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 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, and 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 2022-2026 funding cycle.
R1: Developing Korean DLI Textbook Project: Culturally and Linguistically Relevant STEM Textbook and Workbook Development for a Korean-English Dual Language Immersion (KDLI) Program (Dr. Aram Cho)
This research project is part of an effort to examine various perspectives and experiences in the newly established Korean Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program in Suwanee, Georgia. We aim to address a common challenge faced by DLI program teachers who struggle to find appropriate STEM course materials, particularly for less commonly taught languages like Korean, Chinese, or Japanese. At the same time, parents and teachers are concerned about preparing students for standardized tests while building their knowledge of STEM content in the target language (Korean). To address these challenges, the project proposes developing culturally and linguistically relevant textbooks and workbooks for 3rd-grade science classes in the Korean DLI program. This involves translating existing STEM teaching materials into Korean, organizing them by content units, and creating textbooks and workbooks for STEM and Culture subjects. The project also includes a component where students will create an online book as part of the lesson. The outcomes will be virtually exchanged with students in an elementary school in Korea.
The developed materials will be shared online, and workshops and presentations will be held to explain the project and its findings. This will help promote DLI programs for less commonly taught languages and how to teach STEM courses to students who speak different languages and come from different cultures. The development of culturally and linguistically relevant textbooks and workbooks in DLI programs presents an opportunity to enhance the transformative pedagogy by integrating content and language in a dual language classroom. Furthermore, this project has important implications for educators and policy makers in designing education programs that promote multilingualism and the integration of language and content instruction while valuing and recognizing the diverse linguistic and cultural resources that students and teachers bring to the classroom.
R2: The role of prosody in comprehending implied meaning in L2 Chinese (Dr. Shuai Li)
The study aims to investigate how people understand hidden meanings in language when they speak a second language, specifically Chinese. Our research analyzes “prosody,” which is the way we speak (like tone and speed and not what we say), to explore how it affects our ability to understand implied meanings. For example, when someone says “Yes?” with a rising tone, it may mean uncertainty, and when they say “Yes!” with a falling tone, it may indicate excitement or confirmation. Although previous studies have looked at other linguistic factors that can express hidden meanings, the role of prosody has not yet been examined.
The research project will focus on two questions: 1. How does different ways of speaking effector our ability to understand implied meaning? and 2. What cognitive processes do we use to understand implied meaning? The study will involve about 80 people who speak Chinese as a second language with intermediate and advanced proficiency. They will take a computerized test to see how well they understand hidden meanings. Some participants will also explain their thought process as they take the test, and these will be recorded and analyzed. The test, once finalized, will be made available online for anyone interested in learning more about the study. We invite all students studying Chinese as a second language, teachers/researchers of Chinese, and everyone with an interest in the Chinese language to try it out. The findings from our study could benefit students and teachers of Chinese wanting to explore the role of implied meaning for their learning and pedagogical purposes.
R3: A validation and application of the L2 motivational self-system among learners of Mandarin Chinese, Korean and Japanese (Dr. Chuan Lin)
This project aims to validate the L2 motivational self-system in the context of learning of LTCLs in U.S. colleges. This is an extension of a CULTR research project funded in 2021. To expand the project scope beyond learners of Mandarin Chinese, learners of Korean and Japanese’s motivation will also be explored to further validate Dörnyei’s (2005, 2009) model that conceptualizes L2 motivation within the framework of self. The model is made up of three components: ideal L2 self, ought-to-L2 self, and L2 learning experience. By investigating casual relations among attitudinal and motivational factors, the project also aims to provide theoretical evidence about L2 motivation in Mandarin Chinese, Korean and Japanese as well as pedagogical suggestions for teachers to motivate their students to make more effort both in and outside of the language classroom.
R4: Languages Across Metro Atlanta (LAMA) project (Dr. Maxim Hiram)
Languages Across Metro Atlanta (LAMA) is an inter-institutional collaborative project to document, examine, and analyze the vibrant multilingual and multicultural metropolitan Atlanta area through its linguistic landscape. Generally defined as the use of language in the public sphere, the linguistic landscape offers an approach to explore all the different ways that language is visible and audible in greater Atlanta – from billboards, shop signs, and monuments to menus, clothing, and background music. The underlying premise behind the focus is that these examples of language use are “‘tips of icebergs’ to a deeper and more complex meaning embedded in histories, cultural relations, politics, and humanistic inter-relations” (Shohamy & Waksman, 2009, p. 328). Currently in its infancy, this project looks to engage educators, students, and researchers from across Atlanta in becoming part of a city-wide effort to capture how Atlanta’s multilingualism and multiculturalism manifests itself in the public realm and to document those efforts on a central website.