Benson, Carolyn J. (cjb2209)

Benson, Carol


Office Location:

288 GDodge

Educational Background

Carolyn J. (Carol) Benson, Associate Professor in International and Comparative Education at Teachers College, holds a Ph.D. in Social Sciences and Comparative Education from the University of California Los Angeles (1994). Trained as an elementary school teacher, she was a Peace Corps teacher trainer in Sierra Leone, West Africa and a Spanish-English bilingual teacher in California before going on to work internationally. She has been a technical assistant, researcher and evaluator in bi- and multilingual education in low-income countries in the Southeast Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Africa regions, working for national governments, UN agencies such as UNESCO, UNICEF and UNDP, and bilateral donors such as Swedish Sida. 

Dr. Benson's interdisciplinary work draws on theories, methodologies, and bodies of knowledge from three areas: (1) Education, including bilingual multicultural education, language learning and pedagogy, curriculum, and teacher professional development; (2) Social sciences, including sociolinguistics, language policy and planning, linguistic and cultural anthropology, and gender studies; and (3) International educational development, including the critical examination of policy change factors, assessment of learner outcomes, and program sustainability. She has ongoing research projects in Senegal and Cambodia in which TC students have been involved as research assistants and data analysts. In Senegal, her current research examines the theoretical and practical aspects of a unique "simultaneous biliteracy" approach to bilingual education in Wolof or Pulaar, two national languages, alongside French. In Cambodia, her current research focuses on assessing the writing of bilingually educated learners in Indigenous languages Tampuen, Kreung or Bunong and Khmer. 

Selected Publications

Benson, C. & Kosonen, K. (Eds.) (2021). Language Issues in Comparative Education: Policy and Practice in Multilingual Education Based on Non-Dominant Languages. Boston: Brill/Sense.

Benson, C. (2020). An innovative “simultaneous” bilingual approach in Senegal: Promoting interlinguistic transfer while contributing to policy change. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. 

Benson, C. (2019). L1-based multilingual education in the Asia and Pacific region and beyond: Where are we, and where do we need to go? In A. Kirkpatrick & T. Liddicoat (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of Language Education Policy in Asia, 29-41. London: Routledge.

Wong, K. & Benson, C. (Eds.) (2019). Special Issue: Policy and Practice in the Use of Non-Dominant Languages in Comparative Education. FIRE Forum for International Research in Education 5 (3).

Benson, C. & Wong, K. (2019). Effectiveness of policy development and implementation of L1-based multilingual education in Cambodia. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 22:2, 250-265.

Benson, C. (2017). Multilingual education for all: applying an integrated multilingual curriculum model to low-income contexts. In H. Coleman (Ed.), Multilingualisms and Development (pp. 101-113). Selected proceedings of the 11th Language and Development Conference, New Delhi, India, 2015. London: British Council.

Taylor-Leech, K. & Benson, C. (2017). Language planning and development aid: The (in)visibility of language in development aid discourse. Current Issues in Language Planning 18:4, 339-355.

Benson, C. (2016). Addressing language of instruction issues in education: Recommendations for documenting progress. Background paper commissioned by UNESCO for the Global Education Monitoring Report 2016/2017. Paris: UNESCO.

Benson, C. & Elorza, I. (2015). Multilingual education for all (MEFA): Empowering non-dominant languages and cultures through multilingual curriculum development. In D. Wyse, L. Hayward & J. Zacher Pandya (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment (pp. 557-574). London UK: Sage.

Benson, C. & Wong, K. (2015). Development discourse on language of instruction and literacy: Sound policy and Ubuntu or lip service? Reconsidering Development 4:1, 1-16.

Benson, C. & Chimbutane, F. (2012). Expanded spaces for Mozambican languages in primary education: Where bottom-up meets top-down. International Multilingual Research Journal 6:1, 8–21.

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