Dana Slayton

Dana Slayton

Project title: Language at the Cultural Frontier: The Sociolinguistics of Arabic Pedagogy 

Project description: I am investigating the interface of language instruction and intercultural communication in the context of Arabic, which poses unique challenges to students and teachers. The language’s dialect continuum and diglossic nature necessitate development of code-mixing skills and cross-contextual language adaptability in addition to traditional communicative competencies. As such, I am interested in seeing how different instructional approaches include or exclude these sociolinguistic skills in their curricula, and consequently, how student language outcomes are affected. Functionally, I hope that this project can recast the “problem” of Arabic language education as an opportunity to develop more holistic, culturally sound, and community-centered methodologies for Arabic instruction in the future.  

Most important accomplishment:  I moved to Morocco to participate in an intensive Arabic scholarship program for my gap year, which gave me the chance to learn so much about the language I love.

Reflections on the College Scholar Program:  College Scholars has given me the opportunity to focus my intellectual and academic energy on a subject that brings me joy and has the potential to impart excitement and enthusiasm on future language students. With this program, I am able to focus on applying knowledge and theory from a broad array of disciplines to future language classrooms, and focus my research on bridging the gap between academia and the broader community. I love that this program enables me to grow my skills and learn in multiple disciplines, and allows me to meaningfully deepen my knowledge on a subject I love so much every day.