My Research Projects

… and projects which may or may not fall under the rubric of “research”

Though currently I am serving as a program director and my appointment does not include a research component, I have collected data and presented on a number of different projects. These include continuing to work with data from my dissertation research on investment in young learners of Arabic and several other topics related to teacher cognition, identity construction, and online learning.

  • Teacher Cognition and Comprehensible Input
  • FL Teacher Research Engagement: Material and Epistemological Barriers and Supports
  • Identity Construction and Instructor Presence in Online Communities
  • Investment in Family, Community, and Religious Heritage among Learners of Critical Languages
  • Inductive Approaches to Grammar and Vocabulary Using Corpus Tools

Student Projects

Supervising and Collaborating

Also, my students regularly complete action research and ethnographic research projects under my supervision. MAFLT students and alumni have presented work they initiated in my courses at state, regional, and national conferences. In recent years, I have had 25 students or more in my courses completing projects that involve empirical data collection. Each year I supervise 20 or more capstone master’s projects, many of which involve extensive data collection. Many of them do not, however, fall under the traditional rubric of “research,” which has led to my recent interest in teacher inquiry and teacher cognition regarding research.

Past Projects

Projects over the last several years have dealt with the following topics:

  • my dissertation on heritage and non-heritage learners of Arabic in a U.S. middle school, which brought up issues of identity, language socialization, literacy, and investment that need to be addressed from multiple angles in multiple papers;
  • a study of a fully-online course in which intercultural communication was both the content and the medium led to ethnographic and corpus-informed analyses and papers;
  • a collaborative effort with Dustin De Felice and Paula Winke to consider the educational needs and barriers to entry in the field of Arabic language teaching through the experiences of two MAFLT students, now published in The Qualitative Report;
  • a project that involved training teachers of critical languages in a summer institute, helping them develop a customized speaking assessment, and studying the motivations of their adolescent learners;
  • an action research project with Shannon Spasova, who teaches Russian at MSU, in which we analyzed and enhanced the digital literacy components in her courses, which led to a presentation at CALICO;
  • an analysis of the emergence of “culture” and “intercultural competence” as conceptual tools in online learning, using corpus tools to analyze discussions produced in an online course, which has been presented at AAAL; and
  • an investigation of teacher cognition and agency in world language teachers, specifically in regard to the growing prevalence of TPRS and comprehensible input as a method that is impacting foreign language teachers and programs all over the country, which has been presented at AAAL.

I have presented on these projects, individually and in partnership with my colleagues Shannon Spasova, Dustin De Felice, and Paula Winke, at national conferences including the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL), the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the National Council for Less-Commonly-Taught Languages (NCOLCTL), and the Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO). Dustin and I have also presented on priorities we emphasize in the MAFLT at the annual meeting of the Michigan World Language Association (MIWLA).