FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Dissertations, online materials

Pages:     | 1 |   ...   | 4 | 5 || 7 |

«Available online at Linguistics and Education 21 (2010) 257–281 Positioning proficiency: How students and teachers ...»

-- [ Page 6 ] --

Although similar discursive practices about perceived proficiencies occur everyday in classrooms, educators and researchers have not often paused to theorize or analyze the processes and consequences of these practices. The power to shape language learning does not lie in a single declaration or in words alone, but in the way these declarations are connected across personal, interpersonal, and institutional levels to future opportunities to speak and to be spoken to as participants in the target language community. Findings from this study demonstrated how students enacted their attributed proficiencies and how they replicated practices of exclusion and accommodation that they themselves had experienced. This cyclical process was likely to continue to constrain future participation in the target language unless another participant, particularly a person in a position of power, i.e. a teacher, interrupted and redirected the construction of perceived proficiency to offer new possibilities for language learning. Building upon previous research (Goldstein, 1996; Norton, 2000) that has discussed the challenges of naturalistic settings where target language communities can create undesired constraints for language learning, this study demonstrates the importance of teacher awareness and re-direction of discursive practices.

During interaction, speakers are evaluating and forming perceptions of their interlocutor’s competence, which this study named the learner’s perceived proficiency. In light of these perceptions, speakers develop certain norms for speaking with this interlocutor which involve modifications, clarifications, accommodations, code-switching, or avoidance. In this context, I found that target language speakers not only modified the kind of language they used with more novice speakers, they also excluded them from language learning affordances all together based on the social construction of perceived proficiency. This study makes a unique contribution to the field of SLA because the data analysis (including close analysis of transcripts and participation patterns in event maps) revealed how perceptions and consequent speaking norms were built in moment-to-moment talk and over time within the classroom culture.

Although the idea of perceived proficiency is implicit in much SLA work, these perceptions have been unexamined in studies that assume that target-language experts and novices will learn from one another as they interact. Findings from this study suggest that any research examining interaction and proficiency in a social context needs to supplement individual, self-reported data with the notion of socially situated, perceived proficiencies. Many SLA researchers and language educators have focused on measures of proficiency according to individual performance of certain competencies (Gass & Selinker, 2001; Thomas, 1994), but in a social setting like a school – where students are constantly playing with boundaries of identity and community – this study makes the case that perceived proficiency is more relevant to explain the ways that participants are co-constructing terms for language learning. Although a learner’s perceived proficiency is not necessarily an accurate representation of language competence, such perceptions are reified and enacted through everyday interactions that are an important part of the learning environment.

On the classroom level this study called attention to: (1) teacher and student discursive practices that work together to construct perceived proficiencies as part of classroom culture, (2) the power of these discursive practices to constrain, afford and change opportunities to participate in target languages, and (3) the ways that perceived proficiencies shift across situations. With this awareness, what can educators across diverse contexts incorporate into their classroom practices? First, it is my hope that teachers and fellow language learners will examine their own public declarations or naming of learners’ proficiencies. Teachers are in a position to strategically empower learners by publicly declaring 274 M. Martin-Beltrán / Linguistics and Education 21 (2010) 257–281 and reifying their proficiency and to remind learners of what they can do to participate in the classroom discourse communities.

Another discursive practice that needs to be reexamined is that of translation or speech accommodation for others who are perceived to have limited language proficiency. In this context I found that reliance on translation was a powerful constraint not only because of translator’s limited access to target language input, but also because this discursive practice perpetuated the positioning of students as non-legitimate participants. When translation practices became the norm during regular classroom activities, a student’s perceived proficiency in the target language was viewed as static or unchanging, despite continuous language development.

This study also suggests that educators need to change the way they think about placement and proficiency levels of students that suggest inactive placement instead of movement and growth. In contrast to static labels, this study found that students’ (perceived) proficiencies could shift quickly across different situations where activities, participants and their positioning relative to each other changed. Instead of allowing students to get tracked by institutional designations, teachers can take advantage of the shifting notions of proficiency by orchestrating different situations that allow students to take on alternating roles as proficient speakers and sources of language expertise. Finally, by understanding the discursive practices that may impact language learning in the classroom, teachers can actively create new language learning affordances for students who might otherwise be marginalized.

This study opens up new questions for further research in order to understand the impact that perceived proficiency may have on language acquisition. For example, one might ask what cues people use during interactions to form perceptions and to adapt language. How might affordances and interactions vary among speakers who have different perceptions of their interlocutors’ proficiencies? For the purposes of this paper, I have not focused on larger sociopolitical issues nor have I teased apart issues of race, class, or ethnicity; although I recognize these issues are ultimately part of how students are positioned as legitimate proficient speakers. In future research the confluence of identity markers of race, social class and ethnic affiliation (Leung et al., 1997) must be investigated to further understand the construction of language identities and perceived proficiencies.

With a better understanding of how perceived proficiency is socially constructed, we can look more closely at what educators can do in order to improve language learning contexts. Ultimately this research has implications for teacher education as we prepare teachers to question and redirect discursive practices in their classrooms. This is not to suggest that teachers alone can sustain relationships or resolve conflicts between communities that have a history of segregation and social inequalities. However, teacher educators can ensure that teachers are aware of the classroom practices that reify learners’ perceived proficiencies and language identities, which in turn, inspire or discourage future opportunities for language learning.

Appendix A. Example event map of daily round/school day of focal student Iliana (January 25, 2005) Time and place Situation Activities Participants Participation framework Languages used Languages used by Grouping Participants who are recorded and/or Who is included and excluded or ratified? by focal student others addressing focal Official language of instruction observed in close proximity to focal How are participants named? student (LOI) student *Interaction with target language-dominant speakers noted 8:40 school yard Walking in pairs from bus Iliana arrives to school by Other students arriving on bus and at Active vocal participant (ratified speaker and All Spanish All Spanish cafeteria Grouped with 4 girls around large bus breakfast are mostly Spanish listener) lunch tables Eats school breakfast dominant (I’s sister, cousin, Estela, Free choice for language (LOI Plays in school yard Veronica, Javier) n/a) Line up at classroom *NO interaction with English door dominant students

–  –  –

References Anderson, K. T. (2009). Applying positioning theory to the analysis of classroom interactions: Mediating micro-identities, macro-kinds, and ideologies of knowing. Linguistics & Education, 20(4), 291–310.

Bakhtin, M. (1981). Discourse in the novel. In M. Holquist (Ed.), The dialogic imagination (pp. 259–422). Austin: University of Texas Press.

Block, D. (2003). The social turn in second language acquisition. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

Block, D. (2007). The rise of identity in SLA research, post Firth and Wagner (1997). Modern Language Journal, 91(5), 863–876.

Bloome, D., Carter, S. P., Christian, B. M., Otto, S., & Shurat-Faris, N. (2005). Discourse analysis and the study of classroom language and literacy events. A microethnographic perspective. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Canale, M. (1983). From communicative competence to communicative language pedagogy. In J. C. Richards, & R. W. Schmidt (Eds.), Language and communication (pp. 2–27). London: Longman.

Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 1–47.

Castanheira, M. L., Crawford, T., Dixon, C. N., & Green, J. L. (2001). Interactional ethnography: An approach to studying the social construction of literate practices. Linguistics and Education, 11(4), 353–400.

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Christian, D., Howard, E. R., & Loeb, M. I. (2000). Bilingualism for all: Two-way immersion education in the United States. Theory Into Practice, 39(4), 258–266.

Corbin, A., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (3rd ed.). London: Sage Publications.

Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Davies, B., & Harré, R. (1990). Positioning: The discursive production of selves. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 20(1), 43–63.

Dooly, M. (2007). Constructing differences: A qualitative analysis of teachers’ perspectives on linguistic and cultural diversity. Linguistics and Education: An International Research Journal, 18(2), 142.

Duranti, A., & Goodwin, C. (Eds.). (1992). Rethinking context: Language as an interactive phenomenon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Edelsky, C. (1981). Who’s got the floor? Language in Society, 10(3), 383–421.

Emerson, R. M., Fretz, R. I., & Shaw, L. L. (1995). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Erickson, F. (1986). Qualitative methods in research on teaching. In M. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 119–161). New York:


Erikson, F., & Schultz, J. (1981). When is a context? Some issues and methods in the analysis of social competence. In J. Green, & C. Wallat (Eds.), Ethnography and language in educational settings (pp. 147–150). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Farhady, H. (1982). Measures of language proficiency from the learner’s perspective. TESOL Quarterly, 16(1), 43–59.

Ferguson, C. A. (1971). Absence of copula and the notion of simplicity: A study of normal speech, baby talk, foreigner talk and pidgins. In D.

Hymes (Ed.), Pidginization and creolization of languages (pp. 141–150). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Firth, A., & Wagner, J. (1997). On discourse, communication, and (some) fundamental concepts in SLA research. Modern Language Journal, 81(3), 285–300.

Firth, A., & Wagner, J. (2007). Second/foreign language learning as a social accomplishment: Elaborations on a reconceptualized SLA. Modern Language Journal, 91(5), 800–819.

Freeman, R. (1996). Dual language planning at oyster bilingual school: “It’s much more than language”. TESOL Quarterly, 30(3), 557–582.

Freeman, R. (1998). Bilingual education and social change. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Gass, S., & Selinker, L. (2001). Second language acquisition: An introductory course. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Associates.

Gass, S. M., & Varonis, E. M. (1985). Variation in native speaker speech modification to non-native speakers. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 7(1), 37–57.

Gebhard, M. (1999). Debates in SLA studies: Redefining classroom SLA as an institutional phenomenon. TESOL Quarterly, 33(3), 544–557.

Giddens, A. (1979). Central problems in social theory: Action, structure, and contradiction in social analysis. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Giles, H. (1979). Ethnicity markers in speech. In K. R. Scherer, & H. Giles (Eds.), Social markers in speech (pp. 251–289). London: Cambridge.

Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of talk. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Goldstein, T. (1996). Two languages at work: Bilingual life on the production floor. New York: Mouten de Gruyter.

Green, J., & Bloome, D. (1997). Ethnography and ethnographers of and in education: A situated perspective. In J. Flood, S. Heath, & D. Lapp (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching literacy through the communicative and visual arts (pp. 181–202). New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan.

Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (1995). Ethnography. Principles in practice (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.

Haneda, M. (2008). Contexts for learning: English language learners in a US middle school. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 11(1), 57–74.

Harklau, L. (1994). Tracking and linguistic minority students: Consequences of ability grouping for second language learners. Linguistics in Education, 6(3), 217–244.

Harklau, L. (2000). From the “good kids” to the “worst”: Representations of English language learners across educational settings. TESOL Quarterly, 34, 35–67.

Pages:     | 1 |   ...   | 4 | 5 || 7 |

Similar works:

«www.bolognacucina.it info@culturaitaliana.it Secretary: Cultura Italiana Via Castiglione, 4 40124 Bologna Tel.+39051228203 Fax 051227675 Bologna Cooking School Via del Pratello, 46 40122 Bologna Tel. +39335217893 The school of cooking, Bologna The school of cooking at Bologna offers cooking courses, for amateurs, semiprofessional and professionals. We arrange courses for vegetarians, for those requiring gluten free, and for specific or diverse diets.The teachers are professional cooks with a...»

«Pre-service Teacher Cultural Identity Development A Dissertation SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA BY Maurella Louise Cunningham IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY Dr. Mistilina Sato December 2013 © Maurella Louise Cunningham 2013 Acknowledgements Dr. Mistilina Sato for giving me opportunities work on a research team during my program, encouraged me to think outside of the box, and challenged me to imagine more possibilities...»

«Aspire Teacher Residency 2015-2016 Mentor Teachers Alexandria Turner 1st Grade, Aspire Coleman Elementary School Resident: Zoe Jackson Hometown: Memphis, TN # of Years Teaching: 7 # of Years Teaching at Aspire: 2 Why I Teach at Aspire: I teach at Aspire because the district is the most innovative organization in the city. Aspire supports the needs and concerns of the whole child. In addition to providing support for scholars, Aspire makes their employees feel valued by addressing equity issues,...»

«Type search text here! Search The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language Home About TESL-EJ All Issues Books How to Submit Editorial Board Access Sitemap Beliefs about Language Learning: Current Knowledge, Pedagogical Implications, and New Research Directions June 2005 — Volume 9, Number 1 Beliefs about Language Learning: Current Knowledge, Pedagogical Implications, and New Research Directions Eva Bernat Eva.Bernat nceltr.mq.edu.au Department of Linguistics Macquarie University,...»

«THE PREPARATION OF AN INSTRUMENT FOR THE ANALYSIS OF TEACHER CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR Item type text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic) Authors Roberson, E. Wayne (Earl Wayne) Publisher The University of Arizona. Rights Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with...»

«Unesco. Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Innovations and initiatives in teacher education in Asia and the Pacific region. Bankok, 1990. 2 vols. (Asia and the Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development ) Contents : -v.1 Comparative overview of fifteen countries.-v.2 Case studies of fifteen national systems.1. EDUCATIONAL INNOVATIONS ASIA/PACIFIC.2. TEACHER EDUCATION ASIA/PACIFIC. 371.39 370.71 ASIA AND THE PACIFIC PROGRAMME OF EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION FOR...»

«CORNELL UNIVERSITY Department of English Undergraduate Courses Spring 2017 April 15, 2016 1 Critical Writing and Creative Nonfiction English 2880-2890 offers guidance and an audience for students who wish to gain skill in expository writing—a common term for critical, reflective, investigative, and creative nonfiction. Each section provides a context for writing defined by a form of exposition, a disciplinary area, a practice, or a topic intimately related to the written medium. Course...»

«The work of James Tenney (b. 1934) as a composer, theorist, performer, and teacher, is of singular importance in American music of the past four decades. He is by nature a quiet, almost publicity-shy musician, but his musical and theoretical works are steadily becoming widely known, despite the fact that few have been published and only a relatively small number, to this date, are readily available on recordings. Meta + Hodos once had the widest “underground” readership of any treatise of...»


«Page 1 of 7 OH BLIMEY, SO IT HAS COME TO THIS END, MY FELLOW CITIZENS? THIS IS A VERY SAD GOOD-BYE TO ALL, TILL WE MEET AGAIN! I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the tolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers. “Khalil Gibran”. The most harmful and evil of all human beings are jealousy, lies, malicious gossips and hatred. Therefore, the purpose my criticism of wrong doers was not to destroy the confidence, self-image of...»

«Welcome to Eric’s Tips! If you want to start an online business, or if you want to make your current online business more profitable, you’ve come to the right place. Watch the video. LESSON #1: Introduction to Eric’s Tips Contrary to what some of the so-called guru’s may say, having an online business is not for everyone. But in order to judge whether it’s a good fit for you, we first must define what an online business is and what it isn’t. LESSON #2: What is an online business?...»

«Managing Challenging Teachers Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy At the University of Leicester By Eliezer Yariv May 2002 UMI Number: U601160 All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion....»

<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.dissertation.xlibx.info - Dissertations, online materials

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.