Language, Education and Society
The PhD in Language, Education and Society is a research-driven program that focuses students’ studies on how language, culture and social processes affect educational issues. Students have many ways to customize their doctoral program and many opportunities to work closely with faculty on their research and pursue their own research interests to shape the educational discourse in language, culture and learning in our nation’s schools and beyond.
Students who pursue a PhD in Language, Education, and Society (LES) learn in a research-intensive environment studying how language and social processes are related to educational issues. Students and faculty are engaged with issues of language, culture and learning in school and non-school settings and believe that some of the most difficult problems in education and society can be addressed through research and scholarship.
Among the topics we study are:
- Uses of spoken and written language
- Language and literacy development
- Biliteracy and bilingualism in classrooms, families and communities
- Language variation and diversity
- The discourse patterns in classrooms and other educational settings
- The ethnography of language and literacy
- Reading and writing education
- Issues of language, power, and social justice
- Education for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, visually impaired or have other sensory disabilities
- Young children’s uses of language and learning
- Inclusion of students with special needs in classrooms, communities and social institutions
- Theories and methods for researching language in social contexts
Our doctoral program emphasizes working closely with faculty and active engagement in research. Students work with faculty on research projects and they pursue their own research interests with faculty support. The courses prepare students to be scholars, researchers, teacher educators and activists who understand the complexities of language, culture, learning and education. The program is flexible to meet students’ interests and goals and allows doctoral students to specialize their studies.
- Language and Learning in Classroom and Non-Classroom Settings
Focuses on the close connection between language and learning across the grade levels from preschool through high school and across classroom, community, family, teacher education, and other contexts.
- Bilingualism and Biliteracy
Focuses on bilingual and biliteracy development and education for children and adolescents in primary and secondary schools. Also address the local and global perspectives on bilingual education policy and practices.
- Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Focuses on the ways education can be conceptualized to best meet the needs of diverse student populations (pre-school to elementary) within a continually shifting cultural and political global context.
- Language Variation
Focuses on how the variation in the dialects and languages students speak might influence their education with particular emphasis on understanding the legitimacy and beauty of all language varieties.
- Education for Students Who Are Visually Impaired
Focuses on the education of students with visual impairments. Emphasis is placed on academic learning with special attention to science education, instruction that promotes conceptual understanding of academic domains and teacher education and curriculum development.
- Critical Discourse Analysis
Focuses on the relationship of language and power with specific attention to how language reflects and produces power relationships among people and among people and social institutions.
- Language Socialization
Focuses on how people use language for the purpose of socializing others and themselves to particular communities and cultures while simultaneously focusing on how the activities, events, and practices of a community socialize people to that community’s ways of using language.
Alumni of the Language, Education and Society program have careers in a variety of positions including:
- University faculty who work in:
- Teacher education
- Literacy education
- Early childhood education
- K-12 education of emergent bilinguals
- Writing and composition education
- Education for students who are visually impaired or who have other sensory disabilities
- College level ESL education
- Bilingual and biliteracy education
- Education for deaf and hard of hearing students
- Qualitative and discourse analysis
- K-12 curriculum supervisors, administrators, inclusion specialists and teachers.
Course requirements: 2 department core courses (8 hours), 8 specialization courses (24 hours), research methods (9 hours), apprenticeship (6 hours), dissertation (6 hours), breadth requirement (3 hours)
Other requirements: Research apprenticeship, candidacy exam, dissertation
Academic opportunities: Graduate associateships, scholarships, university fellowships
Mollie Blackburn, PhD, Professor
David Bloome, PhD, EHE Distinguished Professor
Theodore Chao, PhD, Assistant Professor
Christian Faltis, PhD, Professor
Danene Fast, Clinical Assistant Professor
Sarah Gallo, PhD, Associate Professor and LES Convener
Michiko Hikida, PhD, Assistant Professor
Laurie Katz, PhD, Professor
Leslie C. Moore, PhD, Associate Professor
Elaine Richardson, PhD, Professor
Peter Sayer, PhD, Associate Professor
Francis Troyan, PhD, Associate Professor
Tiffany Wild, PhD, Associate Professor