L2DL Symposium: Critical Transnational Dialogue and Virtual Exchange

a hybrid symposium on research and practice

October 19th - 24th, 2020


Bonny Norton – University of British Columbia

Dr. Bonny Norton, FRSC, is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia. Her primary research interests are identity and language learning, digital literacy, and international development. Recent publications include a 2017 special issue on language teacher identity (Modern Language Journal) and a 2013 second edition of Identity and Language Learning (Multilingual Matters). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Educational Research Association, Dr. Norton has a 2010 AERA Research Leadership Award, and was a 2016 co-recipient of the TESOL Distinguished Research Award. Her current digital projects address the need for open access digital resources for multilingual children across global sites. She is the Research Advisor of the African Storybook initiative and the Research Lead on Storybooks Canada and Global Storybooks. Her website is: http://faculty.educ.ubc.ca/norton/

Norton Abstract: Promoting Children’s Multilingual Literacy in an Unequal Digital World

Storybooks Canada and Global Storybooks: Promoting children’s multilingual literacy in an unequal digital world

UNESCO reports that 250 million children worldwide are failing to acquire basic literacy skills, which are foundational for educational success and economic growth. High illiteracy rates among children are partly due to the lack of mother tongue reading materials, which is the best way for children to learn to read. The solution to worldwide illiteracy thus requires freely available child-friendly reading materials in multiple languages, digital capacity for scaling up, and collaborative teacher education across global sites. Storybooks Canada (storybookscanada.ca) is an open access digital platform developed collaboratively by a UBC team under the leadership of Dr. Bonny Norton in the Department of Language and Literacy Education. It is the cornerstone of an early literacy research project, which seeks to promote multilingual literacy for Canada’s diverse children, with a particular focus on immigrant, refugee, and Indigenous students. Storybooks Canada has leveraged 40 openly licensed digital stories from the African Storybook initiative and translated them into the most widely spoken languages of Canada, including English and French, in both print and audio format. The beautifully illustrated stories are on a mobile user-friendly platform, and can be downloaded with ease. In this presentation, Dr. Norton will describe the project in some detail, discuss its expanding sister sites under Global Storybooks (http://globalstorybooks.net/) and then address the research issues it raises. She argues that while the project demonstrates the potential for working against the normalized North-South directionality of knowledge flow, it raises research challenges for translators, teachers, parents, and communities across global sites. Drawing on data from ongoing development of both Storybooks Canada and Global Storybooks, Dr. Norton raises central questions about our understanding of “culture,” “identity,” “literacy,” and “language” in multilingual children’s stories across global sites.

Ilona Vandergriff – San Francisco State University

Ilona Vandergriff (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is Professor of German at San Francisco State University. Her research interests include first and second language use, computer-mediated communication, and pragmatics. She is the author of Second-language discourse in the digital world. Linguistic and social practices in and beyond the networked classroom (2016). Her research has appeared in the CALICO Journal, Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines, HUMOR—International Journal of Humor Research, Journal of Pragmatics, Language Learning and Technology,Language@Internet, andTeaching German/Die Unterrichtspraxis.

Vandergriff Abstract: L2 Identity and Equitable Participation in Digital Social Spaces

L2 Identity and Equitable Participation in Digital Social Spaces

L2 users often self-identify as foreigners, non-native speakers, or L2 learners in digital social spaces. SLA research in this area, which is largely focused on repair sequences and the face threat associated with it, shows that this orientation to the proficiency differential and concomitant interactional roles serves to minimize the face-threatening act by sanctioning, mitigating and/or redressing (e.g., Pasfield-Neofitou, 2011; Hosoda, 2006; Tudini, 2010). Beyond instructional settings, sociolinguistic research on naturalistic digital spaces points in the same direction, suggesting that self-deprecating metalanguage can promote the “metadiscursive construction of a supportive social space” (Barton & Lee, 2012, p. 121). Yet self-identifying as an L2 learner can be risky especially in naturalistic settings because open access does not mean equitable participation. With a few notable exceptions (e.g., Hanna & de Nooy, 2003) there has been little empirical research on the ways in which digital practices often constrain opportunities for L2 participants.

Using Herring’s (2007) computer-mediated discourse analysis and Bucholtz and Hall’s 2005 framework for analyzing the discursive construction of identity, I consider the following research questions:

  1. How do L2 users position themselves as L2 users?
  2. How are L2 users positioned by L1 users in ways that either grant or reject claims to L2 resources?
  3. How do L2 users ratify other-positioning, how do they challenge or contest it, and how do they develop or extend identity attributes?

In my presentation, I highlight a critical incident, captured in the form of a Reddit post entitled “No, i’m not sorry for my bad english”. Based on my findings, I argue that a better understanding of discursive practices in online spaces is critical as multilingual users will be challenged to use their L2 resources to gain access to, understand, challenge, and transform spaces that sustain hegemonic practices.

Judy Kalman – Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del IPN (CINVESTAV)

Judy Kalman is a professor in the Departamento de Investigaciones Educativas (DIE) of the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del IPN (CINVESTAV) in Mexico City. Her work centers on the social construction of literacy, everyday literacy use, new literacies, and reading and writing in school settings. She has authored articles in Spanish, English and Portuguese in academic research journals as well as practitioner-oriented publications. She has also collaborated with the Secretaría de Educación Pública in Mexico on programs designed for creating learning opportunities for adult learners, evaluating new curricular proposals, and writing materials for the language arts programs for students in rural secondary schools. Her current work is centered on literacy and ICT technologies in and out of school. In 2008 she co-founded the Laboratorio de Educación, Tecnología y Sociedad (LETS) where she is currently the director at the CINVESTAV South campus.

Kalman Abstract: Digital Arrangements in a Marginalized Community in Mexico City

Digital arrangements: the appropriation of information, communication, and design technologies in a marginalized community in Mexico City

Much of what we know about digital technologies, how they are distributed and used, and some of its benefits is based on research from large businesses, academic institutions, and the high-tec entertainment industry, what Barendregt calls the “privileged centers, cutting-edge technology or the hip informational avant-garde”. However, for most marginal communities, optimal conditions such as dependable electricity, connectivity, working equipment, and social and cultural capital for appropriating and learning to use technology, is not the norm.  On the contrary, participating in digital events implies figuring out how to negotiate the precariousness of their context and creating situated solutions for accessing devices and equipment, getting on-line, navigating, and learning how to use software and hardware. In this presentation, I will discuss some preliminary findings of an ongoing research project that seeks to identify how tec-users in a poor urban neighborhood in Mexico City articulate language and literacy practices, devices, institutional norms, affordances, and social/power relationships to configure the digital arrangements they need to be able to participate in a variety of cultural events. The study aims to respond to questions concerning how young people and adults use technology in a variety of domains and everyday activities and the knowledge and know-how that circulates in their community.

Susan C. Herring – Indiana University, Bloomington

Susan C. Herring is Professor of Information Science and Linguistics and Director of the Center for Computer-Mediated Communication at Indiana University, Bloomington. A pioneer in language-focused study of computer-mediated communication (CMC), she has been researching structural, pragmatic, interactional, and social phenomena in digital communication, especially in relation to gender, since the early 1990s. Her recent interests include online multilingualism, multimodal CMC, and telepresence robot-mediated communication. A former editor of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication and currently editor of the online journal Language@Internet, she has published numerous articles and edited or co-edited three volumes on CMC: Computer-Mediated Communication: Linguistic, Social and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (John Benjamins, 1996), The Multilingual Internet: Language, Culture, and Communication Online (Oxford University Press, 2007, with B. Danet), and The Handbook of Pragmatics of Computer-Mediated Conversation (Mouton de Gruyter, 2013, with D. Stein and T. Virtanen).

Herring Abstract: Ideology, Power, and Social Differences in Computer-Mediated Communication

Ideology, Power, and Social Differences in Computer-Mediated Communication: A Gender Retrospective

Active, naturalistic practice is essential for successful second language (L2) learning. Today, digitally-mediated contexts such as social media platforms are common sites for naturalistic, multimedia language use, as well as sites where speakers of many different languages come into contact. However, the norms of communication in public online contexts are based historically on libertarian ideologies that reify and often exacerbate social inequalities, resulting in limited access to linguistic resources for members of non-dominant groups (Herring, 1995, 2003). In this talk I discuss the situation of women in computer-mediated communication (CMC) on the internet, and how it has evolved from the 1980s to the present. On one hand, this history includes sexual harassment and overt silencing techniques such as rape and death threats. On the other hand, it also includes the creation of women-friendly spaces and the rise in popularity among female users of social media platforms such as Facebook that allow users to delimit their audiences. For female learners, this can be a double bind – the former curtail L2 learning and use, and the latter spaces limit contact with persons unknown to the user, including speakers of the L2. At the same time, active participation in open, mixed-gender environments entails accommodation to dominant, typically masculine, norms of communication, as well as, potentially, to the different gender norms of L2 cultures (Pavlenko et al., 2001). I discuss how in these and other respects, gendered social and discursive practices play a role in the production and reproduction of identities and inequalities in CMC. I conclude by identifying strategies employed by women and other non-dominant groups for navigating contemporary multimodal CMC.

Carol Brochin – University of Arizona

Carol Brochin is an Assistant Professor of Bilingual/Multicultural Education in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies (TLS) at the University of Arizona.  She is an Affiliate Faculty in the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, the Institute for LGBT Studies, and the graduate minor in Social, Cultural, Critical Theory. Through an assets-based framework, her research agenda addresses literacy studies and bilingual teacher preparation, children’s and young adult literature, and queer studies in education. Her scholarship centers on ways teachers, especially Latinx, bilingual preservice teachers, are prepared to create more equitable classrooms. Her work has received awards from the University of Arizona, and grants from multiple national and regional organizations. Her scholarship can be found in journals such as Theory into Practice (forthcoming), Bookbird, Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism and Multicultural Perspectives.

Brochin Abstract: Crossing Linguistic Borders and Gendered Binaries

Crossing Linguistic Borders and Gendered Binaries: Stories of In(Equity) and Inclusion in Bilingual, Queer Communities

Carol Brochin grew up crossing linguistic, gendered, and physical borders. Her commitment to preparing teachers is motivated by a deep concern for the need to provide equitable classrooms that expand beyond access to digital tools to include language practices that are inclusive of LGBTQ students especially in communities where these discussions are censored. Though an intersectional approach, Brochin argues that we do not simply need schools to become more inclusive of L2 learners, but that instead we need to critically analyze all historical oppressions and social formations based on language, race, class, gender, and sexuality that shape the current (in)equities in our schools, our students, and their families.

This presentation centers on stories that emerge from queer, bilingual communities and classrooms along the US/Mexico borderlands.  These are sites of rich digital, linguistic, and cultural production yet they are often imagined and depicted as poor, uneducated, homophobic and impoverished communities. Through multimodal and digital narratives, Dr. Brochin’s students provide insights into the ways that the physical US/Mexico border shaped their linguistic, literate, and gendered identities. She concludes this presentation with a call to action to expand the ways we use language to disrupt notions of gendered binaries as we consider the ways to make participation in digital spaces more equitable for all learners.

Students in the University of Arizona Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Ph.D. program, summarized and discussed the virtual presentations prepared for the symposium:

Natalie Amgott – University of Arizona

Natalie Amgott is a PhD student in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT). She teaches French at the University of Arizona, where she has also redesigned the high-intermediate curriculum around multiliteracies and multimodality. Her research interests include student motivation, agency, and retention in language programs; critical and digital literacy; and digital activism. Her forthcoming publication in IJILT, “Critical Literacy in #Digital Activism: Collaborative Choice and Action,” focuses on a participatory action project that trained pre-service and in-service teachers to scaffold the use of critical and digital literacies in their classrooms.

Lauren Harvey – University of Arizona

Lauren Harvey is a doctoral student in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) at the University of Arizona. She teaches foundations writing courses to international students in the Writing Program and is editor of the Student’s Guide to Foundations Writing, the textbook used in all foundations writing courses. Her research interests include curriculum and material design in English language teaching, World Englishes, second language writing, and Internet memes. Her most recent publication, co-authored with Emily Palese, is entitled “#NeverthelessMemesPersisted: Building Critical Memetic Literacy in the Classroom” and will appear in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (JAAL).

Emily Palese – University of Arizona

Emily Palese is a doctoral student in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) at the University of Arizona. Her research interests include second language writing, World Englishes, curriculum and materials development, and teacher training. Her most recent publication, which discusses using Internet memes as a pedagogical tool in the writing classroom, will appear in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (JAAL).

Abstract: Under Construction: A Roadmap to Participation, Equity and Inclusion in L2DL

Under Construction: A Roadmap to Participation, Equity and Inclusion in L2DL

The road to greater participation, equity, and inclusion is rarely straightforward or smooth. This presentation aims to highlight recent gains made in teaching, learning, and researching second language digital literacies. Based on the L2DL virtual presentations this year and the current research in the field, the presentation further illustrates the importance of participation, intercultural competence, communities, and corpus-building. Next, it explores how challenges like representation and access have been (or remain to be) addressed in second language digital teaching, learning, and research. Finally, the presentation illuminates how the presenters’ research on critical digital literacy and digital activism contributes to greater participation, equity, and inclusion.

This event is funded by a grant from the US Department of Education that supports the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL) and organized with the Technology-Enhanced Language Learning Initiative. It is sponsored by the College of HumanitiesCollege of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Program, and other units at the University of Arizona.

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