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Impact of the multilingual approach on multilingual learners’ participation in the third language learning


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Lujić, Rea. (2017). Impact of the multilingual approach on multilingual learners’ participation in the third language learning. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Linguistics.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij glotodidaktike) [mentor Kresić, Marijana].

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This study examined the relationship between bi/multilingual students’ participation in the third language (L3) lessons organized according two different teaching approaches: a monolingual and a multilingual, and students’ identities as L3 learners. In this study participation is conceived as a self-initiated utterance, or an utterance initiated by the other(s) in L3 classroom, which might or might not be related to L3 lesson, and making part of students’ communicative repertoire. Participation, a key concept of the theoretical framework proposed in this study, is seen as a form of investment in language learning that can lead to language learning and to the change of a students’ social identity (Norton-Peirce, 1995). It allows the description of two concurrent, complex and interdependent processes: learning a language and expressing and constructing students’ social identity. The study aimed to examine differences in the forms and the of students’ participation in lessons organized according two different teaching approaches: the monolingual approach which implies the organization of the teaching process entirely in the target language (French), and in the multilingual approach, in the EU known as plurilingual didactics (fr. didactique du plurilinguisme) (Candelier & Castelotti, 2014), and in the USA as translanguaging (García & Wei, 2014), which was in this study organized according to the “Preview, View, Review teaching technique” (Freeman & Freeman, 2009; Young & Hadaway, 2006): English as the school’s medium of instruction, was used at the beginning of a lesson, French was used the rest of the lesson while the students’ mother language, in a written form, was used at the end of each lesson. A qualitative research methodological approach has been adopted because it allows observing the researched phenomena in their natural course, while taking into account a wider socio-cultural and micro-context, which is especially important for any socially oriented second language acquisition research (SLA). In order to collect a large and diverse set of data and to gain a more complete and comprehensive view of the complex phenomenon of identity and language learning, a multiple case study has been chosen. The data were collected through two semi-structured interviews with students and with their French teacher, along with twelve video recordings of French lessons of a total length of approx. 480 minutes. The survey was conducted with eight 5th grade students studying French as L3, during the school year 2016/2017, at Matija Gubec International School in Zagreb. The results of this research showed that all the students participated more often in lessons organized according to the multilingual teaching approach than in lessons organized according to the monolingual approach. Considering that more participation related to L3 lessons always mean more learning, it can be concluded that all the students have learned more in a multilingual approach than in a monolingual approach. These results are convergent to the results in the other studies which have also showed advantages of the multilingual approach (see Freeman & Freeman, 2009; Gajo & Monanda, 2000; Mercuri, 2015; Velasco & García, 2014). The majority of the students in both approaches have most frequently participated in the target language, i.e. French, less in the non-target languages, i.e. English and Croatian, and the least by the translingual utterances. In this study the translingual utterances consisted of symbolically most valued language resources in this particular case, French and English, and rarely Croatian. Participation in the non-target languages or in translingual utterances related to L3 lessons were the forms of participation contributing to the learning of French. Participation non-related to L3 lessons, regardless of the resources, in most of the cases did not contribute to the learning of French. However, such participation has often been very useful. Firstly, as a means for expressing some other aspects of students’ multiple and multilingual social identities, which could not have been done in French, because of the limited range of French resources in their communicative repertoire. Besides, such participation forms were used for negotiating their identities or showing resistance to identity positions imposed by other members of the community. The analysis has also shown considerable variations in the total number of students' participation per lesson. As individual motivators, non-related to the teaching approach, the following factors have emerged: a teacher, other students, the aim of the lesson, a topic, teaching activity and classroom atmosphere. The same factors have shown to be a source of inhibition for participation. For instance, some students participated more often during the lessons which were more challenging, while others participated more often in less challenging lessons. Tiredness and extra school activities have shown to be the main inhibitors non-related to L3 lessons or even to school at all. However, given that these results are based on case studies, these conclusions need to be taken with caution and more thoroughly examined in the following researches. One of the theoretical contributions of this research is an outline of the participation model which describes the relationship between students' participation, his/her L3 identity and L3 learning. Its design was inspired by the investment model (Darvin & Norton, 2015) and other assumptions on students’ identity made by other socially oriented authors in SLA (see NortonPeirce, 1995; Norton & Toohey, 2002; Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004). Two main assumptions of the participation model were confirmed in this study: L3 students' identity is multiple, and it is changeable and discursively shaped. The multiplicity of the students’ identity in the L3 classroom is displayed in two ways: by participating in L3 lessons, a student demonstrates his/her affiliation to the different communities non-related to L3 classroom and he/she demonstrates more identity positions arising from L3 learning, sometimes even more than one position in the same utterance. The assumption of changeability of the L3 students’ identity and on the role of the discourse in that process is also displayed in two ways. Depending on the number and forms of participation, a student demonstrates a different combination of identity positions during each lesson. Secondly, every participation related to the L3 lessons, regardless of the chosen language resources, implies learning L3 and thus leads to the change of student's L3 identity and hence his/her overall social identity. Another theoretical contribution of this study is the answer to the question what the L3 students’ identity is, that is, which identity positions constitute the L3 students’ identity. Given the chosen theoretical approach, according to which every student learns a language in order to acquire the symbolic power, which can be then transformed into social power (Darvin & Norton, 2015), the research has shown that the identity of a third language learner can be described as a combination of some of the following identity positions: the position of a powerful student, the position of a student more powerful than others, the position of a not enough powerful student, the position of a student eager for power and the position of a student non-eager for power. This study is a valuable contribution to the field of Glotodydactics for more reasons. First of all, this is the first research not only in Croatia, but also in the world, in which the participation of bi/multilingual students in L3 lessons was analysed as a form of investment in L3 student’s identity. Furthermore, this is the first research of the classroom discourse in Croatia based on this theoretical approach. The research has certainly contributed to the better understanding of the processes of learning and teaching L3 in the context of the bi/multilingual international school, as the literature in this field is not very exhaustive. It will, possibly and hopefully, intrigue researchers to start researching more on that very intriguing educational field. Moreover, this study has shown that a multilingual approach does not require any organizational changes at the school level. That means that even in linguistically very heterogeneous groups it is very easy to integrate students' mother tongues even if the teacher is not a speaker of these languages. This is important to be stressed because in international schools it is often very difficult to implement students' diverse languages in the school curriculum. Once again, this study confirmed the importance of a teacher. The teacher is the most responsible and the most powerful member of the language classroom, the one who can create learning opportunities and inspire or discourage students in their persistence in learning and using target language. In the future, it would be desirable to analyse, from the same theoretical lens, the participation of students of different language biographies in different educational contexts. Moreover, it would be interesting to explore non-verbal forms of student participation in classroom discourse, as well as the ways in which the teacher, by means of nonverbal communication, positions his/her students. It would be particularly challenging to explore students' mental participation in classroom discourse. Finally, the student's non-participation should be studied, as well as the relationship between the students' perception of his/her own agency and his/her real participation or non-participation in the language learning.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: bi/multilingual education; French language learning and teaching; international school; participation; multilingual approach; third language students’ social identity; third language
Subjects: Linguistics
Romance languages and literatures > French language and literature
Departments: Department of Linguistics
Supervisor: Kresić, Marijana
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij glotodidaktike
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2018 13:27
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:27

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