Plenary Speakers

  • Cross-National, Multi-Language Professional Development Experiences:
    Challenges and Success Stories from Teachers of Adult Immigrants

    Joy Kreeft Peyton

    Senior Fellow
    Center for Applied Linguistics
    For more information on the EU-Speak project that Dr. Peyton will be discussing, including details on how to get involved, please view this flyer.

    The number of adults with limited education and literacy is decreasing worldwide (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016), but their rate of immigration to the United States and many other countries is increasing significantly. In their new homes, many of these new arrivals face significant challenges in moving from a basic to an intermediate level of oral proficiency and in acquiring literacy skills in a language that they do not yet speak proficiently.

    Meanwhile, teachers are strongly motivated to improve their abilities to work successfully with these learners (Young-Scholten, Peyton, Sosinski, & Manjón Cabeza, 2015), and research demonstrates that they make more progress when taught by qualified teachers (Condelli, Cronen, Bos, Tseng, & Altuna, 2010). However, in most countries, no specific training exists, and no specific teaching qualifications are required to work with these learners. Even teachers who have years of experience with teaching adults and young children to read often have not had training focused specifically on the backgrounds and needs of these learners. In many programs, volunteers work with this population.

    This presentation describes a set of cross-national, multi-language online modules (courses) on six critical topics that the EU-Speak-3 project is designing for teachers around the world who work with adult immigrants with limited education and literacy in their home languages. The modules focus on understanding the characteristics and strengths of these learners and the challenges they face. They also focus on applied topics such as how to teach and assess morphosyntax, vocabulary, and reading; and how to teach language and literacy in their social contexts. The modules involve English-speaking teachers from the US, Canada, the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, and multilingual versions are available in Finnish, German, Spanish, and Turkish, supported by mentors who speak the language.

    After a brief discussion of the learner population and the needs of teachers, volunteers, and administrators working with them, I will describe the challenges involved in conducting this type of professional development, some success stories from the teachers who have participated, the outcomes of the modules to date, and ways that conference participants can join the modules themselves.


    Condelli, L., Cronen, S., Bos, J., Tseng, F., & Altuna, J. (2010). The impact of a literacy intervention for low-educated adult ESL learners. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, NCEE, Institute of Education Sciences.

    UNESCO Institute for Statistics. (2016). Literacy data release 2016.

    Young-Scholten, M., Peyton, J. K., Sosinski, M., & Manjón Cabeza, A. M. (2015). LESLLA teachers’ views of the knowledge and skills they need: An international study. In I. van de Craats, J. Kurvers, & R. van Hout (Eds.), Adult literacy, second language, and cognition. LESLLA Proceedings 2014. Nijmegen, Netherlands: Centre for Language Studies.

    Joy Kreeft Peyton is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics, in Washington, DC, where she served as Vice President for 16 years. She holds a Ph.D. in sociolinguistics from Georgetown University. She has over 35 years of experience working in the field of languages, linguistics, and culture in education. Her work includes working with teachers and program leaders in K-12 and adult education settings in the United States and other countries (including Ethiopia and Nepal) to improve their instructional practice and study the implementation and outcomes of research-based practice. Her work includes implementing and studying approaches to writing that facilitate engagement and learning and promote academic and professional success. She is a Senior Advisor for the EU-SPEAK project (Newcastle University), whose mission is to enhance the knowledge and skills of teachers of adult immigrants who have limited education and literacy in their native language.

  • Towards a Translingually Responsive Pedagogy:
    Implications for Teacher Education, Practice, and Research

    Rashi Jain

    Assistant Professor
    Academic English Language Program, Montgomery College

    Translingualism in TESOL has been emerging as a new paradigm (Canagarajah, 2012; 2013; Pennycook, 2008), and the advances that are being made in theorizing about translingualism need to be supplemented with discussions about translingual practices and pedagogies (Jain, 2014). Translingualism refers to the speaker’s capacity for using English contextually and creatively in relation to the other codes in society and their personal repertoires (Canagarajah, 2013). In turn, both translingual students and teachers undergo the cognitively complex process of developing proficiency in more than one language, and this experience of traversing languages creates new understandings and processes, and supports conceptual fluency (Motha, Jain, & Tecle, 2012).

    In response to emerging conceptualizations around translingualism and translingual identities, all TESOL practitioners could benefit greatly by preparing themselves to teach from translingual and acculturation perspectives that enable learners to acquire new competencies while retaining and building upon existing language(s) and culture(s), versus an assimilationist ‘English only’ perspective that inadvertently devalues the linguistic and cultural resources that language learners bring into the classroom. Fostering awareness about translingual and transcultural identities would also help increase teacher candidates’ own global competence and ability to teach effectively across languages and cultures. All of these elements and more comprise my conceptualization of a translingually responsive pedagogy. 

    Through my talk, therefore, I will emphasize the need for language teachers and teacher educators to pursue pedagogy that is responsive to the translingual realities that operate in and outside English language classrooms -- a translingually responsive pedagogy that acknowledges and validates the Englishes and translinguistic identities present in their classrooms and deeply problematizes ‘English only’ attitudes. 

    I will also bring in practical and theoretical insights from my own practitioner work and provide questions to facilitate critical thinking. I thus hope to present ideas and practices related to translingually responsive pedagogy that teachers and teacher educators can transfer to their own pedagogy and pedagogical sites.



    Canagarajah, A. S. (2012). Toward a rhetoric of translingual writing. The Working Papers Series on Negotiating Differences in Language and Literacy. University of Louisville. 

    Canagarajah, A. S. (2013). Translingual practice: Global Englishes and cosmopolitan relations (1st ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

    Jain, R. (2014). Global Englishes, translingual practices, and translinguistic identities in a community college ESL classroom: A practitioner researcher reports. TESOL Journal, 5(3).

    Motha, S., Jain, R., & Tecle, T. (2012). Translinguistic identity-as-pedagogy: Implications for Ttacher education. International Journal of Innovation in English Language Teaching and Research, 1(1).

    Pennycook, A. (2008). Translingual English. In F. Sharifian & M. Clyne (Eds.), Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 30.31-30.39. International Forum on English as an International Language.


    Dr. Rashi Jain is originally from India, where she completed her undergraduate studies in English literature as well as German as a foreign language. Rashi moved to the U.S. in 2004 to pursue first a master's and then a doctoral degree in education, specializing in TESOL, at the University of Maryland, College Park. After successfully completing her Ph.D. studies with a dissertation that focused on practitioner research in a community college setting, Rashi handled instructional and administrative assignments at her alma mater, before transitioning to a full time faculty position at INTO Mason, at George Mason University. During these years, Rashi also taught as an adjunct in Montgomery College's WD&CE ESL program. Rashi has recently joined Montgomery College as an Assistant Professor at AELP's Rockville campus. 

    A global citizen who lives across nations, languages, and cultures, Rashi believes that it is crucial for students and educators to acquire intercultural and translingual competence to successfully navigate complex 21st-century realities. As part of her professional endeavors, Rashi has been exploring the rich field of practitioner research and inquiry, and has also published and presented extensively on teaching cross-cultural communication in university courses, teacher identity and pedagogy, World Englishes and translingualism, and Non-native English Speaking Teacher (NNEST) issues. Rashi has been both a practitioner and an academic in her diverse roles as teacher, teacher educator, writer/editor, researcher, and administrator over almost two decades in various higher education settings. As such, Rashi defines herself as a ‘pracademic’—someone who works at the intersection of practitioner and academic communities—a role that truly reflects current global realities where the boundaries between different professional communities are becoming increasingly blurred.