Kathryn Ciechanowski is assistant professor of ESOL/bilingual and literacy education at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. She was the 2007 recipient of the First Place Outstanding Dissertation Award from the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE). Her current research focuses on content area language and literacy for English language learners, social justice, bilingual student sociocultural resources in science and social studies, and teacher education at the intersections of STEM and cultural/linguistic diversity.
Kathryn grew up in a bilingual/bicultural home in northern California, in the southern part of San Francisco Bay Area. Being the daughter of a Peruvian mother, she learned Spanish growing up, although in an English-dominant context because of the injustices of anti-bilingual sentiments of the era. It was a natural progression for Kathryn to study Spanish, graduate from UC Davis with studies around children and language, spend a year living in Spain, and then teach in bilingual elementary classrooms in the south Bay Area.
The faculty position at OSU interested her because it blends content area literacy, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and bilingual programs. This position in the College of Education’s unit of Teacher Education allows Kathryn to make a difference with preservice and future teachers and the children they serve. Because of the changing demographics of the K-12 population, which do not align with preservice teacher demographics, Kathryn’s recent collaborative research projects provide the context for preservice teacher engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse youth. Families Involved in Education: Sociocultural Teaching and STEM (FIESTAS) is a collaboration between OSU’s College of Education, 4H Youth Development, and the Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) program. The primary focus of the 4-H STEM program is to enhance the knowledge of STEM related topics of Latino and underrepresented youth in the 3rd to 5th grades, those typically underrepresented in STEM fields. Research investigation documents how this guided participation with youth and families in after-school contexts transforms and disrupts preservice teachers’ traditional notions about teaching and learning. This work has been funded by the Center for Latino/a Studies and Engagement, Precollege Programs, and L.L. Stewart Professional Development grants at Oregon State University.
Prior to this, a grant from the Oregon Department of Education supported collaborative research with in-service bilingual and ESOL teachers to explore innovative ways to integrate English Language Development, science and social studies content, and social justice in 3rd grade classrooms in a dual language bilingual program. This engaged research has deeply involved teachers in the co-construction of new knowledge, co-production of scholarship, and joint dissemination of results with practitioner and scholarly audiences. Through this research that blends the expertise and questions of not only a university scholar but also of public school educators, Dr. Ciechanowski has participated in collaborative relationships that further teaching, learning, and research in the areas of ESOL/bilingual, critical teacher education pedagogies, and content literacy education. The themes of language, bilingualism, cultural resources, and social justice have been present in Kathryn’s life since an early age and remain central to her work as a scholar and community member today.
Ciechanowski, K. (2013, spring). Beyond one-size-fits-all ELD frameworks: Bringing English learners’ lives and social justice to the center of K-12 instruction. ORTESOL Journal, 30.
Ciechanowski, K. (2012). Conflicting Discourses: Linguistic and Critical Analyses of Pocahontas Texts in Bilingual 3rd Grade Social Studies. Journal of Literacy Research, 44(3), pp. 300-338. DOI:10.1177/1086296X12450699
Ciechanowski, K. (spring, 2012). In the words of a teacher: Finding avenues to communicate for ELLs. WA-TESOL Quarterly.
Ciechanowski, K. (2011). Points of Leverage: Navigating Tensions between Socio-Culturally Relevant Teaching and Accountability Pressures. Northwest Passage, 9(2), 47-59.
Cowin, K., Cohen, L., Ciechanowski, K., & Orozco, R. (2012). Portraits of Mentor-Junior Faculty Relationships: From Power Dynamics to Collaboration. Journal of Education, 192(1).
Cohen, L., Ciechanowski, K., Cowin, K., and Orozco, R. (2012). Portraits of Our Mentoring Experiences in Learning to Craft Journal Articles. Mentoring and Tutoring Journal, 20(1).
Ciechanowski, K. (2011). Bilingualism. In Moule, J., Cultural Competency: A Primer, second edition. Wadsworth Publishing (Section of Chapter 9, written as invited author).
Ciechanowski, K. (2009). A Squirrel Came and Pushed Earth: Popular Cultural and Scientific Ways of Thinking with ELLs. Reading Teacher, 62(7).
Moje, E. B., Ciechanowski, K., Kramer, K., Ellis, L., Carrillo, R., & Collazo, T. (2004). Working toward third space in content area literacy: An examination of everyday funds of knowledge and Discourse. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(1), 38-70.