Stanton Wortham and Deoksoon Kim

Room 224, School of Education (Building R19)
Thursday 8 March 2018 (14:00-16:00)

Dr Elizabeth Chilton

MOSAIC Research Seminar Series Centre for Research on Multilingualism, 2017-18

Multimedia Representations of Mexican immigration to the US

With speaker Stanton Wortham, Boston College Lynch School of Education


Multimedia technologies offer scholars the opportunity to represent academic research in new ways. But they remain controversial and underutilized. What affordances do new technologies have, and is it possible to represent scholarly research in nontraditional media and maintain academic rigor? This presentation explored these questions with illustrations from a long-term ethnographic research project in one New Latino Diaspora town. The presentation combines scholarly text with three short films. Films make ethnographic stories more vivid, and they also capture embodied dispositions in a way that better communicates scholarly accounts of tacit, embodied habits as central to social life.


Stanton Wortham is the Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. He earned his B.A. with highest honors from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Human Development. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has been a Javits Fellow, a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow, a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow, a W.T. Grant Foundation Distinguished Fellow and an American Educational Research Association Fellow. His research applies techniques from linguistic anthropology to study interaction, learning and identity development in classrooms and organizations. For the past decade he has done research with Mexican immigrant and Mexican American adolescents who live in areas of the United States that have only recently become home to large numbers of Latinos. This work explores the challenges and opportunities facing both Latino newcomers and host communities, in places where models of and practices for dealing with newcomers are often more fluid than in areas with longstanding Latino populations. 

Elementary school English language learners’ understandings of culturally relevant and distant stories

With speaker Deoksoon Kim, Boston College Lynch School of Education


The strength of English learners’ second language reading is closely associated with academic success. Using qualitative research methods and verbal protocols, this study examines four elementary-level English learners’ uses of reading strategies and describes how each English learner employs these strategies while reading both culturally relevant and culturally distant stories. The study describes two types of strategies: higher order thinking strategies and socio-contextual reading strategies. Together, the study draws on intensive ethnographic and verbal protocol research to map out a comprehensive set of 12 reading strategies and describes how English learners employ these strategies in context. This broad view of second language reading incorporates both cognitive and linguistic skills required for decoding and comprehension, together with consideration of non-cognitive factors and sociocultural contexts within which reading occurs. The study also shows how learners with different levels of English proficiency process culturally relevant and culturally distant stories differently. 


Deoksoon Kim is an Associate Professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. Her research focuses on understanding the needs of immigrant students in order to help them learn English and succeed in school. She also investigates how to use instructional technology to facilitate language and subject matter learning. Together with a research team from MIT, she is working to implement science curricula centered around invention, with a focus on incorporating science literacy for English language learners. She is also a research team member with the CityConnects group, studying why this whole child student supports intervention works with immigrant, second language students. In 2016 the Journal of Second Language Writing honored Kim with the Best Article Award for an article about using technology to help with collaborative writing tasks. 

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