Conference Abstracts

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CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS

Amina Al-Dhaif

Sara Alcázar Silva

George Androulakis

Janice Bland

Minna Bogdanoff

Tony Capstick

Judith Chrystal

Mary Carol Combs

Veronica Crosbie

Julien Danero Iglesias

Linda Fisher

Naomi Flynn

Karen Forbes

Sara Ganassin

Natalia Ganuza

Paola Giorgis

Jagoda Granić

Anas Hajar

Christina Hedman

Ana Christina Iddings

Maria Grazia Imperiale

Erika Kalocsányiová

Roula Kitsiou

Polina Kliuchnikova

Yongcan Liu

Gabriela Meier

Rola Naeb

Emily Oxley

BethAnne Paulsrud

Eva Polymenakou

Sari Pöyhönen

Ana Souza

Mirja Tarnanen

Sofia Tsioli

Serpil Urkmez

Ruixin Wei

Oakleigh Welply

Anne Wiseman

Martha Young-Scholten

 

Amina Al-Dhaif

Northumbria University, United Kingdom

Abstract title: Syrian Refugees in the UK: The Journey of Linguistic and Cultural Identity Construction

Despite the ever-growing interest in L2 identity and investment research, one issue, however, that has been underresearched in the field is that of identity, investment, race, and TESOL post-9/11 and 7/7 attacks which offer undesirable, yet widely recognizable, positions to Arab and Muslim immigrants to the West. Little work has honed in on how current exclusionary, Islamophobic, and sociopolitical discourses can create complex conditions for Arab and Muslim learners in TESOL contexts for learning and participation (e.g., Giroir 2014; Rich and Troudi 2006; both on Saudi students), and none on Arab or Muslim refugees or asylum seekers. Addressing this gap in research becomes more pressing when one considers the significant increase of Arabs and Muslims migrating to Europe since 2011 when political uprisings spread across the Arab world. More than 80% of those who reached Europe by boat in 2015 are from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan (BBC 2016a). Syrians formed more than 50% (half a million) of immigrants to Europe in 2015 (UNHCR 2015).

Thus, this study will focus on the current language learning experiences and the process of identity construction and negotiation of a particularly politicized and racialized cultural group: Syrian refugees in the North East of England. More particularly, this study will investigate Syrian refugees’ language investment in society and the language classroom, how they negotiate their peripherality and marginalization and to what extent the language classroom conditions facilitate or constrain their negotiation of their identities and fulfilling their potentials. Taking an ethnographic approach, 12 recently arrived Syrian refugees of both genders and different ages, their language teachers and relevant personnel in a language school in the North East will be approached to participate in the study. Data will be collected over approximately a nine-month period, and data sources will include: (1) two learner questionnaires, (2) interviews, (3) classroom observations, and (4) recorded narratives. Given the UK’s plan to receive 23,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years (BBC 2016b) and the continuous implementation of the national refugee dispersal programme, it is hoped that the relevance of this study goes beyond the North East to represent Syrian refugees and other refugee groups from different backgrounds all across the UK.

Amina Al Dhaif completed her BA in English Language and Literature from Al-Baath University in Syria in 2008. She then went on for a Vocational Diploma in Education in 2009. In 2010, she was awarded a full scholarship from the Syrian Ministry of Higher Education to do an MA in the UK. In 2012, she finished her MA in Applied Linguistics with Distinction at the University of Essex, UK. She then came back to Syria in 2012 to work as a full-time university lecturer at the MA English Language Teaching (ELT) Programme in Al-Baath University. She was offered a place of fully-funded PhD studentship in linguistics at Northumbria University, and started the PhD programme in March 2016.

 

Sara Alcázar Silva

University of Arizona, USA

Abstract title: Former Language Brokers Reclaiming Power in Interpreting Events

As the number of immigrant families increase in the United States, more children are placed in the role of cross linguistic mediators. This is due mainly because children are able to acquire English before their parents. These children are known as language brokers and they find themselves in adult-like roles helping their parents in very complex situations. Studies have focused on two aspects of these children’s lives, the influence of language brokering on academic performance and the impact on the relationship with their parents without reaching a clear understanding of either. To contribute to the discussion of power dynamics in language brokering, I explored the influence that formal translation and interpretation training has on the perceptions of language brokers.

Through focus group interviews and journaling, I look at the positionality shift of former child interpreters, including myself, who are enrolled in a translation and interpretation degree program, comparing their descriptions of experiences they had as child interpreters, and their interpreting experiences after having received training. Participants reveal that as children interpreters, their power is imposed, their performance is under critical eye, and monolingual adults limit their practice (cf. Reynolds & Orellana, 2009). Their reflections also show how, after developing their linguistic skills and heightening their ethical and situational awareness through formal training, they become assertive about their linguistic knowledge and they follow ethical protocol. This study contributes to the questioning of lack of equal access to services, especially within the legal and medical context, and demonstrates how translation and interpretation training empowers youth in their bilingual practices, personal and professional.

View the presentation slides on Slideshare

Sara Alcázar Silva is a PhD student in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching from the University of Arizona. Raised on the border of the United States and Mexico, in a Spanish monolingual home, naturally became her parents’ interpreter for school meetings and doctor appointments, so she was highly conscious of the importance of cross-linguistic communication from a very young age. This experience has instilled a desire to study the collective experience of child interpreters and to find ways to empower this population. Therefore, she has begun studying translation and interpretation education as a means of empowerment for heritage language learners. Other research areas of interest to her are the affective filter and impact and effectiveness of feedback in second language acquisition.

 

Janice Bland

University of Muenster, Germany

Abstract title: Affordances of Multimodal Literature Reflecting Diversity

Intercultural competence calls for an approach to language education ‘that takes into account the actual, the imagined and the virtual worlds in which we live’ (Kramsch, 2011). Narratives are an important pedagogic medium. When they are compelling as well as comprehensible to the L2 learner as well as L1 readers, they can offer optimal input (Krashen & Bland, 2014). Narratives metaphorically represent many aspects of culture and as such offer windows onto other worlds. They also act as mirrors – as the imagined world reflects a new light onto the reader’s own world. Stories support humankind’s drive to construct coherence and meaning and they can take the reader on educational journeys.

However, children in minority and refugee situations are frequently disadvantaged in their reading and participation in storyworlds – lacking mirrors of their own cultural identity: ‘When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when images they see are distorted, negative or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part’ (Bishop, 1990). This paper will illustrate how multimodal literature reflecting diversity can advantage majority children as well as those suffering the pain of migration. Frequently providing convincing access to cultural details and involving the affective dimension of children’s learning – the pictures are physically present and frozen in time – strongly drawing the reader/viewer into the storyworld. Ultimately the pictures may transform into mental images that remain in the reader’s repertoire of experience, anchoring ideas, concepts and feelings along with language. Contemporary and innovative creators of literature on serious themes are increasingly turning to visual narratives, and multicultural picturebooks on globally relevant topics can make a breadth and depth of understanding achievable for multicultural and plurilingual classrooms.

Janice Bland, originally from East London, taught all levels of primary and secondary school English in Germany before becoming a teacher educator. Janice is currently Visiting Professor and Deputy Chair of TEFL at the University of Münster. Her core interests are language and literature education in school settings, including children’s and young adult world literature in English, critical cultural literacy and drama methodology. Her publications include Children’s Literature and Learner Empowerment – Children and Teenagers in English Language Education (2013) and Teaching English to Young Learners – Critical Issues in Language Teaching with 3-12 Year Olds (2015), both books with Bloomsbury Academic. Janice is editor of the peer-reviewed open-access CLELEjournal.

 

Tony Capstick

University of Reading, United Kingdom

Abstract title: Classroom interactions in refugee settings: understanding mobility and multilingualism as translanguaging.

In this paper I explore the multilingual repertoires of Syrian refugees and their classmates in the region surrounding Syria and teachers’ responses to this multilingualism. The focus for the study is how participants draw on their language resources during periods of heightened mobility. Which language practices open up opportunities for learning and which practices present challenges for learners, teachers and the education leaders that manage these classrooms?

By exploring interview data and classroom observation notes through the lens of translanguaging, the aim is to identify the opportunities for learning collaboratively which emerge when arrivals bring new language practices into classrooms in refugee camps and in ‘host’ communities. Do teachers draw on these resources and if so, how?

In the second part of the paper I focus more closely on the NGOs themselves and look at how NGO staff understand what is happening in the schools and education centres that they manage. Understanding these classrooms from multiple perspectives meant drawing on interdisciplinary research methods in order to understand the practices which occur across traditional boundaries such as school and home, as well as across traditional language boundaries.

This was achieved by employing research in language education which proposes that there is an interplay between language systems. Rather than seeing languages as separate, taking a translanguaging approach enables researchers to explore how bilingual users select language features from a repertoire and ‘soft assemble’ their language practices in ways that fit the communicative situation (Garcia 2013). In this paper, these situations are taken from classrooms where Syrian refugees come together to learn with others, as well as from the home situations that they told me about in interviews. The findings help account for teachers’ responses to increasing levels of migration and multilingualism.

Tony Capstick is Lecturer in TESOL and Applied Linguistics at the University of Reading. He has worked on teacher education programmes in Cambodia, Indonesia, North Korea, Romania and Pakistan. Tony’s research interests include teacher development, particularly in multilingual contexts and resource-low environments, and literacy. He uses classroom ethnography and discourse analysis to understand classroom interaction and is particularly interested in the relationship between home language use and World Englishes. He is involved in several research networks and international research projects which focus on language and migration. Multilingual literacy, identity and ideology: Exploring chain migration from Pakistan to the UK by Tony is published in 2016.

 

Judith Chrystal

Stockholm University, Sweden

Abstract title: Initial Assessment of Newly Arrived Students. Narrowing the Gap between Aspirations and 0utcomes?

During 2015 Sweden received over 70 000 asylum seekers between the ages of 7 and 18 years. The sharp increase in the number of newly arrived students entering in the Swedish school system coincided with the introduction of new legislation regulating the reception and education of newly arrived students. The overarching goal is to ensure equal access to education and improve educational outcomes for foreign-born students.

Since 1st January 2016 a three-step national initial assessment process has been in use for all newly arrived students in compulsory schooling. This follows reports by the Swedish Schools Inspectorate and the Swedish National Agency for Education that many schools lack sufficient information about newly arrived students´ prior knowledge and experience to plan appropriate education and inform teaching practices.

The new initial assessments consist of interviews and tasks conducted in the pupil´s strongest language, which may or may not be a first language, and the assessment materials have been developed to support a strengths-based approach. The first two assessment steps, Step 1, Languages and background, and Step 2 Literacy and Numeracy, are mandatory and must be carried out within two months of the student´s school registration. Results should be used by the school principal to inform decisions about placement and language support in their strongest language and by teachers to adapt instruction to the individual student´s prior knowledge and needs. Step 3, which is not mandatory, maps content knowledge in 15 subjects in the compulsory school curriculum.

In my paper I focus on the initial assessment of newly arrived students´ literacy and discuss some of the challenges involved in assessing literacy from a multilingual perspective, where both interpretation and translation are involved in the assessment process and where students´ linguistic and educational backgrounds vary extensively. I will present results from a preliminary study of teachers´ expectations and experiences of the new assessment process and of how it has informed their classroom practices and their conceptions of newly arrived students´ literacy. Data consists of questionnaires and interviews carried out both with teachers involved in the assessment process and with those who receive students after assessment.

View the presentation slides on Slideshare

Judith Chrystal, Ph.D. is a senior lecturer at the Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism at Stockholm University, Sweden. She has taught for many years in the fields of Swedish language and literacy education. Her research interests are in literacy development. She is currently leading a project commissioned by the Swedish National Agency for Education to develop assessment material for Initial Assessment Step 2 Literacy and co-ordinate translation of the material into a number of immigrant languages. Material is at present available in 14 languages and a further 13 languages will be available by the end of 2016.

  

Mary Carol Combs

University of Arizona, USA

Abstract Title: Multilingual pain and pressure: Repressive language policies in the state of Arizona

Co-authored with Ana Christina Iddings

The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest newspaper, published a recent opinion editorial ironically titled, “Why it’s in our best interest to keep migrants alive.” The editorial appealed for a more humanitarian response to the suffering and deaths of hundreds of Mexican and Central American migrants crossing the broiling Arizona deserts. But the question could just as easily be rephrased to surface historical and political tensions that have contributed to the contemporary mass displacement of these migrants, for example, “Why it’s in our interest to remember that borders are arbitrary and political artifacts,” or “Why it’s in our interest to remember that until 1848 Arizona belonged to Mexico,” or finally, “Why it’s in our interest to value and make use of the linguistic and cultural resources that migrants bring to Arizona schools and communities.”

In this paper, we provide a conceptual link between oppressive immigration policies currently in place in the southwestern state of Arizona (USA) and subsequent, state-level language policies that have created a two-tiered segregated education system in the schools: one for English speakers and the other for English learners. These policies isolate migrant and citizen English learners into daily four-hour curricular blocks of grammar, vocabulary development and phonics-based reading instruction. Content area subjects like science, social studies, and language arts — mandated for English speakers by Arizona state law – by law are withheld from English learners.

We argue that these euphemistically named “English language development” blocks have reinstated historical de jure segregation on the basis of language. This approach also institutionalizes a neocolonial linguistic apartheid that withholds the academic development of children’s first languages as well as effective and theoretically based pedagogies for acquiring English. There is growing evidence that the ELD blocks constitute a form of child maltreatment as they interfere with the development of healthy identities among migrant and citizen children (Parra et al, 2014). What is needed instead, as the call for this conference has advocated, is a perspective that recognizes multiple languages and cultures in Arizona schools as opportunities and affordances.

Mary Carol Combs is Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies, University of Arizona, in Tucson. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in bilingual education, English as a second language methods, Indigenous language revitalization, language policy and planning, and critical pedagogy. Her research interests include language and policy and law, sociocultural theory, immigration and education, second language acquisition, sheltered instruction and teacher preparation for immigrant and citizen second language learners. Her published works focus on the intersectionality between these issues and their implications for teachers, students and schools in the Southwestern United States.

 

Veronica Crosbie

Dublin City University, Republic of Ireland

Abstract title: Voice and agency in vulnerable settings

Ireland, like many countries in Europe, has experienced increased levels of migration in the past couple of decades. According to CSO (2011) figures, 12% of the population is foreign-born and figures for those claiming asylum have increased recently (RIA 2016), after a period of decline correlating with the post-Celtic Tiger economic crisis. The State response to the asylum-seeker situation in Ireland has been to set up a service called Direct Provision (DP) with institutional accommodation and ancillary services for those whose applications for international protection are being processed. DP currently provides accommodation for 4,364 residents in 34 centres throughout the country (RIA 2015). According to Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre, while Ireland has adopted the EU asylum policy, it has opted out of directive 2003/9/EC, the reception directive, which would have allowed asylum seekers limited access to labour markets. As it stands, under DP, each adult receives a weekly allowance of €19.10 in addition to basic services. While ostensibly basic needs are being met, the lived reality for asylum seekers is one of serious capability deprivation. For example, they do not have the freedom to choose what to eat each day as they are not allowed to cook for themselves, and adults who have completed compulsory schooling have limited resources to occupy themselves, being thus denied the ability to live a life they have reason to value (Sen 1999). I have been drawn to this topic in my role as an educator, teaching Intercultural Studies in Dublin City University, with a pedagogical focus on the development of cosmopolitan citizenship dispositions (Crosbie 2013). Exploring issues in multicultural society has led me (and my students) to ask, inter alia: “To what extent do migrants seeking asylum have the opportunities for capability expansion and the realization of aspirations in Ireland of a “hundred thousand welcomes?” Through a series of individual interviews and focus group interviews, I have engaged with women and men from different DPs to try to understand their conditions, their challenges, their hopes and their aspirations. I have been struck by the power of many of the interviewees: their ability to speak up and out about their situation despite their vulnerable situation, under threat of deportation and of being moved by DP management to other centres if considered to be trouble-makers. In this paper, I will therefore focus on voice and agency: ‘an unfolding process of knowing, acting and being-in-the-world’ (Leach and Moon 2008: 144), investigating what conditions are being challenged, through which media and means, by whom and under what circumstances. The story that emerges is one of ‘speaking truth to power’ by those who have nothing left to lose.

Dr Veronica Crosbie is a lecturer in ESOL and Intercultural Studies in SALIS, Dublin City University. She is co-convenor of the education thematic group of the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) and vice-chair of the International Association of Language and Intercultural Communication (IALIC). Her research interests are: capabilities approach, participatory action research, cosmopolitan citizenship education, and migrant wellbeing.

 

Julien Danero Iglesias

University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Abstract Title: Teaching for and learning among refugees: Re-assessing the importance of context in language education

Co-authored with Maria Grazia Imperiale

Existing paradigms and frameworks for intercultural language education developed in times of peace and context of free mobility need to be challenged and adapted in light of the current refugee situation. Literature is abundant on content and syllabus development, language teaching methodologies, and language testing (Common European Framework of Reference, 2001). However, recent research has highlighted the need also to include ‘context’ in the ethical conceptualization of critical intercultural language education (Phipps and Levine, 2012).

The proposed paper reflects on the role of ‘context’ in language education for and with refugees. It draws on ethnographic research, including classroom observations, conducted in Romania and Lebanon. In one of the observed language classes for refugees in Romania, organized by a non-governmental organization, intercultural awareness was nurtured through teaching static and ‘idealized’ portraits of the ‘host country’. In another of the observed classes, the teacher, by disclosing some personal stories, established a relationship of trust with the learners who felt free to express themselves, including some of their current and past experiences. In Lebanon, in the Intermediate Urban Arabic language course attended by ‘expats’ working with refugees, daily events and the unstable Lebanese socio-political context were at the heart of every lesson: the teacher, a Syrian refugee herself, invited learners to share in class their ‘knowledge’ and experiences of the ‘context’ outside the classroom, acknowledging that as the main location where intercultural encounters occur.

Drawing on these examples from their field work and on critical engaged pedagogy (bel hooks,1994), Ingold’s ‘education of attention’ (2000), and Najar’s ‘intercultural field’ (2015), the authors build on the relational and social construction of the context outside and inside the classroom to argue for a relational intercultural language pedagogy for and with refugees.

Dr Julien Danero Iglesias is a research associate at the University of Glasgow within the framework of the project. He has conducted research on nationalism and identity in Moldova for his PhD and, more recently, a comparative research on identity and everyday life at the border of the European Union in Serbia, Ukraine and Moldova.

 

Naomi Flynn

University of Reading, United Kingdom

Abstract title: After the ‘new migration’: re-examining perceptions and experiences of teaching English to Polish children in primary schools

This paper compares findings from two qualitative studies charting the responses of teachers to rising numbers of Polish children in a region in the south of England between 2007 and 2016. In the first study teachers in schools unaccustomed to linguistic difference were interviewed during 2007-2009 at a time when Polish children arrived in their classes following Poland’s accession to the EU. Key findings were that Polish children were constructed by teachers as a ‘model minority’ and that the inherently monolingual assumptions of the curriculum for English constrained teachers’ potential to adapt their practice for English Language Learners (ELLs); this despite policy initiatives to support practitioners teaching ELLs. In the second study interviews in 2016 with teachers in the same region explored whether these findings held. Polish children and their parents were also interviewed in order to broaden the picture of how the experiences of Polish migration have played out for each stakeholder in school.

The rising number of Polish and other ELLs in English schools has been concurrent with substantial curriculum change in the shape of a new National Curriculum for English (DfE, 2013); this is skills-based and makes very little mention of how teachers might adapt their pedagogy for non-native speakers of English. Furthermore, pre-2010 policy-related discourse for the teaching of ELLs has been replaced by a generalised narrative around poverty and disadvantage which conceals the language learning needs of migrant children learning English.

Outcomes suggest that teachers’ responses to children of the ‘new migration’ have shifted over time as numbers of Polish children have grown, and that Polish children’s identities are more complex and fluid than the single notion of ‘model minority’; nevertheless some stereotypes persist. Analysis employing Bourdieuian constructs of linguistic capital and linguistic field sheds light on the tensions and successes for teachers and Polish families navigating changing identities and relationships.  Discussion raises implications for policy and practice for teachers working in multilingual classrooms, and for the importance of fine-grained understanding of the experiences of particular national groups.

View the presentation slides on Slideshare

Naomi Flynn is an Associate Professor in Primary English Education at the University of Reading, Institute of Education where she is a teacher educator. Her research has focussed on pedagogy for English language learners in primary schools and the dissonance between policy and practice for the teaching of English in multilingual classrooms. Naomi has a particular interest in using Bourdieuian constructs of linguistic field, capital and habitus to shed light on where teachers’ classroom decisions are framed by monolingual, policy-driven assumptions.

 

Sara Ganassin

Durham University, United Kingdom

Abstract Title: Translanguaging as pedagogic strategy and as resource for identity performance in the context of Chinese community schooling

This paper investigates the role of translanguaging as multilingual competence in the context of Chinese community language education. The paper draws on data from a 14 month in-the-field doctoral study to illustrate how pupils and teachers in two Chinese language community schools in the UK bring a diversity of language resources in the classrooms. This multilingual reality in classrooms appears to contrast with the monolingual educational macro which is more focused on standard Chinese language (Mandarin) and (traditional Chinese) culture. Focusing on the multilayered nature of classroom interaction, this paper explore how translanguaging is performed by pupils and teachers, both as pedagogic strategy and as resource for identity performance.

The literature defines how language community schools are not only educational, but also a socio-political context where language policies and choices are ideologically charged and reflected in the classroom practices. In promoting an agenda focused on Mandarin language and Chinese culture, the two schools in this study advocated the exclusive use of Mandarin in the classrooms, both as a pedagogic strategy and as an ideological choice to promote a sense of Chinese identity in the pupils.

However, my findings demonstrate how the classroom language ecologies were complex and Chinese and English were not compartimentalised, but instead used in connection to one another. In the classrooms pupils and teachers moved across languages drawing on translanguaging as multilingual competence. On the one hand, they used language to increase participation and to engage with the lesson (e.g. to explain and accomplish tasks). On the other hand, language impacted on pupils’ and teachers’ identity positions (e.g. pupils developing or challenging relationships with peers and teachers). Through these findings I show how such positions challenged the monolingual focus of the schools and the ideologies underlying it. The findings also demonstrate how pupils and teachers co-construct through language learning alternative identities where Mandarin, other varieties of Chinese and English are used creatively to negotiate meanings.

View the presentation slides on Slideshare

Sara Ganassin is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education, Durham University. Her work focuses on children in Chinese community schooling, their understandings of language, culture and their identity construction. Her PhD research is entitled: “Mandarin Chinese community schooling and pupils’ identities in the North of England”.

Between March 2014 and September 2015, Sara was Research Assistant at the Intercultural Education Resources for Erasmus Students and their Teachers (IEREST) Project (http://ierest-project.eu/).

  

Natalia Ganuza

Stockholm University, Sweden

Abstract title: The teaching of literacy through religion in a Quranic school setting

Co-authored with Christina Hedman

In this paper, we report from an ongoing ethnographic study that focuses on the teaching of literacy through Islamic religious education to children and adolescents of Somali speaking background in Sweden. We focus in particular on one Quranic school setting, which is located in the premises of an Islamic NGO that also serves as a local mosque. Data has been collected by means of observations of Quranic literacy classes to young children and adolescents and through interviews with current and former pupils of the Quranic School. In the presentation, we will discuss the teaching of literacy and the use of named languages in religious education. We will also discuss the ways in which the practices observed in the Quranic School may have the potential to benefit children’s general language and literacy development, and in what ways they resemble and complement literacy practices observed in the mainstream school (e.g., Ganuza & Hedman 2015). Furthermore, we will exemplify the important role that the Quranic School may have in the linguistic and religious formation of young children and adolescents of Somali speaking background in Sweden. Lastly, we will discuss the benefits of doing team ethnography in this context, as a way of including perspectives of both members and non-members of the faith setting observed (cf. Gregory & Lytra 2012).

Natalia Ganuza is Assistant Professor of Bilingualism at the Centre for Research on Bilingualism, Stockholm University. Her research interests include urban multilingualism, sociolinguistics and educational perspectives on multilingualism.

 

Paola Giorgis

Wom.an.ed women’s studies in anthropology and education

Abstract title: Teaching and learning foreign languages in multicultural and plurilingual contexts. A critical and intercultural approach to Foreign Language Education

Considered “the prime promoter of the foreign perspective” (Kramsch 2009: 192), Foreign Language Education is in the right place to foster a critical awareness of the many ways in which identity and alterity are represented, defined, as well as questioned or deconstructed in the multicultural and plurilingual contexts of our societies. By disclosing how far the relation word-world is cultural and situated, it can favour an intercultural perspective able to question the taken-for-granted of individual and collective cultural identitities, as well as of monocultural and nationalist frameworks. A critical and intercultural language education is therefore much needed in times of global migrations, when people and languages meet at unprecedented scale, to challenge the prevailing narratives which label individuals and groups according to their linguacultural backgrounds, and capitalize on fear for their reactionary agenda.

Within such premises, I will particularly examine the ‘strange case’ of English, both a Foreign and an International Language: at the intersection of global phenomena and local appropriations, of norms and variations, of homogenization and subversion, English language has triggered fierce debates on the linguistic, sociocultural, political and pedagogical implications of its widespread, but also on the potentially creative and critical appropriations from below that it can elicit. My assumption is that, precisely for its multifaceted quality and the controversies it arises, English(es) can propose renovated critical pedagogies of Foreign Languages, engaging teachers and students to observe how individual and collective representations of culture and identity, as well as status of power, manifest and move through language affiliations and appropriations.

In the light of Critical Linguistics and Pedagogy (Kramsch 1993, 2009; Pennycook 2001; Norton & Toohey 2004), Anthropology of Education (Gobbo 2011), Intercultural Education (Abdallah-Pretceille 2008; Dervin & Liddicoat 2013) and Cultural Linguistics (Sharifian 2009), I will address these issues presenting a qualitative field study in two educational contexts with adolescent students from different linguacultural backgrounds, examining a) the intercultural potential of a language equally foreign for both Italian and non-Italian students (as is the case of English in the Italian context), b) how cross-linguistic interactions and bottom-up appropriations of languages remodel individual and collective identities and create new belongings, and c) the pedagogical challenges and opportunities that these phenomena advance.

Link to presentation slides

Paola Giorgis teaches English Language and Literature in Italian high schools and holds a PhD in Anthropology of Education and Intercultural Education. Her main interest regards a critical and intercultural approach to foreign language education, and the relation between Language and Identity, considering how the experience of a non-mother tongue reshapes individual and collective representations.

She investigates cross-linguistic interactions among adolescents from the perspective of Linguistic Anthropology and Critical Linguistics and Pedagogy, observing L2 as a territory able to reframe individual and collective identities, since it questions, challenges and problematizes meanings, assumptions and representations ordinarily taken-for-granted. She also reads critically both sides of L2 acquisition, top-down instructions and bottom-up practices.

She has published a monograph and some articles, and participated at several international conferences. She is co-founder and member of wom.an.ed – women’s studies in anthropology and education (www.womaned.org), and is affiliated to several international associations of Linguistics and Interculture.

 

Jagoda Granić

University of Split, Croatia

Abstract title: Migratory Languages in the New European Linguistic Landscape

The regrettable events of the last few years and a mounting terror attacks on European soil have been a strong argument in the hands of those who have criticized the concept of multiculturalism. Due to the conflict in Syria and political crisis in Pakistan, the ongoing violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as abuses in Eritrea, more than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015. Although not all of them choose to claim asylum, many do, especially in Germany and some other Western European countries. Raising the ”new minority question”, i.e. the migrant crisis, multiculturalism is beginning to be looked on as a failed project that divides rather than joins, promoting ethnic ghettos and cultural isolation. This is ”the dark side” of multilingualism.

Despite these anti-multicultural attitudes, not all the criticisms of multiculturalism are rooted in multicultiphobia (Ryan 2010). The fact is that millions of people are on the move and this issue needs to be discussed from different points of view.

Though not having the right to autonomy as an allochthonous minority, people and their migratory languages have the right not to be discriminated against, not to be under pain and pressure, but to maintain their own cultural and linguistic identity. In their new surroundings migrants have gradually constructed new identities, including a hybrid identity. And blending can be the result of the struggle to accommodate (Hagège (2005).

On the other side, Eurocentrism and its meta-discourse based on strong prejudices against outsiders (migrants), leads to formation of ”parallel societies”, rather than to their integration.

Teaching at an integration school in classes with more pupils from different origins, countries, languages and cultures, could be very difficult for both sides. Integration will permit the new minorities to homogenize with the majority population or with other minority groups. Education and competence in the majority language will permit everyone to communicate in all domains, which yields complete equality.

Combining the theoretical and applied issues of both multilingualism and migration, and analyzing and comparing certain European policies, this paper reconsiders the possibility of intercultural dialogue in the new linguistic landscape.

Currently, Jagoda Granić is Assistant Professor in Linguistics at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Split. She has participated in many research projects and presented papers in around seventy international conferences. She has published papers in different fields of linguistics, especially interested in theoretical and applied linguistics, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. Her research and publications are on multilingualism and multiculturalism, multicultiphobia, bilingualism and diglossia, and also on identity issues. She is a specialist in language policy and language rights, focused on minority and majority languages in the EU. Member of many professional organizations dealing with multilingual matters: LINEE+ (Languages In a Network of European Excellence), ENIEDA (The European Network for Intercultural Education Activities), ELA (The Eurolinguistic Association). She is the editor of several volumes (Language and Identities, Language Policy and Language Reality etc.). She has organized several international conferences, the last one was INPRA 2016 (7th International Conference on Intercultural Pragmatics and Communication). She is past president of the Croatian Applied Linguistics Society (CALS).

 

Anas Hajar

Canterbury Christ Church University, United Kingdom

Abstract Title: Identity, Investment and Learning Strategies in English Language Development: A Tale of a Rural Learner of English during the Syrian Civil War

This paper documents the identity negotiation and strategic language efforts of a female postgraduate learner of English from a rural Arab background. This learner from Journalism major needed to demonstrate adequate English proficiency by obtaining a high score in the IELTS exam as a prerequisite to getting an unconditional offer from a UK university. The paper is guided by Dörnyei’s (2009) concept of ‘possible selves’, and Norton’s (2000) notion of investment in language learning and the distinction between compulsory (i.e. largely regulated by cultural beliefs) and voluntary (i.e. basically internalised within the self) strategies. The data suggest that Rima’s language strategic efforts were significantly constrained by her social networks, which limited her personal investment in language learning. Nonetheless, after receiving a Master’s grant, Rima acted agentively to accomplish her ultimate vision of being the first women in her village to complete her postgraduate studies abroad and participate in benefiting her country (i.e. individual and national interest). She did so through building a strong relationship with a university lecturer of English, together with adopting other strategies. From this case study, pedagogical implications as well as areas for ongoing research are suggested.

Anas Hajar is a graduate of Warwick University holding PhD in English Language Education. He won the Warwick Student Prize in 2015 for his excellent doctoral work. He worked for three years as an EAP tutor at Warwick and Coventry Universities, UK. He also worked as a university lecturer at Aleppo University, Syria. He is currently working as a post-doctoral research fellow at Canterbury Christ Church University. He is particularly interested in motivational issues in language learning and intercultural engagement. He also works in the areas of language learning strategies, shadow education (i.e. private supplementary tutoring) and refugee education.

 

Christina Hedman

Stockholm University, Sweden

Abstract title: The teaching of literacy through religion in a Quranic school setting

Co-authored with Natalia Ganuza

In this paper, we report from an ongoing ethnographic study that focuses on the teaching of literacy through Islamic religious education to children and adolescents of Somali speaking background in Sweden. We focus in particular on one Quranic school setting, which is located in the premises of an Islamic NGO that also serves as a local mosque. Data has been collected by means of observations of Quranic literacy classes to young children and adolescents and through interviews with current and former pupils of the Quranic School. In the presentation, we will discuss the teaching of literacy and the use of named languages in religious education. We will also discuss the ways in which the practices observed in the Quranic School may have the potential to benefit children’s general language and literacy development, and in what ways they resemble and complement literacy practices observed in the mainstream school (e.g., Ganuza & Hedman 2015). Furthermore, we will exemplify the important role that the Quranic School may have in the linguistic and religious formation of young children and adolescents of Somali speaking background in Sweden. Lastly, we will discuss the benefits of doing team ethnography in this context, as a way of including perspectives of both members and non-members of the faith setting observed (cf. Gregory & Lytra 2012).

Christina Hedman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Language Education, Stockholm University. Her current research interests encompass educational perspectives on biliteracy development, including the role of mother tongue instruction, as well as literacy practices in minority languages outside formal school contexts.

 

Erika Kalocsányiová

University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Abstract title: Multilingualism in Language Classes for Refugees in Luxembourg: Second Language Teaching or Repertoire Building?

Official trilingualism is often drawn upon to portray Luxembourg as a heterogeneous society with high levels of linguistic capital, where multilingualism is declared to be an asset both at individual and societal level. With the increased number and shifted geographic origin of migrants from refugee backgrounds new questions surface concerning the linguistic integration of these new arrivals, who are often incorrectly associated with zerolingualism and whose language capital is seldom perceived as a valuable asset. It has been argued that in contexts of (forced) migration one cannot talk of second or foreign language learning: migrants are not acquiring the language(s) of the mainstream society for the mere reason of approximating native speakers’ performances; these languages form part of their everyday lived experiences, hence they have to appropriate features that best suit their needs. Accordingly, their full linguistic repertoires constitute single integrated continua that include all the language resources they have learned and accumulated. In line with this and contesting the idea of zerolingualism, we maintain that through a wide variety of trajectories ranging from comprehensive learning to informal encounters with languages, migrants from refugee backgrounds have developed partial, truncated competences in several languages that have resulted in complex linguistic repertoires.

Our contribution aims at investigating whether the recognition of multilingualism in Luxembourg entails the acknowledgment of the refugees’ full linguistic repertoires, or on the contrary, it remains limited to the appreciation of official trilingualism and proficiency in standard English.

In our analysis we are going to rely on data collected in the context of a French language course for beginners, which is offered to newly arrived migrants by volunteer teachers. Besides commenting on the presence (or absence) of multilingual approaches, we seek to explore whether migrant language features are acknowledged as useful resources and how, if at all, the class draws on the fluid use of all the languages present for both learning and functional purposes. On this note, we aim to determine what is more prominent in this context: the monoglossic perspective where languages are conceived in a linear and compartmentalised way or a repertoire-building approach based on awareness and positive attitudes towards teachers’ and learners’ multilingual repertoires.

Erika Kalocsanyiova is a PhD student at the University of Luxembourg. Her main research interests are multilingualism, linguistic integration and language learning in contexts of migration. Her research project “Managing Multilingualism in Refugee Contexts” is conducted under the supervision of Ass. Prof. Dr. Sabine Ehrhart. Her work examines the language policies and practice that are in place to support the linguistic integration of refugees in Luxembourg.

 

Polina Kliuchnikova

Durham University, United Kingdom

Abstract title: Learning Russian In The North-East England: Migrant Initiatives And Official Discourses

Despite the long history of its presence in the UK, the Russian language has never been widely spread as a recognised migrant vernacular. In 2011, 67000 UK residents named it as their main language, but with 40% of them residing in London or surrounding areas, other British regions hardly witness much of a ‘Russian(-speaking) presence’ (ONS 2011). Its position as a foreign language taught within the educational context of the UK has also been staggering from a fifth popular choice for A-level language exams (Tinsley & Board 2013) to one of the ‘less-widely taught languages in the HEIs’, which is particularly poorly aligned with CEFR (UCML 2016). As a result, less than 1% of UK’s adult population report speaking Russian, at least at a basic level (YouGov 2013).

For many migrants moving to Britain from the post-Soviet countries, however, Russian still bears the image of a ‘world language’ (Ostler 2010). Despite relatively low numbers of those who name it as their main language, recent post-Soviet migrancy has been calculated to be over 300 thousand UK residents (IOM 2007). The phenomenon of ‘Russian-speaking-ness’ (Russophonism) stays central for migrant self-identification and identity politics, and their interaction with the Russophone cultural field continues to be highly ideological and interwoven with issues of language normativity, sociolinguistic unification, and interlingual associations. One of the main areas to reveal and reflect on this image of ‘Russian language’ that post-Soviet migrants share is through educational discourse and schooling practices they develop while transferring it to younger generations. Migrant initiatives shaped to mimic the desired educational context focus on language competence being more an issue of identity and belonging rather than of actual use or proficiency.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out by the author in the North-East England in 2012-15, the paper focuses on the interrelation of two different frameworks to represent Russian and its potential in language learning in the region: grassroots schooling activities performed by post-Soviet Russian-speaking migrants and an official discourse on Russian language within the context of alleged multilingualism in otherwise linguistically homogenous settings (enacted by regional authorities and educational institutions).

Polina Kliuchnikova is currently Russian World Centre Manager at School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University. She received her degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Durham University in 2016; her PhD project, titled ‘Linguistic Biographies and Communities of Language of Russian speakers of Great Britain’, focused on recent post-Soviet Russian-speaking migration to the UK, North-East England more specifically, and, based on ethnographic fieldwork across the region, explored linguistic factors shaping the group’s identity/ies. She also has academic background in Sociology of Mass Communication and Cultural Anthropology. Her research interests include language ideologies and policies, sociolinguistic studies of language(s) at home and abroad, multilingualism and identity studies.

 

Yongcan Liu

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Abstract title: Flexible and Differentiated: Ten Grounded Principles of Multilingual Classroom Pedagogy for EAL in Two Secondary Schools in England

Co-authored with Linda Fisher and Karen Forbes

The paper is based on a two-year project on the schooling experience of newly-arrived migrant children with English as an additional language (EAL) in two secondary schools in the East of England. The paper, with a specific focus on teachers’ professional knowledge base for EAL, draws on evidence from 16 interviews with teachers across a range of humanities and science subjects as well as senior leadership team members in both schools. Ten principles of multilingual classroom pedagogy emerge from the interviews, which capitalise on the professional discourse of ‘what works’ in the classroom. These principles include the selective use of bilingual resources, multimodal aids, home language and dialogical tasks and the employment of a range of differentiated strategies such as simplifying tasks, making cultural reference, ‘buddying’ students, providing focused support and assessing to promote learning. These principles reflect the teachers’ firm desire to have a stronger professional voice and the professional autonomy to make decisions based on individual children’s needs and situations. The paper finally argues that underlying these ten principles is the tenet of ‘child-centred differentiated education for all’. This perspective marks a sharp contrast with that of other additional language support systems which place a stronger emphasis on programme delivery than on the individual. The child-centred whole school approach, we argue, is unique to the English context which is characterised by its complexity and linguistic superdiversity. Pedagogical guidance for teacher training, curriculum design and material development based on the ten grounded principles will also be discussed.

Yongcan Liu is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and founder convener of Cambridge Research in Community Language Education Network. He also coordinates the MPhil/MEd in Research in Second Language Education programme. His research interests lie in community/heritage language education, multilingualism in education, and Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of mind. He has recently been involved in a series of linked projects on the schooling experience and assessment of Eastern European migrant children with English as an additional language. He is a co-investigator of a 4-million-pound Arts and Humanities Research Council project on multilingualism.

Linda Fisher is Senior Lecturer in Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Her current research interests are in the field of modern languages education, in particular, using metaphor to investigate students’ beliefs about language learning, motivation, teacher learning, and the academic and social integration of English as an Additional Language learners. Her main teaching responsibilities lie in co-ordinating the PGCE in MFL and she is involved in extensive work with secondary teachers of MFL. She is a co-investigator of a 4-million-pound Arts and Humanities Research Council project on multilingualism and currently leads the education strand of this project.

Karen Forbes recently completed her PhD in the Faculty of Education. This research focused on the cross-linguistic transfer of metacognitive writing strategies between modern foreign languages and English classrooms in a secondary school in England. Karen has also been working part-time as a research assistant on a longitudinal project investigating the education and social integration of students who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL) in UK schools. She is currently a research associate in the education strand of a 4-million-pound Arts and Humanities Research Council project on multilingualism. Karen previously worked as a secondary school teacher of French and Spanish.

 

Gabriela Meier

University of Exeter, United Kingdom

Abstract title: The multilingual turn in languages education: A critical movement in education

A recent shift towards bilingual, multilingual or plurilingual understandings of language learning has given momentum to the idea of the multilingual turn in languages education (May, 2014; Conteh and Meier, 2014). While there is increasing recognition of this in theory and in schools, the lack of teacher guidance and ingrained monolingual norms have been identified as associated challenges (Meier forthcoming). This talk is based on a thematic analysis of 21 chapters published in two edited books, both with the phrase ‘the multilingual turn’ in their title (Meier forthcoming).

I will first introduce the multilingual turn as a critical movement in education more widely that is concerned with social justice and emancipatory approaches (Meier forthcoming). The multilingual turn is relevant to a variety of contexts, as it brings together disciplines that had often been treated separately. These include English as an additional language (EAL) in the UK, second language acquisition (SLA) elsewhere, English as a foreign language (EFL), modern foreign languages (MFL), and bilingual education (immersion, CLIL), etc.

I then draw out implications for situations, where people with different biographies and linguistic experiences come together in temporary or more permanent learning situations. In such situations, it is increasingly likely that learners will develop varied and unpredictable linguistic repertoires that reflect their unique identities and could serve as a resource to build relationships and understand the world. Furthermore, it is equally likely that people working in such situations need critical awareness of their own assumptions of how they understand language(s), learners, learning, and teachers, as this determines what we do in classrooms and beyond. Based on my findings, I present a framework that is designed to help reflection, and lead to potentially judicious, sensitive and conscious linguistic practices that value a range of different linguistic trajectories and associated identities.

View the presentation slides on Slideshare

Gabriela Meier’s research interest is in bilingual and multilingual education and how plurilingual repertoires that learners bring to school, or develop in schools, can affect social cohesion/social capital and/or teachers’ and learners’ identities. Recent publications include the co-authored book “The Multilingual Turn in Languages Education” (2014), and she is the leader of the following MED modules: “bilingual and multilingual approaches to language teaching and learning” and “principles of language learning”.

 

Rola Naeb

Northumbria University, United Kingdom

Abstract title: International training of teachers of low-educated adult migrants

Co-authored with Martha Young-Scholten

Low-educated (0-2 years schooling) adults not literate in any language upon immigration require up to eight times longer mastering literacy – if they do at all – in their new/second language (L2) than do educated adults (Strucker & Davidson 2003). Among the factors that lead to this situation are the lack of learning materials targeted at these learners and the suitable training of their teachers (Condelli et al. 2010). In this presentation, we report on the results of two EU-funded lifelong learning projects that address both factors. The Digital Literacy Instructor project focuses on the development of new phonics materials for adult beginners’ decoding (thus far in Dutch, English, Finnish, German).  We are about to expand DigLin to target the reading comprehension for those at the intermediate level.

The EU-Speak project (European Speakers of Other Languages: Teaching Adult Immigrants and Training their Teachers) focuses on teacher training. After its initial phase of reviewing teaching practice, materials, policy and teacher preparation, the second and third phases confirmed teachers’ training/development needs and designed a training/development curriculum.  The project is now in the process of designing and delivering six on-line training/development modules for those who teach English as well as for those who teach Finnish, German, Spanish and Turkish. We report on the results of the delivery in winter and spring 2016 of the first two modules: Introduction to Teaching Low-educated Adult Beginners and Bilingualism and Multilingualism and on the second module’s webinar aimed to encourage teachers to work with communities on maintenance of their students’ languages.  The project aims to make its on-line training/development available to all teachers working with adult migrants regardless of whether they are full-time in countries with currently adequate provision such as Sweden, volunteers in countries with no provision such as Spain or aid workers at refugee camps.

Dr. Rola Naeb is a lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at Northumbria University. She is also the programme leader for the MA Applied Linguistics for TESOL.  Her main interests lie in the fields of Applied and Educational Linguistics and Technology.  She is involved in two European projects that focus on teaching low-educated migrants and training their teachers: The Digital Literacy Instructor and EU-Speak.

 

Emily Oxley

University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Abstract title: A systematic review of word learning interventions in primary school children with English as an additional language (EAL)

Within the current economic climate and consequential high rate of migration to the United Kingdom, the number of children in schools designated as having English as an additional language is increasing. Between 1997 and 2013, the number of primary school pupils classed as EAL rose from 276,200 to 612,160 (NALDIC, 2013). Starting school with a mother tongue other than the language of schooling creates difficulties for teachers and pupils alike. For example, in 2013, only 33% of pupils in the Early Years Foundation Stage, who were designated as EAL, were classed as ‘achieving a good level of development’ compared to 46% of their monolingual peers. Although their vocabularies grow during schooling, children with EAL are still outperformed on vocabulary and reading comprehension by monolingual children (Carlo et al., 2004). The current study synthesises vocabulary interventions and investigates the most effective methods of word learning within a population of children with English as an additional language. Results from twelve studies carried out in the United States suggest implicit word learning tasks do not benefit vocabulary growth. Consequently, if left without intervention, the risk of EAL children falling further behind in the early years of primary school is high. When interventions are carried out, those that include explicit word learning tasks can result in EALs learning vocabulary at the same rate as their monolingual peers. The rate of learning can be aided by the use of L1 cognates and definitions to give much needed context to new words and consequently enhance comprehension. Furthermore, teaching metacognitive word learning skills within a mixed classroom setting can lead to word learning gains for both monolingual and EAL pupils alike. Future research is required in the U.K. in order to better support teachers and foster the growth of L2 vocabulary for primary children with English as an additional language.  Early interventions are recommended in the first years of schooling so that children will not fall further behind.

Emily Oxley is a second year PhD student at the University of Leeds investigating the emerging development of lexical representations in children with English as an additional language and their monolingual peers.

Emily completed an undergraduate degree in Modern Foreign Languages from Newcastle University in 2012. After teaching French in a secondary school in County Durham, Emily completed a Masters in Linguistics at Newcastle University in 2015, with a focus on second language acquisition. She has presented research at New Sounds North (Newcastle, 2015); LESLLA (Florida, 2015) and Leeds School of Psychology (September, 2016).

 

BethAnne Paulsrud

Stockholm University, Sweden

Abstract title: Spaces for multilingualism in the Swedish school: Affordances and constraints in the national curriculum and teacher education

Swedish education ideology is captured in the motto: One school for all. However, growing numbers of multilingual pupils from diverse cultural backgrounds in the Swedish school system are presenting new challenges to both teacher educators and teacher students. With approximately 20% of Sweden’s population comprised of immigrants and at least 140 languages spoken by pupils in the compulsory school system, questions of affordances and constraints for multilingualism in the school are highly relevant today. While the official response to linguistic diversity is positive, with provisions for both mother tongue tuition and minority language instruction, the question is how spaces for multilingualism are being created in general policy and practice.

The present research is part of an ongoing project investigating multilingualism and interculturality in the Swedish compulsory school, through analyses of the discourse of education policy and selected teacher training programs, together with semi-structured interviews with teacher educators, student teachers in pre-service training and working teachers. The triangulation of methods allows for a deeper understanding of how the concepts multilingualism and interculturality are represented: on the one hand, explicitly and implicitly in teacher education in relation to national policy, and on the other hand, in the attitudes of individual teachers and students in response to the multilingual and multicultural classroom.

This paper will present two aspects of the current study of ideological and implementational spaces for multilingual education. The first part is an analysis of the development of the national curricula from 1994 to 2011 (with addenda 2015), focusing on the implicit and explicit conceptualizations of multilingualism in the texts; and the second part is an exploration of educators’ perspectives on spaces for multilingualism in their own teacher training programs. The affordances or constraints these spaces offer are fundamental to our possibilities to promote linguistic diversity and social justice in the schools of today’s global societies. Although the focus is on the Swedish context, the present research is of interest to other educators as well as to researchers and practitioners involved in creating education policy for compulsory schools in other multilingual contexts.

BethAnne Paulsrud, PhD, is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Research on Bilingualism at Stockholm University. Her current research is a collaboration with the University of Helsinki in the project MINTED (Multilingual and Intercultural Education in Sweden and Finland). Dr. Paulsrud has been engaged in teacher training and education research for many years, with a focus on multilingualism and both official and de facto language policies and practices. Her own teaching background includes experience as a preschool teacher, an elementary school teacher, and a mother tongue support teacher in the Swedish school system.

 

Eva Polymenakou

University of Bath, United Kingdom

Abstract title: Capitalising on migrants’ and refugees’ stories? A study of undergraduate student experiences of intercultural communication in Greece.

In this paper I will discuss issues surrounding the incorporation of migrant and refugee stories, into an ongoing doctoral study. The study, which is qualitative and interpretive, aims to explore the intercultural experiences of undergraduate student teachers attending Intercultural Education modules in two Greek universities. These modules give student teachers the opportunity to engage with ‘the other’ off campus and within the local community.  The definition of “otherness” has been purposefully left open to embrace the manifestations of difference that might emerge in the field.  Data collection was conducted in Greece over the spring academic semester 2016, against the backdrop of the migrant and refugee crisis. Therefore, perhaps unsurprisingly, migration issues played a central part in a number of student teachers’ projects.

While the primary focus of the study is the student experience, in this paper I will examine certain ethical concerns regarding the migrant/refugee individuals that are indirectly involved in my study. Such concerns include the absence of these “disadvantaged” groups’ direct involvement in the study, student teachers possibly exploiting the migrants in order to generate content for their academic assignments, as well as the appropriateness of the notion of “intercultural” in a way that is consonant with that of Phipps (2014), who problematizes its use in the context of situations of crisis. To counterbalance such concerns, I consider the potential benefits of such experiences for student teachers (as pluricultural individuals, citizens of multicultural communities and future professionals of education) and the knock-on effects of such benefits to migrant/refugee populations. I conclude that studies which primarily involve “advantaged” groups can be just as effective in empowering the “disadvantaged” groups as those that directly address the latter.

Eva Polymenakou is a PhD candidate and part-time teaching fellow at the University of Bath. Her doctoral study focuses on intercultural learning in Greek Higher Education. Her main research interests include Intercultural Communication, Community Engagement in Higher Education and Foreign Language Education. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Cross-Cultural Communication and Education. She has been involved in children and adult EFL education as a teacher, teacher trainer, teaching coordinator and curriculum designer in Spain and Greece. She has also worked with the research group Speech Acquisition and Perception at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.

 

Sari Pöyhönen

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Abstract title: Finnish in a vacuum or supporting multilingual repertoires? Refugee and asylum seeker adolescents in a Swedish-dominant region of Finland

Co-authored with Mirja Tarnanen and Minna Bogdanoff

The year 2015 brought a wake-up call for Europe regarding asylum seekers and refugees from countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. It also made educational authorities and practitioners re-assess and adjust pedagogical priorities and practices. This paper is based on an ethnographic research project (2015–2017) in a reception center for refugees in Finland, a country that received over 10 times more asylum seekers in 2015 than the previous year.

The reception center, established in 1991, is located in a rural municipality in a Swedish-dominant region. The reception center has chosen to provide language education primarily in Finnish for all its residents – children and adults – despite its location. This is because Finnish is felt to enhance the possibility of social inclusion in the country: many people who leave the center subsequently settle in Finnish-dominant regions in Southern Finland (e.g. the Helsinki Metropolitan area) in hope of a better life for them and their children. Nevertheless, a range of linguistic repertoires are audible in the daily lives of the residents.

In our presentation we will focus on children and adolescents who are in the centre either with relatives or as unaccompanied minors, and who are awaiting a decision on their asylum claim. Through observations and field notes taken in classrooms in the local Finnish school, and in daily life situations in the reception center, through participatory methods (photographs taken and drawings made by the young people), and through interviews with parents, teachers and co-workers in the reception center we will address the following questions:

  1. What kinds of linguistic practices are evident in the daily lives of the participants? With whom? For what purposes?
  2. What kinds of meanings and values do the participants give to the different languages they use?
  3. How do teachers and co-workers in a reception center make use of the multilingual repertoires of the participants?

Sari Pöyhönen is professor of applied linguistics at the Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. Her research focuses on language education policies, minorities and language rights, adult migrant language education, and notions on language and identity. Her recent publications deal with policies and practices in adult migrant language education, and discourses and narratives of linguistic rights, migration, integration and work.

Mirja Tarnanen is a professor of language education in the Department of Teacher Education, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. Her research interests lie in the areas of language teaching and learning in different settings, and teacher education. Her recent publications deal with migrants in professional communities; policies and practices in adult migrant language education; literacy and assessment practices; and learning in multilingual settings.

Minna Bogdanoff is a MA student in the Department of Teacher Education, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. Her MA thesis focused on teachers’ professional identities and language beliefs in multilingual settings. Sari, Mirja and Minna are team members in a research project Jag bor i Oravais, which explores everyday life of refugees seeking asylum in a Swedish-dominant region of Finland.

 

Ana Souza

Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom

Abstract title: Multilingual learners and their out-of-school learning

The presence of children of migrant backgrounds in classrooms urges mainstream teachers and schools to consider these children’s experiences in their communities and the impact their multilingual and multicultural experiences may have in their formal education. The relevance of out-of-school learning experience of multilingual learners has received recognition from British policymakers in a number of publications (e.g. DfES 2002; 2003; 2006; 2007; DCSF 2009; DfE 2011). The positive impact of out-of-school learning on children’s identity formation, community links, language skills, emotional and mental wellbeing has been mentioned in these documents. This presentation explores this impact by drawing on studies conducted with Brazilian and Polish families in three out-of-school contexts: family homes, community schools and migrant churches. These studies were conducted in London with children aged 5 to 12 years old. The data for the three studies were collected via qualitative methods which included individual semi-structured interviews, audio and video recordings at home, observations in their community language schools and the production of scrapbooks. The types of experiences to which the children of migrant heritage are exposed outside mainstream schooling are illustrated. The three studies adopt a sociocultural approach and draw on concepts such as identity multiplicity (Norton 2000), prolepsis (Cole 1996) and funds of knowledge (Moll et al, 1992) to analyse the data collected. The benefits of out-of-school learning are emphasised and it is argued that more needs to be done to ensure that mainstream schools draw on children’s out-of-school learning experiences, and thus, maximize their potential for success.

Dr Ana Souza is a Senior Lecturer in TESOL and Applied Linguistics at Oxford Brookes University, where she contributes to the MA TESOL, PG Certificate in the Teaching of English as an Additional Language and the BA in English Language and Communication programmes. Her research interests include bilingualism, language and identity, language choices, community language schools, language planning (family and migrant churches), Brazilian migration, the teaching of Portuguese as a Heritage Language and training of language teachers. Her work has been published in edited books and academic journals such as the Children & Society, Current Issues in Language Planning, International Journal of Multilingualism, Language Issues, Portuguese Studies, Revista Travessia, The Curriculum Journal  and Women’s Studies International Forum.

 

Sofia Tsioli

University of Thessaly, Greece

Abstract title: “Giving space” and “taking place”: Adult immigrant students’ and their teachers’ experiences and attitudes through their participation in courses of Greek as an L2

Co-authored with Roula Kitsiou and George Androulakis

In the present paper we examine the experiences and attitudes of teachers and adult immigrant students who participated in the projects MATHEME and MATHEME 2. The projects’ objective was to design and implement free courses for learning Greek as a second language. The first one was a large-scale funded project realised in seven cities of Greece, while the second one was implemented on a voluntary basis only in Athens as an extension of MATHEME. We used a qualitative approach in order to investigate students’ and teachers’ experience from participating in the two different educational contexts (MATHEME and MATHEME 2). Specifically, we analysed data from semi-structured interviews with teachers and students, as well as teachers’ written reports applying thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006).

We focused on the courses realised in two regions of different socioeconomic status in Athens: In Kypseli, the courses were delivered in the facilities of an institution that aims to support immigrants through various actions, whereas, in Plaka, the classes took place in the Hellenic Children’s Museum. We investigated how students and teachers perceived these two places during their learning and teaching experience. In addition, we were interested in identifying teachers’ practices concerning the multilingual repertoires of their students.

The most important findings of our research reveal that the co-construction of a teacher-student community through a funded programme with an inclusive orientation (Garcia & Sylvan 2011, UNESCO 2003) can lead to a voluntary initiative of mutual empowerment. Therefore, this combination can develop an inclusive culture (Benson & Kosonen 2013) and affect teachers’ methodological choices in a multilingual classroom.

View the presentation slide on Slideshare

 

Serpil Urkmez

Abstract title: Bilingual Mathematics learning of bilingual students in an inner London secondary school: Challenges and Chances for Turkish Native Speakers

This paper is the first socio-linguistic investigation of language use in bilingual Turkish/English Mathematics lessons in secondary schools in the UK. The investigation focuses on how a cognitively demanding context embedded National Curriculum subject can be made more accessible to students from a particular linguistic group through a bilingual medium. The research aims to highlight and reflect on some of the emerging findings during the initial phase of the project and discusses the implications of some of the findings. The study is set within the wider debate of alternative strategies for students from Britain’s linguistic minorities.

The ethno-linguistic group concerned is Turkish, one of the four largest linguistics groups in England. The project builds on existing work on language attitudes and use of L1 (Stubbs, 1985; Reid et. al 1999; Mehmet Ali, 2001; Issa, 2005) with an emphasis on its use in a bilingual classroom environment. Data collected from initial transcripts appear to suggest positive correlations between students’ understanding of mathematical concepts and the use of the home language.

The study is set in a large mixed comprehensive school in North London where approximately 30% of students are from Turkish speaking backgrounds. These include students from Turkish, Kurdish and Turkish Cypriot families. The recent OFSTED report (PVA OFSTED 2007) has described the school as “improving”, however, the Turkish speaking students have been identified as an underachieving group (DfES 2007; CEA, Islington 2007; Haringey, 2007). These are affected by a set of interrelated factors. Language use is one that will be considered in this study by exploring the use of Turkish and English in the delivery of the Maths National Curriculum. The role of Turkish speaking parents is also explored in supporting their children’s homework prepared in two languages during an after school Maths club. As a full time Maths teacher at the school I use English with occasional Turkish to help some of my Turkish speaking students in class. During the after-school Maths clubs I go over some of the more challenging tasks using Turkish and English. Children attending the clubs have well developed spoken Turkish which makes some tasks more accessible as I explain things in two languages. During the research, my role is being that of participant observer as well as a teacher.

Serpil Urkmez has been a secondary school Maths teacher for 10 years and worked as learning support assistant, learning mentor for 5 years. She ran reading projects for ethnic minority students and parents for 4 years. She has worked as Turkish language teacher for adults for Morley college, Hackney Community College and Turkish Education Group for 14 years. She currently runs reading and learning support projects for community centres for Turkish and Kurdish speaking children and parents. She studied for her PGCE and master degree at the university of Middlesex and is currently studying for her doctorate at the university of London Metropolitan.

Serpil Urkmez’s research interests include bilingual learning and education of the multilingual children and parents. She is involved in various projects and education programs to support multilingual children, young people and adults to support their learning and to encourage building their learning identities for their achievement. Her latest publication is entitled: Enquiry into the effects of bilingual teaching, published by METRONOME in 2011.

 

Ruixin Wei

Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Abstract title: Heritage Language and Ethnic Identity: a Comparative Case Study of Korean Chinese College Students in Seoul and Beijing

Accessing to better higher education is highly recognized as a way to gain valuable credentials for future success in life in many societies. Accordingly, these decades have witnessed an increasing volume of migration for higher education. Education migrants’ settlement subsequently brings ethnic diversity to higher education, where the ethnic boundaries are redrawn. Language is considered an unequivocal determinant of ethnic identity; heritage language is to ethnic identity what boundary is to ‘self’ and ‘other.’ However, it is estimated that half of world’s 6,000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century. Many diasporic groups, especially the young generations are experiencing the loss of their heritage languages. There are 7,185,000 ethnic Koreans living overseas and more than one third of them reside in China. The ethnic Koreans in China or Korean Chinese, called choseonjok, are among the few ethnic minorities who still maintain a relatively high level of bilingual proficiency in both heritage Korean language and Mandarin Chinese. Language plays a critical role in acculturation for students faced with a new environment. Due to their command of bilingual skills, Korean Chinese young generation are enabled to achieve higher education mainly in, but not limited to, China and/or South Korea. This paper firstly juxtaposes the lives of Korean Chinese college students in Seoul, South Korea and Beijing, China with reference to how their heritage Korean language has been used to negotiate ethnic identity when encountered with perceived cultural distance, restricted interactions and biased stereotypes. Previous studies have largely focused on Han Chinese students and Korean Chinese unskilled labourers and marriage migrants in South Korea, neglecting the young Korean Chinese generation and the context of higher education in comparative perspective. Drawing from the interview data of five bilingual Korean Chinese college students from Seoul and Beijing, respectively, this paper further examines how the same heritage language functions differently for students with command of two languages in the corresponding two countries, where the dominant culture is distinct from one another. Eventually, this paper is expected to look outward and shed some light on intercultural education that suggests how heritage language may fundamentally impact minority students’ acculturation into a new environment.

Ruixin Wei is a research fellow in Korean Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. Her research interests include student migration and ethnic identity. More specifically, her work examines the young generation of Korean Chinese and their higher education experience as an ethnic minority in China and return migrants in South Korea. Ruixin graduated from Xi’an International Studies University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Korean Language and Literature in 2012. She then graduated from Yonsei University in 2015 with a Master’s Degree in Korean Studies mainly focused on modern Korean history. Ruixin’s education background and multi-lingual skills have enabled her to explore student migration issues in an interdisciplinary perspective.

 

Oakleigh Welply

Durham University, United Kingdom

Abstract title: “My language…I don’t know how to talk about it”: language and identity for immigrant-background children in schools in France and England.

This paper investigates the place of “other” languages in the experience of immigrant-background children in primary schools in France and England. France and England are often presented as opposites in terms of their educational systems and approaches to integration. This shapes different conceptualisations of the place of language in school. In this study, however, despite different approaches to difference in each school, immigrant-background children in both France and England perceived school as a monolingual and monocultural. As such, children viewed their “other” languages as undesirable or illicit in school and tended to downplay the fact that they spoke more than one language with teachers or peers.

Building on the work of Paul Ricoeur on narrative identity, this paper aims to hear the voices of young children from immigrant-backgrounds, often under-represented in debates about language and education. It draws on findings from two studies: the first is a cross-national ethnographic study which investigated the identity narratives of 10- and 11-year old children of immigrants in two primary schools, one in France and one in England. The second is a research project on children with English as an Additional Language in one primary and one secondary school in the East of England. In both projects, the chosen methodology was driven by an emphasis on hearing the voices of children throughout the research. This encouraged the use of interviews as the central method of data collection, in order to explore children’s own perceptions and identities. Interviews were semi-structured, allowing a flexible framework for children to express themselves, and discussions were in great part children-led.

The paper examines the ways in which immigrant-background children articulated language in relation school. It shows how some children used different strategies to legitimise their “other” language in school, whilst others tended to distance themselves from any forms of Otherness in school. Findings in this paper contribute insights into the complex debates around language diversity and for thinking about multilingualism in schools in Europe.

Oakleigh Welply is a Lecturer in Intercultural and International Education at the School of Education at Durham University, UK. Her research adopts a cross-national perspective in order to investigate the experiences and identities of immigrant-background children in primary schools in France and England. She has a particular interest in developing cross-national research and methodologies to conduct research with diverse communities in European countries to explore the relationship of education to issues of language, religion, immigration and citizenship. Using the work of Paul Ricoeur and Pierre Bourdieu, she investigates the notion of ‘Otherness’ in young people’s school experience and it shapes identity in multicultural settings.

 

Anne Wiseman

British Council Lebanon

Abstract title: Who are my students? Teacher education for multilingual Lebanese classrooms

This talk will examine some of the issues and approaches around delivering education within a multilingual context in Lebanon. It describes a British Council, EU funded education project designed to help teachers, trainers and students alike understand and embrace the benefits teaching and learning within a multilingual classroom.

Due to the Syrian crisis the Lebanese education system has expanded by almost 50%: the number of Lebanese children in public schools is currently 300,000; whilst the number of Syrian children in public schools is 150,000 and rising.

The influx of Syrian refugee children into the classrooms has presented challenges for students and teachers: Syrian children are often marginalised not only due to cultural differences but also because French or English is the medium of instruction in Lebanese public schools – languages in which the Syrian children are not proficient. Syrian Arabic is also markedly different from Lebanese Arabic. Together with the Syrian refugees’ classrooms often contain students from other language groups such as Bedu, Kurds and Iraqis.

At the chalk face Lebanese teachers are now facing issues of equity, inclusivity and language differentiations for which they need to adjust their teaching strategies accordingly.

The project training course took a sociolinguistic approach, drawing on the work of Louise Daben. (1998). This approach addresses the language security of the students by giving the same value to all languages and cultures. The activities were developed from the plurilinguistic approach in the CARAP framework (Council of Europe, 2007). Monitoring and evaluation took place throughout the project and results to date have been very positive with requests from the Ministry of Education to expand the project to a wider range of teachers.

Anne Wiseman is currently the Manager for an EU funded project – ‘Accessing Education: Language Integration for Syrian Refugee Children’. Anne has taught in UK mainstream schools, and in TEFL She then moved in to wider regional roles leading English programmes for the British Council in the Middle East and in Europe. Anne was previously Director Iran, working with English and Education practitioners to help develop cultural relations between the UK and Iran. Before leading the Iran team, Anne was the British Council Peacekeeping English Project Manager in Macedonia where she worked closely with the Macedonian Ministries of Defence and the Interior, advising them on their English policy and strategy. Anne has an MA in Applied Linguistics and is currently undertaking a doctorate researching the long term impact of education projects. Anne’s key research interests are the qualitative evaluation, using personal histories in research, and the long term impact of intervention projects. She has written and edited English course books for Ministries of Education in Hong Kong, China and Bulgaria.