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miércoles, 24 de febrero 2021


Plurilingualism in Language Education Research Symposium

This research event, organized by the Master’s Program in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning, will gather researchers and teacher educators from various national and international universities to share research projects that are oriented to position linguistic diversity and equity in the field of language education. It is our conviction that language education processes and initiatives should be grounded on the recognition of the communities where languages are taught and consider their situated practices and sociocultural and linguistic diversity. 

This event intends to …

  • Explore the academic interests and experiences of participants searching for a common ground in plurilingualism in language education.
  • Trigger conversations among participant professors, graduate students, and alumni on our social responsibility as researchers and educators to respond to the challenges of teaching languages in a culturally and linguistically diverse country like Colombia.
  • Encourage reflection on how language teacher educators and researchers in the region may respond to our context’s need to include and balance the power relations among local and foreign languages.
  • Set the bases for future networking and collaboration among the Master’s program academic community, research groups, and independent researchers from participating institutions at the local and national level.

February 25 - 26 / 8: 00 am to 12.00 m (Colombian time) / Live Streaming on our YouTube channel Idiomas UdeA

International speakers:

Dr. Elana Shohamy, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Dr. Angela Creese, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK.

National Speakers:

Dr. Paula Andrea Echeverri Sucerquia, Universidad de Antioquia
Prof. Janeth María Ortiz Medina and Dr. Jaime Alonso Usma Wilches, Universidad de Antioquia.
Dr. Amparo Clavijo Olarte, Universidad Distrital
Dr. Germana Carolina Soler Millán and Dr. Guillaume Roux, Universidad de Caldas.
Dr. Martha Isabel Tejada Sánchez, Universidad de los Andes.
Dr. Norbella Miranda Nieves and Dr. José Aldemar Álvarez Valencia, Universidad del Valle.

Speakers’ biodata

  Dr. Elana Shohamy, Tel Aviv University

Elana Shohamy is a Professor of Multilingual education at Tel Aviv University where she focuses on research on Language Policy, Language Testing and Linguistic Landscape within a critical language paradigm, examining issues of equality, fairness, inclusion, justice, and rights as these relate to multilingual people in education and society. Within language policy her current research addresses the developments of multilingual engaged language policies initiated by teachers, schools and other community members; within language testing her work focuses on biases and discrimination in academic learning against immigrants and minority students due to their multilingual competences which are not recognized in schools and introduces multilingual tests. Within Linguistic Landscape she focuses on students and adults developing critical awareness of inequalities and exclusion of public spaces via documentation, analysis, and development of effective strategies for activism to modify these spaces in favor of LL which is more just and inclusive. In 2010, she was granted the ILTA lifetime academic award for her work on critical language testing. She authored a number of books such as The Power of Tests (2001), Language Policy (2006) and a number of edited books (Encyclopedia of Language and Assessment (2018) and ample number of articles and chapters on the above topics.

 Dr. Paula Echeverri Sucerquia, University of Antioquia
Paula Andrea Echeverri Sucerquia is a professor, researcher, and currently, the Director of the School of Languages, Universidad de Antioquia. She holds a M.S. and a PhD. In Education: curriculum and instruction from Southern Illinois University, U.S. Her areas of interest are critical pedagogy, curriculum development, culture, and identity.

 Dr. Amparo Clavijo Olarte, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas
Dr. Amparo Clavijo-Olarte is a professor of literacy and qualitative research in the master’s program in Applied Linguistics at Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas in Bogotá, Colombia. She holds a PhD in Education from The University of Arizona, a Master´s degree in TESL and studies in Comparative Literature from Arizona State University. Her research interests are in the areas of Literacy Education for Social Justice and Language Teacher Education. Her most recent book “Pedagogías de la Comunidad a través de investigaciones locales en el contexto urbano de Bogotá” was published by Fondo de Publicaciones UD in 2019.

 Dr. Isabel Tejada Sánchez, Universidad de los Andes
Isabel Tejada Sánchez, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the School of Education at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. Her research interests include second language acquisition in instructional settings, interculturality, and growth mindset in education.

 Dr. Angela Creese, University of Stirling

Angela Creese is Professor of Linguistic Ethnography in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling. Her research interests are in sociolinguistics, multilingualism, and interaction in everyday life. She has co-written on linguistic ethnography (with Fiona Copland 2014), and multilingualism (with Adrian Blackledge, 2010).  She has edited several large handbook collections on superdiversity (with Blackledge 2017), multilingualism (with Martin-Jones and Blackledge) and heteroglossia (with Blackledge, 2010).  She has also published on collaborative teaching in linguistically diverse classrooms (2008). She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science. In 2010 she received the Helen C Bailey Award (Alumni) for ‘Outstanding contribution to educational linguistics’, from University of Pennsylvania. 

 Prof. Janeth Ortiz Medina, University de Antioquia
Janeth Maria Ortiz is a professor and researcher at the School of Languages, Universidad de Antioquia, and currently the coordinator of the Master’s Program in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning. She holds a Master’s degree from the same program and her research interests include critical literacies, critical interculturality and peace education in relation to foreign language teaching and learning and teacher education. 

 Dr. Jaime Usma, University of Antioquia
Jaime A. Usma Wilches holds a PhD in Education and is a teacher educator and researcher at the School of Languages, Universidad de Antioquia. He combines his research on the social, economic, and political implications of language education policies with an active participation in language policy and professional development initiatives at the institutional, local, and national level.

  Dr. Norbella Miranda, Universidad del Valle
Norbella Miranda holds a PhD in Education. She conducts research in the areas of language policy and planning, multilingualism, and EFL curriculum, and she carries out outreach projects with local schools in Cali. Her works have been published in Íkala, HOW Journal, Changing English, and Current Issues in Language Planning, among others.

 Dr. José Aldemar Álvarez Valencia, Universidad del Valle
José Aldemar Álvarez Valencia, PhD, is a professor at the School of Language Sciences at Universidad del Valle, Colombia. He is the chair of the Major in ELT Education in the Interinstitutional Doctoral Program at Universidad del Valle.  His research interests include critical intercultural education and decolonial theory, multimodal communication, and multilingualism.

 Dr. Germana Carolina Soler Millán, Universidad de Caldas

Germana Carolina Soler Millan is currently the Director of the Modern Languages Program at the University of Caldas where she also works as an Associate Professor of FLE. Germana holds a PhD in Language Sciences from the University of Montpellier and her research interest focuses on sociolinguistics and intercultural mediations between native communities and foreign languages.

 Dr. Guillaume Roux, Universidad de Caldas

Guillaume Roux works as a Professor of FLE at the Foreign Languages Department of the University of Caldas and leads the Discourse Analysis seminars in doctoral programs. Guillaume is a Doctor in Language Sciences and he is specialized in the relationship between language acquisition and learning. Moreover, he is an expert on the study of linguistic ideologies in native languages. 



Day 1: February 25

8:00 – 8:10 am     Welcome and opening remarks
8:10- 9:00 am     Dr. Elana Shohamy, Tel Aviv University Multilingual policy in Israel
9:00 -9:30 am        Dr. Paula Andrea Echeverri Sucerquia, Universidad de Antioquia   Plurilingualism at UdeA: A diagnosis of language use and investment among undergraduate students.

9:30- 10:00 am  


 Dr. Amparo Clavijo Olarte, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas  Crossing multilingual boundaries with powerful literacies:  A collaborative
ethnography in the linguistic and socio-economic landscape of downtown Bogotá 
10:00-10:15 am.  Break
10:15- 10:45       Dr. Martha Isabel Tejada Sánchez, Universidad de los Andes   Beyond folklore: Reflecting upon the implementation of a MOOC on interculturality at the university level  
10: 45 to 11:45    Panel discussion
Day 2: February 26
8:00 – 8:10 am     Housekeeping announcements 
8:10- 9:00 am     Dr. Angela Creese, University of Stirling Learning from the bilingual teacher
9:00 -9:30 am         Prof. Janeth María Ortiz Medina and  Dr. Jaime Alonso Usma Wilches, Universidad de Antioquia  Teaching and Learning foreign languages from an intercultural approach: Repositioning local languages, diversity, and identities in the language classroom
9:30- 10:00 am    
Dr. Norbella Miranda Nieves and Dr. José Aldemar Álvarez Valencia, Universidad del Valle Who are the indigenous undergraduate students at Universidad del Valle? Some advances in the construction of a sociolinguistic and academic profile
10:00-10:15 a.m     Break  
10:15-10:45am.         Dr. Germana Carolina Soler Millán and Dr. Guillaume Roux, Universidad de Caldas The ethnic groups and their relationship with the languages and cultures within the Colombian territory
10: 45 - 11:45     Panel discussion  
11:45 am - 12m     Closure 




Day 1

A New Multilingual Educational Policy in Israel: Connecting Policy with Research

Dr. Elana Shohamy, Tel Aviv University

Over the past few years, our team in the Multilingual Education Program has been engaged in conceptualizing a new multilingual educational policy for Israel. This project, funded by the Ministry of Education's Chief Scientist, is partly an outcome of years of advocacy to promote such a policy that reflects the language diversity of Israeli society. In this presentation, we will argue and demonstrate that empirical research, along with theoretical conceptualization, are both needed to promote an innovative and valid multilingual educational policy.

Upon surveying new and emerging multilingual policies in various other educational systems, we realized that while the ideologies of such policies are dominant and spreading, there are various unresolved issues, and that deep thinking of how to carry out such policies is still in its early phases. In our case, several challenges emerged: How to adjust a new multilingual policy to the specific needs of Israel, given its unique local and global language dimensions, its history, culture, migration patterns and conflicts? How to transform a centralized policy imposed by the Ministry to one representing local needs and determined by schools themselves? How to resolve major multilingual policy issues such as assessment of full language repertoires, translanguaging, and maintenance of heritage languages? 

To find some answers to such challenges, we conducted a series of empirical studies. We explored attitudes towards multilingualism in schools among teachers, parents, students and principals; sought valid tools to assess multilingualism; examined language teachers' ideologies and practices of translanguaging; followed the impact of shared education programs of Jews and Arabs learning together; examined the way heritage languages are approached and taught; and assessed the impact of multilingual awareness programs via linguistic landscape activities. Thus, in addition to a solid theoretical basis, we obtained a rich database to support the emerging new multilingual policy. 

Plurilingualism at UdeA: A diagnosis of language use and investment among undergraduate students

Dr. Paula Andrea Echeverri Sucerquia, Universidad de Antioquia

In the last couple of decades, Universidad de Antioquia has recognized itself as a multilingual context; yet, it was only in the last institutional development plan  that plurilingualism was identified as an institutional goal. In this plan, plurilingualism is defined as “the capacity to communicate and participate in an intercultural relationship where a person, as a social agent, masters, to varying degrees, several languages and has had experience in various cultures” (p.51). In this presentation we will show preliminary results of an exploratory study of undergraduate students’ use of languages, purposes for language learning and use, as well as their investments in the learning and practice of those languages. Our purpose with this research is to identify the languages utilized by undergraduate students, as well as the use of these languages in their everyday lives, whether academic, for socializing, entertaining, etc. To accomplish this, we collect quantitative and descriptive data from the university’s information systems (which includes students’ demographics and academic data) and a survey about students’ investments in language learning. Preliminary results show that even though English is the dominant L2, language selection and use is ample and highly varied, going beyond academic use. Also, we find that there are multiple factors influencing language use and selection, including discipline, and socioeconomic factors. Results from this presentation will be compared with preliminary results from a Diagnosis of plurilingualism in Antioquia.

Crossing multilingual boundaries with powerful literacies:  A collaborative ethnography in the linguistic and socio-economic landscape of downtown Bogotá

Dr. Amparo Clavijo Olarte, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas.

This presentation shares research that is part of a continuing effort of a university group of teacher educators and university pre-service and inservice teachers who share an interest in exploring the local cultural and linguistic texts and discourses from the surrounding neighborhoods in La Candelaria located in downtown Bogotá. We draw on the contributions of local and foreign ethnographers and sociologists like Fals Borda (1991), Rappaport et al. (2008), and Pink (2008). Pink (2008) exhorts us to attend to, investigate, and analyze the existing local visual culture which influences how we participate visually in this environment. This research results in understanding the multilayered nature of how place is constituted and the conflicting but entangled perspectives from which places might be understood and experienced. Consequently, these understandings may lead to the conservation, reassessing, or destruction of these spaces. We carried out ethnographic research for a year (2019-2020) in downtown Bogotá, as a prime space to examine multicultural resources for learning and teaching. Our work included participatory workshops with 26 teachers in two schools, walking the local neighborhoods to identify and collect texts from the rich historical, commercial, and touristic landscape of La Candelaria (graffiti, murals, commercial ads, bilingual texts in historical sites, names of streets); interviewing residents of La Candelaria, communicating with graffiti artists; and other university students studying in La Candelaria. Our research interests and practices within teacher education to advocate the use of community resources by integrating these critically into curricula represents an epistemology of education and teacher development, linking academic knowledge, knowledge gained in school and that offered by the community as essential elements for a democratic education (Zeichner et.al., 2014).

Beyond folklore: Reflecting upon the implementation of a MOOC on interculturality at the university level

Dr. Martha Isabel Tejada Sánchez, Universidad de los Andes 

In this presentation, I will share the pedagogical implications derived from the design, development, and implementation of a multilingual Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on interculturality, which is currently running in the international platform Coursera. This MOOC was co-created within an international project between Universidad de los Andes and Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3. First, I will address the ways in which I articulated the MOOC into a hybrid course during the COVID-19 crisis; then, I will present how, in spite of such crisis, this experience elicited substantial reflections amongst two groups of graduate and undergraduate students about the configurations of their identities, their languages repertoires, and their understandings of their own sociocultural backgrounds. Finally, I will conclude by making a case for the necessity to incorporate the intercultural dimensions across the university curricula.

Day 2

Learning from the bilingual teacher

Dr. Angela Creese, University of Stirling

This presentation considers three particular skill sets associated with teaching Panjabi as a heritage language in Birmingham, UK. It describes how the teacher uses transliteration, translation and translanguaging as a way to engage students and teach cultural and linguistic knowledge.  The 3 ‘T’ approach can be said to support a multilingual pedagogy which enhances students’ engagement and proficiency. Transliteration assists in learning a new alphabet and improves literacy.  Translation, in the broadest sense, helps students navigate cultural and moral worlds. Translanguaging relies on flexible bilingualism and draws on community repertoires so as to develop Panjabi proficiency and work towards examination success.

A critical intercultural approach to teaching and learning foreign languages: Repositioning local languages, diversity, and identities in the classroom

Prof. Janeth María Ortiz Medina and  Dr. Jaime Alonso Usma Wilches, Universidad de Antioquia

During the last five years, a group of researchers and students at the School of Languages have been exploring the possibilities offered by the adoption of a critical intercultural approach to the teaching and learning of foreign languages in Colombia. This research agenda started as a need to respond to the many challenges faced by ethnic community students in higher education, especially the ones related to English learning; however, this initiative has transcended to work with other universities in Colombia concerned with providing more equal opportunities to all foreign language learners in higher education.
In this session, we will present the project Lenguajes para la Permanencia: una propuesta desde la interculturalidad crítica. We will first introduce some key findings from an exploratory study about the challenges faced by indigenous students learning English as a graduation requirement at Universidad de Antioquia. In the second part, we will describe an intervention conducted with a group of foreign language teachers and with several groups of indigenous and Afro Colombian students to respond to such challenges. Finally, we will share some of our projections to continue doing research and building proposals that promote the recognition and validation of the linguistic, epistemic, and sociocultural diversity found in our foreign language classrooms.

Who are the indigenous undergraduate students at Universidad del Valle? Some advances in the construction of a sociolinguistic and academic profile

Dr. Norbella Miranda NIeves and Dr. José Aldemar Álvarez Valencia, Universidad del Valle

During the last decades the number of indigenous students who access higher education in Colombia has increased. Many of these students bring to universities their ways of knowing, learning and being in the world, which do not often match the Euro-Anglocentric spiritual, epistemological and ontological matrices of the city. As a result, indigenous students face challenges accommodating, staying, and completing their chosen degrees.  Although previous studies address indigenous students’ life in higher education, more research needs to explore students’ sociolinguistic profile and academic performance. In particular, this research focuses on undergraduate indigenous students of Universidad del Valle. It investigates students’ sociolinguistic and academic profiles and examines the intersection between the two. We present the initial results of the analysis of a sociolinguistic survey, field notes and transcripts of recordings of meetings and events held by indigenous students at the University where the study takes place. Findings indicate that most students belong to the Pastos and Misak peoples and that although there are multilingual students in indigenous languages mainly speakers of Naya Yuwe and Namtrik, Spanish represents most students’ L1. Data also show that most students identify themselves as indigenous and that they hold a strong relationship with their native language or the lost traces of it. Concerning students’ academic profile, there is higher enrolment of male students while female students show better academic performance. Both genders display a high preference for disciplines in the sciences such as Engineering and Chemistry and on average their GPA is below 3.5.

The ethnic groups and their relationship with the languages and cultures within the Colombian territory

Dr. Germana Carolina Soler Millán and Dr. Guillaume Roux, Universidad de Caldas

Students from ethnic minorities are represented in terms of language, some of which radically influence the abandonment and rejection of their own languages, favoring Spanish (Ardila, 2010). Thus, some of them adopt an "elite" bilingualism while others are forced to learn English as a third language, which is not the case for the rest of Colombians (de Mejía, 2002). In both cases, these dynamics show the discrimination towards the groups in mention, and the linguistic policies on foreign languages in Colombia represent a central role in such discrimination. Therefore, the project aims to identify the sociolinguistic representations on native languages, on Spanish and on foreign languages, mainly English, of students coming from minority ethnic communities; it is also necessary to identify what their representations are on policies and ethno-education, on the way they feel in the classroom in relation to the lessons they attend in order to better understand their point of view and to develop policies that allow for their inclusion in language programs, preserving and valuing their native languages and cultures.


Organized by Master’s Program in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning
School of Languages





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