Crossing the Curriculum
Multilingual Learners in College Classrooms
Edited by Vivian Zamel, Ruth Spack
Routledge – 2003 – 252 pages
As college classrooms have become more linguistically diverse, the work of ESOL professionals has expanded to include research on the experiences of multilingual learners not only in ESOL courses but also in courses across the curriculum. At the same time that ESOL professionals are trying to understand the academic challenges that learners face beyond ESOL courses, faculty across the disciplines are trying to meet the challenge of teaching students of differing linguistic backgrounds. Crossing the Curriculum: Multilingual Learners in College Classrooms responds to these issues and concerns by capturing the complex and content-specific nature of students' and teachers' experiences and providing a nuanced understanding of how multilingual students' learning can be fostered and sustained.
Crossing the Curriculum: Multilingual Learners in College Classrooms is unique in bringing together the perspectives of researchers, students, and teachers. These multiple lenses allow for a richly layered picture of how students and teachers actually experience college classrooms. Common themes and pedagogical principles resonate across the three distinct sections of the book:
*Part One, "Investigating Students' Experiences Across the Curriculum: Through the Eyes of Classroom Researchers," consists of chapters written by ESOL and composition researchers who have investigated multilingual students' experiences in undergraduate courses across the curriculum.
*Part Two, "Learning Across the Curriculum: Through Students' Eyes," consists of chapters written by two multilingual learners who chronicled their experiences as they crossed the curriculum over time.
*Part Three, "Engaging Students in Learning: Through the Eyes of Faculty Across the Curriculum," consists of chapters written by faculty from several academic fields--Anthropology, Philosophy, Nursing, Literature, Sociology, and Asian American Studies--who discuss their own attempts to address the needs of multilingual learners in their classrooms.
"This collection portrays the development of academic literacy as a complex process of acquisition that optimally involves interrelated processes of talk, reading, and writing (and the importance of writing-to-learn is emphasized throughout); commitment and responsibility-taking by faculty instructors who challenge students to develop 'critical literacies' in the academy; and creativity and effort on the part of students. A great merit of this book is the inclusion of full-length reflective essays from students: these essays provide critical insight about particularity, life trajectories, and moral nuances in second language acquisitions."
"This volume is a welcome addition to the literature on learning across the curriculum. A final common thread running through the book is that pedagogical practices which are good for ESOL learners are good for all learners….the value of this book extends far beyond an audience interested in the ESOL student experience; it contains important lessons for all those who research, learn and teach at the post-secondary level."
—The Linguist List
"Crossing the Curriculum offers some fascinating observations and insights into what goes on in the minds of faculty and ESOL students as they learn to adapt to the changes and challenges that they face in linguistically diverse college classrooms. The book is highly readable and easy to navigate….and is highly recommended for anyone teaching multilingual classes and especially for educators encountering difficulties with the performance levels of ESOL students in their classes….also a must for all self-reflecting educators who constantly ask themselves, 'I wonder how students feel about learning in my class'".
"…is an exciting collection, unique in bringing together the perspectives of differently positioned players in the educational endeavor, on the complexities, challenges and accomplishments multilingual learners and their instructors experience in the college classrooms….a valuable resource for professionals interested in gaining or extending their understanding of multilingual learners in classrooms of higher education."
—The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
"What makes [this] volume different is its variety--specifically a variety that combines all the different players in the educational endeavor. It is especially refreshing to hear the voices of the students. I can't think of any other professional title that combines these different perspectives."
—Linda Lonon Blanton
University of New Orleans
"This is a wonderful project….The idea to include the student perspective is brilliant."
California State University, Chico
Contents: Preface. Part I: Investigating Students' Experiences Across the Curriculum: Through the Eyes of Classroom Researchers. V. Zamel, Strangers in Academia: The Experiences of Faculty and ESOL Students Across the Curriculum. R. Spack, The Acquisition of Academic Literacy in a Second Language: A Longitudinal Case Study, Updated. M.S. Sternglass, "It Became Easier Over Time": A Case Study of the Relationship Between Writing, Learning, and the Creation of Knowledge. T. Smoke, Lessons From Ming: Helping Students Use Writing to Learn. E. Kutz, From Outsider to Insider: Studying Academic Discourse Communities Across the Curriculum. Part II: Learning Across the Curriculum: Through Students' Eyes. M. Muñoz, Martha's Reflections on Learning Across the Curriculum. M. Kainose, Motoko's Reflections on Learning Across the Curriculum. Part III: Engaging Students in Learning: Through the Eyes of Faculty Across the Curriculum. T. Sieber, Excelling in the Critical Study of Culture: The Multilingual-Multicultural Student Advantage. S.M. Fishman, L. McCarthy, When Writing-to-Learn Is Not Enough. K.B. Alster, Writing in Nursing Education and Nursing Practice. R. Srikanth, The Soil Under the Gravel: ESOL Learners and Writing About Literature. E. Disch, "Still Cannot Solve It": Engaging ESOL Students in the Classroom Conversation. P.N-C. Kiang, Voicing Names and Naming Voices: Pedagogy and Persistence in an Asian American Studies Classroom.