Definition of Terms
Intersectional Learning is a space where ideas about the lives of emergent bilingual learners with(out) dis/ability labels, inside and outside of school, are explored.
While my goal is to make the ideas and notions shared here as accessible as possible, there is some technical terminology that may come in to play given the nature of the topics covered. As such, this is a brief intro to common terminology and abbreviations that you may see used throughout the blog:
Ableism: discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities; Discrimination in favor of able-bodied people.
Dis/ability: The use of “dis/ability” rather than “disability” is done in order to continue the work of disabilities studies scholars who “believe the ‘/ ’ in disability disrupts misleading understandings of disability, as it simultaneously conveys the mixture of ability and disability” (Annamma, Connor, & Ferri, 2013, p.285).
EBLAD – Emergent bilingual labeled as dis/abled: The use of the term emergent bilinguals labeled as dis/abled (EBLAD) rather than English language learners with dis/abilities or English language learners with special education needs aims to dismantle the double deficit model that is produced by combining the term English language learner, which fails to acknowledge the linguistic resources that a student brings in, with the terms “with disabilities” or “special education needs,” which negate the social and structural power dynamics that are at play making dis/ability a result of individual failure rather than systemic inequality. By using the terms EBLAD an attempt is made at acknowledging a student’s full linguistic potential as well as emphasizing the imposing nature of labeling and categorizing children.
EBL - emergent bilingual learner: The use of the term emergent bilingual is a direct response to the use of English language learner (ELL) and limited English proficiency (LEP) by educators, schools, policymakers and the federal government. The purpose of the term is to underscore “the bilingualism that these students can and often must develop through schooling in the United States” in an effort to diminish the educational inequities these students continue to face by bringing to the center “the home languages and cultural understandings of these children” (Garcia, Kleifgen, & Falchi, 2008, p.6).
ELL – English language learner: a term used within the United States to identify students who speak languages other than English. While the my preferred term is emergent bilingual because it is reflective of an individual’s full linguistic repertoire, the term “English language learners” may appear when a text is quoted or cited.
Hegemony: The dominance of one group over another, often supported by legitimating norms and ideas. This term is used often to discuss topics like white supremacy (in which, one racial group exerts dominance over other racial groups through systemic and/or individual levels of oppression.).
Inclusion: The instructional practice of educating students labeled as dis/abled alongside their non-dis/abled peers.
Inclusive Classroom Setting: A classroom where students with dis/abilities learn alongside their non-disabled peers for most, if not all, of the school day.
IDEA – The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, previously known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94.142): A federal educational mandate that was passed in 1975. Since then “students with disabilities have been guaranteed a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment” (Connor & Ferri, 2005. p.454).
Intersectionality: A theoretical concept used by critical race and feminist scholars, intersectionality is “the notion that subjectivity is constituted by mutually reinforcing vectors of race, gender, class and sexuality” (Nash, 2008). In short, intersectionality is the ideology that an individual’s experiences are not the result, nor reflective, of any singular demographic factor such as their gender alone but also their race, their social class and sexuality.
LAD – labeled as dis/abled: this term is used in lieu of the stand alone “dis/abled” or the qualifier “with dis/abilities” in order to acknowledge the fact that dis/abilities are not inherent of an individual but rather the product of categorizations enacted by external evaluators such as educators, psychologist and medical professionals. As such, the term LAD also brings forth the understanding that “all dis/ability categories, whether physical, cognitive, or sensory, are […] subjective” (Annamma et al., 2013). Great effort has been taken to ensure that the language used here and throughout is inclusive. However, terms referring to “students with disabilities” or “disabled students” may appear when a text is quoted or cited.
Latinx: The term Latinx is used as a way of “embracing the intersection between cultural identity and gender” by shifting from a masculine identifier, Latino, to a term that is inclusive of those who live within and outside the gender binary (Licea as quoted by Reichard, 2015, slide 6)
LRE – Least restrictive environment: a clause within IDEA that states that “To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily” (Castle, 2004, Sec. 300.114). In essence, the least restrictive environment refers to the learning environment that is most similar to that which is inhabited by typically developing children as opposed to an environment which would result in the isolation and segregation of a student labeled as dis/abled from their typically developing peers (often called the most restrictive environment).
Mothering: According to Evelyn Nakano Glenn (1994), mothering is
“a historically and culturally variable relationship ‘in which one individual nurtures and cares for another.’ Mothering occurs within specific social contexts that vary in terms of material and cultural resources and constraints. How mothering is conceived, organized and carried out is not simply determined by these conditions, however. Mothering is constructed through men’s and women’s actions within specific historical circumstances” (p.3).
As such “mothering” within this blog is taken to mean the self-identifiable ways in which women engage in the process of raising, caring for and nurturing their children (and other family members).
MRE – Most restrictive environment: a setting within a school or community that would result in an increased level of segregation between a student labeled as dis/abled and their typically developing peers. While this term is colloquially used with regularity as the inverse of “least restrictive environment” it does not appear formally in IDEA.
Raciolinguistics: scholars have used the term raciolinguistics to discuss the ways in which race and language intersect in order to explore the racialization, discrimination and othering of people who speak languages other than English.
Segregation: The act of separating students from the general population within a school on the basis of demographic factors such as spoken language and/or dis/ability label. As such students may be placed in inclusive classrooms, self-contained special education classrooms as opposed to participating in a general education classroom.
Self-contained: A special education classroom setting where students with dis/abilities learn alongside other students with dis/abilities exclusively. This setting is also reflective of a smaller student to teacher ratio than that which is found in traditional general education and inclusive education classrooms.
Intersectional Learning is a blog that discusses educational matters at the nexus of disability, language, race, ethnicity and gender.