Research News

UW-Madison's Hamman receives 2016 Doctoral Dissertation Grant from TIRF

October 12, 2016

UW-Madison’s Laura Hamman recently received a 2016 Doctoral Dissertation Grant from The International Research Foundation (TIRF) for English Language Education.

Hamman mug
Hamman is a Ph.D. candidate with the School of Education’s No.1-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Her dissertation is titled: “Language and Identity in Dual Language Immersion: A Comparative Study of Being and Becoming Bilingual.”

The dual language immersion (DLI) program has become popular for meeting the instructional needs of language minority students. However, criticism of the model says that strict separation of the two languages stems from monolingual bias and does not fully explore how dynamic bilingualism is. Additionally, little is known about how students experience these programs and what contributes to their decision to “invest” (or not) in becoming bilingual.

Hamman’s study will explore whether DLI model truly addresses the needs of language minority students, how language, ideology and identity intersect in DLI classrooms, and how dual language classrooms can become transformative learning spaces.

“I am honored to receive the TIRF award and excited to be able to put the funds to good use,” says Hamman. “As part of the study, I am collaborating with classroom teachers to design a bilingual book project to see how the process of creating a bilingual text shapes student learning, second language acquisition and investment in becoming bilingual. The grant money will be used to print individual hardcopies of the books for all students and teachers.”