Dr Lavinia Hirsu
- Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, Composition and English as a Foreign Language (Culture, Literacies, Inclusion & Pedagogy)
I am a specialist in rhetoric and writing studies. I have a Phd in Composition, Literacy and Culture from Indiana University and an MA in TESOL/ Applied Linguistic (secondary area: Socio-Linguistic Anthropology) from Iowa State University. Before joining the University of Glasgow, I was an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and held teaching positions at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) and Iowa State University (Ames, IA).
My research is transdisciplinary, bringing together strands from digital literacies, social inclusion and integration, rhetoric and composition, and trasnlingualism and translingual pedagogy. My work has appeared in Computers and Composition and JAEPL: The Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning and I am currently involved in a series of projects with professional and public impact.
At the University of Glasgow, I am part of the TESOL team in the School of Education since 2015. While I am working on the TESOL programme, I am also delivering a series of lectures, seminars, and workshops on academic writing. With a teaching experience of 15 years+, I have worked with many student groups, including novice writers, advanced and honors students, multilingual learners, and professional writers. I find inspiration in my students' energy and dedication to learning and in my colleagues' robust work.
Current Professional Affiliations
- Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet)
- Glasgow Social and Digital Change Group
- CR&DALL (Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning)
- Rhetoric Society of America
- Rhetoric Society of Europe
- British Association for Applied Linguistics
- BAAL Language and New Media SIG
My areas of expertise and interest include:
- rhetorical dimensions of digital and computational environments
- digital literacies
- theories of cultural diversity and social inclusion
- academic writing
- translingual pedagogy and linguistic inclusion
I have been involved in various projects which reflect the interdiscilinary nature of my research:
Strengthening Urban Engagement of Universities in Asia and Africa (SUEUAA) (http://sueuaa.org/)
This project addresses a core problem in emerging economies of strengthening the urban engagement role of universities, and ways they contribute to developing sustainable cities in the context of the major social, cultural, environmental and economic challenges facing the global south. It seeks to strengthen the capacity of universities to contribute to city resilience towards natural and human-made disasters. Examples of urban engagement include supporting the development of physical infrastructure, ecological sustainability, and social inclusion (including the social inclusion of migrants). The project assesses the extent to which universities in 6 countries (Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe) respond to the demands of society, and how through dialogue with city stakeholders this response can be enhanced. The project builds on the work of a collaborative team from the UK and the above-mentioned emerging economies.
Challenging the Translingual Turn: Student-Teachers' Perceptions, Practices and Networks
This project, supported by the British Council, explores the potential and limitations of the translingual turn for TESOL student-teachers who move from their MA studies into the workplace. Now that we have established that language learners are always engaged in translingual practices, to what extent do teachers actively engage within the same translingual framework in their classrooms? The research explores student-teachers' language ideologies at the beginning of their postgraduate studies, their changing perceptions and practices during their studies, and the take-up and implementation of new pedagogies when they return in their home countries. The project maps out pedagogical changes, expectations, and practices collected from student-teachers, as well as other direct stakeholders in the students' working contexts (such as programme coordinators, supervisors, and other language professionals). Findings from this research indicate possible ways of supporting a translingual agenda to make a more sustainable impact on local stakeholders who may be less familiar or open to a translingual approach.
Book project: Rhetorical Machines: Writing, Code and Computational Ethics (co-edited with John Jones, Ohio State University)
Rhetorical Machines brings together scholar-practitioners from rhetoric, computer science, and writing studies to analyze new and unexplored relationships between persuasion and code. Looking at a variety of computational machines, the essays draw attention to the rhetorical nature of code and call for interdisciplinary understandings of human-machine interactions. The chapters collected in Rhetorical Machines shed light on the production, distribution, and reception of digitally mediated communication generated by algorithmic and mathematical procedures, coding languages, and software. The collection offers a fresh look at social-computational relations by analyzing hybrid machines that combine rhetorical and computational logics into new mechanics.
Evaluative research report on a project implemented by the Scottish Refugee Council: Sharing Lives, Sharing Languages: A Pilot Project for New Scots' Social and Language Integration: Evaluation Report, June 2017
The evaluation report covers the implementation period of the project supporting New Scots' social and language integration over a period of six months. Building on a peer education model, the project enabled peer groups to bring together non-native English speakers and local community members to support and develop two-way integration in four local areas across Scotland. The report also includes evidence of language support from other comparative locations across Scotland and proposes a model for working across language barriers.
I have initiated and currently coordinating an international emergent network around women's changing roles and trajectories as they move into the marketplace in contexts where opportunities for employment are scarce resources. The SFC GCRF funding strand supported the set up of this network. The core international team, including academic and non-academic partners from the UK, Iran and the Philippines are currently working to extend the network, conduct research and implement learning opportunities to support women in various contexts to strengthen their digital literacies to carve better futures.
Creative Language Practices: Exploring Translanguaging in Pedagogical Contexts and Beyond (with Sally Zacharias and Dobrochna Futro)
This project is structured as a series of CPD workshops developed in collaboration with teachers from the EALUnit (English as an Additional Language) , Glasgow City Council. The aim of the project was three-fold: (a) to develop a series of arts-based practices to support a translingual pedagogy for multilingual contexts (in collaboration with a team of creative artists); (b) to test and to implement a series of translingual activities in various classroom contexts across Glasgow; and (c) to develop a Toolkit with strategies developed in the project to be made available for teachers in other contexts. The Toolkit is available for borrowing in the Mitchell Library - School Library Outreach unit (Glasgow) or free to download via the project website.
For collaborations, please contact me via email at Lavinia.Hirsu@glasgow.ac.uk
GCRF Research Grant, Scottish Funding Council (co-I) (August 2019-June 2020). Reducing Gender Inequalities at a Household Level In Informal Settlements in Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania
(with Katarzyna Borkowska)
GCRF Network Grant, Scottish Funding Council (PI)(January-June 2019)
Workers by Self-Design: Digital Literacies and Women's Changing Roles in Unstable Environments
(with Katarzyna Borkowska and Matthew Chalmers)
Creative Language Practices: Exploring Translanguaging Research in Pedagogical Contexts and Beyond
(with Sally Zacharias)
British Academy, Cities and Infrastructure Programme (co-I) (2017-2019)
Strengthening Urban Engagement of Universities in Asia and Africa (SUEUAA)
(with Mike Osborne, Muir Houston, Neil Burnside and Katarzyna Borkowska)
British Council, ELT Research Award (PI) (2017-2019)
Challenging the Translingual Turn: Student-Teachers' Perceptions, Practices and Networks
(with Sally Zacharias)
IAA ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund (co-I) (October 2016-December 2016)
Picturebooks for Holistic Education: Communities of Inquiry and Displaced Children in Cairo
(with Julie McAdam)
Inspiring Innovation Initiative, University of Glasgow (September 2016 - June 2017)
The Multimodal, Multilingual and Multicultural Potential of Picturebooks
(with Julie McAdam and Susanne Abou Ghaida)
I work with MSc and MEd students completing degrees in TESOL and Ph.D. students in Education.
Ayesha Abida. Towards a Blended Learning Approach to TEFL in Pakistani Universities: Learner Attitudes and Implications for Pedagogy
Sarah Cox. Language Ecologies: Experiences of women involved in the process of separation and reunion and the impact on intergenerational language learning
Eva Hanna. Effective Support for Progression to Higher Education for University – aspiring Refugees
Qian Yang. The relationship between Scotland’s Chinese young students’ cultural acculturation experience and their practice on bilingual learning. The voice from young Chinese bilingual learners
Melanie Wilde. Primary Children’s Cultural and Critical Responses to Picturebooks and Each Other in English and Scottish School Settings: The Role of Posthumanism
Past Projects (selected)
Ahmed Abdullah (2019). Investigating Iraqi Secondary School English Language Teachers' Pedagogical Practices (PhD)
Arif Zufi (2016). A Comparative Evaluation of Speaking Tasks of Intermediate Level English Textbooks from Bangladesh and the UK: A Communicative Language Teaching Approach.
Baolong Wu (2016). Communicative Language Teaching: An Analytical Evaluation of the Speaking Activities of Two English Textbooks in Britain.
Jing Liu (2016). TESOL Chinese Students' Perceptions of Speaking Anxiety in a British University Context and the Implications for Pedagogic Practice.
Anamaria Kinga Maior (2016). An Exploration of the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game World of Warcraft as a Tool for Facilitating Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition.
I work with undergraduate and graduate students in courses such as
- Professional Enquiry
- Descriptions of Language
- Developing Reflective Practice in Teaching
- Which English: Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching
- Introduction to Educational and Social Research
- Language Proficiency, Assessment and Feedback
I deliver lectures, seminars, and workshops on academic writing, digital literacies, and issues of cultural diversity (in the classroom and the public sphere).