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272.701, Assignment 6

272.701, Assignment 6

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  • 1. Finding a voice Empowering immigrant learners toward second-language identity creation Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 2. References:
    • Arndt, V., Harvey, P. & Nuttall, J. (2000 ). Alive to language: Perspectives on language awareness for English language teachers . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Casenave, C. (2004). Controversies in second language writing (pp. 205-223). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
    • Crystal, D. English as a global language . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Ellis, R., & Barkhuizen, G. (2005). Analyzing learner language (pp. 277-311). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    • Harmer, J. The practice of English language teaching . Harlow: Pearson Longman.
    • Matsuda, A. (2006). Negotiating assumptions in EIL classrooms. In J. Edge (Ed .), Re-locating TESOL in an age of empire (pp. 158-170). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    • Peirce, P. (1995). Social identity, investment and language learning. TESOL Quarterly , 29(1): 9-31.
    • Oxford, R., Massey, R. & Anand, S. (2005). Transforming teacher-student relationships: Toward a more welcoming and diverse classroom discourse. In J. Frodensen & C. Holton (eds .), The power of context in language teaching and learning (pp. 249-266). Heinle: Boston.
    • Palfreyman, D. (2003). Learner autonomy across cultures (pp. 1-16). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    • Study Guide (2011). Study guide for language awareness and language issues. Massey University, School of Language Studies.
    • Tomlinson, B. (2005). English as a foreign language: Matching procedures to the context of learning. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 137-153). Mahwah, New jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 3. The true purpose of language education is to help learners find their voice. Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 4. However,
    • within the classroom, the power relationship between teacher and student is inherently asymmetrical, and
    • within the target language community, the learner’s right to speak may not be acknowledged.
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 5. Teachers can address power imbalances
    • They do this by creating a classroom culture in which student and tutor are co-learners.
    • This does not mean teachers relinquish their role as guide, but rather that they modify their talk ‘in more-contingent directions’ (van Lier, 2001, in Study Guide, p. 197).
    • Additionally, the good teacher helps the language learner ‘claim the right to speak outside the classroom’ (Peirce, p. 26).
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 6. Learners have a social identity
    • This identity is multiple, situated and dynamic (Peirce, p. 20).
    • Learner investment in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is framed and driven by this identity.
    • Identity is formed in more than one site.
    • Positive identity formation can be constrained by the power relations that exist in the dominant social discourse.
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 7. ‘ Power relations are exercised and negotiated in discourse, especially language’ (Ellis & Barkhuizen, p, 286).
    • Different power relations exist in the various sites in which the learner undertakes reading, writing, speaking or listening.
    • The learner may be marginalised in one site but valued in another.
    • This is determined by the discourse that prevails in the particular setting in which the learner is situated at any one time (McKay & Wong, in Ellis & Barkhuizen, p 285).
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 8. However, learners have agency
    • They do not ‘merely fill subject positions determined by power relations within discourses’ (Ellis & Barkhuizen, p. 285).
    • This agency is influenced both by learners’ personality and by the social conditions in which they operate.
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 9. The good teacher will help activate learners’ agency
    • This can be achieved through classroom-based social research (CBSR) (Peirce, p. 26).
    • Within CBSR, teachers will actively guide learners in their search to develop their literacy and oral skills.
    • This guidance will enable learners to gain access to ‘the linguistic codes (and) cultural practices of their local communities’ (Peirce, p.26).
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 10. With a CBSR approach, learners can be encouraged to:
    • investigate opportunities for interaction with target language speakers,
    • reflect on any actions that do take place (thus gaining insight into how social relations of power can influence social interaction), and
    • write, in the form of diaries or journals, so encouraging further reflection and analysis.
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 11. Such journals and diaries can increase teacher effectiveness in lesson design
    • In evaluating students’ written work, teachers may gain insight into learner processes.
    • This insight can assist the teacher in suggesting further actions that the learner can take to aid language acquisition.
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 12. Equally, written journals aid the learner
    • Emphasis on learner collection of linguistic-interaction data assists the learner in identifying social practices which may have registered only subconsciously.
    • The enhanced awareness that results from this is empowering as it enables the learner to take a critical position on further linguistic interactions.
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 13. SLA is both psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic process (Tarone, 2000, in Ellis & Barkhuizen, p. 285)
    • Investment (Peirce, p. 17) is conceived as the sociolinguistic extension of the psycholinguistic notion of motivation.
    • A learner may personally be highly motivated to learn a second language, but the situated context may not be conducive to learner investment.
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 14. Teachers play a crucial role in fostering learner investment
    • Investment is closely linked to the language learner’s evolving social identity.
    • Careful curriculum design can increase learner efficacy in this identity construction.
    • With increased investment comes an increase in cultural capital (Bourdieu in Peirce, p. 17).
    • Greater cultural capital gives the learner further access to social resources.
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6
  • 15. In summary
    • Successful second language learners are those who have been empowered to set up counterdiscourse. In so doing, they have reframed the power relations between themselves and their various interlocutors. This has enabled such learners to claim the right both to speak and to be heard.
    Karen Sunley 06118852, 272.701 Assignment 6