Nelson Flores is an assistant professor of educational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. His research seeks to denaturalize dominant language ideologies that inform current conceptualizations of language education. This entails both historical analysis of the origins of current language ideologies and contemporary analysis examining how current language education policies and practices reproduce these language ideologies. His primary objective is to illustrate the ways that dominant language ideologies marginalize language-minoritized students and to develop alternative conceptualizations of language education that challenge their minoritization. His work has appeared in scholarly journals such as Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, Linguistics and Education, TESOL Quarterly and Harvard Educational Review.
In his presentation, Dr. Flores will critically examine the ways that academic language has been conceptualized in mainstream educational research and explore the ways that these dominant conceptualizations have contributed to the marginalization of Latino students by obscuring structural racial inequalities. He will begin by offering a theoretical critique of current conceptualizations of academic language. He then examines several spontaneous language interactions observed as part of a longitudinal linguistic ethnography of Latino students in a dual language charter school in a low-income and hypersegregated neighborhood of Philadelphia. He will explore the complex linguistic negotiations that occur during these spontaneous language interactions and the ways that these interactions do not conform to the rigid dichotomy of academic and non-academic language. Dr. Flores will conclude with a call to develop a new conceptualization of language that is situated within a larger critique of racial inequalities that current conceptualizations of academic language normalize.