In this area, I am especially interested in the development of language immersion education and bilingual approaches to schooling in the United States. There are many different kinds of language immersion schools, but the most common are “two-way” and “one-way.” In two-way schools, students from two different language backgrounds study content material in their two respective home languages. The most common two-way schools in the U.S. are Spanish-English, ideally mixing about 50% of Spanish-dominant students with about 50% of English-dominant students. In one-way schools, students are typically from the same language background (e.g., English), and they study their content material in another/foreign language (e.g., Mandarin). All language immersion schooling strives to develop students’ fluency in multiple languages.
** A side note: I provide these definitions with some trepidation, knowing that many students come to school with multiple languages and literacies that may be neglected when we label them by their national languages, e.g., “Spanish” or “English” dominant. African-American youth, for example, code-switch between varieties of English, while many immigrant youth speak different kinds of Spanishes, or sometimes, a national Spanish alongside an Indigenous language.
My research questions in this area include: What are the politics of developing language immersion schools, especially in mostly monolingual areas? How do immigrant families make choices for language immersion schools? How do children interact in language immersion elementary schools? How can language immersion and bilingual schools ensure equity for transnational language learners?
- Dorner, L., Cervantes-Soons, C., Heiman, D., & Palmer D. (2021). “Now it’s all upper-class parents who are checking out schools:” Gentrification facing two-way bilingual policy enactment across scales, contexts, and stakeholders. Language Policy.
- Dorner, L., Bonney E.*, Moon, J.,* & Otis, A.* (2021). Dueling discourses in dual language schools: Multilingual “success for all” versus the academic “decline” of Black students. In N. Flores, N. Subtirelu, & A. Tseng (Eds.), Bilingualism for all? Raciolinguistic perspectives on dual language education, pp. 88-110. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
- Dorner, L. & Cervantes-Soon, C. (2020). Equity for students learning English in dual language bilingual education: Persistent challenges and promising practices. TESOL Quarterly, 54(3), 535-547. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.599
- Cervantes-Soon, C., Gambrell, J., Kasun, S., Sun, W.*, Freire, J., & Dorner L. (2020, online). “Everybody wants a choice” in dual language education of el Nuevo Sur: Whiteness as the gloss for every body in media discourses of multilingual education. Journal of Language, Identity, & Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/15348458.2020.1753201
- Dorner, L. & Lee, S. (2020). Una búsqueda de la equidad y la justicia: District leaders attempt to expand dual language bilingual education for equity. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 23(3), 3-15. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555458920916910
- Palmer, D., Cervantes-Soon, C., Dorner, L. & Heiman, D. (2019). Bilingualism, biliteracy, biculturalism and critical consciousness for all: Proposing a fourth fundamental principle for two-way dual language education. Theory into Practice.
- Cervantes-Soon, C., Dorner, L., Palmer, D., Heiman, D., Schwerdtfeger, R., & Choi, J. (2017). Combating inequalities in two-way language immersion programs: Toward critical consciousness in bilingual education spaces. Review of Research in Education.
- Husbye, N. & Dorner, L. (2017). Teaching strategies to develop inquiry and literacy skills: Languaging in foreign language immersion education. L2 Journal, 9(1), 36-48. http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5v76m8mb
- Dorner, L. (2015). From global jobs to safe spaces: The diverse discourses that sell multilingual schooling in the U.S. Current Issues in Language Planning, 16(1&2), 114-131.
- Dorner, L. & Layton, A. (2014). “¿Cómo se dice?” Children’s multilingual discourses (or interacting, representing, and being) in a first-grade Spanish immersion classroom. Linguistics and Education, 25, 24-39.
- Dorner, L. & Layton, A. (2013). What makes a “good” school? Data and competing discourses in a multilingual charter network. In D. Anagnostopoulos, S. Rutledge, & R. Jacobsen (Eds.), The infrastructure of accountability: Mapping data use and its consequences across the American education system, pp. 145-162. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Educational Press.
- Dorner, L. (2012). The life course and sense-making: Immigrant families’ journeys toward understanding educational policies and choosing bilingual programs. American Educational Research Journal, 49(3), 461-486.
- Dorner, L. (2011). Contested communities in a debate over dual language education: The import of ‘public’ values on public policies. Educational Policy, 25(4), 577-613.
- Dorner, L. (2011). US immigrants and two-way immersion policies: The mismatch between district designs and family experiences. In D. Tedick, D. Christian, and T. Fortune (Eds.), Immersion education: Practices, policies, possibilities, pp. 231-250. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.