AAAL 2024 Plenary Speakers

Muzna Awayed-Bishara

Monday, March 18th
11:20 am-12:25 pm

Linguistic citizenship as decolonial pedagogy: How minoritized language speakers contest epistemic injustices in EFL education

In my plenary, I will revisit the notion of EFL as a cultural discourse that I developed in previous work by engaging with it from a Southern locus of enunciation. I offer nuanced insights for understanding how EFL can serve as a framework of voice, action, and empowerment through which minoritized language speakers in troubled educational contexts act as transformative agents. Developing transformative agency has been identified in the last two decades as a central goal EFL education must achieve. Yet, EFL pedagogies can still reproduce hegemonic and exclusionary ideologies, particularly in multilingual contexts dominated by colonial power relations between languages and their speakers. In Israel, for example, EFL has been shown to either grant minoritized language speakers a voice, or offer a neo-colonial register compatible with colonial forces (Awayed-Bishara, Netz, & Milani, 2022). Specifically, the Palestinian Arabic-speaking community studies in a segregated schooling system which is, nevertheless, dominated and administered by Israel’s Ministry of Education. Previous research has underpinned the educational apparatus of Palestinians as a colonized education showing how it acts to limit what Palestinian students and teachers can express about their identity and experiences, particularly inside EFL classrooms (ibid.). Based on ethnographic studies that I have conducted inside and outside the formal educational system in Israel, I demonstrate how Arabic speakers are employing English in their everyday lives to open new meaning-making spaces for contesting the politics of silencing and crafting new subjectivities of political speakerhood. Engaging with Stroud’s notion of Linguistic Citizenship (LC), I show how EFL practices of minoritized speakers in troubled educational contexts are examples of LC as a decolonial pedagogy. With its Southern focus on transformative practices for crafting autonomous subjectivities, LC offers the field of EFL education newconceptual, methodological, and semiotic spaces for including Southern voices and advancing epistemic justices.   

Muzna Awayed-Bishara is a senior faculty member in the Program for Multilingual Education, School of Education at Tel Aviv University. Her main research interests are: multilingualism and minority education, Southern applied/socio linguistics, EFL education within local-global contexts, Freirean language pedagogies, language and intercultural communication, and language policy and planning in conflict-ridden contexts.
Muzna had three distinguished postdoctoral positions in: the Center for the Study of Multiculturalism and Diversity at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the Paulo Freire Institute at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA); and the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Muzna has authored articles in leading peer-reviewed journals such as
TESOL Quarterly and Applied Linguistics and book chapters in edited volumes. She is the author of EFL Pedagogy as Cultural Discourse: Textbooks, Practice, and Policy for Arabs and Jews in Israel (Routledge, 2020).

Dr. María Cioè-Peña

Sunday, March 17th
11:20 am-12:25 pm

B is for Bilingual, Black, or Broken: The need for an intersectional, human(e) applied linguistics

Currently educational labels like “English Language Learner” and “Student with Disabilities” are understood/viewed as necessary components to ensuring that marginalized students receive important services, modifications, and accommodations within schools. However, these labels, which originate from the Bilingual Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, respectively, are rooted in colonialism, racism, and ableism. They may, ultimately, function as methods of racializing and pathologizing linguistically-minoritized students and their families, including Latinx/e communities in the U.S. These labels are also used to limit racialized children’s access to inclusion and bilingual education programs. This significantly impacts their opportunities to learn, and in turn, their socio-academic development and upward mobility. In this presentation, I will first situate current conceptualizations of languages, language learning, and linguistic practices within oppressive structures stemming from coloniality -namely anti-blackness and ableism. I will then show how the lived experiences of racialized and pathologized Latinx people – in the context of their positioning with(in) public school institutions - are critical to understanding issues relating to racial integration, opportunities to learn, and social stratification. Finally, I will share how humanizing approaches can be used to inform larger systems approaches while supporting the development AND enactment of equity and justice in applied linguistics across policy, research, and practice.

Dr. María Cioè-Peña​ earned her PhD in Urban Education from The Graduate Center - City University of New York, where she was also an Advance Research Collaborative fellow and a Presidential MAGNET Fellow. She is a bilingual/biliterate education researcher and educator who examines the intersections of disability, race and language within school-parent partnerships and education policy. Taking a sociolinguistic approach and stance, she pushes and reimagines the boundaries of inclusive spaces for minoritized children. Stemming from her experiences as a former bilingual special education teacher, María’s research focuses on bilingual children with dis/abilities, their families and their ability to access multilingual and inclusive learning spaces within public schools. Her interests are deeply rooted in political economy, raciolinguistic perspectives and critical dis/ability awareness within schools, families and communities. María is currently an Assistant Professor of Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Candace Galla

Saturday, March 16th 
5:55 pm-7:00 pm

Transforming our thinking about, of, and through Indigenous and embodied language practices

While education historically has been used as a deliberate and effective tool in the destruction of Indigenous epistemologies and in the disruption of intergenerational language transmission, education is also now a place where Indigenous Peoples turn to recover, reclaim, revitalize, and maintain their Indigenous languages. Despite foreign perspectives and lingering ideologies that continue to hinder communities from living their respective lives, Indigenous Peoples are reasserting their sovereignty and self-determination to champion community-led and -centered initiatives and programming with the intention to build language capacity. Through the engagement of cultural traditions, communities are actively restoring their Indigenous languages through embodied cultural practices. As a Kanaka Hawaiʻi scholar-educator who is a continuing learner of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language), I will share how hula is an example of multimodality and multiliteracies that not only perpetuates Hawaiian traditions, but also is used as a method to document and revitalize HI/stories and culture, to learn/teach about, of, and/or through language, and to express meaning through embodied language practices. As such, hula embodies the connection between Hawaiian language, culture, place, song, dance, chant, student, teacher, and so forth, as well as decolonial resistance and imagined futures for Kanaka Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi.

This presentation will also invite AAAL and its members to critically reflect on and uncover their past and present relationality with Indigenous Peoples (beyond a perfect stranger), to recognize and respect the knowledges that are deeply embedded and embodied in Indigenous cultures and the lands that they reside, to cultivate an understanding of the significance of revitalizing and reclaiming Indigenous languages, and to transform their (scholarly) role as allies and advocates of and for Indigenous human rights and justice.

Dr. Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla (Kanaka Hawaiʻi) is an Associate Professor in the department of Language and Literacy Education (Faculty of Education) and the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies (Faculty of Arts) at the University of British Columbia. Her scholarly work has sought to emphasize and contribute to Hawaiian language and Indigenous languages at the intersection of education, revitalization, digital technology, and cultural practices and decolonizing and Indigenizing the academy to create pathways for Indigenous thinkers and scholars. She is currently co-developing the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Indigenous Policy, Planning, Implementation and Assessment, and will be a co-instructor of the MOOC for the inaugural offering in Fall/Winter 2023. Prior to joining UBC, she served as the Program Coordinator of the American Indian Language Development Institute at the University of Arizona and taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi in Hilo. 

Okim Kang

Monday, March 18th
5:55 pm-7:00 pm

Acting to change [our] perspectives: Social judgements, bias, and mitigation

With the rise of awareness in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), there is a pressing need for reexamining an ongoing act of social discrimination in which individuals’ language use is misjudged and misunderstood by virtue of listeners’ stereotypes of speakers’ social identities.

Because language judgments have tangible impacts on individuals’ opportunities for education, for career advancement, and even for civil rights, listener bias and stereotyping issues [e.g., linguistic stereotyping (Bradac et al., 2001; Lambert et al., 1960) or reverse linguistic stereotyping (Rubin, 1992; Kang & Rubin, 2009; Kang & Yaw, 2021)] are of more than just scholarly interest. In fact, stereotypes can play an important role at the most basic level of perceptual encoding of information (Dragojevic, 2020; von Hippel et al., 1995). These stereotyping processes can result in language-based discrimination which occurs commonly in our daily life. At the same time, thankfully, there is a growing body of research that has examined the malleability of these biased judgments in the face of targeted interventions. Some examples include intergroup contact activities (Allport, 1954; Kang et al., 2015; Kang & Moran, 2019), implicit exposure or explicit instruction of accented speech (Lindemann et al., 2016), or perspective-taking on reducing bias and prejudice (e.g., Finlay & Stephan 2000; Galinsky et al. 2005). Therefore, in this talk, I will start with the discussion of language ideology, reexamine listeners’ expectations in social judgments, and introduce various studies and cases which illustrate raciolinguistic phenomena in both educational and real-world contexts (e.g., employment for immigrants). I will also highlight and recommend specific methods that can mitigate such prejudice and help change [our] perspectives towards individuals in sociopolitical struggles over language as a function of DEI in educational and workforce-related communication contexts particularly in the era of globalization.

Okim Kang is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Director of the Applied Linguistics Speech Lab at Northern Arizona University. Her research interests are speech perception/ production, language social psychology/ attitudes, L2 pronunciation/intelligibility, L2 oral assessment/testing, and automated scoring/ speech recognition. She has published and co-authored 6 books on the topics of spoken discourse, prosody, and communication success, including a handbook about contemporary English pronunciation. She has published over 100 academic articles and given 230 keynote and conference presentations. She is an associate editor for Applied Linguistics, and serving on the editorial board for various journals (e.g., Language Testing, SSLA, Language Teaching, Journal of Second Language Pronunciation). She has organized conferences (e.g., PSLLT 2019), and served as technical program chairs (e.g., INTERSPEECH 2022 or IEEE ICASSP2024), and on the AAAL award committees. She obtained over 40 grants, including NSF and testing agencies (e.g., ETS, Duolingo, IELTS, Cambridge Assessment, or British Council).

Dr. Kris Aric Knisely

Zoom Presentation

Friday, March 1st

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

View Recording

Trans linguacultures, trans logics: Re-imagining the potentiality of applied linguistics through gender justice

As scholar-educators in disciplines and departments where languages are taught, learned, and researched, the time for us to work towards forms of gender justice that honor, and revel in the knowledges and linguacultures of trans people has long since been here and is ever-more overdue as globalized and localized forms of anti-trans, anti-education, and other oppressive actions continue (Knisely, 2023; Knisely & Russell, 2024). As recent conference themes suggest, we have grown to understand our field in new ways “in times of reckoning and change” and through the kinds of capacity-building that “collaborating and mentoring” can afford us. Yet, another period of calling in, calling out, and calling forth is needed for us to “think otherwise” and understand distinctly trans approaches to applied linguistics beyond the confines of inclusionary discourses alone. Burgeoning research into trans ways of doing and teaching language has given us new ways of thinking about language-as-social-verb, learning as participation in languaging communities, and education as a site for gender justice. This work has also invited us to continue to intersectionally re-think key concepts in our field, such as through the consideration of distinctly trans approaches to translanguaging and to the undoing of competence. These ways of thinking otherwise invite us to reimagine what we do as language scholar-educators in conversation with trans linguacultures. They invite us to act for change by observing “the tensions of our own humanity, our own languaging and gendering, our own doing and undoing, and look through it for what might be our greater potentiality,” and what might be the greater potentiality of applied linguistics as a whole (Knisely & Russell, 2024). They invite us to ask: What will we do, as individual scholars in a field to work toward a world where language enriches the livability of all of our lives?

Dr. Kris Aric Knisely is an Assistant Professor of French and Intercultural Competence as well as affiliated faculty in both Second Language Acquisition and Teaching and the Trans Studies Research Cluster at the University of Arizona. Knisely’s research focuses on the interplay between the social, relational practices of doing language and doing gender, particularly as they relate to language education and to trans linguacultures. Dr. Knisely’s work has appeared in a variety of venues including Contemporary French Civilization, CFC Intersections, Critical Multilingualism Studies, Foreign Language Annals, The French Review, Gender and Language, and The Modern Language Journal, among others. Knisely is also co-editor (with Eric Russel, UC-Davis) of Redoing linguistic worlds: Unmaking gender binaries, remaking gender pluralities (Multilingual Matters).

Judit Kormos

Sunday, March 17th
5:55 pm-7:00 pm

Exploring equitable access to language learning for neurodiverse students in classroom settings: Past achievements and future directions

Language learners can vary along a wide range of cognitive, affective, social, educational, and contextual dimensions. Second language acquisition research has long acknowledged the importance of cognitive factors in the effective learning of additional languages but cognitive diversity among learners is rarely considered from the perspective of inclusion and access in our field. The concept of neurodiversity views individual variability along cognitive and neurological dimensions as integral to how people experience and interact with the world around them. Neurodiverse language learners can face several challenges in instructed language learning and assessment contexts, most of which could be alleviated if the barriers to their success were identified and principles of inclusive education were implemented. 

In this presentation, I will give a narrative overview of the series of research projects I have conducted over the past 15 years to enhance neurodiverse students’ access to language learning and to promote inclusive language teaching and assessment practices.  Research findings, derived from interviews, questionnaires, observational studies and the analysis of second language performance, yield insights into the complexities of cognitive and affective challenges neurodiverse students are confronted with. The studies also highlight that policy-level, institutional, curricular, and pedagogical factors and practices can constitute significant barriers for neurodiverse language learners.  The talk will also describe how, based on these findings, I have initiated several teacher education programs on inclusive language teaching, and I will identify the measurable impact of these initiatives on language teachers. I will also summarize the results of our recent research projects in the area of accessible language assessment and the benefits of testing adjustments for test-takers with diverse cognitive abilities. The presentation will conclude with an action plan for future research and implications for inclusive multilingual pedagogies and educational policies. 

Judit Kormos is a Professor in Second Language Acquisition at Lancaster University. Her research focuses on the cognitive processes involved in learning and using additional languages. She has published widely on the effect of dyslexia on learning additional languages including the book “The Second Language Acquisition Process of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties” (Routledge, 2017). She is also the author of several research papers that have investigated the accessibility of language tests for young learners. She was a key partner in the EU-sponsored Dyslexia for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language and the Comics for Inclusive Language  Teaching projects both of which won the British Council’s ELTon award. She is the lead educator of the Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching massive open online learning course offered by FutureLearn and has run teacher education workshops and webinars on inclusive language teaching in a large variety of international contexts. 

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