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Image of Gabriela C. Zapata

Gabriela C. Zapata

Associate Professor in Education, Faculty of Social Sciences



Dr. Gabriela C. Zapata was born in Rosario, Argentina. She received her MA in TESOL and PhD in Spanish (Linguistics track) from the Pennsylvania State University in the United States. While at Texas A&M University, Dr. Zapata served as an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow in the Office for Diversity. Throughout her career, she has also directed/coordinated six Spanish and Portuguese basic language programs in public and private universities in the United States and Canada.

Expertise Summary

Dr. Zapata's research foci are Learning by Design and second (L2) and heritage language (HL) pedagogy, multimodal social semiotics, computer supported collaborative learning, and teacher education. She is also involved in the development and implementation of inclusive open educational resources. She has published articles on bilingualism, L2 and HL pedagogy, Learning by Design, multimodal social semiotics, and teacher cognition and practice in journals such as Computer Assisted Language Learning; Foreign Language Annals; The International Journal of Bilingualism; The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning; Language, Culture, and Curriculum; Language Learning; and Language Awareness, among others, and in a variety of edited volumes. Dr. Zapata is the main author of the first Canadian edition of Puntos de partida, and of the OER L2 Spanish textbooks Trayectos (published digitally by COERLL) and Introducción a la escritura (Pressbooks). She is also the co-editor (with Dr. Manel Lacorte) of the volume Multiliteracies Pedagogy and Language Learning: Teaching Spanish to Heritage Speakers (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). Her co-authored (with Dr. Mary Kalantzis and Dr. Bill Cope) book Las alfabetizaciones múltiples: Teoría y práctica was published in December 2019 by Editorial Octaedro. Her single-authored book, Learning by Design and L2 Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice (Routledge), appeared in April 2022. Dr. Zapata received her certification as ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview Tester in Spanish in 2014. She has also served as an ACTFL mentor and the Vice-Chair, Chair, and Past-Chair of ACTFL's Spanish for Heritage Learners Special Interest Group. In 2019, she was awarded the SGA Open Education Champion Award by the Student Government Association at Texas A&M University. Dr. Zapata is also a CIMER Entering Mentoring Trained Facilitator.

Dr. Zapata offers supervision to master's and doctoral students in the following areas: Second and heritage/community language pedagogy and assessment; multiliteracies (Learning by Design) and second/heritage/community language teaching and learning; second language vocabulary acquisition; translanguaging; open educational resources (development and implementation); multimodal social semiotics; multimodality in second/heritage/community language education; computer supported collaborative learning.

Research Summary

At present, I am working on a co-edited book (with Drs. Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis) that will offer a panorama of the incorporation of the multiliteracies pedagogy Learning by Design (L-by-D; Cope… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

At present, I am working on a co-edited book (with Drs. Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis) that will offer a panorama of the incorporation of the multiliteracies pedagogy Learning by Design (L-by-D; Cope & Kalantzis, 2015; Kalantzis et al., 2005, 2016, 2019) in international second language (L2) instructional contexts, with a focus on inclusive practices and social justice. The volume will contribute to the series Multiliteracies and Second Language Education by examining the ways in which the framework of focus has been implemented in all continents to create equitable and inclusive curricula. This goal will be achieved through an introduction and eight chapters that will present comprehensive reviews of existing work; analyze and discuss classroom-based qualitative and quantitative data on different aspects of the L-by-D for L2 teaching; and provide suggestions for pedagogical interventions and future research.

Future Research

At present, I am developing two projects with a focus on multiliteracies and second language pedagogy:

Project #1: Multiliteracies-Based, Computer-Supported Second Language Education in Historically Black Universities in the United States

In her recent survey of existing studies on second language (L2) education and Black/African American students, Anya (2020) posits the need for classroom-based work that will offer information on the most effective methodologies and curricular content to answer these learners' personal and academic needs and counter their documented negative L2 instructional experiences.

This collaborative project seeks to answer this call by investigating the implementation of computer-supported collaborative learning grounded in the multiliteracies approach Learning by Design in beginning L2 Spanish classes at a Historically Black University in the United States. Our objective is twofold. We wish to create resources to render L2 instruction more equitable and meaningful for Black/African American learners, and, also, through data-driven analytics, examine their L2 learning and personal connections to the curriculum, bridging gaps in existing research on both multiliteracies-based L2 instruction and L2 education for this population of students.

Project #2: Multiliteracies and Multimodality in Second Language Teacher Education

This project will investigate the application of Learning by Design and multimodality in L2/HL teacher education in a digitally-mediated learning environment. This case study will involve different sources of data, such as questionnaires, classroom observations and debriefings, semi-structured interviews, and documents produced by the participating instructors (e.g., pedagogical tasks). Data analysis will be carried out with R, sentiment analysis, and qualitative approaches.

School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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