Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Linguistics, Applied

First Advisor

Avary Carhill-Poza

Second Advisor

Panayota Gounari

Third Advisor

Jeff Bale


Multilingual students in the United States have long been marginalized by not only the institution of education but also within the classrooms where they learn. This has been accomplished in part through the embodiment of English monolingual ideologies in policies enacted across such contexts and in how language and multilingual students are discursively represented. In Massachusetts, however, due to recent official policy changes, educators may now implement pluralist language policies that reflect and promote the language policies of the communities they serve. Using a mixed methods design, this research explores the ways policy has been developed and enacted within the shifting educational language policy landscape. It investigates how official, top-down language policies, such as those passed at the state and federal levels through legislation, interact with bottom-up policies enacted in schools and classrooms where students learn through multilingual media, attending to the various practices, processes, and tensions that coexist as lived policy. Moreover, drawing on this multidimensional approach, the study also identifies discourses about language that emerged within and across policy levels in Massachusetts to better understand how policies are contextually created, negotiated, and embodied to shape students’ experiences in school. Data included quantitative and qualitative survey data on the language and policy beliefs of educators throughout Massachusetts to uncover the ideologies comprising educational language policy among educators state-wide, as well as qualitative case study data reflecting the enactment of policies in a focal district. Findings expose the sociopolitical ideologies, practices, and processes of policy and inform policy and praxis.


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