Improving community relations through understanding historic, linguistic and cultural identities

Principal Investigators: Yecid Ortega

​Approach: Audiovisual linguistic landscaping

Status: In preparation for Autumn 2023

(Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK)

This initiative looks to create awareness of the cultural and linguistic diversity of Belfast, particularly through the art-based street art on the Peace Walls that separate Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods. The project uses innovative methods to document the sociocultural and linguistic identity of the city and its evolution. The initiative hopes to improve community relations and promote the importance of cultures and languages in pedagogical approaches to foster a more welcoming society for all. Ultimately, this project will serve as a resource for community engagement initiatives and workshops for educational practitioners in formal and informal educational spaces.

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Examining expectations and realities for Irish-medium practitioners

Principal Investigators: Aisling O'Boyle, Mel Engman, Sultan Turkan, Yecid Ortega

​Approach: Systematic review and interview research

Status: Dissemination in preparation (Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK)

The research aims to identify evidence from Irish Medium Education (IME) practitioners and relevant stakeholders on the nature of additional competencies and associated workloads which result from working in IME context in Northern Ireland.  Teacher shortages and the lack of dedicated opportunities for Teacher Professional Learning (TPL) in the IME sector are recognized as matters which have the potential to contribute to sustained educational underachievement for pupils in Northern Ireland (Fair Start Policy 2021). Opportunities for young adults to become IME practitioners are developing, with the increase in the number of places available for IME in initial teacher education in Northern Ireland. However, the IME sector has continued to face multiple challenges. Some of the challenges are similar to those evident in other school sectors (e.g. lack of early career support, flexible working patterns and career journeys), but some are unique to the IME sector in NI. The extent and nature of a proportion of these additional challenges are known (e.g. extra workload as a result of IME sector advocacy, lack of appropriate assessment tools, shortage of teachers across all curriculum subjects). However, there are likely to be further and unreported challenges which may, until now, have been erroneously framed as individualized deficiencies

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Soundscapes of the diver[city]

Principal Investigator: Yecid Ortega

​Approach: Soundscaping Walk Methodology (SWM)

Status: Data analysis (Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK)

This exploratory study (Jupp, 2006) uses walking methodology (Springgay & Truman, 2017) and soundscaping/sound walking (Carlyle, 2007) to capture the cultural and linguistic diversity of the cities (Diver[city]). I immersed myself in walking the main streets of two cities (e.g., London, England, and Oslo, Norway etc. ) as a pilot to capture their cultural and linguistic richness. 

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Understanding the Revitalization of Indigenous Languages: Trans[cultura]Lingual Experiences of online/in-person Quechua learning

Principal Investigator: Yecid Ortega in consultation with Kuskalla

​Approach: Online documentation (Netnography)

Status: Finished

Trans[cultura]linguación (Ortega, 2019) refers to the synergy of languages interacting with cultures in a pedagogical task. In this process, a transaction between languages and variations of the same language (Quechua/Spanish/English) is used while students learn about their own culture and others. With this framework in mind, I reflect on the process of learning Quechua from various learners from across the American Continent (Abya Yala). I documented the online Quechua classes delivered online through Zoom and Facebook live during the pandemic years (2021 – 2022). I attempted to understand the different online interactions and the teaching/learning processes among the teachers and students. 

More information here. 

Addressing Anti-Black Racism in English Language Teaching (ELT): Challenges and Possibilities

Principal Investigators: Wales Wong & ​Yecid Ortega

​Approach: Duoethnographic Research

Status: Publication in press

We used a duo ethnographic self-study research project that engaged conversations and pedagogical practice around anti-Black racism in the teaching of English as a second language (ESL). We utilized an anti-racist theory framework and concepts of solidarity and allyship to explore the possibilities and challenges for ESL teachers to plan, execute, and evaluate lessons that are in line with the students’ academic needs and to challenge and dismantle current discrimination against marginalized communities. 

Social Justice in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) from International Perspectives

Principal Investigator: Yecid Ortega

Approach: Critical Ethnography

​Status: Finished 

A qualitative approach to research was utilized to understand the lived experiences of English teachers and students in a marginalized public school in the capital city of Colombia (Bogotá). Findings of a grounded theory approach helped to theorize on pedagogical approaches that looked at the students as social agents of change in connection with their communities and how they see a future in an ever-evolving violent world.   

Download the document here.