ILA lectures will take place on Zoom in 2022. We have an amazing line-up of speakers.


May 7, 2022

A (class)room of our own: Towards a multimodal grammar of pedagogical conversation on the WhatsApp messaging platform

Dr. Cecilia Magadán
National University of San Martin, Argentina

Time: May 7, 2022. 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 834 4894 4812
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“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” This claim for social justice by Virginia Woolf back in 1928 resonated two years ago when many students and teachers in Argentina (and in other parts of the world) found themselves without a physical classroom, and without means to afford digital devices or connectivity. What did they have at hand? They had WhatsApp, the most popular messaging platform that uses the Internet to send text, images, audio and video, already installed in almost all mobile devices in the country. This presentation focuses on the study of school literacy practices during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. It explores the uses of WhatsApp as an ad-hoc educational platform adopted by teachers in school communities with little access to technological resources. Based on digital microethnographies, this talk opens a theoretical dialogue between some already classic sociolinguistic and ethnographic studies of face-to-face classroom interaction and the analysis of online pedagogical conversations in mobile platforms, such as WhatsApp. Through a sample of selected online exchanges from different courses, I examine: (a) the dynamics of online conversational exchanges between language teachers and high school students in Argentina in light of sociolinguistic studies about classroom interaction (Cazden, 2017; Heath, 1983; Gumperz & Cook-Gumperz, 2006; van Leeuwen, 2017); and (b) the participants’ redesign of WhatsApp as a classroom setting by means of reassigning new linguistic and pedagogical functions to the feature-set made available by the app. Based on the findings and following a multiliteracies approach (Kress et al, 2021; Serafini & Gee, 2017), I address how online talking/writing (along a continuum of semiotic resources) –understood as a social and situated action– enables a dynamic negotiation of linguistic and social identities. To conclude, I review how these recreated mobile spaces (re)shape not only teacher-student interactions, but also the pedagogy of literacies. And returning to Woolf’s claims of social justice, I discuss the tensions between digital inclusion, sociolinguistic repertoires, and school trajectories, as one of the lessons that the pandemic has unmasked, demanding further review and remediation.

Monthly Lectures 2022 - 2023


Date Title Speaker (Affiliation)
March 5 'Talk to (and with) the hand': African American Language, gestures and the Black body Dr. Renee Blake (New York University)
April 9 Toward an Integrated Framework for Studying the Relationship between Bilingual Language Experience and Cognitive Reserve Dr. Laura Spinu (Kingsborough Community College, CUNY)
May 7 A (class)room of our own: Towards a multimodal grammar of pedagogical conversation on the WhatsApp messaging platform Dr. Cecilia Magadán (National University of San Martin, Argentina)


Date Title Speaker (Affiliation)