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THE EL SALVADORIAN SIMULATION OF THE OTHER: Identity, Investment, and Language Learning


The El Salvadorian Simulation of the Other:

Identity, Investment, and Language Learning

Ari Sherris & Kristin Rosekrans


Growing numbers of culturally and linguistically diverse children attend school in alien nation-states on every continent. The offspring of transnationals, asylum seekers, migrant laborers, and foreign workers, both undocumented and documented, these children are underserved by policies that control school systems and those that prepare teachers. As a result, teachers and teacher educators are faced with addressing sociocultural and psychosocial issues from the front line, often in a make-shift way if at all, with little or no prior education on the scope and breadth of the issues, often very little support, and little shared personal experience with the plight of marginalized, invisible aspects of identity and the lives of the “others”. One way to address this is through workshop simulations where teachers and teacher educators experience a classroom where they are the other and have to cope with a language they never heard. The purpose of this study is to have teachers journal about their thoughts, strategies, and frustrations as well as attempt to uncover the hidden and visible aspects of their own identity while learning in such conditions. Data from the journals will be coded from an emic position and compared to data from journal entries by US school teachers who experienced the same simulation. A mixed methods approach will be employed to analyze data that includes using a t-test to determine statistical significance for any common themes that emerge as well as a discussion of examples from the data.

Ari holds a PhD in second language learning and an MA in discourse analysis. His research and development interests include ecologically sustainable language development, revitalization of critically endangered languages, multilingualism, as well as language and literacy materials design. He has facilitated workshops for language teachers on four continents. 


Kristin holds an MA in International Development from Harvard and currently works towards a PhD in Education from Berkeley. Her research and development interests include the direction and coordination of national reform efforts that provide research-based multilingual and multiliterate education for young learners and teacher education on best multiliteracy practices for teachers and teacher educators.