The Center for Urban Language Teaching and Research (CULTR) conducts and disseminates research on world language learning, teaching, and assessment that can be translated into improvements in practice. Located at Georgia State University, faculty members across multiple departments are actively involved in projects on the analysis, use, assessment, and teaching of LCTLs among other areas for world language education.
With funding from the Department of Education, CULTR has provided seed funding for additional projects on a competitive basis. Accordingly, proposals from faculty at Georgia State University for research projects were assessed by fit to the scope and mission of CULTR. Specifically, each proposal was reviewed by the project coordinators for (a) relevance to the LRC, (b) the quality of the proposal and (c) the feasibility of conducting the study with the proposed budget and other resources.
Funding Cycle Projects
Guided by its core values, CULTR’s initiatives fall into four central objectives: professional development, career readiness, advocacy, research. Regarding this core objective, CULTR conducts and disseminates research on access to Dual Language Immersion and the learning, teaching, and assessment of LCTLs that can be translated into improvements in practice. The following projects are laid out in the 2018-2022 funding cycle.
R1: Mapping the DLI Opportunity Gap
CULTR will partner with the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence in the College of Education and Human Development at GSU to create an interactive map of DLI schools and programs in the nation. By highlighting the lack of availability of DLI programs to the most underserved communities, CULTR and the Crim Center will create data and research to inform action to address the opportunity gap. As an extension of the DLI mapping project, CULTR and the Crim Center will conduct research and create curriculum around culturally responsive DLI programming and instruction. This will anchor DLI pedagogy and teacher training in (1) what these communities already know, (2) how the students learn best, and (3) practices that address and work through the affordances of DLI theory and pedagogy. This approach will create opportunities for and with students and their communities that allow them to become more purposefully connected to today’s global environment. Through this collaboration with the Crim Center, and with financial support from GSU’s Office of Student Success, an interactive map of available DLI programs will allow CULTR and other researchers to explore the social and institutional structures that impede access among underserved students and families in acquiring the language ability, intercultural competence, and global mindset needed to be competitive in a global marketplace. This project will generate research through articles and conference presentations, as well as pedagogical resources for teachers and advocacy materials for families through the creation of a Family and Community Toolkit and the Family and Community Information Camp. This project may also have policy implications for both state and municipal legislatures as DLI schools are developed, proposed, and approved.
R2: Developing a computerized assessment battery of pragmatic competence in Chinese as a second language (Dr. Shuai Li)
This multi-year project aims to develop and validate an assessment battery for testing L2 Chinese pragmatics for college students. Pragmatic competence is conceptualized as a multi-faceted construct encompassing pragmalinguistic ability (e.g., speech acts, implicature, routines), sociopragmatic ability (e.g., level of formality), and discursive ability (e.g., opening, turn taking, and closing). The only published study on assessing L2 Chinese pragmatics is one by the researcher which reports on a project funded by the CULTR. Because Li’s study only focused on one specific aspect of pragmatic competence, the proposed project plans to expand the scope of assessment by including additional vital pragmatic constructs (e.g., speech acts, routines, discursive ability) into a computerized assessment battery.
R3: Goals, Expectations, and Motivations of Collegiate Less Commonly Taught Languages Learners (Dr. Mizuki Mazzotta)
The proposed study aims to fill a research gap by investigating the nature (i.e., needs, interests, attitudes, opinions) of college students in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) by investigating the goals, expectations, and motivations of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean learners at multiple universities. This mixed-methods study will inform teaching strategies, course designs, and recruitment strategies of the three LCTLs programs.
R4: Linguascaping the school: A deep mapping project for urban linguistic landscape (Dr. Hakyoon Lee)
This project explores how the concept of Linguistic Landscape (LL) is employed as a pedagogical tool in multilingual school contexts. This is an extension of a CULTR research project funded in 2014. To expand the scope of the project, LL will be applied to the local K-12 schools to investigate how LL promotes learners’ understanding of multilingualism as well as target language in different social contexts. The study will illustrate how the concept of LL is applied to different Korean educational settings, especially in K-12. As the first geolocative language research in K-12 context in the U.S., this project will promote greater understanding of linguistic dynamics within foreign language education. It may also contribute to FL policy and have considerable impact on the practices and management of bilingual and multilingual education in the U.S.