Dr Lavinia Hirsu
- Senior 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, Higher Education, Language and Intercultural Communication and International Journal for Disaster Risk Reduction. 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 Social and Digital Change Group
- CR&DALL (Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning)
- Rhetoric Society of Europe
My areas of expertise and interest include:
- rhetorical dimensions of digital environments
- digital literacies
- translingual pedagogy and linguistic inclusion
- academic writing
- theories of cultural diversity and social inclusion
My recent projects include:
Robots as Reading Companions (ESRC IAA) (with Bishakha Chaudhury)
This project pilots the use of social robots as reading companions in primary schools to increase pupils’ confidence in reading and STEM skills. The project aims to gather initial feedback and engagement with robots from pupils (P3-P4) and teachers, paying particular attention to how robots are used in the classroom, how pupils respond to the robots, and what pupils want from their interactions with robots. The goal of this project is to co-develop a pedagogical approach to integrating robots into the learning process.
Experiencing picturebooks in 3D environments (Glasgow Knowledge Exchange, U. of Glasgow)(with Julie McAdam and Neil McDonnell)
This project proposes the creation of 3D picturebook prototypes to be used for developing multimodal literacies in different educational contexts. This project will provide proof of concept and enable us to develop an innovative teaching and publishing approach. By developing and using the 3D-environment-based approach, we aim to address challenges of access (e.g., in low-resourced educational contexts, pandemic, zones of disaster and risk), new digital practices (e.g., transformation of literacy teaching) and innovation (e.g., immersive multimodal environments of learning).
Implementing a Translingual Approach in a Trilingual Environment (ESRC IAA) (with Dr. Seth Agbo and Dr. Natalya Pak)
In this project, the research team will engage with a group of 15 teachers in Almaty (coordinated by Dr. Pak and Dr. Agbo) to conduct a series of training workshops and knowledge exchange sessions to develop new teaching approaches and materials for classroom use. Using the theoretical framework of translanguaging and an arts-based translingual pedagogical approach, the team will implement, develop and test the applicability of these frameworks in the context of the translingual environment in Almaty, Kazakhstan. (Project website)
I have also been involved in various projects which reflect the interdiscilinary nature of my research:
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.
Strengthening Urban Engagement of Universities in Asia and Africa (SUEUAA) (http://sueuaa.org/)
This project addressed 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. The project assessed 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.
Challenging the Translingual Turn: Student-Teachers' Perceptions, Practices and Networks
This project, funded by the British Council, explored the potential and limitations of the translingual turn for TESOL student-teachers who move from their MA studies into the workplace. The research explored 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. 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.
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 workshops developed in collaboration with teachers from the EAL Unit (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
ESRC IAA Robots as Reading Companions (co-I) (April – December 2021) (with Bishakha Chaudhury)
Glasgow Knolwedge Exchange Experiencing picturebooks in 3D environments (co-I) (May 2021 - January 2022) (with Julie McAdam and Neil McDonnell)
ESRC IAA Follow-on Fund (PI) (January-December 2021)
Implementing a Translingual Approach in a Trilingual Environment (Kazakhstan) (with Seth Agbo and Natalya Pak)
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.
Completed Projects (selected)
Ayesha Abida (2020). Towards a Blended Learning Approach to TEFL in Pakistani Universities: Learner Attitudes and Implications for Pedagogy
Ahmed Abdullah (2019). Investigating Iraqi Secondary School English Language Teachers' Pedagogical Practices (PhD)
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.
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
- Almatrafi, Abdulaziz Mutlaq S
ESP Teachers’ and Students’ Perceptions of Own Language Use
- Hanna, Eva
Higher Education Access for Asylum Seekers and Refugees
- Li, Sicong
Implementing Technology-enhanced English Language Teaching with Music at Preschools in China: Students’ Experience, Engagement and Performance
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).