The Non-native Modern Language Teacher: Language Practices, Choices, and Challenges by Sabina E. Lecki A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Modern Languages Education) The University of British Columbia (Vancouver) February 2011 © Sabina E. Lecki, 2011 ii Abstract Previous research exploring the issues and challenges facing non-native language teachers has predominantly studied teachers of English. However, due to the status of French as an official language and waves of European and Asian immigration within the Lower Mainland of British Columbia there are many other modern languages of interest and relevance being taught besides English. The question then arises: What are the issues and challenges facing non-native teachers of languages other than English, and what is their unique contribution to modern language teaching? Do the findings and theories developed from previous research conducted mainly in English language teaching contexts, particularly with respect to language use practises, choices, and challenges, apply to other language teaching contexts? In this qualitative study of 22 non-native modern language teachers, participants teaching various Asian and European languages were interviewed with the subsequent interview and questionnaire data subjected to a cross-case analysis. Four participants were selected as focal cases for greater in-depth analysis. Participants’ perspectives on the ‘native speaker’ construct were also explored in relation to their non-native status. It was found that most participants were challenged in their attempts to maintain and improve their target language proficiency. Many teachers viewed their bilingual or multilingual identity as a strength, though this was sometimes in conflict with the views of stakeholders. Much of the previous research concerning language use, barriers faced by non- native teachers, and reflections on the term ‘native speaker’ was confirmed by this study. In terms of the principal theme of L1-L2 use, this study further valorised teachers’ selective and strategic use of the L1, particularly in late-entry programs, while continuing to focus on maximising L2 use. Extensive individual and contextual factors also had an impact on participants’ language use though the use of L1-L2 boundaries or zones was a useful strategy. Findings have implications for the hiring, training, and professional development of language teachers. Although some of the experiences of non-native teachers of Asian languages were similar to those of their counterparts in other languages, these teachers faced some particularly unique challenges which present avenues for future research. iii Preface The Behavioural Research Ethics Board issued a certificate of approval numbered B03-0669 for the research in this study. iv Table of Contents Abstract ..................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ...................................................................................................................................... iii Table of Contents ..................................................................................................................... iv List of Tables .......................................................................................................................... vii List of Figures ........................................................................................................................ viii Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................. ix Dedication ................................................................................................................................. x Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION................................................................................................... 1 1.1 Study Background and Significance .......................................................................... 1 1.2 Statement of the Research Problem ........................................................................... 4 1.3 Research Questions .................................................................................................... 6 1.4 Outline ........................................................................................................................ 7 Chapter 2: THE NON-NATIVE TEACHER AND LANGUAGE PRACTICES .................... 9 2.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................ 9 2.2 The Native versus Non-native Dichotomy for Language Teachers ........................... 9 2.3 The Non-native Speaking Teacher: Strengths and Advantages ............................... 13 2.4 Issues and Challenges of Non-Native Teachers ....................................................... 15 2.5 Language Use in the Modern Language Classroom ................................................ 17 2.6 Other Non-native Language Teacher Voices and Language Practices .................... 23 2.7 Summary .................................................................................................................. 24 Chapter 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .......................................................................... 26 3.1 Introduction .............................................................................................................. 26 3.2 Study Design and Method ........................................................................................ 26 3.3 Recruitment .............................................................................................................. 27 3.4 Methodological Limitations ..................................................................................... 27 3.5 Procedures ................................................................................................................ 28 3.6 The Participants ........................................................................................................ 33 3.7 Summary .................................................................................................................. 40 Chapter 4: THE CONTEXT OF MODERN LANGUAGE EDUCATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA ........................................................................................................................... 41 4.1 Introduction .............................................................................................................. 41 4.2 Lower Mainland Context ......................................................................................... 41 4.3 Modern Languages in the Lower Mainland ............................................................. 42 4.4 Goals of Modern Language Education in BC .......................................................... 45 Chapter 5: FOCAL PARTICIPANT: ANNE, FRENCH TEACHER .................................... 50 5.1 Introduction and Case Context ................................................................................. 50 5.2 Profile ....................................................................................................................... 50 5.3 Case Analysis ........................................................................................................... 52 5.4 Summary of Salient Issues ....................................................................................... 62 Chapter 6: FOCAL PARTICIPANT: KATHLEEN, ITALIAN TEACHER .......................... 64 6.1 Introduction and Case Context ................................................................................. 64 6.2 Profile ....................................................................................................................... 65 6.3 Case Analysis ........................................................................................................... 67 6.4 Summary of Salient Issues ....................................................................................... 80 Chapter 7: FOCAL PARTICIPANT: NANCY, MANDARIN TEACHER ........................... 82 v 7.1 Introduction and Case Context ................................................................................. 82 7.2 Profile ....................................................................................................................... 83 7.3 Case Analysis ........................................................................................................... 85 7.4 Summary of Salient Issues ....................................................................................... 96 Chapter 8: FOCAL PARTICIPANT: KD, KOREAN TEACHER ......................................... 99 8.1 Introduction and Case Context ................................................................................. 99 8.2 Profile ..................................................................................................................... 100 8.3 Case Analysis ......................................................................................................... 102 8.4 Summary of Salient Issues ..................................................................................... 114 Chapter 9: CROSS-CASE ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF LANGUAGE USE ........ 117 9.1 Introduction ............................................................................................................ 117 9.2 Factors .................................................................................................................... 117 9.3 Contextual Factors Impacting L1-L2 Use .............................................................. 138 9.4 Strategies and Practices for Maintaining and Maximising the Language .............. 155 9.5 Summary ................................................................................................................ 156 Chapter 10: CROSS-CASE ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF SECONDARY THEMES ............................................................................................................................................... 158 10.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................ 158 10.2 Identity: ‘Legitimacy’ and Ownership of the Language .................................... 159 10.3 Non-native Teacher Strengths and Advantages.................................................. 161 10.4 Non-native Teacher Challenges .......................................................................... 164 10.5 Perspectives ........................................................................................................ 171 10.6 Summary of Secondary Theme Analysis ........................................................... 186 Chapter 11: CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS .......................................................... 188 11.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................ 188 11.2 Language Use ..................................................................................................... 188 11.3 Identity: Legitimacy and Ownership of the Language ....................................... 190 11.4 Strengths and Advantages .................................................................................. 192 11.5 Challenges .......................................................................................................... 193 11.6 Perspectives on ‘Native Speaker’ ....................................................................... 199 11.7 Perspectives on Asian and European Language Teaching and Learning ........... 203 11.8 Further Research ................................................................................................. 209 11.9 Reflections on this Research............................................................................... 210 11.10 Closing Remarks................................................................................................. 214 Bibliography ......................................................................................................................... 216 Appendices ............................................................................................................................ 223 Appendix A: Teacher Interview Questions ....................................................................... 223 Appendix B: Transcription Conventions .......................................................................... 226 Appendix C: Informed Consent Background Information ............................................... 227 Appendix D: Background Questionnaire .......................................................................... 231 Appendix E: Coding: Categories and Coding Example ................................................... 234 Appendix F: Themes of the Multi-case Study with Categories per Theme ..................... 236 Appendix G: Prominence of Each Cross-case Theme ...................................................... 240 Appendix H: Utility of the Cases for Further Developing Each Theme ........................... 241 Appendix I: Frank’s Case ................................................................................................. 242 Appendix J: Language Use on Modern Language Provincial Examinations ................... 244 vi Appendix K: Clover and Hans: Non-native Teachers of ‘Heritage’ ................................. 248 Appendix L: Linda and Hans: ‘Native Speaker’ in lieu of a Glass Ceiling Effect ........... 250 Appendix M: Strategies for Addressing Learners’ Orthographic Challenges .................. 251 vii List of Tables Table 3.1: Preliminary Themes ...................................................................................31 Table 3.2: Profile of Participants – European Languages ...........................................34 Table 3.3: Profile of Participants - Asian Languages .................................................35 Table 9.1: Individual Factors Impacting Reported L1-L2 Use .................................118 Table 9.2: Age of First Exposure to TL ....................................................................126 Table 9.3: Asian Language Participants....................................................................134 Table 9.4: European Language Participants ..............................................................135 Table 9.5: Some Contextual Factors in Reported L1-L2 Use of Participants ...........139 Table 10.1: Overview of Cross-case Secondary Themes ............................................158 Table 11.1: Summary of Participants’ Status ..............................................................214 viii List of Figures Figure 9.1: L1-L2 Use Factors ...................................................................................117 ix Acknowledgements The completion of this research is the result of the involvement of many individuals. I would like to thank the 22 non-native modern language teachers who participated in this study, many of whom suggested and helped me make contact with other participants. My advisor, Dr. Patsy Duff, and others in LLED also offered invaluable assistance and input during the participant recruitment stage. I sincerely thank my research committee members. I am most grateful for the encouragement and mentorship of my advisor, Dr. Patsy Duff, and for her dedication and commitment to the completion of this research. I am particularly grateful for her caring and patience. As well, I warmly thank Dr. Duanduan Li and Dr. Ryuko Kubota, for their support and feedback on this research. As well, I would like to gratefully acknowledge LLED staff and faculty members for their helpfulness and resourcefulness at various times throughout my graduate journey. I am grateful to my family for their understanding, flexibility, and perseverance. I would also like to acknowledge support from the Faculty of Education Graduate Student Research Grant for their grant that helped support this research. x Dedication Dla mojich kochanych dzieci Beata i Karol. This study is dedicated to the accomplishments and contributions of non-native speakers. A special mention is made to the many non-native and native language teachers and speakers who have shaped and promoted my development professionally and personally, particularly Thérèse Evans and Lucie Lapointe who exemplified the native as a resource and native-non- native collaboration in practice. Lastly, this study is also dedicated to my late godparents, Sabina Jastrzebski and Władyslaw Gotkowski, non-native speakers of English and German. 1 Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION There has often been the danger of an automatic extrapolation from competent speaker to competent teacher based on linguistic grounds alone, without taking into consideration the criteria of cultural, social and pedagogic appropriacy (Seidlhofer, 1996, p. 69). 1.1 Study Background and Significance The experiences of non-native speakers, predominantly of English as a second or foreign language, has been an ongoing area of interest in the literature as part of the native speaker (NS)-non-native speaker (NNS) dichotomy. The meaning and significance of the term ‘native speaker’ and language use issues including code-switching, ownership of the target language (TL), acceptance, and fossilisation are current and ongoing areas of interest. With the current and increasing status of English as a lingua franca, research in this area continues to grow and evolve in various international and professional contexts. In the modern language education field, the experiences of non-native-speaking modern language teachers, predominantly of English as a second or foreign language, has also been a recurrent interest within the same NS-NNS dichotomy within the context of teaching and learning (Medgyes, 1999). Notably, Braine (1999) has presented the perspectives of competent professionals voicing their experiences as non-native language teachers. Though much has been studied concerning non-native teachers of English and, to a lesser extent, French and Spanish, the experiences and perspectives of non-native teachers of various other languages have been very minimally addressed in Canada and the Western hemisphere.1 Yet the teaching and learning of modern languages other than English has an important role to play around the world to promote and facilitate intercultural understanding and interaction and to enable heritage language learners to maintain and continue their acquisition of their heritage language. Numerous modern language learning opportunities are offered at universities and colleges as well as in schools and institutions across North America and internationally with both native and non-native teachers at the helm. Bilingual education programs such as French Immersion in Canada, Spanish bilingual and foreign 1 Turnbull and Dailey-O’Cain (2009) more recently dealt with language use issues. Recent graduate dissertations concerning non-native teachers similarly address language use in English and Spanish language teaching contexts and, to a lesser extent, Asian language contexts. 2 language immersion programs in the U.S., and new dual-language programs involving Japanese, Chinese, and other languages, are thriving and receiving international recognition, and their success is inspiring interest and emulation world-wide. The demand for such programs has increased together with the growing recognition of the benefits of acquiring an additional language. Locally, in the Lower Mainland, though demand for French immersion remains strong, Mandarin and Japanese are offered in the system at the elementary and secondary level. The high level of interest in Mandarin is evident in local discussions taking place as well as in the advocacy of grass-roots parent-community groups. The literature has presented the voices and perspectives of language learners who have gone on to apply their acquired linguistic abilities in second and foreign language teacher training and/or other target language programs (Braine, 1999; Canagarajah, 1999; Kubota, 2001; Llurda, 2005; Thomas, 1999). Researchers such as Braine (1999), Medgyes (1994; 1999), and Kamhi-Stein (1999) have articulated the experiences, challenges, and perspectives of non-native speaking English language teachers. Even less represented overall have been the voices of visible minority non-native language teachers though Amin (1997) and Kubota and Lin (2006) have presented these from an EFL and ESL perspective respectively and non-native issues related to gender have been increasingly highlighted (Amin, 1999; Lin, Grant, Kubota, Motha, Sachs, Vandrick, & Wong, 2004). However there has been virtually no research conducted on the experiences, challenges, and perspectives of teachers of modern languages other than English. This gap in the literature suggests that we know little about their experiences including challenges, preferences, or teaching conditions. Through work experience and professional relationships with both native and non-native language teachers, and as a non-native teacher of French myself, I have found that there is much to discuss, share, and learn from with respect to our collective experiences, challenges, and perspectives. Teachers play an instrumental role in second and foreign language acquisition, since they are the primary—and sometimes only--source of target language and culture input. With the average L2 learner rarely having access to natural and extensive engagement in a target language environment due to social, economic, or geographical isolation from L2 speakers, it has been argued that “…the potential value of instructional access to the L2 increases by default” (Chaudron, 1988, p. 4). 3 L1-L2 use in the classroom has been discussed as an issue in applied linguistics and it has also been discussed to varying degrees by non-native teachers sharing their experiences (Braine, 1999; Medgyes, 1999). Within the Canadian French as a second language context, concerns over the excessive use of English has been a continual theme in the literature and teachers’ proficiency, (inextricably) linked to their non-native status, has been raised as an issue of concern and, hence, recommended area for improvement (Carr, 2006; Turnbull, 1999a &b; 2001). However, of late, the strategic use of the L1 has generally not been considered as part of language teaching practice, particularly in language immersion contexts2. Language use issues related to those mentioned above have also recently been raised with respect to mainly non-native teachers of English and French (Turnbull & Dailey- O’Cain, 2009). It is hoped that this study will contribute to modern language education and related research given its focus on non-native speaking teachers of languages other than English who are positive role models in the language learning process. In addition, the relationship between language teachers’ proficiency and their students’ learning was identified by the International Research Foundation for English Language Education as its number one international research priority in 2001 which illustrates the widespread concern with non- native speaker issues in applied linguistics and L2 pedagogy. A more comprehensive understanding of non-native teacher issues is also highly relevant to resolving tensions between native and non-native teachers given the potential for professional collaboration in teaching and research. There has also been insufficient attention paid to these issues in teacher training programs. In addition to contributing to higher teacher attrition and anxiety levels, this lack of discussion and attention consequently and ultimately affects the language learner and the modern language teaching field overall. 2 The B.C. Provincial curriculum website generally refers to the target language as the language of instruction for modern languages (www.bced.gov.bc.ca accessed 11/20/08). For French immersion, language use is discussed in terms of the proportion of French to English instruction. English instruction, however, refers to English language arts as well as other subjects taught in English (both from grade 4). In Early FI programs, it is stated that “Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 should be taught totally in French.” For late immersion “it is recommended that the first year be taught totally in French” and that from the subsequent year, “English Language Arts and other courses taught in English should not exceed 20 per cent of instructional time” (www.bced.gov.bc.ca/policy/policies/french_immersion.htm accessed 11/03/03). 4 1.2 Statement of the Research Problem Overall, this study seeks to understand the experiences, perspectives, and challenges of non-native teachers of Asian and European languages. Doing so will address the gap in the research described above and explore issues pertaining to linguistic and cultural identity and affiliation, confidence, competence, and teaching philosophies and preferences. The over-arching research question investigated in this study is: What are the specific issues and challenges facing non-native-speaker teachers of languages other than English in terms of linguistic and cultural identity, competence, and confidence? The study explores the sociolinguistic, socio-cultural, and socio-political contexts of modern language teachers who teach their second- or third-acquired language. Insights garnered from this study will add to the existing applied linguistics research literature pertaining to non-native speaking teachers generally in both commonly and less commonly taught modern languages. As well, understanding these teachers’ experiences will contribute to debates regarding the NS-NNS dichotomy and further clarify the contributions they offer, at least from their own vantage point. It is hoped that by addressing these objectives, further discussion and knowledge about second and foreign language teaching and learning will result. Such knowledge is particularly useful, considering that “the majority of the world’s language teachers are teaching what is to them a foreign language.” (Davies, 2003, pp. 163-64). This is not to say that modern languages other than English have been ignored. Indeed, studies of L1-L2 use, teacher training, and proficiency have examined vital issues in the teaching of modern languages other than English, particularly in French-language contexts. However, this study aims to provide non-native language teachers with a means to voice and articulate their experience. With this purpose, non-native teachers of Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Russian, and Spanish were selected to participate in this study from a larger pool of prospective non-native language teachers. My personal interest in this research stems from a lifelong exposure to non-native speakers both personally and professionally as a learner and teacher. I have taught both French immersion and FSL as well as EFL.3 Growing up in a Polish immigrant family 3 I am a Polish-L1 speaker who learned English and French and then went on to teach both of them as described. 5 provided a first-hand account of many of the issues faced by non-native speakers related to their confidence and identities when using their L2. Having acquired English academically in early primary school after my L1, Polish, has impacted my identity. Working in Poland later as an EFL teacher highlighted aspects of my Canadian identity that went beyond language use and accent. Growing up in Toronto, Canada, I was surrounded by bilingual and multilingual non- native speakers both in my immediate and extended Polish family as well as in my neighbourhood, also known as ‘little Poland.’ Playing with the children next door from a French-Southeast Asian family as well regularly spending time with Mrs. Bialas, a trilingual neighbour who had immigrated from France, in particular, inspired an interest in languages and their speakers. After admiring the sound and overall beauty of the spoken French of my neighbours, my goal was to break the code and one day more fully understand and respond to what was being expressed so beautifully beyond the familiar, recognisable cognates. Some aspects of grammar and pronunciation were somewhat familiar given that my L1, Polish, had similar structures and nasal characteristics respectively. L1 versus L2 use has been a pervasive issue in my experience both personally and professionally. Once at school I remember the conversations and questions about my English proficiency including pronunciation and recommendations from the school that my parents read to me in English rather than Polish and that I participate in supplementary English language speech sessions. They complied and placed me in Polish heritage classes a year later than planned to allow my English to progress further and focused on reading in English. A core language use belief remained that a significant mark of a ‘good’ language teacher was sole, deliberate use of the language. My non-native status, later as a teacher, seemed to exacerbate this belief resulting in efforts of self-discipline and habit to solely use the language as a goal as use of the L1 was indicative of a lack of target language proficiency and affiliation. I exported this goal and belief when teaching EFL to college students in Poland though modified it when little progress was being made in the course consisting of learners with varying experiences with the target language, English. Also, developing rapport with learners had become problematic. I eventually accepted that in this context taking advantage of my bilingual identity was both necessary and practical for my adult 6 learners who were emerging in the same way. The importance of sole English use and its importance had been conveyed to my students. I solely used the language when later teaching FSL to adolescents and found that they were surprised at the fact that there was no English. Their acceptance and progress reinforced the notion that sole use of the language was workable depending on context and the learning culture.4 Though French was the lingua franca in the French immersion classrooms I taught, at times, I found that using English to explain more abstract aspects of the language and other concepts was effective and efficient to allow learners to progress. Comparing concepts in the French language to those in English also brought the latter into the French classroom. Like some participants, I used visual aids and other strategies to maintain use of the language and to not unnecessarily switch to English. These and other experiences have made me question the use of learners’ L1 or dominant academic language in some contexts and for some purposes, and the impact of the teacher’s proficiency on language choice and use. Along the way, the insecurity of having proficiency and qualifications questioned to teach French as a non-native at times has given way to the selective use of the L1, English, as a tool. Reading Medgyes’s (1999) and Braine’s (1999) work addressing the challenges facing non-native teachers made me question to what extent these teachers experience similar anxiety related to their target-language use and maintenance. Duff and Polio (1990) and Polio and Duff (1994) and other subsequent research into the role of the L1 inspired further reflection on my L1-L2 use in teaching and related topics in the applied linguistics literature overall. 1.3 Research Questions The research questions this study investigates are: What are the experiences, perspectives, and challenges of non-native speaking modern language teachers of Asian and European languages other than English, and what is their unique contribution, as non-natives, to modern language teaching? 4 Also, this teaching context was within a(then) newly-opened middle school in the public system that offered supplementary FSL courses in French for subject areas such as textile arts and drama and, as part of this program, I taught textile arts in addition to FSL. 7 More specifically: i) What are their beliefs, policies, and practices concerning language use in the classroom and what factors influence this? ii) What are the key challenges, concerns, and issues in their language teaching context which are specific to non-native modern language teachers? iii) How do participants address the target culture in their context with respect to language use? iv) What are the pedagogical beliefs and practices guiding non-native speaking modern language teachers’ language practices? v) What does ‘native speaker’ (NS) mean to participants and how do they perceive themselves in terms of proficiency/competence and ownership of the target language? What strengths and advantage(s) does the non-native speaking teacher bring to language teaching? Limitations? How do proficiency and confidence impact their L1-L2 use and practices? In addition to my desire to seek answers to these questions, this study offered participants the means to voice their perspectives on significant issues related to their experience as non-native language teachers. 1.4 Outline Chapter 2 consists of a review of the literature on the NS-NNS dichotomy as it relates to non-native speaking teachers of an additional language. The remainder of the chapter surveys research on L1-L2 use in classrooms. Chapter 3 outlines the study’s research methodology, the participants and the criteria for their selection. Chapter 4 describes the context of the participants’ setting in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Chapters 5 through 8 respectively outline the case of each focal participant: Anne, Kathleen, Nancy, KD, with each chapter presenting the case context, participant profile, and case analysis. This is a qualitative multiple-case study of four language teachers from a larger sample of 22 teachers who participated in the study. Chapter 9 presents the principal theme of language use that emerged from the cross- case analysis. Chapters 10 examines secondary themes related to identity, strengths and 8 advantages, challenges, perspectives on native speaker, as well as those related to Asian and European language teaching and learning. Chapter 11 summarises the significant findings which relate to the experiences and challenges of teachers of selected Asian and European languages, including their contribution to modern language education. Findings relating to their beliefs, policy, and practices concerning L1-L2 use in the classroom are presented as are their perspectives on the construct of ‘native speaker’, their sense of language ownership, and how they address the teaching of culture in their contexts. Findings related to teaching heritage language learners and native speakers versus non-heritage learners (true beginners) are also outlined. The chapter concludes with implications for policy, theory, practice, and teacher education. 9 Chapter 2: THE NON-NATIVE TEACHER AND LANGUAGE PRACTICES 2.1 Introduction Given the emphasis of this multiple case study on the language practices, choices, and challenges of the non-native modern language teacher, a review of pertinent perspectives and issues surrounding the non-native language teacher, and, subsequently, language use and practices is in order. 2.2 The Native versus Non-native Dichotomy for Language Teachers Although discussions about the native vs. non-native dichotomy encompass a broader, more general sphere outside of language teaching, the native-non-native issue is an important part of the ideological context in examining the perspectives and practices of non- native modern language teachers in this study. The native-non-native issue and the related issue of L2 proficiency levels required for qualified, competent language teachers have been topics of discussion and study in the applied linguistics research literature (Davies, 2003; Hedge & Whitney, 1996; Paikeday, 1985; Rampton, 1990; Widdowson, 1992). Paikeday (1985) has equated the term ‘native speaker’ with a ‘proficient user of a language’. Davies (2003) proposed a “reality definition of the native speaker” where one could be defined as a native or native-like speaker by virtue of: 1) birth (i.e. early childhood exposure); 2) being an exceptional learner; 3) education using the target language medium (the lingua franca case); 4) being a native user; 5) long residence in the adopted country (Davies, 2003, p. 214). This definition exists, in addition to the mythic or idealised definition, as a positive step in highlighting the linguistic and experiential diversity amongst native speakers and native-like speakers, the latter of which include many highly proficient L2 educators. His definition, therefore accentuates the ‘blurring’ of the line of distinction between the native and non- native speaker. Other references related to this ‘blurring’ include Kachru (1992) and Rampton, 1990 who view the traditional distinction between native and non-native speaker as non-functional and advocate a displacement of terms such as ‘native speaker’ and ‘mother tongue’ altogether. They perceive these as no longer accurate and appropriate, given the multidimensional links which exist between people and languages today, including multilingualism across borders. Davies (2003) asserts that the distinction between them is, 10 basically is determined by non-native speakers’ assumption of confidence and of identity. Despite the ongoing debate and controversy over definitions, the terms native speaker and non-native speaker continue to be widely used and the discussion over their meaning and use (including alternatives) continued (Cook, 1999, 2003; Medgyes, 1992; Rampton, 1990). Focusing on the need to consider the abilities and goal of the multicompetent user (Cook, 1999; 2003) has been emphasised by these scholars. 2.2.1 Language Teaching Models as Goals in Modern Language Education Concerns about the role of the native speaker in language teaching and second language acquisition (SLA) research have been highlighted (Cook, 1999, 2005; Medgyes, 1999; Phillipson, 1992). It has often been assumed that native speakers make better educators than non-natives. Researchers were concerned about how the acceptability of the native speaking teacher ideal has occurred without critical evaluation or questioning (Phillipson, 1992). The sociocultural turn in SLA research and increasing number of multilingual, multicultural speakers internationally continue to challenge the validity of the native speaker only model for foreign language study (Kramsch, 1997). Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of English language teachers worldwide are non-natives and their ratio to that of natives has grown steadily (Arva & Medgyes, 2000; Widdowson, 1994). Nearly a decade ago, Cook (1999, 2005) called for the need to look beyond the native speaker model in teaching and, rather, shift the focus to becoming a competent L2 user. He argued that successful and competent L2 users are undermined by the sole use of natives for language teaching and that this practice can potentially present learners with an unattainable model as L2 learners are becoming L2 users rather than native speakers. Native teacher advantages, linguistically and in terms of cultural knowledge, have been examined by Davies (2003) and others (McNeill, 1993; Inbar, 2001; Gill & Rebrova, 2001; Arva & Medgyes, 2000; Seidlhofer, 1996) with fluency, creative use of language, and a subconscious knowledge of rules and intuitive sense of meanings being consistently cited as core advantages for teaching and modelling the target language to non-native speaking colleagues. Native speaker teacher advantages are attributed to both the trained and untrained native speaking teacher. Concerns and challenges in relation to the native speaking language teacher pertain to their varying levels of conscious knowledge of grammar and thus perceptions of their 11 linguistic expertise and unfamiliarity with the local teaching context in the foreign language contexts (Arva & Medgyes, 2000). Widdowson (1994) further argued that the approaches they advocate and use, though effective in some second language contexts, may not necessarily be best suited for foreign language contexts. Though acknowledging the value of native speakers as useful models in language teaching, Cook (1999) argued that native speakers are sometimes unaware of the formal aspects of their first acquired language and can be inappropriate and unqualified for the L2 teaching context as a result. Arva and Medgyes (2000), though supportive of non-native teachers, propose that natives and non-natives are “two different species” and that they differ in terms of language proficiency and teaching behaviour. Not to belittle this issue as one of semantics, the power and influence associated with terms used as part of the native vs. non-native dichotomy and the tone conveyed by the terms native versus non-native seem to have had a negative impact on how non-native teachers have been perceived with implications for credibility, identity, and self-concept. 2.2.2 Language Teacher Effectiveness Native and non-non-native teachers can be effective teachers in their own way and Arva and Medgyes (2000) speak of each being equally good on their own terms. Professional competence, including an appropriate/threshold level of language proficiency, should be the means for selecting teachers rather than birth affiliation. Language proficiency is important and, if applicable, shortcomings as L2 user (Cook, 2003) should be rectified by the non-native teacher as a professional responsibility. However, proficiency, while a key factor in teaching effectiveness, is not the sole factor in determining L2 teaching effectiveness and success. Non-native teachers can be highly effective though a threshold level of proficiency for teaching needs to exist. The purpose and outcomes of courses of study will help to define the range of the acceptable level of proficiency. According to Arva and Medgyes (2000), the proportionate role of variables at play is difficult to determine: language background, ELT qualifications and relevant teaching experience. The perception that native teachers make good English language teachers lacks a pedagogical foundation. Rather, a lack of teacher training is of concern as this is “the key element” in teacher effectiveness (Soriano, 2004). Teaching credentials - or equivalent evidence of teaching effectiveness and preparation - should be required of all teachers 12 regardless of language background. Among the qualifications of a good language teacher are: target language pedagogical training, in-depth understanding of the target language and culture, and knowledge of the SLA process; nativeness is not included (Kamhi-Stein, 1999). Within EFL, Medgyes (1994) cites a teacher’s reflective ability as being a more vital prerequisite factor for language teaching success than any other, including language proficiency.5 Communicative language teaching and its emphasis on proficiency of the native speaker has led to the following caveat: “There has often been the danger of an automatic extrapolation from competent speaker to competent teacher based on linguistic grounds alone, without taking into consideration the criteria of cultural, social and pedagogic appropriacy” (Seidlhofer, 1996, p. 69). Although competent speaker, native-speaker expertise has been extended to mean competent teacher (Arva & Medgyes, 2000; Widdowson, 1994), this has not worked to the benefit of the profession in that the strengths of non-native English speaking teachers have gone unrecognised and teachers lacking sufficient L2 teaching pedagogy background and experience have been favoured and promoted based on linguistic skills alone. A native-non-native continuum configuration has been proposed and favoured by teachers (Liu, 1999, p.175). He continues: “If we perceive all ESL professionals on a NNS-NS continuum, then it is competence and professional growth that will define their professionalism” (Ibid, p. 175). Given these discussions and repeated calls for shifts in perceptions, a focus on what non-native speakers accomplish pedagogically and linguistically as teachers is in order after briefly considering native-non-native teacher relations and cooperation. 2.2.3 Native and Non-native Teacher Relations and Cooperation Native and non-native relations have direct implications for the advantages and potential synergy of teacher cooperation (Gill & Rebrova, 2001; Medgyes, 1999). Though qualifications and competencies may vary between these categories, they have much in common and the need to work together. Collaboration between native and non-native language teachers continues to be an area of interest (e.g., Tanaka, 2008). Soriano (2004) emphasises how each can complement the other in teaching and advocates for either. Though he disputes sole reliance on the native speaker as model for learners who are becoming L2 users, Medgyes (1999) recognises their value as linguistic models. Providing 5 Medgyes and Kamhi-Stein are acknowledged as very highly proficient non-native English speakers. 13 means to build a mutually beneficial relationship, based on their respective strengths, is recommended (Gill & Rebrova, 2001). Forms include: collaboration in planning and preparation, team teaching, and giving workshops based on areas of expertise and interest. It has been shown that students who have been team-taught respond very positively (Thomas, 1995). The most frequent existing forms of cooperation in Reves and Medgyes’s (1994) study were in-service training courses, workshops, seminars, and conferences. Interestingly, Reves and Medgyes (1994) found that hardly anyone in the study mentioned the possibility of native-non-native cooperation at the school level. 2.3 The Non-native Speaking Teacher: Strengths and Advantages The value of the non-native teacher, predominantly in English as second or foreign language contexts, is well documented and many non-native teachers have voiced their perspectives as a non-native speaker and teacher (Amin, 1999; Liu, 1999; Medgyes, 1999; Soriano, 2004; Thomas, 1999). Non-native teachers bring a number of potential pedagogical and linguistic strengths and qualities to the profession and classroom, as noted in the literature (Arva & Medgyes, 2000; Bebawi, 1999; Canagarajah, 1999; Cook, 2003; Jenkins, 1998; Kamhi-Stein, 1999; Kramsch and Lam, 1999; Maum, 2002; Medgyes, 1992; Reves & Medgyes, 1994; Seidlhofer, 1996; Sheorey, 1986; Tang, 1997; Thomas, 1999; Widdowson, 1992). Deeper insight into and better metacognitive knowledge of grammar was perceived to be the strongest area for and by non-native teachers themselves in two related studies (Arva & Medgyes, 2000; Reves & Medgyes, 1994). Native English teachers acknowledged this perception and the efficiency with which non-natives were able to communicate grammatical concepts (Arva & Medgyes, 2000). In Reves and Medgyes’ (1994) study, grammar was found to be non-native English teacher’s favourite area of teaching. This metacognitive knowledge means that non-native English teachers teach about the language (Reves & Medgyes 1994). They can provide learners with more information about the target language given their vast knowledge of how it works which may make them “better informants” than native teachers (Medgyes, 1992). 2.3.1 Non-native Teacher as Bilingual/Multilingual Role Model Non-native teachers provide a model and example of a proficient L2 user in action in the classroom and if they share the students’ L1 this would include a bilingual model as well 14 (Cook, 2003). Medgyes (1992) argues that only non-natives can serve as imitable models of the successful learner and unlike native teachers who are not learner role models. The non- native teachers’ deliberate efforts to improve their linguistic proficiency (e.g., Arva & Medgyes’ (2000) study) exemplify their dedication and commitment to language and learning. A common L2 experience is a key advantage and source of strength because a non- native teacher has had the experience of language learner of “coming to terms” with the target language as an L2 (Widdowson, 1992), and has travelled the same path as their students (Seidlhofer, 1996; Tang, 1997; Cook, 2003, 2005). Phillipson (1992) suggests that minimal requirements for language teachers include success in learning and using a second or foreign language and familiarity with learners’ language and culture. Thomas (1999) speaks of the advantage that non-native teachers bring in having experienced the high stakes of acquiring the target language (English) in stating: “Having been there, we cannot only empathize with the students but share our stories as well” (p.12). Canagarajah (1999) asserts that non-natives, because of their second language learning experience, prove to be more responsive and sensitive to their students’ linguistic, affective and academic needs and this experience helps foster a high level of metalinguistic awareness with resulting advantages for the implementation of teaching strategies. Cook (2003, 2005) extols the positive characteristics of multicompetent language users who proficiently speak more than one language and may have linguistic and cognitive advantages over monolingual native speakers. Linguistically, Cook (2003, 2005) presents multicompetent language users as using the L1 when having vocabulary gaps in L2, switching languages more efficiently (than L1 users), more readily understanding direct translations, and switching between L1- L2 according to context. Cognitively, Cook argues that they are usually more interested in language and culture, more readily recognize cultural attitudes and customs, are more aware of grammatical properties of L1 and L2, are often better readers, and possess creativity and reasoning advantages. Based on their traits, he advocates for the inclusion and acceptance of these users in arguing that they are effective models for the language learning context. 15 2.3.2 Other Strengths and Advantages Knowledge and awareness of the needs and goals of local students including language examinations and educational goals that the students were working towards (Arva & Medgyes, 2000; Gill & Rebrova, 2001; Tang, 1997) has also been found to be a highly significant attribute of many non-native language teachers. Therefore, non-native teachers are able to use this knowledge in planning and implementing teaching that is arguably more relevant. Tang (1997) speaks of the bridging role that non-native teachers are able to play between authority figures and students given their familiarity with the local environment. A sense of ownership, bordering on protectionism, could be detected in Arva and Medgyes (2000) with non-native teachers insisting that natives ought not take responsibility for a group until they were aware of the needs of Hungarian students and knowledgeable about language examination requirements. Tarnopolsky (2000) argues that some non-native teachers may have an advantage in that sharing students’ L1 and culture renders them better prepared to cope with problems that arise from L1-L2 and first and second culture (C1-C2) differences. Sharing the L1 and C1 of learners has been argued to be a key advantage in learning contexts (Widdowson, 1994; Cook, 2003). Competence in students’ L1 and perceptions of student L2 needs and communication are indicated as positive non-native teacher traits in terms of establishing positive student rapport (Arva & Medgyes, 2000; Medgyes, 1992; Tang, 1997). Using the L1 for class management and explaining more abstract concepts particularly with beginning students has also been noted (Gill & Rebrova, 2001). In addition, non-native teachers can recognise and are more likely to understand forms of interlanguage which others may dismiss as not target- like or not recognise (Bennett, 1994; Seidlhofer, 1996). 2.4 Issues and Challenges of Non-Native Teachers Concerns and challenges faced by the non-native teacher stem predominantly from the common strand of linguistic competence (Arva & Medgyes, 2000; Reves & Medgyes, 1994; Thomas, 1999; Amin, 1997, 1999; Seidlhofer, 1996). Many scholars have explored various non-native teacher issues in English as a second and foreign language context (Benke and Medgyes 2005; Cots and Diaz, 2005; Lasagabaster & Sierra 2005; Liu 2005; McNeill, 2005; Rajagopalan 2005). 16 According to non-native teachers, their challenges include improving their linguistic command and problems with almost every aspect of competence as well as non-spontaneity in using the language as a learnt language, and out of date usage, resulting in textbook-like language in some cases. Pronunciation, vocabulary, and colloquial expressions were especially seen to be problem areas by some non-native teachers (Arva & Medgyes, 2000). The teaching of vocabulary, including idioms and appropriacy, was the most common area of difficulty for them (Reves & Medgyes, 1994). Speaking skills and fluency were also frequently defined as areas of difficulty followed by pronunciation (Reves & Medgyes, 1994). Concerns about passing mistakes and inappropriate usage to their students were expressed by teachers (Arva & Medgyes, 2000; Reves & Medgyes, 1994). From their awareness of linguistic limitations, self-perception and self-image may be poorer with further effects on language performance leading to further perception of inferiority (Reves & Medgyes, 1994). Thomas (1999) and others depict some non-native teacher experiences to show how the “native speaker fallacy” has deflated their professional credibility at various levels both in and outside the classroom. Of the effects of these challenges Thomas (1999) states: “This makes me apologetic, nervous about my ability to succeed and even lead to a kind of paranoia born of experience (p.9). She also states: “This lack of confidence is one of the unfortunate results of these challenges to credibility. The same type of uncertainty follows me as I encounter some of my native speaker colleagues and as I enter every class. It is my baggage” (p.10). Issues of credibility and confidence seem to be common in both EFL and ESL contexts though the extent and nature of these varies. Based on the review of the literature, EFL teachers working in their ‘home’ environment, though they may be typecast with respect to their characteristic features, still command a sense of pedagogical credibility and authority though in linguistic performance (communicatively) they are acknowledged as non-native to varying degrees. However, ESL teachers in majority language environments seem to have to deal with both linguistic and pedagogical challenges to their credibility. Amin (1997) speaks of incessantly being challenged on English grammar rules by students and the difficulty for minority teachers to negotiate a teacher identity. On the issue of self- perception of proficiency and based on his work with the native-non-native issue in ten countries, Medgyes concluded that “…we suffer from an inferiority complex caused by 17 glaring defects in our knowledge of English. We are in constant distress as we realize how little we know about the language we are supposed to teach” (Medgyes, 1994). Visible non-native teachers often have an additional barrier to acceptance (Amin, 1997, 1999; Thomas 1999). Thomas and Amin discuss how they and other non-native English teachers are judged negatively by students and colleagues whether based on their speech, and physical appearance (Amin 1997). Amin (1997) speaks of how the participants in her study “…felt disempowered by their students’ stereotype of an authentic ESL teacher” (p. 580). Other non-native teachers in other contexts find it challenging to be considered for employment. For example, the non-native Mandarin teacher below comments on how being a visible non-native teacher impedes her search for a Mandarin teaching position despite her qualifications. I know that in Japan, schools prefer not to hire English teachers who are of East Asian ancestry, even if they were born and raised in the U.S.A., because they "look non-native." I suppose that looking Chinese would be an advantage in getting hired as a Chinese teacher. However, having learned Chinese as a teenager in China, my pronunciation is indistinguishable from a native on the telephone. Not seeing my face, the listener is sure I'm a native Chinese (Blog, 2008).6 2.5 Language Use in the Modern Language Classroom Given the language use of non-native language teachers was a key focus of this study, the research concerning language practices in the classroom is presented. 2.5.1 The L1-L2 Issue The issue of L1 vs. L2 use in the modern language classroom has been an ongoing, relevant one in the literature with perspectives on L1 vs. L2 use in the classroom ranging from those promoting sole target language use to those advocating for the use of the L1 in target language teaching and learning (Atkinson, 1993; Anton & DiCamilla, 1998; Castellotti,1997; Chambers, F, 1991; Chambers, G.,1992; Cook, 2001; Duff, & Polio, 1990; Franklin, 1990; Macaro, 2001; Turnbull, 2001; Turnbull & Arnett, 2002; Turnbull & Dailey- O’Cain, 2009; Wells, 1998). Ongoing interest and debate in the issue of language use is testimony to its relevance in modern language education (Turnbull & Dailey-O’Cain, 2009). This interest is reflective 6 Blog Re: Native vs. Non-Native Mandarin Teachers!! Retrieved March 13, 2008 from http://www.chinese- forums.com/showthread.php?t=17296&page=2. 18 of the conflict and struggle that continue to exist on many levels: the inner struggle resulting in some teachers experiencing feelings of self-guilt; the conflict and tension amongst teacher and researcher colleagues having diverse positions on this issue; and varying policy guidelines with respect to language use from modern language to immersion and bilingual programs. For non-native teachers, there is the added belief and complication that their choices and practices with respect to L1-L2 use are attributed to proficiency and sense of ownership of the target language. L1-L2 practice varies considerably even amongst teachers who agree that maximising L2 use is optimal for students’ language acquisition. However, practice also varies due to diverse perspectives of the theoretical basis for L1-L2 (i.e. code switching as a tool versus maximum exposure to L2 with ‘no L1’). There seems to be agreement, however, that L2 use is important, yet disagreement exists over how to go about using the L1 and L2 in the classroom and to what degree. Sole use of the L2 is a principle promoted by methodologies particularly the communicative approach and some modern language program contexts such as French immersion in Canada, though, despite this, classroom practice reveals the use of L1. Some have stressed the need for maximum L2 exposure (Duff & Polio, 1990; Polio & Duff, 1994) while others suggest there is a useful place for the selective use of the L1 (Cook, 2001; Rolin-Ianziti & Brownlie, 2002). As well, the proposition that, rather than “potential native speaker,” students are emerging bilingual or multilingual individuals (Castellotti, 1997; Causa, 1996; Cook, 2001; Kramsch, 1997; MLA, 2007; Py, 1997) impacts further discussions on L1-L2 use. More recently, translingual and transcultural competence has been presented as a goal that “places value on the ability to operate between languages” (MLA, 2007, pp.3-4). Adding the aspect of the non-native teacher here as a bilingual or multilingual model by default, provides further rationale for the use of the L1 as a tool. As well, with a bilingual or multilingual goal to which to aspire, it is argued that immersion and bilingual programs which have been considered somewhat external to the L1-L2 debate now be included (Turnbull and Dailey- O’Cain, 2009, p.16). The literature shows that “…there seems to be a lack of awareness on the part of teachers as to how, when and the extent to which they actually use English in the classroom” and it has been suggested that although L1-L2 use may be studied, affective factors play a 19 role in language teaching practice (Polio & Duff , 1994, p. 320).7 It can be argued that the lack of an objective day to day measure of L1-L2 use for purposes of reflection makes it difficult, if not impossible, for teachers to be cognizant of their actual levels of L1-L2 use. 2.5.2 Perspectives on Target Language Use Earlier research and teaching in the 1960’s and 1970’s supported more or less exclusive teacher use of the target language in L2 programs (Turnbull, 1999a and others) and this use has been directly correlated to positive student outcomes and has provided a persuasive rationale for maximising L2 use by the teacher (Turnbull & Arnett, 2002). Researchers recognized that in many cases the teacher and target language class were the predominant or only source of exposure to the L2. For example, it has been argued that “…the potential value of instructional access to the L2 increases by default (Chaudron, 1988, p. 4). Diversity in perspective is also found with respect to the role of the L2 as a subject of study versus simultaneously being both the means and ends in a meaningful context. Researchers such as Brooks (1993) assert that L2 educators need to understand that “…language is used to teach language” (p. 234) in contrast to the L2 being an object to be looked at, talked about, and studied .Therefore, besides pedagogical considerations, teachers’ view of L2 will certainly affect how they approach and use it to interact and work with students. A noteworthy view of the potential effect of teacher L2 use is one that students may not be aware of their entitlement to and potential benefit from greater L2 exposure from their socialisation as learners (Polio & Duff, 1994). However, research on language use has more recently been informed by identity and multiliteracies and has emphasised validating linguistic resources and identities (i.e. the L1 and learners’ background knowledge) in the classroom (e.g., Cummins, 2007). 2.5.3 Perspectives on L1 Use The role and use of the L1 in the classroom continues to generate much discussion in the literature (see studies reviewed in Turnbull & Dailey-O’Cain, 2009). The use of students’ L1 in target language instruction is presented as advantageous and beneficial (Cook, 2001; Cummins, 2007; Medgyes, 1992, 1999; Soriano, 2004). This has included 7 One teacher (of language M) with the lowest amount of L2 use (10%, Duff & Polio, 1990) underestimated his use of L1 by 35% in that he perceived his L2 to be 45% and English 55% when in fact these were 10% and 90% respectively). 20 suggestions that the L1 has a role to play in enhancing or ensuring accurate student input and making input comprehensible (Rolin-Ianziti and Brownlie, 2002; Castellotti, 1997). The use of the L1 as a tool for student expression is cited (G. Chambers, 1992; Rolin-Ianziti & Brownlie, 2002) including the concern that: “To deny pupils the opportunity to express ideas and ask questions in the mother tongue could lead eventually to the silence of non- participation” (G. Chambers, 1992, p.67). Medgyes (1992, 1999) elaborates on the advantages of student L1 use with his reference to L1 use as an EFL advantage, in the sense of teachers and students having a shared (non-target language) language, Hungarian in his context. Code switching is presented as a ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ use of language both within and outside the classroom that can be considered a strategy, rather than be discouraged, particularly given that learners are emerging bilingual or multilingual individuals (Castellotti, 1997; Causa, 1996; Cook, 2001; Kramsch, 1997; MLA, 2007; Py, 1997), just as teachers are in many cases (e.g., Soriano, 2004).8 Reflective of Cook’s (1999, 2003) concept of the multi competent user, Soriano (2004) recounts being able to “easily switch from one language to another”. As well, he attributes his high level of proficiency in both Spanish and English as enabling him to use students’ L1, English, for explanations such as with respect to Spanish grammar. Cummins (2007) contributes to the discussion on classroom L1-L2 use by questioning the use of monolingual instructional strategies in the classroom to the exclusion of students’ other language(s). He argues that there is “no empirical justification for any absolute exclusion of students’ L1 from TL instruction” and that monolingual instructional strategies in multilingual classrooms need to be critically rethought (p. 227). He offers three theoretical perspectives to further his argument; these are: engaging prior understandings, interdependence across languages, and multilingualism as a qualitatively different system from monolingualism (Cummins, 2007). He asserts that “students’ L1 is not the enemy in promoting high levels of L2 proficiency; rather, when students’ L1 is invoked as a cognitive and linguistic resource through bilingual instructional strategies, it can function as a stepping stone to scaffold more accomplished performance in the L2” (Cummins, p. 238). The 8 Castellotti (1997) presents the view of code switching as a potentially effective teaching strategy though emphasises that conscious decisions about the deliberate and planned use of L1 need to be made. 21 arguments presented in Cummins’ (2007) reflection illustrate the need to consider the pedagogical implications of the reality and goal of students as emergent multilingual individuals with implications for teachers’ having a prerequisite range of linguistic and cross- cultural knowledge particularly when not sharing a common L1 with students. In terms of teacher L1 use, the Polio and Duff (1994) study found that vocabulary for classroom administrative purposes was cited as the most common use of students’ L1, English, to ensure that important information was communicated and to capture students’ attention. As well, all teachers made use of English to some extent to help explain grammar concepts and Rolin-Ianziti and Brownlie (2002) found that contrasting L1 and L2 forms was a strategic use of the L1. Teachers in Polio and Duff’s study also viewed the use of English for class management and discipline as efficient and useful to maintain classroom order. In the Rolin-Ianziti and Brownlie (2002) study, managing the class was also indicated as a use of the L1. Building rapport, including showing concern or empathy and making jokes, were instances of L1 use as well (Polio & Duff, 1994). Instructional time spent helping teachers with their English was the case in three of the six classes in the Polio and Duff study (1994). Teachers attempted to use vocabulary at their students’ level or would provide English translation for L2 vocabulary believed to be unknown to students (Polio & Duff, 1994). The Rolin-Ianziti and Brownlie study (2002) found that the translation of L2 words into the L1 was a strategic use of the L1. To aid a lack of student comprehension, core French teachers’ use of the L1 in the form of translation was observed in varying degrees (Turnbull, 1999a&b). 2.5.4 Factors Influencing Classroom L1-L2 Use Various factors are outlined as influencing the amount and balance of L1-L2 use. Teacher training pedagogy and education (Duff & Polio, 1990), including training in and exposure to the complex skills needed to interact in the L2 (Atkinson, 1993), and particularly doing so in the target language itself to achieve professional competence in the L2 and the sense of classrooms as “domains” of target language use (Hébert, 1987). Teacher proficiency and fluency, particularly as perceived by teachers themselves, is seen by some educators and researchers as resulting in increased target language use (Turnbull, 1999b) with the related factor of low levels of L2 comfort and confidence resulting in lower levels of L2 use (Chambers, 1991; Franklin, 1990). Though L2 teaching experience was found to be 22 unrelated to L1-L2 use (Duff and Polio, 1990), discussion in Polio and Duff (1994) cites lack of teacher experience or awareness of strategies as possible reasons why teachers deal with student lack of comprehension in the L2 by reverting to the L1. Teacher beliefs, values, and attitudes about L1- L2 use were found to play a role in guiding classroom L1-L2 decisions and are discussed in the literature (Duff & Polio, 1990; Atkinson, 1993; Franklin, 1990, Macaro, 1997).9 The belief that learners need to have the language explained to them before it can be learned or understood (Lee, 1987), was noted as leading to a teacher overreliance on the L1. Another study found that though a majority of teachers viewed use of the target language as an important part of a program, most reported “that it was impossible and undesirable to use the target language exclusively with all but the most motivated classes”(Macaro, 1997). Policy and guidelines is also shared as a variable that may still play a role in the amount of L1-L2 use (Duff & Polio, 1990; Rolin-Ianziti & Brownlie, 2002). Factors of uniform department policy favouring the ‘immersion’ (no English) approach and shared practices could have contributed to the quantity of L1 being low with a narrow variation of L1 use and their findings support Duff and Polio’s (1990) conclusions concerning variables affecting the variability of L1 use. Similarly, within Duff and Polio’s study, teachers in three departments instructed to use ‘no English’ found that this significantly impacted the decision to use the L210; those encouraged to use the target language as much as possible had a wide range of L2 use (i.e. 33-96%, p. 157). It can, therefore, be argued that in the absence of such directional guidelines, teachers decide the focus/impetus and priorities of L1-L2 use. As well, language use policy external to teachers’ immediate department can have an effect on teacher L2 use (Macaro & Erler, 1998). In the context of this study, provincial Integrated Resource Package (IRP) curricular expectations outlined in Chapter 4 with respect to target language use for virtually all target languages impacting secondary level teacher- participants convey the need to use (and perform) in the target language rather than study it as well as the supporting role of grammar to facilitate communication. 9 For example, the belief of one teacher “Language I) that the foreign language class is unlike the second language one in the sense that students lack sufficient linguistic and cultural exposure to the L2, influenced his L1-L2 decision-making and he believed that a lack of student L2 comprehension would result if he exclusively spoke the L2 (Duff & Polio, 1990). 10 It is noteworthy to this study that these teachers taught Western European target languages. 23 The factor of meeting curriculum objectives and covering content on a timely basis via the L1 is raised in the literature as a perceived obstacle to maximum L2 use in the classroom (Calman, 1988; F. Chambers, 1991; Duff & Polio, 1990; Gearon, 1997). Polio and Duff (1994) suggest that in addition to the techniques recommended in their 1990 study, there may be the need for teachers to discuss the quantity of material expected to be covered and student evaluation with supervisors. The pattern of the majority of teachers using more English (L1) in their classes than the curriculum guidelines proposed (Calman, 1988 ; Calman & Daniel, 1998) is believed to be driven in part by the practice of reverting to L1 to cover course objectives in a limited amount of time. Teachers reported that the use of the L1 enabled them to cover the required curriculum faster (Gearon, 1997). F. Chambers (1991) reports teachers’ perspective on the need for efficiency and saving time and being understood by all students has resulted in L1 use for class communication. According to Duff and Polio (1990), language type is a variable that plays a role in the amount of L1-L2 use and the data reveal consistent patterns. From the thirteen L2 teachers interviewed, six listed English/L2 differences as a factor influencing the quantity of L2 used. The teachers were generally found to be reluctant to teach grammar in the L2, particularly in cases of those languages lacking cognates in the L1 and perceived as being most unlike English (Polio & Duff, 1994). Duff and Polio (1990) observed that “several of the languages falling in the bottom half of the amount of L2 use have writing systems different from English” (p.161). Yet for all the patterns noted, two teachers, teaching non- Indo-European linguistically related L2s, used drastically different amounts of L2 (94% versus 10%), indicating there were other factors at play in L1-L1 use (Duff & Polio, 1990, p.161). Meeting curriculum guidelines in learning contexts where the L1-L2 are of diverse language families was also noted in the Duff and Li (2004) study. The Mandarin teacher of focus in their study used the students’ L1 to ‘get through’ the course program in the students L1, English. Duff and Li (2004) call for more classroom research in non-European language courses to determine if other studies’ findings in European language contexts are applicable to non-European language classrooms. 2.6 Other Non-native Language Teacher Voices and Language Practices Acknowledging the voices and experiences of non-native language teachers has been addressed by several scholars (including Braine, 1999; Llurda, 2005; Medgyes, 1999). As 24 indicated, adding to this research by focusing on the diversity of teachers of commonly and less commonly taught modern languages is in order. Understanding teachers’ beliefs and practices better with respect to language use practices will continue the discussion about the role and use of the L1. Although Spanish teacher language practices have been studied in the U.S. (e.g., Fraga-Canadas, 2008) and those of French in Canada (e.g., Turnbull, 1999a&b), other than Polio and Duff’s (1994) study of L1-L2 use of various language teachers, the research on language practices has mainly focused on English language teachers. Consequently, there is a lack of wider representation of other teachers’ experiences and perspectives. This study attempts to address this gap in the literature and further explores the language practices, choices, and challenges of non-native teachers of languages other than English including those in non- European language teaching contexts. As well, investigating teacher language practices in Asian languages is of interest, given the growing interest in these languages and the relative higher proportion of heritage language learners enrolled. Duff and Li (2004) have called for more research into non- European language classrooms and this study contributes to the discussion surrounding the teaching of non-European languages in terms of language use practices and non-native teacher experiences. Studying the reported experiences of non-native teachers in Asian language classrooms also addresses the issues of visible non-native speakers such as those associated with teaching the relatively higher proportion of heritage language learners enrolled. 2.7 Summary The native-non-native dichotomy as well as language terms used to refer to teachers teaching their L2 or L3 is relevant as these form part of the broader ideological context and have shaped perceptions with implications for teachers’ credibility and professional identity. Language teaching models as goals in language education were surveyed and the bilingual/multilingual model was discussed in terms of its impact on language use, that is further acknowledgement of the role of the L1 in teaching and learning. In addition to bilingualism or multilingualism, other non-native teacher strengths and advantages were outlined as were some of the major issues and challenges they face. Perspectives on language use in the modern language classroom from the literature, specifically the L1-L2 25 issue, were presented as were the main factors influencing classroom L1-L2 use. This study was positioned as one with the objective of contributing to the discussion and voices of non- native teacher experiences and their language practices. 26 Chapter 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.1 Introduction In this chapter, the research methodology for this study, including study design, data collection and analysis methods, are outlined. A general profile of all participating teachers and an introductory overview of the four focal participants are then presented. Finally, criteria for the selection of, the 22 as well as the 4, focal participants are specified. 3.2 Study Design and Method This study qualitatively explored the teaching and linguistic experiences of 22 non- native speaking modern language teachers but focussed primarily on the experiences of four focal participants representing different target languages, both European and East Asian. All participants were asked to share their professional and linguistic experiences as non-native speakers of the modern language they teach. Recruitment began in January 2004, following thesis proposal and ethical review approval. Data was collected using qualitative research methods consisting primarily of semi-structured interviews with the teachers. In addition, a background questionnaire was used to obtain a profile concerning their linguistic and pedagogical practices. The following overarching research question was investigated: What are the experiences, perspectives, and challenges of non-native speaking modern language teachers of Asian and European languages (other than English), and what is their unique contribution, as non-natives, to modern language teaching, according to them? Participants’ perspectives on language use (including choices and challenges) and the ‘native speaker’ were also investigated as outlined earlier as part of the more specific research questions in chapter 1. Addressing these questions through this study provides increased representation and recognition for non-native modern language teachers, who, with the exception perhaps of teachers of English as a second or foreign language, are underrepresented in educational research. Questions used for the interviews are outlined in Appendix A. Though handwritten notes were taken, interviews were digitally recorded and then transcribed to allow for detailed reflection, analysis, and verification of data accuracy. Transcription conventions helped to convey non-verbal aspects of the digitally-recorded interviews into textual form 27 (Appendix B). Data from these sources were subsequently analysed qualitatively for recurring themes and patterns. Follow-up questions, if necessary, were conducted by e-mail or telephone. Given the varied educational contexts and diversity of participants, as well as in-depth questions required further reflection, some interviews were conducted on more than one occasion. Data from these sources were analysed participant by participant and then used in the cross-case analysis before findings were reported and presented. Interviews took place at mutually agreed upon locations including: participants’ teaching sites or offices, community libraries, or in local university classrooms. 3.3 Recruitment Modern language teachers in local university modern language departments and graduate programs, and members of modern language professional associations such as The British Columbia Association of Teachers of Modern Languages (BCATML) and Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT) were recruited and presented with the opportunity to participate. A sample of teacher-participants was recruited through a brief presentation of the study by the researcher in modern language education-related graduate courses with permission of the course instructor. Advertisements were placed in publications of the BCATML and CASLT as well as on professional association list serves. Posters were placed in modern language departments as well as in Faculty of Education departments. At the conclusion of their first interview, each participant was offered a gift certificate of $15 to a local store as a token of appreciation for their participation and contribution. 3.4 Methodological Limitations Although the methodology used meets the core research objective of voicing participants’ perspectives as non-native teachers of languages other than English, some methodological issues arose. This study relied mainly on interactive interviews and as such did not include a triangulation of methods, such as observation of their teaching or interviews with their students and colleagues about their perspectives. In addition, there were methodological considerations associated with self-report and the nature of interview research itself which could encourage interviewees to state information that would put them in a more favourable light or align with what they perceived to be the interviewer’s own philosophy of teaching. Given the exploratory and comparative nature of this study and 28 carefully designed intereview questions, the in-depth, qualitiative data generated helps offset these concerns. However it is acknowledged that the perspectives and practices reported were in a particular interview context and were not verified by observation. In addition, the diversity and quantity of target languages and participants helped to generate patterns in terms of reported beliefs, experiences, and practices with respect to L1-L2 use and their histories as non-native modern language teachers. Reflections on the interview process and related research (e.g., Talmy, 2010) are discussed in the concluding chapter. As well, participants’ perception of question clarity is always a potential concern, which was addressed by piloting the interview questions with four non-native language teachers who did not participate in this study and with whom I had had no prior professional colleague relationship. In some cases of ambiguity, questions were revised. 3.5 Procedures 3.5.1 Informed Consent The researcher requested written consent from participants through a formal consent letter after describing the study (Appendix C). As a competent, professional adult, each participant provided consent on her/his own behalf and had at least 24 hours before their interview to consider their participation in this study, following UBC’s guidelines for ethical research. Participants’ participation was entirely voluntary and they were given the option of withdrawal without penalty. 3.5.2 Data Collection and Storage Interviews were audio-recorded for later transcription and notes were taken. Data from the questionnaire forms were collated into tables and matrices for analysis. As well, curriculum documents relevant to the case contexts were reviewed prior to and during data collection and analysis. 3.5.3 Instruments Participants’ modern language teaching and learning experiences, perspectives, and challenges as well as teaching and linguistic backgrounds were sought and ascertained through in-depth interviews and a questionnaire. A description of these instruments follows. 22.214.171.124 Background Questionnaire This consists of a series of largely close-ended questions, designed by the researcher to obtain a profile of participants’ linguistic and teaching experiences (Appendix D). It was 29 administered at the beginning of the study with the purpose of assisting the researcher in framing interview responses and later thematic analysis. The questionnaire required about 10-15 minutes of participants’ time and they were asked to respond to it after giving their consent for participation, though prior to their interview. 126.96.36.199 In-depth Interview The interview relationship was “a research partnership between the interviewer and the respondent” (Weiss, 1994, p.65) and a “collaboration” (p.78). I shared that my role was that of peer and guest with a modern language learning and teaching background who wished to listen to that which participants wished to share. Simultaneously, my role as an anonymous outsider encouraged participants to voice their experiences and perspectives. The set of interview questions encouraged participants to share and discuss their experiences, perspectives, and challenges as non-native teachers with the goal of documenting these for analysis. It was orally administered and required approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Some of its most important aspects were contained in questions 3, 13 and 14 which encouraged participants to express and reflect on factors related to their effectiveness and success in modern language teaching (Appendix A). Participants were briefed about the interview questions prior to their interview, during which time any questions or concerns about the interview were addressed. To maintain anonymity, at the conclusion of the interview, participants were asked to select a pseudonym for themselves. 3.5.4 Data Analysis Given that this was a multi-case qualitative study related to diverse linguistic and instructional contexts, careful contextualiation (Duff, 2008) and cross-case analysis (Stake, 2006) were guiding principles in analysing the data. Miles and Huberman’s (1994) book on qualitative data analysis as well as Weiss’ (1994) and Seidman’s (1998) work concerning interviews were instrumental in designing and carrying out the procedures described below. Though my initial interest was primarily related to the L1-L2 issue and native versus non-native language teacher status, other significant related secondary themes emerged Drawing largely from Seidman’s work (1998), the procedures below illustrate how themes came to be defined. 30 188.8.131.52 Data Organisation Transcribing the data and examining the questionnaire results for each of the 22 cases in this study involved revisiting and reflecting on each participant’s data multiple times in an iterative fashion. Questionnaire data was summarised and collated into tables of data and used to supplement the profile of each participant and construct tables of linguistic and contextual data. 184.108.40.206 Data Immersion and Reduction Following an initial reading and review of interview transcripts, notes of significant interview highlights were made alongside highlighted sections based on the audio recording and checking of the transcript. Significant passages were highlighted during the second reading of the transcript based on their relevance to the research questions. In what Seidman (1998) describes as the winnowing process, the data were reduced by marking data chunks/passages of interest and significance based on the research questions and researcher judgment. Criteria for winnowing and sorting the data were as follows: a connection to the research question(s), significance to the native-non-native debate, and frequency to some extent. 220.127.116.11 Coding/Categorising Passages Highlighted passages/excerpts were labelled or coded and a preliminary list of codes emerged. A notation system was established to enable the researcher to locate or trace each passage to the original transcript. For example, a passage marked B8AI where B8 represented binder eight of the original transcript, A language type (Asian or European), and I the code (identity). The marked passages were then categorized or classified by participant in chronological page order into file excerpts in code-labelled binders (with some excerpts being filed into more than one binder). Page numbers and participant pseudonym on each page from the original transcript were maintained. An unmarked hard copy of the original was also kept and organised into files by participant. Initially, codes were based on key concepts from the research question though others, based on issues that emerged from the interviews, were added. After reviewing all transcripts file by file, the question of what each category defined or illustrated in relation to the research questions was addressed to refine the name of each file, if necessary (files were named and based on the categories at this stage e.g., L1-L2 Beliefs, L2 Use-Students, Impact, Pronunciation). These categories were 31 recorded in the research log. Categories for coding and an example of a coded page transcript are provided in Appendix E. 18.104.22.168 Defining the Themes The categories were studied for thematic connections within and among them (Seidman, 1998). How categories intersected or were interrelated was reflected upon and attempts were made to account for the connections. At this point new categories were constructed or former ones renamed. These were then listed by participant to provide an overview of significant issues per case. After reviewing the categories individually and by participant, preliminary themes were defined. Some themes, such as challenges and issues in the teaching of culture as a non-native teacher, were apparent from the category names and category files. Other themes arose based on concepts across categories. The themes at this point are outlined below in table 3.1. Table 3.1: Preliminary Themes Theme 1 L1 versus L2 use in the classroom: Policy, Practices, Values, Beliefs, and Rationale Theme 2 Non-native Teacher Contributions Theme 3 ‘Legitimacy’ and Ownership of the Language Theme 4 Affiliation and Identity Theme 5 Native Speaker: Linguistic and Cultural Resource and Model versus Authority and Judge/Gatekeeper Theme 6 Addressing Culture Theme 7 Language Use: Maintenance/Improvement versus Fossilisation Theme 8 Challenges to and Questioning of Proficiency and Qualifications Theme 9 Is There a Linguistic ‘Glass Ceiling’ for Non-native Teachers in Terms of Levels Taught and Opportunities, and Access to the Language? Theme 10 Teaching Heritage and Native including ESL Learners versus ‘True Beginners’ Theme 11 Asian and European Language Contexts Appendix F outlines the categories that were relevant for each of the above themes. 22.214.171.124 Composing Profiles and Analysing Individual (Focal) Cases The specific criteria for selecting the four focal participants in this study are outlined below in the section on Participants. Amongst others, one of these criteria was that based on discussions during interviews, cases needed to be highly relevant to the research problem and question with the potential for “thick” description. This criterion proved challenging, however, as it yielded more than four potential focal participants. To help resolve this, Stake’s (2006) suggested methodology which involves ratings was used to establish the 32 prominence of each cross-case theme and as one indication of a case’s relevance (Appendix G). The criteria together with this system of ratings resulted in selecting the four focal participants for individual case study: Anne, Kathleen, Nancy and KD. As part of the groundwork in analysing and presenting each individual focal case, a profile was composed for each participant using their original words. Seidman’s (1998) steps in crafting a profile provided guidance here. Passages relevant to the research yet which highlighted key issues in participants’ linguistic and teaching context were chosen for the profiles. These profiles and the research questions were used to analyse each focal case. As well, Duff’s (2008) work on case studies in applied linguistics and Duff andUchida’s (1997) case study in EFL classrooms were key references in analyzing individual cases in this study. Each case’s context was considered. The categories and preliminary themes were revisited and some were chosen as areas of emphasis for the focal cases. In addition to language practices and use, these areas were: perspectives on the native speaker, pedagogy and practice (including the role of grammar), teaching culture (in terms of content and language use), and challenges relating to teaching and using the language such as incorporating culture and locating appropriate language learning opportunities, amongst many others. 126.96.36.199 Cross-case Analysis A cross-case analysis emphasising the focal cases, though noting relevant and significant examples and counter-examples from other 18 cases, was carried out for this study. The utility of the cases for further developing each theme was assessed (Stake, 2006) (Appendix H). This strategy has been used effectively in other theses in applied linguistics (e.g., Kouritzen, 1999) providing a greater sense of representativeness or typicality of the focal cases and issues that emerged or, rather, the uniqueness of certain aspects of their reported experiences, especially considering the selection criteria, reported on in the following section. Steps taken to ensure the credibility of data analysis included: spending time with the data, re-reading transcripts, reflecting on the research questions, and keeping a research journal of current categories, themes, and reflections. 33 3.6 The Participants 3.6.1 Participants in the Larger Study A purposive sampling method (seeking intensity and maximum variety) was employed for this study. The criteria for recruiting the sample of participants for this study consisted of the following: • Order and means of target language acquisition: language taught was participant’s second or later acquired language (L2+), and was not acquired in a bilingual/multilingual home context • Target language: non-English • Type of language: an equal number of European and Asian modern languages with a variety of languages within each group • Target language teaching experience: at least two years • Context: various teaching environments: elementary/secondary and university/college • Levels taught: various (beginning, intermediate, and advanced) • Gender: female and male An equal number of Asian and European language teachers were recruited to represent and reflect the diversity of languages taught as well as to take into account the factor of language family or type in shaping teaching and learning experience. Furthermore, diversity within the Asian and European language categories was sought so that data would reflect perspectives across various language teaching contexts rather just privileging one. A minimum amount of teaching experience was specified so that participants would have enough modern language teaching experience on which to draw and share in the interviews. Diversity of teaching contexts and levels was sought to generate a diverse sample and data not tied to any one particular context. The participation of female and male teacher- participants was sought in the spirit of diversifying the sample of participants involved in modern language education. As well, involving both was done with the goal of yielding a broader range of perspectives on teaching the language and culture, potentially including those relating to gender issues and language modelling. A general profile of participants is provided here and the four focal case participants are introduced briefly and then presented individually in Chapters 5 to 8. Tables 3.2 and 3.3 below provide profiles of participants for European and Asian languages respectively. 34 Table 3.2: Profile of Participants – European Languages Participant (gender) Target Language (TL) taught (experience years) Age of TL exposure L1 (first language) Nationality/ ethnic background Context and grade level Level(s) taught Kathleen (f) Italian (14) 18 English American (German & Swedish) University (100 level) Beginner Anne (f) French (14) 12 English Canadian Secondary 9-10 Beginner Evelyn (f) French (26) 9 English Scottish (6th generation Canadian) Secondary 9-11 Intermediate Maria (f) Spanish (3) French (3) 14, 13 Greek Greek Secondary 9-11 Secondary 8 Advanced Beginner Jerez (f) Spanish (15) French (15) 13 English Canadian Secondary 11-12 Secondary 8-9 Beginner Beginner Linda (f) Spanish (10) French (10) 19, 12 English Canadian half British, half German Secondary 9-11 Secondary 9-12 Beginner, Beginner& Intermediate Bernadette (f) Spanish (10) French (10) 18, 5 English Canadian Secondary 9-12 Secondary 8-9 Beginner-Advanced, Beginner Willa (f) Spanish (6) 22 English Canadian Secondary 10-12 Beginner-Advanced Hans (m) German (3) 6 English British Secondary 9-12 Beginner-Advanced Jan (m) German (4) 13 Polish Polish First Year University Courses Beginner Pavel (m) Russian (26) 10 Slovak Slovak University All Levels Beginner- Advanced 35 Table 3.3: Profile of Participants - Asian Languages Participant (gender) TL Taught (years of experience) Age of First TL Exposure L1 (first language) Nationality/ Ethnic Background Context Level(s) Taught Nancy (f) Mandarin (9) 15 English Canadian Secondary 9-12, 11-12 Mandarin Beginner- Advanced KD (m) Korean (14) 19 English USA Caucasian University summer Immersion Ages 7-18 Intermediate- Advanced, Various levels Pedro (m) Korean (3.5) 19 English USA/Brazil University level Beginner- Intermediate Laura (f) Chinese (15) 18 English British/ Canadian Caucasian University Level Beginner- Advanced Clover (f) Mandarin (3) Japanese (3) 14 15 Now English, Cantonese Chinese Secondary 9-10 Secondary 9-12 Intermediate Sally (f) Japanese (10) French (10) 24 English Canadian (Ukrainian & German) Elementary 6-7 Elementary level? Beginner- Intermediate Beginner Naomi (f) Japanese (12) 29 English Ethnic European (Nationality U.S & Canada) Secondary 9-12 Beginner- Intermediate Doreen (f) Japanese (14) 18 English Canadian (Anglo) Secondary 10-12 Beginner- Advanced Kage (f) Japanese (4) 15 Chinese (Cantonese) Chinese University level Private Tutor Beginner Beginner/ Intermediate Erika (f) Japanese (3) 21 English Canadian Secondary 8-9 Secondary 10-12 Beginner Intermediate Frank (m) Japanese (5) 30 English Canadian/ White/ Finnish Secondary 10 Secondary 11-12 Beginner Intermediate 36 As reflected in the tables above, participants in this study consisted of 22 modern language teachers residing and teaching in the Lower Mainland of B.C. with four participants teaching outside the Greater Vancouver area. Eleven participants taught a European modern language: French, Spanish, German, Italian, or Russian.11 Eleven other participants taught an Asian modern language consisting of: Japanese, Mandarin, or Korean.12 Sixteen female and six male participants werepart of the larger sample with the total for each gender (16 female and six male) evenly represented amongst the European and Asian languages. The overall average length of teaching experience for participants was 10.2 years. Amongst European language teachers, teaching experience varied between three and 26 years with an average of 11.9 years. Amongst Asian language teachers, teaching experience varied from3 to 15 years with an average of 8.4 years. Seven participants taught in a university context (three European, four Asian) and 14 at the secondary school level (8 European, 6 Asian). One participant (Sally) taught (Japanese) at the elementary level. As reflected in Tables 3.1 and 3.2, participants taught at various levels with the majority of participants (16) involved in teaching at more than one level. Just over half of the participants (12) taught their third or later acquired language (L3+), reflecting a multilingually diverse sample. The age of first exposure to the target language varied from age 5 to 22 for European and 14 to 29 for Asian language participants. Seven European-L2 and seven Asian-L2 participants began to acquire their target language in their teens. Just one European language participant (Willa) began to acquire the target language in her twenties, whereas as many as four Asian language participants began to do so in their 20s or 30s during this decade and later.13 11 Some European language teachers such as Maria, Jerez, Linda, and Bernadette taught two European languages, i.e. French and Spanish, a reportedly common combination. These participants ranged from being bilingual with respect to both languages (e.g. Bernadette), to having some working knowledge of one of the languages taught e.g. Maria. The latter are commonly referred to as generalist teachers in that are asked to teach a modern language outside their training/background to add to their teaching load/placement at a school. 12 Two Asian language teachers (i.e., Clover and Sally) taught two languages. Clover taught Mandarin and Japanese while Sally taught Japanese and French. Sally taught core French to her own classroom and indicated that she was required to do so as an intermediate teacher at her school. 13 One Asian language teacher, Frank, began to acquire Japanese at 30 while in Japan teaching English through the JET program. 37 Eleven participants identified themselves ethnically as Canadian, two as American, two as Chinese, and one each of European, Greek, British, Polish, and Slovak.14 Two Asian language participants indicated a dual identity, one through American and Brazilian parentage and the other, by means of becoming a naturalised Canadian after immigrating from the United Kingdom. Five participants reported an L1 other than English which consisted of Greek, Polish, Slovak, or Cantonese. Overall, in relation to English, all participants were native speakers or had become English dominant speakers in their daily professional activities. Nevertheless, all participants shared the trait of being non-native speakers of the language(s) they were teaching, a key criterion for participation in this study. 3.6.2 The Focal Participants Anne (French), Kathleen (Italian), Nancy (Mandarin), and KD (Korean) are the four focal participants selected to highlight the experiences, perspectives, and challenges of language teachers in this study. The criteria used to select them are outlined below. They are briefly introduced here since their experiences with teaching their L2 were so important in selecting them as focal cases. Much more elaboration and analysis of their data is contained in Chapters 5-8). Anne, a transplanted Manitoban who taught grade 9 and 10 French at a large regional secondary school east of Vancouver, believed she was effective in guiding students in understanding and using French grammar while maximising the use of French socially with students for rapport and modelling the language. An American of German and Swedish descent who also speaks French and German, Kathleen taught first year university Italian and freelanced as a translator-interpreter (Italian- English). Describing herself as “an Italian at heart” who aims for exclusive use of Italian by the end of her course, Kathleen viewed it as imperative to use the language in teaching and for students to do so as this was how she became engaged with it at college and linguistically progressed in and out of the classroom. Locally born and raised in Vancouver in an English-speaking family of teachers, Nancy had taught Mandarin for nine years at the secondary level at all levels. Though readily able to teach at various levels, she sometimes reported having to pause and think 14 Of the 13 who identified themselves as Canadian or American, half included information pertaining to their European heritage. 38 about or look up certain aspects of Mandarin, particularly concerning orthography, but believed that she possessed ‘good knowledge’ of Mandarin and could relate to most adolescent-students’ challenges in grammatical, orthographic, and other aspects of Mandarin. Born and raised in the U.S. and an English native speaker, Hong Kildong (KD for short) found most languages he encountered “fairly easy and not that challenging” but reported that Korean, his ninth additional language, was “definitely a challenge” both initially and at the time of the interview (Interview: KD, 04/21/04, p. 19). Given this challenge and his interest in Korean and linguistics, becoming a professor of Korean was the means to being a lifelong learner of the language. KD had taught university-level Korean for 14 years and though he had previously taught beginner first and second year levels, at the time of this study he preferred to teach at the intermediate-advanced levels.15 These four focal participants were selected based on the following criteria: • Target language group: an equal number of European (2) and Asian (2) language participant-teachers • Target language: two different target languages within each group • Teaching context: two participants from each of the key elementary-secondary and university level contexts • Case relevance to research problem and question: highly relevant • Interview data: potential for “thick” description • Teaching level: a mixture of beginning, intermediate, and advanced level teachers • Teacher’s self-reported L2 proficiency: various levels • Length of teaching experience: majority of focal participants with a minimum of five years of language teaching experience with as many as 14 years. • Gender: at least one male Diversity was the main criterion in pursuing a balance of perspectives and to reflect the breadth of data across the 22 cases in the larger sample. Choosing two European and two Asian language teachers reflected the two larger categories of target languages in this study: European and East Asian. Aiming for linguistic diversity within each set of languages reflects the diversity of languages taught by teachers in the larger sample within each of the 15 KD is also involved with Korean within an intensive summer immersion program for learners 7-18 where he acquired Spanish, Russian, and German as a student villager. 39 European and Asian language sets. The resulting pool of French, Italian, Mandarin, and Korean represents a cross-section of the overall sample and its diversity is reflective of the language teaching and learning opportunities in the Lower Mainland. In terms of each larger set of languages, one commonly and one less commonly taught language was sought. One French participant was selected because of the importance and pervasiveness of this modern language in the school system at all levels, since it is one of Canada’s two official languages. A second less commonly taught language (Italian, German, or Russian) was sought, as these too are offered in various Lower Mainland contexts but clearly have a different status and visibility than French. Mandarin was selected based on its popularity which continues to increase, while Korean was selected due to its status as a less commonly taught language though a local language of high interest, representing recent demographic trends (immigration from Korea, especially). Over time, there has been a growing interest in East Asian languages and culture which has been reflected in heightened demand for related programs and courses of study. For example, German, a previous commonly taught language, is offered in fewer contexts, and Mandarin in more. Additional information about the context of modern language education in B.C. is presented in Chapter 4. In terms of teaching context and course level, one goal was to avoid an emphasis on any one particular teaching context and level hence the criterion of two elementary- secondary and two post-secondary participants while taking into account other criteria. Based on a review of the interview transcripts and notes, cases that were both highly relevant to the research problem and question(s) and included thick qualitative data were preferred. For example, the tension between native and non-native speakers and simultaneously the concept of the native speaker as a resource were most vivid in Anne’s interview. The questioning and rejection of the concept of native speaker in KD’s interview contrasted with his use of it as a point of reference. Kathleen’s identity as a bilingual writer of fiction in Italian and English in addition to her teaching role was striking. Finally, Nancy’s personal anecdotes based on her learning and working experiences in China and Taiwan as a non-native learner of Mandarin strongly illustrated how these teachers’ non- native status enable them to draw from their language learning experience in the classroom and identify with students, as L2 learners, and with their particular difficulties in L2 learning. 40 A variety of proficiency levels was sought by avoiding participants with too similar a level of proficiency. The focal participants chosen reflect four different levels of reported proficiency, with two veering toward native-like, one mid-range and the other at the low end of the 5-point scale that was used. The criterion of language teaching experience, though noted, was not weighted as heavily, other than to limit the number of focal participants with somewhat limited L2 teaching experience (i.e., less than 5 years) for two reasons: 1) to attempt to ensure sufficient breadth of experience on which to share in the interviews and 2) so that inexperience would not emerge as a dominant reason for participants’ challenges. Participation from both genders was welcome and this equally applied in selecting focal participants. Of the 22 participants overall, six males were evenly distributed across both sets of languages. Given this fact and in an attempt to be representative of the overall sample population, at least one male focal participant was included. Although gender differences was not the main focus of the study, it was anticipated that participants’ gender might impact findings. 3.6.3 Choice of Pseudonym Participants were invited to choose a pseudonym for themselves and most did so. Some pseudonyms reflect participants’ target languages and cultures such as: Jerez, Maria, and Willa (Spanish), Hans and Jan (German), Pavel (Russian), or KD’s full pseudonym, Hong Kil Dong (Korean). Others such as Pedro (Korean) chose one related to their own heritage rather than the L2.16 3.7 Summary This is a qualitative multiple-case study focusing on four non-native teachers’ experiences in modern language. The research methodology, as outlined in this chapter, included a series of explicit principles related to case selection and data analysis. The following chapter provides more information about the context of modern language education in British Columbia (BC, and especially in the Lower Mainland of the province), where all case participants worked. 16 Pedro is the participant’s Brazilian mother’s surname. 41 Chapter 4: THE CONTEXT OF MODERN LANGUAGE EDUCATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 4.1 Introduction This context of this multiple-case study, the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, is described in this chapter. After an overview of the region, its various modern language learning opportunities, including rationale and goals at the elementary/secondary and post- secondary levels, are outlined. 4.2 Lower Mainland Context The Lower Mainland is the name commonly used for the region surrounding Vancouver in the southwest corner of the province of British Columbia and is home to over half of the province’s population and is comprised of the Greater Vancouver Regional Census District and the Fraser Valley census district. The population in the Lower Mainland was 2.2 million in 2001, when the study was first conceived, up 8.3% from the 1996 Census figures. About 90% of the Lower Mainland’s population is concentrated in the 21 communities of the Greater Vancouver Regional Census District (now known as Metro Vancouver). Major communities of Greater Vancouver include: Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley (both City and District), Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver (City and District), Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, and Surrey. The area also includes First Nations territories and unincorporated territories. More than half of the residents in each of Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby reported a mother tongue other than English in the 2001 Census (Statistics Canada, 2004). Surrey has a high concentration of residents who reported Punjabi as a mother tongue (15% vs. 5% average for the Lower Mainland), while Richmond had a high concentration of Chinese speakers (36% vs. 14% average). The Fraser Valley Regional District consists of the municipalities of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Kent/Agassiz, and Mission. Abbotsford has a concentration (13%) of residents who reported Punjabi as a mother tongue (compared to 5% average for the Lower Mainland) and German (6% in Abbotsford vs. 2% overall in the Lower Mainland) according to the 2001 Census. The percentage of residents reporting English as their mother tongue is greater in the Fraser Valley (80%) compared to the more urban Greater Vancouver district (62%). 42 4.3 Modern Languages in the Lower Mainland 4.3.1 Opportunities and Learning Contexts Elementary and secondary school systems offer a range of modern language learning opportunities from established programs such as French immersion and Mandarin bilingual programs, to individual language courses offered at various levels with beginner entry levels at various grades. A second language course is mandatory from grades 5 to 8 and is elective in grades 9 to 12. The following modern languages, also referred to commonly now as international languages in BC, are taught within the provincial school system and supported by the provincial Integrated Resource Package (IRP) curriculum documents for Grades 5 to 12: American Sign Language, Core French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Punjabi and Spanish.17 Various aboriginal languages are also taught in the province, which this study does not address, because they have a different status in the BC Ministry than the international languages described here. Post-secondary institutions, including universities and colleges, offer opportunities for learners ranging from study leading to a major or minor in a modern language to taking individual credit or non-credit courses. The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University are the two major universities in the Lower Mainland. The modern languages offered are similar to those offered in the school system, but with a much larger selection (including Indonesian, Hindi, Russian, and Swedish, for example) and though some students continue their language study at the post-secondary level, others begin in the many beginner entry level courses offered. Many such courses have online components and resources as well. Due to high levels of interest of heritage language learners at the post- secondary level, some institutional departments stream learners (e.g., Korean and Mandarin at UBC). Some local institutions, often run by volunteer groups as weekend community language programs for heritage language learners, offer modern languages such as Mandarin and Cantonese for children at various levels due to strong parental interest. The Ministry of Education provides support for French study under the Canada-BC Official Languages in Education Protocol and this includes funding for French immersion and Francophone programs for public and independent institutions (K-12), and some post- 17 Korean has had a provincial IRP as of 2006 (www.bced.gov.bc.ca accessed Nov. 20, 2008). 43 secondary institutions. As well, the Ministry of Education administers: the Summer Language Bursary Program, Official Languages Study Fellowship, Official-Languages Monitor Program, BC-Quebec Six-Month Bilingual Exchange Program, and the French Teachers’ Bursary Program. French literature and French language courses are available at several post-secondary institutions and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in French can be pursued at any of the two major universities. As well, Collège Educacentre provides education and training services in various areas to French-speaking adults in many locations in the province. The Alliance Française and Le Centre Culturel Francophone de Vancouver offer French language courses and cultural activities in Vancouver. Other language and cultural-specific institutes in the Lower Mainland include the Italian Cultural Centre and the Goethe-Zentrum at SFU for German, which offer language and culture-related courses for professional and personal interest or recreational purposes. Commonly referred to as Saturday or after-hours schools, heritage community-based organizations offer instruction in the heritage community’s language at local venues such as schools and community or religious centres. Private sources for hire are also available ranging from individuals offering language tutoring and instruction, to established private language schools such as Berlitz and numerous ESL colleges/schools. 4.3.2 Rationale and Motivation for Modern Language Education in BC The rationale or motivation for pursuing modern language study in the Lower Mainland varies amongst the diverse population of learners. The fact that acquiring a language enhances the learning of first and additional languages is promoted.18 There are also intrinsic purposes such as the challenge or intellectual and social enjoyment of doing so. A grade 11 second language course is required for admission to both universities in the Lower Mainland and this is a major motivation for students to take these courses. Instrumental purposes for modern language learning include obtaining access to post- secondary education, business or other work or career opportunities, such as in the foreign service. Differentiating oneself with knowledge of another modern language(s) is also advantageous in international marketing and finance. 18 Per www.bced.gov.bc.ca accessed Nov. 20, 2008 44 Increasing interest in acquiring or maintaining one’s heritage language drives many to enroll themselves or their children in some form of study. In fact, though post-secondary modern language enrollment in parts of North America, such as in the U.S., has decreased, heritage language learners are increasing demand for classes in certain languages due to their interest in studying their parents’ or grandparents’ native language.19 Some students at advanced academic levels such as graduate school benefit from knowledge of a modern language related to their field of study: e.g., majors in translation and interpretation; students of vocal music studying Italian or German; students of literature wishing to read works in the original language; or political science students wishing to research documents or works in languages other than English. Pursuing a modern language for purposes such as international travel is a source of motivation for some who choose to enrol at the secondary or university level or in non-credit courses. In addition to the above reasons, the rationale for acquiring some specific modern languages in this study is outlined below. 188.8.131.52 French French is studied because it is a world language with 128 million speakers worldwide and is one of Canada’s official, founding languages with approximately one quarter of the country’s population speaking the language.20 Instrumentally, building communicative competence in the core French program is advocated for expanding career opportunities in Canada and internationally in many areas such as business, tourism, and hospitality. Greater awareness of one’s culture, as well as developing positive attitudes toward Francophones and other cultural groups, are also included in the rationale for learning French. 184.108.40.206 German With approximately 100 million native speakers and a further 20 million non-native speakers, the status of German as being among the ten most-spoken languages worldwide, one of the working languages of the United Nations, and an official language of the European Union has resulted in a broad range of personal, educational and career opportunities becoming available in Germany and other German-speaking countries. 21 Its importance in the fields of science, engineering, and music provide another rationale for its study. German 19 BCATML newsletter summer 2007 per site www.bcatml.org accessed Nov20, 2008 20 Per www.bced.gov.bc.ca accessed Nov 20, 2008 . 21 Per www.cenes.ubc.ca/index.php?id=germanlanguage 45 is a common heritage language for many Lower Mainland residents whether from Austria and Germany, Switzerland or Liechtenstein. 220.127.116.11 Spanish The status of Spanish internationally and economic advantages associated with learning Spanish are just two of the reasons why people choose to learn Spanish. It is spoken by more than 417 million people worldwide (Austin, 2008). Various opportunities arise due to this province’s proximity to Spanish-speaking countries (including the U.S., where Spanish is now widely spoken by its large Hispanic immigrant population) and strong economic ties here. Spanish is a common heritage language for many Lower Mainland residents from Spanish-speaking regions of the world. Expanded national and international career opportunities are available in areas such as hospitality, tourism, and commerce. 18.104.22.168 Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Punjabi As with some European languages, the rationale for studying Mandarin Chinese includes extensive worldwide use of this language. Mandarin Chinese is spoken by 1.055 billion people worldwide, Japanese by 122 million, Korean by 75 million and Punjabi by 93 million people (Austin, 2008). Economic opportunities in different areas, especially in trade with East Asia, is also a practical rationale for acquiring both Mandarin and Japanese. Furthermore, B.C. has longstanding ties with countries of the Pacific Rim as well as the long-established presence and contribution of people of Asian origin in this province. As well, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and Punjabi are the mother tongues of at least 20% of Lower Mainland residents and acquiring these means being able to use this language in various areas for personal and professional reasons within the local community and internationally. 4.4 Goals of Modern Language Education in BC Though acquiring a language is a general goal based on various sources of motivation as outlined above, the context-specific goals of modern language education for the languages in this study are described below. 4.4.1 Elementary and Secondary Contexts Modern language programs of various lengths are offered within the public and private school systems in the Lower Mainland with later entry as a commonly-offered option. 46 The majority or participants in this study, 15 out of the 22 teachers interviewed, teach in contexts where the BC provincial IRP is a pedagogical guide and resource with prescribed learning outcomes, and instructional and learning strategies. A brief overview of the goals for international (modern) language education according to the IRP documents follows. 22 The components of B.C’s IRP for each international language are arranged under four curriculum organizers based on common reasons people have for wanting to learn a language. These organizers have been used to group the prescribed learning outcomes, suggested instructional and language-learning strategies, suggested assessment strategies, and recommended learning resources for each applicable grade level. They consist of: • Communicating: to communicate with other people • Acquiring Information: to acquire information for a purpose • Experiencing Creative Works: to experience creative works for enjoyment • Understanding Culture and Society: to interact with and appreciate another culture The IRP documents outline that these organizers allow teachers to focus attention on the most important purposes for studying a second language. In the “overriding aim of ... communication” the documents emphasise that suggested instructional and assessment strategies underline the practical use of the language and “de-emphasize the analytical study of grammatical theory as an end in itself.” Reference is again made to grammar in the recommendation that “[a]ssessment and evaluation do not focus on the mastery of grammar for its own sake.” The role of grammar instruction is described as supportive and “only to provide some useful strategies to facilitate communication and comprehension.” In accomplishing the overall goals above, the IRPs for many languages indicate that “teachers should use and encourage the use of target language” in most student activities whenever this is possible. With the goal of inclusion in mind and recognising that many ESL students make up the student population, the French, German, and Spanish IRPs indicate that when teachers use the classroom target language then “ESL students are placed on an equal footing with their classmates.” 22 IRP documents can be found at www.bced.gov.bc.ca accessed Nov 20/08 47 4.4.2 Post-secondary Contexts Seven participants of 22 in this study are university-based modern language teachers of German, Italian, Russian, Mandarin, and Korean. For that reason, a short description of the postsecondary teaching/learning context for those languages, particularly at the University of British Columbia (UBC), is provided in this section. 22.214.171.124 German The largest in Canada in terms of enrolment, according to its department website, the German Program at UBC aims to expose students not only to the German language, but to German culture, literature and history.23 Goals of the German language program at UBC are: 1) proficiency in writing, reading, listening, and speaking German, 2) development of cultural understanding and awareness and 3) development of autonomous learning skills.24 According to their website, the German Language Program promotes autonomous learning and the development of critical thinking skills through learner-centred approaches. Learners are expected to acquire communicative competence in what are considered the five proficiencies of language learning: listening, reading, speaking, writing and culture. German language program courses are “designed to develop active and creative communicative skills in listening, reading, speaking and writing. All levels of instruction deal with authentic language from many different areas, registers and periods”.25 Other language courses for specific purposes such as German for Reading Knowledge and Business German are also offered by the department. 126.96.36.199 Italian In terms of goals and objectives, the Department of Romance Languages at UBC aims to study, teach, and experience Italian from a multidisciplinary perspective and to go beyond the “language-leading-to-literature” model while simultaneously contributing to UBC’s commitment towards global citizenship through courses that expose students to the richness of the languages, literatures, films, cultures and civilizations of Italy. 26 Many of the department’s Italian courses are also of interest to non-specialists who wish to learn a second language or expand their knowledge of other cultures. 23 germ dept www.cenes.ubc.ca/index.php?id=germanlanguage 24 Ibid 25 Ibid 26 Per www.fhis.ubc.ca/fhis-home.html 48 188.8.131.52 Russian The traditional concept of philology is applicable here: students will learn any language better when they understand the people who speak it and study their literature, history, and culture.27 The goals and objectives of Russian at UBC, which is taught in the Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies, are both academic and practical. Courses provide background for the common goals of students who, according to the Department Web site, “aim for an academic career and choose either a graduate school in Russian, Comparative Literature, or Modern European Studies” however “other career choices” include journalism, politics, government, as well as broadcasting, translation, or work with international agencies. As well, reading courses which meet the linguistic needs of some students are offered. 184.108.40.206 Asian Languages: Chinese, Korean, and Japanese In order of enrolments, the Department of Asian Studies offers courses pertaining to Asian Studies, Chinese Language Studies, Japanese, Korean, Punjabi, Hindi, and Indonesian. More than two-thirds of all enrolments are in Asian Studies and Chinese Language Studies courses, and just under one-third are in Japanese. Korean represents approximately 3% of all enrolments.28 The department’s enrolments as a whole have grown threefold relative to 1995 and fivefold relative to 1990.29 The goals and objectives for Chinese at UBC are embodied in the mission statement of the Chinese Language Program, which is posted on their web site. It is our ultimate mission to serve all our students (both heritage and non-heritage) well by maintaining the highest standards of teaching and learning, in order to provide a learning environment that will inspire and enable individuals to grow intellectually, be prepared to live and work in a global environment, and achieve personal fulfillment.30 Meeting the needs of learners with diverse linguistic backgrounds is also a goal as separate courses are offered for heritage and non-heritage language learners. 27 Department Websitewww.cenes.ubc.ca/index.php?id=9216 for Russian 28 2005 data per site www.asia.uwc.ca accessed 11/29/08. Approximate percentage of 3% is calculation performed based on data provided on this web site. 29 Ibid. 30 Per www2.asia.ubc.ca/faculty/li/department/front.htm accessed 09/7/07 49 Korean is also offered at the post-secondary level and learning opportunities relevant to its study is elaborated upon in chapter 8 pertaining to focal participant KD. As with Chinese Studies, UBC’s Asian Studies Department is considered to be in the top tier of North American programs for Japanese as well.31 It offers Japanese at multiple levels, which, like Chinese, remains in extremely high demand attracting numerous linguistically diverse learners from within and outside the department, as well as from outside the Faculty of Arts. 4.5 Summary A multitude of modern language learning opportunities are available in the Lower Mainland of B.C., only some of which have been profiled here. Language education is offered in many forms and for a variety of purposes, ranging from academic and professional to conversational and personal. Trends such as the growing interest in studying heritage languages by immigrants and their children, in Lower Mainland Asian communities especially, and global citizenship figure in shaping learning opportunities and motivating language study. The following four chapters describe each of the four focal participants in turn— Anne, Kathleen, Nancy and KD. Each chapter provides a profile of the teacher-participant and an individual case analysis for in order to provide insight into their experiences and practices in light of this study’s research questions. Chapters 9 and 10 provide a cross-case analysis and discussion of language use and secondary themes respectively, noting commonalities and differences across these four cases in light of their experiences with relevant examples from the additional 18 participants in the larger study. Finally, chapter 11 concludes with a summary of major findings from this study including their implications. 31 www.asia.ubc.ca/department/about-us/our-department.html accessed 03/18/10. 50 Chapter 5: FOCAL PARTICIPANT: ANNE, FRENCH TEACHER I think that because I’m teaching FSL I have a good grasp of the grammar … 32I know there’s probably a lot of mistakes being made, uh, whether or not that’s important when you’re just speaking conversationally [with adults] or not, uh because we do it in English as well. But I think as a teacher … I’m, conscious of that and it is important to me…So I try to make sure that - and I think because of that, I speak slower and I am processing more things in my mind that just speaking off the top of my head (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, pp. 10, 16-17). 5.1 Introduction and Case Context Anne was a French teacher in a teaching site within a large regional secondary school of over 1400 students in a city in the Lower Mainland. The school took pride in its multiculturalism and over 35 language groups were represented at the school. Anne described the majority of her students as fluent English speakers. Many students also spoke Punjabi at home as their native language and she viewed them as bilingual individuals who were studying French as an additional language. Anne observed that she was able to associate French with students’ knowledge of English in the classroom since English was the dominant academic language for these and other students. In addition to French, German was offered by the Modern Languages Department at this school. Anne was one of six modern language teachers and she followed the provincial Integrated Resource Package (curriculum guidelines) to meet the provincial curriculum objectives for her French language program. 5.2 Profile I cannot see myself doing anything other than teaching…and I mean teaching French is it… I’ve been…going wherever the French is just to have the FSL…French is the area I want to be in…because my whole love is teaching the language. That’s why I’m not immersion based. I don’t want to teach math or science in the language. I just want to teach the language…and all about the language (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, pp. 85, 87). Anne’s vision of her role as a non-immersion teacher of French as a second language was reinforced throughout the interview and through her actions of transferring to schools to enable her to focus on teaching French throughout her 14 years of experience. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Anne initially taught French at the kindergarten to grade 3 level and described informally serving as the district French resource teacher prior to relocating to Lower Mainland B.C. She taught grades 9-10 at the time of this study. Anne 32 Appendix C outlines the transcription conventions used. In this case, ... refers to deleted material and underlined text to spoken emphasis by the participant. 51 shared that her first elective study of French had begun at age 12 in grade 7; however, upon further elaboration later in the interview, Anne indicated that her first language experience had been much earlier, from kindergarten through to grade 6 though she considered these earlier French classes to have been “…sort of an exposure. It wasn’t really a formal lesson or anything like that” (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 63). Grade 7 was when she first felt truly engaged in French language learning. Anne defined her level of proficiency as “adequate though needing some development.” She identified a basic and limited range of vocabulary as a factor influencing her level of proficiency and for this reason was limited in her ability to modify her language in different contexts other than with respect to rate of speech. On the other hand, Anne attributed her early interest and participation in French speaking poetry competitions as a contributing factor to what she believed was good pronunciation. In terms of identity, Anne viewed her affiliation as Canadian and defined her accent as probably sounding “more Anglophone than not” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 6). Her last meaningful formative language learning experience was participation in a month-long intensive language program for teachers at a college in Winnipeg, Manitoba just prior to relocating to British Columbia seven years ago. Overall, Anne viewed herself as an effective teacher of grades 9 and 10 French who was able to guide students in understanding and using French grammatical structures while maximising classroom use of the target language. She placed a high priority on relating to students and showed a high level of empathy towards them as language learners, according to her interview: I’m finding that it really helps to be able to … communicate with the students on their level and…make them feel comfortable with who you are. And I think that might be even more so, for FSL, because…you’re speaking in another language, you’re making them take risks and do things that they wouldn’t necessarily do and if they don’t feel that comfort level, then they’re not going to want to do that… Some… teachers…not necessarily [in] FSL, immersion as well, are not as open about their background or wanting to share information, or get down [to] their level. And the kids kind [of] shy away from them…because they don’t feel like they know or trust the person in charge…It’s really important for us to put ourselves out there on the line and…just make the kids feel really comfortable…and that we’re all taking risks. And it’s all about risks…I can tell the kids are trying to use [more French]…I know the comfort level…is there for them (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 84). Anne reported that she greeted and briefly chatted with students in French outside of the language classroom between classes to relate to them as individuals as well as to model 52 use of the language outside the classroom. From her experience, Anne intellectually and emotionally appreciated the role of risk-taking and comfort in learning and using an additional language. 5.3 Case Analysis Anne associated “native speaker” with length and frequency of language exposure within the familial and cultural context in which one was raised and socialised.33 She emphasised that the use of “idioms or things familiar to the culture” as highly connected to being considered a native speaker (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 7). In terms of how she positioned herself relative to this concept Anne reflected that: I’d be more at the other end of the scale than near the native speaking [end] because, again, just with…vocabulary and…not necessarily with…accent or…proficiency of using the language but just in terms of what you know about the language and the culture….I would definitely say because I haven’t travelled, I haven’t been involved in any of those kinds of opportunities, that I wouldn’t be able to identify truly with someone. I wouldn’t know everything in terms of background and knowledge, other than what I’ve just learned through the school system…So [I’m] definitely at different ends of the scale in regards to that (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 13). Anne viewed herself as an effective user of French with sound metalinguistic knowledge but as an outsider who lacked background and inside cultural knowledge due to her experience of studying and working with French in a primarily academic Anglophone setting. She cited spontaneous use of oral French as a challenge to which her focus on using correct grammatical usage contributed. Anne positioned herself as a former learner who was able to communicate in French effectively. She shared her status as non-native French learner with her students particularly after an incident in which parents’ associated her with being a native, complaining that she was “…speaking with this accent and it was too hard …[for students] to understand…and they need more English instruction to help them along you see ((chuckles))” (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 5). Although Anne was somewhat proud of this mistaken impression of native status, she shared the changes she subsequently made in presenting her background to the class: 33 Participants were asked to describe the term ‘native speaker’, how they perceived themselves as a speaker of the language(s) they taught, how they presented themselves to learners, as well as how they compared themselves to the ‘native speaker’ including the term’s significance for language teaching . 53 I now make a conscious effort to let my students know early on that I learned this language in the way they are now learning it….Up until that point, I never used to. I would just say that… I’ve taught in Manitoba, I’ve taught here, I’ve been teaching French…But I never said anything about my own personal learning. And since that incident…due to my speed and fluency…, I actually do put that [out] on my first day - a little explanation that I give to the kids and I actually say to them: “I am an FSL learner, just like you. I only took it in school from grade 7”…When they first come in, I give them a little French: “Hello, how are you?”...And they all kind of look at you: ‘Oh my goodness, what’s this course going to be? And then that’s when I say to them: “I’m just an FSL person like you. I learned it only in school… [I ] have no background. If I can do it, you can do it. If I can speak like this at this point, if you continuing to do your schooling, you’ll be able to do it too” (Interview: 03/19/04, pp. 11-12). Anne’s purpose in sharing her non-native status and background yet continuing to model greetings and conversation in French was to establish student trust and rapport as well as to motivate them. She viewed her roles of target language role model and learner as overlapping and reinforcing each other. Using anecdotes and aids such as mnemonic devices from her own experiences provided ongoing modelling for her students. Interactions with native Francophone teacher colleagues were generally described by Anne as unpleasant and that there was a general lack of acceptance of her and other non- natives as legitimate French speakers or teachers.34 She described herself as “looked down upon” when speaking to native French teacher colleagues at school and expressed her dislike of being judged (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 14). Anne contrasted this with her comfort level when she was with other non-natives of French and accounted for the polar difference in not having to worry about what another non-native was thinking whereas with native Francophone teacher colleagues she reported being preoccupied by their judgement of how she used French. Overall, Anne attributed her discomfort in speaking with native Francophone colleagues to some specific in-school experiences involving lack of acceptance and critical correction by colleagues. A few of us in the same district…have discussed this in regards to the same grouping of people…The people in charge of the French program at the school were native- speaking…and when they found out there were just straight FSL learning … teachers coming in to teach the FSL program …they were not very pleased…Anytime we would speak in the staffroom or in a meeting, we would get corrected all the time with our grammar and words…and we just learned not to say anything because it was rather embarrassing to have another colleague correcting you. I mean you wouldn’t do that to someone in English. So why is it okay to do that in French or any other language? And it really put a lot of the 34 In her interview Anne reported that the native Francophone teachers at her school mainly taught in French immersion and the cadre (Francophone) programs but that a few FSL classes, from time to time, would be taught by these native teachers. 54 people off in that district in terms of…just wanting to speak, outside of the classroom situation.… (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 14). Anne also relayed how her avoidance of being judged negatively by a native speaker was a contributing factor to her reluctance to present at professional workshops or meetings as she enthusiastically used to do in Manitoba. She found interactions between native and non- native teachers there to lack the animosity of her experiences in British Columbia, reflecting the recognition of both French and English as official languages in Manitoba. However, Anne also believed that the wide range of proficiency amongst non-native FSL teachers (which commonly included generalists) in the Lower Mainland also heavily influenced native-non-native relations in that: 1) native Francophones became frustrated with the lack of satisfying professional development outcomes at regional and provincial conferences when less proficient non-natives who required linguistic support participated resulting in the use of extensive English and 2) natives expressed concerns about French language teacher professional credibility and status given the wide proficiency range. While acknowledging the value of being corrected, Anne emphasised that the manner in which it was done as impacting how she received this feedback. [On the other hand] if you don’t get corrected you’re going to always say it the wrong way… I have no problems with people correcting something that they know is blatantly wrong and it’s going to cause problems with communication….It’s always been a sort of sharp [criticism]. And I mean this is true of our area anyways in terms of Immersion and the…Cadre programs …[Those] French programs are elitist groups and everything else, any other languages like FSL or German or Spanish, we’re down at the bottom and we’re to be looked down upon. [Sometimes] if we tried to initiate in French they would just switch over to English too because I think they felt it was just easier for them or…they didn’t like the pace of the conversation…We really…felt like we were looked down upon because we weren’t at that level of proficiency that they were (Interview: 03/19/04, pp. 19-20). Anne also perceived the negative tone of correction and code switching by Francophone native teacher colleagues to be reflective of a ‘hierarchy’ where modern language teachers and programs were given less priority and viewed as less important in contrast to French immersion subject teachers who tended mainly to be native Francophone. Overall, she attributed language proficiency and cultural affiliation as the key dividing factors between native and non-native teachers. On the other hand, the potential of a native colleague to serve as a mentor or resource person resonated in Anne’s depiction of a native colleague at her previous Lower Mainland school who promoted and strongly encouraged French language use amongst Anne and other 55 FSL non-native teacher colleagues. Anne’s tone changed to one of gratitude in her narrative account of how this individual regularly interacted with Anne and other non-native French teachers in French and encouraged them to use French with French-speaking adults in that doing so represented an opportunity. This interaction extended to monitoring her language choice. If Anne began using English, the teacher would kindly remind her to speak French. As a result, Anne reported being able to comfortably speak French with this teacher and started corresponding in French via e-mail with him as well as eventually with other non- native and a few native French colleagues. With this positive experience Anne became open to the idea that successful interactions with natives depended on the situation and individuals involved. In addition to her positive depiction of this experience, Anne went on to provide her criteria for using French with natives which encompassed: a lack of their critical judgement, a positive reaction to her use of French, and her perception that she was not being “talked down to” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 19). Outside of school Anne explained that her experiences with other natives varied and that her comfort level in interacting socially with them outside of school was similarly low. She described trying to speak to natives in French and explained her discomfort at the thought of making mistakes and how classroom-like or bookish she sounded. With her FSL background and knowledge, Anne recognised that she possessed very solid grammatical knowledge but found it hard to be able to readily apply this to interacting in French. Various strategies were adopted in anticipation of these social interactions. Anne described ‘thinking before speaking French’ and speaking more slowly as well as lowering the native expectations by informing them of her background in French. Emphasising her FSL teaching status was also used to encourage conversation that was contextually familiar to Anne about her career and to provide the opportunity for her to elaborate on how her experience with French had been largely academically-based. Anne found that using these strategies facilitated her comfort level so that she could speak and use what she knew. 5.3.2 Pedagogy and Practice The role of grammar in communication-oriented teaching in this context was clearly expressed in Anne’s statement that: The whole purpose of giving them that grammar-based instruction is so that they can then use the language themselves and be able to communicate in the language…I definitely think I am for a communicative approach…It’s really hard to do that effectively if you don’t understand 56 what you’re trying to say in a sentence…Getting them to use it as much as possible [is the goal]…But…the grammar is always there, it’s always the underlying factor… (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 61). Understanding grammar was thus presented as the key to facilitating students’ understanding of the language for Anne. She also related her own analytical bias and the focus on grammar in her French language training to her present affinity. Imparting the rules of grammar was important to Anne because they provided a sense of order and organization. Grammar was also emphasized to counter the perceived improper and incorrect use of French in a communicative context by students. Anne reported how teachers in her district strongly felt “the need to bring grammar back in as a focus” in their teaching and learning materials due to their finding that materials have almost deemphasised grammar and focussed on using the language (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 41). According to Anne the result has been that “…the kids are not…using it properly because they don’t know the grammar basis…We need to focus on the grammar and make sure that they are learning their grammar first” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 41). Anne also viewed the teaching of grammar as a priority in her present secondary school teaching context with older learners who were past the optimal period in their lives for additional language acquisition. Her experience of teaching younger learners was presented as a point of contrast where it seemed that more language exposure spontaneously occurred, without a focus on grammatical structures and principles. I have [taught] kindergarten and K to 3 was sort of altogether, and I found…it was more about…vocabulary words and just trying to get a sense of the word or a meaning of the word through things like songs or little interactions. And so it was more about the conversational part of the language. It wasn’t really about … structure of sentences and that type of thing…[It was] just doing vocab, in that sense…and then letting them hear how sentences might sound but not having them put sentences together (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, pp. 61- 2). In contrast, with older students Anne’s most effective strategy was associating French with their English to talk about grammar which involved making comparisons with English. She justified the use of English as an occasional tool to help students gain a conceptual understanding of French grammar in the belief that this understanding would enable them to effectively speak French over time. Depending on their stage of proficiency, Anne, however, found herself limited in using English as a tool with ESL students in her classroom. 57 Despite this penchant for grammar, Anne valued and acknowledged the significance of communicative language teaching. Her concern was “…making sure that…[students] understand where the basis of the language comes from” and that an understanding of grammar is integrated amongst the themes and concepts taught (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 41). Five percent of students’ total mark was allocated for spontaneous language use in the classroom outside of lessons and Anne integrated many opportunities for speaking to reflect the 50% oral component of the course as well as her goal of maximising French use. Anne’s pedagogy and practice was also guided by the student population in any given year as well as the teaching she was exposed to as a student. Anne described adjusting and revising strategies and methods that would work for the students she had. She attributed this practice to an increase in comfort and confidence in terms of her French language and overall teaching ability. For example Anne had greatly revised the current grade 10 course and was combining the grade 9 and 10 programs this year due to a her perceived lack of student preparedness. In addition to her training and increasing experience, some of Anne’s strategies were modelled after teachers she had had in junior high and high school and her positive association with those learning experiences. 5.3.3 L1-L2 Use Anne stated that she used French “…probably 90%” of the time in class and summed up her policy as: “That’s what we’re expected to do and that’s what I try to do” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 43). The message Anne relayed to her students was: “You’re getting this language, you should be using it. And if you don’t’ start using it now, you’re not going to feel comfortable using it later or you’re going to lose it” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 65). Anne believed that she did not have sufficient oral practice and experience in her language development and expressed that her practice was consistent with the goal of teaching in French except for the teaching of new or more abstract concepts. She described her L1-L2 policy in practice: …If it’s anything in terms of instructions or… activities, anything like that, it’s always in French. I would give them the notes in English and then what I always tell them…is [that] if it’s something where I know they already know this in French then I’ll give them that point in French because it’s something that they would know…If it’s…brand new vocabulary or grammar that...isn’t something you can act out or get across to them then [it’ll be] notes in English with examples in French. [I do] something along those lines…Until they can understand that [grammatical] association [with English], you can’t teach it to them [in French]. So I just try to focus on the things that they are learning in their English classes with 58 games and…activities…The French is still there it’s not just a case of explaining or reverting back to the English to make the point…The modelling is still there in the French. [I’m] using [English] as a tool but not as a translator (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, pp. 43-4). As well, Anne’s goal of maximum French use and the recognition that English could overshadow French led to her sharing her strategy of avoiding the use of English by incorporating acting, miming, and other actions. She described advising her students to make sure that they looked rather than just listened so as to not miss the visual components of lessons. In addition to strategies for maximising language use, repetition was also cited. Therefore with conscious and consistent discipline and effort, including preparation Anne viewed the goal of maximising language use as attainable. Though Anne viewed maximising the use of French as important, English was used to facilitate understanding of abstract concepts, particularly and usually in the teaching of grammar. She emphasised the use of English as a tool and justified it in describing an example of the native teacher’s experience with her current grade 10 class as “the problem with what happened last year” (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 36). Anne argued that “the kids weren’t able to make any association between what they were being told and what they understood … in their own language or…conceptually” and that despite having “a teacher,” “they just didn’t get any…knowledge that year…It’s as if they didn’t take French that year” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 36). Besides the lack of establishing connections between the language and students’ dominant academic language, Anne also addressed how the native French teacher’s lack of English proficiency resulted in behavioural issues in that “it just became a joke…[The] kids knew that this person didn’t understand English and they would start using English and…it just became a joke, it wasn’t even a class” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 37). In conveying this example, Anne pointed out how the lack of rapport between student and teacher was related to the latter’s lack of functionally bilingual status. Therefore, in addition to the reasons mentioned above, building student rapport was conveyed as another rationale for using English as a tool. 5.3.4 Culture “Getting more culture into the lessons” was identified by Anne as one of her greatest challenges due to her academically-based French background (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 82). She spoke of her lack of any French family background and “not having travelled or done anything that I can really bring to the class myself” as placing her at a cultural deficit 59 pedagogically (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 82). Anne addressed the teaching of culture by relying on secondary sources of textbooks and teaching-related materials to depict culturally- related events and foods to familiarise students with these. Finding developmentally and linguistically appropriate resources to use with her FSL students was also a factor as Anne found that most materials about cultural topics seemed to be targeted for more advanced learners. In terms of sequencing, Anne stated that she incorporated culture where she could. The challenge lay in her lack of a cultural frame of reference and Anne seemed frustrated by having to rely on teacher’s manuals since “…even then you’re not really giving them all that much knowledge…” (Interview: 03/19/04, p.80). Teaching current and useful expressions was a challenge and Anne shared her frustration over a lack of a frame of reference or even access to useful expressions as an FSL non-native teacher in that she was unable to pass on this current cultural knowledge to her students. Given her frustrations in addressing culture, Anne suggested that this was “…where the native-speaking teacher may have the advantage because they have something more that they can bring to the class and talk about, or someone who’s travelled or been somewhere and done something” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 80). Anne perceived her non-native status and limited target culture experience as limitations on her ability to effectively incorporate culture into her program. Thus, she relied heavily on instructional resources pertaining to culture in her context. 5.3.5 Challenges In addition to incorporating culture, the following challenges were identified by Anne as significant: maximising student use of the language, finding appropriate language learning opportunities for teacher professional development, and the school boards’ policy of assigning ill-prepared generalists to teach French. Though Anne felt that her students were effectively using French during structured activities and occasionally during other moments, she struggled with how to increase self- initiated student talk. She viewed her current methods as not providing students with “…the true sense of using [French] in context” (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 83). Anne wished for the opportunity to observe a teacher using communicative approaches effectively as she was unsure of how to proceed beyond her present repertoire. 60 Finding relevant and advanced language learning opportunities was also significant. Anne described looking into local college or other courses in French as well as continuing education programs. Her last favourable French language professional development had been at a college in Manitoba just before she began teaching in B.C. seven years ago. Her motivation for undertaking this intensive course was for its focus on using the language in a teaching context and she believed that it significantly boosted her oral skills and ability in terms of confidence. Anne relayed how most locally available courses were redundant in terms of potentially augmenting her proficiency and that she sought a course that would be challenging and difficult yet manageable. She identified her learning objective as the need to truly master what she was doing with French in the classroom after many years of teaching it. However, the French teacher-related programs which Anne had looked into seemed to be geared to the beginning French teacher. Therefore the lack of opportunities affected Anne’s ability to make further progress in using her French language skills in teaching. Anne related how she and her fellow colleagues have requested workshops for the purpose of “…provid[ing] something more about using our language and conversational type workshops, as opposed to what to do in your classroom…” (Interview: 03/19/04, p.26). She explained the rationale for this as follows: “I think we’re all fine with what we can do in the classroom. It’s learning to use our language where we lack confidence” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 26). Though Anne was aware of federally-funded French language bursary programs, her inability to travel at the time of this study impeded her participation. The use of generalists to teach FSL was a source of frustration to Anne and her colleagues and this practice affected them in terms of professional development, and had implications for teacher credibility in terms of competence, as well as articulation in terms of student preparedness. Anne outlined how “teachers…are being forced to teach FSL classes who have no French background whatsoever because you are a teacher in a pod [and] you have this many subjects [for which] you are responsible” regardless as to whether or not these are “subjects you are familiar with or have a background in” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 32). She defined the factor of a shortage of French language teachers as exacerbating this situation resulting in administrators “just having to fit [in] whoever has whatever amount” based on the cooperation or consent of the teacher in question who believes he/she “can handle it” (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 33). As a result Anne found that “we have a lot of 61 teachers at [the] middle school level, up to grade 8 [FSL]…who do not have French background or French knowledge at all” (Interview: 03/19/04, p. 32). Anne described the implication of this for professional development at conferences. And a lot of them are attending the conferences to try and gain that … and expect that they can gain that...So we’re the ones who tend to help and give some instruction or do things. But even that is frustrating because we’re there trying to learn and we become the instructors (Interview: 03/19/04, pp. 32-3). Therefore conference and other informal learning opportunities become teacher orientation sessions for generalists rather than growth opportunities for teachers such as Anne. Anne also expressed her surprise and dismay at the practice of assigning generalists to teach French given that she and several of her colleagues had to undergo scrutiny and proficiency testing prior to being hired as FSL teachers. A native speaker will interview you in French and you have to get through that. With all that you’d think you’d be qualified. [But…if you’re already in the system] or if you’re just being hired say to do seven English and one French [class], they’ll just say: “Can you do it…do you have any French [language] background…?” (Interview: 03/19/04, pp. 15, 33). Anne shared how she and her colleagues asserted their position favouring the use of French specialists for French classes and their subsequent disappointment with their district going ahead with the use of generalists. In addition to Anne’s belief in the injustice of this decision she stated being unable to imagine teachers teaching a subject of which they have limited or no knowledge or training. As well, Anne vehemently defined the ramifications of assigning generalists for language modelling and use, which she believed suffered as a result, as did student preparation. As far as modelling was concerned, Anne believed that as much as a teacher might work hard at what they were doing and carry out much preparation, it may or may not be possible to make up for a lack of linguistic ability. Anne cited correct pronunciation as a key concern based on experience she had with students who mispronounced until corrected by a trained teacher. Though she acknowledged her own need to improve her proficiency, Anne remained confident in her accurate pronunciation and language use as well as the ability to model it for students. In terms of maximising language use, Anne’s concern was rooted in her own appreciation of this challenge and she questioned how an untrained French teacher would maximise the use of French. Overall, she feared for the consequences on student learning. Anne believed that her present situation as a grade 9 teacher of students 62 who previously had had a generalist teacher was typical. She conveyed her frustration with the expanding range of levels amongst students: [I am] getting grade 8s from the middle schools [and] I already see what it’s doing. The kids are coming in with all different [levels]…I mean it’s bad enough from their elementary school [experiences] that they are coming with all different backgrounds… we expect that! But now it’s middle school as well. It’s later on when you expect that they’ll have even more knowledge of the language and they’re not! It’s like they’re coming right out of elementary school again and we’re starting from square one. We’re teaching the basics in grade 9 … that should have been taught in grade 6 (Anne, Interview: 03/19/04, p. 36). 5.4 Summary of Salient Issues Anne’s experiences both professionally and socially contributed to her conception of the “native speaker teacher” and how she related to this concept as a non-native of French. Her role-modelling, selectively bilingual teaching style, and excellent rapport with students were features which she considered to be key advantages related to her status and experience as a non-native learner and teacher. However, interacting with native teacher colleagues for the most part has been characterised by hostility and judgement resulting in considerable tension and stress. On the other hand, positive support provided from some native colleagues who have used their status as a resource for non-native colleagues was also highlighted and swayed Anne away somewhat from her previous, more critical perspective of native French teachers. Communicative language teaching was reported to be the methodology driving Anne’s teaching and hence maximum French use. The importance of grammar as a fundamental of the French program was conveyed as was associating French grammar with that of English as a pedagogic tool. English was also used to provide explanations for student questions about complex concepts. These practices justified the use of English for Anne though, as a tool, she has not found it to be very effective with ESL students at beginning level in acquiring English. In terms of L1-L2 use, Anne saw herself as a teacher who used French approximately 90% of the time with the exception of days on which she was teaching more abstract and new grammatical concepts. English was then used as a tool to aid student understanding. Anne conveyed that maximising her use of the language while teaching communicatively was a challenge. 63 The main challenges of incorporating culture into the program, maximising student use of the language, locating relevant language learning opportunities for more proficient teachers, and concerns about the assignment of generalist teachers were expressed. Incorporating culture and current French language expressions was challenging due to a lack of experience and frame of reference. Relying on teaching materials including textbooks was a compensatory strategy for Anne, though she expressed frustration over the lack of current colloquial expressions contained in these. Helping students use French in authentic contexts was another challenge for Anne. Finding relevant, appropriate language courses for linguistic improvement beyond basic language skills and classroom pedagogy has been an obstacle to further linguistic development. Anne defined the use of generalist teachers as a pedagogical challenge as well as a challenge to her credibility as a French teacher. Students were found to be inadequately prepared thus exacerbating the range of multiple levels of proficiency which already existed in any given classroom. 64 Chapter 6: FOCAL PARTICIPANT: KATHLEEN, ITALIAN TEACHER …If [I] were [speaking it] on a daily basis, you know, like if I were married to an Italian I, I think I would be able to say that I was a native speaker, if I was speaking every day… (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 16-17). I can remember the first time I woke up and realised that I’d been dreaming in Italian and I was so excited, I was like: “I’m fluent in Italian!” (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 9). 6.1 Introduction and Case Context Kathleen has been an Italian language instructor in UWC’s Department of Romance Languages for 14 years and though she taught beginner-level Italian at the time of this study she also previously taught at the advanced 300 level. UWC, a pseudonym, is located in Greater Vancouver (and shares characteristics with UBC, profiled in Chapter 4). Other Romance languages taught in the department included French, Spanish and introductory- level Portuguese and more than 70 instructors served as continuing faculty, lecturers, and teaching assistants involved in sharing their expertise and passion for their languages. In terms of Italian, the aim of the department was to teach and enable students to study and experience the language in a multi-disciplinary fashion. Given this view, its faculty was made up of a team of teachers and scholars from various departments with expertise in many fields of study and this was reflected in the menu of courses offered. Overall, the program aimed to reflect the status of Italian over the centuries as a culture that has had an impact worldwide in many areas. Seven faculty members including Kathleen were engaged in teaching Italian and all but Kathleen were natives of this language at the time of this study. She described relations amongst Italian colleagues as being strictly professional (i.e. discussing course and exam content) and Kathleen enviously commented that Spanish language colleagues in the same department, in contrast, actively got together and presented various non-teaching related topics in Spanish amongst themselves for linguistic enrichment and challenge as well as personal interest. The department offered a minor program of study in Italian and Anne’s students comprised a variety of backgrounds linguistically and culturally. Italian heritage speakers regularly enrolled in her classes (making up about a quarter of the class), as did speakers of languages other than English in addition to monolingual English speakers. Though non- 65 heritage students initially perceived their heritage language peers as possessing a competitive advantage due to their understanding and knowledge of Italian, Kathleen observed that this advantage quickly diminished. Heritage learners spoke various dialects that were not always mutually intelligible and their metalinguistic knowledge was at the same novice level as that of others. With respect to her teaching methods, before moving onto the technical aspects of the course’s objectives Kathleen began with the class brainstorming familiar Italian vocabulary and aspects of culture, which usually began with food (e.g., prosciutto, pizza, etc.) and expanded into other areas including music. She found that this initiated students into a conversation about Italian and recognition of the influence of Italian in various disciplines. Kathleen worked to engage students in Italian culture throughout the course by taking advantage of related opportunities in the Lower Mainland including viewing Italian films and participating in events at the Italian Cultural Centre. 6.2 Profile Born in the state of the New York, Kathleen, a native speaker of English, defined her first exposure to Italian at age 18 during first year university “to fill in an empty hour” in her schedule (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 1). This experience led to her pursuit of a double major in Italian and French.35 She described herself as an American of German and Swedish descent who had become a near native-like speaker of Italian and also spoke reasonable French and German.36 Her acquisition of Italian had taken place in various settings, including academic study (initially in the U.S.) as well as socially and professionally in Italy and then in Canada. Besides collecting cultural ‘artifacts’ for her own interest and use in her classes, Kathleen sought opportunities to use and interact with others in Italian and regularly freelanced as a translator and interpreter as well as prolifically writing fiction in both Italian and English. Kathleen provided a detailed account of how and why she acquired Italian: I just, um, took a course…I was going to major in French and I just absolutely fell in love with the [Italian] language…The Italian…was just a kind of recognition…I have to say I must have been Italian in a past life because as soon as I heard it was like: “Yes, this is it!” And when I went to Italy it was as if I’d been there before. I just felt completely at home…And…so I continued with it and then decided I wanted to do a double major in French and Italian.…There was an Italian Club and I was involved in that and then my 35 Kathleen shares that she had to lobby for her ability to pursue a double major in Italian and French as this was conventionally not offered at her institution (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 1). 36 Kathleen rated her proficiency as ‘4’ on the scale ranging from 1 to 5 in this study’s questionnaire. 66 teacher [in] second year suggested that I try and get into an exchange program for my junior year so I did that. I spent the third year in Pavia, [in the north of] Italy, [35 km south of Milan]. [I learned Italian here] …and…not just in the classroom. I mean…some of the classes were still part Italian, part English, but it was having to live there and find a place to rent and buy food and that was where I really started to acquire it (Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 1- 2). While in Italy, Kathleen described herself making “a real effort” unlike her fellow American roommates who would ask her to carry out day to day transactions and interactions, such as speaking to the landlord, on their behalf (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 9). Interacting with and eventually befriending local Italians further increased Kathleen’s confidence and linguistic and cultural knowledge. …I was teaching English…and one of the little boys in my class, I ran into one day on the street, and offered him a gelato and then he said: “Do you want to come meet my mom?” So I went upstairs to his house to meet his mom and she and I became great friends….That opened up a whole other area where I would just go [over]. She…is a seamstress. And I would just go over to their place in the afternoon and while she was sewing we would talk and listen to the Italian Hit Parade on the radio…Then a whole kind of family vocabulary… would [open up to me to] acquire…and then playing with the kids and so on. And each time I went [back to Italy]…and had to look for a new place to stay, I’d stay with them first until I found a place…I didn’t’ see them for … 25 years and finally a year ago Christmas we went…and saw them again for the first time…[though we had been corresponding regularly] (Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 9-10). Upon returning home to the U.S. to complete her last year of undergraduate study, Kathleen talked about vividly wanting to go back to Italy after graduation and described this intent as “all I could think of…” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 3). As planned, she returned and lived there on her own for two years on a work visa initially teaching English at a private school. However this role was short-lived, lasting about two months after which time Kathleen sought employment elsewhere. Looking back at the brevity of this experience she reflected that: “I had no teaching experience and these kids had no interest in learning English, none” (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 3). In order to support herself, Kathleen found every kind of odd job she could including work in a dentist’s office as a receptionist and sweeping floors for an orthodontist. So that’s where I really became fluent…I stayed the whole two years…[and found] my vocabulary…expanded. And I did…some translating and interpreting work. It was hard to find it but when I could I did that. I worked as an interpreter at the Milan Trade Fair one spring and that was a baptism by fire…They called us interpreti volanti, flying interpreters, because they would just sort of call you at whatever booth or stand they needed you. …It was exhausting!...You couldn’t really prepare any vocabulary…so it was quite something… And…I had a part-time job for Inglis…a refrigeration company that had an office in Milan 67 and so I’d go in every morning and I just sort of ran the office and did all the English Italian correspondence and so on. So all those different contexts were just great (Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 3-4). Kathleen’s willingness, drive, and interest to place herself in a variety of situations requiring the use of Italian pushed her linguistic ability and paid off in the form of what she conveyed was current comfort and confidence using Italian in diverse professional and personal contexts for a variety of purposes. She went on to successfully complete a Masters of Arts degree in Italian language and literature as well as a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing in English. 6.3 Case Analysis 6.3.1 Native Speaker (NS) I sound almost native… ‘I really am Italian!’...I tell my students: ‘Sono Italiana di cuore’ ‘I’m an Italian at heart’…Sometimes I…listen really carefully in conversations among Italians just because…I’ll make a grammar mistake here and there or a vocabulary mistake and then I’ll listen and realise: “Well … other people, Italians do that too in Italian, just as we do it in English, you know?” [I am near native because]…the right word just doesn’t come at the moment or…so I think very, very close to native…In interpreting work and so on, I always have Italians asking me where I’m from in Italy and being really surprised that I’m American… (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 6, 8, 12). Kathleen closely identified with being a (near) native speaker of Italian and was self- forgiving when noticing her linguistic lapses given that she compared mistakes made in Italian with those of natives and found that they, too, committed similar errors. She expressed her delight at being identified as native by Italians and attributed this to her extensive and diverse background and experience in Italian language and culture as well as the good fortune of having “an ear” and the ability to speak with a native accent (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 6).37 Acting experience also attributed to the “quality of being able to mimic,” in this case pronunciation and accent (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 6). Kathleen recounted a situation where Italian natives assumed she was a fellow Italian: …I helped produce the Italian radio program on CLTI for two, three years and people who only knew me from the radio show had no idea that I wasn’t Italian. And they’d meet me, like I’d go to an Italian banquet at the cultural centre or something and then they’d meet me and they’d just go: “What? You’re Kathleen? You can’t be! You don’t look Italian!” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 6). 37 Kathleen shares that her ability to speak with a native accent extends to German as well (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 6) 68 Based on her oral ability and performance, this passage reflects how Kathleen was perceived to be native on the radio until her identity was revealed in person. Kathleen considered her ability to think in Italian as a mark of a native speaker and a contributing factor to her fluency. She shared that: I think I’m very, very close…And I guess, one thing that would make me feel that I’m so near to the native speaker, is that…if I’m not just like in a teaching context, but if I’m in the middle of an Italian conversation or interpreting, I will be thinking in Italian. I’m not going: “English, okay, that’s such and such.”…If I’m speaking in Italian, I’m thinking in Italian…ever since I lived in Italy…(Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 8-9). Frequency and level of use were considered by Kathleen to be factors affecting her proficiency and simultaneously vital prerequisites to sustaining and keeping current in the language. She credited her ongoing interpreting and translating work and writing as keeping her current and active in her use of Italian and reflected on the consequences of limited opportunities to use Italian: It’s…a function of how much you use it too…Last year I taught 300, so I was able to use a lot more vocabulary and so on, but mainly over the last 13 years I’ve been teaching just Italian 100. So if you don’t make an effort to have other conversations and so on then that…narrows the vocabulary…At this point probably if I had to have… a really difficult philosophical discussion with someone I might be a little slow in coming up with some of the terms…But the other day, with this interpreting job, I really had almost had no preparation. They… didn’t give me any material beforehand…and I was able to…convert everything into English pretty easily (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 8). Beyond being highly proficient (native-speaker-like) as teacher, Kathleen was a confident bilingual user due to experience and her initiative in gaining cross-lingual experience. In addition to keeping current linguistically, Kathleen’s writing helped her draw on her cumulative knowledge of and interest in Italian culture. [The piece I’m writing has] lot of… autobiography to it...As with any fiction, I mean a lot of it is just… autobiographical…It’s about a woman…who’s… almost 80 or almost 90, … looking back over her life….She’s American, but she had lived in Italy and her granddaughter has fallen in love with an Italian so that has sort of brought up all her regrets, and memories and everything… [She asks herself:] “Why didn’t I stay in Italy, why didn’t I marry the Italian?” and so on... When I lived there…I felt so much a part of the culture that…that’s one of things I talk about in the story that, the La Feinte Italiana, has to remind herself when she reads about the economic boom, the boom economico of the 60s or she reads about… these things that you would only know if you lived in Italy…Everybody in Italy still knows that… the one thing, the one good thing you can say about when Mussolini was in power was… that all the trains ran on time…Things like that you would never know from studying Italian in a classroom, right? So I think I have … certainly not the same [knowledge] as someone who’s lived 50 years in Italy, but I have a whole lot of the [background in] culture because… when I was there I was just like a sponge of taking everything in. And especially being in the family there… and watching TV with 69 them…[listening to all] the comments they would make or, hearing the songs that the kids would sing or…just so many contexts. You pull all this information in (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 13). Based on her in-depth cultural familiarity and knowledge, Kathleen indicated that her Italian proficiency was near-native though reported being aware of differences between herself and a native speaker. She defined “the quickness of coming up with expressions” that are idiomatic as one difference in addition to clearly articulating and formulating thoughts in Italian less frequently in comparison to a native speaker (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 13-4). Compared to spoken Italian, Kathleen perceived herself as more competent with the written word in that, when speaking, she lacked access to the wide range of rich “vocabulary that will come up” when writing (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 13). She was again lenient in her self-assessment, acknowledging that “nobody uses that much vocabulary on a day to day basis (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p.13).” …In the last two years I’ve started writing fiction in Italian…When I was doing my Master’s in Italian...I was writing in Italian...[and] then I hadn’t for like 20 years…All of a sudden this story came to me in Italian and actually I sent it to a competition in Italy which had a category for non-native Italians writing in Italian and I got an Honourable Mention in that category. And so then I kept [writing in Italian]. I’ve written two other stories that… sort of follow from that and I’ve realised that it’s becoming a novel now. And I actually want to write… the whole thing in Italian and then the whole thing in English. It won’t be like a literal translation, it’s like writing it twice… But so what I’m saying is, when I write something in Italian, I’m just absolutely amazed at what I can say. I mean… it can be complicated, it can be very, very erudite… I mean amazing things [happen] stylistically just almost as much as I could do in English as a writer (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 12-3). Kathleen saw herself as an effective and competent writer of Italian who has merged her creative writing and Italian language abilities to pursue her interest in both areas. In doing so she has forged a multifaceted identity as teacher, writer, and interpreter-translator as well as perpetual cultural anthropologist. To Kathleen a native speaker was one who “…was born in the country …where that language is spoken or possibly…not in the country, but with both parents speaking it in the home, and so they grew up [speaking it]” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 7). Her other criterion for the term was use of the language for “a few years in early childhood [before] the second language came in” and Kathleen recognised situations of migration (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 7). Given that her definition emphasised early home use Kathleen viewed her 70 status as distinctly non-native rather than native regardless of proficiency. However her interest, experience, and drive, resulting in her status as a self-acknowledged near-native and someone commonly mistaken for native, have ‘compensated’ for any lack of early linguistic experience, and, if anything, have resulted in a unique vantage point. Kathleen reported sharing personal anecdotes and experiences with students during relevant teaching moments and believed that “it is valuable that…I came from the same place that they are…” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 53). She brought up her various learning and out- of-class activities in Italian, including her Italian writing, as examples or points of interest. Modelling what can be done with Italian outside of the classroom was one such purpose, such as: [talking] about…some of my interpreting work. For instance… two or three years [ago] I interpreted…for [the Italian singer] Andrea Bocelli when he was here…so I tell them about that. And I actually have a tape of [when] I was interpreting for him when he was on television…so sometimes I’ll show them that tape, because it…ties in too…[that] this is what you can do with the language right? (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 50). Kathleen was highly cognisant of the fact that she could “sometimes bring even more than a native speaker” to students from her vantage point and experience including showing them “connections between words [etymology]” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 52). She mentioned that she used personal anecdotes to illustrate concepts such as one ‘honest’, sometimes amusing, linguistic mistake and the logic behind the error. I’ll tell them sometimes about certain expressions that for years and years I misunderstood or said wrongly… and thought…There’s one… when something is really, really expensive in Italian you say: “Costa ira de Dio” which is literally ‘it costs the wrath of God’ okay? I went for years thinking it was “Lire de Dio” that lire, the unit of money in Italy, right? It would make more sense if you’re saying that something costs…in lire, like dollars…So things like that I can share with them whereas a native speaker would never have made that mistake, you know? So I, I find that fun (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04 pp. 53-54). Kathleen’s ready access to personal examples from her learning and acquisition experience might help students avoid similar pitfalls and simultaneously served as a means of building rapport through openness and humour. Having gone through the challenges of acquiring Italian, Kathleen could readily relate to those experienced by her students. In terms of relating to native Italians professionally and socially, Kathleen described herself as doing so with ease and, in fact, welcoming opportunities to interact with them. She viewed such opportunities as providing further access and exposure to the language and culture. 71 I worked for…[a] fellow…at the radio station who now [publishes] the Italian newspaper locally and I actually worked at the newspaper office for several years too. So that was a lot of taking all the calls and everything. I speak to him regularly but…it’s definitely not on a daily basis. If it were on a daily basis, like if I were married to an Italian…I think I would be able to say that I was a native speaker, if I was speaking [it] every day. [When I come across a native]…somehow it usually goes back and forth [between English and Italian]…If I know that… if I can speak Italian with someone I will... (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 16-7). There was no hesitation in her reported use of Italian with natives, but instead a determination to maximise language use. Though she reported that code-switching occurred between English and Italian naturally at appropriate moments, Kathleen reported that she preferred using Italian as she knew she could confidently and effectively do so. At work, her Italian colleagues mainly used Italian amongst themselves with some code switching which Kathleen viewed as “the usual when in a conversation with people that have two languages…just ‘cause your mind does that” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 20). Overall Kathleen had some exposure to Italian everyday and quantified it as at most a quarter” of the time (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 32). She attributed her writing in Italian as providing consistent and regular exposure to the language both through this act itself and as a member of a native writers’ group that met regularly. I’ve just recently started working with a small group of people…[who are] all native Italians…writing fiction in Italian. So there’s three or four of us [and] we each come up with like a title to write on and… have… a month to write and then we get together and read each other’s work and comment… (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 25). Kathleen’s ongoing exposure in a variety of contexts has served her well in maintaining and growing in her Italian proficiency. Regardless of all this exposure and experience, Kathleen aspired to again spend an extended period of time in Italy or other target language environment. She described her goal of wishing to be “…at the absolute top linguistically and…to have even more interesting things to tell [students about Italian]…” (Kathleen, Interview: April 5, 2004 pp. 52) as well as “speaking at a [higher] level… talking about politics, talking about philosophy, talking about the state of the world, all that, day and night for however long, so that I would just bump [up]…my current vocabulary…” (Kathleen, Interview: pp. 24). Despite this goal, she believed there was nothing lacking linguistically in her Italian classroom based on proficiency. Though she recognised and believed that the ideal solution would be to take part in a program in Italy, professional and family commitments were an obstacle. In attempting 72 to meet this goal locally, she defined the challenge of finding a program suitable for her level of proficiency and one that met her needs. Given this state of affairs Kathleen accessed the native speaker as a linguistic and cultural resource and described how she used other strategies to work towards her goal. As reflected in her description of collecting ‘artifacts’ while on a recent trip to Italy, Kathleen was, similarly, a collector of what is new and current in Italian language and culture. I usually… try to… ask my friends in Italy…This week I was asking some…people that were here from Torino…I was asking them, “Okay, what’s the latest way to say ‘cool’ in Italy ((laughs))?” I just want to make sure there’s nothing new… I think just the fact that I do translating and interpreting always keeps me in there…There’s always…a new lexicon that I’m acquiring [for] whatever it is I happen to be interpreting ! …[Other things I do are] reading and going to Italian web sites and uh, what else? (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 14). Relating to ‘native’ students in her classroom took the form of interacting with heritage language learners who had often learned an Italian dialect in the home. In terms of the makeup of students in the classroom, there were “always” Italian Canadians in the class whom Kathleen viewed as “…not really very good speakers” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 17). Kathleen believed she did not “…differentiate” between the Italian heritage language learners and the true beginners by addressing them more often in Italian, or doing anything differently with them (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 18). Her justification for this was related to heritage language learners’ motivation for study as well as their main exposure to dialect in the home. Kathleen described their length of study and the level to which they advance as varying widely. Some progress to senior level courses while others are involved for the first (one) year for their language credit requirement. She found that many believe the course is going to be virtually effortless, given their background, and are then surprised to have to “unlearn all the dialect and learn proper Italian” (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 21). However, the presence of these students perceived to be bona fide native speakers by other beginners in the class, initially, had a detrimental effect on classroom morale. Kathleen found the perception of advantage as “always an interesting issue at the beginning of the year” in that: The Anglo-Saxon students see that the Italian Canadian students are understanding… or that they’re answering in Italian initially, and they’re thinking: “This isn’t fair, they already know Italian”…and…students come up to me and say: “Well it seems like everybody knows way more than me and they already speak Italian.”…This lasts maybe 1 or 2 weeks and then they’re probably even, the Italian Canadians are where everyone else is, if not farther behind, because they don’t have any of the grammar and they’re suddenly realising that a lot of the 73 vocabulary, the words in dialect, are nothing like the words in Italian…(Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 21). An ongoing challenge was addressing non-Italian students’ perceptions and the effect on classroom morale as well as helping heritage language learners build on the interest stemming from their home language. 6.3.2 Pedagogy and Practice …The reason I’m much more interested in the communicative approach is just because that’s what brought me into it. It was just so much fun to hear Italian and to speak Italian…I mean… I’m not just there to teach grammar in another language, I mean the fun part is communicating.…You don’t want to [forget the grammar]… you need that…infrastructure…You don’t want to be building on incorrect patterns and so on…but I like the way the books, more and more, will bring a certain vocabulary and then they’ll use that vocabulary in all the grammar exercises so that you’re really getting a whole [context whether] it’s shopping or fashion or whatever. And all the exercises, even though they may be past tense, imperative, or future tense, they’re still using that vocabulary so you’re getting that whole [context]… (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 35-36). Kathleen attributed the successful use of the communicative approach in her learning experience as a motivating factor in learning Italian. She was therefore an advocate of this approach in the language classroom. The use of previously introduced context-related vocabulary was cited by her as meaningful for students and its repetition provided continuity and a sense of cumulative knowledge. Oral practice and repetition whether of vocabulary or other aspects of language was also important to Kathleen as part of her focus on using the language as much as possible while “laughing and having fun” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 40). Communicative language teaching and learning, according to Kathleen, also occured in the form of Italiano virtuale (virtual Italian) where students worked in small groups about six times during the course to increase their ability and confidence in interacting in Italian. Kathleen related how she used to have students do presentations in groups on an optional topic of choice and on the value of this as a learning experience. However these group presentations were eliminated due to insufficient time to present. Student writing in Italian was another cornerstone of Kathleen’s use of the communicative approach which involves regularly applying Italian. Students kept a year-long diary in Italian once or twice per week to encourage regular attempts to use the language and four compositions were handed in for evaluation. The first was a self-portrait (autoritratto), followed by a protrait of one’s family, a diary entry, and then in the second term a long poem in Italian or a letter to a mentor (maestro). 74 In carrying out her teaching Kathleen used various audio and visual media of personal and cultural interest such as music and movies to engage student interest as well as to illustrate concepts in a meaningful cultural context. In addition to prompting conversation, song lyrics were used as a cloze listening exercise with students filling in the blanks with missing words. Kathleen also regularly enjoyed incorporating films such as Caro Professore (Dear Teacher).38 Besides engaging the students in humour in an Italian context, the film illustrated some of the cultural discourses of school. These guiding practices have been reinforced by Kathleen’s teaching experience with some minor changes being made along the way based on student background and needs. Kathleen related how the expectation of textbook content coverage by her department certainly affected the amount of enrichment and support activities that can be incorporated. Kathleen spoke of the “whole grammar element” as a reality of her teaching a university level language course albeit in a communicative context (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 47). She believed that students need to be able to use verb tenses and “have vocabulary for different contexts” such as home and shopping (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 28). Though such description could readily have made aspects of the course technical, Kathleen prefaced her teaching of grammar by showing how it gives the language user tools. For example using the subjunctive would show intent in terms of whether you really mean to say something. She also used a comparative approach in relating what students are learning in Italian grammar to English grammar. A challenge with respect to teaching grammar was students’ general lack of an English grammatical frame of reference (metalinguistic knowledge), so Kathleen spent a lot of time teaching or, rather, reviewing English grammar. [The most difficult aspect of teaching Italian to my students]…is…that… the majority of them are not that clear on their English grammar…So I find that I’m actually having to spend a lot of time teaching them grammar period in order [to know the Italian…[It] isn’t required, but I always suggest that they get the book English Grammar for Students in Italian…As usual, only the best students get the extra books like this and it’s the others who need it. [This book]… shows the parallel in Italian… So it’ll go: “What is Past Perfect in English? In Italian?” And then it sort of contrasts them and it says what to be careful of and then it’ll give a few examples. [Sharing] ways that I’ve learned to remember things, little [mnemonic devices and making positive connections is also helpful]…With the subjunctive…they’re all like, “Subjunctive what’s that?”…And I just say: “I love the subjunctive. You get to figure out do you really, do you need to use this? Does it fit this category or this category? It’s not just a boring tense like the future where you just change the ending.” …So I like to preface 38 This comical film is about a northern Italian teacher who goes to teach in a school in the south. 75 even grammar with…how it’s fun because you need to figure out do you need the [tense or part of speech] or not, and that kind of thing (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 42-3, 54). Using students’ background knowledge and existing frame of reference as a springboard for further learning was also illustrated in Kathleen’s initial introduction to Italian at the beginning of the course. She engaged student interest and initiation into their study of Italian by encouraging them to access their background through a class brainstorming of everything around them that was Italian. I’ll ask them: “So how many of you know Italian?” And of course nobody raises their hand. And: “How many of you think you know any Italian?” And they’ll all [signal] no. “How many know one word?” And then I say: “Okay, … I think you know more Italian than you’re saying.”…I think I probably say that in both languages but I probably first do it in Italian and then in English to make sure everyone’s understood, because then I ask them to go up to the board and write down every word they can think of in Italian. And of course, especially with all the foods and everything, we end up with the board just covered and then…I say: “Questo viene d’Italiano”[translation? What comes from Italian?] (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 19). Some key pedagogical values came across as Kathleen related her teaching values and experience. Firstly, though time is a factor given departmental expectations, dramatic role play was strongly advocated and used by Kathleen so that students be less self-conscious while using Italian. Secondly, being a highly supportive teacher and actively supporting students in their attempts to speak Italian was a role Kathleen spoke of embracing which included “just keeping that light, sort of fun atmosphere” and redirecting when linguistic mistakes made (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 45). Thirdly, though Kathleen approached teaching Italian in a fun manner she believed that students had to be “forced to communicate” and that this key value and priority had to be built into the system of evaluation (Interview: 04/05/04,p. 37). Kathleen’s teaching methods (e.g., conversation centres, participatory points for spontaneous use individually) and her means of grading reflected this. Kathleen believed that students do not wish to put themselves “on the line” and are “holding back” instead of pushing themselves, something she found even when teaching the advanced third year class (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 44). She motivated students by stating her expectation of maximum language use and using reminders as necessary. Her acting skills were also used as is miming messages not to speak English and acting out or gesturing the message to use Italian instead. 76 6.3.3 L1-L2 Use I think initially when I started teaching…I started out with more Italian right off the bat and … I found that…some kids were just fine with it and others were just being left completely behind….So I did have to…use more English initially. I mean in [the] first class, I’ll use quite a bit of Italian but very, very slowly, very, very simply, just to give them the sense of it…[to introduce myself and talk about familiar Italian-derived cognates] (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/ 04, p. 19). Kathleen’s goal in terms of L1-L2 use was to maximise use of the target language, a consistent goal since the onset of her teaching of Italian. She described how she initially conducted all classroom affairs in Italian from day one when she started teaching whereas at the time of the interview she worked towards exclusive Italian by the end of the first year. She justified this shift in that interaction with the class was compromised with her initial policy. At the time of the interview she started the year off the in Italian ‘very, very slowly, very, very simply ’ and was more flexible in using English if necessary so as to “not leave two-thirds of the class behind” (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 19). Her overall classroom teacher discourse was 80% in Italian. Kathleen stated her messages are completely in Italian with repetition or summarisation taking place in English when students were not following. She has also described the strategy of adjusting her use of Italian, using more simple pared- down language with students whenever possible. Factors influencing L1-L2 use were multifacted and included: her perception of effective student communication and understanding, introduction of new grammar concepts, and the textbook language of use (Italian vs. English). Kathleen noted that student lack of understanding as indicated by non-verbal cues (glazed looks) or other means indicate a need to adjust her language use. The solution to this lack of understanding depends on the degree of abstractness. Introducing new grammar content was often done in English before then returning to Italian. Kathleen noted how the textbook increases its use of Italian, starting out with much English. Given that the students had a visual reference of explanation in English before them, Kathleen was more at ease to use Italian at certain times than others. In any case Kathleen conveyed the extensive and instantaneous adjustments she makes depending on the teaching context: [With using Italian In class] I just have to be flexible… I mean by this point in the year I’m…teaching a lot of the grammar in Italian, but if I just notice that everybody’s glazing over then I’ll go back to English [to explain [ the concept]. [Once the concept is introduced]…then I’ll go back to Italian…I would say [I use Italian] 80% [of the time] …[by] the end of the year…It takes a while… to build up to that…[By then] I’ll probably say… 77 almost 100% of things in Italian but then often I will repeat them in English because I’m seeing that people are going to miss a deadline or something because they’re not following me.]... At the beginning of the year…, the exercises [in the textbook] all have an explanation in English and… I will give [an explanation] in Italian and at a certain [halfway] point the book then switches to Italian too… But [at] the beginning of the year I’ll give it in Italian just so the [students] that are totally overwhelmed already will be reading the English but hearing the Italian and making those connections… [I] summarise a little bit in English just to make sure… [If there’s confusion I also] slow it down and choose a simpler word or a word that’s more similar to an English word.…I think I’ve always done that…I [also] try and use my acting in the classroom and make things funny wherever I can…and…make faces…[For instance] if they ask…what a word means often I won’t usually say it in English…If they say: “What does the word, caminare [mean]?” [It’s] ‘walk’ and I’ll just go [do] that or…[if they ask about the word] cry, I’ll [whimper and cry]… (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 17-8, 30). Her explanation about her various communication strategies illustrated the dynamic nature of L1-L2 use in the classroom and her careful negotiation of language use. The ease of achieving the goal of maximum language use varied depending on the circumstances as illustrated above. Explaining a simple physical concept such as caminare (walking) was much more readily done than when introducing an abstract one. Kathleen’s consciousness of her goal to maximise language use was illustrated in using Italian to review previously taught concepts. 6.3.4 Culture I just want them to get a feel…for what it’s like to be in Italy. So we try and do a dinner at an Italian restaurant. After the final exam we try to go to a café on Comoro Drive…and just be in the environment... Actually for 10 years… although it didn’t work out this year…I’ve taken…students up to Rose Lake [to] a resort owned by Italians….We’d go up on a Friday, eat there that night, stay overnight, and then go canoeing and stuff and just be in that environment of a place run by an Italian family….I like to just give them that feel of it… a sense of the whole Italian culture…What it’s like to be Italian, or live in Italy, or speak Italian… [I talk about} things [happening] at the Italian Cultural Centre but I[especially] try to take my students…to the Cultural Centre for the Italian Carnevale and for the National Day in June…And I let them know about the Italian Club …I give them the e-mail address and I let them know about events…And I tell them a lot about my [experiences] and I try to do [the role playing] with the...restaurant and like the last one we’ll do is…one of the areas will be…an employment agency…where people are coming and looking for a certain job and they’re trying to find them…So that’s another thing [I do in terms of culture] (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 28-29). Culture was incorporated into Kathleen’s course by means of providing context for communicative activities as well as being discussed as a topic of interest as reflected in her elaboration above. The focus on giving students “a feel for” Italian culture was reflected in in-class and out-of-class related activities (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 28). Popular 78 culture media such as movies were used in her classes. Kathleen stipulated that she does not get to the course chapter about politics and felt no loss at this as she stated that: “I know very little about politics whether in Italy or here or anywhere…So I don’t give them so much a sense of Italy the way it is now, in terms of specifics, like politics or economy or things like that” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 28). In any case Kathleen’s most recent trip to Italy seems to have refreshed her notion of culture and provided an update. During this last trip to Italy with family she collected cultural paraphernalia such as flyers, advertisements, and product packaging for use in conversation in the classroom while simultaneously including culture. I’ve learned … a little more on my own recently since I went to Italy. One thing I did [was collect written and other material from Italy]…My daughter was with me, she was 12 at the time and…said: “Mom, don’t collect anything else!” I was just collecting everything …like… magazines,…everything we ate! ...You can see here it’s, it’s from Italy. I mean all the chocolate bar wrappers, the chocolate bars, the um … yogurt containers. I use [these materials which I’ve collected in Italy] in class… for conversation…I’ll bring them in and set up…a little café over here and a restaurant here and then I give them cards. [I tell them:]… “You’re the owner of such and such a restaurant” or… “You’re hungry, you want to…”and make [depict and resolve the scenario using Italian]. But in working through all these things and looking at them and seeing what I have,… I’ve learned some more too. [When I returned from Italy] …there were suitcases full…(Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 15-6). Kathleen’s inclusion of culture in her classroom was intertwined with her own particular fascination with it. She openly accessed local Italian community resources as discussed above to provide a context for students’ language learning based on her belief that language and culture are inherently intertwined. 6.3.5 Challenges Finding a means to teach exclusively in Italian and using more of the language sooner were identified as Kathleen’s main challenges in this context. Improving her language proficiency and accessing heritage language learners as a resource were additional challenges she identified. She described how it “still feels chaotic” even after teaching for 14 years and wished to bring teaching up to another level but lacks the resources and time to do this (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 51). Specifically she felt a lack in her knowledge of current teaching methodology with respect to modern languages. She believed that she has gaps in how to use more Italian in class with students because of a lack of an education degree and background. In attempting to resolve this she expressed interest in the Rassias Method, which immerses students in the language from the outset. Fitting in enough 79 conversation and related activities was a related challenge given the demands of an academic university level course with specific department expectations about objectives to be fulfillled. …If I could be learning…the pedagogy of teaching more in Italian from the very beginning… of really bringing the language into the classroom sooner …that would be fantastic.…I mean there is a teaching method… where… you just go in and it’s Italian from day one and…when I started teaching, would have liked to [have] used that and I…maybe I would need more training in it or something but … I don’t know how to use it and not leave two thirds of the class behind…I don’t have teacher training like so many of [my colleagues] here…I’ve been a teaching assistant but…I don’t have an education degree. So I basically came in having to figure it out on my own and, initially, I’m sure I was a terrible teacher….I think I’ve gotten much, much better, but I haven’t been able to find a way to…start in Italian from the very beginning and keep the students with me. So that would be wonderful…(Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp. 51, 24). Another challenge faced by her was related to capitalising on heritage language learners’ resources while addressing true beginners’ perceptions of them having an unfair advantage. Kathleen has found that the quarter of the class that are Italian Canadians have learned a dialect, and “are not really very good speakers” though they can understand standard Italian (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 17). The need “to unlearn” their dialect was viewed as necessary as they advance in this course based on standard Italian (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, p. 21). As well, true beginners, observing fellow students answering in Italian and understanding it, were intimidated from the outset of this beginner course. Although this advantage lasts for a few weeks before Italian Canadians are no further behind as course becomes more involved in vocabulary and grammar, this perception had negative repercussions for the non-Italian-Canadians’motivation. Kathleen addressed non-heritage students’ concerns by telling them that they are “no worse off” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 32). As outlined earlier, working toward native speaker status was also addressed as a challenge. Though she is involved in extensive, advanced writing outside of the classroom, having someone to speak to in Italian on a regular basis was seen to be a missing link in her maintenance of Italian and for further linguistic development. She felt that this lack of regular interaction with Italians was due to both a lack of access and her many professional and personal commitments. She recognized her ongoing vocabulary development as a particular area of concern both in terms of maintenance and being current. Kathleen believed that she needs a concentrated period of time in Italy again and that this would have augmented her cultural knowledge. Finding a suitable, advanced course in Italian would be benefiical though Kathleen believed that she would have to do this in Italy. She indicated an 80 interest in an immersion experience if it were offered at a sufficiently challenging level for growth. 6.4 Summary of Salient Issues Kathleen’s experience and perspectives illustrate the consequences of developing increased linguistic competence and TC experience in that she has adopted an Italian persona or self and sees herself as “an Italian at heart” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 12). She was able to readily and confidently relate to and identify with the target culture and her identity had expanded over time from non-native speaker to writer of Italian fiction and an intercultural bridge between Italian and English. She was able to think and write in Italian and actively sought out opportunities and contexts to interact with natives using Italian approximately a quarter of the time. Kathleen viewed native speakers as those who have had exposure to the language from birth or from early childhood and especially those who have used the language from an early age in the home, whether in the target culture country or with native- speaking parent(s) elsewhere. Kathleen related to natives confidently and with ease and had regular, positive interactions with them in Italian. Some of the advantages enjoyed by being a non-native teacher arose from Kathleen’s first-hand experience of the language learning process. These advantages included an ability to share personal anecdotes and learning tips and strategies based on her experience. As a bilingual writer Kathleen was able to show students connections between words and other fine points about language such as etymology. As an interpreter she conveyed her experiences such as having interpreted for the Italian singer Andrea Bocelli. Overall Kathleen saw herself as providing a fresh perspective on Italian as an outsider who has immersed herself in Italian language and culture . Although she acknowledgesd a lack of “quickness in coming up with expressions” that are idiomatic or current, she compensated by keeping abreast of what is new by drawing on native’ knowledge and experience as a resource and actively working in interpretion and translation projects (Kathleen, Interview: 04/05/04, pp 13-4). The belief in taking risks to acquire the language is reflected in Kathleen’s acquisition of Italian as well as in the pedagogical approach she adopted in her classroom. Students were encouraged and supported to take risks in Italian. She advocated a communicative approach based on her learning experience and enthusiasm for using the language. Grammar 81 was incorporated as a core part of the course program based on departmental expectations as well as Kathleen’s belief of its necessity for accurate and effective use of the language by providing students with “infrastructure” (Interview: 04/05/04, p. 35). English grammar was used as a point of reference for learning Italian grammar. An ‘anthropologist’ of Italian culture, Kathleen collected cultural artifacts during her trips to Italy for both personal interest and to motivate student conversation in Italian during communicative activities. Her sense and ‘feel’ of Italian culture as a whole was incorporated into her teaching by way of introducing culture as the context for conversation activities, providing opportunities to view various Italian media, as well as participating in events, locally, at the Italian Cultural Centre. Although Kathleen wished to work towards earlier use of exclusive Italian in the classroom, in addition to other compensatory strategies English was used as a tool to facilitate understanding and particularly for introducing new, abstract concepts. Other compensatory strategies included miming or acting out the message, reducing the pace of speech, and using visual materials. Challenges included mastering the task of how to maximise Italian from the outset of a course as well as locating opportunities to progress linguistically including how to keep current with and maintain vocabulary. How to draw on the resource of heritage language learners was a challenge particularly given their use of dialect and varying levels of proficiency. Issues of the perceived advantage of Italian heritage language learners and its implication for motivation of true beginners was a recurring challenge which Kathleen dealt with through positive encouragement and by communicating that this advantage is short- lived and minimal. 82 Chapter 7: FOCAL PARTICIPANT: NANCY, MANDARIN TEACHER I do find myself though dreaming in my second language, sometimes. I remember one time, this is down the road when I lived in Taiwan and…we had an earthquake, and I remember he [my husband] told me that I was yelling at him in Mandarin. And what I remembered saying to him was: ‘Don’t move the bed’ in Mandarin…I was saying that and we were having an earthquake, as there are many in Taipei…That was when I got to the point where I could, I think, honestly say that I was fluent to the point where I didn’t need to translate. I mean there’s still things of course which I do need to, but , yeah I think when you think in your second language, when you’re not consciously translating .. I think that’s a - sort of a telling - telling sign… (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, p. 8). 7.1 Introduction and Case Context Nancy was a Mandarin teacher for 9 years and taught grades 9 through 12 Mandarin at the time of this study. Her school was located in an ethnically diverse area and serves approximately 900 students in grades 8 to 12. The school was within a large, urban and multicultural school district providing programs to 56,000 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 as well as various programs for adults.39 The student population was multicultural and although the predominant population is reflective of the historically Italian-Canadian neighborhood it resided in, most of its students were of Asian heritage at the time of the study.40 According to the school’s Modern Languages Department, the program aimed to help students acquire communication skills to become confident and effective speakers of Mandarin and/or French, develop a positive attitude as well as an appreciation and awareness of cultural diversity. ‘Real-life contexts’ were emphasized in the program as was developing student familiarity with target cultures. The department offered courses to students with little or no previous knowledge or ability in either language. In addition to Nancy, the school’s Mandarin teacher, there were two teachers of French. The Mandarin Chinese curriculum is part of the provincial IRP which emphasizes the communicative-experiential approach as described in Chapter 4. Nancy’s students represented a variety of backgrounds linguistically and culturally within this highly popular and growing Mandarin program. Mandarin heritage speakers and 39 Vancouver School Board site www.vsb.bc.ca accessed 11/17/08 40 Ibid 83 (near) natives regularly enrolled in her classes as did monolingual English speakers and speakers of other languages. Though heritage language students sometimes assumed that they were taking an ‘easier’ credit course, Nancy observed that many of them had challenges with writing in Chinese as well as their overall literacy with respect to Chinese characters and also struggled with English. The use of English for instructions and questions on the provincial exam questions necessitated students’ sound understanding of academic English. The heritage language students also sometimes spoke various Chinese dialects at home that were not always mutually intelligible with Mandarin which reduced their advantage in terms of oral competence. Nancy worked to engage students in Chinese culture through pop culture exposure via media such as films. She was also actively involved in planning and organising a student excursion to China, an opportunity which was extended to all students in the school based on being a good overall student. 7.2 Profile Nancy has had a variety of cultural experiences in Asian language contexts beginning with her submersion into Mandarin in Beijing, China at age 15. Born and raised in Vancouver, Nancy came from a family of teachers, her mother was an ESL professional and her father and sister were also teachers. Nancy described her submersion in Mandarin as beginning with her mother’s opportunity to teach EFL teaching methodology to teachers in Bejing in 1981. Instead of going to the American school she attended the local Chinese School: I was…in grade 10 in Canada but I was put in grade 5 in a Beijing elementary school and there were a couple of reasons for that. [For one] they gave me an entrance exam, hundred percent in Chinese characters. I looked at it, knew nothing, figured out my name went there, and bombed that. …And we were in situations where we were like ESL students but our teachers spoke no English only Mandarin…There were other ex-pat kids there from countries like North Korea, Albania, and lots of Eastern bloc countries. There were a couple of Italian and American kids but really and, interestingly enough, the language that we all shared in common was Mandarin. … I understood nothing for about the first two and a half months…. We were pulled out and taught the basics of the language…in Mandarin, hundred percent in the language. We were introduced to the tones of Mandarin first of all, and the pronunciation, and some characters, and some basics of Chinese character writing… …So after about 3 months things started to click and by the end of it we were speaking…In terms of writing I was probably composing sentences by the end of that year…. So that’s my initial 84 experience learning Mandarin…It was basically… sink or swim… (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp.1-2). Beyond the classroom in China Nancy’s close friendship with Mei and her family opened the door to Chinese culture for her as well as to the use of Mandarin in a familial context. It also heightened her awareness about the sensitive socio-political situation. She was a native speaker [of Mandarin]…who lived in a university compound not far from where I lived. [However] I couldn’t openly go into her university compound. I had to go…a circuitous route past guards with bayonets...I snuck in, I did not go in legitimately…to her home and her parents took a great risk having me over to their home and feeding me dumplings and things. They were so thirsty for native speakers of English to teach them English….. I remember having it explained to me…that nothing’s going to happen to me if I have this communication with this student but that I needed to be very careful that I didn’t do anything to put her in jeopardy. …. But there was a fair bit of scepticism and suspiciousness in the early 80s and some incidents through other people and things that happened which showed that the government was definitely watching (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 12-13). Upon her return to Canada Nancy did not use her Mandarin immediately and actually spent her grade 12 year in India. Upon graduation from secondary school, she resumed Mandarin at university (beginner level), though this time in an academic language learning context alongside peers with varying levels of proficiency. I did well and I think having had the exposure to the tones and to the sounds of the language, and certainly being able to speak [meant] I had a head start over some people who had nothing. At the same time I had some classmates who spoke Cantonese and they had more knowledge of written language and so forth. I was a minority. There were Asian students mostly in the third and fourth year. In fact I think I was the only non-Asian (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 4). Before beginning her teacher education program Nancy completed the Asian Pacific Commerce Program at Kiplyn College (a pseudonym) in the Lower Mainland, which took her to Taiwan for two years. Though Mandarin was one of the languages offered as part of the program Nancy was not permitted to take on account of her proficiency being too high and subsequently chose to study Thai which she enjoyed. Her subsequent work experience in Taiwan as part of this program provided additional exposure to the Mandarin language with native speakers. Nancy started teaching in September of 1995. Her professional development interests at the time of the study included pursuing a Masters in Educational Administration as well as learning more about teaching Mandarin in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Nancy was highly interested in Chinese history and culture and also described herself as a 85 ‘videophile’ who owns an extensive collection of the most recent Chinese films. She enjoyed viewing these based on her personal interest as well as for potential use in the classroom. Additional exposure to Mandarin was also gained by her through Chinese television and music. Nancy considered her identity to be that of a Canadian native speaker of English with a broad experience base linguistically and culturally and viewed her proficiency in Mandarin as ‘very good’ rating it a ‘3’.41 She considered herself Canadian and the the Lower Mainland of British Columbia home. However she indicated that she may not always remain here and would like to teach overseas at an international school. Though she appreciated the potential mobility of teaching, Nancy has only ever taught at her current school for the past 9 years and would like to broaden and enrich her teaching experience internationally. 7.3 Case Analysis 7.3.1 Native Speaker (NS) Nancy saw herself as an intermediate level speaker of Mandarin, having “more than a working knowledge of the language” though lacking near native-like proficiency (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 14). As she reported in the excerpt that follows, Nancy was able to speak Mandarin colloquially, and perceived herself as speaking with very accurate tones. At times Nancy found she has to think before speaking and sometimes translated English to Chinese in order to communicate. She was proud of being able to dream in Mandarin, which first occurred during her two-year stay in Taiwan, as shown in the excerpt at the beginning of this chapter. She recognised that she has an accent though its source has multiple interpretations. Some perceived it as that of Hong Kong, whereas natives from Tawian have asked if she learned her ‘very standard’ sounding Mandarin in Beijing China: When I have to actually think of something before I say it I’m not fluent to the point where I’m as equally capable in Mandarin as I am in English. I’m not there. So there are times when I still need to really think about something before I say it, if I’m having to think of a concept that isn’t terribly simple. I sometimes translate (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, p. 8). In terms of writing, Nancy believed she has ‘good knowledge’ though as a she found it takes longer to read and mark written work than a native speaker would. There are Chinese characters she may not know and needs to think about. This was reflected in her experience 41 A score of ‘3’ on a proficiency scale of 1 to 5 with 5 representing Excellent/Native-like. 86 marking provincial challenge exams. Given her slower pace of marking and concern for accuracy people thought she was being “more careful” whereas Nancy observed that a native exposed to written language since age 5 or 6 didn’t have to “work as hard” (Interview: 04/13/04, p.14). In this sense Nancy believed that she must exert greater effort and care, making her job “quite challenging as a – as a second language speaker and writer and reader of Mandarin” (Interview: 04/13/04, p.14). In the classroom if Nancy was unsure about a question or course content she informed her students that she would look it up or find out the answer and has no qualms about doing so. When lesson and program planning she looked things up as they arose in the course of her work. Despite her non-native status and “undertones” from colleagues outside her school about her legitimacy as a Mandarin teacher, Nancy believed that she was a pedagogically and linguistically sound Mandarin teacher: I think that there are people who feel that I shouldn’t be teaching Mandarin probably. [No one has said this to me]…I’m younger than most non-Chinese [teachers]…The undertones exist! There’s no doubt. It’s not from the kids at all but from colleagues not at this school. It’s subtle of course. But I don’t let that worry me because I really think I’m a good teacher, and I’m a good language teacher and I’m a good Mandarin teacher. But I think first and foremost I’m a good teacher…(Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 72-73). Outside of her teaching and overall work context, Nancy did not know many native speakers of Mandarin or other non-native speakers and did not have the opportunity to use Mandarin. However previous involvement with the Mandarin Teachers’ Network provided some exposure on a regular, although infrequent, basis. Informally and socially she found that social interaction took place in Mandarin while more formal meetings about pedagogy took place in English. Her discussion of involvement with this network also sheds light on her struggle with defining who is a native of Mandarin. I’d say more than three-quarters in the Mandarin Teachers’ network are native speakers. Well I was thinking half, but I’m thinking more about it. And when I said non-native I’m thinking Cantonese speakers but they still have…so much of an edge with the written language…It’s difficult for me to determine. … They’re non-native but they can pick up a newspaper and read it, that’s what I’m saying, [whereas] I can’t. I mean yes, can I? Can I get the general gist? Yes. Can they speak necessarily well? No, maybe not…but can they read a newspaper? Sure! And so it’s really, it’s a fine line and it’s typical (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 37-8). Nancy initially excluded Cantonese speakers from her definition of native speaker, though later included these colleagues after reflecting upon their native Chinese character- 87 based literacy. Thus the aspect of native reader makes it difficult to define the term native speaker in the context of Asian language teaching and learning. This aspect will be revisited in subsequent chapters which explore themes. According to Nancy one’s native language is the one spoken and learned in the home “without learning it as a science” (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, p. 10). She thought that her previous perspective of the attributes of native speakers being mainly related to country of birth was no longer true in large metropolitan areas such as Vancouver. She cited the example of students born and raised in Vancouver whose dominant language of use and affiliation is other than English with English mainly being spoken at school for academic purposes as their second language. Nancy viewed this situation as similar to the one she and her brother experienced in China with Mandarin. Though acknowledging her limitations Nancy highlighted several advantages of being a Mandarin non-native. Nancy viewed herself as “a good role model, particularly for the non-Chinese students,” in that her ability in Mandarin is “evidence that it can happen” (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 66). …Initially I think it’s really important to share with students that experience [of learning Mandarin]…Well they are curious.…Occasionally…kids say: “You’re the Mandarin teacher?” And I say: “Yup, I am and we sit down and we [go from there]. It’s not something I’m fazed by. I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t bother me at the beginning. I was self- conscious about it. But [now] I’m not at all. Very quickly they lose all [reservations] I mean it’s good in a sense because they realise that you don’t have to be Chinese to speak the language. (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 15-6). Based on her status as a L2 learner Nancy drew from her learning experience firsthand and was empathetic to “the plight…the challenges” of the non-native student, “learning a language in a context where the student may not speak it much outside of your four walls” (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 73). For example, Nancy could readily relate to most students’ challenges with respect to Chinese orthography as she recalled her own path in the following excerpt: Learning how to develop my rote memory and that is learning the Chinese characters was the most difficult aspect. I heard the sounds quite well, I heard the tones so that wasn’t’ really an issue…So it was…learning how to memorise Chinese characters and the radicals of the characters and the phonetics. The development of that, I think, was probably the most challenging [to be able] to read and write]. For my students this is also probably the same most challenging aspect…(Interview: 04/13/04, p. 58). 88 Nancy regularly shared personal anecdotes from her learning experience when appropriate and timely, and shared stories of embarrasing mistakes she made when learning the language. I think that it’s important for them to know that I’m certainly fallible and that it’s okay to laugh at oneself. You have to be careful and I’ve made other equally embarrassing mistakes even later in my Mandarin learning (Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 16-7). As illustrated above, based on her status as a non-native Nancy was able to draw on a wealth of experience in her teaching including contentious matters relating to culture. As a non-native and as part of her teaching role Nancy was also able to raise and discuss contentious matters as an ‘outsider,’ inspiring debate, although it was sometimes disconcerting for her. During our discussion about identity and affiliation, Nancy shared a follow-up question which she posed to a student of Chinese background during an IB oral exam a few weeks earlier: … I posed the question …: “It’s interesting, how do you feel about the fact that people from China can come and become Canadian citizens, is that a good thing? Is that a nice thing?” He said: “Well sure, if people want to become a Canadian citizen, I think that’s a good thing. I think that’s nice that the Canadian government allows for that possibility to happen.”…And I said: “Oh that’s interesting, I think it’s nice too…Do you think it would be possible for me to move to China, and I could do that, and become a Chinese citizen?” He says: “Well no.” “ So well why not?” And he said: “You’re not Chinese”. We were talking about this and there’s this…up on a pedestal kind of attitude…and I don’t mean [that it] permeates all of Chinese society, but it’s there. China is the central kingdom. The language is the language of the Han people. It’s a very ethnocentric country, extremely so. And so there is a double standard. And certainly we talked about this (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 16). Thus Nancy’s non-native status also provided her an interesting vantage point culturally. She ventured to question aspects of Chinese culture and society which might be more difficult for a native to do. At the time of the study her use of Mandarin outside of the classroom was limited and she was not always able to use Mandarin with native speakers she encountered in Vancouver: …[Socially] I would [speak Mandarin with native speakers] although if we’re in Vancouver and they didn’t know I’m a speaker, chances are they’d be speaking in English to me. And there is sort of an unwritten rule or etiquette that if somebody approaches me and they’re struggling with English, it would be a real insult for me to go into Mandarin if I thought my Mandarin was much more fluent that it probably would be then in English. To me that would be a real insult to their English. It’s just a cultural no-no to do that. However if I approach somebody and I started to speak Mandarin to them that’s perfectly fine…But you have to be very careful not to insult somebody by saying: “Oh let’s speak Mandarin because it’s a lot easier than putting up with your English.”... It doesn’t always work the other way around. 89 [As well] you can’t assume that they’re a Mandarin speaker that’s exactly right. They could be Cantonese or a non-speaker at all (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 22). Access to interactions in Mandarin were complicated by both Nancy’s identity as an English native speaker and her visible status as a non-native of Mandarin. Professionally Nancy has used Mandarin outside of her school setting for short intense periods within specific roles. In addition to interacting with native speaking Mandarin student teachers, as a summer school administrator a few years prior to the interview Nancy enjoyed using Mandarin frequently with students and parents for professional and social purposes in this international ESL program context. 7.3.2 Pedagogy and Practice Her years of teaching Mandarin have reinforced Nancy’s belief in using the communicative approach. The preference for this approach in Nancy’s classroom has meant that pronunciation and grammar are means to facilitate communication. Nancy believed that after a few years of her Mandarin classes students would be able to cope socially, survive in downtown Beijing, as well as carry out many basic daily tasks. A macro view of learning Mandarin also pervaded Nancy’s pedagogical practices. She worked on engaging student interest in Mandarin through sharing her experiences and the use of popular culture. She also removed the focus from herself as teacher-speaker by providing students with various kinds of auditory exposure. As well, students carried out some self-assesment to monitor and reflect on their own language learning. A focus on form was part of her teaching, though Nancy tried to find “a happy medium” with respect to her practices (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 55). She viewed other kinds of teaching methodologies as also valid and believed that variety is important for purposes of motivation as well as to acknowledge and address student needs and multiple intelligences. Though accuracy and good form were seen as important, especially as students progressed in the language, the ability to communicate one’s message was more highly valued than accuracy in Nancy’s classroom. Writing in Mandarin Chinese was given considerable focus based on its vastly different and relatively more complex orthography than English or other European languages. Based on her experience of learning Mandarin as a second language as an adolescent, Nancy provided various tools to facilitate her students’ study of Chinese 90 characters. She broke Chinese characters down into several parts, used mnemonic devices, and provided supplementary learning materials to ensure that students gained the practice they need to master these. Nancy recognised that her “teaching changes quite considerably in grade 12” when she taught much more to the provincial exam than she would have liked (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 40). With the exam worth 40% of students’ grades, more technically-oriented reading and writing became the focus and significantly less oral work and practice was done. Nancy would have prefered to use a communicative approach throughout her program however she recognised that the grade 12 exam was “an albatross” in that “the exam legitimises our program” within the school system (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 51). 7.3.3 L1-L2 Use I try to use as much Mandarin in all of my classes as I can. I use more and more in the senior years [in grade 11 and 12] than in the junior years. I try in the junior years to [use] classroom commands and basic statements. I do try to speak to [students] in Mandarin although I don’t always do. [It’s] 75% maybe in grades 11 and 12 (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, p. 43). Nancy believed in using as much Mandarin as possible in the classroom based on the importance of modelling the target language as well as encouraging students to communicate. She relied on the use of nonverbal cues to aid in communication and student understanding. Her department did “not really” have an L1-L2 policy. In terms of evaluating students’ use of Mandarin, Nancy maintained a tracking system of who is participating and attempting to use Mandarin. The early grades in the program presented some particular challenges in using Mandarin in the classroom. At the time of the study Nancy incorporated Mandarin consistently for classroom instructions and greetings from the start as part of the process of initiating students’ into Mandarin. At the grade 9 level students were expected to ask for permission in Mandarin and the general policy is that if they had been exposed to something they were encouraged to add this to their repertoire through repetition and attempts at usage. Nancy found that five-minute periods of ‘Mandarin only’ within a structured activity in grade 9 was challenging and demanding for students. Therefore at the beginner level Nancy simplified her use of Mandarin and adopted a “systematic…building block approach” meaning that the use and complexity of Mandarin was gradually increased (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 50). 91 Factors influencing L1-L2 use included: the degree of abstractedness of a concept, classroom time and its efficient use, the presence and proportion of ESL students in the classroom, students’ L1 and their use of languages other than Mandarin or English, and the use of English on the provincial exam. English was used as a tool to convey and work with abstract concepts such as during Nancy’s activity involving China’s one child-only policy. It was also used for navigating through difficult grammar concepts if students were unable to apply the grammar points of a completed lesson. Related to the challenge of communicating abstract concepts, English was used due to time constraints and the perception that this was more efficient. However, English was a second language for many students and hence not necessarily the common or most comfortable lingua franca of some Mandarin students. The classroom dynamic and linguistic background affected the degree to which Nancy used English to communicate and teach more efficiently. She provided some insight into her codeswitching and angst in responding in English contrary to her policy goal of using Mandarin. …I find sometimes when a kid puts up his hand and says: “I don’t understand what I’m doing here” and they’re asked to complete a dialogue based on a topic that I start for them I’ll explain it to them in Mandarin. Yet somebody else who says: “what am I supposed to do here?” in English, I’ll answer in English to them. … And I probably shouldn’t. A lot of [my students] function in Chinglish, a little bit of Chinese, a little bit of English…but I sometimes find [that] I take the easy route out for both of us. (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 24-25). The proportion of non-natives versus natives and near-natives influenced how L1-L2 use played out in the classroom and Nancy regularly used both Mandarin and English in her teaching. She found that natives and near-natives of Mandarin often struggled with English. As a result she exerted more time and effort on English with these students rather than their first language Mandarin as conveyed in her statement that “We’re all English as a Second Language teachers” (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, p. 24). Students’ English proficiency affected their placement within the Mandarin program as does the stage of their socio- emotional development: …Sometimes the native speakers of Mandarin in my classes struggle with English… I’ve got one girl, …a native speaker of Mandarin who came in hardly being able to say hello in English and now she’s doing quite well. She couldn’t function in grade 11 Mandarin. Mandarin wouldn’t be a problem but the English part of the course would be too hard for her…And so I suggested strongly that she have a chance to be in a situation where she’s going to hear English but at the same time have Mandarin right there for her to help. She’s 92 really blossomed… …And if the challenge isn’t there in Mandarin it’s there in English…Sometimes I’ll ask her to do some of the activities in English whereas the other kids do them in Mandarin…I don’t make a point of doing that all the time…It doesn’t work with every kid. It works with somebody like that (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 27-29). Thus Nancy finds that she was involved in facilitating students’ Mandarin learning in both Mandarin and English, making her program a bridging experience for many ESL students. Students’ use of languages other than Mandarin or English, in this case Cantonese, affected L1-L2 use overall. Nancy’s policy and practice was to discourage students’ use of Cantonese since its mutual unintelligibility with Mandarin decreased the amount of potential Mandarin used and she finds its use to be exclusionary to non-Cantonese speakers.42 The use of English on the provincial exam meant that students were required to comprehend and apply written academic English to successfully complete this grade-heavy evaluation. …A lot of the provincial exam is in English….All the instructions are in English such as ‘answer the following questions in English based on the paragraph’…And so a lot of my instructions are in English because I’m trying to teach the kids to understand English as well. We’re all English as a second language teachers (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 24-5). Thus the use of English on this exam for instructions as well as numerous questions (i.e. reading comprehension) coupled with the presence of ESL and native Mandarin students tips the balance of Nancy’s Mandarin-English use in favour of the latter in preparing students. 7.3.4 Culture Well, I think [ culture ], it’s important. I don’t think you can teach language in a vacuum. I think in order to make it meaningful and make it exciting and make it real for the students they need to learn something about the language and the countries where this language is spoken. (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 41-2). The value Nancy places on incorporating culture into her Mandarin program is encompassed in her description of the various activities and opportunties she provided for her students. In addition to covering basic cultural topics such as food and the pragmatics and etiquette of using the telelphone, Nancy engaged students in culture to address social justice topics such as the status of women. The developmental interests of students were taken into 42 Nancy has some understanding of Cantonese though does not speak it. 93 account with activities such as songwriting. The challenge students may face of expressing abstract concepts in Mandarin was partly addressed by forming groups according to native versus non-native status. This grouping provided appropriate challenge given students’ proficiency levels. In reviewing cultural resources and related media for classroom use Nancy maintained some indirect contact with Chinese culture, an area of continuing interest. Besides role modelling, using personal anecdotes as examples to illustrate a concept allowed Nancy to incorporate her formative linguistic experiences. Thus some culture-related topics were incorporated based on areas of personal interest or relevance in China or Taiwan. Beyond her experiences overseas, Nancy’s interest in various media and interactions with students provided her with new cultural data including updated vocabulary and expressions as well as pop culture information. [Pop culture is a good motivator]. Last year when I went to China I said before I went: “Kids give me a list of names. Tell me whose CDs I should buy?” And I had a long list… (Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 48-9). In addition to again interacting with Chinese natives and culture, organising and participating in her school’s excursion to China in 2000, 2002, and 2004 provided Nancy with the opportunity to collect cultural resources for class and personal use. This excursion was planned outside of the Mandarin program and had become part of a departmental initiative to enable twenty students to experience China firsthand. The focus of the excursion was to help students to successfully carry out practical tasks in China such as: purchasing train and bus tickets, asking directions, and planning local excursions. Through her ongoing involvement with this excursion, Nancy facilitated student access to Chinese culture beyond the borders of her classroom while simultaneously highlighting it within the school. 7.3.5 Challenges Dealing with multi-level classrooms and the learning demands students face in Mandarin as well as, specifically, addressing the traditional versus simplified Chinese character question were the most significant challenges facing Nancy in this context. Maintaining and building upon her proficiency in Mandarin and gaining access to Mandarin resources and a curriculum for the IB program were also challenges in terms of professional development. In some instances her status as a non-native teacher position her to address particular challenges from novel perspectives. 94 Nancy found dealing with multi-level classrooms to be “very challenging” and emphasised that she has “everything” in terms of proficiency (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 57). She described the diversity of her students as ranging from native to non-native on the linguistic proficiency continuum. One of the biggest dichotomies she encountered is that of the true beginner with no Mandarin background versus the student who is fluent in Mandarin but struggling in English. Making lessons and content challenging yet attainable in the same class was Nancy’s task. I don’t know what other teachers do or what their philosophies are in addressing the needs of native or near-native students in the program…I mean how do you make a Mandarin 10 class where you’ve got Penny, as I mentioned, who’s there for the English, and then you’ve got another kid who has blond hair, blue eyes who’s been in your class for a year and a half learning the same stuff, how do you make that manageable for them …[I wish to] challenge and make things learnable in the same classroom. You can’t be everything to everybody (Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 57-8). A related challenge was appropriate student grade level placement based on their linguistic background and proficiency though Nancy considered other socio-emotional and academic factors. Nancy struggleed to accommodate the skills and needs of native or or near-native speaker students while recognising their linguistic and cultural assets in planning and teaching this second language program. Within this spirit of accomodation however Nancy opposes designing a separate program for natives. Describing the native speaking students she says: They speak Mandarin. I don’t care whether or not I teach it to them. I think it’s important that they be given some credit for that. Chances are that they’re probably going to struggle in English in their other areas … but I do not go out of my way…to find more challenging things for the native speaker I won’t do that! It’s not my role…There are deficiencies I find as well, in their writing mostly [which provides an area to work on in the classroom]. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of kids who come from southern China, who don’t write [Mandarin] very well particularly. They speak, perhaps quite well, quite fluently, but their grammar is terrible, their characters are poor. (Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 62-3). Informally and prior to program entry, Nancy also asked native speaking students to be a resource and source of support to assist other students within the class based on their comparative advantage. Fair grading becomes problematic and Nancy refers to the “need to be really true in your marking” when teaching a second language program and to mark accordingly despite the multiple language levels in the same classroom: 95 If you’re teaching a second language class and you do have native speakers in your class you need to make sure that you’re teaching a second language program and that you’re not having expectations above the second language learner of that particular level. (Interview: 04/13/ 04, pp. 73). Of the native speaking students she says. I also have to say: “is this kid really working?...But I don’t also want to be unfair to the native speaker. Finding that happy medium I think is really important… It probably took me a good 5 years before I really knew what that was (Interview: 04/13/ 04, pp. 74). As reflected above Nancy has tried to match grade to reflect a student’s progression, participation, and effort in the course. Related to addressing diverse student needs is that of finding and providing academic support for her students whether for homework or other tasks within the school. Although the school had a skills (resource) centre as well as an active homework club, this support is inaccessible to students requiring help with Mandarin. Having three hours a week, 10 months of the year where you’re trying to learn a pictographic language is an issue… I think it’s important to have somebody to help with homework.…They can’t take their Mandarin and say: “Will you help me with this?” because there isn’t anybody in the school to do that. It’s me or nobody, or the parents occasionally. I try to make myself available but beyond myself it’s not like they can go to another Mandarin teacher in the school. (Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 66-68). Certain features of Mandarin presented some unique teaching and learning challenges. Some of the more common learning challenges students faced include difficulty with and, in some cases, an inability to hear and differentiate tones in Mandarin. Some kids don’t have the very strong musical ear…and somebody that doesn’t have a strong musical ear would find it very difficult to speak a tonal language and they do (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 60). As well, Chinese character writing was a challenge for various reasons ranging from a lack of consistent practice or learning style to linguistic background. Student knowledge and use of Chinese characters and of the Romanized (pinyin) system usually taught before the character system was a significant learning and teaching challenge. For my students this [learning the Chinese characters] is also probably the same most challenging aspect… I can’t expect a student to be able to write everything they can say in Chinese characters, it’s impossible. They have to be able to write everything they say in ((pin yin)) and then many characters. They view it as an additional thing to learn… And students really hate ((pinyin)). It’s a love-hate thing. They either do very well in it, if they spell well in English, or they do poorly. And they don’t consider it to be really Chinese, (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, pp. 59). 96 . In terms of Mandarin-speaking parents and teachers as stakeholders and gatekeepers of Mandarin, the dominant issue according to Nancy was that: “It’s the traditional [versus] simplified character issue that I get challenged on the most” (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 64). Chinese characters were simplified in the 1950’s and 60’s within the People’s Republic of China but not in Taiwan (Austin, 2008, p. 15). Nancy was regularly questioned about her approach to teaching characters including her rationale. She reported that she had a preference for teaching simplified characters which have fewer strokes: The question I get asked most of all from native parents is: “Why are you teaching simplified characters? Why not traditional characters? I learned traditional characters when I was in China and this is the character form I want my kid to learn.” … as a student walking in with nothing I don’t think anybody would choose to memorise this traditional character over that simplified character, 22 versus 7 [ strokes ]. Pedagogically this simplified character makes more sense (Interview: 04/13/04, p. 64). As a non-native teacher Nancy claims she adopts a neutral viewpoint, “you have to be flexible…not get hung up on this kind of thing” (Interview 04/13/04 p. 32) though pedagogically the above passage reflected some preference for simplified characters. She found that Mandarin speakers, whether parents or teachers, are generally committed and invested based on the way that they were taught and socialised. Lastly, in terms of challenges, gaining access to more professional development was an issue on two fronts. Nancy finds she is linguistically “at a plateau” though she maintains her Mandarin “by doing…to increase knowledge by teaching” particularly at the senior level (Interview: 04/13/04, p.20). However she was disappointed that she had been unable to take any appropriate language courses. I would love for there to be a course for somebody at my level … I’ve really had to learn on my own but I haven’t taken a class since doing my degree (Nancy, Interview: 04/13/04, p. 20). 7.4 Summary of Salient Issues Nancy’s personal interest in Chinese language and culture which began with an intense year of submersion in China and subsequent post-secondary work experience in Taiwan continued to be fuelled in planning and implementing the Mandarin program within her teaching context at her school. It also manifested itself in collecting and viewing cultural media such as film for personal and pedagogical use. Nancy viewed language and culture as 97 one entity in the language learning experience and she integrated food traditions, social and cultural issues and experiences into her program. She has been actively involved in organising a cultural tour to China and has successfully advocated for school-wide student inclusion here. Teaching overseas remained a personal and professional goal. Possessing “more than a working knowledge” of Mandarin Nancy believed that she is an intermediate fluent speaker with a broad base of experience culturally (Interview: 04/13/04, p.14). She viewed her identity as a Canadian, native speaker of English. In terms of the construct of native speaker, Nancy found that her interpretation of this has shifted based on her questioning the term’s link to country or countries of birth or origin. Amongst her peers Nancy had previously excluded Cantonese speakers as Mandarin natives though now sees them as native readers based on their native level knowledge of and literacy with respect to Chinese characters. As well, her experience teaching students in her Vancouver school who use English primarily for academic purposes has also led her to question including country of birth or origin in her definition. As a non-native of Mandarin and originally an adolescent learner in China, Nancy believed that she is an effective role model for her students. She was able to share the pitfalls of learning Mandarin and, through personal anecdotes, linguistic and cultural errors she has made. Her empathy for students’ as learners was an asset in building rapport and her objectivity, as a non-native, allowed her to look at and question aspects of Chinese language and culture from an alternative perspective. The question of using Hanyu pin yin versus Bopomofo to teach Chinese characters, an area of contention amongst parents and teachers, remained a multifaceted issue from Nancy’s non-native perspective. She was able to see the benefits and drawbacks of both. On the other hand Nancy marked written work more slowly than natives would out of her concern for accuracy and due to her lack of confidence about orthography. Though some aspects of Mandarin sounded correct to Nancy she was sometimes unsure and sought primary and secondary sources to verify aspects of the language such as pronunciation or specific Chinese characters. Although Nancy has adopted a communicative approach to teaching Mandarin, the grade 12 provincial exam influenced her teaching methodology. To this effect as well as for the sake of efficiency and understanding, English was used for abstract (cultural) concepts 98 and new, complex grammar. Provincial exam instructions were in English which increased the use of English in grade 12 in preparation for this exam. As well, ESL learners were another factor impacting the balance of L1-L2 use. However, Nancy attempted to maximise overall classroom use of Mandarin and found it easier to do so in the higher grades with mainly shorter, intense periods of Mandarin at the beginner level. The most significant challenges encountered in this context included the multilevel classroom linguistically both in terms of Mandarin and English, as well as questioning and debate by parents and teachers over Nancy’s use of simplified versus traditional characters, and resistance to the Romanized pinyin system by her students. Linguistically Nancy found her Mandarin had plateaued and found it difficult to locate an appropriate course of study given her needs and proficiency. She therefore maintained her Mandarin through teaching as well as viewing and listening to various Chinese news and popular media. 99 Chapter 8: FOCAL PARTICIPANT: KD, KOREAN TEACHER Well one challenge that I have as a non-native speaker of a language like Korean, where to look at me, it’s obvious that I‘m not Korean, is that students often times, in the upper levels, are very resistant at using Korean … to speak with me, because they know I‘m not Korean, and because there’s this incredibly strong tie between ethnicity and race and this Korean language you know; whereas if it were a German class or a Russian class, you know, there wouldn’t be that kind of race issue… You know, so sometimes I really have to, you know, cajole and sort of push to get them out of English and into Korean, okay (KD, Interview: 04/21/04, p. 23). 8.1 Introduction and Case Context KD had been a professor of Korean for 14 years at the time of this study. He taught language at the intermediate and advanced levels and literature at the senior and graduate levels at UWC, a pseudonym. He has also previously taught first and second year Korean. Unlike other Asian languages and related areas of study within KD’s department, Korean is not offered as a major. Language courses are offered for classical, modern, written and conversational forms, including readings in literary texts, newspapers, business writing and composition. In 2004, there was one other full-time instructor and a sessional instructor in Korean. Although the student population at UWC is multiculturally diverse, KD reported that “80% of our learners in our classes have Korean ethnic backgrounds which is a low percentage compared to other North American university programs…In most places it’s 95[%] plus” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 11). The remaining 20% of students in Korean consist of mainly other Asian heritage (mainly Chinese and Japanese speaking learners) and a smaller cross-section of linguistic backgrounds. KD cited “a big difference between the first two years of instruction and the higher levels” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 12). The 100 and 200 level courses see students divided into the streams of beginner (non-heritage) and Korean heritage learners. The third year Korean class is described as a mixed class with heritage learners, non-Korean graduate students who need Korean for their research, as well as a few non-heritage learners. Fourth year classes tend to consist of mainly heritage learners, Generation 1.5 students, who arrived before age 12, as well as the occasional non-heritage learner. Korean heritage and native students are able to “parachute” into a higher level based on an interview and questionnaire assessment of their linguistic background and competence, according to KD (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 13). 100 Although heritage learners, in KD’s experience, exhibit strong speaking and listening skills in Korean, he found that they tended to have challenges in reading and writing Korean. Hence they find the upper level courses in Korean language and/or literature interesting, though demanding. KD’s advocacy for their needs and challenges will be explored under Challenges. KD reported that students’ motivation for pursuing Korean include: better understanding of how the language works, increasing ability to communicate with Korean family members and friends, building on an interest in Korean pop culture, and, using it for advanced academic study. In terms of motivation, KD described students as “by definition, usually, very highly motivated ... because it’s not a major language of trade. It’s not Japanese, it’s not Chinese, it’s not French” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 29). In response to the high level of student interest, a course in contemporary Korean pop culture was being considered as a further incentive for students to build on and continue their studies in Korean. 8.2 Profile KD has taught a wide range of subjects related to Korean language, linguistics, and literature. His interest in Korean evolved when he was an undergraduate linguistics student, building upon an already strong penchant for languages when young, based on multiple prior language learning experiences (Japanese and Mandarin). KD described how the encouragement and financial and academic support from his department was a springboard for subsequent intense study: [ I got ] money from the Department of Linguistics to hire a personal tutor for an hour a day for an entire year because it wasn’t taught at my university…I taught myself for a year, went through a couple of textbooks with this tutor and then the following summer ... I spent a summer in Seoul ... I took some courses for six weeks in a program originally targeted at training missionaries… That’s the only formal instruction I ever had (In Korean language training). If I add it all up [I’ve spent] about a little over 2 years in Korea… Most of my Korean has been done outside of Korea. The intense instruction was just those six weeks in Korea, the rest of it has all been self-taught (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 1-2). Following his experience studying Korean as described above, KD completed a B.A in Linguistics and Political Science followed by a PhD in Linguistics at U.S. Ivy League universities. He described his becoming a teacher of Korean as “an accident” and due to in large part to being “a good learner of it, that it made sense to keep…learning it” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 19). Korean is KD’s ninth language which he describes as “definitely a 101 challenge” to acquire and maintain even now compared to other languages (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 19).43 Based on his interest in this “challenge” KD eventually realised that “the easiest way to be a lifelong learner of Korean is to…be a professor and I enjoy it!” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 19). His research interests were in the areas of Korean language use, status, ideology in Russia, the former USSR and in Korea. Of specific interest to this study is his interest in the challenges of teaching Korean as a foreign language and a heritage language: …I also…am already starting to…write a book, in Korean, targeted at the Korean market, about Korean as a world language, and how to teach it, because I think they are dreadfully in need of guidance, they are groping in the dark, about how to promote Korean as a foreign language. (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 49). In terms of professional activities KD is an advocate of and authority on Korean language education, delivering lectures and talks in this area. He also viewed himself as representing non-heritage language learners of Korean in various contexts outside of his university teaching context. For example, KD has been a member of the executive board of an extensive, collaborative Korean language teaching materials project for 10 years. He also participated in Korean language education conferences biannually. 44 One of his greatest sources of long-term enthusiasm and ongoing passion was his long term role as dean a Korean summer immersion program in the U.S. for children ages 7- 18. He remarked on how the student linguistic profile in the program contrasts with his regular university context in that “there is not a single heritage learner, so far…” amongst the “hundred kids a year” who participate though “about 60% are adopted Koreans” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 17).45 KD described himself as “very committed to expanding [and] creating new opportunities for Korean language education at the K to 12 level” because of the dearth and type of instruction that exists and his view that “things are starting to settle at the university 43 In his interview, KD recounts how: “As a kid I was collector of languages…[and] enjoyed learning them …The first…was Spanish at age 11 but I found pretty much most languages that I came up against fairly easy and not that challenging...” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 19). 44 KD shares how during his previous year in Korea he “gave, something like, over a dozen invited talks about Korean language education to Korean language education programs around Korea” while on sabbatical (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 18). 45 KD states that: “The other 40% is just random all over the place, but not Korean, not yet” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 18). 102 level” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 18).46 Of the instruction that exists at the pre-university level KD commented that “those tend to be entirely targeted at Korean immigrant communities, a completely heritage thing. It’s Korean for Koreans which is fine to a point…” since “there is demand out there, amongst non-Koreans as well for Korean language instruction and one might as well try to meet that demand as well...” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 18). He believed that there is the opportunity to come up with a curriculum “that is truly multicultural, not just, doing your own thing in your own little corner” akin to that in the summer immersion program (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 18). KD recognised the multifaceted nature of his own identity. Though influenced by his birth and residence in the U.S., KD’s identity has been influenced by immersion in and experience with Korean as well as his exposure to other languages and cultures. KD described himself as an atypical “American…who…was interested in foreign cultures and languages,” and viewed his identity as “watered down from living outside of the States for quite some time” and that “there is a lot of me that’s Korean in some ways” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 50). KD’s choice of the pseudonym Hong Kil Dong (KD) warrants some discussion related to identity and affiliation. Hong Kil Dong is the protagonist and folk hero in a classic Korean adventure tale from early seventeenth-century Korea that became the first novel written in Korean by Ho Kyun.47 A parallel can be suggested between this protagonist’s tale and KD’s in the sense of KD promoting and being a voice for Korean as a less commonly taught language, as well as an advocate for non-natives of Korean and Asian languages generally.48 8.3 Case Analysis 8.3.1 Native Speaker (NS) The term ‘native speaker’…really doesn’t mean very much at all. I think it’s just not a very useful word; I tend not to use it if at all possible. I mean sure I use it but I use it as shorthand for [asking:] “What’s your first language, what language did you grow up with?”...I just call it like I see it…. but I’m a native speaker of English (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 2). 46 KD estimates that “in the United States there are less than 40 high schools…that offer any instruction in Korean , and those tend to be entirely targeted at Korean immigrant communities” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 18). 47 Per site www.charlesbridge.com accessed 11/18/08 re: Anne Sibley O’Brien’s story book entitled The Legend of Hong KD: The Robin Hood of Korea. 48 However, KD also advocates for the (different) needs of heritage learners as reflected in this chapter under Challenges. 103 As reflected in his comment, KD minimised the value of the term ‘native speaker’ yet acknowledged his use of it symbolically for the meaning as indicated above. During his interview KD used this term in this way, in the sense of being a point of reference to refer to Korean natives encountered in Korea as well as highly proficient LLs in his context. KD stated that “at least 50% of my life [is in Korean]…” in terms of talking to people and communicating in various contexts about a range of professional and personal topics49 (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 30). KD reads and listens to various Korean media including newpapers, magazines, web sites, novels, and radio and television. KD identified his Korean proficiency as ‘Excellent/Native-like’ (a ‘5’) on this study’s questionnaire proficiency scale50 and during his interview. Yet he said that others sometimes overstate his knowledge of and proficiency in Korean: In my case, I don’t want to say my Korean is native, it is not, it is not even…On the telephone they don’t know if I’m Korean. They think I’m Korean…Some people say: “…You’re near native.” ….Once, over dinner, one of the DLI51 teachers said: “Oh you must be a five.”52 That’s really complimentary, he had too much wine because I’m probably more like a three plus, four minus on a good day (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 2, 47). Defining ‘native speaker’ was instrumental in compiling the makeup of Korean classes at UWC and KD was clear about the criteria used to discern whether or not the department was able to offer any language learning opportunity to potential students. We screen out the native speakers…In our case, we do a fairly rigorous screening process where we ask the students to self-assess and then we also interview, and ask a number of diagnostic questions just about who they live with, when they came, [and] where they were born… And so in the 400 level, age 12 for us is the cut off. If they came to Canada at age 12 or later, we just tell them we have nothing for you, go away because they already know far more Korean. The amount of Korean someone like that knows would take someone like me several thousands of contact hours to acquire. (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 9). 49 KD states that this percentage is higher if he includes academic and professional reading (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 30-1). 50 The scale used in this study ranges from 1 to 5. 51 DLI refers to the Defence Language Institute which provides linguistic and cultural instruction to the Department of Defence and other U.S. Federal agencies. 52 This likely refers to the FSI scale, originally developed by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute. This scale comprises a set of descriptions of abilities to communicate in a target language and describes 5 levels of language proficiency. These 5 levels consist of: 1 Elementary proficiency, 2 Limited working proficiency, 3 Professional working proficiency, 4 Full professional proficiency, and 5 Native or bilingual proficiency. Sometimes descriptors of ‘+’ or ‘-‘ are added to a level (e.g. 1+ or 5-). (per www.sil.org/LinguaLinks/LanguageLearning/MangngYrLnggLrnngPrgrm/TheILRFSIProficiencyScale.htm). During the design process for this study’s questionnaire, there was no intent to establish a link between the FSI scale and proficiency scale used for this study. 104 KD conveyed a number of advantages possessed by the non-native teacher in the Korean language teaching context. These include: readily establishing student rapport, contributing alternative ‘foreign’ perspectives, as well as serving as a role model for students. These advantages and limitations came to light when KD described how he presents himself and the Korean language to his students. I present myself to my students as a fellow learner who has just got a lot more experience learning the language…I try to present myself not as the authority, but as: “Hey we’re all learning this language together, I’m not a native speaker either.” Student rapport is established in the sense of battling through the language learning process together and KD being in the position to offer tips and strategies on how to tackle Korean’s challenges given his status as someone who has “crossed all the obstacles that those same learners are now encountering…” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 3). He mentioned: …I think it is really good, in front of students, to show weakness, and to show lack of knowledge, and to fess up to ignorance on my part when it’s there because it’s honest, and it’s the modelling thing. (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 4-5, 47). KD viewed his knowledge and non-native status as advantageous in his teaching context whether teaching heritage learners or those with no Korean background. Based on his academic and linguistic background, KD believed that he has “all kinds of knowledge about the language, both its structure and its history and its role socioculturally that most natives do not, even most natives who are trained as KFL teachers” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 5).53 This knowledge includes “a whole bunch of other perspectives on Korea’s role in the world, Korea’s history as a standardized language, variation in Korean, to the classroom” (KD, Interview: 04/21/04, p. 6). He shared how he has had numerous students, and these tend to be … actually the heritage learners, just because there are just more of them, saying: “I never ask grammar questions to my relatives or parents because they can’t answer it or they just give me something that doesn’t help.” Or I’ve had students say to me, again these are heritage learners: “I’m so glad that you’re teaching this class because if you were Korean I wouldn’t have taken it.” This is because they all have had and are almost scarred in many cases by really humiliating experiences they have had in community Saturday schools…[or other]…experiences… (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 5-6). KD saw this non-native perspective as “a great resource because it allows me to question absolutely anything and everything, and to be critical of absolutely anything and 53 Based on his experience, KD states that KFL teachers’ “training tends to be quite narrowly schoolmarmish and traditional in a grammatical way” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 5). 105 everything, and it frees me of all the baggage that comes with it if you’re Korean” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 44). He argued that if he were born and raised Korean he would possess “this whole ideological apparatus that goes with your knowledge of, and knowledge about Korean and the writing system and this very complex [ideology], the way it is related to nationalism and race and these kinds of issues” (KD, Interview: 04/21/04, p. 44). In reference to role models and notwithstanding his achievement as a role model for students, KD concluded that, in fact, Korean heritage learner role models are needed and he advocates for the training of such role models in Korean language education. I think we ought to be finding ways to train, for example second generation Korean Canadians and Korean Americans to become teachers of Korean. After all that is what most of the students are, and they need more models from their own group (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 48). KD viewed the ideal teacher as a multilingual individual with “a comparative vantage point” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 3). Advantages of this position include possessing “a bilingual and bicultural competence” and embodying that which students are attempting to become: individuals who can relate to and function across cultures (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 3). Despite this conclusion, the potential contribution of native models in teaching is still recognised by KD, if also combined with exposure to a bilingual or multilingual teacher. I think that the ideal thing for a learner is to be exposed to and to have instruction from two kinds of instructors: one being a properly trained native speaker, because native models are still important; they’re very important as well as someone like myself. (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 7). KD also described a prejudicial, ideological barrier facing non native speakers and learners of Korean in their interactions with native speakers: There is this psychological barrier where they [Korean native speakers] think deep down in their bones, many Koreans really believe that nobody without Korean blood can learn their language. (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 8). As reflected above, non-natives’ ability to relate and gain access to natives involves more than the perceived level of their linguistic competence. Language attitudes and priorities on the part of the native can readily determine choice of language and though these can be challenged, as they are by KD, they may be difficult to sway in attempting to use and interact with native speakers in Korean. 106 Within his department and professional life KD reported using a mixture of Korean and English with native colleagues and found that there is random code switching. KD found that tiredness and the pace of activities on a particular day affected his choice and use of language. With visiting scholars KD remarked that he works with them extensively and that all interaction with them is in Korean. Given his teaching role and research interests “a lot of life is just sitting, reading books, which is also in Korean a lot of the time” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 30). KD reported using Korean outside of the classroom and university setting and has the opportunity to do so because of his personal circumstances: My wife is Korean although our relationship is in English because I met her way back when… her English then, was already way better than my Korean. Her English was fantastic. But now after we had our child, and after we spent a year in Korea, there’s a lot of our relationship at home and talk around the house is in Korean because now our [son’s]…Korean is quite good. ... so family life, personal life, social life, revolves around the Korean community and around Koreans ... whenever we’re with Koreans which is most of the time, it’s in Korean and if we’re not with Koreans, it’s in English. It’s that simple (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 30-31). Code switching between languages in KD’s family is based on the milieu or community in which they are participating and KD has noted an increased interest, effort, and shift towards using more Korean after having spent a year in Korea as a family unit. 8.3.2 Pedagogy and Practice According to KD even defining pedagogial practice can be a subjective matter and he distanced himself from classifying his department’s approach with any one particular method. Rather he espouses a combination of approaches based on “what works” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 34). He raised the issue and significance of Korean’s orthography as a key factor in considering teaching approach and practice which mandates a different approach than in teaching European languages: we use whatever works, and it’s a combination of focus on form,… communicative… and trying to make sure that they’re still actually doing, for example, role play, that they’re doing lab type stuff, only with us it’s over the Web. Yet there’s also a whole writing side to it. This language has a different script. That’s something again that just never occurs to people whose background is ESL or French, [is] the writing system. It’s very significant. So I just refuse to label what we do. It’s what works. (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 34). As mentioned earlier students are streamed into separate tracks for heritage and non- heritage language learners for the first two years of Korean. In either case, the first two years of Korean was described as form-focused since “there’s just so much of it” in terms of the 107 morpho syntax (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 32). KD’s belief was that accuracy in using the language will be achieved if form is a core focus during these critical first years. On a related note, KD spoke of the vital role of incorporating grammar in KFL teaching based on the structure and nature of Korean including its “morpho-syntax in the shape of lots and lots of different endings, final endings, conjunctive endings as well as particles… thousands of them that need to be learned” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 15). Therefore KD believed that grammar is critical in teaching Korean despite current trends towards “form-sensitive instruction” in North America and in contrast to a heavy emphasis on grammar-based teaching in Korea. He believed that it is necessary to proceed by “finding the middle ground” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 15). As part of his rationale for teaching grammar KD contrasted some of the issues in teaching Korean with that of English and called for the need to apply what is suitable for students in a given classroom by considering their needs as well as the inherent characteristics of the language itself. A contextual factor, which KD viewed as often overlooked, is the greater number of contact hours required for Korean and other Asian languages including Japanese and Mandarin compared to other European languages in this Canadian university context. …here’s a language that requires four times as much time than French or Spanish… This is the problem with trying to teach a language like Korean and cram it all into 4 years of university instruction when you need two thousand three hundred hours to reach a 2 plus in this language, and technically speaking, superior is a level 3…And so form becomes very important, and we’re in a day and age where we have the luxury of saying that, okay well let’s make sure we get the form right because a lot of the other stuff will come if they go to Korea. ...By the time they’ve completed a course like Korean 300 they are clearly committed to trying to get somewhere with this, and they will ask sometimes, very agonized questions: “How can I do more? What should I do?” And then you tell them well then take a year off, go to Korea, find a program, go over there … (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 33, 21, 38-9). Therefore given these factors, KD viewed a sound grasp of form in Korean as the prerequisite to successfully progress to more advanced levels. Grasping other aspects of Korean can occur later with exposure to a Korean-speaking environment and/or participation in more advanced language programs. Given the greater contact hours required the department has turned to online technology in the form of a customised Web site for first and second year learners “with tons of audio, and tons of self-study opportunities… outside of class” to help increase their 108 language practice and use (KD, Interview: 04/21/04, p. 29).54 According to KD, the use of technology, together with an oral exam, has brought about the result that learners’ “oral production has leapt in terms of the quality” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 30). Exposure to various sociolinguistic speech levels related to honorifics, politeness, and register was also part of KD’s pedagogical approach to teaching Korean, simulating or role playing what students would experience in Korea. Though Korean has various speech levels which vary depending on the interlocutor, KD purposefully focused on one particular style or ending, continuously if the form in question is the target of a particular unit, even when the form is technically inappropriate to be using to a student. KD engaged in “constant negotiation of forms” to give students exposure to and experience with different forms they otherwise would not experience in the modern language classroom yet would need to be familiar with outside the classroom (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 32). So if this were Korea…I would be talking down to them in a fairly intimate style but that’s not a very useful form pedagogically for these students to be learning…And so, sometimes, I use the quite formal and stiff, and distant forms with them because they have no exposure to them at home… (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 31-2). Providing students with a metalanguage is another key practice related to KD’s core teaching beliefs. He viewed this practice as important in that it gives students the means “with which to talk about their learning which a lot of teachers don’t do” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 34).55 In fact KD described that much of what he does in terms of time and emphasis in his teaching is about providing a metalanguage, specifically “how do we talk about it?” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 35). Therefore after the first few years of Korean and even after the first year on a smaller scale KD believed that “students should be equipped with the tools to talk about what they’re learning, what they know, what they don’t know, to ask about what they don’t know, and to just have the vocabulary to do so, in English, for starters…” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 34). Although this practice increases the amount of English in the classroom, the benefits and overall progress made in Korean with it are 54 KD proudly describes how this online tool “includes voice chat and the use of which is built into the class by requiring them, assigning them every week certain kinds of voice chat where they have to record themselves and respond to prompts or to questions from the instructor and post them on an online language lab almost.…They know that, for example, certain parts of the exam - each lesson exam are going to come off materials on the web site so then there’s a built in incentive for them to visit it frequently and to use it” (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 29-30). 55 In reference to Korean teachers who do not subscribe to providing students with a metalanguage KD explains that “Some of them think [it] is like cheating” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 34). 109 believed to offset this factor. L1-L2 use in the classroom is specifically examined in further detail below. 8.3.3 L1-L2 Use ... I feel that most of what we know about immersion techniques has developed on the basis of French or English and I’m sorry, doing French immersion is very different from doing Korean immersion… I think there’s a lot of research to be done on how far you can get with immersion…in Asian languages (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 25). In terms of L1-L2 use KD viewed it as acceptable to use students’ L1, in this case the dominant (academic) language English, and emphasised the need to consider “audience” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 25). He made reference to age as a factor and that “Immersion works with kids” (exclusive target language use) and that such a policy is unrealistic with the older learners he teaches in his context (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 25). In addition to audience, factors influencing L1-L2 use, in terms of language choice and use, include: lesson objective and topic on a given day, the nature and year of program, teacher personal preference, (limited) class time at the senior levels, proportion of heritage learners, student resistance to and ideological perceptions of language use, and providing a metalanguage of Korean grammatical and literary jargon in English. Although KD rejects eliminating the use of English, he believes that Korean should be used in conducting and running classes and that its use is signficant and relevant in the first two years of the program where the focus is on the spoken language, particularly for non-heritage learners. He reflected that “for quite some time I was teaching…102 and 200” where there was more focus on ‘airtime’ in using Korean (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 26). At the senior 300 and 400 levels he justified less use of Korean on the basis of “limited class time…to do conversation” and would rather provide students with the means to continue learning Korean beyond the classroom as described below (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 28). I am not a big fan of using that limited class time in the upper levels to do conversation. If these students are really serious about learning this language they need to go there [Korea]. And what we need to give them are strategies and tools and resources that will make them better and more efficient learners when they go there. That’s another philosophy of mine (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 28). In practice, KD described his “classroom banter…[as] almost…90% Korean, unless… responding to a question…and it’s an analysis thing. Then it’s English” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 24). Analysis refers to that of grammar or literature. KD described his overall 110 L1-L2 use as “at least 30% of what I do is in English, [it’s] probably 30 to 50. It’s hard to say. It depends on what’s happening that day in the classroom” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 26). KD explained how the metalanguage for Korean grammar and pronunciation needs to be in English because it would be too difficult to generate a Korean metalanguage given the background of his students. (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 24). 8.3.4 Culture Culture “comes up all the time” however it was described as not being a priority in the first two years of Korean due to the focus on form-oriented instruction and oral practice (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 22). Overall, students are engaged in Korean culture intrinsically and incidentally as it comes up at an “opportune moment” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 22). KD encouraged students to pursue experiences in Korean culture outside of the classroom. Rather than through explicit instruction in addressing culture, KD shared personal anecdotes related to culture as well as research and academic interests pertaining to the study of Korean. KD rejected the explicit planning and teaching of culture within a teacher’s repertoire as well as within teaching materials. He is unconvinced that “explicit instruction in culture like that is such a good thing” and KD saw his role, rather, as “preparing them with just the nuts and bolts to go over there. They’re going to get all that…[cultural exposure and information]” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 22). KD summarised his practice concerning culture as consisting of “either role play or good modelling on the part of the teacher or dealing with it when it comes up” for example, commonly discussing how “it’s really rude in Korea to greet somebody with your hands in your pockets or a hand in a pocket”. He shared that recognising and discussing aspects of Korean culture is “important” however “I don’t write them into the curriculum. They just come. They happen” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 22). Based on student-wide interest in areas related to contemporary (popular) culture, KD was interested in developing additional courses at the 300 level to satisfy these interests and needs while simultaneously providing more exposure to Korean language and culture. KD cited one possibility of harnessing the draw of South Korean pop culture and TV dramas. The idea would be to develop a course focused on this material meaning it would be “very contemporary… targeted at the cultural interests of the target student body, and yet would 111 still be a good vehicle for introducing a lot of the language… [The course as it is now]…is quite traditional” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 21). 8.3.5 Challenges KD faced a variety of challenges in this context some of which stem from his non- native status and others are challenges that he has embraced as part of his commitment to Korean language education. This discussion of challenges progresses outwardly with challenges related to KD’s status and his use of Korean as a non-native teacher, a focus of this study, followed by the lack of adequate teaching and learning resources, meeting the needs and interests of heritage learners, before continuing with the broader challenges of the recognition of the identity and needs of KFL in this context. Challenges to KD’s proficiency and qualifications to teach Korean arose based on his non-native status as well as student expectations and perceptions of the Korean teacher. This challenge was manifested as student discomfort and uneasiness which take the form of questioning ranging from those of subtle curiosity and personal interest to outright questioning of language qualifications and teaching credentials because of their personal beliefs. I get a lot of curious questions like: “How come your Korean is so good? What’s the secret? How did you do it? How long did you live in Korea?” You get a lot of [that last question], the implication being, that you must have spent a lot of time there, the usual myth that time spent in C2 [culture 2] somehow is connected or predicts fluency, which of course it doesn’t. (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 40-41). KD stated he is asked the questions also because “I’m white, a lot of my students are Korean, and there’s this racial element, this clash” (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 41). KD noted that at times, the questioning is more pronounced from the non heritage language learners: And I tend to actually get that [testing of proficiency ], in it’s more pronounced form, a few times, not from the heritage learners , but from the non- heritage learners who want to see, it gets back to this myth that you have to learn a foreign language from a native speaker, or that the native speaker is by definition the language teacher or the best language teacher (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 41). Developing teaching and learning resources for teaching Korean was KD’s “greatest challenge” on a day to day basis due to “ a dearth of good teaching materials” that are “appropriate for our program” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 16). There has been an ongoing 112 struggle to allocate and balance his time and resources for research versus developing resources for teaching “because, in a university position…you’re rewarded for research” and “incentives for producing teaching materials are really quite reduced” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 16). However KD feels that “the money to at least develop the materials would then make up for that other lack of, professional reward” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 16). At the time of his interview KD had “a full six credit buyout” which allowed him to “develop teaching materials” for use in senior level courses while completing other research (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 16). Another challenge was addressing the needs of heritage language or highly proficient speakers within a multilevel classroom. KD found that resources are primarily targeted at the non-Korean ‘foreign language learner’ despite the fact that heritage speakers currently constitute the majority of students. Besides the usual range of language learners found in any language classroom KD found that there are unique characteristics and needs of the heritage learner that need to be addressed with respect to instructional resources. What many heritage language learners claim that they want, when they sign up for a course, is grammar, because they don’t know grammar and they feel a real complex about it…They can speak but they want to know the analysis. And yet, the current ideological orthodoxy coming out of some language departments is that analysis and grammar and that stuff is bad but that’s what the heritage learners want and that’s what they need…Part of the problem is that we just don’t yet have really good instructional materials targeted at the heritage learner. There’s this funny paradox all across the field in Korean language education that most people developing learning materials are developing materials for the non- heritage learner even though 95% of the learners in North America are heritage learners. So we’re in the process of developing those materials now for the heritage class… (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 26, 12). The dilemma of addressing the needs of highly proficient speakers versus keeping “the lower and the upper ends of that multi level spectrum into a reasonable sort of controllable band” was a related challenge (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 10). KD speaks of highly proficient speakers of Korean who are now turned away or are only able to study at the 400 level due to the courses offered by the department. If their Korean is just at a level that is so high that they would not get anything meaningful out of our 400 level course and/or would place at a unfair disadvantage the other students in the class, we just tell them to go away. (Interview: 04/21/04, pp. 9-10). 113 Rather than sending them away KD saw these potential learners as enriching the study of Korean in that they could represent a potential linguistic resource to Korean language teaching as a student and, with ongoing study, a potential teacher role model. Another challenge was that there is a lack of understanding of the identity and needs of Asian language teaching and learning by university administrators. He described “a real arrogance that comes out of ESL and language education departments, when it comes to looking at, and often times criticising the way languages are taught in this department” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 13). KD believed that “that arrogance is fuelled, in large part, by ignorance because they just don’t know our languages, they don’t know what’s involved” and “There’s a whole writing system and reading and literacy side to it that they’ve never done” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 13). He summed up the gap between experience and perspective as “a fairly standard Eurocentric problem” (KD, Interview: 04/21/04, p. 13). KD made the case for Asian language learning contexts having “a whole lot of other problems when we’re teaching these languages that they don’t and a lot of it has to do with writing system [and] cultural distance” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 14). He emphasised that “the university system doesn’t provide those extra resources and doesn’t even realise that they’re needed” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 14). KD believed that this criticism is due to a lack of firsthand experience in learning and teaching Asian languages and transferring theories and practices from the realm of European languages’ pedagogy. In KD’s view, the linguistic and cultural distance between Korean and European languages mandates different approaches and more contact hours and resources. Lastly, a related challenge is dealing with a lack of understanding of the identity and needs of KFL teaching and learning in North American contexts locally by Korean-based KFL educators and the Korean government implementing “an export model” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 15).56 Locally, this manifested itself as frustration over resources and pedagogical approaches from Korea as “the centre” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 15). Given this situation, KD found that resources targeted for KFL were often inappropriate for his context 56 KD describes the field of KFL teaching as “extremely young” in a state where: “the dust, it hasn’t settled at all. It’s still struggling for an identity.” He views the Korean government’s investment and promotion of the acquisition of Korean overseas as a ‘complication’ in the field’s process of shaping its identity. He cites the example of their training of KFL teachers which he believes “They don’t really know how to do…” (Interview: 04/21/04, pp.14 -15). 114 and he therefore designs and seeks more appropriate materials to teach Korean (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 15). KD discussed his colleagues’ and his own preference for designing resources for the needs of their teaching contexts or, otherwise, at least collaborating with colleagues based in Korea. Ideally, he shares that: “We just need the resources to get on with it on our own…” or alternatively “we’d be more interested in more collaborative models, rather than just, this idea [that] that’s the centre, projecting outward to us poor folks on the periphery that need their goods” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 15).57 In terms of this perspective, KD emphasised it is commonly held by colleagues regardless of their background and affiliation in that: “that’s not just me, I mean there are others of us. All my colleagues are Korean, of course, across North America, and they have the same frustration” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 15). He described there being “quite a lot of conflict” over methodology and ideology with ownership of Korean at the core (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 15).58 8.4 Summary of Salient Issues KD’s 14 years of experience as a non-native teacher of Korean and his journey of acquiring Korean provided extensive illumination on the experiences, perspectives and challenges of the non-native teacher. KD viewed the term ‘native-speaker’ as futile, a “a total myth in language education” that does not mean very much at all and prefers to avoid its use (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 3). Rather he recognised it as shorthand for asking: “What’s your first language, what language did you grow up with?” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 2). He identified himself as a multilingual, native speaker of English and excellent/native-like speaker of Korean. KD identifed numerous advantages he brings to teaching Korean as a non-native speaker. He viewed himself as a role model for all learners of Korean and a particularly effective role model for non-heritage learners struggling to learn Korean. Heritage learners were generally appreciative and grateful of his non-native status in that they are able to study and question their heritage language objectively and dispassionately, free of the patriarchal- like relationship they have had with some native teachers. KD viewed his bilingual- bicultural identity as well as multilingual background as an advantage given that a primary 57 KD uses “goods” to refer to textbooks and other instructional materials authored by Korean-based sources viewing resources for KFL education as originating from Korea ‘the centre’ (Interview: 04/21/04, p.15). 58 KD explains that ideology refers “to what the purpose of our teaching is and who it’s for” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 15). 115 goal of teaching this language was the emerging development of the bilingual and bicultural student. Pedagogically, KD viewed the trained native as a potentially valuable contributor to language teaching and recommended a team-teaching model using both natives and non- natives for instruction or at least student exposure to each over the duration of their study. In terms of relating to natives professionally and socially, KD readily used Korean and finds there is general acceptance by Korean natives. However in Korea his access to Korean was sometimes compromised due to the dilemma of natives’ preference to use English instead of using their native Korean as well as native acceptance of his status as a Korean non-native. In terms of identity and affiliation, KD found aspects of his identity being more Korean such as mannerisms in social settings. He is also an author, speaker, and advocate of Korean language education. In terms of guiding pedagogical practices, KD advocated using “what works” whether using a single methodology or in combination (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 34). KD found that there is an important role and function of grammar in Korean language education due to its morpho syntax and the first two years are highly form-focused. Students were provided with a metalanguage in their L1 to enable them to engage in talking about and questioning aspects of Korean. KD rejected the ‘no English’ principle in the language classroom, and especially in Korean ones, and believes that L1-L2 policy and practice depend on the audience and purpose. He did support exclusive language use with young children particularly in immersion programs. Target culture was addressed incidentally as it arises based on student and KD’s interests rather than through explicit instruction. KD believes that students who are highly interested in Korean culture will make the effort to engage with it further by participating in exchange programs to Korea and/or undertaking advanced study in this area. A number of key challenges affect KD’s teaching and professional work. KD’s proficiency and qualifications were questioned, in more pronounced form from non-heritage learners particularly at the outset of courses. Heritage learners question his use of Korean based on their more usual experience with regional varieties of Korean versus the standard Korean KD uses in the classroom. 116 On a practical level and daily basis, the need for resources via time buyouts to develop materials for students was KD’s greatest challenge. KD also saw the need to develop resources for higher level heritage learners and those who are currently turned away because of their virtual native-like proficiency. More materials were being developed to address their needs. There was also the challenge of addressing multilevel learners by keeping the lower and upper ends of spectrum of learners within “a reasonable sort of controllable band” (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 10). Outliers include cases of second generation Koreans with strong Korean who are admitted yet struggle with literary language in the upper level classes as well as rarer cases of non-heritage learners with extensive time in a Korean speaking environment. KD believed that methodologies and beliefs which apply to teaching European languages are far less applicable to Asian languages due to the latter’s more complex orthographies and their cultural distance from European languages. He was frustrated that Korean is taught within the same timeframe as European languages although four to five times as many contact hours are required to achieve a similar level of proficiency (Interview: 04/21/04, p. 29). The issue of the purpose and recipient of Korean language teaching arises in interacting with KFL educators in Korea who are in favour of an export model for Korean pedagogy and teaching resources. This is in contrast to local Korean language teachers in North America, such as KD, who are interested in gaining access or creating resources and programs for their specific local context needs or at least engaging in collaborative models with Korean-based educators. KD’s contribution to Korean language teaching goes beyond teaching given his advocacy for the needs of heritage learners as well as for KFL teaching overall. His questioning of Korean, whether its teaching pedagogy and practice or linguistics, brings about alternative perspectives and, as such, enriches debate and discussion that may otherwise perhaps not occur. 117 Chapter 9: CROSS-CASE ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF LANGUAGE USE 9.1 Introduction Anne (French), Kathleen (Italian), Nancy (Mandarin), and KD (Korean) were the focal participants whose cases and salient issues were presented in the preceding chapters from amongst the 22 non-native teacher participants. This chapter presents and discusses the themes which emerged from a cross-case analysis of all the data collected. Although the focal cases are emphasised in the discussion below, examples from others are included. This chapter discusses the primary theme of language use including related practices and beliefs while chapter 10 discusses the secondary cross-case themes that emerged and were clustered into the broader categories of non-native language teacher identity, strengths and advantages, challenges, and perspectives. 9.2 Factors Some of the key individual and contextual factors impacting target language use and practices for focal participants are included in Tables 9.1 and 9.5 respectively and discussed in turn. Figure 9.1 below provides an overview of these factors. Figure 9.1: L1-L2 Use Factors Individual Factors • Functions of English • Language Proficiency • Exposure & Opportunities outside classroom • Target Culture Experience • Teaching Experience • Other Factors Contextual Factors • Language Features • Language Use Expectations • Learner’s Linguistic Background • Teaching Level • Developmental Stage of Learners • Other Factors Participants’ Language Use 118 Some, such as ongoing access and opportunities, also impact language maintenance and improvement, a secondary theme pertaining to challenges discussed in chapter 10. This chapter specifically examines L1-L2 use with a focus on the factors impacting L1-L2 use. 9.2.1 Individual Factors Impacting L1-L2 Use Numerous individual factors are present and at play affecting participants’ language use and the major ones outlined in Table 9.1. Some contribute to increased language use while others, or sometimes the same factor, to decreased use. Table 9.1: Individual Factors Impacting Reported L1-L2 Use Focal Case (Level Taught) Anne French (Beginner Kathleen Italian (University, Beginner) Nancy Mandarin (all levels KD Korean (University Intermed. Advanced) L2 Use (%) 90 80 75 50-70 Beliefs About the Functions of English -“as a tool but not as a translator” for abstract concepts, anecdotes -supplementary notes -English grammar as a reference for French grammar -tool, to ensure understanding e.g., new grammar -anecdotes -English grammar to learn Italian grammar -joint-language, with simplified Mandarin, to teach beginners -abstract concepts (grammar and culture) -anecdotes -exam preparation -to assist ESL learners -efficiency -complex/abstract concepts, anecdotes -meta language to discuss grammar -efficiency -learning tool L2 Proficiency (Scale of 1 to 5 ) 1 4 3 5 Ongoing, Regular L2 Exposure (Y/N) N Y -freelance interpreting and translation -writing (native group) -organizing class events at cultural centre Y -viewing, listening to media -leading biennial excursion to China Y -immediate and extended family -professional (textual and interactive) L2 Use Opportunities Outside Class (% of time) Some, 20% Many, 25-30% Few (did not indicate as a percentage) Many, 50%+ L2 / Culture Experience (years) None Italy (3) China & Taiwan (3) Korea (2) 119 220.127.116.11 Functions of English Perceptions and beliefs about the function of English as a tool were significant amongst participants and are discussed here in terms of the function of English to teach abstract areas of grammar, culture, as well as a tool for explanation or repair, and efficiency. 18.104.22.168.1 Grammar Using English as a tool to teach grammar in an explicit fashion was a consistent theme amongst participants with respect to language use in this study and impacted the amount of target language use in the classroom however participants somewhat varied in their policies with respect to the use of English for grammar. Participants generally referred to their target language’s grammar as generally too abstract and complex to teach in the language yet understanding it was seen as a prerequisite for language learning. In particular, participants indicated that complex or new grammar concepts often required the use of English as a tool for explanation as did areas of difficulty (e.g., Erika). Voicing a commonly- held perspective about teaching grammar, Hans said that Grammar is so much harder to explain in L2, it’s so much harder for them to understand in L2 that just to be able to figure it out….They have a hard enough time understanding grammar in L1, to put it into L2 is just a recipe for failure. There’s no point (Hans). As well, the importance of successfully teaching grammar was driven by departmental expectations of content coverage for exam purposes as well as participants’ belief in its necessity for accurate and effective use of the language. For example, according to KD, the first two years of Korean in his university context were highly form-focused due to the language’s morpho-syntax. Focal participants KD and, to some extent, Kathleen and others, discussed using English to discuss grammar and other aspects of their target languages. KD provided learners with a metalanguage in English to talk “about Korean”, its grammar and “their learning” (KD). Although he acknowledged that it increased the use of English and was viewed by some as “cheating”, he argued that it was a helpful “long-term strategy” for “cracking” this language by those who were “serious about this language” (KD). KD believed that learners benefitted from this metalanguage by being able to express grammatical knowledge generally as well as articulate questions about Korean, with heritage learners “validating those intuitions” they had about Korean (KD). 120 …the metalanguage that they use – that they learn in 102 and 200 is in English, but, you know, it’s specifically … packaged for Korean… You need a meta-language, but that meta language is not in Korean, because (doing) the meta language in Korean would layer yet another, whole bunch of really difficult stuff on them, you know, and half of the time, you know, UWC students don’t even know what a...verb is in English, you know, what is an adjective, you know, or then what is an adjective in Korean…so you know that’s really complicated… So I tend to be real … flexible about that but keep- try to keep my classroom banter, unless it’s, you know, a targeted response to a sort of structure or analysis type question, in Korean (KD). Kathleen similarly viewed her sharing of metalinguistic knowledge with learners as a contribution (Kathleen). Erika and Naomi also reported using English as a tool to discuss structural aspects of Japanese, including the thought process required in structuring and processing sentences. Anne, Kathleen, and others used English to facilitate learner understanding in terms of their ability to make associations between their frame of reference and the language. Anne viewed the strategy of “associating your English with your French” as a prerequisite for effective language learning and provided the example of how this did not fare as well with one class due to their previous native teacher teaching solely in French and a lack of any attempt to make connections with learners’ knowledge of language in English.59 that’s the problem with what happened last year, is the kids weren’t able to make any association between what they were being told and what they understood … in their own language or, you know, conceptually… They had a teacher YEAH! They just didn’t get any…knowledge that year like it’s as if they didn’t take French that year (Anne). As seen above, Anne viewed the need to associate the target language with English as critical for language learning. Erika also reported using English as a tool to facilitate learners’ understanding of challenging aspects of structural and grammatical aspects of Japanese. Like, quite often I have to tell the kids: “You need to read backwards, you know, how we start here”. I like to do this, in Japanese they start with do, like, do, I. You know, they have…The sentence structure is basically backwards and so that’s where I resort to English is I- you know when kids are having trouble, in anything, I always stop it and that’s where the grammar explanation: “Guys remember this is- you always start at the back. I think, you know, in our sentences I think blah blah blah. ‘I think’ comes at the beginning but in their sentences, you say you know ‘It’s hot I think’” (Erika). 59 Anne reported that her class’ previous teacher lacked English skills and was “not able to explain anything” to learners in their L1 or dominant language (Anne). 121 Thus, Erika helped teach sentence structure in Japanese by associating this concept and its use with English. 22.214.171.124.2 Target Culture English was also used by participants to expose learners to the target culture in the form of sharing anecdotal experiences, viewing related media and participating in related discussion. Most participants saw culture as inseparable from acquiring the target language with some activities and tasks best carried out in English due to the more abstract and sometimes complex nature of the content.60 However, with preparation, practice, and support, experiential and complex activities such as debating cultural issues in the language also took place in some cases (e.g., Kathleen, Nancy). Nancy exposed learners to Chinese culture by making the language “meaningful … exciting and … real for the students” so as to not “teach language in a vacuum” but rather get learners “tuned into the culture” (Nancy). Activities included: preparing Chinese dishes, participating in related art activities, listening to and compiling lyrics for Chinese music, as well as viewing media (such as film) on Chinese social issues including gender and social policy. Though some of these activities were carried out in English, Nancy structured and planned as much as possible to maintain and encourage the use of Mandarin. However, like Nancy, Doreen found that presenting culture sometimes lent itself to the use of English due to the abstractness or complexity of ideas as well as the language(s) used in related media. For example, yesterday in Japanese we were watching a video… “((Obachan’s)) Garden” about Japanese internment and the whole cultural thing about World War II. Well the movie’s in English; there’s some Japanese in it, but I don’t care because that’s a Japanese- that’s a lesson that I want to make sure everyone understands and I will ask questions, probably in English, and have a discussion about it in English, but it’s very relevant to the course so, you know, there’ll be days when someone walking in thinking: “This is a Japanese class, this is pretty sad, there’s no Japanese happening here.” I would defend it and say: “But that’s really important. … And they don’t know it because some of them are such recent immigrants. They don’t know anything about World War II, what happened in B.C. to the Japanese, and I think they ought to know that”… (Doreen). 60 Teaching culture was less significant in terms of deliberate inclusion in the cases of KD and Anne. KD believed in teaching it incidentally and that learners would benefit most culturally by travelling to the target culture. Given her very limited exposure and experience with the target culture (French), Anne shared her interest in teaching colloquial usage of the language as a connection to its current culture. 122 As reflected in the above passage, Doreen viewed the value of understanding this and other issues and doing so in English as overriding the maintenance of sole Japanese language use. Hans also adopted a broad cultural perspective in teaching German; he emphasised the priority of learners’ exposure to a culture outside their first, regardless of any particular one and believed that the “overarching” objective of language teaching in Canada was “to increase understanding and interest in other cultures in general” (Hans). Promoting understanding of social expectations in the target culture was seen as a key component of acquiring the language for Naomi and Frank. They used English to teach co
UBC Theses and Dissertations
The non-native modern language teacher : language practices, choices, and challenges Lecki, Sabina E. 2011
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