TC’s Maria Paula Ghiso, Associate Professor of Literacy Education, is the co-recipient of the 2018 David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English, given the by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Ghiso and two collaborators – Gerald Campano, Associate Professor and Chair of the Reading/Writing/Literacy Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and Bethany J. Welch, a nonprofit management consultant who is founding director of the Thomas Aquinas Center, a Catholic Church-affiliated community center in Philadelphia – are being honored for their co-edited book, Partnering with Immigrant Communities: Action Through Literacy (Teachers College Press 2016). The three “have compiled a collection of critically insightful and provocative essays that focus on the plight and opportunities for immigrant families (of various cultural-ethnic backgrounds)” whose partnership with the Aquinas Center “is one dedicated to health, safety, English acquisition, and literacy education,” writes the NCTE award selection committee in a statement on the organization’s website. “Theirs is a model of collaboration, research, teaching, and learning—theirs is a call to activism, anchored in that leap of faith we call ‘hope.’”
Ghiso, who immigrated to the United States from Argentina as a young girl and was put in remedial courses at the American public school she attended, has long been interested in “how schools’ organization doesn’t tap into children’s linguistic and cultural resources.” In her work, she explores what she calls young immigrants’ “local cosmopolitanism” – their linguistic savvy and street-smart adaptability, born of uprooting and living in multiple cultures. Those experiences are “just as educative as a college year abroad or family vacations in Europe,” she says.
Ghiso and her co-editors argue that in a Philadelphia community center, exchanges among Indonesian, Vietnamese and Latino families about high school admissions and local health care resources involve sophisticated literacy and linguistic practices
Partnering with Immigrant Communities chronicles the Aquinas Center’s Community Literacies Project, through which – Ghiso, Campano and Welch argue – exchanges among Indonesian, Vietnamese and Latino families about high school admissions and local health care resources involve sophisticated literacy and linguistic practices. The Project’s immigration workshops reflect African-American intellectual and activist legacies. Youth and families cooperate across cultural, social and linguistic boundaries to forge a shared vision of educational justice and human rights.
In 2018, Partnering with Immigrant Communities also earned Ghiso, Campano and Welch also received the Ed Fry Book Award, given by the Literacy Research Association (LRA). And Ghiso also received LRA’s first-ever Arthur Applebee Award for Excellence in Research on Literacy for her 2016 paper “The Laundromat as the Transnational Local: Young Children's Literacies of Interdependence,” published in Teachers College Record.