buckeye language network
The BLN community is full of amazing people…. Let’s shine a light on:
What do you do?
My research examines the social and cultural patterning of learning and language development in communities whose members use multiple languages and participate in multiple learning traditions. I seek to (1) increase our understanding of diverse community practices of language use, teaching, and learning and how they vary across time and space and (2) contribute to the empirical and theoretical bases on which education may be made more effective for children learning in additional languages.
What is the most exciting thing you’re working on now?
The Expanding Repertoires project http://u.osu.edu/expandingrepertoiresinformalscience/ is my primary research focus at this time. We are in our 3rd year of the grant, focusing on analysis of data from the Exploratory Study of of COSI’s programs and practices related to the support of access, participation, and learning for preschool dual language learners and their families. That data set includes video of naturalistic interactions at COSI and of COSI outreach at preschools, as well as interviews with parents, early childhood educators, and COSI team members about their science learning and teaching experiences with young dual language learners. I particularly enjoy working with the video, seeing how children and caregivers engage in hands-on science learning using multiple languages and other semiotic resources. I am also very excited about a new project with Dr. Monique Mills (Speech & Hearing) on teachers’ and parents’ evaluations of black children’s narratives.
Leslie (right) at the AISL Convening in Oct 2017, with colleagues from Houston and Washington D.C. They are trying out Dramatic Inquiry as a pedagogical tool for working in multilingual preschool classrooms.
What is the most interesting thing about studying language the way you do?
Language socialization is the my home paradigm, and this lens helps us understand how linguistic environments are shaped by beliefs and values, how these environments shape us, and how we, in turn, re-shape our environments. Applying this perspective in science museums and preschools can help educators engage with linguistically diverse communities more effectively because it helps educators understand how they are organizing the linguistic environment, why they organize it the way they do, how that organization affects children and families for whom English is an additional language, and how and why the environment can be changed to improve science learning for these children and families.
What’s your favorite thing about language?
Diversity. Multilingualism has fascinated me since I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the densely multilingual Mandara Mountains in northern Cameroon.
Who is your favorite language-oriented researcher (living or dead)?
My doctoral advisers Elinor Ochs and Russell Schuh, brilliant and generous scholars.
If you could make every student at OSU know one thing about language, what would it be?
That we all have language ideologies that affect how we view and engage with other people, and that becoming aware of and questioning our ideologies may help us engage with others more productively and more justly.
Why are you a member of the BLN?
Because I love being connected to other language-focused researchers at OSU. My BLN connections have led to wonderful things, including my work in the Language Pod at COSI, the enriching presence of students from other departments in my courses, and friendships that provide so much support and inspiration.
Anything else you want to tell us?
I am honored to be in the new BLN website spotlight.