary education
0279: Language arts