Nelson Flores (UPenn)- “Tracing the Specter of Semilingualism in Bilingual Educational Policy”

Nov 11, 2019, 4:30 pm4:30 pm
010 East Pyne


Event Description

Raciolinguistic ideologies co-construct language and race in ways that frame the language practices of racialized communities as inherently deficient. Latinx students, in particular, are often categorized as semilinguals who have failed to fully master either English or Spanish. Guest speaker Nelson Flores (Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania) traces the specter of semilingualism from the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 to contemporary standards-based reform. He discusses the ways that teachers interpret Latinx students’ language practices, and explores the implications of his research findings for new conceptualizations that resist raciolinguistic ideologies.

Nelson Flores (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania)

Nelson Flores began his career as an ESL teacher in Philadelphia and New York City public schools. Many of his students were categorized as “Long Term English Learners” who had been officially designated as English Learners for seven or more years. The disconnect between the deficit perspectives typically used to describe these students and the fluid bilingualism he observed them engaged in on a daily basis led him to pursue a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Dr. Flores has collaborated on several research projects focused on the education of language-minoritized students in U.S. schools, including a study of students officially categorized as “Long Term English Learners” and a study of successful high schools serving large numbers of Latinx students. He also served as project director for the CUNY–New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals, a New York State Education Department initiative seeking to improve the educational outcomes of emergent bilingual students through an intensive seminar series for school leaders, combined with onsite support by CUNY faculty. His most recent collaboration has been with The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL), where he is studying the historical development of and contemporary implementation of standards-based reform for students officially classified as English Learners.

Dr. Flores examines the intersection of language, race, and the political economy in shaping U.S. educational policies and practices. He analyzes the historical origins of raciolinguistic ideologies that have framed the language practices of racialized communities as inherently deficient and in need of remediation. He also analyzes the ways that these raciolinguistic ideologies continue to be reproduced within contemporary bilingual education policies and practices.

Dr. Flores was the recipient of the 2017 AERA Bilingual Education SIG Early Career Award, a 2017 Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the 2019 James Atlas Prize for Research on Language Planning and Policy in Educational Contexts. He is also on several editorial boards including The International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, and Multilingua.

Selected publications:

Flores, N., & Chaparro, S. (2018). What counts as language education policy? Developing a materialist anti-racist approach to language activism. Language Policy, 17, 365–384.

Flores, N., Lewis, M., & Phuong, J. (2018). Raciolinguistic chronotopes and the education of Latinx students: Resistance and anxiety in a bilingual school. Language and Communication, 62, 15–25.

Rosa, J., & Flores, N. (2017). Unsettling race and language: Toward a raciolinguistic perspective. Language in Society, 46, 621–647.

Flores, N., & García, O. (2017). A critical review of bilingual education in the United States: From basements and pride to boutiques and profit. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 37, 14–29.

García, O., Flores, N., & Spotti, M. (2016). (Eds). Oxford Handbook of Language and Society. New York: Oxford University Press.

Flores, N. (2016). A tale of two visions: Hegemonic whiteness and bilingual education. Educational Policy, 30, 13–38.

Flores, N., & Rosa, J. (2015). Undoing appropriateness: Raciolinguistic ideologies and language diversity in education. Harvard Educational Review, 85, 149–171.

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