UM Educator Jennifer Langer-Osuna Receives Prestigious Fellowship

Coral Gables (July 11, 2012) — Jennifer Langer-Osuna, a professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Miami’s School of Education and Human Development, has been named a 2012-2013 National Academy of Education Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow.

The prestigious fellowship is awarded annually to 20 early-career scholars working in critical areas of education research. Langer-Osuna will receive a $55,000 stipend to assist with her research project on “The Authority of Ideas: Understanding the Relationship between Instructional Practices and How English Language Learners Become Influential in Small Group Mathematical Discussions.”

Langer-Osuna carried out her research in Broward County schools. Her research has been published in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education as well as in the Canadian Journal for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education.

“No one is more deserving of this distinction than Professor Langer-Osuna,” said Isaac Prilleltensky, dean of the School of Education and Human Development. “This fellowship is testament to her intellect, the rigor of her research, and her dedication to the teaching profession.”

Langer-Osuna believes her research will become relevant at the national level because being able to do mathematics at high levels and to communicate mathematically is a national priority. “There is exciting research going on focused on math classrooms that support the engagement of linguistic and cultural minority students, but very little work focuses on what happens when students work together on their own,” said Langer-Osuna. “In the absence of the teacher, group dynamics can often fall prey to issues of status and social dominance, which can disproportionately affect cultural and linguistic minority students in ways that marginalize their ideas and their participation from the group.”

The goal of Langer-Osuna’s research is to expand the understanding of equitable classrooms to consider what happens when English-language learners negotiate mathematical ideas and positions of intellectual authority when working with English-proficient peers.

The postdoctoral fellowship program also develops the careers of its recipients through professional development activities involving National Academy of Education members.

Langer-Osuna has been teaching at the School of Education and Human Development since 2009. She received her Ph.D. in cognition and development from the University of California, Berkeley.

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