Natalia Ramirez Casalvolone


About Me

Where does your international research/engagement take place?
Costa Rica

Please briefly describe your research/activity.
The study identifies the resources Costa Rican, adult, female, night high school students draw upon in the process of informally learning English as a foreign language (EFL). It aims to examine how these resources reflect students’ funds of knowledge (FoK) and ways of learning. The participants are 20 women who live in the rural community of El Cerro (pseudonym) in Costa Rica. These women are currently completing high school at El Cerro Night High School.

Why does your research/activity matter?
This study matters because it sheds light on the comprehension of ways of learning of a population who is disregarded because of the social system they belong to, a system that singles them out for being women, single mothers, poor, immigrants, and adult night high school students. Providing a thick description of students’ ways of learning, this research aims to give an understanding of this particular setting so it can be helpful for others who work in similar conditions.

What led you to this research/activity?
The students when I participated in a project called El Capullo EFL Multimodal club. While working with these women, I evidenced the severe conditions they faced as students and as women (poverty, lack of time, demotivation, gender discrimination, tiredness, stress, marital abuse, and depression). Despite these challenges, the students continued attending school every night and successfully became active members of The Club while maintaining average grades of A and A+.

What problem do you hope this research/activity will solve/what are your hopes for this work?
I hope my work offers information about ways students in marginalized conditions in Costa Rica can learn English more effectively. Likewise, I hope the Ministry of Public Education, teachers, administrators and other institutions in charge of curriculum design use this study to make changes to the educational programs, so it can guarantee a more just educational process for women and those in marginalized conditions.

How will your work create change for the better?
I hope my work can cause impact and add to what is already known about in women’s education, particularly in environments where they are educationally marginalized. I also hope to fill the existing literature gap that focuses on the country of Costa Rica, specifically in the area of women’s education from the theoretical perspectives of funds of knowledge, adult education, and feminism pedagogy.

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