I study the development of social (sociocognitive) models and their role in developing literacy skills. Much of my current work explores one aspect of that development in particular: how children and youth, especially those from multilingual backgrounds and in urban contexts, learn to acknowledge, understand, explain, and embody others’ points of view—how they learn to engage in the perspective-taking and cognitive empathy crucial to crafting written persuasive arguments.
I am particularly interested in the sociocognitive models—and the strength of skill in their use—that bilinguals develop as a result of their linguistic and cultural experiences, and what these can tell us about (1) how literacy skills affect and are affected by people's interactions with others as well as with texts, (2) how we might alter or expand our notion of literacy by putting at its center sociocognitive models and the kinds of thinking they promote, and (3) what favorable consequences such an expanded notion of literacy could have for teaching and learning. Among these consequences is the cultivation of a scientific attitude among learners, across grades and disciplines.
I currently approach these topics using mixed-methods educational research techniques and lab-based psychological experiments. In addition to those interests, I also investigate issues in applied psycholinguistics, intervention/design-based implementation research, and the philosophy of science that intersect with them.
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