Adopting a multilingual and social perspective to the study of language learning in a classroom context, this project attempts to give visibility to a diverse population in a Spanish classroom while incorporating the sociocultural context in which students learn Spanish. Specifically, it investigates the relationship between the multilingual language learner and the social world in order to examine relations of power associated with the language learning process. The project draws from research on Norton’s identity work (Norton, 2000, 2013), language ideologies, (Kroskrity, 2000, 2004), and Darvin and Norton’s (2015) framework to investigate how ideology, identity, and capital intersect and determine learners’ investment in their learning process. The study takes place at Lehman College (CUNY) in a first semester Spanish course where the majority of students are language-minoritized multilinguals and racialized learners with close connections to the Latinx community, and is taught with a critical pedagogical approach, which allows learners to “gain critical understanding of how language is intertwined with social and political structures” (Leeman, Rabin, & Roman-Mendoza, 2011, p. 481). Data is collected through questionnaires, journals, and semi-structured interviews in an attempt to understand beliefs and self-perceived identities with which students approach the learning of Spanish in the classroom. Importantly, the project explores if a critical approach to the teaching of Spanish provides a space for learners to negotiate their ideologies and identities, and to shape their investment in the classroom.
Beatriz Lado is an Associate Professor at Lehman College (CUNY), where she directs the Linguistics Program and teaches all levels of Spanish and Spanish Linguistics courses. She is also affiliated with the LAILaC Department at The Graduate Center (CUNY) where she teaches different Applied Linguistics and Language Pedagogy courses. Her current research interests include: Bi/multiligual language acquisition; critical approaches to language learning & teaching; ideologies, identity, and investment in the language classroom; the interaction between pedagogical interventions and individual differences; and language placement. Her publications have appeared in journals such as Applied Psycholinguistics, Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, Language Learning, Foreign Language Annals, Language Teaching Research, International Journal of Multilingualism, and Hispania.