Two Washington State University faculty members have been awarded a $50,000 grant to research textbooks in Spanish-language classes, and how those may help or hinder student learners.

Nancy Bell.

The College of Education’s Anne Marie Guerrettaz, assistant professor of language, literacy, and technology, and Nancy Bell, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of English, and a colleague from Denison University will receive the grant from the Spencer Foundation, which helps fund education research.

The research is already yielding interesting results.

“I have discovered over the past year that 90 percent of English-speaking American kids that study a foreign language don’t actually learn it,” Guerrettaz said. “That number sort of surprised me, but it also didn’t.”

The primary resources most classrooms have are the teacher and the textbook. While Guerrettaz acknowledges the huge – and primary – role that teachers play in the classroom, her research deals with only the textbook.

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