J. Sánchez-Naranjo, Ph.D.
Uncovering the Difficulties of Language and Language Learning
My Research
Understanding the complexities of language and language learning has been the driving impetus behind my research. My research experience involves the study of structural descriptions of languages, the study of their social uses, and the study of language learning and teaching in first (L1) and second language (L2) settings. My recent research focuses on learners’ difficulties in the acquisition of L2 Spanish and classroom pedagogies that contribute to circumvent those difficulties. By combining various modes of inquiry, I strive to address questions that result from both disciplinary and pedagogical realms.
Ongoing Research Projects
On Heritage & Second Language Writing:
Construcciones discursivas y de identidad en la escritura en español como lengua heredada ¿Cómo entender y relacionar la tensión entre las historias individuales y sociales en el contexto de la escritura del español como lengua heredada en EE.UU.? Esta pregunta orienta el presente estudio cuyo objetivo es examinar la auto-representación y las elecciones retóricas específicas que hacen los hablantes de lengua heredada (HLH) en textos escritos para posicionarse en el discurso académico. Los resultados ofrecen un marco conceptual para habilitar a los HLH a identificar y superar el relato del déficit y validar su voz en la escritura.
Spanish Language Learning Without Borders: In Search of Multilingual Repertoires How to create a transnational context in L2 teaching that goes beyond artificial outcomes? Being a user of Spanish allows L2 learners to connect with those wider speech communities and create an awareness of multilocality (Vertovec 2009). By problematizing constructs of ‘language’ and ‘L2 learning and teaching’ and mobilizing a series of students’ experiences and repertoires as resources in the process of L2 learning, this study examines a curricular effort to redesign Spanish language classes in terms of transnationalism. It is particularly concerned with engaging L2 learners in transnational language exchanges and explorations that may have an impact on L2 learners’ identity and how they relate to the social world. In academic contexts, such approach may reveal the complexities and dynamics in the way learners control their diverse resources for L2 learning, and consequently, may allow us to reconsider the L2 learner as a developing multilingual language user rather than two monolinguals in one.
On Multilingual Repertoires and Second Language Learning:
New technologies and old teaching practices do not mix: The impact of podcasting on L2 Spanish proficiency How does podcasting contribute to improve L2 Spanish proficiency? One enabling technology that has been shown to be a formative interactive tool that facilitates expansion of learning opportunities and L2 pronunciation improvement is podcasting. Podcasts are versatile in the sense they can be used with a variety of digital audio formats and play on almost any MP3 player or portable digital audio device —as well as any brand of computer. In general, they are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. Podcasts also allow both instructors and students to create course materials outside of the classroom and share them. By participating in their creation, students can practice listening and speaking, and deal with authentic and meaningful contexts in the L2 (Stanley 2006; Ducate and Lomicka 2006). This project explores proficiency within a contextualized podcasting approach, and aims to examine how podcasting can benefit the L2 Spanish classroom by providing a teaching strategy to maximize student-centered activities and improve L2 learners’ proficiency in Spanish.
On Second Language Oral Proficiency:
Genres: A Bridge Between Linguistic Knowledge Integration and L2 Spanish Writing. How to improve second language learners’ writing skills in Spanish? The genre-based approach has been recognized as an important step forward to improve L2 writing. It blends the best practices from the fields of applied linguistics, and rhetoric and composition. It also offers students and instructors a powerful pedagogical L2 writing tool and allows them to increase their awareness about different ways of organizing information in writing. By discussing distinctive features of purposeful texts, learners systemically acquire L2 metalinguistic awareness, which empowers them to manipulate information and accomplish different purposes through writing. In L2 Spanish courses, in particular, the range of settings and contexts where writing is taught is enormous; nevertheless, the genre-based approach has been remarkably overlooked and the need for research is especially great. This project investigates the contribution of the genre-based approach in L2 Spanish writing classes. It specifically examines the impact and effectiveness of this approach on L2 Spanish writing skill development.


© J. Sánchez-Naranjo, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Assistant Professor, T.S., of Spanish Applied Linguistics & Language Pedagogy

University of Toronto

Department of Spanish & Portuguese

91 Charles St. W. Room 208

Victoria College

Toronto, ON M5S 1K7

Phone: (416) 813-4080

Jeannette Sánchez-Naranjo, Ph.D.