Young and Pinnegar

Janet Young, associate chair in the Department of Teacher Education, and Stefinee Pinnegar, Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, received a 2009 Area Chair Award from the Literary Research Association (LRA), formerly known as the National Reading Conference. This year, each of the ten conference area chairs selected one outstanding proposal to receive this award. The area in which Young and Pinnegar excelled was Literacy Learning and Practice in Multi-Lingual and Multi-Cultural Settings.

The paper Young and Pinnegar submitted for the award stemmed from work their work in the Teaching English Language Learners (TELL) Project. Their paper, titled “Who Are These English Language Learners? A Perspective on Students’ Literate Identity,” is based on qualitative research conducted by Young and Pinnegar. These researchers gathered narratives from highly successful K-12 teachers of English language learners illustrating their work with children and adolescents. Through these stories, Young and Pinnegar sought to understand how each teacher perceived language minority students in their classrooms and how that influenced their instructional decisions.

Young and Pinnegar found through their study that these expert teachers actually viewed their students’ literate identity in complex ways. The expert teachers consistently advocated for their students. Also, they were judicious in what labels they used to identify ELLs. They embraced certain labels and particular types of identities they believed to be in the student’s best interest, but refused to use labels they perceived to be harmful. These excellent teachers were sensitive and committed to nurturing their students’ multiple identities.

Young received a letter of congratulations from David Reinking, president of the Literacy Research Association. In it he acknowledged the value of their research: “This selection of your proposal for this award is recognition of the quality and importance of your work.”

5 April 2010