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Language, Context and Culture (LCC)

In this specialization, students explore three inter-related topics in urban education—language, culture and context, broadly defined. We recognize the importance of studying multiple literacies (e.g. multilingual, media, digital, aesthetic, civic, historical, etc.) in local, national, and international contexts over time.  We understand that students and teachers use multiple languages and literacies to navigate diversity in learning, and that it is important to leverage these practices to develop critical thinking, shape critical research, and improve teaching and learning.  Faculty and students are involved in school- and community-based research and action, and utilize multi-disciplinary perspectives and multiple modes of inquiry and analysis, including ethnographic, discourse, narrative, historical, visual, arts-based, and participatory action.

The kinds of questions explored in seminars offered through this specialization include:

  • What is the role of language practices, policies and ideologies, especially with regards to emergent bilingual students, and how do teachers and students negotiate these in their classrooms?
  • How do different groups of students understand their place in the social dynamics of classroom life and come to identify as a particular type of learner?
  • How do national, race/ethnic, class, gender, language, (dis)ability, and sexual differences and inequalities get produced in schools and how can these be challenged?
  • How do young people understand their digital media practices in relation to issues of self, identity, and education.
  • How can family-school-community relations, youth culture(s), and teacher-student relations be leveraged to transform schooling?
  • How are we to understand and evaluate the ebb and flow of drives for centralization and local control that have defined so much of the history of public education in the United States?
  • What accounts for the evolution of democratic ideas, approaches and activism related to urban education?

We view our specialization as a starting, not an ending point for language and literacy professionals, including bilingual, ESL and English educators; humanities, social studies and history teachers; arts, media, cultural, and museum professionals; educational media and instructional technology specialists; and community, education and youth organizers who want to effect change in urban education.

Specialization seminars:

Students develop broad background knowledge through seminars and then gradually deepen and broaden their understandings as preparation for dissertation research.  Recent seminars include the following:

Bilingualism and education; Global sociolinguistic perspectives; Language practices and policies in education; Multiliteracies, multimodalities, and schools; Educating immigrant students; Educating Latino students; Culture, Identity and Education; Critical Look at Special Education; Visual Research with Children and Youth; Digital Research Methodologies for the Social Sciences and the Humanities; Media Literacy; New Technologies, Educational Issues and Research; Globalization and Pedagogy; The History of Community Control Struggles in New York City Public Schools; The Emergence and Transformation of U.S. Public Universities since 1863; Educators’ Lives: Using History and Biography; Early Childhood Education and Post-Colonial Theory

Current Dissertation Titles:

The effects of bilingual instruction on the English emergent literacy skills of Spanish-speaking preschool children

Assessing emergent bilinguals: Teacher knowledge and reading instructional practices.

From nation-states to neoliberalism: Language ideologies and governmentality

Authoring a mathematical self: Processes of mathematical identification for students labeled as learning disabled in an urban middle school mathematics classroom

Gendering expertise: Diverse teenage girls' experiences of digital media in their social worlds

Naming the World Differently: Young Men of Color and Educational Disparity Discourse

Debunking the "Dropout" Stereotype: "dropping out" for good reasons and "dropping in" to more meaningful and relevant educational experiences