Loretta Fernandez
Visiting Assistant Professor

I grew up in Caracas Venezuela where I obtained my high school diploma, Bachiller en Humanidades. I moved to Italy due to the political instability in Venezuela where I studied at the Universita degli Studi di Palermo majoring foreign languages and literatures with an emphasis in English, Spanish, and Italian. I got my Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of Pittsburgh, with a specialization in understanding learning processes to improve teaching (Specifically, I apply Sociocultural Theory and Systemic Functional Linguistics to understand language learning).

While my early career was mainly concerned with teaching Spanish and English in Palermo high schools (I taught in schools located in areas of high poverty and mafia presence). I also worked in many educational projects to promote Foreign Language Learning in different European countries (Spain, France, Belgium, Lithuania, Hungary, Portugal) financed by the European Union. During that period I was also teaching Spanish at the University of Palermo and in public high schools. When I moved to Pittsburgh, I worked at Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh. I collaborate with different universities and researchers in South America (Chile, Uruguay, and Colombia), in Italy, China, and the USA.

In terms of research, I am very interested in tools that assist teaching and learning, in particular, I am now researching gaming in learning, how we learn grammar in different languages, and multimodalities and multiliteracies. To do so, I use a theory based approach, in particular, I use sociocultural theory and systemic functional linguistics as keys to interpreting and understanding learning proceses. I think that helping students learn better is an instrument of equity and justice. Poor learning processes lead to disparity and inequality and thus fail our students opportunities to dismantle systems of oppresion.

My Publications

Fernández, L. (2021) The Use of Typified Situations to teach Foreign Languages. System, 94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2021.102473
Fernández, L. (2021) Multiliteracies and multimodality in teaching a literature classic. Contingencies, Journal of Global Pedagogy. 1(1).

Fernández, L. (2021) Developing oral interaction through the generic structure of typified situations: An Italian study abroad case study. In F. Troyan, Ed. Genre Matters in World
Language Education: Contextualized World Language Assessment and Learning. New York, N.Y.: Routledge.
Taguchi, N., Fernández, L., & Yuechun, X. (In Press, Jan. 2021 expected) Systemic functional linguistics applied to L2 pragmatics assessment: Analysis of advice-giving in written discourse. In Taguchi, N. (ed.) New directions for researching, teaching, and assessing L2 pragmatics. Boston (MA): de Gruyter- Mouton.
Fernández, L. & Donato, R. (2020) Interacting with SCOBAs: Beginner learners of foreign language use of a pedagogical tool. Language and Sociocultural Theory. 7 (1).
Fernández, L. (2018) Qualitative Interview Analysis: The Use of Systemic Functional Linguistics to Reveal Functional Meanings. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19 (3), art. 6.
Fernández, L. (2017). Learning Another Language with Conceptual Tools: An Investigation of Gal’perin's Concept-Oriented Instruction (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA.

Loretta Fernandez


University of Pittsburgh
5159 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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