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Multilingual literacy practices and doctoral supervision: exploring hidden voices,            identities and texts     Ann...
Language as a barrier to supervision“We give feedback about the style of the writing and  the ideas. Style is a big issue ...
From language as a technical issue… “I did my research in Swahili so I had to transcribe all my data then translate it in ...
… to language as amethodological concern“The head teacher initially told me that it was a good policy. Later on in   the c...
Decolonising researchmethodology“Having been immersed in the Western academy  which claims theory as thoroughly Western, w...
Academic literacies“ Academic literacies research provides a methodology for understanding   the ways in which meanings ar...
Intercultural communication“Terms of cultural engagement, whether antagonistic    or affiliative, are produced performativ...
Which journals? Whose authority?Student: I think it’s difficult to find in English journal about   Thai study. So most of ...
When, what and how totranslate?“I translate all the data myself. I can’t do anything but translation. My supervisor     re...
Writing in English: the ‘relationaldimension’ (Ivanic 2005: 398)“My supervisors… say ‘you don’t write the way you talk - t...
Reading and writing a thesis:hidden voices, identities, texts How can a thesis based on bilingual or multi- lingual fieldw...
Implications for internationalisingUK higher education   Different emphasis within internationalisation policy:   from con...
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Anne Robinson-Pant

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  • Anna I went through you presentation with interest. My approach has always been to have local context drive the curriculum and not the other way around. We are launching a social network and training on digital Story-Based Investigative Journalism at www.iamthestory.org. We will launch out of Somaliland and this is an upgrade of what we did in 2011 with some UNESCO funding. Thought would be interested. My SlideShow in a similiar note is https://www.slideshare.net/richardcclose/how-to-leverage-global-content-in-localized-instructional-design Wills end you an email in case you did not get this. Richard richardcclose@gmail.com
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Anne Robinson-Pant

  1. 1. Multilingual literacy practices and doctoral supervision: exploring hidden voices, identities and texts Anna Robinson-Pant, University of East Anglia A.Robinson-Pant@uea.ac.ukResearching Multilingually Seminar, Manchester May 2012
  2. 2. Language as a barrier to supervision“We give feedback about the style of the writing and the ideas. Style is a big issue for international students. I have one who volunteered to go for language support – they could all do with that but they don’t go… I find supervision very hard work because of the language. It is a step up for international students. Sometimes we are communicating but I am not sure if they have really understood it. They do all the form filling.” [Interview with doctoral supervisor]
  3. 3. From language as a technical issue… “I did my research in Swahili so I had to transcribe all my data then translate it in English and sometimes when you think in another language, even when I put down my sentences when sometimes in the supervision, my supervisor will ask me, what do you mean here? I will change things from backwards forwards because of how we speak in Swahili and I had to transcribe it and give to someone to proof read to be sure of the tenses and everything.” (Interview with Scholastica Mokake) “I challenge the golden rule which insists that learning the local language is essential for successful fieldwork…Learning the language is a ‘data collection exercise’ in its own right, and the investment of valuable time and intellectual energy in acquiring this knowledge should be assessed alongside the imperative to collect other kinds of data” (Devereux 1992: 43)
  4. 4. … to language as amethodological concern“The head teacher initially told me that it was a good policy. Later on in the conversation she went on to talk about the difficulties encountered by her school, that it was impossible for her school with limited resources to have so many goals. Implied in her indirect response to me was a critique of the policy But when I translated the statements into English, this did not seem to have the same impact as it did in Bahasa Malaysia. So what then? How do I tell my readers of a Western orientation that this is a powerful critique of the policy? That the statement must be understood in a cultural context where direct criticisms of ideas are said to violate codes of language use and social conduct. One does not say an idea is unworkable up front but rather one starts by praising the speaker and the idea and then makes helpful suggestions to improve it, because ‘saving face’ is important.” Pillay (1995: 135)
  5. 5. Decolonising researchmethodology“Having been immersed in the Western academy which claims theory as thoroughly Western, which has constructed all the rules by which the indigenous world has been theorised, indigenous voices have been overwhelmingly silenced.” Tuhiwai Smith 1999: 29“I have always been disturbed by the way in which the Euro-Western research process disconnects me from the multiple relations that I have with my community, the living and the non-living” Chilisa 2012: 3
  6. 6. Academic literacies“ Academic literacies research provides a methodology for understanding the ways in which meanings are contested in higher education. In particular, it is concerned with the broader social, cultural and institutional frameworks within which meaning is negotiated through particular texts, genres and discourses. It also moves away from a focus on the individual learner, paying more attention to the broader institutional context of learning and the ways in which meanings are contested within this framing” (Lea, 2005: 192)“Writers often experience a ‘crisis of identity’ when entering a new discourse community” (Ivanic 2005: 394)“Translators play a role, often hidden, in the discourses of academe” (Nelson and Castello 2012: 49)
  7. 7. Intercultural communication“Terms of cultural engagement, whether antagonistic or affiliative, are produced performatively… the representation of difference must not be hastily read as the reflection of pre-given ethnic or cultural traits set in the fixed tablet of tradition” (Bhabha 1994: 2)“The tutorial encounter is a contested site, an unstable ground where the footfalls are unpredictable” (Turner 2011: 184)
  8. 8. Which journals? Whose authority?Student: I think it’s difficult to find in English journal about Thai study. So most of them are written in Thai language and he [supervisor] not happy…one time he told me that he cannot check that it’s OK because he cannot read the Thai language.Interviewer: And what did you feel about that?Student: I’m OK because I understand – I think it’s necessary about references, it should be good references... He said that it’s not [well-known] journal… So I try to find journal that talks about Thai culture and try to bring the Thai culture to my supervisor.[From interview with doctoral student]
  9. 9. When, what and how totranslate?“I translate all the data myself. I can’t do anything but translation. My supervisor read every transcript I translated so did it like a peer interview... checked her interpretation and my view. Every step of my work got peer review. Only one things annoys me this – they want me to do everything. We agreed at first that I will translate a few interviews, then I will bring summaries but later she wanted to read everything and the agreement changed”“I need to translate lots of documents in Polish, I need an interpreter, it is the law. I’m not so good to translate. So I had to pay to translated documents. I didn’t translate everything – after I started to write in English, but in the annex, such as the agreement for resettlement. My supervisor has experience in Russia but can’t understand in Polish. If he can’t understand what I mean, we talk about it and he says, maybe you can say it in this way… If I translate, Polish teachers help me to say it.” [From interviews with doctoral students]
  10. 10. Writing in English: the ‘relationaldimension’ (Ivanic 2005: 398)“My supervisors… say ‘you don’t write the way you talk - there’s a difference between spoken English and written English’. I really didn’t understand what they were saying, because after all I write and this is what I should have said. So it was a bit of a problem to understand, and again I was writing too much, because we talk too much so we write too much. …But now, I see…you just have to present this thing in a more concise way, keep to the point.I’ll give you an example – these things are mixed up, both in your study and in your culture. It’s only when I came to England, for example that I have learnt how to critique – I mean like there are some things you don’t say, let’s take an example – this was written by a senior person, it’s difficult for a junior person to critique it, you know in the African culture context. So you really need skills, you need some level of skill to do that, but here I’ve learnt that ‘look, there is still a way to say no and be right’, without putting in some insult or whatever, without breaking the culture. So what I’m trying to say is that sometimes…writing is also a culture – your piece of writing can explain the kind of culture you portray... That if your culture is not purely English culture, you re not likely going to write very strong acceptable English, that would be within the English culture. So you have to struggle, to move from your culture to the English culture.” [Interview with doctoral student]
  11. 11. Reading and writing a thesis:hidden voices, identities, texts How can a thesis based on bilingual or multi- lingual fieldwork incorporate or simply acknowledge such voices? Will the reader be aware of all the texts (published and unpublished) shaping ideas in the thesis and practices in the fieldwork? How can the writer share with the reader the experience of writing across cultures and languages, in terms of her/his multiple and shifting identities?
  12. 12. Implications for internationalisingUK higher education Different emphasis within internationalisation policy: from concern with integration, to focusing on transition/ migration as an educational experience in itself Challenging power relationships within the university, through positioning the student as ‘expert’ with regard to multilingual research Internationalisation as a way of destabilising and transforming fixed genres and spaces within higher education Making language visible within research methodology and theory building, rather than only in learning and teaching contexts

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