American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) 2024 Presentations

Posted in Announcements Events

Current and previous IMS-affiliated students and professors presented their scholarly work in the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) annual conference from March 16-19 in Houston, Texas. During the conference, Dr. Lourdes Ortega, the IMS faculty director who served as the 2023-2024 President of the AAAL executive committee, concluded her term and passed the presidency to her successor, Peter De Costa, professor at Michigan State University.

Below are short excerpts from some of the presentations by IMS students and professors:

Hina Ashraf (Associate Research Professor) and Nishita Grace Isaac (PhD student)
Advancing minority languages: Lessons from a unique (Urdu) Dual Immersion Program in the U.S.
This presentation explores the challenges encountered by less commonly taught languages (LCTL) in U.S. schools, focusing on insights gleaned from an Urdu-English dual immersion program in North Carolina. Data collected through interviews, observations, learning materials and stakeholder meetings draws attention to unique curricular demands of non-Roman languages, such as Urdu, concerning orthography, directionality, and syntax. Lacking a standardized curriculum for Urdu heritage speakers, the school resorted to translating Spanish DLI curriculum objectives, leading to teacher uncertainty regarding students’ Urdu proficiency and curriculum alignment. These findings underscore the need for language-specific curriculum goals, teacher empowerment in under-resourced LCTL settings, and sustained program support. The study advocates for a backward design model in professional development, enabling LCTL teachers to devise tailored learning objectives aligned with broader curriculum goals within a dual immersion context.

Negar Siyari (PhD candidate)
A Participatory Action Research with Afghan Newcomers in the Second Language Classroom: TBLT but How?
This study investigates the implementation of a Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) curriculum for English among two Afghan women newcomers through Participatory Action Research. A needs analysis informed the design of a 12-week, vocationally-focused, Persian-mediated TBLT curriculum. Continuous evaluation and revision of the curriculum and pedagogy were conducted through lesson observations, researcher-teacher journals, and student reflective logs and interviews. Results showed the TBLT curriculum effectively met students’ employment-related needs, despite necessary departures from initially intended outcomes. Translanguaging and first language use were crucial in increasing research participation, facilitating task completion, setting clear goals, and providing healing spaces. This research highlights the importance of asset-based, culturally responsive teaching and action research with refugees in U.S. host-language education.

Saurav Goswami (PhD candidate)
The intertextual construction of ‘thirdness’ in India’s Supreme Court judgment on trans rights
In 2014, the Supreme Court of India recognized the constitutionally guaranteed rights of trans and non-binary persons. This landmark judgment, called NALSA, created a new institutional identity category—the third gender—and defended the right to its self-determination. In this presentation, I explored how a multitude of texts (historical, mythological, and contemporary) are deployed in the NALSA judgment to language the problematic category of the third gender in Indian jurisprudence, and what is achieved by demarcating ‘thirdness’ (Zimman & Hall, 2009) as a membership category (Stokoe, 2012). I argued that a third gender is only made possible by the erasure of multiple identities. Rather, by demarcating ‘thirdness,’ the Supreme Court renders trans and non-binary persons into gendered biopolitical bodies, subject to the State and the law. The study contributes to a critical historical understanding of queer and trans historical linguistics (William Leap, 2023), and illuminates the sociality of legal texts in modulating and fueling the broader LGBTQIA+ movement.