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Practice and Presence: Bilingual interaction and identities in an 'international' school setting [LISA 21 and pilot study findings]
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (LISA 21)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1730-5463
2008 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Advanced Study Colloquium Proposal Abstract

LISA 21 and Pilot Study Findings

Oliver St John has worked within the field of foreign language pedagogy both as a teacher and teacher educator in the UK and Sweden. He is currently starting his second year of a five-year PhD programme within the LISA 21 project at the Department of Education, Örebro University, Sweden.

LISA 21 is a new project which focuses on plurilingualism, identities and learning in culturally-diverse secondary schools. Taking sociocultural, postcolonial and pragmatist theoretical frameworks as points of departure and seeking to build on classroom interaction studies, the project aims to maintain multiple perspectives on these issues and to create new analytical and empirical intersections.

The first section of this paper sketches some of the theoretical perspectives guiding this project by seeking to clarify the way the terms ‘language’, ‘identities’ and ‘culture’ are understood. Language is a primary means of mediating human action, but is itself constantly being tailored to serve individual purposes. It is argued that identities need to be understood as both social positionings and as having some kind of cross-contextual coherence. Culture, it is suggested, needs to be conceived as both differentiated and dynamic. This section also highlights the way both languages and identities are implicated when individuals learn. Multiple perspectives on these issues and maintaining balance between micro and macro approaches are considered vital to a more penetrating analysis of these issues.

The second section of this paper presents the preliminary findings of a pilot study undertaken in the spring of 2007. Ethnographic fieldwork was carried out in a school for the Deaf and Hearing-impaired and an ‘international’ school with a view to gaining orientation and finer focus on areas of potential significance within the project’s ‘language and identities’ research questions. Three educational tensions are outlined as a way of communicating some preliminary results: suspending and resourcing dialogue in the classroom; transferring versus transforming understanding and identity affordances and restraints in plurilingual learning environments. The first of these seeks to convey the way a teacher’s orchestration of student participation in the classroom has important repercussions for students’ learning opportunities and the generation of certain kinds of knowledge. The significant contribution of student contributions to understanding in the classroom was also noted. With regard to the second, teacher practices suggested a view of knowledge as ‘packing’ brains whereas students’ behaviour demonstrated that their needs would be better satisfied with a transforming rather than a transferring of understanding. Thirdly, observations pointed to the need for pedagogical sensitivity where both identity affordances and restraints on student learning are created in plurilingual settings.

Finally, the capacity to be comfortable alongside cultural differences and to appreciate them is highlighted as a ‘core’ life skill – one which needs to be fostered in school settings. Teachers need much support for this task and intercultural competence must be focused on in teacher education programmes if sustained opportunities for this kind of learning are to be an ongoing part of classroom priorities and practice.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008.
National Category
Pedagogical Work Learning
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-69362OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-69362DiVA, id: diva2:1254074
Conference
EARLI Advanced Study Colloquia, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, January 14-18, 2008
Note

Presentationen Practice and Presence: Bilingual interaction and identities in an 'international' school setting är en sammanfattning av texten LISA 21 and pilot study findings.

Available from: 2018-10-08 Created: 2018-10-08 Last updated: 2022-07-06Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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