Article Summary: Performativity in the Bilingual Classroom: The Plight of English Learners in the Current Reform Context; Pacheco, Mariana; University of Wisconsin - Madison

This article was very interesting because I, who had only been living in the USA for a month, had difficulty learning English. Fortunately, the friends here are very supportive and do not insult my English skills. Generally, they commented that I would be able to speak English independently because of the interaction with my classmates.

Back to this article written by an academic from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, this article uses several theories, but the most widely used theory is theory from Brefenbrenner. Brefenbrenner is a psychologist who sparked the theory of ecology, namely that students learn by getting support from their environment. This can be seen from the sentence written by Pacheco (2010, p.75), namely "I argue that in the absence of assisted supportive guidance to facilitate success as defined in the current accountability framework, local interpretations of outcomes-based policies have had parallel effects on the school lives of ELs and their teachers". In this sentence, Pacheco argues that the right policies will affect schools and teachers. Whereas according to the ecological theory put forward by Brefenbrenner, ecosystems, including schools and teachers, affect the success of students in understanding lessons.


The theory that is also emphasized in this article is the sociocultural theory proposed by Vygotsky. This can be seen in Pacheco's (2010, p.76) explanation, which mentions Vygotsky's name, namely "Neo-Vygotskian researchers have employed these conceptual and methodological tools to account for the mediating function of ideologies in non-dominant students' schooling experiences". It seems clear that students need to interact with other people in order to understand the teaching material. In addition, on the last pages of the article, Pancheco explained that one of the teachers, namely Mr. Saunders asked students to get a parent's signature as a sign that the student had done homework.

Pancheco also uses the theory proposed by Bandura (2010, p.86), namely Mr. Saunders uses external motivation to reward or punish students. In the socio-cognitive theory proposed by Bandura, students do not need to experience the punishment or praise themselves, but see others get the punishment or reward, then students will automatically use it, either directly or saved for later.

Students understand teaching materials by interacting with the surrounding environment, such as teachers and the learning community where students live. Specifically, Mr. Saunders asked students to buy dictionaries for their parents. In addition, Mr. Saunders reinforces reward and punishment so that students can follow good actions and stay away from violations in the classroom.

How to teach Mr. Saunders is to give homework to students in the form of a reading, a math worksheet, and a spelling assignment. This work generally takes students 20 minutes to complete. After that, students are asked to get a parent's signature to verify that the parent has reviewed their homework (Pacheco, 2010, p.84). Another method used by Mr. Saunders is to praise students who complete assignments on time (Pacheco, 2010, p.85). The sanctions were also given by Mr. Saunders when giving punishment to one of the students, namely Jacobo (Pacheco, 2010, p.86).

The method used by Pacheco is a qualitative method using instruments in the form of interviews and observations in schools. This is under the research question, namely the policy made by the government regarding bilingual classes, which even have problems in a "high-achieving" school. Pacheco only interviewed and observed one teacher, Mr. Saunders (not his real name).


Pacheco, M. (2010). Performativity in the bilingual classroom: The plight of English learners in the current reform context. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 41(1), 75-93.


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