Language and Identity in a Dual Immersion School

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Minda Lopez


In her close analysis of language use and investment in a dual language immersion school in Language Identity in a Dual Immersion School, Potowski aims to provide systematic documentation of how students and teachers actually use language in immersion classrooms, adding to a small number of studies of such practices in different dual language contexts. She also seeks to understand students’ own perspectives regarding language use. Based on systematic observations accompanied by (a) audio and video recordings of naturally occurring speech in the classroom, (b) student, parent, and educator interviews, and (c) a combination of standardized and researcher designed language proficiency measures, Potowski paints a deep and complex portrait of English and Spanish language use at the Inter American Magnet School (IAMS) PK-8 grade school in Chicago. The author expertly utilizes ethnographic research methods with quantification of students’ language production, which is not an easy feat. She focuses on oral language and uses the construct of investment to examine why and how students create and resist opportunities to use either Spanish or English at the school.

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