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This study examines the attitudes and experiences of bilingual learners across two instructional types, identifying how the language of instruction affects the context of learning, and how the experience of the learners differs. Participants included 269 predominantly Hispanic undergraduate students in a general biology course attending a Hispanic Serving Institution in a bilingual community along the US-Mexico border. A bilingual faculty member, who recognizes the sociocultural and contextual factors that affect student learning and adopts a teaching philosophy founded in Culturally Responsive Practices (CRP) and valuing students’ Funds of Knowledge taught the class. This study utilized a mixed method design including analyses of quantitative student learning outcomesa and qualitative data on students’ experiences in educational contexts. While all learners were enrolled in sections of the course in which the instructor used CRP, only half of the learners received instruction bilingually in Spanish and English, allowing a comparison of the effects of bilingual instruction. Analyses of student experiences and knowledge gained revealed significantly greater learning in the bilingual courses, compared to English monolingual sections taught by the same faculty member. Results suggest that the use of bilingual instructional approaches can lead to positive outcomes for bilingual undergraduate students. These findings can be used by educators and policy makers alike, with interest in promoting the academic and sociocultural development of bilingual undergraduate students.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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SN Social Sciences



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