Multiliteracies, Identity, and Second Language Spanish Learning in a Historically Black College

An invited lecture for language educators

Dr. Gabriela Zapata

Associate Professor, School of Education
University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Friday, October 27, 12:00 pm CDT
On Zoom

About the talk

In her recent survey of existing studies on second language (L2) education and Black/African American students, Anya (2020) posits the need for classroom-based work that will offer information on the most effective methodologies and curricular content to answer the personal and academic needs of this population of students and counter the negative experiences that have been reported in the literature (e.g., Davis, 1992; Moore, 2005). This case study seeks to answer this call by investigating the use of open, L2 Spanish materials grounded in the multiliteracies pedagogy Learning by Design (Kalantzis et al., 2005; 2016; Zapata, 2022) directly connected to learners’ lifeworld in beginning L2 Spanish classes at a Historically Black College in Southern United States. This work was carried out during two academic semesters, and it involved the participation of 60 students. The first source of data was an open-ended questionnaire which probed into the participants’ perceptions of the instruction received, and their personal connections to the pedagogical resources employed. The multimodal products created by the students constituted the second source of data. In the first part of the presentation, Dr. Zapata will offer a brief description of the adopted practices and tasks, as well as of the pedagogical framework on which they were based. The second part will be devoted to the discussion of the study’s results, including the thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) of the responses to the questionnaire and the exploration of learners’ artifacts based on Zhang and Yu’s (2023) dimensions of digital multimodal composing competence. Dr. Zapata will end the presentation with instructional recommendations and suggestions for future research.

About the speaker

Dr. Gabriela C. Zapata is Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Originally from Argentina, she received her MA in TESOL and PhD in Spanish (Linguistics track) from the Pennsylvania State University and has held research and teaching positions at universities in the United States and Canada. Dr. Zapata’s research foci are diversity, equity, and inclusion in language education, computer supported collaborative learning, multiliteracies-based pedagogies, multimodal social semiotics, and teacher education. Throughout her career, she has published articles in a variety of peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes, as well as three books on multiliteracies-based second/heritage language education. She has also been involved in the development and implementation of inclusive, research-guided methodologies and open educational resources for language teaching. Her latest co-edited book (with Dr. Bill Cope and Dr. Mary Kalantzis), Towards Education Justice: Literacy, Multiliteracies, and the Design of Social Futures (Routledge), is scheduled to appear in December 2023.