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AATSP Member Spotlights


Member Spotlight

Every month, the AATSP “spotlights” one of its members in an attempt to recognize the many ways in which AATSP members promote the study and teaching of Spanish and/or Portuguese at all levels of education. We invite you to read the current spotlight below. You can also click at the bottom of this page to view archived spotlights. 

Christine E. Poteau


Rowan University

Glassboro, NJ




Social justice lies at the core of my teaching and research in applied linguistics. From my teaching experience in English as a Second Language (ESL) at the high school level to developing and teaching an array of undergraduate courses in Spanish and graduate courses in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and linguistics, my research informs my curricular development and spawns innovative pedagogies. My goals include putting societal matters and research to pedagogical practice with the community.

Beginning with my teaching, social justice activation in my classes involves inquiry-based learning to engage learners in critical research on diverse issues related to minority language speakers and seek solutions for a stronger community as well as to trigger learners’ awareness of self and language use in our globally changing society. Disparities across professional sectors continuously increase and the power of language in reducing linguistic barriers awakens through community engagement and theoretical connections from the classroom context to human experiences in the community.

In less than 4 years, in addition to my development of new courses and programs in Applied Spanish, I developed 15 global and local community partnerships, diverse internships, and an array of service-learning (SL) programs that include direct, indirect, project-based, and research-based SL. Examples of my SL program development and my students’ experiences in my programs are available to view on the following website, which features Comunidad Unida, my co-production of the first on-campus television broadcast of my SL programs:

Directly connected to my teaching is my research, which examines transformative SL program development for social justice, and the effects of context on learners’ development and experiences. Effective transformative SL program development entails assessing multiple constructs including learner and community. Critically examining learner context effects, SL outcomes, and community partner perceptions on SL programs allows for dynamic and cooperative program development to benefit all participants. Hence, social justice research across languages and institutions involves global collaboration for empathic leadership and meaningful change. To me, the essence of social justice is cultivating and activating global research communities that seek to advance society and improve human conditions.

As a member of the AATSP, the mission to promote the study and teaching of Spanish and Portuguese extends beyond adherence and necessitates activating the mission into practice through social justice research inquiries and pedagogical practices at the collaborative level.

Activating social justice involves crossing language borders, challenging ourselves, and collaborating to support meaningful research and pedagogical practice. Promoting global wellness for a better humanity begins with us.


Christine E. Poteau holds a Ph.D. in Spanish with a concentration in Applied Linguistics from Temple University. As an Applied Linguist, her research and pedagogical interests include innovative curricular development in foreign language (FL), second language (L2), and heritage language (HL) courses, sociocultural and sociocognitive approaches to FL, L2, and HL teaching, social justice and transformative learning approaches to intercultural competence development in relation to linguistic and ethnic minorities and literacy, health disparities, and equitable practices, and the effects of pedagogical contexts (e.g., service-learning (SL), internships, distance, online/open, hybrid, etc.) on learner affect and cognition.

Her social justice activism and research stem from her personal experiences growing up immersed in her Mom’s Brazilian background. It was not just the smooth samba filled with symbolic lyrics that her Mom exuberantly played from vinyl records that inspired her, but rather it is the spirit of limitless hope and activism to surpass harsh realities and injustices. Becoming a language advocate allowed Dr. Poteau to extend her social justice movement from her classroom and research endeavors to the community.

Dr. Poteau is the recipient of teaching and professional development awards including the Henderson Plenary Award as keynote speaker at the International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT) FLEAT VI Conference held at Harvard University. She continues to promote the advancement of community-based pedagogical program development through her publications and conferences. 


Click below to view archived AATSP Member Spotlights

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