Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Zulmaris Díaz

Second Advisor

Dr. Kip Austin Hinton

Third Advisor

Dr. Christian Zúñiga


Dual language (DL) schools provide literacy in students’ native languages; however, it is unknown if there is a focus on oral language (OL) development, an essential component for emergent bilinguals’(EB) literacy development. The purpose of this mixed-methods case study is to understand what DL teachers in Virginia know about OL instruction when providing literacy instruction to EB students. This study also explored DL teachers’ perceptions and language orientations towards OL instruction in a DL classroom. The Holistic Biliteracy Framework by Escamilla et al. (2014) provided a research-based pedagogical model to compare teachers’ knowledge on OL instruction. The Language Orientation Framework (Ruiz, 1984) helped categorize teachers’ perceptions and language orientations towards OL instruction.

The mixed-methods data was collected from DL teachers in Virginia through a survey and provided documents or artifacts for analysis, and a semi-structured interview. The quantitative data was analyzed with descriptive statistics, looking at the means and frequency. The means of the knowledge, perceptions, and language orientations towards OL scale were consistently higher for those teachers who were multilingual. The qualitative data was analyzed using thematic coding, deductive and inductive coding, and discourse analysis. When discussing students’ literacy development, many teachers mentioned OL, vocabulary, repetition, phonics, and decoding instruction most frequently. Participants also perceived OL instruction as a method of talking to learn, learning to talk, or learning to speak a second language.

The document or artifact analysis highlighted the categories of oracy (Escamilla et al., 2014) that were present the most in their activities were features of developing language structure and vocabulary; yet, dialogue features did not appear as frequent. During the interviews, several perceptions and language orientations were highlighted. Some perceptions showed insecurities towards knowledge of OL instruction. Many interviewed teachers had an underlying focus towards native English-speakers when using OL activities. Practical implications provided were offering professional development on OL and oracy, placing a primary focus on developing OL and oracy for the purpose of heritage language maintenance for emergent bilinguals. This focus, along with allowing flexible language for all students, would expand students’ linguistic knowledge without losing focus on emergent bilinguals.


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