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Blind Spots and Theory Building Abstracts
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Colloquium Organizer: Martha Bigelow

Working Class Minority Ethnic Students in Catalan Higher Education: The Narratives of an Under-researched Group
David Block, ICREA/University of Lleida
Lídia Gallego Balsà, University of Lleida

This paper links a growing interest in widening participation among sociologists of education in Spain with our interest in multilingualism/culturalism and the intersectionality of class, race, and ethnicity. Specifically, it explores the personal and academic trajectories of working class minority ethnic students in Catalan higher education as a success story, both in terms of personal achievement and in terms of integration into mainstream Catalan society (this, amidst the disproportionately high dropout rate amongst minority ethnic adolescents). The paper draws on in-depth interviews carried out with a small cohort of working class minority ethnic students at a Catalan university.

Why Indigenous Language Learning Matters for the Future of Applied Linguistics
Kendall A. King, University of Minnesota

Thousands of individuals in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere are currently endeavoring to learn highly endangered, Indigenous languages, most laboring under conditions that are radically different from those of the vast majority of world language learners. These learning contexts are defined not only by shortages of materials, limited domains of use, few proficient speakers, and wide dialectal variation, but by histories of colonialism and oppression. Drawing on interactional and interview data collected with learners of Ojibwe, this presentation argues that consideration of contexts and learners such as these is highly productive for the practice of applied linguistics and essential to the development of robust SLA theory.

In the Process of Becoming: What Participatory Approaches to Learning and Inquiry Can Contribute to Theory Building and Research Practice
Doris S. Warriner, Arizona State University

Teachers and researchers working with marginalized learners of English (e.g., adult learners, refugee learners) have been encouraged to promote participatory learning communities so that learners can connect what goes on inside the classroom with the reality of their lives and become advocates while learning skills and information (Auerbach, 2000). These teachers and researchers have also been encouraged to engage in transformative participation (or “power sharing” with participants) in order to facilitate local knowledge building (Pittaway & Bartolomei, 2013). This paper explores the challenges, contradictions, paradoxes, ethical dimensions, and pedagogical possibilities of doing this work as teachers and as researchers.

Discussants:
Elaine Tarone, University of Minnesota
Stephen May, University of Auckland

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