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 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
 Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…
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Kurt Kohn 2012 "‘My English’ - Second Language learning & Teachings as Individ…

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See video recording on Youtube: http://youtu.be/yCfpD49YhSg …

See video recording on Youtube: http://youtu.be/yCfpD49YhSg
Learners cannot help but develop their "own" version of the target language – in their minds, hearts, and behavior. Kohn explores this claim from a social constructivist perspective using empirical evidence from ELF communication. He discusses implications for TESOL, and argues for a reconciliation of ELF ownership and Standard English preference.

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  • @tornhalves My, my! Are you suggesting constructivism denies reality? You might find the following text enlightening: Ray Jackendoff (1983), Semantics and Cognition, chap.2. Taking up your example, I would say a constructivist would be interested in how slaves perceive their own lot. This is where e.g. slave narratives come in.
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  • Makes me wonder what a constructivist view of slavery would be. The slave feels his life is not his own. The constructivist puts his arm around the shoulders of the slave and reassures him: You construct your ideas about your master and yourself. You put on your shackles every morning. They are your own. Your slavery is your own. And he feels happier.
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  • 1. ‘My English’Second Language Learning asIndividual and Social ConstructionKurt KohnUniversity of Tübingen (DE)kurt.kohn@uni-tuebingen.dewww.ael.uni-tuebingen.de
  • 2. Non-native speaker attitudes towards EnglishLate 1970s near Boston, Kurt and Neil NNS: “Can I say it like this?” NS: “Never mind, I understand you.” → I want to be like you  → You don’t seem to care Evidence of a NNS’s exonormative preference for NSE  Typical of an ELT/EFL/TESOL background  Deviations from the NSE role model are at best tolerated  Deeply entrenched in teachers’ and learners’ mindsAnd today?  More emphasis (in ELT) on communication, greater tolerance for deviations, particularly in CLIL classrooms  Educational regulations for ELT institutions (in Europe) continue to be based on an exonormative NSE role modelKurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 2
  • 3. Excellence in ELT is still largely measured and experienced in terms of compliance with an externally given NSE role model. ELT pupils and students at school and university are being praised for meeting NSE norms. Deviations may be tolerated, but they are not taken as evidence of success. Generally, communicative competence is the goal, but it is the communicative competence of native speakers. At the same time, however, English outside the ELT classroom has undergone dramatic changes.Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 3
  • 4. Non-native speakers on the riseLabov 1970: “In the sociolinguistic study of language learning, wecan begin with the fundamental observation that children do notspeak like their parents” (p. 33). [We may add: learners do not speaklike their teachers]Graddol 1997/2000: “Native speakers may feel the languagebelongs to them, but it will be those who speak English as a secondor foreign language who will determine its world future” ( p. 5).Widdowson 1994/2003: “How English develops in the world is nobusiness whatever of native speakers in England, the United States,or anywhere else. They have no say in the matter, no right tointervene or pass judgement.” (p. 43)Kohn 2011: “Owning a house is one thing; however, making it oneshome is yet another. If non-native speakers accept ownership, theyalso need to begin to feel responsible for themselves. Before beingable to shape the future of English, they need to get their ownEnglish into shape. But which direction should they take?” (p.73) Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 4
  • 5. A NNS’s ownership of English – Shattered dreams or a conceptual misunderstanding –My first serious encounter with the double-edged nature of aNNS’s ownership of English happened at an ELF conference – theNS presenter’s message was that for a NNS of English a NSEorientation was fundamentally wrong and impossible to pursuewith any hope for success.The wall too high to climb - the fruit too sweet and out of reachanyway – just not my sociolinguistic reality. I found myselfexcluded from the enchanted garden.But here I was, a Faustian creature with two souls: a NNS with adesire for some kind of NSE orientation – a desire I was told wasunrealistic – a desire, however, that was part of my English self.This was when my quest into the nature of NNS’s ownership ofEnglish began – both as a researcher and as a NNS myself.I found my answer in a social constructivist understanding of NNSownership, i.e. the conceptualization of language learning as thecognitive, emotional and behavioral creation of “my English”. Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 5
  • 6. Making English my ownHow do I make English my own? → I acquire itBut how do I acquire English? [compare: acquiring a car]  I develop/construct/CREATE my own version of it in my mind, my heart and my behavior → based on my target language model, my native language, my attitudes and motivation, my goals & requirements, my learning approach, and the effort I invest  And I do this in communicative, social interaction with others In this social constructivist sense, the English I develop is my own – “My English” –It is inevitably different from the TL model toward which it is oriented. – Not an option, rather part of the human condition – Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 6
  • 7. Creating “My English” is about . . .. . . creating my communicative-linguistic knowledge & skills  lexical and grammatical means of expression  how these can be used to fulfil language & communication- related requirements of performance regarding what is possible, appropriate, feasible, and probable (Hymes 1972). . . creating my requirements of performance  a little child in first language acquisition  an immigrant in second language acquisition  a ELT learner in lingua franca situations. . . creating my individual and social identity orientation  Who do I want to be? → e.g. am I comfortable with myself?  What/who is my role model? → e.g. some kind of NSE  By whom do I want to be accepted? → desire for participation Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 7
  • 8. “My English” Implications for communicative competence More than getting linguistic means of expression right in terms of possibility, appropriateness, feasibility, and probability More than being able to use linguistic means of expression for achieving communicative needs and purposes Expressing oneself in keeping with one’s individual and social identity: Expressing One’s Self → Perceived success → Hearer satisfaction → Speaker satisfaction Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 8
  • 9. “My English” Implications for ELFEnglish as a lingua franca – the variety bias  Typical definitions of ELF seem to suggest that it is a “thing”  The power of concepts: “the way we think and talk about language influences the way we think & talk about . . . “  The “thingness” of ELF is deeply rooted in the intuitive perception and understanding of English teachers: teaching ELF is seen as teaching a certain variety of EnglishELF is not a “thing” – a thought experiment  Imagine a group of people in an international ELF context  What language do they use? What kind of English?  I can only speak “My English” > NS, SL or learner EnglishELF is about using “My English” under LF conditions  Accommodation strategies  Meaning negotiation strategies Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 9
  • 10. My own Standard EnglishImagine my aim was Mid-Atlantic Standard English (MASE)→ My own simplified, sketchy, uncertain, even “wrong” internal representation  cognitive & emotional creative construction process  based on the language of the people I (like to) talk to  possibly influenced by linguistic descriptions (which are constructions themselves)What shapes my learning of MASE?  My own cognitive-emotional construction and representation  Linguistic descriptions and teaching models of MASE only influence me through the constructive process of mediation and adaptation Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 10
  • 11. Native speaker / Standard English as a target model for learningStrong version of a Learners are required to complyNSE orientation with the NSE (teaching) norms – the closer they get, the better Understanding language learning as a behaviorist copying process lurks in the background Learners take NSE as a model forWeak version of a orientation – they create theirNSE orientation own version of it Understanding language learning as a constructivist process of cognitive and emotional creationKurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 11
  • 12. ELT research and practice Theoretical beliefs & pedagogic orientations1. An exonormative NSE orientation appears to be a given [> BE or GA in German secondary schools]2. The (strong!) exonormative NSE orientation is generally accepted by both teachers and learners3. Any deviation from the NSE model is at best tolerated; it is “never” experienced as something positive4. Even in communicative approaches, learning is oriented toward a NSE model5. A new turn is brought about by CLIL: content and language integrated learning Endonormative processes (“My English”) are not valued Because of the (strong) exonormative perspective, learners tend to stay (partially) alienated from their own creativity resulting in frustration, anxiety and even fear Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 12
  • 13. ELF research and practice Theoretical beliefs & pedagogic orientations1. ELF development is seen as a creative endonormative process2. Deviations from NSE are accepted if they are communicatively successful > focus on comprehensibility3. The endonormative nature of ELF development is regarded as incompatible with an exonormative NSE orientation4. Emphasis is on spoken ELF communication5. A new turn (Seidlhofer 2011): teaching ELF is about the process of developing the kind of English users/learners are able to make authentic for themselves – including NSE (!) Need to go beyond communicative acceptability > speaker satisfaction (Albl-Mikasa 2009) Need for more attention to written ELF communication (Horner 2011) Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 13
  • 14. A constructivist resolution of the ELT/ELF divideThe divide between ELT and ELF  ELF emphasizes endonormativity against exonormativity  Because of ELT’s exonormative bias, ELF-based pedagogic suggestions are met with suspicion in ELT: “Do you want me to teach incorrect English” (German teacher and teacher educator)The need for a reconciliation  Challenges arising from ELF-specific sociolinguistic realities  Inconsistent educational regulations for schools in GermanyWhat should be done?  ELF: extension of the endonormative view to include a “weak” NSE orientation  ELT: adoption of an endonormative conceptualization of language learning & teaching (“My English”) along with an acceptance of a constructivist, “weak” NSE orientation Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 14
  • 15. ELF in the foreign language classroomFocus on raising awareness for LF manifestations of English  to increase tolerance for others and for oneselfFocus on developing ELF-specific comprehension skills  to get accustomed to NNS accents and “messy” performanceFocus on developing ELF-specific production skills  to improve pragmatic fluency and strategic skills for accommodation and collaborative negotiation of meaning in intercultural ELF situations Exposure to a wide variety of ELF speakers Focus on form within communicative tasks (with a weak NSE orientation) Interaction in ELF communication Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 15
  • 16. ELF in the foreign language classroom, cont’dFocus on developing the learner’s sense of ownership (“agency”)  to ensure speaker satisfaction and self-confidenceWhat are the conditions that make this possible?  Imagine an “inhibited” learner in school . . .  Liberation though communicative participation in an authentic speech fellowship or community of practiceHow can “liberating” conditions be successfully implemented througheducational approaches & scenarios?  CLIL - Practice Enterprise - Creative Writing  “Pushed output processing” (Swain 2006) - with increased self- satisfaction as a target (instead of better compliance with an external norm)  Authentic & autonomous web-based communication & collaboration  All with the aim to explore and extend one’s own creativity (→ Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development) Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 16
  • 17. The potential of e-learningAn e-learning platform like Moodle,  enhanced with web2 tools (e.g. forum chat, Skype, wiki, blog),  and combined with online CLIL resourcesprovides a great potential for autonomous, authentic andcollaborative language learning:  Flexible practice activities (reading, writing, listening, speaking) with texts, images, sound and video  Real (online) communication & interaction  for content and language integrated learning  with new possibilities for “incidental” language learning Blended Language Learning to enhance face-to-face classroom activities (→ Kohn 2009, 2012) Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 17
  • 18. Examples from our European projects BACKBONE: Pedagogic Corpora for Content and Language Integrated Learning http://projects.ael.uni-tuebingen.de/backbone/moodle http://purl.org/backbone/searchtool PELLIC: Practice Enterprise for Language Learning and Intercultural Communication http://projects.ael.uni-tuebingen.de/pellic icEurope: Intercultural Foreign Language Communication and Learning http://projects.ael.uni-tuebingen.de/iceurope/moodle TELF: Tübingen English as a Lingua Franca Corpus http://projects.ael.uni-tuebingen.de/telf Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 18
  • 19. Closing remarkLet us embrace the non-native speakers’ “own” English – guidedby their “own” NSE orientation – pushed by their communicativeneeds and identification purposes – fuelled by their creativity!According to the constructivist insight, a learner’s "own mark" ismore than being allowed to drop the copula or 3rd person s – it israther about being allowed and encouraged to be oneself. Excellence in TESOL takes a giant step forward when learners are given the space for developing their own English – for being themselves – in keeping with their individual and social identitiesKurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 19
  • 20. Final quotesKeith Gilyard 2011: “ . . the idea that students were writers and notmerely people learning to write, that they already had meaningfulthings to express, and that those gestures toward meaning had totake priority over the rigid, narrow, formal exercises laid out in manywriting classrooms” (p.28). “. . . that NNS of English are speakers of English and not merely people learning English”Jane L.H.: “Taking ownership is really about identity, creativity, andthe energy we use to express these in words: using/constructinglanguage to communicate in a way that no other can exactlyduplicate because of the user’s inherent uniqueness. [. . .] I see myown perception of my native language and its ecology change as Iwatch my students take ownership: learning its structures,experimenting with vocabulary and voice, and imprinting all with theirown identity. I don’t think it gets any better.” (TESOL onlinediscussion, Feb 16th, 2012 Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 20
  • 21. ReferencesAlbl-Mikasa, M. (2009). Who’s afraid of ELF: “failed” natives or non-native speakers struggling to expressthemselves? In Albl-Mikasa, M., Braun, S. & Kalina, S. (eds.). Dimensionen der Zweitsprachenforschung –Dimensions of Second Language Research. Festschrift für Kurt Kohn. Narr Verlag, 109-129.Gilyard, K. (2011). True to the Language Game. African American Discourse, Cultural Politics, andPedagogy. Routledge.Graddol, D. (1997/2000). The Future of English. A Guide to forecasting the popularity of the Englishlanguage in the 21st century. The British Council.Horner, B.(2011). Writing English as a lingua franca. In Archibald, A. et al. (eds.). Latest Trends in ELFResearch. Cambridge Scholars, 299-311.Hymes, D.H. (1972). On communicative competence. In Pride, J.B. & Holmes, J. (eds.). Sociolinguistis:Selected Readings. Penguin, 269-293.Kachru, B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: The English in the outer circle. InQuirk, R. & Widdowson, H.G. (eds.). English in the World: Teaching and Learning the Language andLiteratures. CUP, 11-30.Kohn, K. (2009). Computer assisted language Learning. In Knapp, K. & Seidlhofer, B. (eds.). ForeignLanguage Communication and Learning. Handbooks of Applied Linguistics 6. Mouton-de Gruyter, 573–603.Kohn, Kurt (2011). English as a lingua franca and the Standard English misunderstanding. In De Houwer, A.& Wilton, A. (eds.). English in Europe Today. Sociocultural and Educational Perspectives. Benjamins, 72-94.Kohn, K. (2012). The BACKBONE project: pedagogic corpora for content and language integrated learning.Objectives, methodological approach and outcomes. Eurocall Review (to appear).Labov, W. (1970). The Study of Non-standard English. National Council of Teachers of English.Seidlhofer , B. (2011). Understanding English as a Lingua Franca. OUP.Swain, M. (2006). Languaging, agency and collaboration in advanced second language proficiency. InByrnes, H. (ed.). Advanced Language Learning: The Contributions of Halliday and Vygotsky. Continuum, 95-108.Widdowson, H. (2003). Defining Issues in English Language Teaching. OUP. Kurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Learning as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 21
  • 22. Thank youKurt Kohn – ”My English: Second Language Acquisition as Individual & Social Construction” – TESOL, 28-31 March 2012 22

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