Lecture by E. Shohamy, November 18, 2016

Elana Shohamy, Professor, School of Education, Tel Aviv University

Linguistic Landscape: A tool for critical interpretations of societies is moving to the classroom

This paper expands upon one I gave at UC Berkeley in 2014 where I presented an overview of LL research focusing on LL as a form of contestation in public spaces. Since then, LL in books, journals and conferences (i.e., LL-7 at UC Berkeley, 2015) has moved in multiple directions. One fast-growing area is the use of LL in education: teaching and learning in classrooms and schools and on different levels (Malinowski 2015). In this lecture I will focus on how the study of LL in public spaces can be used to develop awareness of injustice, inequalities and discrimination, i.e., the public space becomes a learning resource. LL in the public space is often referred to as a textbook which differs greatly from school textbooks which are institutionalized, stilted and controlled versus the public space which is open, authentic and dynamic. Within these concepts I will survey new and in-progress research regarding the use of the ecology as a major resource for interpreting societies. These studies demonstrate how engagement with LL can provide opportunities for critical engagement with societies. Documenting the public space can trigger language learners to notice diversity (or lack thereof), controversies, ideologies and justice and to pose critical questions such as: Which languages are included? Who is left out? Who participates and why? What are the main agendas behind these realities? Carrying out research on LL in education implies the need to conceptualize, concretize and collect data on ways students and adults become aware, begin to observe and notice the multiple layers of meanings displayed in LL in public spaces. Thus, this approach serves as a means for incorporating authentic language learning in the classroom.

Friday, November 18, 2016
3 – 5 pm
B-4 Dwinelle Hall