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Steve Przymus - Texas Christian University. Fort Worth, TX, US

Steve Przymus Steve Przymus

Associate Professor of Educational Linguistics & Bilingual Education | Texas Christian University


Dr. Przymus uses applied linguistics to influence positive language ideologies about culturally and linguistically diverse youth.





Maestro: Dr. Steve Przymus, Assistant Professor




Steve Daniel Przymus, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Bilingual/Multicultural Education at Texas Christian University. Steve’s experiences as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer (Dominican Republic, 2003-2005), Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Grantee (Mexico, 2010), and 17 years as a U.S. public school teacher have driven his passion for developing and promoting multimodal/multilingual pedagogies that recognize individuals’ full semiotic repertoires and educational life histories. His research focuses on translanguaging in pedagogy and assessment, advancing bilingual special education, the sociolinguistics of bilingualism, metonymy in linguistic landscapes, and the language development, identity, and education of transnational youth.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Language Planning & Policy

Assessment in Bilingual Special Education

Bilingual Education Models




Linguistic Landscapes

Accomplishments (5)

Richard Ruiz Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Guanajuato, México


TCU College of Education Piper Professor Nominee


Donovan/Patton National Impact Scholar

2017 - 2019

Fulbright Alumni Grant Recipient

2015, 2011, 2010

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Grantee


Education (3)

University of Arizona: Ph.D., Second Language Acquisition & Teaching 2016

University of Northern Iowa: M.A., TESOL & Applied Linguistics 2008

University of South Dakota: B.S.Ed., Spanish Education 1996

Affiliations (10)

  • FWISD World Languages Institute Site-Based Decision Making Committee Member
  • FWISD International Newcomers Academy Site-Based Decision Making Committee Member
  • TCU Center for Public Education Faculty
  • TCU ANSERS Institute for Special Education Faculty
  • TCU Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies Affiliated Faculty
  • TCU Women & Gender Studies Affiliated Faculty
  • American Association of Applied Linguistics Member
  • American Educational Research Association Member
  • National Association of Bilingual Education Member
  • Bilingual Education Association of the Metroplex Member

Languages (4)

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Somali
  • Turkish

Media Appearances (5)

Bailando con el paisaje linguístico and how we can learn from it (Dr. Steve Przymus)

GuanaKnow  online


Con el propósito de promover el amor a la lectura en la comunidad, Resplandor Internacional nos comparte esta charla. Un evento sin costo apto para todo público.

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Presenting Steve Przymus, Richard Ruiz Scholar-in-Residence

University of Arizona - Worlds of Words  online


Resplandor International and the Worlds of Words Center are pleased to announce Dr. Steve Przymus as the Richard Ruiz Scholar in Residence for 2022. Dr. Przymus is an assistant professor of Educational Linguistics and Bilingual education at Texas Christian University.

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Episode 18: Dr. Steve Przymus

chalkdustpodcast  online


Today I am talking with Dr. Steve Przymus, an Assistant Professor of Education at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. I met Steve in 2016 when he joined the faculty in the College of Education. Steve has extensive experience teaching at the middle and high school level, both in the United States and abroad. He now leverages that experience as a teacher, as well as his own research, to help prepare college students for a career in education. I am really looking forward to learning more about Steve and his journey as an educator.

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Intentional innovation: How four faculty in the LbSD Network are improving teacher preparation

Deans for Impact  online


What are you working on right now in the Learning by Scientific Design Network? This fall I have been teaching my students about the “effortful thinking” teacher action. I have taken the time to lead them through an introduction to Learning by Scientific Design, a lesson on analyzing work (lesson plans) for effortful thinking, an exploration of modifying lesson plans (in order to improve the effortful thinking in the lessons), and practice rehearsing “mini-teaching” of modified lesson plans.

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TESOLers for Social Responsibility

TESOL International Association  online


¿Eres un gamer? This question is an example of the translanguaging and language socialization that takes place in the game-ecology of massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), such as Dark Souls. This article highlights the need for creating opportunities for Dreamers and Los Otros Dreamers (Anderson & Solís, 2014), on both sides of the border, for language and identity socialization within peer-interest-based communities of practice. Findings suggest that creating blended affinity spaces (Przymus & Romo Smith, 2017) for youth to play MMORPGs at school could provide for the maintenance of online connections with friends in their home countries, the creation of important friendships in their new communities, and the development of positive identities needed for successful and healthy integration in their new schools

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Research Grants (2)

Linguistic Landscapes in English Language Teaching

U.S. Embassy in Turkey $19,750

2019 - 2020

Telling, Reading, and Writing the Right Kinds of Stories

Richard Ruiz Distinguished Scholar in Residence $7,500


Articles (14)

Dual-Language Books as a Red Herring: Exposing Language Use and Ideologies

The Reading Teacher

Steve Daniel Przymus, Endia J. Lindo

2021 Dual-language books (DLBs) are often seen as positive resources for biliteracy development, but most contain implicit messages about the status of the languages used. Through a large content analysis of 100 dual-language children’s books (DLCBs), across 10 publishing companies, the authors developed a linguistic typology of DLBs in order to expose messages of linguistic hierarchy. In this article, educators are provided a lens for understanding the hegemony of English in DLBs, provided with exemplars of community-based biliteracy development via holistic language use and translanguaging in DLCBs, and invited into a discussion on the vulnerability and compassion that would be required for creating more equity and effectiveness in biliteracy development.

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DACA Funds of Knowledge: Testimonios of Access to and Success in Higher Education

Journal of Hispanic Higher Education

Steve Daniel Przymus, Karrabi Malin

2021 Using testimonios, we highlight six current university Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students’ funds of knowledge, or the lived experiences and culturally developed skills, specific to being DACA recipients, that these students leveraged in the past, currently lean on now for continued success, and learn what resources are lacking at university. Sharing these students’ “DACA funds of knowledge,” of navigating public education to successfully attend institutions of higher education, provides insight into equitable educational paths for those who follow.

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The Hidden Curriculum of Monolingualism: Understanding Metonymy to Interrogate Problematic Representations of Raciolinguistic Identities in Schoolscapes

International Journal of Multicultural Education

Steve Daniel Przymus, Gabriel Huddleston

2021 Choices regarding how signs are displayed in schools send messages regarding the status of languages and speakers of those languages. The monolingual paradigm can be implicitly reified by the position, shape, color, etc. of languages in relation to English on school signage (Author & Co-author, 2018). This can have a negative impact for culturally and linguistically diverse youth. In combining critical race media literacy with linguistic landscape research, we uncover a hidden media of raciolinguistic ideologies (Alim, 2016), and confront the hegemony found on some of the most overlooked and under questioned representations of media - signs in schools.

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From DACA to Dark Souls: MMORPGs as Sanctuary, Sites of Language/Identity Development, and Third-Space Translanguaging Pedagogy for Los Otros Dreamers

Journal of Language, Identity & Education

Steve Daniel Przymus, M. Martha Lengeling, Irasema Mora-Pablo & Omar Serna-Gutiérrez

2020 Informed by the stories of transnational youth’s participation in massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) in Mexico, this study explores the language/identity development and successful (re)integration of these youth in Mexican schools and communities. Drawing on students’ voices, we utilize a multimodal systemic functional linguistics framework to explain how engagement in MMORPGs allows youth to creatively demonstrate fields of knowledge and critically reposition themselves with positive in-the-moment and imagined identities. We call for teachers to create third spaces for youth to meet and play MMORPGs. Findings suggest that creating these blended affinity spaces may create opportunities for transnational youth to translanguage, find sanctuary within peer-interest-based communities of practice, maintain meaningful online connections with friends in the United States, form new important friendships, and create the identities needed for successful (re)integration in Mexico.

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It's only a matter of meaning : from English Learners (ELs) and Emergent Bilinguals (EBs) to Active Bilingual Learners/Users of English (ABLE)

I-LanD Journal : Identity, Language and Diversity

Przymus, Steve Daniel, Faggella-Luby, Michael, Silva, Cecilia


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Advancing Bilingual Special Education: Translanguaging in Content-Based Story Retells for Distinguishing Language Difference from Disability

Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners

Steve Daniel Przymus. Manuel Alvarado

2019 Many existing assessments for deciding the potential special education needs of emergent bilingual youth are either normed on monolingual students or normed on bilingual students through monolingual data collection (Hamayan, Marler, Sánchez-López, & Damico, 2013; Otheguy, García, & Reid, 2015; Perkins, 2005). To address this issue, we describe a recent study using translanguaging in dynamic assessment with six middle school emergent bilingual youth. Using bilingual language sample analysis of content-based story retells, coded with the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts software, we demonstrate how emergent bilingual youth are able to produce more language and content knowledge when given the freedom to translanguage. These quantitative data may improve decisions distinguishing language difference from disability and address issues of disproportionality in special education.

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Appropriate Assessment e Instrucción de los Emergent Bilinguals con Disabilities.

Instructional Leadership in the Content Areas: Case Studies for Leading Curriculum and Instruction

Steve Daniel Przymus

2019 As compelling as the argument for supporting the home language of emergent bilinguals (EBs) with disabilities is (Kay-Raining Bird, Trudeau, & Sutton, 2016; Peña, 2016), administrators, educators, and parents often rely on beliefs that undermine abilities and expectations for these children to learn bilingually. One trend is to remove students from dual-language classrooms to focus on the development of English skills (Kay-Raining Bird, Genesee, & Verhoeven, 2016; Paradis, 2016; NASEM, 2017). This can result in loss of bilingual identity and peer social networks and can have a negative psychological and academic impact (Parra, Evans, Fletcher, & Combs, 2014). This practice can stem from a lack of understanding of translanguaging in the assessment and instruction of EBs and the tendency of leaders to understand bilingualism through a monolinguistic paradigm, leading to the “language-as-problem” orientation (Martínez-Álvarez, 2014; Przymus, 2016). A partial solution can come from recognizing this orientation in school discourse and countering the following common myths regarding the placement of EBs with disabilities in dual-language classrooms (NASEM, 2017): • Exposure to or learning more than one language will overwhelm and confuse children with disabilities. • Code-switching practices of EBs are evidence of confusion. • Existing learning and language deficits will be worsened by exposure to more than one language, limiting the ability of these students to successfully learn English. • EBs should stop using their first language (L1) at home and school, in order to learn English.

SIGNS: Uncovering the mechanisms by which messages in the linguistic landscape influence language/race ideologies and educational opportunities: Linguistics and education

Linguistics and Education

Steve Daniel Przymus, Alan Thomas Kohler

2018 The collocations “hidden agendas” and “implicit messages” are commonly used to describe the influence of our linguistic landscape (LL) on language ideologies and subsequent pedagogical decisions in schoolscapes. However, exactly how these messages wield such suggestive power has gone relatively unexplored. In this study, we introduce the Semiotic Index of Gains in Nature and Society (SIGNS), an example of a potential framework for LL analysis that investigates 1) historical and synchronic perspectives of place, 2) messages on syntagmatic and paradigmatic axes, 3) elective vs. circumstantial reverse indexicality, 4) societal myths (Barthes, 1972), and 5) messages as metonyms/metaphors. Using SIGNS, we analyze 30 school neighborhoods in an American Southwest border town and find that wealthier neighborhoods are more likely to have LLs indexed by Spanish than English, and these neighborhoods are subsequently more likely to support bilingual education. This research demonstrates how semiotics, bilingual education, and LL research can together provide for an interdisciplinary approach to better understanding specifically how and why our LLs are implicitly influential.

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¿Eres un Gamer?: Engaging Transnational Children in Game-Ecology Language and Identity Socialization Within the EFL Environment

Applications of CALL Theory in ESL and EFL Environments

Steve Daniel Przymus and Alejandro Romo Smith

2018 This chapter sheds light on the potential impact of CALL theory and practice on the language and identity socialization of transnational children when educators imagine and promote interaction beyond the classroom. The authors focus specifically on the educational trajectories of 1) children returnees, who were born in Mexico, at some point in their lives moved to the U.S., and then returned to Mexico and 2) international migrants, born and many attended school in the U.S., and then moved to Mexico as a result of repatriation and/or deportation (Zúñiga & Vivas-Romero, 2014). The authors advocate creating blended affinity spaces (Przymus, 2016) at schools where youth can meet and play digital role-playing games, discuss game-ecology literacy development within these spaces, detail the implementation of such spaces in schools, and share game screen shots, blog posts, and the perspectives of transnational students that support this kind of learning within the EFL environment.

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Bilingually traversing the US/Mexico "wall" via a classroom telecollaborative exchange: Translanguaging online with the Functional Approach to Code-switching Electronically (FACE)

Issues and Trends in Educational Technology

Steve Daniel Przymus

2017 This study proposes to make the concept of translanguaging online accessible for teachers who wish to connect their classrooms with students in other countries via telecollaboration projects. I explore the role of instructed code-switching, as a strategic and intentional translanguaging strategy, for developing learners’ symbolic competence and in promoting the kind of communication in transnational telecollaboration projects that leads to positive bilingual identity and language development. The majority of telecollaboration projects reported in the literature describe projects at the university language classroom setting and the varied dysfunctions that may lead to “failed communication” (O’Dowd & Ritter, 2013) or “missed communication” (Ware, 2005). In contrast, the study within describes the successful impact of a pedagogical intervention, the Functional Approach to Code-switching Electronically (FACE) (Author, 2014), that fostered intercultural understanding among public high school students in an American Government class in the Southwestern United States and students in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) class in the Central Pacific Coast of Mexico. Findings demonstrate how teachers can adopt translanguaging practices in their classrooms by instructing the purposeful use of code-switching for facilitating the development of students’ L2, content acquisition, symbolic competence, and positive identities as bilinguals. In doing so, students are given the strategies needed to successfully play within the power games situated across semi-anonymous online borders, walls, and contact zones (Vinall, 2010).

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The Subliminal Influence of Street Signs in Schoolscapes: Elective vs. Circumstantial Reverse Indexicality in a Tale of Two Tucsons

The Arizona Working Papers in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching

Steve Daniel Przymus

2017 There is a risk of diluting our logic by looking at things absolutely (Peirce, in Hoopes, 1991, p. 187). Signs gain their meaning, not in any absolute sense, but rather in relation to their context in any given time, and in relation to their meaning to any given interpreter. According to Eco (1979) “A sign is everything which can be taken as significantly substituting for something else” (p. 7). A sign not only stands for something, but it stands to someone and that important relationship with the signs in our landscape is what I discuss below. I begin in section one by describing two parts of Tucson, a city of around one million inhabitants in the Southwest of the United States, that are different in many ways, but curiously differ in their linguistic landscapes. In section two I define linguistic landscapes and situate an analysis of street signs within linguistic landscape research. Section three is a diachronic and synchronic analysis of street signs in Tucson, including the myths (Barthes, 1972) that have accompanied the acceptance of street sign language at different points in the city’s history and how these myths have served to promulgate what Jane Hill (1993) refers to as a larger social project of the white elite in maintaining a dominant economic and political position of power in society. In section four I focus on how street signs interact with all those who view them on both the syntagmatic and paradigmatic axes. A deeper explanation of how these linguistic messages enter our cognition and influence our ideologies continues in section five with a description of the various conceptual metonyms and metaphors born out of street sign language and organization. All of these sections treating the unconscious understanding and influence of street signs feed into section six and a discussion on the seemingly conscious and intentional authorship in linguistic landscapes (Malinowski, 2008) and how the expected commitment of top-down governmental signs, such as street signs, to the linguistic code of the dominant culture (Gorter, 2006), is violated in both parts of Tucson through reverse indexicality.

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Challenging the monolingual paradigm in secondary dual-language instruction: Reducing language-as-problem with the 2-1-L2 model

Bilingual Research Journal

Steve Daniel Przymus

2016 This study reports on an innovative approach to dual-language instruction (DLI) at the secondary-education level and introduces the 2–1-L2 model. The context of the study is an American Government class at a public charter high school in Tucson, Arizona, where the 2–1-L2 model was used for nine weeks to structure daily 90-minute lessons into a 30-minute immersion in English, a 30-minute immersion in Spanish, and a final 30-minute section of hybrid language practices, such as translanguaging (Bhabha, 1994; García & Wei, 2013; Kramsch & Uryu, 2012). The culturally and linguistically diverse participants represented an almost equal division of recursive dynamic bilinguals and dynamic bilinguals, plus an emergent bilingual who had recently moved from Mexico to the United States (García, Kleifgen, & Falchi, 2008; García & Sylvan, 2011). Through the bilingual structure of the 2–1-L2, all students were treated and valued as bilingual content users, as they learned American Government content together, an identity that they claimed for themselves. Findings suggest that the 2–1-L2 model may contribute to providing equal access to world language/English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction for students in content area classes at the secondary level and offer a response to the Language-as-Problem “Θ(threat)-inversion” (Richard Ruiz, personal communication/lecture PowerPoint slides, August 2013).

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Imagining and moving beyond the ESL Bubble: Facilitating communities of practice through the ELL Ambassadors Program

Journal of Language, Identity, & Education

Steve Daniel Przymus

2016 When educators do not facilitate English language learners’ (ELLs) social integration in schools, this can perpetuate ELLs’ marginalized status and the plateauing of ELLs’ English language development. This study highlights a program for secondary ELLs called the ELL Ambassadors program, which partnered ELLs with non-ELLs based on shared extracurricular interests. Comparing the stories, perspectives, and test scores of five newcomer ELLs from varied countries of origin, this article shows how program participants strengthened their English language skills and achieved academic success, demonstrating tremendous agency as they gained access to, and were socialized within, interest-based communities of practice. Further, this article documents how youth imagined and claimed new identities, moving beyond the insulation and isolation of the ESL bubble to gaining confidence through interest-based learning with other peers. Findings suggest that interest-based peer programs at schools may create important opportunities for ELLs’ academic, language, and identity formation.

Negotiating language use in CALL's Fourth Phase: An introduction to a Functional Approach to Code-switching Electronically (FACE)

Arizona Working Papers in Second Language Acquisition & Teaching

Steve Daniel Przymus

2014 This article offers a critical discourse analysis of how language learners negotiate language use in intercultural computer mediated communication (CMC) activities and takes a revitalized and resituated look at code-switching (CS) for the purpose of enhancing the public self-image of online interactants by positioning interactants as proficient second language (L2) users. Warschauer (2000) first proposed the idea of a “third stage” of computer assisted language learning (CALL) where the Internet and multimedia would provide a new type of authentic discourse and open greater opportunities for increased student agency through social interactions (p. 64). Bax (2003) similarly argued for the conception of a “third phase” of CALL. Bax characterized this phase as the ubiquitous use of technology for language learning and the creation of a state of “normalization” of technology use and integration (p. 13). This article proposes a fourth phase (Ariew, 2014) 1 made distinctive by its sociocultural lens used to examine what kinds of knowledge, relationships, and identities are co-constructed through increased intercultural CMC opportunities afforded by CALL’s ubiquitous use. I adopt an approach informed by systemic functional linguistic (SFL)(Eggins, 2004; Halliday, 1985; Halliday & Matthiessen, 2004; Martin & Rose, 2007a, 2008) that demonstrates how language is a meaning making system in intercultural emails.