Austin Lectures in Japan and Canada on Second Language Development

Theresa Austin, professor of teacher education and curriculum studies in the College of Education, delivered guest lectures in Japan and Canada in June.

Austin, an international expert on second and world language education, spoke June 21 at Rikkyo University in Japan about research that investigates learning from the perspectives of language learners. Her presentation delved into the social worlds that learners interact in and learn language to build cross-cultural identities. She showed how narrative studies of learners contributes valuable information about the social contexts in which learners develop multimodal communication and how their narratives reveal a more complex picture of their language and literacy development.

Austin then presented her research June 28 at the International Society for Language Studies conference at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Her symposium, “Watch your Language! Autoethnography, Multimodality and Critical Teacher Education as Forms of Activism,” addressed how research on language policies and practices can create spaces for critical awareness and collective action by teachers and learners. The panel included presentations by UMass Amherst doctoral students Isabel Castellanos and Catherine Tebaldi.

In addition, Austin co-presented with doctoral candidate Rosa Alejandra Medina Riveros in a session entitled “Coloniality, and Subalterns in the Colombian English Language Teaching Policy: De-silencing Teachers as Policy Actors.” In this session, the case study of Colombia's English language policy was analyzed from the constructs of coloniality, imperialisms and subalternities. The presentation advocated for recognizing teachers as knowledgeable policy actors.