My projects center on language and intercultural learning in study abroad, telecollaboration, and the classroom, primarily for U.S. learners of Arabic. I use mixed methods and critical approaches, and my overall goal is to develop a strong research-practice cycle.
Although study abroad is popularly imagined as the ultimate opportunity for language and intercultural learning, research on this topic (including my own on Arabic learners) demonstrates that this is not always the case. I research both the ideologies surrounding study abroad and the actual practices learners engage in abroad with the goal of developing courses and programmatic recommendations that allow all students to achieve the goals of language and intercultural learning abroad.
Genre-Based Approaches in the classroom
Genre-based approaches to language learning emphasize the link between linguistic elements and the context in which they are used. I develop and research curriculum and materials using these theories and Can-Do Statements with the goal of creating resources that allow all students to achieve their goals in Arabic.
Telecollaboration refers to the use of the internet to promote interaction between learners and/or experts in different geographic areas, such as an Arabic learner with an Egyptian university student. As with study abroad, this contact is frequently assumed to lead to enhanced language and intercultural learning, but research demonstrates that this is not always the case. I focus on telecollaboration as a way to enhance language and intercultural learning in the classroom and to extend the study abroad experience, with an emphasis on designing and researching activities that lead to language and intercultural development.
Acquisition of sociolinguistic variation
The acquisition of sociolinguistic variation refers to language learners' ability to vary their speech to index social meaning, such as informality or belonging to a particular social group. In Arabic, a diglossic language, this overlaps with learners' ability to acquire both Modern Standard Arabic and colloquial varieties. I use mixed methods to examine how learners interact with sociolinguistic variation in Arabic, analyze their development, and develop materials that promote learners' ability to interact in a variety of social contexts.