Tag: multilingual ideologies
Multilingual and Multidialectal Approaches: Setting up a research team
This fall semester I’m launching a new research project, “Multilingual and Multidialectal Approaches in the Arabic Classroom.” Thanks to funding from the Qatar Foundation International, I also have a research team, including undergraduate and graduate students. This means that I’ve spent the bulk of my semester so far setting up this project, so I thought I’d describe that experience here. Hopefully I’ll be able to give more updates throughout the semester!
Critiques of Translanguaging Approaches
Over the past few years, translanguaging as a theoretical framework has risen in popularity (at least in my circles) and this means that critiques of it have also become more vocal, something I definitely noticed attending the recent AAAL Conference. Critique is a necessary part of academic work and theoretical development, so this is important. Personally, I’m always interested in critiques of ideas I feel strongly about (to the extent that I frequently google “critique of ________” just out of curiosity). However, I honestly haven’t found the critiques of translanguaging I’ve encountered compelling, so I thought I would discuss them here.
Translingual Approaches in World Language Education: Perspectives from Arabic Learning Contexts
A couple of weeks ago, I co-organized a colloquium with Khaled Al Masaeed at the American Association of Applied Linguistics Conference titled “Translingual Approaches in World Language Education: Perspectives from Arabic Learning Contexts”. Although I have attended the AAAL conference most years since 2007, and it is probably my favorite conference, there are usually only 1-3 presentations focused on Arabic. So, to have an entire colloquium focused on Arabic was a dream come true!
Does a multidialectal approach mean teaching all of the dialects?
This is a question I get frequently when I advocate for a multidialectal approach to learning Arabic. The short answer is no.
The longer answer is also no, but with a much lengthier explanation, which I thought I’d give in this post. In general, there are two types of people who ask this question. The first category is those who want to discredit dialect teaching completely (every village has its own dialect, how can you possibly choose, MSA is the answer). The second category is people who find the idea appealing, but the process confusing (does this mean teaching every word in major dialect groups? Isn’t that a lot to ask of students? How do you do this all in class?) This post is aimed at that second category, as those coming from the first have an ideological perspective I will always be at odds with.
Summer Blog and Podcast Recommendations
I traditionally take the summer off of blogging, so this is my last post until August! So, I thought I’d provide a roundup of some of my favorite blogs and podcasts for you to consume, as if you enjoy my blog you will probably enjoy some of these as well.
Variation and Standardization in the Language Classroom: Are We Asking the Wrong Questions?
Variation is inherent to languages and language users, yet is it often the subject of consternation in the language classroom, especially at lower levels. Essentially, the questions center around which variety to teach? Can we teach multiple varieties? Will this confuse students? Will they understand how to use them? What if they mix varieties? Per the request of a colleague, this post discusses the issue of variation and standardization in the language classroom. I suggest that rather than worry about the challenges of variation, we should be questioning practices of standardization and the inequities they reproduce.
Language Learning in Study Abroad: The Multilingual Turn
Next month marks the release of Language Learning in Study Abroad: The Multilingual Turn, a book I am very excited to see in print!. I’m a co-editor, along with Wenhao Diao, and thought it would be fun to write a post highlighting how this book came about, as well as the chapters themselves and the insights they provide into language learning during study abroad.
November Updates: Daycare, Book, Article, Award!
November is traditionally the crunch month in the academic calendar, marking the almost end of a long semester (Weeks 11-15 of 17 at my institution). Everyone is tired, stressful assignments are coming up, we’re behind and there’s less time to catch up, it’s getting cold. This year, of course, we also have pandemic anxiety and fatigue, and with case counts rising sharply, New Mexico entered a full lockdown on November 16. Not to mention the weeks of election anxiety and transition stalling*. At the same time, November also brought several bright points in my academic career, so I thought I’d share those here!
Introducing: the We Can Learn Arabic website!
As I’ve detailed in my curriculum development posts over the last two years, we have slowly been replacing our textbook with our own materials, generally based on texts we find on the internet or create ourselves. Although I’ve frequently been asked when we will make our own textbook, I’ve actually never been interested in making a textbook–my dream has always been to create an open access website that serves as a textbook in the sense that it provides materials and structure, but is also flexible enough to be adapted by teachers in a variety of contexts.
Today, I’m excited to announce that my dream has come true, in the form of the We Can Learn Arabic website! In this post, I’ll describe what we’ve done so far, as well as some future plans for the site. While we use it in place of a textbook, it could also be used alongside a particular textbook or materials of choice.
Ideologies of Study Abroad: Language Immersion
In the Spring, I started a new blog series on ideologies of study abroad with a post on study abroad as tourism. It’s time for the second post, and this time I’ll be focusing on one of the most prevalent and pernicious ideologies of study abroad as it relates to language teaching, that of study abroad as language immersion.