Research

Publications

Our distinguished faculty publish broadly on issues of domestic and international diversity. Students also have the opportunity to publish along with faculty mentors, and in Penn GSE’s two student-edited journals: Perspectives on Urban Education and Working Papers in Educational Linguistics. This semester’s featured articles provide examples of such scholarship.

Penn GSE is also home to several research centers and initiatives dedicated to diverse issues. Click here for a full list. 

 

Publications by Penn GSE Faculty

Arroyo, A. T., & Gasman, M. (2014). An HBCU-based educational approach for Black college student success: Toward a framework with implications for all institutions. American Journal of Education121(1), 57-85.
This conceptual study builds an institution-focused, non-Eurocentric, theoretical framework of black college student success. Specifically, the study synthesizes the relevant empirical research on the contributions historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have made for black student success, leading to an original model that all institutions can adapt to their contexts. Significantly, this is the first HBCU-based theoretical model to appear in the academic literature. The study concludes with several implications for research and practice, including testing the model and using it in institutional planning.

Flores, N., & Rosa, J. (2015). Undoing appropriateness: Raciolinguistic ideologies and language diversity in education. Harvard Educational Review,85(2), 149-171.
In this article, Nelson Flores and Jonathan Rosa critique appropriateness-based approaches to language diversity in education. Those who subscribe to these approaches conceptualize standardized linguistic practices as an objective set of linguistic forms that are appropriate for an academic setting. In contrast, Flores and Rosa highlight the raciolinguistic ideologies through which racialized bodies come to be constructed as engaging in appropriately academic linguistic practices. Drawing on theories of language ideologies and racialization, they offer a perspective from which students classified as long-term English learners, heritage language learners, and Standard English learners can be understood to inhabit a shared racial positioning that frames their linguistic practices as deficient regardless of how closely they follow supposed rules of appropriateness. The authors illustrate how appropriateness-based approaches to language education are implicated in the reproduction of racial normativity by expecting language-minoritized students to model their linguistic practices after the white speaking subject despite the fact that the white listening subject continues to perceive their language use in racialized ways. They conclude with a call for reframing language diversity in education away from a discourse of appropriateness toward one that seeks to denaturalize standardized linguistic categories.

Flores, N., Kleyn, T., & Menken, K. (2015). Looking Holistically in a Climate of Partiality: Identities of Students Labeled Long-Term English Language Learners. Journal of Language, Identity & Education14(2), 113-132.
In recent years there has been growing awareness about a sub-group of students labeled Long-Term English Language Learners (LTELLs). This study seeks to show how students who fall within the LTELL category see themselves through the lens of their lived experiences as (emergent) bilinguals, students, family/community members and transnational individuals. Countering discourses which frame these students as deficient, the researchers apply the discourse of partiality framework as a lens through which to better understand how these students perceive themselves via their languages, ethnic-connectivity and academic trajectories. They argue that the discourse around the label can be understood as a racial project that serves to perpetuate white supremacy through the marginalization of the language practices of communities of color. They conclude by exploring how schools can take a broader view of this population to create positive learning opportunities that build on who they are and how they see themselves.

Harper, S.R. (2012). Black male student success in higher education: A report from the Black Male College Achievement Study. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.
This report is the first publication from the New York City Black and Latino Male High School Achievement Study, a project that entailed individual interviews with 415 students from 40 public high schools – 90 were enrolled in 44 colleges and universities, the rest were college-bound high school juniors and seniors. Understanding how these young men succeeded in and out of school, developed college aspirations, became college-ready, and navigated their ways to postsecondary education was the primary aim of this project. Instead of further amplifying deficits and documenting failures in urban schools, 12 Black and Latino male researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, under the direction of Shaun R. Harper, chose to study students who figured out how to foster productive relationships, resist pressures to join gangs and drop out of high school, and succeed in environments cyclically disadvantaged by structural inequities.

Hornberger, N. H. (2014). On not taking language inequality for granted: Hymesian traces in ethnographic monitoring of South Africa's multilingual language policy. Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, 33(5), p.623-645.
South African higher education is at a critical juncture in the implementation of South Africa’s multilingual language policy promoting institutional status for nine African languages, English, and Afrikaans. South African scholars, not content merely to comment from the sidelines on the policy, its promise, and challenges, have also engaged in implementation efforts. This article explores two such initiatives, both focusing on the use of African languages in higher education institutions where English is already established as the medium of instruction, and both undertaken with explicit goals of righting South Africa’s longstanding social injustices. Nancy Hornberger collaborated with colleagues at the University of Limpopo and the University of KwaZulu-Natal to assess current implementation and identify next steps and strategies for achieving truly multilingual teaching, learning, and research at their institutions. Taking up Hymes’ (1980) call for ethnographic monitoring of bilingual education, she sought in each case to jointly describe and analyze current communicative conduct, uncover emergent patterns and meanings in program implementation, and evaluate program and policy in terms of social meanings. She argues that ethnographic monitoring in education offers one means toward not taking language inequality for granted.

Hornberger, N. H. (2014). " Until I became a professional, I was not, consciously, indigenous": One intercultural bilingual educator's trajectory in indigenous language revitalization. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 13(4), 283-299.
Drawing from long-term ethnographic research in the Andes, this paper examines one Quechua-speaking Indigenous bilingual educator’s trajectory as she traversed (and traverses) from rural highland communities of southern Peru through development as teacher, teacher educator, researcher, and advocate for Indigenous identity and language revitalization across urban, periurban, and rural spaces. Neri Mamani grew up in highland Peru and at the time the author met her in 2005 was a bilingual intercultural education practitioner enrolled in master’s studies at the Program for Professional Development in Bilingual Intercultural Education for the Andean Region (PROEIB-Andes) at the University of San Simón in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Drawing from her ethnographic research at PROEIB that year, situated also within a broader context of her ethnographic research on bilingual education in the Andes across several decades and Neri’s life trajectory across those same decades, this paper analyzes Neri’s narrative as it emerged in a 4-hour interview with the researcher. Hornberger argues that Neri and her peers’ recognizing, valorizing, and studying the multiple and mobile linguistic, cultural, and intercultural resources at play in their own and others’ professional practices around bilingual intercultural education enable them to co-construct an Indigenous identity that challenges deep-seated social inequalities in their Andean world.

Ghaffar-Kucher, A. (2015). ‘Narrow-minded and oppressive’or a ‘superior culture’? Implications of divergent representations of Islam for Pakistani-American youth. Race Ethnicity and Education18(2), 202-224.
Drawing on ethnographic data, Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher examines the complex terrain that working-class Pakistani-American youth must negotiate in their daily lives. Specifically, the article illustrates how particular views of Islam and Americanization manifest in particular sites and within educational discourses, and the resulting dissonance that youth experience. On the one hand, schools view Islam as oppressive, problematic and a hindrance to the youths’ academic and professional success. On the other hand, families present Islam as a type of cultural capital that can guide youth and help them navigate their lives by being a ‘good Muslim.’ The result of these fossilized views of culture and nationality is the production of an ‘imagined nostalgia’: One group longs for a world where assimilation into the dominant group is expected and accepted; the other longs for the homeland, which they try to recreate in their new home. Thus, in their own ways, both schools and communities send the message that being Muslim and being American are not compatible. Consequently, rather than view beinging Muslim and American in an additive way, youth believe that they can only be one or the other, which often translates into placing themselves outside the realm of American cultural citizenship.

Smith, E. J., & Harper, S. R. (2015). Disproportionate impact of K-12 school suspension and expulsion on Black students in southern states. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.
Nationally, 1.2 million Black students were suspended from K-12 public schools in a single academic year – 55% of those suspensions occurred in 13 Southern states. Districts in the South also were responsible for 50% of Black student expulsions from public schools in the United States. This report aims to make transparent the rates at which school discipline practices and policies impact Black students in every K-12 public school district in 13 Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Despite comprising only 20.9% of students in the 3,022 districts analyzed, Blacks were suspended and expelled at disproportionately high rates.

Thomas, E. E. (2015). " We Always Talk About Race": Navigating Race Talk Dilemmas in the Teaching of Literature. Research in the Teaching of English,50(2), 154.
There is considerable confusion in contemporary society when it comes to talking about race. Because of this confusion, race talk in schools can be fraught with difficulty, leading to problematic conversations, disconnections, and ultimately student disengagement. While studies in psychology, sociology, and linguistics have considered the role of race in discourse, there have been fewer of these investigations in English education, especially research on the teaching of literature. This article looks closely at the classroom talk of two veteran English teachers—one an African American man, the other a White woman—in a racially diverse high school, showing how teachers employ different strategies to navigate similarly fraught conversations. Taking an interactional ethnographic approach, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas demonstrates ways that conversations about race that emerged from literature units in both classrooms opened up opportunities for some students to participate, while constraining and excluding others. The results of the study revealed that the two teachers navigated these dilemmas through tactical and strategic temporary alignments of actions and discourse, but in both classes, silence and evasion characterized moments of racial tension. As a growing number of researchers and teacher educators provide workshops and materials for teachers interested in classroom discourse studies, supporting new and experienced teachers’ investigations in this area may ultimately prove fruitful not only for teaching and learning, but also for race relations.

Thomas, E. E., & Warren, C. A. (2015). Making it relevant: how a black male teacher sustained professional relationships through culturally responsive discourse. Race Ethnicity and Education, 1-14.
What we know about the experiences of Black teachers is limited, especially considering the vast amount of research conducted on and about Black boys and young men. This article describes and analyzes how a Black teacher at a suburban high school in the Midwestern United States negotiated professional relationships through culturally relevant discourse. Anthony Bell was the only Black male teacher participating in a classroom discourse analysis study group at a diverse suburban high school. Throughout the course of the semester, Anthony’s stated objective for learning discourse analysis was to understand, structure, and facilitate more productive conversations with a struggling student teacher he was mentoring. Yet Anthony also used his discursive inquiry to “trouble the water” in his classroom and in the study group workshops. Participation in the study group provided Anthony with metalinguistic tools to critique his interactions with his students, student teacher, and professional peers. Anthony’s analyses of his own teaching, his student teacher’s work, the study group, and the school index themes in critical and critical race theory in education. As he became a teacher researcher, Anthony reported a greater sense of professional self-efficacy, eventually facilitating a successful workshop at a national teacher conference. Anthony’s case is an exemplar of the unique and critical role of Black men who teach, as well as the imperative of practitioner research within the current climate in teacher education.