The Visual Representation of Dual Language Education

The Visual Representation of Dual Language Education - Theresa Catalano

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The goal of Catalano for this article was to add to the conversation of the benefits of dual language (DL) education (courses that deliver educational content in two languages) by asking the questions, "How are DL programs represented visually in media discourse?" and "How does this visual representation reflect wider discourses about language education and education in general?" She decides to address these questions by looking at media coverage of education based on the idea that the media actively shapes the ways in which many people see a variety of issues, including educations. Specifically, she takes interest in the visual aspect of media, including photography and photojournalism, with the thought that both have the ability to change or comply with dominant discourses which can either reinforce harmful misconceptions about education or can advocate for productive change in both the public eye and legislature.

Catalano conducted her research by combing through visuals and articles based on three synonymous search terms related to DL. Though the images are the focus of her analysis, she does also consider the contrast and information portrayed by the linguistic elements of articles. She chose to use multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) as a form of analysis throughout this article. Additionally, she used a qualitative software analysis program (MAXQDA) to "conduct open coding of images" and to attend to the "written context in order to anchor multiple meanings of the photographs."

Catalano's findings showed a recurrence of neo-liberal ideologies in varying degrees throughout most of the data. She also noticed a trend of vague and clichéd images (for example, apples, books, teachers standing in front of a classroom pretending to lecture) that all perpetuated outdated ideologies of education. Along with this, the depiction of students in the classrooms tended to show a fair amount of diversity without that same amount of equality. The images seemed to highlight English-speaking families as a generalization of who could benefit from DL classes. The danger, Catalano argues, of this is that it creates an automatic border between populations regarding who can benefit from a DL course, disregarding the usefulness of multilingualism in a globalized world. Since these images did not depict specifically or entirely accurately what DL learning is, they are perpetuating an outdated idea of education. Catalano concludes that these images have the ability to change the general direction of how people interact with DL an education in general and the potential of visual media is not being reached in its current state.