We offer concentrations in Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction for English language learners (ELLs), and Foreign Language Pedagogy (EFL and any other language taught in a foreign context). We present a wide range of opportunities to students interested in conducting research, working with community-based organizations, or preparing to teach in various contexts, such as public schools, K-12, adult education, and language schools in the United States and abroad. Many of our students go on to pursue doctoral work in such fields as linguistics, education, language policy, and literacy studies.
Looking to find us on campus? We are located in the McCormack Building, 4th Floor, room 456 (opposite of the Anthropology department).
Students & Alumni
Doctoral Candidates 2022
Rosiane Barcelos de Oliveira, Dissertation: Socialization, Heritage Language Maintenance, and Family Language Policy: An Ethnographic Case Study of a Trilingual Family. Committee: Dr. Avary Carhill-Poza (Chair), Dr. Jennifer Sclafani, Dr. Shulamit Kopeliovich.
Julia Donnelly Spiegelman, Dissertation: Navigating the Gender Binary: Experiences of Non-Binary Teens in Foreign Language Classes. Committee: Dr. Kimberly Urbanski (Chair), Dr. Christine Leider, Dr. Meike Wernicke, Dr. Lal Zimman.
Iuliia Fakhrutdinova, Dissertation: The Negotiated Identities of Refugee-background Adults during Resettlement. Committee: Dr. Avary Carhill-Poza (Chair), Dr. Panayota Gounari, Dr. Raichle Farrelly, Dr. Anna De Fina.
Juan David Gutierrez, Dissertation: The Linguistic Journey of Multilingual Students in Post-Secondary Education. Committee: Dr. Panayota Gounari (chair), Dr. Kimberly Urbanski, Dr. Tara Parker.
Michael Jacob, Dissertation: Gaeilge Digiteach: A Multimodal Analysis of Irish Language Revitalization on the Online Stage. Committee: Dr. Panayota Gounari (Chair), Dr. Corinne Etienne, Dr. Heather Sparling.
Rachel La Russo, Dissertation: Identity Construction Among 1.5- and Second-Generation Students in ESL Courses at a U.S. University. Committee: Dr. Corinne Etienne (chair), Dr. Avary Carhill-Poza, Dr. Rosalyn Negrón, Dr. Patsy Lightbown.
Nghia Minh Nguyen, Dissertation: Obuchenie Pedagogy for L2 Literacy Development of Adults with Interrupted Education in L1. Committee: Dr. Kimberly Urbanski (Chair), Dr. Panayota Gounari, Dr. Gale Stam.
Abdelkrim Mouhib, Dissertation: Understanding Superdiversity Through Linguistic Landscape. Committee: Dr. Christian Chun (Chair), Dr. Jennifer Sclafani, Dr. Said Bennis.
Nasiba Narova, Dissertation: Racial Literacy in a Composition Course with East Asian Students. Committee: Dr. Corinne Etienne (Chair), Dr. Panayota Gounari
Ghadah Noorelahi, Dissertation: Promoting Saudi Learners’ Coherence and Cohesion Writing Development Using Dynamic Assessment – An Approach for IELTS Preparation. Committee: Dr. Kimberly Urbanski (Chair), Dr. Panayota Gounari, Dr. Rebekha Abbuhl.
Vannessa Quintana Sarria, Dissertation: Teaching as A Multilingual English Teacher: The Affordances of Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in The English Classroom. Committee: Dr. Avary Carhill-Poza (Chair), Dr. Christine Leider, Dr. Rosalyn Negrón, Dr. Manka Varghese.
Jesse Rubio, Dissertation: Educational Language Policy for Multilingual Learners: Leveraging Policy’s Multiple Dimensions and Discourses. Committee: Dr. Avary Carhill-Poza (Chair), Dr. Panayota Gounari, Dr. Amanda Kibler, Dr. Jeff Bale.
Areas of Inquiry
Dr. Leider | Mixed-methods project to understand the experience of PK-12 multilingual learners in arts classrooms
Dr. Leider and her research team are currently working on a mixed-methods project to understand the experience of PK-12 multilingual learners in arts classrooms including visual arts and performing arts (e.g., music and drama). This project is focused at the nexus of art education, multilingual learner education, social justice education, and teacher education; the project utilizes survey methods, interviews, classroom observations, and document analysis of arts curriculum. Simultaneously, this project draws on critical multiculturalism, critical multilingual language awareness, and culturally and linguistically responsive approaches in multilingual learner education, such as critical content-based instruction to propose a new framework, Critical Language-based Approach to Content Instruction, for understanding how teachers support multilingual learners in their classroom.
Areas: bilingual/multilingual education
Dr. Carhill-Poza | Adolescent immigrant students who are also classified as English Learners
Dr. Carhill-Poza and her research team are collaborating with three local high schools to learn about the experiences of adolescent immigrant students who are also classified as English Learners, how and under what circumstances social support—particularly bilingual peer support—can facilitate their academic achievement and language development. Social support plays an important (but invisible) role in learning outcomes that are often considered individually determined for immigrant students who are still learning English. The team are interviewing immigrant-origin students about how their friends, families, teachers, and other important people in their lives support their learning. Researchers are also talking to teachers, counselors, coaches, and parent coordinators and ethnographically documenting students’ experiences in school. The Spencer-funded project has included documenting the effects of COVID on students and schools and is providing professional development to school partners in order to leverage all assets in educating immigrant students who are learning English.
Areas: bilingual/multilingual education; social resources and social contexts in language learning
Dr. Sclafani and Dr. Gounari | Justice Language Action Project (JLAP)
Dr. Sclafani, Dr. Gounari and their research team are building and expanding on the Justice Language Action Project (JLAP). The goal of JLAP is to introduce critical language awareness to elementary, middle, and high school classrooms in the Boston area through partnerships with teachers who have taken coursework in the UMass Boston graduate program in Applied Linguistics, as part of their preparation for Massachusetts ESL licensure. Through this partnership, teachers receive focused training in Critical Discourse Analysis and learn about classroom applications. The workshop provides them with space for reflection, conversation, and feedback as they develop social justice-themed curricular units for their classrooms that culminate in the creation of collaborative student-generated digital projects in which their students interrogate, research, and reform the social, environmental, and educational policies affecting their lives. The JLAP Research Team has used project data in their upcoming book chapter The Justice Language Action Project: Critical Linguistics for Inclusion and Equity in K-12 Classrooms. In A. Charity Hudley, C. Mallinson, M. Bucholtz (Ed.), Inclusion in Linguistics and Decolonizing Linguistics. Oxford University Press.
Areas: bilingual/multilingual education; critical applied linguistics
Dr. Chun | The Language of Our Politics, for Cambridge University Press
Dr. Chun is working on his next book, The Language of Our Politics, for Cambridge University Press. This sociolinguistic ethnography explores the myriad and complex intereffecting dynamics with the uses of our language with our politics. The phrase "our politics" here refers to not only political leaders and politicians and their discourses of the nation, economy, and society, but also the politics of everyday people in the ways in which we enact it through language and its materialized actions such as Othering, violence towards selected people, rallies, protests, uprisings, and opposing or supporting wars by governments continuing colonialist legacies worldwide.
Areas: multilingual language policy; critical applied linguistics
Dr. Carhill-Poza and Dr. Rosalyn Negrón | Role of social connections in the academic success and identity of multilingual university students
Dr. Carhill-Poza and Dr. Rosalyn Negrón are working with their research team to understand the role of social connections in the academic success and identity of multilingual university students. In collaboration with colleagues in the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, and South Korea, the research team are collecting mixed methods data about the social networks of immigrant-origin students from their first year of post-secondary education for five years. By mapping these relational trajectories across evolving contexts and identities, the researchers hope to identify underutilized peer, family, and community supports that, when viewed as assets, can facilitate degree-attainment, the development of identities as successful multilingual students, and valorize a wider range of relationships and knowledge in university settings.
Areas: multilingual language policy; social resources and social contexts in language learning
Dr. Gounari | Theoretical framework that connects decolonial pedagogies with Critical Theory
Dr. Gounari and her research team are currently working on developing a theoretical framework that connects decolonial pedagogies with Critical Theory, by analyzing youth social movements in Latin America. Their goal is to explore the relationship between critique and social change through education and social movements.
Areas: critical applied linguistics
Dr. Leider | Institutional habitus of education institutions
Dr. Leider and her research team use content analysis to examine institutional habitus of education institutions including state education agencies, colleges/schools of education, and teacher professional organizations. Informed by ideas of LangCrit, culturally sustaining pedagogy, teacher socialization, and critical pedagogy this work aims to understand nuances in teacher beliefs for working with culturally and linguistically diverse learners and organizational/institutional commitments and actions in supporting equity and diversity.
Areas: critical applied linguistics
Dr. Gounari | Critical Discourse Studies
Dr. Gounari’s ongoing research is situated in Critical Discourse Studies and builds on three projects: (1) The exploration and analysis of far-right authoritarian populist and extremist discourses in the United States, particularly as they manifest in social media and extremist online platforms. Part of this research has been published in her most recent book From Twitter to Capitol Hill: Far-right Authoritarian Populist Discourses, Social Media and Critical Pedagogy (Brill 2022). (2) ‘epistemic crisis’ and the discourse of conspiracy theories in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. (3) the normalization of far-right populist discourse in Greece using the Discourse Historical Approach (DHA).
Dr. Urbanski | Literacy development of intermediate-level university L2 French learners
Dr. Urbanski and her research team are currently working on a variety of projects investigating the literacy development of intermediate-level university L2 French learners. Some of these include research on students in a full classroom versus small groups, the students’ literacy development that is both cognitive and emotional, and the role of the teacher/research and students’ multimodality in literacy development. This research is informed by Vygotskian Sociocultural Theory, Systemic Functional Linguistics, and gesture and multimodality from a McNeillian perspective. The full data set includes qualitative as well as quantitative data such as assessment data, verbalization data, and audio/video recordings. The audio/video data is transcribed using a combination of a conversation analytic framework and a McNeillian gesture framework.
Areas: sociocultural theory