My research explores bilingualism, literacy, and educational policy, with a particular focus on race and monolingualism in U.S. K-12 contexts. The main goal of my work is to highlight educational practices and policies that privilege certain language practices over others, and to document how these “norms” limit educational opportunity–particularly for multilingual youth of color. I draw on this work to develop frameworks for research, teaching, and teacher education that disrupt deficit narratives around students’ language and literacy practices.
Current Research Projects
Dissertation – Monolingual Ideologies: A Critical Policy Analysis
My dissertation explores how individuals can reproduce or disrupt monolingual ideologies through their interpretations of state policy. I analyze a recent Massachusetts policy under which all teachers must become certified in Sheltered English Immersion (SEI). Previous research has explored the impact of these courses on teachers – but my dissertation looks at how course instructors interpret this policy for the 70,000+ teachers in Massachusetts. I situate this policy analysis within Massachusetts 2002-2017 “English-Only” education law and the continued history of monolingual education policies and ideologies in the U.S. more broadly.
Whose Biliteracy is it Anyway?
Two-Way-Immersion dual language programs are increasingly popular. In addition, many states are beginning to offer a “seal of biliteracy” to high-school graduates who show that they can read and write in two or more languages. While these are important developments for bilingual education, we also have to ask who benefits most from these programs. Recent research shows that such programming disproportionally benefits monolingual English-speaking students, often those from white, middle/uppper-class backgrounds. This project involves multi-state case studies of how different jurisdictions orient to the notion of biliteracy and Two-Way Immersion Immersion, with the goal of producing more equitable outcomes within these promising programs.
Beyond the Red Pen: Writing Feedback with Emergent Bilingual Learners
This project, sponsored by an NCTE/CEE research grant, looks at alternative frameworks for assessing writing among emergent bilingual learners. Our team looks at creative writing pieces, written by multilingual 9th graders who were deemed “failing” by their state education exams. Through a new framework, developed with Audrey Friedman and Joelle Pedersen at Boston College, we look at what students are already doing with language as adept, linguistically flexible authors. Our team is currently piloting this framework with teacher candidates at three different universities to see how it impacts how we look at student writing.
Appropriated Literacies: Critical Literacies from Post-Truth to #FakeNews
What does it mean to be literate in the era we’re living in? In what many are calling the era of “post-truth,” do facts even matter? If so, how do we help students recognize and grapple with notions of truth? This project aggregates proposed “solutions” for ways to combat post-truth narratives. Drawing on the work of Paulo Freire and other scholars in critical literacies, I explore which methods hold promise for disrupting post-truth narratives, and which ones may do more harm than good.