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Talk in Language, Discourse and Society (LDS) seminar, University of Birmingham, School of Education 9.10.2009

Talk in Language, Discourse and Society (LDS) seminar, University of Birmingham, School of Education 9.10.2009

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  • Migration processes in the past decades have fundamentally changed Finnish schools into becoming multilingual and multicultural. This holds challenges to schools and especially teachers in understanding different values, interests and literacy practices of pupils who do not only represent diverse national, ethnic and linguistic groups but also heterogeneous subcultures and communities of practice (Wenger 1998; Barton & Hamilton 2000). Schools as institutions have the power to categorise social identities. These categories are inscribed in cultural models of schooling and transmitted through teachers’ interactions with pupils, but also through, e.g., curriculum and materials design (Hawkins 2005, 79). As Hull and Schultz put it, it will be even more crucial for teachers to be able to acknowledge and support pupils’ identity work and negotiate the boundaries between school and out-of-school literacies in offering access to varieties of languages, speech genres and literacy practices (Hull & Schultz 2002). This talk is based on a study that examines immigrant pupils’ literacy practices and construction of identity in schools and out-of-school contexts. I will focus on the literacy practices immigrant pupils are socialized in Finnish as a second language classroom, and their possibilities to construct and manifest multilingual and multicultural identities in the school settings. If school is not able to offer immigrant pupils enough knowledge and skills to function in a society, learning of those skills is left to the responsibility of the pupils and their communities. In order to become members of Finnish society immigrant pupils usually have to change literacy practices that they have learned at home (Blackledge 2000), which can lead to assimilation of the mainstream culture. There is also a risk of displacement and inequality (Warschauer 2003).
  • English has become an important language in Finland especially during the past few decades. Nowadays, there are, in Finnish society, areas of language use in which English is used even tough people could use their mother tongue. Thus, unlike many other new minority languages, the increased use of English is not caused by an increase in English-speaking immigrants (in the end of 2006 English was spoken as the mother tongue by approximately 9600 persons); instead, English is the everyday language of many Finns.
  • Capital region: 8 % of all pupils Turku & Tampere (and other big cities outside Capital region): 3-7 % Other parts of Finland: less than 2 % The objective of immigrant education is to provide people moving to Finland with opportunities to function as equal members of Finnish society and guarantee immigrants the same educational opportunities as other citizens. (National Board of Education
  • Literacy practices are not observable units of behaviour since they also involve values, attitudes, feelings and social relationships (Barton & Hamilton 1998). Reading, writing and talking about texts are all social practices (Barton & Hamilton 1998: Street 2000; Pitkänen-Huhta 2003) that define individual’s identity. In other words, language and literacy practices work as symbolic resources in negotiating the identity (Martin-Jones 2000, 153). Through participation in different literacy practices individuals define their identities, manifest their membership to groups, and ownership and authorship to texts (Gee 1990; Cope & Kalantzis 2000; MacCleod 2004; Bartlett 2005). Thus, literacy practices are situated into social and cultural acts of identity (Ivanič 1998; Lankshear 1997). What kind of texts & practices are valued? What texts are neglected? Miten arvot näkyvät tekstivalintojen lisäksi arviointi- ja palautekäytänteissä, työtavoissa ja pedagogisessa kulttuurissa (opettajan ja oppilaan roolit, oppimiskäsitys jne.)? Miten tekstikäytänteet liittyvät käyttäjiensä identiteettityöhön; erilaisiin lukija- ja kirjoittajapositioihin?
  • The notions of language and identity are discussed in this talk and in my study in the framework of the dialogical philosophy of language, specifically the potential contribution of dialogism as a poststructuralist theory to contemporary discussion on language and identity that is developed further in the West. Dialogism embraces the idea that language does not exist as a stable, unified and simplified system, but is dynamic and multilayered in nature . In contrast with the monological and structuralist view of language (inspired by Saussure), dialogism sees the multiplicity and heterogeneity of language as its inherent and essential property .
  • In this sense, a person does not have one single and permanent linguistic or ethnic identity but his or her identity varies with regard to different social interactions . Identity is not, however, constructed or changing in a random or arbitrary manner but it is also linked with a historical and socio-cultural dimension, thus gaining continuity and stability . Hence, identity is at the same time fragmentary and whole. Instead of one identity we could talk about several identities that have different meanings in dialogical situations. There are several social worlds to which an individual has access, and through language these social worlds are shaping an individual’s identity and an individual is shaping the social worlds. As David Block puts it: “Individuals are shaped by their sociohistories but they also shape their sociohistories as life goes on .
  • The overall picture isn’t different from the immigrant pupils’ point of view.
  • I’m not saying that we should put the text books into a trash bin and bring computers to the classrooms instead and the world would be more bright and beautiful, everyone would be happy. There is a question behind this, namely how we see learning and teaching as a shared activity? What kinds of literacies are valued? What are neglected or prohibited, even?
  • Miten sitten saataisiin erilaiset oppimisympäristöt kohtaamaan toisensa? Miten koulu voisi monimediaistua ja monikielistyä? Miten se voisi tukea nuorta paperimaan kansalaiseksi, tietoyhteiskunnan jäseneksi? Miten nuori voi tuoda esille omaa asiantuntijuuttaan, tuottaa erilaisia identiteettejään?
  • The pupils were very skilled in IT technology, and they didn’t need so much support in these skills. Instead, they needed linguistic and content support about the text types or genres if you will; how to make a review, news, how to make interesting interview questions, what is a Survey etc. The data of this case-study consist of field-notes & texts produced during the intervention as well as group-interviews among the pupils. We wanted to record sessions, but were not given a permission to do that.
  • Magazine for pupils with Finnish as a second language They ended up in a more or less multilingual name: None of the pupils spoke Spanish (at least as a mother tongue), so this must have come from all sorts of linguistic resources during their life-span.
  • The name of the magazine was talked once and awhile during the project and this discussion was going on during the last week of the project. For us who have restricted linguistic resources in Internet Slang, LOL means ”laughs a lot”
  • The first lines ”we are interested in”… were suggested by a team-researcher when she was discussing with the pupils, why they chose this topic, and why especially these questions. The pupils were quite reluctant to write anything about their aspirations, instead they tried to keep the survey-interview as neutral as possible. Nevertheless, you might guess that there is at least a gender bias in the questions…Especially if you look at the second question, a very hot topic among girls of this age.
  • So what they did on the basis of the interviews was this kind of visual presentation (not a linear text), which is Comedy first, action second, science fiction third, Johny Depp was according to the responses better than Brad Pitt, most of the pupils watch films late at night, quite a many go to cinema often, and all of the respondents watched foreign films.
  • S2-opetuksessa, entä aineen opetuksessa?
  • In a school setting there are possibilities of different participants to construct and manifest their authorship, ownership, and expertise in their literacy practices, but:
  • Transcript

    • 1. Literacy practices and construction of identities in schools: Perspectives of migrant pupils Sari Pöyhönen University of Jyväskylä Centre for Applied Language Studies, Finland [email_address]
    • 2. Aims of the talk
      • overview of language situation in Finland
      • focus on
        • literacy (and media) practices pupils are socialized in language classrooms, and
        • the possibilities of pupils to construct and manifest their multilingual and multicultural identities in school settings
      • Two projects:
        • Towards Future Literacy Pedagogies
        • Intervention among 8 th graders in Finnish as a second language class
    • 3.  
    • 4.  
    • 5.  
    • 6. ” Finland is a land of paper”
    • 7. Language situation in Finland (5.3 million)
      • Finnish and Swedish are the official languages
        • Speakers of Finnish 90.9%
        • Speakers of Swedish 5.4%
      • Sami as indigenous people, Romany and people using Finnish Sign Language as linguistic and cultural minorities have a special status in the Constitution
        • 3 Sami languages ca. 1 780 persons, Romany ca. 14 000, Finnish Sign Language ca. 5 000 (ca. 14 000)
        • Speakers of other languages (ca. 140 languages), about 3.6% of the population (190 538 persons)
      • No official statistics about bilingualism or multilingualism in Finland
      • The use of English has increased in several fields of life
    • 8. Situation at schools
      • Basic education (school years 1-9, age 7-16):
        • 2-3 % (17 000) of the pupils with immigrant background
        • Differences between areas and schools within the areas
        • About 50 languages taught as first languages at schools
          • Minimum group size 4 persons
          • Extra-curricular subject: “o wn mother tongue, own native language”
      • Finnish as a second language
        • 25 % does not study Finnish as a second language at all
        • 12 % studies only Finnish as a second language
        • 60 % of the pupils studies both Finnish as mother tongue and Finnish as a second language
      • General Secondary education (access to higher education)
        • 60 % of the age group, 15 % of immigrants
    • 9. Three concepts Literacy practices Language Identity
    • 10. Literacy practices
      • Reading, writing and talking about texts
        • Social and cultural practices
          • (Barton & Hamilton 1998; Street 2000)
        • Attitudes, feelings and social relationships
        • Symbolic resources in negotiating identity
          • (Martin-Jones 2000)
        • Defining identities, manifesting membership to groups, and ownership and authorship to texts
          • Gee 1990; Cope & Kalantzis 2000; MacCleod 2004; Bartlett 2005).
    • 11. View of language and identity
      • Dialogical philosophy of language and human existence (Bakhtin 1978; 1984)
        • Multiplicity and heterogeneity of language
        • Language as dynamic and multilayered
      • Discourse and context do not alone determine the formation of identity but function as resources
        • Competing discourses, several meanings
            • contradictory, even opposite
    • 12. Dialogic definition of identity
      • Identity is formed in a dialogic relationship with others. It has many voices, it is dynamic and process-like, but, at the same time, anchored to the historical and cultural context with the result of gaining continuity and permanence. Therefore, identity is at the same time both fragmented and complete. Instead of an identity, we can speak of several identities that acquire different meanings in dialogical situations. (Pöyhönen & Dufva 2007; Pöyhönen 2009)
    • 13.
      • Literacy (and) media practices in language classrooms
    • 14. Towards Future Literacy Pedagogies
      • Aims of the project:
      • To explore and interpret literacy practices in school and out-of-school contexts
      • To explore teaching and assessment practices, and attitudes
      • To evaluate to what extent school is able to meet the literacy challenges of the knowledge society and the globalised, networked and culturally diverse world
      • To develop proposals for interventions in teaching, curriculum planning, assessment and teacher education
      • More information:
    • 15. Holistic view to literacies
    • 16. Survey of literacy practices in 2006
      • Based on a representative sample of
        • 9th grade pupils in Finnish-speaking comprehensive schools (15-year-olds, school-leaving cohort)
        • First language (Finnish) teachers (who teach in the 9th grade)
        • Foreign language teachers (who teach in the 9th grade)
      • Responses from 1 720 pupils from 102 Finnish-speaking lower secondary schools and from 740 teachers (417 L1; 324 FL)
        • 2 % of the pupils had immigrant background
      • Response rates:
        • Pupils 86 %
        • L1 teachers 42 % & FL teachers 32 %
      • education and training
      • (teachers only)
      • experience (teachers
      • only)
      • language knowledge
      • use of technology
      • materials
      • methods
      • objectives
      • cooperation
      • feedback and assessment
      • attitudes
      • use of media
      • technology skills and
      • needs
      • reading and writing texts
      • attitudes
    • 18. The world changes – how does the school respond? Mother tongue and foreign language literacy practices in school and in free-time .
    • 19. Priorities and preferences
      • The most important teaching material is the text book for
        • 97,5 % of the FL teachers (n=283) and
        • 92,5 % of the L1 teachers (n=361)
      • ” Language is in the book”
      • Possibilities to take into account pupils’ experiences, texts, initiatives?
      • Teachers’ professional identity?
        • Linguists? Pedagogues?
    • 20. “ Concentrating”
      • Photo: Ari Korkala, National Board of Education, Finland
    • 21.  
    • 22. Pupils’ own texts at school
      • 36 % of the L1 teachers integrate pupils’ texts produced in their freetime into teaching sometimes
      • 40 % of the FL teachers never integrate pupils’ texts produced in their freetime
    • 23. Texts pupils read at school
      • L1
        • Most read: fiction, stories & narratives, explorative texts media texts: newspaper articles, news
        • Most important according to the teachers: fiction
        • Least read: texts chosen by pupils, comics, visual texts (forms, tables, graphs etc.)
      • FL
        • Most read: text book texts, stories & narratives
        • Most important according to the teachers: stories & narratives
        • Least read: texts chosen by pupils, visual texts
      • “ Good text is a long text”
    • 24. Texts pupils produce at school
      • L1
        • Most produced: school essays & writings, linear texts
        • Most important according to the teachers : essays, papers and other linear and monomodal texts
        • Least produced: www-material and other unlinear and multimodal texts
      • FL
        • Most produced: conversations, dialogues, school essays
        • Most important according to the teachers : conversations, dialogues, school essays, oral presentations
        • Least produced: any form of multimodal text
    • 25. Tendencies in L1 & FL classrooms
      • Text book driven
        • Print-based
      • Teacher-led
        • Doing alone & mechanical pair-work
      • Monocultural & monolingual practices
        • Other linguistic resources non-existent
        • Pupils’ multilingual literacies not important
      • Clear boundaries
        • school subjects
        • school & freetime
    • 26. Pupils’ texts in their freetime
      • personal, interactive & social new media texts
        • SMS-messages, Messenger, IRC (internet-relay chat), e-mails, chats etc
        • Most read and written
        • Closest for the pupils
      • on-line presence
    • 27. Example: Pupils’ daily use of the new media
    • 28. Multilingualism and the new media
    • 29. Multilingualism and the new media
      • Use of more than one language is very common when pupils use the media in their free time
      • Boundary between L1 use and FL use is very flexible in some new media, e.g. reading websites and playing games
        • L1 used more with print media
      • Majority of foreign language use is in English
    • 30. School and freetime: two parallel realities?
      • -> How is school able (and willing) to support pupils
        • in participating in different communities?
        • in practicing and expanding their literacy practices?
        • in exploring the possibilities of the new media as a learning environment ?
          • Pöyhönen & Saario 2009
          • Taalas, Tarnanen, Kauppinen & Pöyhönen 2008
    • 31.
      • ” The cookies on my daughter’s computer know more about her interests than her teachers do”
      • Henry Kelly
      • President
      • Federation of American Scientists
    • 32. How could school & freetime practices meet each other?
    • 33.
        • Constructing and manifesting multilingual and multicultural identities in school settings
    • 34. The case/space: an intervention
      • 4 weeks in spring 2008
      • Finnish as a second language, grade 8 (13-years old)
      • Overall aim : Expanding the learning environment and materials; to learn about Finnish media and culture by using digital learning resources
        • OECD case study on Digital Learning Resources as Systemic Innovation
      • Specific tasks : Practicing producing different media texts, giving feedback to others, learning teamwork skills, learning to bring own experiences to the learning situations and to assess own skills.
        • Favourite links, news, review (film, game etc.), interview (Survey, personal interview)
      • Process and product: making a web-journal
      • Participants: 9 pupils (4 girls & 5 boys), F2 teacher, 2 teacher trainees, 1 teacher trainer, 2 researchers
    • 35.
      • The name of the magazine: Who are we?
      • Different ideas of group-belonging
        • Afgaani uutiset (Afghan news)
        • ” Alueen” lehti (”Region” mail )
        • Rikosuutiset (Crime news)
        • S2 (F2; Finnish as a second language)
        • Team Terrorist
        • El Mosku
        • Final desicion:
        • Mosquitos - S2-oppilaiden oma lehti
        • Mosquitos - F2 pupils’ own magazine
    • 36. Negotiations
      • Teacher trainee: Isn’t Mosquitos a good name? Suggest a better one! :D
      • Girl 1: well, LOL
      • Boy 1: spiderman
      • Teacher trainee: Was that some kind of a suggestion??! :O
      • Girl 1: Oh yeah (it was) :D Well, change it and put F2 It’s a lot better than that nmfgdjythn
      • Teacher trainee: Boy 1: why spiderman? How does it relate to this?!!
      • Girl 2: remove that F2 pupils’ own magazine … it’s stupid Only mosquitos is better! El mosku would be even better.. (mosku = multiculturalism)
    • 37. Different relationships/stances
      • content of the journal, learning tasks, interests
      • oneself as a reader and writer
      • oneself as a member of a linguistic or ethnic community
      • -> hybrid discursive practices
        • Difficulties to handle the familiar practices and use & expand them for learning purposes.
          • LOL, :D
    • 38. ” Me/us” in the texts
        • “ We are interested in film culture, so we decided to make a survey. We asked some15 pupils questions about films, which we ourselves were also interested in .”
      • These are the questions we asked:
      • 1. What kind of films do you like most? a) comedy, b) romantic , c) action, d) science fiction
      • 2. Who is a better actor? a) Brad Pitt, b) Johnny Depp
      • 3. Do you watch films late at night? a) yes, b) no
      • 4. Do you go to cinema often?
      • a) yes, b) no
      • 5. Do you watch foreign films? a) yes, b) no
    • 39.  
    • 40. Comments/feedback
        • Teacher trainee: An interesting survey! If you had asked about an actress, which alternatives would you have given?
        • Girl 2: Well… maybe Angelina Jolie
        • F2 Teacher: An interesting survey! I would like to know about the foreign films, from which countries are they? Good work, girls!
        • Boy 3: quite a good survey, you could have asked which film is their favourite :)
    • 41. What is ”proper” learning?
      • Sari: should the internet be used more often in teaching?
      • Girl 1: no
      • Girl 2: well not really
      • Sari: why not?
      • Girl 3: because you get easily bored with the net or what I mean is that if you do exercises then you sort of get bored with it them easily
      • Girl 1: then you don’t really learn better
      • Sari: what’s the best way to learn then?
      • Girl 1: well in the classroom if the teacher explains compared you know with the net
    • 42. Continues...
      • Sari: is it because there’s so much stuff in the net that it’s difficult to choose or or?
      • Girl 1: well you see it’s like awfully that if someone tells you about it it’s better than if one reads about it in some internet the net usually has quite long stories
      • Girl 3: or it’s like when you’re in the net you want to go to your own pages and don’t want to do it (the exercise)
    • 43. Internet & multi-voiced identities
      • All pupils had Internet connection at home
        • Internet was used by all members of the family
        • The pupils helped younger siblings and their parents in the use of Internet and IT technology
        • Internet as a social space
          • Chatting with friends, listening to music, watching videos, online gaming…
        • Polyphonic identities
        • Multilingualism vs. monolingualism
          • Linguistic repertoires and resources connected with the activities
            • Using different languages, genres and varities
              • Finnish, English, Dari, Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, Bengali, Hindi…
          • Notions on ”our language” in ”our culture”
    • 44. “ Our own mother tongue”
      • Sari: that one is an English page, do you visit pages in other languages?
      • Boy: well at least pages in our own mother tongue
      • Sari: what’s it then your own mother tongue?
      • Boy: well it depends on what I want to do
      • Sari: oh yeah
      • Boy: for example I visit an address to watch television in our own mother tongue or I mean of our own country –
      • Sari: so what is your home country?
      • Boy: Afghanistan
    • 45. Concluding thoughts
      • Literacy practices and texts at school: learning for school or learning for life?
          • Pressures to integrate formal and informal learning
      • Challenges of the school
        • To support and expand pupils’ literacy and media practices
        • Give space to construct different identities
        • To get rid of monocultural, monolingual practices and fixed meanings
    • 46. Critical question
      • How willing are pupils to learn new ways to participate in these activities and to create knowledge together?
          • Keeping school practices and out-of-school practices separated
          • Giving preference to print-based, teacher-led practices in school
          • Personal views and texts: minimizing the ”me/us”
    • 47. Is there a way out of the land of paper?
    • 48. Project group
      • Prof. Minna-Riitta Luukka [email_address]
      • - First language literacy practices in schools and out-of-school contexts
      • Ari Huhta [email_address]
      • assessment and feedback practices
      • Sari Pöyhönen [email_address]
      • literacy practices and construction of identities, language education policies
      • Peppi Taalas [email_address]
      • - teaching and learning practices in language teaching environments
      • Mirja Tarnanen [email_address]
      • - assessment and feedback practices in relation to curriculum and goals
      • Merja Kauppinen [email_address]
      • language learning and literacy practices in the national core curricula for basic education
      • Johanna Saario [email_address]
      • language context and concepts in social studies; challenges for second language learners
      • Sanna Voipio-Huovinen [email_address]
      • support for bilingualism and bi-literacy in Finnish schools among Russian and Somali-speaking immigrant pupils