When: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 | 02:30 pm – 04:00 pm
Where: Ponderosa Commons, Room 1306A, 6445 University Boulevard.
Language Teacher Identity in Anti-Oppressive Education: Frameworks and Pedagogies
Dr. Manka Varghese, Associate Professor of Education, University of Washington
Language teachers all over the world are often regarded solely as ‘neutral’ technicians whose main role is to improve children’s language skills in an additional language and sometimes also in their home language. In this presentation, I propose why and how an anti-oppressive agenda which includes combating racism, linguicism, sexism, homophobia, and settler colonialism is intrinsic to language teacher education and language education, especially in English language teaching. Through real life examples and research studies, I show how such a focus can be incorporated in a language teacher education program and in language teaching classrooms. In doing this, I convey the centrality of investigating and working on language teacher identity in language teacher education. In this presentation I will present some definitions of language teacher identity and provide arguments about its importance as a conceptual and methodological tool to investigate both the complexity and the promise of how teachers negotiate their professional selves in the flow of daily practice and in the particular contexts within which they teach. My purpose is to show the usefulness of the concept and of the investigation of language teacher identity in relation to anti-oppressive language teacher education and language teaching. Finally, I suggest some questions and possible frameworks for language teacher educators and language teachers to make language teacher identity central to their work. Time will be provided at the end of the session for participants to engage with the ideas of the session and to conceptualize the feasibility and the usefulness of incorporating such ideas into their research and their classrooms.
Professor Varghese’s scholarship, teaching and service focus on improving the schooling experiences and ultimately the lives of emergent bilingual/multilingual youth. Her work views teacher education as teacher identity development so as to more effectively teach emergent bilingual/multilingual youth and endeavors to enhance student supports and pathways in improved curriculum and pedagogy.
In 2017, Professor Varghese received a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to address the acute shortage of teachers certified for dual language instruction in Washington state. Project Bilingual Educator Capacity is recruiting elementary teacher candidates to earn their bilingual endorsement and serve in dual language classrooms in nine Puget Sound school districts. As part of the project, UW researchers are studying the effectiveness of additional mentoring and professional development in the first year of teaching.
Professor Varghese also is Principal Investigator for a U.S. Department of Education funded project with Seattle Public Schools exploring emergent bilinguals’ pathways in math and science. The project aims to improve equitable emergent bilingual participation in math and science during middle and high school, as well as recommendations for promoting improved high school graduation experiences and pathways to postsecondary education.
Her research has been published in the Journal of Teacher Education, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Teachers College Record, and Race, Ethnicity and Education.
Visit her profile page here for more information.
This talk will take place on the traditional, unceded, and occupied territories of the Musqueam people.