Alexander Feliciano Mejía is a doctoral candidate in educational linguistics in the Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) program of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. Alex’s doctoral research focuses on language learning and literacy development in high school, community college, and workplace settings. His research focuses on understanding the dynamic learning practices exhibited by working-class students, especially those institutionally classified as “English Learners,” whose linguistic competencies have often been made invisible. Alex seeks to understand young people’s creative and dexterous linguistic practices, particularly in informal learning environments, and to collaborate with public school teachers to develop their own understandings of multilingual language practices and language acquisition processes to leverage these assets in their classrooms. In addition, Alex’s participatory action research has been instrumental to successful community organizing and advocacy campaigns on behalf of educators and public education in the San Francisco Bay Area.
My work as a researcher and educator in public schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area focuses on language learning and literacy development in high school, community college, and workplace settings. The vast majority of the students I’ve worked with come from working-class communities, most of them communities of color, whose rich linguistic competencies have often been invisibilized. My linguistic and educational research focuses on learning from the dynamic linguistic practices exhibited by working class students, especially those who are institutionally classified as ‘English Learners,’ a label that masks the dexterity and creativity these multilingual students exhibit on a daily basis. I aim to understand how these youth actively construct their linguistic competencies through peer interactions and in informal learning environments. I focus on this in order to highlight the invisibilized linguistic labor in which multilingual youth engage, and how these everyday interactions constitute dynamic spaces of language learning on the margins of formal schooling. In addition to my research, I collaborate with public school educators who work with multilingual youth to develop their own understandings of multilingual language practices and language acquisition processes so that they can tap into these resources in their classrooms.