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Understanding the Identity of a Minority ELL in Singapore


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A case study on an English language learner in Singapore seen through the lens of Norton's concept of identity, Gee's theory of Discourse, and underpinned by Bourdieu's notions of capital and the right to speak.

Published in: Education
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Understanding the Identity of a Minority ELL in Singapore

  1. 1. Understanding the Identity of a Minority ELL in Singapore Sher rie Lee Action Research Project EDUC526B Capstone in Teaching English Language LearnersUniversity of Southern California. Master of Arts in Teaching (TESOL)
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Discourse Gee, 2012Identity & Social Relationships Norton (Norton Peirce, 1995; Norton, 2000) Investment
  3. 3. Flickr: churl Polytechnic Hate writingBACKGROUND & PROBLEM OF PRACTICE
  4. 4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS How influ have ence s lang d a m ocial re uage inor latio lear ity E nshi ning LL s ps expe Englis nt rien h e ce? v estm has er in how een h and has b English hat ing t im e ?W rn overi n lea changed it How wa s her B develop ICS and ed over CALP time? Flickr: Alfonsina Blyde
  5. 5. METHODOLOGY 15 students wrote responses to two prompts on past & current Englishlearning experience 6 students selected for face- to-face interviews Rachel was chosen as case study
  6. 6. Flickr: Marc Wathieu esearch p hical R Biogra Pri Sec ITE Poly primary Discourse Data analyzed according to themes social relationships investment NARRATIVE Verified analysis INQUIRY with Rachel
  7. 7. Flickr: bhima FINDINGSPrimary Discourse = Chinese / working class Linguistic capital = low value Limited right to speak and power to impose reception during English lessons Low investment in language learning
  8. 8. stupid at she said c learly th I re member R: I just remem ber favoritism. I: To those wh o can speak EnR: Yah. … She glish? ask them to sitshe will keep a near her, then sking them quus, and ask us estions and no to keep quiet. t
  9. 9. Positive social relationships promoted BICS/CALP Claimed right to speak and power to impose reception Books and blogs for practicing language skillsFINDINGS
  10. 10. … I join [the] ba friends. nd, I hav Actually e a lot of improve band he my spea lped me king of E to nglish. me to urage e. s enco assag alway the pSh e will o read up tstand Now I am moving a long with people wh are good with their o English language an it does improve min d e t oo!
  11. 11. FINDINGS Fear of speaking to proficient English speakers still lingers Feels more at ease when she has the rightto converse in Mandarin Ambivalent attitude toward English language learning Flickr: HaoJan
  12. 12. t u se c anno g en I writin d wh my me n in port asha ssio t he re ill be expre tingIw righ t s e di t. ho i ith i the one w me w an d the help] There is ave to [ a barrie h commun r when I icate wit who spe h p e op le ak [Eng especial lish] we ly those ll, … an] Ame who [pu rican ac t on cent l ant but still fee En glish is import st a ndarin, not ju need to use M speaking English alone.
  13. 13. CONCLUSIONMinority ELL has little linguistic capital with L1 (Chinese) Social relationships influence ELL’s right to speak and power to impose reception Investment related to increasing linguistic capital through reading and bloggingFlickr: rachel_titiriga
  14. 14. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICEIdentify minority ELLsand how to help them Create opportunities for them to claim the right speak Provide detailed feedback and model process to more proficient students
  15. 15. Share with teachers within department / school Present findings at conference Publish in journal e.g. TESOL Quarterly DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION
  16. 16. LIMITATIONS Single case study cannot be generalized Reliance on introspective self-reported dataIdentity empowerment is a long-term process
  17. 17. LAST Identify WORDSminority ELLsHear their story Give them a voice
  18. 18. Sher rie LeeLinkedIn | SlideShare | Twitter | @orangecanton