Congratulations to all of the 2017 Bilingual Education Research SIG Award Winners!

Calls for Nominations for the 2018 Awards

2017 Outstanding Dissertation Awards

First Place

Meg Burns, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, TESOL and Bilingual Education

Graduate School of Education

Lesley University

“Compromises that we make:” Biculturalism, Equity, and Whiteness in the Dual Language Context

This case study of a Two-Way Dual Language school explores the complexities of multicultural education in a bilingual context. I ask how a Dual Language school defines and enacts the goals of multiculturalism and “biculturalism.” I also ask how social categories other than language, such as race and social class, affect the mission of Dual Language. I argue that the focal school relied on mostly pluralistic definitions of multiculturalism, while also integrating an understanding of cultural flexibility. In addition, while the school had a unique approach to parent involvement that demonstrated a commitment to combating the interest convergence dilemma, they did not successfully alter their curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of a culturally diverse student body. Overall, while the school had some effective strategies for promoting biculturalism and racial integration, the challenges it faced exemplify the work still left to do in making Dual Language programs equitable tools for social justice.

Dissertation Supervisor: Dr. Kathy Escamilla (Chair)

Degree Granting Institution: University of Colorado, Boulder

Second Place (tie)

Blanca Caldas Chumbes, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor

Second Language and Elementary Education Programs

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Performing the Advocate Bilingual Teacher: Drama-based Interventions for Future Story Making

This doctoral project focuses on exploring how critical drama-based pedagogical techniques in the development of future bilingual teachers can prepare them to become leaders and advocates inside and outside the classroom. This research examines the use of Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed techniques in the bilingual teacher preparation classroom as future teachers reenact real life experiences of experienced Bilingual teachers to examine social justice issues as a way to provide a stage for future bilingual teachers to develop their assertiveness and stance in their practice. In this yearlong study, the participants—a cohort of pre-service bilingual teachers—engage in the re-imagining of the oral narratives of experienced bilingual teachers by physically reenacting their stories and providing alternative endings. My research aims to study the outcomes of pedagogical practices for the preparation of future Bilingual teachers that have the potential to empower themselves to not only think critically about the issues that surround Bilingual education, but also motivates them to engage in leadership and advocacy inside and outside the classroom. At the same time, this research examines translanguaging practices among bilingual pre-service teachers and how such practices shape both their identities as bilingual beings and bilingual professionals through reenactments. In order to complete this work I use a methodology bricolage, which combines performance ethnography, critical discourse analysis, and participatory action research.

Link to Dissertation

Dissertation Supervisor: Dr. Deb Palmer (Chair)

Degree Granting Institution: The University of Texas at Austin


Second Place (tie)

Sarah Hesson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Educational Studies Department

Rhode Island College                             

Bilingual Latino Middle Schoolers on Languaging and Racialization in the US

This dissertation explores bilingual Latino middle schoolers’ articulated understandings of their language practices as well as the links between language practices and processes of racialization and discrimination in the US. The research was conducted in the context of an after-school program whose explicit aim was to not only document students’ experiences, but to use those experiences as a basis for generating individual and collective critical understandings among participants. The findings of this case study center on the ways youth understand processes of racialization, translanguaging, and translation in the context of an English-dominant society, and how these understandings are connected to larger processes of discrimination and oppression, as well as resistance. The dissertation concludes by suggesting the need to center our understandings of bilingualism as well as language advocacy work on the lived experiences of bilingual youth and their communities. My hope is that this study will illuminate new possibilities for engaging with young adolescents in ways that foreground youth’s voices and experiences, generate opportunities for critical dialogue, and inspire social transformation.

Link to Dissertation

Dissertation Supervisor: Dr. Ofelia García (Chair)

Degree Granting Institution: The Graduate Center, City University of New York 


2017 Early Career Scholar Award

Dr. Nelson Flores, Assistant Professor in Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania

2017 Lifetime Achievement Award   

Dr. Ofelia García, Professor in Urban Education & Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages at The Graduate Center, City University of New York

2017 Graduate Student Travel Awards 

 ($500 stipend to support travel to present as part of the SIG’s program)

Chris K. Bacon from Boston College

Evelyn C. Baca from Arizona State University

Qianqian Zhang-Wu from Boston College

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