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2018 - Comparative and International Education Society Conference Words: 858 words || 
1. Gombin-Sperling, Jeremy. and Baker, Melanie. "English in Cuba: Exploring the dimensions of Cuban English teachers’ relationships to English and of their pedagogical practices" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Conference, Hilton Mexico City Reforma Hotel, Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 25, 2018 <Not Available>. 2019-07-15 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In Fall 2016, the Cuban Ministry of Education introduced policies requiring secondary and university students to demonstrate English proficiency in order to graduate – changes that reflected the growing importance of English to industries like tourism and other shifts in the Cuban economy (“Cuba says ‘yes’ to English,” 2017). During an academic program in Holguin, Cuba in February 2017, we explored English’s evolving social position through the lens of Cuban English language educators -- a critical population for implementing these policy changes. We guided our research with four questions: What relationships do Cuban English teachers have with the language? What values do they place on English knowledge? How have English Language Teaching (ELT) methodologies and student/teacher relationships changed in Cuba? How, if at all, do Cuban English teachers employ critical pedagogy in their practice?
These questions grew out of our professional experiences as U.S. English teachers abroad and from literature on ELT in the Global South. As Shin (2016) notes, ELT’s growth was facilitated by economic and social aspects of globalization and the coercion of Global South countries to adopt neoliberal economic policies. These forces allowed Global North powers to transcend national boundaries and construct a market where English language proficiency became a frequent requirement for economic participation. This transition marks “a shift from understanding language as being primarily a marker of ethnonational understanding language as being a marketable commodity on its own” (Heller, 2005, p. 474). We reframed this idea to ask how changes in ELT policies impacted individual and community identity and values in Cuba.
As interest in the political and sociocultural implications of English language learning in countries of non-heritage English speakers has grown, so has the importance of critical views of ELT (Cox & de Assis-Peterson, 1999). Critical pedagogy in language teaching offers one such critique by viewing education as a political act, arguing for pedagogy that acknowledges social inequalities, and seeking to empower students to positively change their environments (Freire, 2000, Shor, 1993). When educators fail to implement these practices, they can “surreptitiously legitimize and reproduce the politics of the dominant classes, perpetuating social inequalities” (Cox & de Assis-Peterson, 1999, p. 435). From available research in English, it was not apparent if critical pedagogy in ELT had been examined in Cuba. Given the previously discussed changes, however, critical pedagogy in ELT may be more relevant than ever. Accordingly, this study sought to explore this issue.
The data for this qualitative study came from two primary sources -- observations during joint workshops with Cuban educators, and four semi-structured interviews with Cuban English language educators working in Holguin. All interviews were primarily conducted in English. Our findings revealed that the relationships Cuban English teachers had with the language were multilayered, possessing personal, social, academic, and nationalistic aspects. Participants acknowledged how recent policy changes reflected growing perceptions of English as an integral skill for individual economic opportunities, and that citizens felt pressure to learn the language. Additionally, interactions with English created space for educators to understand themselves within a global context and engage in reflection on what it meant to be an English educator in relation to being a Cuban national. Finally, we found that while some elements of critical pedagogy (including characteristics of student/teacher relationships and the dialogic and participatory nature of classes) were present in Cuban ELT, other key elements such as a focus on social inequalities, were noticeably absent.
We acknowledge that our study had several limitations. Our limited time in-country, small participant numbers, mono-regional focus, and interviews primarily in English constrained our ability to flesh out the dimensions of Cuba’s relationship with ELT. Our position as U.S. researchers in Holguin for such a short stay fostered additional limitations; our findings are not just the experiences of our Cuban participants, but rather their stories through our lens and positionality. We could not assess how much trust was built or how comfortable participants were discussing their experiences with us –- especially when considering that we come from a country that has intentionally hurt Cuba’s development and has consistently criticized its policies and practices.
Nonetheless, this study reminds us of the importance of looking at language education not as an isolated academic phenomenon, but rather as a practice grounded in historical, social, economic, political, and global contexts. We believe our research works towards contesting North-South dichotomies by offering alternative narratives around Cuban educational experiences, and by expanding dialogue around the multiple dimensions of the Global North's accountability in the lived realities of communities in the Global South.

Cox, M. I. P., & de Assis-Peterson, A. A. (1999). Critical Pedagogy in ELT: Images of
Brazilian Teachers of English. TESOL Quarterly, 33(3), 433-51.

Cuba says 'yes' to English as tourism flourishes. (2017, January 6). Retrieved from

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed (30th anniversary ed.). New York:

Heller, M. (2003). Globalization, the new economy, and the commodification of language
and identity. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 7(4), 473-492.

Shin, H. (2016). Language ‘skills’ and the neoliberal English education industry. Journal
of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 37(5), 509-522.

Shor, I. (1993). Education is Politics: Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy. In McLaren, P. &
Leonard, P. (Eds.), Paulo Freire: A Critical Encounter. Routledge.

2013 - MWERA Annual Meeting Pages: unavailable || Words: 1369 words || 
2. LINTON, LEON. "Non-native English-speaking Teachers (NNEST) vs. Native English-speaking Teachers (NEST) in English as a Second Language (ESL) Program" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the MWERA Annual Meeting, Hilton Orrington Hotel, Evanston, Illinois, Nov 06, 2013 Online <PDF>. 2019-07-15 <>
Publication Type: Poster
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate an English as a second language (ESL) program using the logic model application to understand the differences (if any) in academic progress in learning English as a second language by students taught by native English-speaking instructors in comparison to the students taught by non-native English-speaking instructors. The study took place at the accredited suburban private for-profit college in the Midwestern metro area of the United States, with a large and diverse body of foreign students and over 100 instructors, both native and non-native English speakers. The results were applied to develop best practices for ESL program administrators and academic personnel. The findings were used to make recommendations about teachers’ recruitment, retention and management; student performance evaluations; classroom management; and program pricing, content and scheduling. Further research of the relationship between the study results and the attainment of institutional financial objectives was suggested.

2015 - American Sociological Association Annual Meeting Pages: unavailable || Words: 4514 words || 
3. Bohm, Maggie. "Bilingual or English Only? Influence of Language and English Proficiency on Asian American Educational Attainment" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Chicago and Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois, Aug 20, 2015 Online <PDF>. 2019-07-15 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This study examines whether speaking English “well” or “not well” matters to Asian Americans in their educational attainment and whether speaking another language other than English at home can influence educational attainment. However, the focus is on college completion or more among Asian American population and the effect of English proficiency and other Asian languages spoken at home. IPUMS 2011 data was utilized to examine language and educational attainment in the Asian population due to their population growth. Results have supported the second hypothesis, for example, Asian Americans who speak Chinese are about 33 percent more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree than Asian Americans who only speaks English at home. Conversely, the first hypothesis was not supported by the results, yet the overall English proficiency are all statically significant at the .001 level that Asians who speaks English only, “very-well, “well”, and “not well” are still more likely to obtain a college degree and a higher degree than Asians who do not speak English at all. Future implications will examine ethnic behavior (integration, assimilation, marginality, deviance) within language (English proficiency or speaking another language at home) and the possibility for decrease or increase in migration patterns on educational attainment.

2015 - LRA 65th Annual Conference Pages: unavailable || Words: unavailable || 
4. Khan, Asma. and Lammers, Jayne. "Experiences of Old-timers and Newcomers in the English Companion Ning: An Online Community for English Teachers" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the LRA 65th Annual Conference, Omni La Costa Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, CA, Dec 02, 2015 Online <PDF>. 2019-07-15 <>
Publication Type: Roundtable
Review Method: Peer Reviewed

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