This project has been conducted by the 2022 PhD cohort, consisting of Merve Özçelik, Julian Canjura, Xiaozheng Dai, Pedro Augusto de Lima Bastos, and Mfundo Jabulani Msimango. In 2022, they received a $500 grant from the Graduate Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion (GADI) at Penn State for this year-long initiative. The grant facilitated the creation of a five-video series that promotes linguistic diversity, equity, and justice, offering practical communication strategies. The series focuses on an often-overlooked aspect of multilingual communication: the role of so-called ‘native speakers.’ By equipping native speakers with these strategies, the project not only highlights their part in successful communication but also aims to empower ‘non-native’ speakers or those speaking less dominant English varieties.

The project's videos can be viewed on the APLNG Research Projects page:

Dr. Nelson Flores (University of Pennsylvania) will be giving a CLA talk on February 16, 2024 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. EST. The talk will take place in 102 Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library.

Title: “Novelas o istorias embueltas en mil mentiras i errores”: Race and language in the construction of the modern/colonial order

Abstract: 1492 was a major turning point in Spain and by extension human history. It was not only the year that Columbus first arrived in what would become the Americas but also the year that the Spanish monarchy succeeded in expelling Jews and Muslims that refused to convert to Catholicism as part of La Reconquista and Antonio de Nebrija La Gramática de la Lengua Castellana, the first grammar of a modern language. At first glance, it may seem like these three events have little in common. Yet, Nebrija saw the purification of language as key to the continued purification of the Spanish population necessary for further consolidating the power of the Spanish monarchy. What Nebrija could not have predicted was that Spain would soon begin to create a new empire in lands previously unknown to them inhabited by people they had never previously encountered. It is in encounters with these new lands and people where Nebrija’s vision of a world of linguistic homogeneity would be further developed in relation to modern notions of race that would begin to overshadow religion as the major way of sorting the world’s population. This presentation traces the remapping of the world in Nebrija’s vision bringing particular attention to the ways that racialization has provided the ideological foundation for contemporary notions of competence that lie at the core of applied linguistics. It then points to alternative framings that embrace the inherent heterogeneity of language as the starting point for conceptualization language teaching and learning.

Nelson Flores stands in front of a dark background, dressed in a light blue shirt and dark blue jacket. His body is angled to the camera, and he smiles for his headshot photograph.

Nelson Flores is an associate professor in educational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. His research examines the intersection of language and race in shaping U.S. educational policies and practices. He has been the recipient of many academic awards including a 2017 Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, the 2019 James Alatis Prize for Research on Language Planning and Policy in Educational Contexts and the 2022 AERA Early Career Award.

Dr. Kevin McManus, director of the Center for Language Acquisition, has been awarded a three-year grant from the US Department of Education’s International Research and Studies program. This grant will research the use of technologies in foreign language education for improving the teaching and learning of foreign languages. Congratulations to Dr. McManus and the Center for Language Acquisition!

Information about this CLA project, including its abridged abstract, is detailed below.



Investigating Teachers’ Use of Technologies in Foreign Language Programs: A Mixed-Methods Study of Attitudes and Practices

Abstract (abridged):

Despite the rapid development and widespread use of technologies in daily life, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR), the use of advanced and innovative technologies in foreign language (FL) education is understood to be minimal and constitutes a cause for concern (Godwin-Jones, 2021; Lomicka & Lord, 2019; Tafazoli & Picard, 2023). Indeed, as described in the World-Readiness Standard for Learning Languages, technologies can and should be used to support FL instruction, opportunities for practice/use in the classroom, and assessment. A well-discussed challenge to doing this, however, is that teachers’ attitudes and their practices utilizing technology in FL instruction are not well understood, especially in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). Furthermore, how to effectively integrate technology into instructional practice are also not well understood but are needed to support LCTL teachers and their use of technology to enhance FL learning. These knowledge gaps negatively impact teacher preparation, professional development, benchmarking, and assessment in US-based LCTL classrooms.

To address these gaps in understanding, the current project investigates the use of technology in FL programs and attitudes toward its use among LCTL teachers in the US from a variety of educational settings and with a broad range of experiences. Our mixed methods design begins with a large-scale survey to provide an overview of teachers’ current usage, attitudes, and perceptions toward technology in FL teaching. Following the survey, qualitative interviews will be conducted with LCTL teachers to explore and explain the survey results in more detail.

Because this project intends to develop new knowledge about (i) teachers’ use of technologies in FL programs; (ii) the needs for increased or improved instruction in FL; (iii) the use of technology in FL programs emphasizing LCTLs, its results will be critical to research projects and programs with similar interests.

Research team:

Kevin McManus (Project director), Jialing Wang, Brody Bluemel (Delaware State University)


US Department of Education


$306,000 for three years

Doctoral student Minjin Kim was awarded a Graduate Student Travel grant through Penn State Global.  The funds support travel related to internationalizing education and research opportunities. Congratulations, Minjin!

Congratulations to doctoral student Lyana Sun Han Chang, who received a College of the Liberal Arts STAR (Superior Teaching and Research) award this year.

Congratulations to doctoral student Jingyuan Zhuang, who received a College of the Liberal Arts STAR (Superior Teaching and Research) award this year. She also was awarded second place in the Arts and Humanities category of the 2023 Graduate Research Exhibition.

It is with great pleasure that we announce that the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) awarded a 2023 AAAL Graduate Student Award to Sally Wang, one of our doctoral students. The title of her special presentation at AAAL was "Teaching the concept of conceptual metaphor for L2 learners' development in academic English communication". Congratluations, Sally!

Yuanheng Wang, one of our doctoral students, received a Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award. The Martin Award is given by the Graduate School, the Office of the Vice President and the Dean of Undergraduate Education. We congratulate Yuanheng on his accomplishment and this recognition!

We are very pleased to announce that Eunhae Cho, doctoral student in Applied Linguistics, received one of this year's Liberal Arts External Funding Incentive Awards. Congratulations Eunhae!

Congratulations to Tianfang (Sally) Wang and Yuanheng (Arthur) Wang on receiving Superior Teaching and Research (STAR) Awards from the College of the Liberal Arts. The STAR award recognizes graduate students who have excelled in all aspects of their graduate program.