Meet Justin Bradford Bennett, Ph.D.
The social injustices that Dr. Bennett witnessed as a child living in La Guajira peninsula of Northern Colombia during the late 1980s sowed the seeds of his desire to create positive change in the world. This desire was further deepened when he and his family moved back to the U.S., whereupon he became acutely aware of the injustices that existed in his own country. Believing the development of his bilingualism and multiculturalism to be an effective means by which he could become an agent of change, Dr. Bennett went on to earn both a B.A. and M.A. in Spanish from Miami University and graduated in May of 2015 with a Ph.D. in Bilingual Education from New York University. In the fall of 2014 he founded Utopia Education, a multicultural education consulting company dedicated to helping pre-kindergartner through post secondary school stakeholders become stewards of social justice.
The extensive academic training and research experience that Dr. Bennett received at New York University led to his expertise in second language acquisition theory, pedagogy, and assessment, in addition to a multitude of issues concerning educational equity for English Language Learners (ELLs) and other underserved student populations. Dr. Pedro Noguera had a particularly significant impact on Dr. Bennett’s growth as an educator. Courses such as The Role of Research in Transforming Urban Schools allowed him to examine the ways in which racial inequality and social isolation of the poor shape the character of urban public schools, and to subsequently explore how schools can respond to the conditions and issues that exist there as a result. And as a member of multiple investigative teams for The Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, of which Dr. Noguera was Executive Director, Dr. Bennett helped assess the effectiveness of academic and social interventions designed to improve student achievement and address multiple risk factors for underserved urban student populations. In addition, Dr. Noguera and Dr. Bennett co-taught a graduate course to help students understand why schools frequently struggle in their attempts to create a more just and equitable society, and to consider the ways in which educational settings and the educational process can serve as a focal point for resistance to social and cultural reproduction, and various forms of oppression and discrimination.
In the summer of 2008 Dr. Bennett created the official list of pre-K through twelfth grade Spanish language literature that the New York State Education Department (NYSED) then provided public school Spanish teachers as recommended reading for their students. Upon completion of this project, he was selected as Student Mentor for the New York University Gateway Math Education Program, a U.S. Department of Education teacher recruitment initiative designed to help schools in low-income communities. In this role he helped M.A. student teachers develop multicultural math curricula and instructional materials for their seventh through twelfth grade immigrant ELL students. In addition to the these experiences, for two years Dr. Bennett provided professional development in educational equity and diversity to then current and future New York City pre-K through post-secondary teachers enrolled in his City College of New York courses. Education that is Multicultural was a graduate course in which teachers examined the significant role that schools play in rejecting or affirming diversity through an education that falls along the continuum of monocultural to multicultural, with particular attention paid to language, race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, and sexuality. Along with reading about and discussing the ways in which schools and society at large have set up inequitable opportunities for particular groups, while maintaining the privilege of others, those in the course learned how to “teach against the grain” through culturally and locally relevant pedagogy that both affirms student identities and creates equitable learning environments.
- Pre-K–12th Grade Teaching
- Postsecondary Teaching & Professional Development
- University Service
Ph.D., Bilingual Education, May 2015, New York University, New York, NY
Dissertation: Translanguaging Among U.S. Latino Fifth Graders
M.A., Spanish, May 2003, Miami University, Oxford, OH
Thesis: Fuentes Bíblicas e Intencionalidad Política en la Oratoria de José Martí
B.A., Spanish, May 1999, Miami University, Oxford, OH
School Professionals: Supplemental Educational Services, New York, NY
Kindergarten Math and ELA After School Instructor, spring 2012
Tribeca Language School, New York, NY
Pre-K through 6th grade Spanish & ESL Instructor, summer – fall 2011
City & Country School, New York, NY
5th and 6th grade Spanish Instructor, September 2010 – June 2011
The Florentine School, New York, NY
4th, 5th, and 6th grade Spanish Instructor, summer 2008
Miami University, Oxford, OH
Assistant Professor of Spanish, August 2017 – present
City College of New York, New York, NY
Lecturer, June 2012 – May 2014
Graduate courses: Education that is Multicultural; Research Seminar in Teaching Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Students
Undergraduate courses: Teaching Content Using both English and a Native Language; Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
New York University, New York, NY
Gateway Math Education Program Student Mentor, August 2008 – May 2009
• provided professional development to Master’s-student teachers of seventh through twelfth grade mathematics to support the needs of their ELL students.
Instructor, fall 2007 & spring 2010
Graduate courses: Research on Urban & Minority Education (co-taught w/Dr. Pedro Noguera)
Undergraduate courses: English Grammar & Conversation for Spouses of Immigrant Students
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
Instructor, August 2004 – July 2007
Undergraduate courses: Elementary Spanish; Intermediate Spanish; Introduction to Hispanic Literature
Miami University, Oxford, OH
Instructor, August 2003 – May 2004
Undergraduate courses: Beginner’s Spanish; Intensive Review of Basic Spanish; Second-Year Spanish
New York University
Volunteer, The New York State Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Center (NYSBETAC), summer 2008
• created the New York State Education Department’s list of recommended Spanish literature for pre-K through twelfth grade students;
• translated into Spanish official NYSBETAC documents.
Wake Forest University
Director, Wake Forest University Querétaro, México Summer Program, 2006 & 2007
Adviser, Club Hispano, fall 2005 – spring 2007
Coordinator, Department of Romance Languages Undergraduate Short Story Contest, fall 2005
Coordinator, Undergraduate Spanish Language Conversation Hour, fall 2005 – spring 2006
Elected Resource Mentor for New Instructors of Elementary Spanish, fall 2005 – spring 2006
Elected Resource Mentor for New Instructors of Intermediate Spanish, fall 2006 – spring 2007
Departmental Representative, United Way Campaign, fall 2005
Coordinator, Graduate Student Conference, February 2003
New York University Ph.D. Dissertation: Translanguaging Among U.S. Latino Fifth Graders, October 2011 – June 2012
• investigated the spoken and written hybrid language practices of U.S. Latino students in their fifth grade bilingual classroom in an effort to help teachers and language policymakers better understand the heteroglossic nature of the bilingualism of these youth.
The Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, August 2009 – June 2010
• collected and analyzed data for research projects that examined interventions designed to ensure educational equity for underserved student populations;
• served as the center’s trainer for ATLAS.ti, a qualitative data analysis research software.
New York University Math Disabilities Project, January 2008 – May 2008
• designed and conducted oral math assessments in Spanish for first–fourth grade Spanish dominant English Language Learner student participants;
• served as the project’s Spanish language contact for parents, teachers, and administrators.
Miami University Independent Study: José Martí in Public Space, June 2002 – August 2002
• conducted a visual semiotic analysis of the images and quotes of Cuban patriot José Martí encountered in the public spaces of La Habana, Cuba.
“Translanguaging Among U.S. Latino Fifth Graders”
American Association for Applied Linguistics/Association Canadienne de Linguistique Appliquée Conference, Toronto, Canada, March 23, 2015.
“The Translingual Practices of U.S. Latino Fifth Graders in a Dual Immersion Classroom”
American Association for Applied Linguistics Annual Conference, Portland, OR, March 22, 2014.
“Navigating Third Places in a Spanish/English Bilingual Classroom”
New York State TESOL 43rd Annual Conference, White Plains, NY, November 15, 2013.
“The Linguistic Hybridity of U.S. Latino Students & their Acquisition of Standard American English”
New York State TESOL 42nd Annual Conference, Albany, NY, November 2, 2012.
The Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at NYU Summer Institute, New York, NY, July 6, 2012.
National Association of Bilingual Education 41st Annual Conference, Dallas, TX, February 16, 2012.
New York State TESOL Applied Linguistics Winter Conference, New York, NY, February 11, 2012.
“Oratoria y cristología: El tema del autosacrificio en la prosa ensayística de José Martí”
“Oratory and Christology: The theme of self sacrifice in the essayistic prose of José Martí”
Miami University’s Annual Graduate Student Conference, Oxford, Ohio, February 8, 2003.