002 week 4 identity, investment and language learning copy
English 343Identity, investment andlanguage learning
Agenda Your voices: 1) Share one idea and one question that stuck with you from this week‟s readings, 2) Reading a few blogs Discussion of Social identity with Bonny Norton Discussion of Kelly Hall Identity Chapter Discussion of Holliday et al. Language and culture trajectory project discussion (at around 8:00)
Key Concepts Investment vs motivation Identity as a site of struggle Social Distance theory Cultural capital Habitus Discourse Cultural Models Social identity Interactional Sociolinguistics (e.g. Contextual cues)
Jean says.. Norton points out that the relationship between the language learner and the social world is difficult to conceptualize because “comprehensive theory of social identity that integrates the language learner and the language learning context” has not been fully developed. Reading about the different motivations to speak English and when not to are issues that plague language learners when they are in an environment in which the native language is not their own. Although every woman mentioned in Norton‟s article indicated that they were highly motivated to learn and speak English, but there are particular social conditions that these women were uncomfortable with speaking English. This doesn‟t come as a surprise to me, though I‟ve never consciously thought about it. I think if there is the fear that one might be judged or ostracized, the speaker will cease to speak a language that they are not as proficient in. The idea of motivation isn‟t limited to immigrants, but people who are a part of multiple groups in society. In every group the language use will change and how things are communicated may differ from group to group. For example, I use language differently when I associate with other Koreans. My body language and the way I use language to communicate will change from how I communicate with other Americans who‟s primary language is English.
Curt says… After reading Language and Identity by Hall, I had found that many of the concepts that were discussed in the article are often experienced by teachers who are teaching students from a different cultural environment than themselves. When I taught Yupik Eskimo Natives living on the Alaskan tundra I had found some of these same issues to be at times problematic. At times, I had found that the social values at school and the social values of the village can be so different from each other that the school children often find that the two worlds are completely incongruent from each other. This in turn, has led many Eskimo students to separate and compartmentalize the two places, both in physical space and temporal time, into disjointed activities. This in turn, maintains their school experience as foreign institution intruding into their lives.
Annie says.. In Norton‟s article about social identity and language learning, I found the section featuring Eva‟s language acquisition to be particularly eye opening. I thought it was interesting that just because Eva was unfamiliar with Bart Simpson that she would might be portrayed as a “poor language learner who has not developed sociolinguistic competence”. I know plenty of people who don‟t watch television, or chose to avoid such unappetizing shows like The Simpsons who are completely fluent in English and have been raised in America all their life. It then made me wonder how much of another culture must be known in order to call yourself “literate” or identify yourself with another language. Also it made me wonder why it should be more important in a social environment to be familiar with a cartoon character while being knowledgeable about politics and discussing important topics is often considered taboo?
Sarah J. says…. Back to the effects of Shumann‟s theories on my understanding of these concepts, I was also intrigued by his theory of social distance and the effect that social solidarity has on it. It‟s interesting to think about how mutual the language acquisition process has to be: the newcomers and natives have to be almost equally willing for learning to take place in order for it to be successful. The former group has to be receptive to learning and using the target language while the latter group has be to receptive to teaching and understanding their new neighbors. What strikes me most about this is how much it also applies to general education. Not only do students need to be curious and eager to learn; their teachers need to also be willing to understand each student and his or her unique needs and abilities. In so many ways, ESL education is very closely related to general education.
Meagan says… I have been learning to think differently since completing the readings this week. I never realized the complexities of language, and that it isn‟t just learning how to speak the language. There are so many things to take into account such as: frameworks, contextualization cues, inferencing, facework, social identity, and rhetorical devices. There are so many things to learn in addition to the language in order to understand and be understood. Hall states that a traditional perspective considers culture is treated separately from language. I think this is more often the case and language and culture are very combined. The example of the doctor/patient in Holliday‟s Intercultural Communication book really brings to light all of the complications that can arise when communicating in a language new to you. Wrong conclusions can be made so easily when not understanding the cultural background of each individual in a situation. Many times an ELL is talked to as they are slow or stupid. Doctors have made hugely wrong diagnosis‟ due to a few misunderstandings. A teacher can make this same mistake. I learned this from personal experience.
Alexis says… After looking at each autobiography, the importance of incorporating lived experiences and social identities into the lives of language learners within the formal second language curriculum. The author goes on to give objectives and methodologies from the classroom-based social research (CBSR) to “engage the social identities of students in ways that will improve their language learning outside of the classroom and help them claim the right to speak. It might help students understand how opportunities to speak are socially structured and how they might create possibilities for social interaction with target language speakers” (p. 26). As a classroom teacher I find these objectives to be very helpful in developing a student‟s oral and literacy skills in second language learners and making them feel comfortable with language outside of the classroom setting. I think by using these objectives within a classroom this will help a student feel more comfortable in their language skills and will motivate them to want to use the skills that they are learning to communicate not only in the classroom but outside of the classroom as well.
Sarah S. gives an example ofGee‟s Discourse… Taking this idea further, I can see how it can work well for an ELL teacher. Tapping into student discourse would be an excellent way to begin English instruction. In October, we were blessed to have a Macedonian student begin our school. He had no English experience and spent the first week of school in tears and utter resistance to being part of our school. Over time we were able to make small gains by tapping into his discourse of being a soccer player. He was able to communicate with students through non- verbal soccer actions. This helped him become more at ease with other students and his teachers. After he was able to display his soccer discourse/identity, we were able to build language on top of that. He has built his identity at school as a soccer player, mathematician, and English language learner. Every day a new discourse may be shared or an established one may be used for a starting place (prior knowledge) for instruction.
Research gap SLA researchers have not adequate addressed how relations of power affect the interaction in target language. The notion of “individual” needs to be conceptualized Artificial distinction are drawn between the individual and the social- lead to arbitrary mapping of particular factors. Why is it that learners can sometimes be motivated and extraverted sometimes the other way? More attention needed on poststructural theory of identity as multiple, “a site of struggle”, ad “subject to change”—We need a more comprehensive theory of identity!
Social Distance Shumann(1976) minimal congruence between the culture of the target language speakers and the culture of the language learner.
The focus of research Thefocus of her research was on the natural language learning experiences of the women in their homes, workplaces, and communities.
From motivation to investment The concept of motivation (instrumental vs integrative) does not capture the complex relationships between the relations of power, language learning and identity. If learners invest in a second language, they do so with the understanding that they will acquire a wider range of symbolic and material resources.
Investment “when language learners speak, they are not only exchanging information with target language speakers but they are constantly organizing and reorganizing a sense of who they are and how they relate to the social world. Thus an investment in the target language is also an investment in a learner‟s own social identity, and identity which is constantly changing across time and space” (p. 18)
Communicative Competence Hymes defines communicative competence as the goal of achieving an effective and appropriate communication. “Those who speak regard those who listen as worthy to listen and those who listen regard those who speak as worthy to speak”—This is not always the case! Norton moves this forward with poststructuralisrt framework of identity. Ability to claim the right to speak should be an integral part of an expanded notion of communicative competence.
Despite of their high motivation, the women in Norton‟s study were discouraged to speak. They were not feeling as “legitimate speakers” (Bourdieu, 1977)
Discussion questions Identifya few excerpts in the article that is an example for how the immigrant women strived to gain their right to speak What are some of the classroom-based implications? What kind of pedagogy might help learners claim their right to speak? How can you implement a classroom- based research with your students?
Norton (1995) says… Motivation is not a fixed personality trait but must be understood with reference to social relations of power that create the possibilities for language learners to speak…When learners have high affective filter, it is their investment in the target language that will lead them to speak
Holliday et al chapter The main focus of this section is to discuss how our multiple/changing identities are parts of broader narratives and discourses Those who cannot identify with the dominant narrative are likely to feel alienated and excluded (think of some of the dominant narratives around language education) When we use the language (speak and write) we always take a particular perspective on what the “world” is like (Gee)
De Fina (2006) Bytelling stories, narrators are able not only to represent social worlds and to evaluate them, but also to establish themselves as member of particular groups through interactional, linguistic, rhetorical and stylistic choices .
De fina also talks aboutnegotiation of identitiesDiscourse approach to explore identity: This view rejects the conception of identity as static and recognizes the centrality of interaction and social activities. According to changing social circumstances, identities intersect or contrast with each other.
Gee‟s Discourse Discourse: language plus other stuff—socially accepted associations among ways of using language, of thinking, valuing, acting and interacting. Discourses are not units with clear boundaries. Discourses are embedded in social institutions, and often involves various “props” like classrooms, labs, books etc. Recognition: People may disagree in what they see. You say “it‟s a modern classroom teacher leading a discussion” and I say “ No, it‟s a traditional teacher giving a hidden lecture in the guise of a series of known-answer questions to the students”We all try to understand/make sense of the human interactions. Weneed to be aware of the history of certain Discourses (e.g. Discourse of“being Indian”, “being Chinese-American”)Think of different social identities you enact in various different settings.What different styles of language do you employ? What symbols andobjects might accompany the language?1) As a student in a college classroom2) As a job applicant at a job interview
James Gee‟s Discourse “Making visible and recognizable who we are and what we are doing always involves a great deal more than „just- language‟. It involves acting-interacting-thinking-valuing- talking (sometimes writing-reading) in the ‘appropriate way’ with the ‘appropriate’ props at the ‘appropriate’ times in the ‘appropriate’ places (105)” Situated Identities: Different identities or social positions we enact and recognize in different settings. You project yourself as engaged in a certain activity (being a student, teaching English as a foreign language, being a member of a sorority club). If I have no idea who you are and what you are doing, then I cannot make sense of what you have said, written or done. Making visible and recognizable who you are and what you do requires more than a language—language plus other stuff ( people, objects, time and places)—Think about how someone gets recognized as a “good student”, a “good cook or a “gang member‟—these involve “acting-interacting-thinking- valuing-talking”
“Real Indian” Weider andPratt‟s work “Real Indian” is not something one can simply be. Rather, it is something one becomes, or is “in the doing of it”, that is, in the performance. Knowing how to be a “real Indian” rests on one‟s being able to sync with other “real Indians” and with objects (e.g. material items of the culture) in the appropriate times and places.
Let‟s look at another Discourse What experimental physicists know is, in large part, not in their heads. Rather, it is spread out , inscribed in scientific apparatus, books, journals, institutions, rou tines and actions of other people. There are verbal and non-verbal ways to be a physicists.
Recognizable discourses There‟s a way of being a kindergarten student in Ms, X‟s class with its associated activities, words, deeds, and things. Ms. X, her students, her classroom, with its objects and artifacts, and characteristic practices are all in the Discourse she and her students create. When there‟s a sharing time in class (“show and tell”), some stories are not recognized as “acceptable” in this class and other types are. Thee recognition work creates a Discourse.
Another example You, and African-American male, speak and act here and now in an attempt to get recognized as a “business manager coaching project team.” If you get recognized as such, then your performance in this Discourse of business management. If you don‟t, it isn‟t. Your performance might be influenced , intentionally or not, by another one of your Discourses( your membership to a Discourse of being a Jazz fan). If it gets recognized in the business management Discourse, you have just “infected” one discourse with another and widened what counts as a Discourse in management. Talk about the example of Kairos (http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/
Identity and LanguageLearning Schuman (1976) talks about social distance and psychological distance. Social distance: The degree of social solidarity between the two groups. The greater the social distance between two groups the more difficult it is for the members of the second language learning group to acquire the language of the target language group. Psychological distance: How individuals feel while learning a new language “language/culture shock, ego permeability”Holliday et al have some reservations! This theory implies thatthe target language speakers have a shared culture andlanguage. Hoffman‟s account on hoe identities arereconstructed” captures this complexity better (e.g. initialphase of loss and the phase of recovery and reconstruction)
Group Discussion onPellegrini, A. On Study AbroadMake sure that your group includes at least oneperson who lived or studied abroad. See the quote on pg. 121. How you think that this particular person‟s feeling of being perceived to be unintelligent, lacking personality or humor in his/her study abroad experience might affect his/her ability to use the new language? How does the new language affect the presentation of self and what changes within the self are necessary for the learner to grow in the foreign language?
Pavkenkov and Lantof‟s 2000article on the phrases of lossand reconstruction Inyour groups, define each phase with examples from Eva Hoffman‟s narratives. What are some of the implications for teachers who work with students who need to adapt to life in a new context and, at the same time, need to learn an additional language?
Cultural Awareness in Healthcare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gxp_ 7aRA_tQ&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdhp WhXv4YQ&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNLtA j0wy6I
Social identity Group membership along with the values, believes and attributes associated with them. Social identities embody particular histories (Gee). It also encompasses participant roles, positions relationships, reputations and other dimensions of social practice
Social identity cont. “ We hold similar expectations of what others are likely to do and not do as members of their particular groups. The linguistic resources we use to communicate, and our interpretations of those used by others, are shaped by these mutually held perceptions. In short, who we are, who we think others are, and who others think we are, mediate in important ways our individual uses and evaluations of our linguistic actions in any communicative encounter”. (p. Hall, 34)
Social identity and agency How we enact any particular identity is also responsive to contextual conditions. While our social identities are to a great extend shaped by the groups and communities, we as individual agents also play a role in shaping them. “Social identities influences our identities, they do not determine them” (Hall, p. 35)
Habitus A set of bodily dispositions acquired through extended engagement in our everyday activities that dispose us to act in certain way (e.g. our everyday social experiences). Our habitus is continually being reconstituted by our lived experiences as individual actors.WE ARE NEITHER FREE AGENTS NOR COMPLETELYSOCIALLY DETERMINED PRODUCTS.
Interactional Sociolinguistics An applied linguistic approach to the study of language use and identity. Based on the works of the well-known anthropologist, John Gumperz. Contextual cues: any verbal signs which processed in co-occurrence with symbolic, grammatical and lexical signs (e.g. turn- taking patterns, language codes, lexical and pragmatic forms of speech. One can examine: communication breakdowns in multiple disciplines (e.g. classrooms, health sciences, doctor-patient relationships, gendered conversations, workplace conversations)
When we look at the communication closely, we see that differences between the mainstream communities and minority could result in negative consequences. For example, differences in participation structures may lead to the misjudging of the children‟s language abilities by the teacher (Phillipson‟s study on Navajo children) Children‟s silence can wrongly be interpreted as linguistic deficiencies.
Hall underlines Regardless of the degree to which knowledge of cue meanings is shared, communicative cooperation cannot be assumed. We also need to look at social, political, historical discourse orders. Locating communicative difficulties in cultural norms ascribes a deterministic role of culture, thus renders invisible role of individual agency in shaping social action…Individuals do not reside in well-defined communicative worlds by clear boundaries. (p. 42) We can be members of multiple and sometimes contradicting speech communities and discourses.
Assignments Language and culture trajectory DUE Reading and blogging Reduced Load for next week: Only blog about one article (no word limitations)
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