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Subjects-in-interaction version 3.0 : an intellectual system for modern language student teachers to.. Beers, Maggie 2001-09-16

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SUBJECTSININTERACTION VERSION 3.0: AN INTELLECTUAL SYSTEM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDENT TEACHERS TO APPROPRIATE MULTILITERACIES AS DESIGNERS AND INTERPRETERS OF MEDIA TEXTS by MAGGIE BEERS B.A., The University of CaUfornia, Santa Barbara, 1987 M.A., The University of California, Santa Barbara, 1990 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Language and Literacy Education, Modern Language Education) We acceptrhis thesis as conforming tW required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March 2001 © Maggie Beers, 2001 AUTHORIZATION In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shah make it freely available for reference and study I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Maggie Beers Department of Language and Literacy Education The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date . Sf2'?nf- 1-, Z-f#7 Abstract ii Abstract This dissertation, which draws on the fields of critical theory, sociolinguistic theory, teacher education, and human-computer interaction, examines issues of culture and intercultural understanding, critical multiliteracies, learning in general and, specifically, the role of new media in the creation and interpretation of (learning) cultures. Critical modern language education theorists advocate engaging in ethnographic studies of one's own and the target language culture as a way to shed traditional, static, product-based notions of culture for postmodern, dynamic, process-based interpretations of culture(s). To this end, how can teacher educators prepare student teachers to be reflexive about their own classroom practice? In this approach, sixty secondary-level student teachers made short digital movies on their cultural interpretations of an object of their choice, such as cars. They filmed each other and were fdmed as they worked and reflected on their movies and then used an on line video analysis tool to share, annotate and critique the digital representations of their processes and products in relation to the course content. The participants assumed a variety of research roles, such as research initiators, qualitative researchers, video ethnographers, reflective practitioners and beta-testers of previously unreleased software Multimedia profiles of eight participants, presented on an accompanying CD-ROM, illustrate learning experiences that occurred throughout the group. They found it challenging to reconcile their prior schema and new concepts; confusing to develop a teaching approach while their basic assumptions were evolving; exciting to use state of the art tools and take on research roles; rewarding to participate in forums for productive reflection and discover new capacities; effective for making abstract ideas concrete; and empowering to appropriate the technical and intellectual skills to carry out similar projects. This study points to a need for a pedagogical shift in preparing modern language student teachers which positions them to claim the classroom as their own. This includes Abstract iii claiming the right to: include culture in a language driven classroom; choose their own media materials; determine their own curriculum within standardized curricular and textbook guidelines; use non-traditional language teaching approaches; and hold high expectations for their students for critical thinking and use of the target language. Table of Contents iv Table of Contents ABSTRACT ii TABLE OF CONTENTS iv LIST OF MOVIE FILES viACKNOWLEDGEMENTS xii DEDICATION xiv CHAPTER 1 1 OVERVIEWREADERS' GUIDE i IMPORTANCE OF TOPIC AND GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS 2 EDUCATIONAL DILEMMA 2 THE MEDIA-BASED APPROACH AND PROJECT SPECIFICS 4 THEORY BASE FOR RESEARCH 7 Critical theoryConstructionism 8 Configurational validity 0 Subjects-in-interaction p PRIOR RESEARCH ON THIS TOPIC 10 Cultural studies 10 Cultural objectives 12 Culture teachingRESEARCH METHODOLOGY 4 Qualitative research , 14 Ethnographic studies 14 Digital video ethnography IJ Digital video ethnographic tools and method .' 16 METHOD FOR RESEARCH SITE DEVELOPMENT 17 Research site/system 17 Human-computer interaction 18 DATA COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION 20 Research questions 20 Data collectionData analysis and interpretation 22 Student profiles 24 LIMITATIONS 27 INTERLUDE 9 CHAPTER 2 33 MODERN LANGUAGE CULTURE TEACHING IN/CON STRUCTION: SUBJECTIFYING THE OBJECTIFIED 3IDEAS ON INTEGRATING LANGUAGE AND CULTURE 33 Teaching culture or teaching meaning? 5 Table of Contents v Teaching Subjects-in-interaction 36 Subjects and objects in critical theory 39 THE STATE OF CULTURE TEACHING 41 Modern language education in British Columbia 41 How do teachers "teach culture?". 43 Subjects-in-interaction in the methods course 46 CRITICAL THEORY IN MODERN LANGUAGE EDUCATION 49 The human elements JO The non-human elements $3 CONCLUDING REMARKS 6CHAPTER 3 71 DESIGNING SELVES, INTERPRETING OTHERS: DIGITAL VIDEO ETHNOGRAPHY AS A METHODOLOGY FOR APPRENTICES TO APPROPRIATE MULTILITERACIES 71 THEORETICAL LINEAGE OF EDUCATIONAL THEORY AND METHOD 7Piaget to Papert yi Papert to Goldman-Segall 72 Goldman-Segall to Beers 74 APPLICATION OF EDUCATIONAL THEORY AND METHOD 76 Multiliterate designers and interpreters of digital media texts 77 Digital video ethnography as methodology to foster multiliteracies 79 Digital video ethnographic scenario in modern language education 82 A DIGITAL VIDEO ETHNOGRAPHY OF SELF AND OTHER 85 Multiple identities: The study of selves and others 86 SUBJECT-IVE CONCLUSIONS 97 CHAPTER 4 ....100 SUBJECTS-IN-INTERACTION VERSION 3.0: THE INTEGRATED AND ITERATIVE SYSTEMS DESIGN PROCESS 100 THE INTEGRATED AND ITERATIVE DESIGN PROCESS FOR SYSTEM SIIV. 3.0 102 A site for inter-active, inter-disciplinary research and development 102 Human-computer interaction to study Subjects-in-interaction 103 Iterative and integrated system design process 107 SPECS AND CONTENT FOR SYSTEM SII VERSION 3.0 114 First cycle: Community building n$ Second cycle: Active readings of texts 117 Third cycle: Cultural artifact construction 122 Fourth cycle: Evaluation up down and across 123 CONCLUSIONS: SII 3.0 AS A SYSTEM FOR EXPLORING SUBJECTS-IN-INTERACTION 126 CHAPTER 5 128 DESIGNING PRODUCTS, INTERPRETING PROCESSES: ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION 12A PiAGETIAN/ HERMENEUTIC FRAMEWORK FOR DATA ANALYSIS 128 Piaget's theories on cognitive development:. 130 Hermeneutics 132 Subjects-in-interaction 135 INDIVIDUAL STUDENT TEACHER PROFILES 138 READERS' GUIDE FOR STUDENT TEACHER PROFILES 140 Anne 141 Table of Contents vi Layla : 153 Paula 162 Kevin 174 Klara 183 Murray 192 Jessica 202 Lesley 212 CHAPTER 6 227 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS 22SUMMARY OF PROJECT 22FINDINGS AND RESULTS 231 Research question #1 231 Research question #2 5 Implications 230 Informing practice 240 Further research 242 REFLECTIONS 244 REFERENCES 7 APPENDIX A: 1999 MLED 480A COURSE SYLLABUS (SII v.3.0) 261 APPENDIX B: 1999 EVALUATION CRITERIA: MLED 480A (SII v.3.0) 269 APPENDIX C: 1999 Focus GROUP QUESTIONS: MLED 480A (SII v.3.0) 271 APPENDIX D: 1998 FALL METHODS COURSE SYLLABUS: MLED 311-318 28APPENDIX E: STUDENT SUMMARIES OF MLED 480A COURSE READINGS 286 APPENDIX F: INFORMED CONSENT FORM 295 List of Movie Files vii List of Movie Files The eight student teacher profiles located on pages 141-226 of this dissertation are embedded with QuickTime™ movies, which can be accessed on the accompanying Macintosh and PC platform CD-ROMs. This is a list of the movies, identified by the caption which describes them in the written text, their file names and the page on which they are discussed. Readers are encouraged to consult the Readers' Guide on page T40 for further information. ANNE'S MEDIA Anne's group movie: "Fine Grind" Movie File (8.7 MB): finegrind.mov ^r Anne shares her identity object. Movie File (13.5 MB): idobjanne.mov r42 Anne wonders whether she is qualified to teach German language and culture. Movie File (18 MB): am_I_qualified.mov r43 Anne describes how her concept of culture has changed. Movie File (10.4 MB): little_things.mov .145 Anne & Anju decide if Canada has a "national look." Movie File (ij.i MB): nationaLlook.mov r46 Anne shares her practicum experiences using the textbook & authentic texts. Movie File (7.4 MB): can't_do_it.mov 147 Anne & Layla discuss what makes constructionist projects meaningful. Movie File (5.6 MB): frustration_construction.mov r49 Anne & Anju discuss whether constructionist projects are feasible. Movie File (9.2 MB): therapy.mov 14Beta testers!: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (1.5 MB): betatest.mov 150 Confidence builder: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (312 K): nazlynn_confidence.mov 151 Lower your expectations!: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (660 K): magexpectations.mov 151 LAYLA'S MEDIA Layla's group movie: "Fine Grind" Movie File (8.7 MB): finegrind.mov 153 List of Movie Files via Layla shares her experiences attempting to teach culture through authentic materials. Movie File (24.9 MB): anthropologist.mov 158 Capturing excitement: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (468 K): syrviecapture.mov 160 Layla discusses the importance of seeing the process to understand the product. Movie File (6.3 MB): product_end_result.mov 16 PAULA'S MEDIA Paula's group movie: "Cars 'R Us" Movie File (11.5 MB): carsareus.mov 162 Paula shares the surprise she felt when she learned her practicum students' associations with Spanish Movie File (4.8 MB): paulatacobell.mov 163 Taco Bell Dog as "love sick Romeo." Movie File (756 K): quieroi.avi 164 Taco Bell Dog as a "revolucionario." Movie File (1.6 MB): quier05.avi 16Maggie gives an overview of how the class assignments can be used in the student teachers future teaching to learn about self and other. Movie File (25.3 MB): overview_mag.mov 166 Paula shares her cultural revelation regarding the concept of self and other. Movie File (9.7 MB): selflother.mov 167 Textbook culture: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (540 K): textbookjcevin.mov 167 Tacky texts: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (2.3 MB): tackytexts.mov 168 Canadians love to dance!: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (1.5 MB): canadians_dance.mov i6< Identity objects-Jessica/Erin: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (264 K): idobj_jess_erin.mov 17' Paula compares this constructionist approach to learning computers to other approaches. Movie File (3.4 MB): paula_learning.mov 17 Paula describes negative and positive learning processes. Movie File (15.3 MB): paula_computers.mov 17 Paula reflects back on how the theory of self and other has helped her learn. Movie File (9.1 MB): paula_self.movList of Movie Files ix KEVIN'S MEDIA Kevin's group movie: "The Cultural Flower" Movie File (7.3 MB): culturalflower.mov 174 Textbook culture: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (4.4 MB): textbook_kevin.mov 175 Media in the practicum: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (504 K): julia_practicumad.mov 177 Travel Julia: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (572 K): traveljulia.mov 179 Kevin suggests we may learn more from these movies by asking questions about them, not making comments. Movie File (588 K): questions_not_comments.mov 180 Kevin found himself questioning his thinking while commenting on the movies via WebConstellations™.. Movie File (2.9 MB): is-that-right.mov 181 Kevin applies tourist/explorer concept to WebConstellations™. Movie File (4.1 MB): process_explorer.mov 182 KLARA'S MEDIA Klara's group movie: "We've Got Mail" Movie File (10.1 MB): We've Got Mail 183 Life-long culture learning: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (264 K): anju_culture.mov 185 Klara discusses the globalization of cultures. Movie File (8.7 MB): globaLshort.mov 18Klara discusses how her concept of culture is changing. Movie File (5.4 MB): confused_klara.mov 187 Klara & Adele explain constructionist projects first intimidated them. Movie File (10.1 MB): intimidated_attached 188 Klara makes a relationship between symbols and interpretation. Movie File (3.3 MB): interpret_symbols.mov 190 Cars 'R Us: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (744 K): carsareusfinal.mov 191 Klara makes shows her ethnographic skills. Movie File (7.8 MB): ethnographic_findings.mov 191 List of Movie Files x MURRAY'S MEDIA Murray's group movie: "The Cultural Flower" Movie File (7.3 MB): culturalflower.mov 192 Participants learn filming techniques from MERLin team. Movie File (27.9 MB): learn_filrn_jriontage.mov 193 Footage of Murray's initial, timid shooting perspective. Movie Fde (11.4 MB): pass_the_mike.mov 195 Heather & Murray discuss technical aspects of editing while Vicky listens on. Movie File (7.1 MB): stilLsequence.mov 196 Controversy in class: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie Fde (864 K): lesleycontro.mov 197 Andrea, Chris & Murray debate the feasibility of constructionist projects. Movie Fde (13.5 MB): beyond.mov 198 Fine Grind: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (624 K): finegrind.mov 199 West Coast Coffee Culture: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (648 K): westcoastcoffee.mov 199 Cars 'R Us: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie FUe (744 K): carsareusfinal.mov 200 Murray explains his thinking process while using WebConstellations™. Movie File (7.9 MB): camera_perspectives.mov 2or JESSICA'S MEDIA Jessica's group movie: "West Coast Coffee Culture" Movie File (10.8 MB): westcoastcoffee.mov 202 Erin, Jessica & Vicky lead the group in a warm-up activity: "Multicultural Bingo." Movie File (14.3 MB): multicultural_bingo_montage.mov 204 Capturing excitement: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (468 K): sylviecapture.mov 206 Groups of students, with the guidance of MERLin team mates.learn technical skills. Movie File (8.1): carousels.mov 207 Jessica's design team learns to edit. Movie File (7 MB): capture_tools.mov 208 Jessica's design team is happy after making progress. Movie File (9.4 MB): coffee_happy.mov 209 Technological dinosaur List of Movie Files xi Movie File (660 K): ty_feelstupid_web.mov 210 Lower your expectations!: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (660 K): magexpectations.mov 211 LESLEY'S MEDIA Lesley's group movie: "We've Got Mail" Movie File (10.1 MB): we'vegotmail.mov 212 Culture is a web: WebConstellations™ Data Base Image File (52 K): culture_web.jpg 213 Lesley explains her frustration at having authentic materials used as "filler." Movie File (T0.5 MB): filler.mov 216 Lesley admits she may have thought language teachers just use the textbook, had she not taken this course. Movie File (r6.5 MB): what_teachers_do.mov 217 Lesley, Erin & Peter see it fitting to learn computers in this course on language and culture. Movie File (3.2 MB): computer_culture.mov 217 We've Got Mail: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie Fde (648 K): we'vegotmaiLweb.mov 2ro Lesley tells the story of a controversial incident that occurred on her practicum. Movie File (8.6 MB): controversy.mov 223 Controversy in class: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie File (856 K): lesleycontro.mov 224 Lesley describes her motivations for placing a clarifying descriptor on her WebConstellations™ star. Movie File (5.3 MB): lesley_clarify.mov 224 CONCLUSION MEDIA A great adventure!: WebConstellations™ Data Base Movie FUe (9.1 MB): rickLadventure.mov 244 Ricki Goldman-Segall gives a guest multimedia presentation to the SII v. 3.0 participants and explains the great adventure we are all about to undergo! Movie File (9.1 MB): rickLadventure.mov 245 Terry shares his identity object. Movie File (39.7 MB): Terry_identity.mov 246 Acknowledgements xii Acknowledgements I am grateful to the many individuals—more than I could possibly include in this space—who have contributed to this undertaking. I want to thank my doctoral committee, Dr. Ricki Goldman-Segall, Dr. Stephen Carey and Dr. Joerg Roche, for your patience, support and valuable feedback on the many, many versions of this text. In particular, I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Goldman-Segall, for maintaining your high expectations for me and for reading every word many times over with the same enthusiasm as the first. Thank you Dr. Carey for encouraging me to come to UBC in the first place, for always asking the right questions at the right times over the years, and for helping me put it all together for the oral defense. Thank you Dr. Roche for upholding your interest in my work despite the geographical distance between Vancouver and Munich. To the members of my examining committee, thank you Dr. Zena Moore and Dr. Cynthia Nichol for your important thought provoking questions and comments and, above all, thank you Dr. Patricia Duff for your meticulous and knowledgeable recommendations which have proven to be invaluable to the integrity of this work. Thank you Dr. Monique Bournot-Trites for your friendship and commitment to improving modern language teaching. Thank you to my teammates and friends in MERLin, especially Aaron Bond, for your valuable help during the last two years of this study, and Antonieta Rivera, Ricardo Trujeque and Josephine Rosado. Thank you Brian Kilpatrick and Bob Hapke from Curriculum Studies for all the technical help you have happily provided to my students and me over the years. I also extend my thanks to Dr. Ron Baecker and his development team at the University of Toronto. I am grateful to my parents for teaching us to believe in ourselves and follow a goal and also for every imaginable source of support, encouragement and unconditional love you have offered along the way. Thank you to my brothers Dave and Dan and my sister Marybeth and your families for keeping me grounded and connected to what is really Acknowledgements xiii important. To my sister-in-law, Dr. Deirdre Kelly, you have provided me with invaluable counsel in all areas from motherhood to academia and are proof that a perfect balance between the two can be achieved. Most of all, thank you, thank you to Antoine for making this possible. Thank you for your love and empathy, your strength and generosity, your sense of humor and amazing patience. And thank you to Remy for being the funny little toddler that you are. Dedication xiv For Antoine & Remy Chapter i: Overview i Chapter 1 Overview Readers' Guide To acknowledge that each reader comes to this text with different motivations, interests and energy levels, some navigational tips are offered: Readers interested in a brief overview of the dissertation and its conclusions may find the first and last chapters sufficient. Chapter One briefly outlines the educational dilemma and motivations for this study, the theory base which informs the research, and the research methodology and method used in carrying out the study, including data collection techniques, analysis, interpretation and limitations. All of these concepts, except the limitations, are reintroduced and developed with more context and detail in the subsequent chapters. Chapter Six presents the conclusions, findings and implications of this study as well as recommendations for further research. Readers who prefer to immerse themselves deeply in the ideas of this dissertation may want to pass over the first chapter altogether, or use it for reference purposes, and begin at the Interlude. Readers interested in trends in modern language education and teacher education are directed to Chapter Two. Those who are intrigued by innovative research methodologies as well as the design and development of digital learning environments will want to read Chapters Three and Four. Readers who want to explore the multi-modal representations of the unique experiences of eight participants are directed to Chapter Five and its accompanying CD-ROM. Critics, friends, family and my examiners will want to read everything.1 1 The idea and some wording for this 'Readers' Guide' and the Interlude come from Sandra Gail Kouritzin's (1997) doctoral dissertation, Cast-away Cultures and Taboo Tongues: Face("t)s of First Language Loss. Chapter i: Overview 2 Importance of Topic and Global Implications This dissertation deals with the intersection of a number of areas in which considerable research is currently taking place in modern language education2 (MLED) and in other areas of the humanities and social sciences. These include issues of culture and intercultural understanding, the development of critical multiliteracies, learning in general and specifically the role of technology and new media in learning and in the creation and interpretation of cultures. Though the project is described in local terms, situated within the context of a modern language teacher education course at the University of British Columbia, the dynamic view of language, culture and learning that it presents, as well as the collaborative research methodology used to investigate these areas, have wider implications for teaching, learning and research. Educational Dilemma British Columbia modern language curriculum guidelines for grades 5-12 highlight the importance of cultural understanding and positive attitudes for students' success in their language learning endeavors as well as in their ability to assume their roles as international citizens (e.g. Spanish, 1996). The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign3 Languages (ACTFL, 1993, 1996) has also developed new national standards which indicate students should demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and 2 In this dissertation, modern language education generally refers to the teaching of second languages other than English at the secondary level, as well as the preparation of student teachers to teach these languages. Though I often use Spanish as an example, since that is my particular language specialty, the following languages were represented in the study: French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Mandarin, Punjabi, Italian. These languages are listed in order of number of student teachers enrolled, with French being the most commonly chosen as specialization. 3 The term "foreign" has traditionally been used to describe a minority language and culture of study. Though this is still used by many organizations, such as ACTFL, there is a movement to replace it with more inclusive terms which do not emphasize a "strangeness" or "otherness." Therefore, in this dissertation the terms: "modern language," "target language," and "target language culture" will be employed, rather than "foreign language" and "foreign culture,' unless the purpose or the term is to highlight the notion of "other" or "strange." For accuracy, the use of "foreign" will be retained in citations and mention of organizations which employ the term. Chapter i: Overview 3 perspectives and the products and perspectives of the culture, or culture(s)4 studied. In order to effectively integrate the notion of culture into their curriculum, modern language teachers are encouraged to look beyond the fields of linguistics and literature to those of anthropology, sociology, psychology and education and to adopt a critical pedagogy of intercultural discourse which speaks to the multiple voices that comprise an individual and her culture (Kramsch & von Hoene, ^95). Despite encouragement to use emerging technologies to create innovative learning environments that enable students to become ethnographers, rather than "tourists" (Goldman-Segall, 1998b; Fischer, 1996), modern language teachers cite "textbook notes" and "authentic texts" as their top resources for teaching culture (Moore, 1996). However, modern media, with their capabilities to create "media rich texts" complete with sound, images and video, create a new, unexplored predicament for the language teacher and learner in this new role as "ethnographer." Whereas the anthropologist traditionally started from a context-and-experience-rich environment and imagined a "text," the language teacher and learner start with a "text" and must imagine a context, drawing from previous experience, knowledge, or stereotypes about the target language culture (Teroaka, 1989). In modern language teacher education, the aim is to prepare student teachers to be experts in the languages they teach, as well as in creating a rich instructional environment, so they, at the sides of their students, can begin a life-long exploration of the target language culture and the texts it produces. Elliot Eisner (1998) explains that an expert in any field is able to draw from her5 experience to see certain qualities that other lay people do not notice. Carmen Luke (2000) argues the digital information age has forced educators to reconsider the qualifications we use to paint our profile of "expert." The expert is not only able to see, but also to seek the connection among related pieces of information and to 4 I have pluralized the word "culture" to problematize the monolithic, singular notion of culture that is commonly-held by teachers, learners, materials developers and policy makers. Distinct varieties of the target language culture, as well as the local culture, are linked to variables of nationality, ethnicity, and other particular circumstances. These particularities are manifested in the different regions in which the language is spoken, as well as in the language of the individuals who speak it. Chapter i: Overview 4 possess a digital electronic text multiliteracy based on notions of hybridity and intertextuality that transcends genres, media and cultural frames of reference. An effective way, therefore, for students to become experts at seeing the multiple layers of qualities present in an artistic creation, such as an authentic text, is to undergo the process of creating art. In the study presented in this dissertation, these modern language student teachers created art and, in the process, began to develop the technical and intellectual skills to become multiliterate writers and readers of digital texts. The Media-Based Approach and Project Specifics Based on communicative language teaching and constructionist6 learning models, the researcher7 implemented a media-based approach which encouraged pre-service and in-service modern language teachers to use their personal experiences to create and interpret "media-rich texts." The students, who had little or no experience with digital media, received initial instruction in filming techniques, video capturing, and scanning. Next, working in design teams of 5-6 individuals, each group created a 30-second CineKit™ (Baecker, Rosenthal, Friedlander, Smith, & Cohen, 1996) movie based on the cultural significance of a particular object, or artifact, of their choice such as coffee, cars, flowers, or shoes. These movies, along with other video clips of the participants going through and/or reflecting on the movie-making process, were then posted on-line with a software program called WebConstellations™ (Goldman-Segall, 1997). In this forum, participants were able to 5 Throughout this dissertation I, a female, use the feminine subject pronoun to represent a gender neutral individual. No disrespect to males is intended. According to Papert (1990, as cited in Goldman-Segall, 1998b), constructionists "understand "constructionism" as including, but going beyond, what Piaget would call "constructivism." The word with the v expresses the theory that knowledge is built by the learner, not supplied by the teacher. The word with the n expresses the further idea that this happens especially felicitously when the learner is engaged in the construction of something external or at least sharablc.a sand castle, a machine, a computer program, a book. This leads [constructionists] to a model of using a cycle of internalization of what is outside, then externalization of what is inside and so on (pp. 159-160). 7 The researcher will henceforth be referred to as "I." Chapter i: Overview 5 view and comment on each other's creations and reflections, and make connections to their own experiences as well as key concepts presented in the course. Digital tools Formerly known as MAD, CineKit™ is an interactive system that runs on inexpensive personal computers which allows individuals without specific computer, film, or video backgrounds to create digital video motion pictures and lecture-demonstrations which can be transmitted over the Internet. CineKit™ supports the process by enhancing the author's ability to structure and modify a presentation and to visualize the ultimate result. It does this by allowing both top-down design and bottom-up creation with a hierarchical multimedia document representation; by supporting the flexible inclusion and combination of words, images, sounds, and video sequences; by providing a variety of movie representations and editors for these representations; and by providing real-time playback of the best approximation to the ultimate presentation that can be produced at any stage of the design process. CineKit™ movies are stored in digital formats that can be transmitted over the Internet and played back under typical World Wide Web browsers (Baecker et al., I996)-WebConstellations™ is a digital annotation and analysis tool created by Ricki Goldman-Segall in her research lab, MERLin (Multimedia Ethnographic Research Laboratory), in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia and built with Bitmovers Communications, Inc. It is the first server-side, web-based database system designed to enable a community of researchers to catalog, describe, and meaningfully organize multimedia data accessible on the Web. The underlying metaphor for WebConstellations™, like in Goldman-Segall's earlier tools, Learning Constellations™ ^989) and Constellations™ (1994), is stars and constellations. Researchers in dispersed locations can use this tool to access the same database and collaboratively analyze that set of data. Stars, which are individual pieces of digital data, and constellations, which are Chapter i: Overview 6 personally meaningful clusters of these stars, can be tagged with keywords. Users can engage in dialog about particular stars and constellations using the annotation discussion system. Funding and site An initial pilot study to test this approach was funded by a 1998 University of British Columbia Teaching and Learning Enhancement (TLE)8 grant: Making Movies, Making Theories: Digital Media Tools for Educating Educators to Connect Experiences to Curriculum (Goldman-Segall & Beers, 1997) and carried out in July/August of 1998 in a modern language teacher education course I designed and taught for this study Advanced Studies in Language Education: Integrating Language and Culture with Modern Media (MLED 480). The final phase of this research was completed in the same course in May/June of 1999. Both phases of the project were carried out in MERLin and approved by the university ethical review committee. Participants The pilot study, in 1998, in which we were an alpha test site9 for CineKit™ and WebConstellations™, and the final study, in 1999, in which we were a beta test site for these two media tools, included two separate groups of approximately 30 pre-service and in-service modern language teachers from 8 different language specialties. These students were enrolled in the 3-credit MLED 480 elective for credit towards the completion of their teaching degrees or certificates. The students were aware that their participation in the research study was entirely voluntary and that they could withdraw from the study or remove their data from the common database at any time, without their class standing being adversely affected.10 They were also given the choice to use their real name or create a 8 These grant monies are provided from student fees and are awarded to projects that show promise for improving teaching and learning at the University of British Columbia. 9 In alpha or beta test sites, groups of individuals agree to try out software programs that are not ready for release to the general public and provide the developers with useful feedback regarding system bugs, ease of use and suggestions for future versions of the software. 10 See appendix F for a copy of the participant consent form. Chapter i: Overview j pseudonym. All of the students enrolled willingly agreed to participate and ah chose to use their real names. The participants were aware that the data collected was to be used for my doctoral dissertation and might also be used in various conference presentations or publications which described the project and its results. Theory Base for Research Critical theory Academic texts which focus on critical theory and critical pedagogy, usually in relation to the situatedness of humans in their worlds, frequently make a distinction between "Subject" and "object," though they also acknowledge neither are constants. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1993/1970), Freire introduces this notion and presents the term "Subjects," which denotes those who know and act, in contrast to "objects," which are known and acted upon (p. 18). Freire's work, which emerges from his experiences in poverty-stricken areas of Brazil, concentrates on the human elements in the power structures of society, arguing that teachers are the instruments of the oppressors, whose job it is to indoctrinate their students into the oppressive power structures of society by filling their heads with facts and turning them into unquestioning, passive objects. Pennycook (1990) and Tedick, Walker, Lange, Paige and Jorstad (1993) have applied the Subject / object distinction to language education, arguing that language has historically been viewed as "object," a perspective that has been reflected in the positivist instructionist methods that have been used to teach it. Tedick et al. (1993) argue for a movement toward viewing language as "Subject," stating this view emphasizes the power of language along with its communicative, dynamic, and social nature (p. 71). Modern language teacher educators, along with their student teachers and their future students, can learn a great deal about themselves and their environment by Chapter i: Overview 8 acknowledging they are all involved in complicit and dialectical power structures which affect the way in which they view and act in the world. Freire identifies the human elements in the pedagogical ecosystem, the teachers and students, and Pennycook and Tedick et al. expand upon this notion to include one seemingly non-human element, language. I suggest we extend the Subject / object metaphor to include the other perceived non-human elements (culture, curriculum, method and texts) as well. In this way, we recognize that all these participants in the ecosystem" of the modern language classroom, which have traditionally been viewed as objects, have the potential to become Subjects, since they are, at the same time, the products and creators of their social world, engaged in a dynamic dialectical relationship. By assigning the term "Subject" to inanimate objects, I am not trying to suggest they have any consciousness. I am emphasizing the need to look behind the physical objects themselves to recognize the human faces which created them and which interpret them to give them meaning. Constructionism Based on the theories of his mentor, Jean Piaget, Seymour Papert developed the theory and methodology of constructionism, which assumes children are more actively engaged when working on a personally meaningful external artifact, whether it be a sandcastle or a computer program, which he calls an "object-to-think-with" (1980). Papert also used this approach with his graduate students studying under him at MIT, including Goldman-Segall, as they developed their own objects-to-think-with to facilitate their theory-making about the ways children think. 11 van Lier (1996) uses a similar metaphor when he describes the ecology of the second language classroom. This is discussed further in Chapter Two. Chapter i: Overview 9 Configurational validity While under Papert's mentorship, Goldman-Segall developed her object-to-think-with, Learning Constellations™ 1.0, and her theory, configurational validity. Learning Constellations 1.0 is the first digital media ethnographic analysis tool which supports the analysis of an entire body of research data using ethnographic style video data (Goldman-Segall, 1990). This digital environment allows not only for the media writer's "thick description" (Geertz, 1973) of the event, but also the reader's "thick interpretation" (Goldman-Segall, 1998b). Configurational validity says that a more robust interpretation of a phenomenon can be achieved when the human participants are given a forum in which to view and discuss each other's representations and interpretations, or readings, of the event. For Goldman-Segall (1998b), this phenomenon to be interpreted is often a socio-cultural subject which serves as a site for investigating the different viewpoints, such as those of the inhabitants of Clayoquot [Klak-wit] Sound (Goldman-Segall, 1998b), one of North America's largest temperate rain forests with intact watersheds. In order to emphasize the human aspects of this socio-cultural phenomenon (Goldman-Segall, 1998b), Goldman-Segall proposes Clayoquot Sound be thought of as a subject-to-think-with, rather than an object-to-think-with. Subjects-in-interaction The theory I put forth, Subjects-in-interaction, builds upon Papert's notion of objects-to-think-with in that the authentic media texts can serve as catalysts for exploration and discovery on the part of the student and teacher, and it builds upon Goldman-Segall's notion of subjects-to-think-with in that it highlights the humanistic aspects inherent to the area of study. However, I view Papert and Goldman-Segall's notions through a critical theory lens, in which the object and subject take on a new level of agency. The Subject is, Chapter i: Overview 10 therefore, promoted to the status of proper noun and assumes the role of actor, rather than companion, as in object-to-think-with, or site, as in subject-to-think-with. Subjects-in-interaction extends Goldman-Segall's theory of configurational validity. Subjects-in-interaction, as applied to modern language education or, more specifically, the designing and interpreting of authentic media texts from one's own and the target language culture, says that ah of the human and seemingly non-human element which contribute to the pedagogical context are active agents in the social construction of the meaning-making event. Subjects-in-interaction is both a theory and a methodology for the writing and reading of authentic media texts which looks at the process of creation and inter-pretation of the text as this event. In this dynamic meaning-making process, all Subjects, human and non-human, are agents in an ever changing, dialectical inter-action. Prior Research on This Topic Cultural studies The Euro-American conservative concept of culture as an essence to be captured, labeled and consumed is borne out of the Latin root colere (cultivate, protect, worship). Within the European intellectual scenes in the 18th century, culture was considered to be a condition of total perfection, attainable through education (Whittaker, ^92). Culture came to be defined by the writings and ideas of a small group of "men" of letters, poets, philosophers, and academics and, though anthropologists have managed to separate culture from civilization, this general notion of culture as a display of accomplishment and perfection still persists today. It is this concept of "C" culture, easily transmitted as facts since it manifests itself in the canonized literature, music, art, and history of the target culture, that modern language teachers are inclined to teach (Weber & Mitchell, 1996). Chapter i: Overview 11 Anthropologists hold a different view of culture, seeing it as a process and as patterns of beliefs, values and systems of interpretation that guide the actions and interactions of its members (Weber & Mitchell, 1996). One of the most prominent anthropologists, Clifford Geertz (1973), has been instrumental in bringing about a redefining of culture and, along with Max Weber, believes that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning (p. 5). More recently, culture is believed to be characterized by the diversity of discourses which exist within a society (Clifford, 1988; Gee, 1992; Kramsch & von Hoene, 1995; Kubota, 1999). Ironically, this recognition of multiple discourses in postmodern and feminist ideology could also bring about a demise of culture as we know it since the very recognition of voice within a society negates the imperialistic notion of culture as an object to be studied. This demise of "culture" as a monolithic entity appears to be happening in TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Langauges), an institution which has produced extensive research in the areas of second language learning and teaching that informs modern language education. In a recent review of the articles published over the last ten years in the TESOL Quarterly, Atkinson (1999b) notes that, in addition to "discourses," other terms such as "identity, hybridity, essentialism, power, difference, agency, resistance, and contestation are being used by second language theorists as a way to call into question the traditional monolithic notion of 'culture'" (p. 626). Atkinson attributes this shift in terminology to a gradual change from "more traditional/received to more postmodernist/critical understandings of culture" (p. 629, note 6). As Whittaker notes, in traditional terms "culture is the very epitome of othering. It depends for its existence on the subjective ordering of a world full of Others (...) the Other is such essences as class, gender, race, ethnicity. The very act of research makes an Other out of someone" (p. 113). Atkinson encourages his colleagues Chapter i: Overview 12 •> in TESOL to develop a notion of culture which takes into account "the cultural in the individual and the individual in the cultural" (p. 648) as a way to recognize the diversity of discourses and contexts which exist in one's own and the target language cultures. Cultural objectives Modern Language Education is a subject area with enormous potential for self discovery, though past instructionist approaches, which have focused more on the teaching of language at the exclusion of culture, have consistently sidelined attempts at this form of exploration. Over the past decade, new research interest in the areas of acculturation, language socialization and the role of identity in language acquisition have highlighted the role culture plays in learning to effectively communicate in another language and influenced the direction of modern language education (Byram, 1989; Duff & Uchida, ^97; Kramsch, 1996; Norton, 2000; Norton Peirce, 1995). Curriculum guidelines for modern language teaching in both the United States and Canada have reflected the overwhelming call from modern language pedagogues in the areas of global (Strasheim, 1981), multicultural (Carey, 1997; Heffernan, ^96; Roblyer, Dozier-Hemy & Burnette, 1996), and critical (Hellebrandt, 1996; Peck, 1992; Pennycook, 1990, 1999, 2000; Reagan & Osborn, 1998) education to lead their students on a systematic and in-depth study of culture in their language classes. By doing so, students are expected to achieve a range of objectives, including cultural sensitivity, multicultural literacy, a sense of international citizenship, an understanding of self and other and higher motivation in their language learning endeavors. Culture teaching Despite the ambiguous and contradicting definitions of culture, as well as differing objectives on how to "teach culture," the last thirty years of literature on culture teaching have left teachers with no shortage of ideas on how to approach it. Modern language Chapter i: Overview 13 pedagogues have published a wide variety of literature, providing inventories of topics and themes for cultural instruction (Seelye, 1974, 1985, 1993), lists of culturally-sensitive personality traits desired for our students (Byram & Morgan, 1994), suggestions on the use of authentic materials (Galloway, 1992; Kramsch, 1989; Kramsch, 1993a; Kramsch, 1993b; Nostrand, 1989), guidelines for the process of preparing and guiding the students through the process of learning culture (Kramsch, 1993a; Mantle-Bromley, 1992), or statements of recommended goals for cultural instruction (ACTFL, 1993, 1996; Strasheim, 1981), to name but a few. Strasheim (1981) reports that twenty years ago, two studies (Moskowitz, 1976; Nerenz, 1979) indicated that teachers spent approximately 10% of their instructional time on culture. Since that time, no conclusive studies had been carried out until Moore (1996) surveyed more than two hundred secondary school modern language teachers in upstate New York to determine how high-school teachers teach culture, how frequently they teach culture, which teaching techniques they judge to be more appropriate for achieving the cultural goals stated in school syllabi, and what constraints, if any, they experienced in their efforts to teach culture. Though the individual teachers' personal objectives for teaching culture are not explicitly outlined, Moore gives a general inventory of techniques used and makes some judgements as to their quality and effectiveness based on whether or not they include the perspectives of the members of the target language society. In her study, Moore (1996) found that training in teaching culture corresponded to both a higher frequency and better quality of culture teaching, whereas teaching experience was related only to the frequency of teaching culture and academic qualifications only to the selection of techniques. The top five techniques teachers reported for teaching culture, which demonstrate these teachers' implicit assumptions of culture as object, were: students read notes in the textbooks (54%), students got information from authentic material (48%), lectures were used to present information (46%), students were assigned projects on specific topics (41%), students were Chapter i: Overview 14 exposed to the food of the culture, to songs, dances, and celebrations (41%). Teachers listed constraints to teaching culture to be shortage of time, materials and training. Research Methodology Qualitative research Subjects-in-interaction as a theory and methodology for developing multiliterate designers and interpreters of digital texts is informed by the general assumptions that guide qualitative researchers in their inquiry. Qualitative researchers believe there is no such ideal as a single objective reality. Instead, multiple realities of any given phenomenon are socially constructed through individual and collective interpretations of the situation (McMillan & Schumacher, 1993, p. 14). Each individual constructs her own reading of the event as directed by her sense of self in relation to the other—the self being the sum total of the life experiences that have informed the paradigm in which she operates and the other being the entity which either confirms or contradicts this paradigm. The qualitative researcher's aim is to understand the event from the perspective of the participants, to uncover the qualities that contribute to re-constructing its meaning and significance. Ethnographic studies Ethnographic studies are prototypical examples of qualitative research in that the ethnographer integrates herself into a localized group of individuals, often taking on a participatory role in their activities. The ethnographer collects data in the form of field note observations, artifacts, interviews, conversations, and images and compiles them into a descriptive and interpretive account. She recognizes she is an active element in the dynamic and ever evolving cultural phenomenon of inquiry who changes the social context. She also Chapter i: Overview 15 acknowledges the subjective lens through which she views the events will influence her findings and interpretations. Critical ethnographic approaches to research in second language learning and teaching (see Atkinson & Ramanathan, 1995; Canagarajah, 1993; Duff, 1995; Holliday, 1996; Ramanathan & Atkinson, 1999) have enabled researchers to treat formal learning and teaching contexts as cultural constructs and thereby situate them within the larger social realities in which they operate. Early positivistic approaches to ethnographic research, however, tried to eliminate the subjective self from its equation, thinking that objectivity makes it possible to locate and isolate the reality of the world out there. Subjectivity was seen to weaken the validity of the findings, in that they might say more about the beliefs of the person carrying out the study than about the truth itself (Eisner, 1998). We are the sum total of our life experiences. Our wisdom is created by our contact with nature, its inhabitants and their artifacts. Qualitative inquiry acknowledges that the self is the instrument through which we experience the world around us. As such, this inquiry "is not only directed towards those aspects of the world "out there," it is also directed to objects and events that we are able to create" (Eisner, 1998, p. 21). Digital video ethnography Digital video ethnography, a term coined by Goldman-Segall (1990, 1995a, 1996b, 1998b), is a qualitative research methodology which centers its processes of interpretation on those very objects, and events we are able to create. It is a testimonial to Goldman-Segall's struggle with the dilemma between subjectivity and validity in the human sciences. It reconceptualizes and reinvents traditions of qualitative research within a post-modern framework, one in which authorship and identity are transitive in relation to the context of the event. Goldman-Segall's theories on what constitutes robust research in a socio-cultural site are inspired by the work of scholars from the areas of visual and cultural anthropology Chapter i: Overview 16 (see Clifford & Marcus, 1986; Geertz, 1973; Mead, 1975), critical ethnography (see Lather, 1991; Tyler, 1986), semiotics (see Barthes, 1977), and filmmaking (see Davenport, Evans & Halliday, 1993; Leacock, 1973, 1986) and are embodied in her digital ethnographic methods and data analysis tools (1990,1997, 1998b). Digital video ethnographic tools and method In her research method, Goldman-Segall encourages the participants in the study to take on new roles as digital ethnographers, thereby becoming both the researchers and researched, while investigating their chosen subject of inquiry. Together, they create a robust collective database of qualitative digital data, open to interpretation and re-interpretation by its many users. These participants use digital ethnographic tools, such as video camcorders, movie making software and Goldman-Segall's digital video ethnographic analysis tools to build these robust collective data bases, or, as she also terms them, "platforms for multi-loguing" (1995a). Goldman-Segall's digital video ethnographic tools exploit digital video's descriptive capacities and on-line digital networks' potential for perspective sharing and trading. Video is able to provide the "thick description" Geertz (1973) calls for in ethnographic fieldwork because it captures the subject of interest, along with her interactions with the environment, tools and the others (1998b). In its digital format, the video can be scrutinized, analyzed, and catalogued down to its most minute detail (Goldman-Segall, 1989). With Goldman-Segall's data analysis tools, the digital video ethnographer can further contextualize her video with text, documents, fieldnotes, and other data in order to gain insights into what to shoot and to provide other users with layer upon layer of interpretation and significance (Goldman-Segall, 1996). As the data base grows, the digital video ethnographer can sort, annotate, and group this data into meaningful configurations based on her own interpretations while other users can simultaneously do the same. With Chapter i: Overview 17 Goldman-Segall's latest on-line tools, WebConstellations™ and Orion™, these users need not operate within local networks, they may work from removed sites, assuming the role of viewer or active participant, depending on the access they desire or are granted. Method for Research Site Development Research site/system Like the two versions before it, the final research site for this project can, in the broadest of terms, be called a university course. Indeed, it had all the required specs: it was listed in the UBC course schedule as MLED 480A: Advanced Studies in Language Education: Integrating Language and Culture with Modern Media, it had an enrollment code (51162), a section number (921), and met regularly (Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM) for a period of 6 weeks, (May r7 to June 21) in the summer session. There was one teacher and enough students enrolled to make it economically viable, and even profitable, for the university (29). Students who successfully completed this course received 3 credits toward graduation and a mark on their transcripts. Yet this course was unique in that students configured themselves in unusual groupings, assumed uncommon roles, and used a variety of new digital learning tools (WebConstellations™, CineKit™, Photoshop™, QuickTime™, FusionRecorder™), some never before released to the public, to carry out innovative projects. A better descriptor for this site, therefore, may be "digital learning environment," since this conjures up a mental image of a stimulating place where students come to engage with digital technologies to carry out meaningful tasks and learn. But this term is unsatisfactory, too. It does not allow me to tell the whole story of how this place came to be; how it started from an idea, gained momentum from student and administrative support, and evolved and transformed itself over a three year period. What emerged was not a place that I, the teacher, created and to Chapter i: Overview 18 which they, the students, came; but a place where teacher, students and tools converged to create an ever-evolving culture of learning. As we venture into more collaborative, interdisciplinary projects which incorporate multifaceted tools, and multi-skilled individuals, it is easy to see that previous individualistic models of teaching, based on the ideal of one teacher before a group of students, do not lend themselves to innovative risk-taking in education. It is therefore helpful to turn to established development models which have proven to be efficient and productive in other cultures outside of academia. If we imagine a digital learning environment to be a smooth running system, rather than a course taught in a school with its traditional roles and expectations, we can free ourselves to step outside of our firmly entrenched schemas we use to define the functions of each component. We can look to the model of systems design teams in the fields of "Human Factors" and "Human-Computer Interaction" to find such an organizational framework. Human-computer interaction Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a field of research which converges experts from a variety of disciplines, including computer science, graphic design, kinesiology, applied linguistics, and experimental psychology. Once gathered on a common project, each contributes her individual expertise toward developing a computer system which successfully interfaces with its users. The terminology used to describe the various roles people play in a system design team can easily be adapted to academia. This is most appropriate in academic courses and programs which integrate technology, since simultaneous and cyclical development of curricular and technical aspects closely emulates the "iterative" and "integrated" systems design process popular in industry for creating digital tools. A computer "system" is an architecture that is designed to help users perform their tasks. The "systems design team," Chapter i: Overview 19 or "development team," refers to those actively involved in the systems development project and normally excludes contributions made by those in management and support roles (Grudin, 1991/1995, p. 294). The term "user" refers to the people directly engaged with the system and generally is synonymous with "end user," though as Grudin explains: "[o]f course, developers are also users of the tools and the development system" (1991/1995, p. 294). In Chapter Four, I use the general term "system" to represent my research site, MLED 480A, and refer to the three evolving versions of this course as Subjects-in-interaction (SII) version r.o (1997), SII version 2.0 (1998) and SII version 3.0 (1999). Each version represents the iterations made to the course and corresponds to each time it was taught during three consecutive summer sessions at the University of British Columbia. Due to my key role in the conception, design and installation of the system, I appropriated the title of "principal developer." Other members of the systems design team included advisors and colleagues in MLED, MERLin, Bitmovers Communications Inc. and the University of Toronto, as well as the student teachers themselves. Within the general system, two digital tools, WebConstellations™ and CineKit™, were being developed simultaneously. Ricki Goldman-Segall at the University of British Columbia led the development team for WebConstellations™ and Ron Baecker at the University of Toronto led the development team for CineKit™. Given the integral part these two tools played in the smooth running of the overall SII system, they can be considered subsystems in this context, though they are both independent tools for a range of purposes on their own. The term user, though problematic due to the passive role it connotes, refers to the pre-service and in-service teachers enrolled in SII v. 3.0. The user "interface" of a computer system is the part that handles the output to the display and the input from the person using the program (Myers, 1995, p. 323). Since we have established the user to be the student, we can then determine the interface, in the general context of SII v. 3.0, refers to the medium of Chapter i: Overview 20 communication the user interacts with, whether it be technology, text, discussion or lecture. Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation Research questions The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to explore the interactions between the various human and seemingly non-human Subjects involved in this study. It is also to see how the use of digital media to create texts within a constructionist learning model might inform these pre-service and in-service teachers' notion of culture and its role in their future teaching. The specific research questions guiding the analysis are: 1) What is the nature of the human and seemingly non-human interactions that occur when modern language student teachers are: (a) users of a system designed to promote multiliteracies and (b) digital video ethnographers of their own learning processes? 2) How might the use of digital media to create texts within this constructionist learning model inform these student teachers' notions of culture, or Subjects-in-interaction? How might this affect their future teaching? Working within a Piagetian / hermeneutic framework, this study aims to identify and examine moments of equilibrium and disequilibrium these learners pass through as they assimilate and accommodate evolving concepts of culture, method and text in modern language education. Data collection Data collection procedures during the installation phase of SII v. 3.0 incorporated a wide spectrum of digital and traditional media. Though they may all be considered Chapter v. Overview 21 "constructions" of one type or another, for organizational purposes I subdivided the types of data collected during SII v. 3.0 into the following categories: "printed data," "constructions," "digital data," "evaluative data" and "observational data." The printed data included fairly traditional forms of content delivery and knowledge representation. These were embodied in the course syllabus, course readings, students' reflective syntheses of the readings and their "chunking" of key and provocative ideas from the readings. Also collected were students' answers to an initial questionnaire which inquired into their professional background, familiarity with teaching culture and using technology. Constructions included the three dimensional identity objects and 30-second digital movies the student teachers created and shared in class. Each of the identity objects was videotaped for future analysis and some were also accompanied by student explanations of their process and product. Several stills of these objects were also posted on WebConstellations™ to invite further written comments. The 30-second movies were saved in their original CineKit™ format, which explicitly shows the multiple layers of text, sound, and image incorporated into each film, as well as an exported Quicktime™ version in which the work was flattened into one seamless entity. A smaller Quicktime™ version of each movie was also posted on WebConstellations™ to invite comment and criterion peer evaluation. Digital data included the WebConstellations™ database, approximately 8 hours of filmed and transcribed focus group sessions, and approximately 20 hours of filmed ethnographic observations of the movie making process, student reflections, and classroom interactions. The WebConstellations™ database included still images and video chunks from SII versions 2.0 and 3.0, as well as r50 pages of written comments they elicited from SII v. 3.0 users. Data from SII v. 2.0 included the 5 digital movies created by design teams, still images of various identity objects, as well as several video chunks of various students explaining their identity objects. Data from SII v. 3.0 included still images of various Chapter i: Overview 22 identity objects, the five finished digital movies, and video chunks excerpted from focus group discussions and the movie making process. In the focus groups, students discussed sets of pre-determined questions designed to elicit reflection on past teaching practice in light of current ideas presented in the course through readings, discussion and hands-on digital activities. On five separate class meetings, and on a rotating basis, one individual from each design team met in a focus group in lieu of the day's digital activities. There were several motivations for this arrangement. It gave students an opportunity to meet with members from other design teams to pool experiences and strategies and reflect on their learning; it freed up limited digital resources for the remaining workers; and it provided the researchers with documented insights into the evolving thinking processes of the project participants. I was not present at these focus group meetings, though I later watched the videotapes and periodically posted on WebConstellations™ what I considered to be intriguing and representative video chunks from their discussions to invite further comment and reflection. Evaluative data reported on the process and product of developer, student, peer and teacher. The students and teacher provided a running log of user feedback to CineKit™ and WebConstellations™ developers to evaluate the digital tool performance. The students assessed their creative processes and products through criterion-based self and peer evaluations of the movies and their group processes. I assessed the students' academic performance through criterion and comment-based procedures and submitted a final mark for each student to the university. The students completed the standard university criterion and comment-based teacher evaluation forms for the teacher and course. Data analysis and interpretation In this investigative learning environment, participants were provided with different venues, such as focus groups, class interactions and on-line forums, in which to openly Chapter i: Overview 23 reflect on their learning processes as they grappled with evolving notions of culture, method and text in modern language education. Many of these reflections were recorded on film, others on paper, and others in an on-line data base. Data analysis of the learning processes of eight student teachers, supported by on-line excerpts of their movies and reflective process, was carried out within a Piagetian / hermeneutic framework described in Chapter Five, which examined moments of equilibrium and disequilibrium these learners passed through as they assimilated, accommodated or rejected these different concepts of culture, method and text in modern language education. I chose these eight student teachers to represent the more than ninety that participated in this study over a three-year period for two reasons. First, all were participants in version 3.0 of the study, which was the most complex and smooth running of the three systems due to changes based on lessons learned during the first two versions. Version 3.0 also incorporated the most robust data collection techniques with the addition of focus group forums and WebConstellations™. This additional data allowed me to form more complete profiles on their thinking processes. Second, each of these eight modern language student teachers chose to engage with one particular issue, for example: "self and other" (Paula), "tourist versus explorer" (Kevin), "filming perspectives" (Murray) or "connection and interaction" (Lesley). Each then continued to approach his or her self-selected topic from many different angles, repeatedly articulating his or her thinking processes in various forums and media for reflection and communication, such as in the focus group discussions, written assignments and WebConstellations™ comments. The fact that each of these individuals connected with one topic to such an extent was a surprising result of this study. I did not encourage the students to choose one idea and follow it through, this was a spontaneous personal decision on the part of the individuals. It should be noted that these eight student teachers were not chosen based on ethnicity, language specialization nor academic performance, but rather on their level of Chapter i: Overview 24 focus on their chosen theme and their capacity and willingness to provide a window into their thinking processes through clear and consistent articulation of their ideas. Through their stories we can begin to piece together the individual qualities of the text that is this project. Their interactions were many, their interpretations varied, but they all contributed to the creation and understanding of what this project was and what lessons it provided. The individuals whose stories were explored are introduced in the following section: Student profdes Anne is a German language specialist who, despite her multicultural multilingual background, initially questioned whether she was qualified to teach issues of culture in her language classes. As a result of actively participating in the reflective forums and constructionist projects in this study, however, Anne's broad notions of culture, teaching and learning evolved. Whereas she initially prized external, product-based, representations of knowledge and culture, she eventually found the internal, process-based manifestations to be more meaningful and empowering. Layla is a Spanish language specialist, considered a cultural expert by her classmates due to her undergraduate degree in anthropology and her bilingual, bicultural upbringing. Layla, however, often doubted her ability to guide her language students in cultural exploration. Like many of her classmates, Layla found it difficult to find time for cultural exploration in a curriculum she perceived to be driven by the grammatical objectives of the prescribed textbook. Layla's quandary can be attributed to the competing concepts she held of culture in each of her fields of study. In anthropology she studied the process, in modern languages she studied the product. Layla used this course as a means to explore, reassess and reconcile these conflicting concepts. Chapter i: Overview 25 Paula is a French and Spanish specialist who wondered how she could encourage her students to construct understandings of the target language culture that went beyond the stereotypes presented in the media. She grappled with one incident that occurred on her practicum in which the first image her students were able to call up of the Spanish speaking culture(s) were stereotypical caricatures diffused on television. Paula experienced a cultural revelation when she began to examine the notion of "self and other" and the implications it had for her teaching practice. Kevin is a French language specialist who spoke for many of his classmates when he admitted in frank and honest terms that his only source of culture teaching had come from the "culture corners"12 in the textbook. Kevin was disturbed by the lack of critical cultural reflection he had promoted in his students and himself and pursued this dilemma throughout the course. He experienced a cultural revelation of his own when he considered the distinction between a cultural tourist and a cultural explorer in one of the readings. He then applied this notion to all aspects of his learning and teaching and resolved to continue with this new perspective in his future practice. Klara is a French and Spanish language specialist who identified with the role of ethnographer—one who spends her life moving between cultures. Early in the study, Klara held a static, nationalistic notion of culture and believed that a person had a limited capacity for cultures, like rooms in a hotel. She feared that the more cultures she learned, the less she belonged to any of them. During the movie making process, however, Klara honed her technical and intellectual ethnographic skills. She began to look for and identify the many cultural patterns and symbols in her own and her classmate's texts and came to appreciate the dynamic, interactive forces of culture(s). Murray is a French language specialist who used the course to develop his filming techniques. Originally timid in his shooting, he became more bold and critical as he 12 "Culture comers" are brief "snapshots" of cultural themes, such as parades and monuments which usually present a static, non-controversial vision of culture. They generally consist of a photograph accompanied by a short written text and are presented in the corner of the textbook page, isolated from the rest or the Chapter i: Overview 26 appropriated this skill. Nonetheless, he devalued the technical skills he was learning in an secondary-school educational environment he perceived to be regulated by external standardized assessment practices and the whims of angry parents. In his analysis of his classmates' movies, however, it was apparent that the skills he had honed as a videographer contributed to his keen and insightful interpretations of his classmates' products. He readily looked for and identified the individual qualities of the texts, and made simultaneous technical and intellectual critiques on how their interactions contributed to his enjoyment of the viewing event. Jessica is a French and Spanish specialist who began the course from an anti-technology perspective with strong reservations about her abilities to complete the constructionist projects in the course. With the enjoyment of making her first project, the three-dimensional identity object, and the success she experienced while quickly appropriating the technical skills to edit her group's movie, Jessica became highly motivated in her learning. A competent and natural teacher in her own right, Jessica was soon designated leader by her design team. Reluctant to jeopardize her status as equal at first, Jessica eventually lead the team to work within the physical and human constraints to produce a product of which they were proud. She did this by delegating and teaching when possible, taking control when needed, and showing empathy and encouragement in their efforts and frustrations. Lesley is a Spanish and French language specialist who actively connected her personal experiences to the perspectives of those with whom she interacted, whether they were embodied in text, tool, or person. Enthusiastic about the prospect of learning new methods for exploring culture with digital media, Lesley was also apprehensive about how they may affect the face to face contact she so enjoyed. In the process of investigating strategies for addressing controversial topics in the classroom, Lesley exploited all media available to advance her thinking. Ultimately, Lesley overcame her trepidation regarding grammar, or "language" lesson. Chapter i: Overview 27 this digital medium and appropriated WebConstellations™ as a meanmgful social event. She accessed this tool from home and watched the movies with family and friends. In her comments, she continued to make personally meanmgful connections between her intertextual and interpersonal experiences in response to the posted comments and digital media texts, proving that in Lesley's world there were no objects, only Subjects-in-interaction. Limitations This dissertation aims to show examples in which the theory and methodology of Subjects-in-interaction in the context of a digital video ethnographic study informs teacher education practice. This dissertation explores the human and non-human interactions that occured when modern language student teachers were at the same time users of a system designed to promote these multiliteracies as designers and interpreters of digital texts and digital video ethnographers of their own learning processes. This study does not aim to make claims that this theory or methodology will lead to better second language acquisition, nor that these teachers who used this system were better prepared to teach language than others who had not. It does aim to investigate whether users of this system found it to be engaging, enlightening, and empowering in terms of their own practice. However, research which notes the powerful role motivation (Tremblay & Gardner, 1995; Gardner & Lambert, 1972) plays in language learning indicate that this study may have implications for better practice. Though data was collected over a three-year period, the data analysis was limited to the data collected from the final installation phase of SII v. 3.0, which occurred in the third year. The first two years of data served to inform the iterative and integrated design process of the system and were therefore reflected in the final product. Lessons learned from versions 1.0 and 2.0 also led to more robust data collection techniques in version 3.0, which Chapter i: Overview 28 allowed for a "thick description" (Geertz, 1973) and "thick interpretation" (Goldman-Segall, 1998) of the event. The aim of this dissertation is to study a local phenomenon as it occurred within the SII v. 3.0 environment. Due to the nature of the intervention I performed, the claims I will be making about the process will not necessarily be applicable to other modern language teacher education courses. By some standards of ethnographic educational research, the data I have collected might be perceived as limited since I chose to document and film only select and partial scenes, at times excluding the surrounding context in order to focus on the specific as I saw fit. At other times I relinquished the power of the camera to the participants so they could capture the scenes from their perspectives. Hence, I contend this was not an anthropological study, though it was anthropologically inspired and informed. The criteria I used to collect my digital video data was based on an informed eye. It was an eye that had been immersed within this SII system for three years and had learned to look for and notice the qualities which comprised the creation process within SII version 3.0. I have attempted to write these qualities into this text, into this dissertation, for you to interpret. Interlude 29 Interlude Kiss me, I'm Irish. My mother taught my three older siblings and me to wear this pin with pride. St. Patrick's Day was the day we wore green knee-highs with our Catholic school uniform to confirm what she had been promising us all our lives—that we belonged to a distant clan and we were connected to an exotic people that lived beyond the sameness that was our suburban culture. I was the Irish prototype; my freckles proved it, as did the red streaks that the hot California sun would pick up in my otherwise jet-black hair. I even had an Irish first name. Never mind that my last name was Dutch, and my ancestors came from a number of places besides Ireland, including Luxembourg, Germany, Scotland, and Austria. The magical world of my Irish ancestors was blanketed by verdant fields, dense with lucky four leaf clovers. It was inhabited by green leprechauns and elders whose eyes twinkled with stories to tell those children who were ready to crawl into their stout laps and listen. Alas, it was disappointing to learn that my imagined "cultural heritage," as it were, was a sham. Nonetheless, I am grateful to my mother for having instilled in me a sense of simultaneous wonderment and connection with regard to different cultures. What I didn't realize at the time was that I was, in fact, member of a mysterious and emerging culture, which my oldest brother, David, later coined "Blue Sky Tribe" (Beers, 1996). This "tribe," sons and daughters of aerospace engineers and university researchers, grew up during the cold war in sunny middle class suburbs which had been financed by massive government spending. Though I was surrounded by technology, I was rarely encouraged to interact with it. For me, technology had always been part of a masculine culture, housed in the sprawling compounds of my father's place of work, into which I was never allowed due to security restrictions, and manifested in the unfathomable instruments of my father's workshop, into which I rarely ventured. Ambivalent to this culture, I sought out those that appealed to me. Interlude 30 As a child en route to my tennis match, one of the many rituals shared by other members of my tribe, I paused on my bicycle under the freeway overpass one morning to watch the construction of a new building. Topped with a multicolored logo of a half-eaten apple, the building was a playful triangle, reminiscent of those we pushed through the appropriate slot on the Playskool™ bench when developing our earliest of cognition processes. How intriguing this sight was, not even half a mile from home, a new spirit in what was later to become Silicon Valley. On Christmas morning, now a senior in high school, I stripped away the colorful wrapping paper to reveal my gift, a Smith Corona™ self correcting electric typewriter. Having witnessed each of my three older siblings unwrap a similar token when at the same stage in their development, I understood this tool to be the key to my next culture—academia. My studies have taken me to distant places, beyond the suburbia I knew, beyond what had come to be the first of many cultures into which I would seek entry. Surely other adolescents, in the same transition to adulthood, were unwrapping primitive computers on that very morning, jumpstarting their immersion into the new culture that would shape our lives forever. The computer culture that was forming in the town I was leaving behind was not to beckon me until more than a decade later. I have always been intrigued by the different customs and ways of speaking of other cultures. For years I dedicated myself to decoding their languages and rites, enjoying the increased acceptance that I gained through my efforts. I have learned two languages, Spanish and French, in addition to my mother tongue, English. I learned the first in a relatively formal context as an adolescent and the second in an informal, naturalistic context as an adult. In both processes, my periods of success and failure in relation to native speakers have led me to experience moments of self-doubt and confidence, humiliation and euphoria. My native tongue and visible ethnicity have positioned me variously, as the object of resentment, indifference or admiration. Interlude 31 I am, therefore, keenly aware that the second language acquisition process is a complex one in which culture(s)13 play a central role. In the words of Bialystok and Hakuta (1994), "mostly we learn second languages to gain access, through verbal interaction, to cultural dealings with people who lay claim to that language" (p. 161). The satisfaction I have felt from learning a new language and my excitement in using it to engage with members of the target language culture have made me want to encourage others to interact with them and discover their secrets which are not so deeply hidden. I believe that technology, or digital media, is a highly effective tool for aiding the learner in this process of discovery. Yet ironically technology is a culture unto itself, not without its own rites of passage and codes which must be deciphered. When first interacting with this technology and the culture and language which surround it, I was forced to overcome the same issues, such as language, access, gender and ability, that often prevent educators from using this medium to its potential. With this new culture comes a new language which is acquired through experience and repeated exposure to the rituals. Originally frustrated by the strangeness of the language spoken in the computer environment, I noticed that the process involved in acquiring this new dialect of English was much like the acquisition of other languages I had tackled. In order to acquire this language, the learner must have repeated exposure to the vocabulary through readings, conversations and practice. Impatience that I felt at not being able to fully absorb the gist of conversations being carried out in this other language eventually began to subside when my personal computer vocabulary expanded. It is inappropriate to assume that the language of a culture which has developed over years or even generations can be acquired in the time span of weeks. The fact that language learning is a long process 13 As noted in Chapter One, I have pluralized the word "culture" to problematize the monolithic, singular notion of culture that is commonly-held by teachers, learners, materials developers and policy makers. Distinct varieties of the target language culture, as well as the local culture, are linked to variables of nationality, ethnicity, and other particular circumstances. These particularities are manifested in the different regions in which the language is spoken, as well as in the language of the individuals who speak it. Interlude 32 which requires a great deal of individual cornmitrnent is often overlooked by educators and administrators. Another seeming barrier to the acculturation into this computer culture was that of gender. It has been widely expressed that females do not benefit from the advantages offered by technology and are less confident in their use of computers, due to the traditionally masculine image of computers presented in mass media (Colley, Gale, & Harris, 1994). This is affirmed by movements in education (see Bryson & de Castell, 1998; Chan, Stafford, Klawe & Chen, 2000) and industry (e.g. www.wiredwoman.com) to encourage females to pursue careers in technology. Having understood the advantages that technology offers in helping to bridge the cultural gap between people from different languages and cultures, I have had to confront and overcome my computer anxiety that was inhibiting my growth in this domain. According to Charlton and Birkett (1995) in their article on computer apathy and anxiety, computer anxiety is associated with a lack of computing experience and females are likely to be at an "experiential disadvantage" which stems from a relative lack of parental and peer encouragement. Given that a large proportion of language teachers are women, this issue is one that needs to be addressed in teacher education programs and in-service courses in order to encourage the use of technology in the classroom. As a modern language teacher and teacher educator, I saw that my challenge was to foster a learning environment to accommodate the various learning styles of my students, provide them with quality language input from a variety of authentic sources, and encourage them to actively participate in the activities I had organized. Over time I have realized that one cannot develop communicative and cultural competence in a target language by merely learning its grammatical rules and vocabulary. As Madeleine Grumet (1988) so eloquently states: "Decentered, lost in thought, locked into the courtesies and protocols of our very formal operations, we forget that the symbolic systems of language, number, art, and culture are part of our lived worlds" (p. 131). Chapter 2: Subjectifying the Objectified 33 Chapter 2 Modern Language Culture Teaching In/Con Struction:14 Subjectifying the Objectified Ideas on Integrating Language and Culture A good teacher makes an art form out of something that is already an art form. She builds on what exists for her, through her eyes, and presents it to us as a precious gift—something to learn about, to turn over in our minds, and to reshape for new reconstructions (Goldman-Segall, 1998b, p. 215). Most aspiring teachers are fortunate in that they have at one time fallen under the spell of a talented teacher's poetic ways and received the gift Goldman-Segall describes above. What these individuals may not have recognized at the time, however, is that they were able to take this gift and create their own unique and personal interpretation of this knowledge by drawing from their inner wisdom and resources. Indeed, the role of a good teacher is not only to transmit information, but to involve herself and her students in a process of self discovery in relation to the subject matter at hand. Modern Language Education is a subject area with enormous potential for self discovery, though past instructionist approaches, which have focused more on the teaching of "language"1' at the exclusion of "culture,"16 have often sidelined attempts at this form of exploration. Over the past decade, new research interest in the areas of acculturation, language socialization and the role of identity in language acquisition have highlighted the 14 This word-play is to draw attention to the transition from instructionist, or traditional, teaching approaches and constructionist, or non-traditional, ones. The shift is not an easy, or clear one to make, as demonstrated in the phrase: "In construction." 15 In this context, "language" is understood to be the building blocks, e.g. syntax, grammar and lexicon. 16 In this context, "culture" can take two meanings. The first is a traditional product-based interpretation which views culture in static, essentialistic terms. The second is a process-based interpretation which views Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 34 role culture plays in learning to effectively communicate in another language and this has influenced the focus of modern language education (Byram, 1989; Duff & Uchida, 1997; Kramsch, Cain & Murphy-Lejeune, 1996; Norton, 2000; Norton Peirce, 1995). Curriculum guidelines for modern language teaching in the United States, Australia and Canada have reflected the overwhelming call from modern language pedagogues in the areas of global (Strasheim, 1981), multicultural (Carey, 1997; Heffernan, 1996; Roblyer, Dozier-Henry, & Burnette, 1996), and critical (Hellebrandt, 1996; Peck, 1992; Pennycook, 1990, 1999, 2001; Reagan & Osborn, 1998) education to lead their students on a systematic and in-depth study of culture in their language classes. By doing so, students are expected to achieve a range of objectives, including cultural sensitivity, multicultural literacies, a sense of international citizenship, an understanding of self and other and higher motivation in their language learning endeavors. Indisputably, these are worthy goals that, if met, will prepare the students to become capable, concerned and compassionate members of our global society. It is easy to visualize the fruits that we, as modern language educators, would like our teaching to bear, but it is more difficult to envision the approach that will plant and nurture the seeds to maturity. If students are to "learn" these desired skills and traits, what are we, as teachers, going to "teach?" The problem lies in our thinking that the student's task is to learn and the teacher's task is to teach, especially in matters of culture(s). Culture is an abstract notion, subject to differing interpretations according to the field of study. In the literature, hundreds of definitions have been suggested, some of which include: Culture as a process, as high art, as discourse or food, facts, fairs and folklore. It is intimidating and frustrating to new and experienced teachers alike to attempt to teach what no one person can ever fully understand. culture as dynamic and constantly changing. This postmodern view of culture entertains notions of hybridity, difference, agency and intertextuality. Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 35 Teaching culture or teaching meaning? In a breakfast meeting with Claire Kramsch at the 2000 AAAL17 conference, I confided in her my dissatisfaction with the term "to teach culture" and asked if we could imagine an alternative. Co-author of the convincing article entitled, "Why should language teachers teach culture?" (Kramsch et al., 1996), Kramsch tugged at her croissant, sipped her coffee, then leaned forward on her elbows and said, "It is true we don't teach culture, what we teach is meaning." I felt relief at hearing Kramsch admit the impossibility of it, but was not yet satisfied with this definition of the task. After all, the true essence of meaning is just as elusive as that of culture. As I reflected on my past teaching, the voices of EFL'8 students came back to me as they decoded the target language texts they were reading. "What does...mean}" The student's insistent inquiry was often reduced to a more urgent, albeit grammatically incorrect, "What means...?" 1 was transported back to my first ACTFL19 conference in 1988 in Monterey, California, where I was excited to be surrounded by thousands of language teachers, whom I considered masters in the profession where I was only an apprentice. I attended a session where two teachers from Illinois were selling signs they wore around their necks as they taught. The French version read, "Je ne suis pas un dictionnaire!" (I am not a dictionary) and the Spanish one, "iNo soy un diccionario!" The other session attendants nodded their heads in conspiring unison—they wanted these signs. I was puzzled and wondered to myself if this could be the level of meaning we, as language teachers, were destined to teach. To most language students, meaning lies within the signifiers, the lexical representations of the signified. They want a quick and easy translation from the target 17 American Association of Applied Linguistics 18 My experience teaching Spanish, English and French has generally been in a "foreign" (e.g. English as a Foreign Language—EFL,), now referred to as "modern" language education (MLED), rather than "second" (e.g. English as a Second Language—ESL) language context. In the FL, or MLED context, relatively homogeneous groups of students receive the bulk of their contact with the target language and its culture in the classroom environment. In the L2 context^ the assumption, though often erroneous because they tend to stay within their language groups outside of class time, is that diverse groups of students have extended contact with the target language and culture outside of the classroom. Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 36 language into their native tongue so, they believe, they will be able to understand the true sense of the target language text. The English question is absolute and promises mastery: "What does...mean}" English grammar presents the possibility as an optimistic given, a promise of mastery, a problem solved, devoid of ambiguity. In contrast, the French and Spanish questions, "Que...veut dire?" (What does ... want to say?) and "Que quiere decir...?" (What does ... want to say?), do not give such a resolute promise. By employing the verbs "vouloir" and "querer," which roughly translate into the English verb "to want," these languages communicate a more accurate representation of meaning making. The English verb to want, coupled with the verb "to say," does not convey a given outcome, it shows a process, an ongoing attempt to convey meaning. 20 Teaching Subjects-in-interaction To believe that a teacher can teach meaning is overly optimistic. No signifier is ever perfect, it never fully connotes the meaning of the signified; it never captures the complex, multilayered interpretation that one, much less fifty, native speakers may give to it at any given point in history. The French and Spanish questions demonstrate that meaning making between signifiers, the signified, authors and readers is a constant, imperfect process, continuously changing in relation to the Subjects21 that are involved and their interactions with each other. In her book, Points of Viewing Children's Thinking (1998b), Goldman-Segall discusses in depth the interactive and multi-layered process that members of cultures undergo while creating and interpreting meaning with their [digital] artifacts. For Goldman-19 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages 20 I have created this term to signify the content matter and skills that we, as modern language teachers, aim to "teach" when we say that we are "teaching culture." Central to the understanding of the abstract concepts of language and culture is the ability to identify and interpret the different perspectives of the Subjects (student, teacher, language, culture, curriculum, method and text) in the modern language classroom and acknowledge that they interact to form a delicate and dynamic ecosystem of interdependence. 211 mark the difference in levels of agency between "Subject" and "object" by capitalizing the term Subject and leaving the term object in lower case. Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 37 Segall, "interaction consists of conversing with self, others, and the rest of nature, whether in their physical presence or absence (p. 5)." In language, meaning is contextual. The sense that is connoted by a signifier depends a great deal on its interaction with the other elements surrounding it, whether they are visual, lexical, grammatical, or environmental. A good language learner, who has learned to speak the second language, will be able to read the contextual clues in any given text—or artifact— and infer their significance. The teacher's role, therefore, is to engage the student in a meaning making process by drawing the student's attention to the individual but interconnected elements in a text to see how they interact with themselves, the others, and the rest of nature. A talented teacher may reveal the roles of the various voices, or Subjects, within the text, but she alone cannot account for the subjective, situated readings from each of her students. She cannot teach the meaning of the text because the learner, the reader of these texts, always brings one or more variables into the equation—the self. I have created this term Subjects-in-interaction to represent a new vision toward the content matter and skills that we, as modern language teachers, can aim to "teach" when we aspire to "teach culture." Whereas previous concepts of teaching culture reified product-based, essentialistic definitions of culture, my concept of teaching culture is process-based. It maintains that central to the understanding of the abstract concepts of language and culture is the ability to identify and interpret the different perspectives of the Subjects (student, teacher, language, culture, curriculum, method and text) in the modern language classroom and acknowledge that they interact to form a delicate and dynamic ecosystem of interdependence. By calling the inanimate elements Subjects, I am not trying to infer that they have any sort of consciousness. I am suggesting that we need to look beyond the physical objects to see the perspectives of the humans that created them as well as those who interpret them to give them meaning. In doing so, we remember that these artifacts, or tools, were created at a specific time and place, within a specific context, as a representation of the creator's thinking processes at that time. In our modern language classes, we can Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 38 learn more by examining our interactions with the perspectives behind the objects than with the objects themselves. Lev Vygotsky's (1978) Activity Theory is a framework in which to study human activity. Within this theory, human activity is the focus of study and has three basic characteristics. First, it is directed towards a material, or ideal object which distinguishes one activity from another. Second, this activity is mediated by artifacts such as tools and language. Third, this activity is social and occurs within a culture.. Vygotsky's work is particularly useful to the field of second language learning because he argues that thinking and language, though separate, are intimately linked since it is only through the public act of speaking that internal thoughts are completed (Lantolf, 2000, p. 7). He highlights the critical role an individual's interaction—either with other humans or with artifacts and tools—plays in permitting an individual to advance to higher levels of thought. Like Vygotsky, Leo van Lier (1996) believes that much of learning resides in the interaction between the "intrapersonal," or mental, and "interpersonal," or social interactive sides of an individual (p. 36). As a means to include both of these sides, van Lier applies an ecological perspective to his conceptualization of the second language classroom. He states: "applied to language education, the ecological perspective emphasizes social interaction, which makes linguistic affordances available to the developing child, and the cultural context in which language learning takes place" (p. 36). To describe the elements available to the learner in the classroom, van Lier prefers Gibson's (1979, as cited in van Lier, 1996, p. 36) term affordances, defined as that which is "offered by the linguistic environment and perceived by the learner" (p. 12), to the "mechanistic information-processing term input" (p. 12). The concept of affordances, according to van Lier, emphasizes complimentarity and promises a resolution of the object/ subject dichotomy. Feminist theorists have developed standpoint theory to describe the phenomena that "we can only see the world from our own position, our own standpoint, in terms of race, culture, and gender" (Goldman-Segall, 1998b, p. 261). Goldman-Segall takes issue with the Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 39 permanence of one's position in standpoint theory that implies "we can only view the world and be viewed from that static lens" (p. 261). In describing how visual representation of Subjects have evolved over time, she provides us with a fitting metaphor to show how our readings of texts change according to the varying interactions amongst its Subjects: Once we took pictures with standing cameras of people seated, posing for the camera. People were positioned in time and space, captive in their clothing and fake settings. A video camera can now provide moving images to the videographer. Those who are being filmed are in some sense directing the filmmaker through their movements. The camera follows the movements. Backgrounds change. Positions change. The camera is passed around and those who were being filmed can film. Positions change when we have opportunities to see and understand other positions (p. 261). In our attempts to teach culture(s), or meaning, we as modern language teachers can only invite ourselves and our learners to identify and explore the multiple points of viewing22 that live within a text and attempt to position ourselves within. The teacher can present her point of viewing as a gift, and educate the learner to identify and participate in the various conversations, or discourses, which are occurring between all of the Subjects involved, most notably the reader and the text. In the end, we cannot aspire to teach culture, or to teach meaning, because these aims are beyond the resources of any single individual. What we can aim to teach, rather, is the situated activities of the various Subjects-in-interaction. Subjects and objects in critical theory Academic texts that focus on critical theory and critical pedagogy, usually in relation to the situatedness of humans in their worlds, frequently make a distinction between "Subject" and "object." In Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970/1993), Freire introduces this 22 According to Goldman-Segall (1998b), "(t]he notion of points of viewing encompasses where we are located in time and space, as well as now our combination of gender identities, classes, races, and cultures situates our understanding of what we see and validate. But the notion of points of viewing is not limited to the various positions we occupy. Indeed, the purpose of understanding points of viewing is to enable us to broaden our scope—to enable us to learn,from one another" (pp. 3-4). Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 4 o notion and presents the term "Subjects," which denotes those who know and act, in contrast to "objects," which are known and acted upon (p. 18). For Freire, man's ontological vocation (as he calls it) is to be a Subject who acts upon and transforms his world, and in so doing moves toward ever new possibilities of fuller and richer life individually and collectively. This world to which he relates is not a static and closed order, a given reality which man must accept and to which he must adjust; rather, it is a problem to be worked on and solved (Shaull, 1970/1993, p. 14). Freire's work concentrates on the human elements in the power structures of society, arguing that teachers are the instruments of the oppressors, whose job it is to indoctrinate their students into the oppressive power structures of society by filling their heads with facts and turning them into unquestioning, passive objects. Pennycook (1990) and Tedick et al. (1993) have applied the Subject / object distinction to language education, arguing that language has historically been viewed as "object," a perspective that has been reflected in the positivist instructionist methods that have been used to teach it. They argue for a movement toward viewing language as "Subject," stating this view emphasizes the power of language along with its communicative, dynamic, and social nature. Modern language teacher educators, their student teachers, and their future language students, can learn a great deal about themselves and their environment by acknowledging they are all involved in complicit and dialectical power structures which affect the way in which they view and act in the world. Freire identifies the human elements in the pedagogical ecosystem, the teachers and students, and Pennycook and Tedick et al. expand upon this notion to include one non-human element, language. I suggest we extend the Subject / object metaphor to include the other non-human elements (language, culture, curriculum, method, and texts) as well. In this way, we recognize that all these participants in the ecosystem of the modern language classroom, which have traditionally been viewed as objects, have the potential to become Subjects, since they are, at the same time, the products and creators of their social world, engaged in a dynamic dialectical relationship. Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 41 In the following pages, I will, first, review the current situation of culture teaching in modern language education in British Columbia, second, propose a critical methods course for preparing modern language teachers to implement a framework for teaching Subjects-in-interaction in which all of its participants are actively involved in a dynamic, dialectic relationship, and, third, discuss the evolving role each of the participants can claim as they evolve from objects into Subjects. The State of Culture Teaching Modern language education in British Columbia In response to the changing demographics of British Columbia, where Chinese was the most commonly spoken minority language, followed by Punjabi, Vietnamese, Spanish, Hindi, Korean, Tagalog and, finally, French (Carey, 1997, p. 212) the new British Columbia Language Education Policy, enacted in September of 1996, requires that each student study a second language between grades 5-8, with prior or continued study of that language up to grade 12 being optional. This language may be French, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, or Punjabi, and other languages will be considered if the demand is expressed (Carey, 1997, p. 213). This language policy, which "puts Asian-Pacific languages on an equal footing with French as a mandatory second language" (Carey, 1997, p. 213), states that learning a new language: • broadens the social and cultural horizons of students • promotes the continued vitality of all cultures • enhances mutual understanding and respect by promoting interaction among students from a variety of language communities and backgrounds • is essential to the intellectual development and socialization of all students • contributes to personal growth and cultural enrichment • provides opportunities to link with the past, our multicultural heritage, and our diversity • serves to prepare our students for the future (Spanish, 1996) Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 42 In this rationale, the cultural and social implications of learning a second language are explicitly mentioned in all but one of these statements. Along with the new language policy, the BC Ministry of Education released a curriculum, in the form of a series of language specific Integrated Resource Packages (IRP's) which have helped define the direction of minority language instruction in the BC schools from grades 5-12 . Though the language IRP's are divided into 4 syllabi, or goal areas—Using Language for: Communicating, Acquiring Information, Experiencing Creative "Works, and Understanding Culture and Society—the overriding objective in the IRP is the development of a deeper understanding of one's own self and culture, as well as that of the target culture. Ideally, this new knowledge would lead to greater cultural sensitivity, as illustrated in the introduction of the Spanish IRP (1996): The study of Spanish language and cultures is intended to enable learners to communicate and acquire information in Spanish. It also provides opportunities for students to gain insights into their own cultures and encourages the development of interculturaTsensitivity (p. r). This assumption is immediately followed by the rationale for the study of Spanish, and other minority languages: Because of British Columbia's diversity and ever changing societal landscape, students also need to acquire understanding and positive attitudes toward cultures that may vary from their own (p. 1) It is further explained that students will explore the individual differences that exist within a culture that affect communication, such as societal position, gender, family and age, will gain a deeper understanding of their own and other cultures and in the process gain self-confidence and develop their risk-taking, interpersonal and critical thinking skills. The same year the British Columbia Ministry of Education published its prescribed learning outcomes in the form of language-specific IRP's, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL, 1996) developed National Standards for teaching modern languages, which included the following cultural objectives: Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 43 2.1 Students should demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied. 2.2 Students should demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the culture studied {emphasis added). Similarities between the two curricular guidelines highlight the importance of studying not only the practices and products of the people, but also their perspectives. In a pessimistic interpretation of these guidelines, they suggest product-based notions of culture with the addition of a static, homogeneous set of "other" perspectives. In an optimistic interpretation, however, these guidelines are calling for a postmodern, critical teaching of culture which I have described as Subjects-in-interaction. This new approach, which validates the interaction and points of viewing of all the participating elements, promotes positive feelings towards diverse individuals, their practices, and their perspectives, though it does not condone those which are not politically correct. It varies significantly from previous models, in which culture studies have been limited to either high art or folkloric facts (Kramsch, 1993b; Weber & Mitchell, 1996). How do teachers "teach culture?" Despite the ambiguous and contradictory definitions of culture, as well as differing objectives on how to teach culture, the last thirty years of literature on culture teaching have left teachers with no shortage of ideas on how to approach it. Modern language pedagogues have published a wide variety of literature, providing inventories of topics and themes for cultural instruction (Seelye 1974, 1985, 1993), lists of culturally-sensitive personality traits desired for our students (Byram & Morgan, 1994), suggestions on the use of authentic materials (Galloway, 1992; Kramsch, 1989; Kramsch, 1993a; Kramsch, 1993b; Nostrand, 1989), guidelines for the process of preparing and guiding the students through the process of learning about culture(s) (Kramsch, 1993a; Mantle-Bromley, 1992), or Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 44 statements of recommended goals for cultural instruction (ACTFL, 1993; ACTFL, 1996; Strasheim, 1981), to name but a few. Ultimately, the decision whether to include cultural instruction, regardless of what this may entail, in the crowded time-tables of her language classes rests with the teacher. Although there exists a wealth of literature promoting and prescribing approaches, techniques and goals for teaching culture in the K-12 setting, there has been little documented work indicating whether teachers are prepared or willing to integrate critical interpretations of culture into their modern language classes, or what type of culture teaching and learning is happening in the schools. Strasheim, (r98r) reports that twenty years ago, two studies (Moskowitz, 1976; Nerenz, 1979, as cited in Strasheim, 1981) indicated that teachers spent approximately ro% of their instructional time on culture. Since that time, no conclusive studies had been carried out until Moore (1996) surveyed more than two hundred secondary school modern language teachers in upstate New York to determine how high-school teachers teach culture, how frequently they teach culture, which teaching techniques they judge to be more appropriate for achieving the cultural goals stated in school syllabi, and what constraints, if any, they experienced in their efforts to teach culture. Though the individual teachers' personal objectives for teaching culture are not explicitly outlined, Moore gives a general inventory of techniques used and makes some judgements as to their quality and effectiveness based on whether or not they include the perspectives of the members of the target language society. In her study, Moore (1996) found that training in teaching culture corresponded to both a higher frequency and better quality of culture teaching, whereas teaching experience was related only to the frequency of teaching culture and academic qualifications only to the selection of techniques. The top five techniques teachers reported for teaching culture, which demonstrate these teachers' implicit assumptions of culture as object, were: students read notes in the textbooks (54%), students got information from authentic material (48%), lectures were used to present Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 45 information (46%), students were assigned projects on specific topics (41%), students were exposed to the food of the culture, to songs, dances, and celebrations (41%). Most teachers, Moore found, use techniques which provide students with opportunities to gain factual knowledge about the products and practices of the target culture, such as by lecturing on cultural topics or using cultural notes from textbooks. An overwhelming majority of teachers who indicated that they had had training in teaching culture, (79%, as opposed to 35% of their counterparts), however, selected techniques which "reportedly have the potential for allowing discussion of the products as well as the values, and attitudes of the people, namely the perspectives" (p. 277). These activities included culture capsules, culture clusters, culture assimilators, ethnographic studies, and mini-dramas. Those teachers who signaled constraints on their abilities to teach culture cited insufficient time (40%), lack of adequate instructional material (25%), lack of training (23%), and absence of culture tests (10%). The results of this study lead Moore to warn that "we need not confine teaching culture merely to the level of sampling the products. Not only are we likely to perpetuate stereotypes in so doing, but we do our students little service by limiting their learning experiences to the primary level" (p. 283). She signals two important pedagogical recommendations for modern language teacher education programs in the United States, which prepare their graduates to meet the culture based curricular objectives established by ACTFL (1996). These recommendations can also be applied to teacher education programs in British Columbia which, as noted above, prepare their graduates to meet similar curricular objectives prescribed by the Ministry of Education (Spanish, 1996). Moore calls, first, for a more experiential curriculum, and, second, to increase teacher education courses on the teaching of culture, by including the teaching of culture in existing courses and creating other courses specifically on the use of authentic materials. Moore has carried out some important research that sheds light on the current situation of culture teaching in the schools. Her recommendation to place the bulk of the Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 46 responsibility in the hands of the methods instructors, however, needs to consider the confining power structures which exist in modern language education due to a long tradition of instructionist teaching paradigms which objectify, rather than Subjectify, the individual elements in its ecosystem. As Duff and Uchida (1997) found, second language teachers often teach their own implicit understandings of culture without being aware of that they are teaching culture at ah. Therefore, new methods courses created around cultural themes or the addition of cultural topics to existing courses may not change the nature of culture teaching, as shown in the history of attempts at modern language teaching reform which have experienced marginal success. Subjects-in-interaction in the methods course Like those before her, Moore identifies the methods course as the place in which student teachers should learn approaches and techniques for effectively integrating the critical teaching of culture, or Subjects-in-interaction, into their practice. Yet, in the past two decades of teacher education reform, the true value of the methods course has come under question time and again. It has either been criticized for being too idealistic and not practical enough, or too simplistic and without rigor (Adler & Goodman, 1986, p. 4). Indeed, a methods course in a specialization area such as modern language education is not allocated enough contact hours to meet the enormous array of expectations that all student teachers, teacher educators, administrators, and policy makers may hold for it. Student teachers, generally concerned with classroom management issues, may expect to develop those skills that have traditionally formed the base of methods courses, such as planning lessons, managing basal programs, and disciplining children. Teacher educators may strive to use these methods courses to prepare a new generation of educators who will be able to effect pedagogical and intellectual change in the schools. Administrators and policy makers may hope the methods courses prepare the student teachers to carry on Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 4J with pre-established curriculum goals and teaching practices that are already functioning in the schools. With so many conflicting expectations, it is no wonder the methods courses generally leave student teachers frustrated at the limited opportunities to apply the theories presented to practical teaching situations. At the same time, teacher educators are troubled by the lack of intellectual growth and maturity reflected in their students, while administrators may simply complete the task of indoctrinating the beginning teachers into the culture of the schools while on practicum or once they are free from their teacher education programs. To ensure that our student teachers are able to foster in their future students a deeper understanding of not only the practices and products of the target language's culture(s), but also the perspectives of its people(s), Moore proposes more hours be spent on cultural teaching in methods courses or more method courses on cultural topics. Linda von Hoene (1995), in her work preparing modern language graduate teaching assistants at the University of California, Berkeley, calls for a more critical approach to the methods course, which she constructs through psychoanalytic, feminist and postcolonial theoretical lenses. She draws heavily upon the work of Julia Kristeva (1991), widely regarded as a critical feminist, who uses the maternal body with its two-in-one, or other within, as a model for all subjective relations. Like the maternal body, we are all what Kristeva calls subjects-in-process, in that we are always negotiating the other within, that is to say, the return to the pre-linguistic, pre-subject position where all vestiges of difference are erased. For von Hoene, the modern language learner is a subject-in-process when she undergoes an internal transformation of self when confronted with the external other of the target language. In the modern language classroom, according to von Hoene, the learner generally takes on one culture and discards another, an encounter with difference that "can be perceived more as a challenge to one's identity than as a desired locus of identification" (1995, p. 49). To counteract this negative subject relation, von Hoerie encourages modern language university departments to become centers of cross-cultural studies, or better, cross-cultural Chapter 2: Subjectifyingthe objectified 48 travel. She proposes a curriculum in which students reflect on their own personal transformation, as subjects-in-process, in light of those of others as presented in their theoretical and literary works. Suggestions include reading Alice Kaplan's French Lessons (1993), based on her language learning experiences, Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987), inspired by her experiences living in the Mexican-American cultural "borderlands," and Kristeva's Strangers to Ourselves (1991) rooted in issues of nationalism. Von Hoene has expressed her dissatisfaction with the state of teacher education at the university level, which she attributes to the low status it occupies in comparison to literary studies, yet the curriculum she proposes relies almost exclusively on theoretical, intellectual texts. Her psychoanalytic, feminist and postcolonial contributions to the curriculum clearly inform the discussion on self and other as it pertains to language learning and teaching at an abstract level, yet this approach attempts to raise the status of teacher education by making it more like literary studies. To prepare student teachers to teach more than superficial ideals of culture, modern language methods courses, for secondary or university level language teaching, should go beyond assigning heavy doses of theoretical and intellectual texts on critical issues, or lists of cultural topics to be covered and techniques and strategies to carry them out. They should also give student teachers enough guidance to make the leap from theoretical to practical. As Adler & Goodman (1986) affirm, "the methods course provides an opportunity to go beyond an examination of the theoretical; such courses can seek to develop ways in which theory and practice may be unified" (p. 4). To learn to teach Subjects-in-interaction, I propose a critical—or analytical— methods course in which modern language student teachers are critically engaged in hands-on constructionist approaches to teaching and learning about various interpretations of culture in which the different human and non-human participants are viewed as socially constructed Subjects, with their own voices that reflect their particular situations in the world. This critical methods course would strive to prepare teachers who would be Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 49 thoughtful and reflective about their work and who would be able to prepare original curricula that would engage their students in thoughtful action. Such teachers could undertake the task of helping students rethink the democratic possibilities within schools and within the wider society of which they are a part" (Adler & Goodman, 1986, p. 4). This process may ultimately lead to a better understanding of the interactions between the practices, products and perspectives of their own and the target culture. Critical Theory in Modern Language Education More than ten years ago, Pennycook (1990) argued that second "language teaching has remained strangely isolated from educational theory and the sociopolitical questions that better educational theorists have been more inclined to raise" (p. 304). Previous attempts to relate modern language education to educational theory, according to Pennycook, had been misguided and lacked a true understanding of the empirical models used. Since that time, however, a new field of research, critical applied linguistics (Pennycook, 1999, 2001), has emerged to address these concerns. Critical applied linguistics, according to Pennycook (2001): is more than just a critical dimension added on to applied linguistics: It involves a constant skepticism, a constant questioning of the normative assumptions of applied linguistics. It demands a restive problematization of the givens of applied linguistics and presents a way of doing applied linguistics that seeks to connect it to questions of gender, class, sexuality, race, ethnicity, culture, identity, politics, ideology, and discourse. Within the various domains of critical applied linguistics are those particularly applicable to this study: critical approaches to language teaching (see Bartolome, 1994; Canagarajah, 1993; Duff & Uchida, 1997; Graman, 1988), critical discourse analysis (see Kubota, 1999) and critical literacy (see Luke, 2000). Other areas include critical approaches to translation, language testing, language planning and language rights, and language, literacy and workplace settings (Pennycook, 2001, p. 10). Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 5 o Peter McLaren (1999), immersed in the ideas of his mentor, Giroux, defines the broad notion of critical pedagogy as, "a way of thinking about, negotiating, and transforming the relationship among classroom teaching, the production of knowledge, the institutional structures of the school, and the social and material relations of the wider community, society, and nation-state" (p. 51). Though critical theorists share a commitment to liberating the individual voices in a society from the oppressive structures that may silence them, critical theorists differ in their view of the power of dominant institutions and beliefs. In one view: the dominant message is that things as they are must be as they are. Thus institutions and ideology become reified and objectified - they are "out there," having lives of their own, not open to challenge. The meanings and explanations conveyed by particular social arrangements are taken-for-granted and unquestioned (Adler & Goodman, 1986, p. 3). The other view sees the power structure as more dialectical, less one-sided. "There is both individual and collective resistance to dominant culture and practices. People are both the products and the creators of their social world (Adler & Goodman, 1986, p. 3). It is in this second view of the power structures, one which depends on dialectical action, that the various voices in the modern language classroom can be liberated and productive learning and understanding of Subjects-in-interaction can take place. The human elements To understand the complexity of the power structures in the modern language classroom, we must recognize that people, along with their cultural products, practices and perspectives, are not static objects, but rather Subjects which are, at the same time, both the products and creators of their social world. Traditional instructionist views have treated the human elements—students and teachers—as well as the seemingly non-human elements—language, culture, method, curriculum and texts—as "object." Critical theory has largely concerned itself with only the human elements in the pedagogical ecosystem. It has Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 51 urged them to abandon their traditional roles that perpetuate the complicit Subject-object relationship of domination and subordination in the classroom and stifle their intellectual inquiry about the world. Teachers and students in a Subject-object relationship Freire (1970/1993) denounces the narrative, teacher-student relationship, accusing education to be suffering from "narration sickness": This relationship involves a narrating Subject (the teacher) and patient, listening objects (the students). The contents, whether values or empirical dimensions of reality, tend in the process of being narrated to become lifeless and petrified (p. 52). In this "banking" concept of education, students are viewed as "containers" or "receptacles" and the teacher's duty is to fill those receptacles with motionless, static visions of reality and topics that are alien and removed from the students' experience. "The more completely she fills the receptacles, the better a teacher she is. The more meekly the receptacles permit themselves to be filled, the better students they are" (1970/1993, p. 52). Traditional interpretations of culture teaching in modern language education, which asks students to fill themselves with decontextualized and disassociated facts about the target culture, also suffers from narration sickness. Student teachers, long treated as receptacles in their language classes, are anxious to eventually take on the role of narrator and view the methods course as an opportunity to be filled with the tricks and techniques to best fill their future students. The goal of the critical methods course, then, should be to engage the student teachers in a reflective process (Schon, 1988) which challenges them to rethink not only their position in relationship to the teacher educator in their methods course, but also their position in relation to their students in their future language classes. This reflective and dialogic process is the one Freire calls for in his rethinking of the teacher-student relationship. "Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 52 by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously teachers and students" (Freire, 1970/1993, p. 53). Through communication, human life holds meaning and new constructions of reality about the world outside the classroom are formed: [T}he teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist (...)• The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow (Freire, 1970/1993, p. 61). Future teachers are former students who have been influenced to some degree or another by their past personal experiences with teachers who taught them from kindergarten to university. Granted, these student teachers have also influenced then-teachers along the way. By the time they arrive at the university, these students have spent thirteen thousand hours observing teachers, grown up around popular culture images and stereotypes of teaching, and have already formed a teaching schema which reflects the model of what an individual believes teaching is supposed to be (Weber & Mitchell, ^96). This schema includes expectations about students and the student role, about parents and the nature of schooling, and about how languages are best learned and best taught. As Weber and Mitchell state, "[sjcherhas are an integral part of culture. Because they organize beliefs and provide a structure for interpreting experience, schemas have the power to reflect, replicate, or even modify the culture in which they are developed or acquired" (Weber & Mitchell, 1996, p. 306). A critical perspective towards the teaching of a methods course, would draw on the student teachers' past schemas in order "foster a questioning attitude toward teaching, learning, knowledge, and curriculum, and toward the role of schools in society" (Adler & Goodman, 1986, p. 4). Teacher educators often approach their task as though each student teacher were a tabula rasa, void of the knowledge of what would make her a good teacher and waiting to be told what to do (Weber & Mitchell, 1996). In this banking concept of education, "knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing" (Freire, 1970/1993, p. 52). Other teacher educators, Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 53 however, "no longer view future teachers as fresh clay to be molded, but rather as people already brain-washed with firmly entrenched stereotypes and misinformed ideas about teaching" (Weber & Mitchell, 1996, p. 304). Some student teachers also share this view, as illustrated when one of my modern language student teachers asked to be "deprogrammed" in a summer methods course from the undesirable habits he thinks he "picked up" from his sponsor teacher and colleagues while on practicum. Based on my observations of him in the classroom, however, I would conclude his teaching approach varied little from the one he demonstrated in micro teaching exercises in his fall methods course and is most likely the result of a lifetime of schooling. Clearly a "deprogramming," or "liberation" of that nature would involve a long, reflective process that would examine and redefine the dynamic and dialectic relationships between the human and non-human elements in modern language education. Freire has illuminated the transformative power that comes from turning students and teachers into Subjects, thus liberating them from their previously objectified state. Now let us imagine what can happen when their tools become Subjects as well. The non-human elements Language, culture, curriculum, method and texts are the seemingly non-human elements that are in constant conversation with the learners and teachers in the modern language classroom. Created by humans, they are both the products and makers of their social world. They have the potential to either unlock the inner creativity and expression of the participants or stifle them down in a state of defeat. Language as object The language class is unique, in that language is both the content and the medium of the class, "a relationship which has perhaps led language teaching theory to look in on itself Chapter 2: Subjectifyingthe objectified 54 and become overly concerned with the inner workings of language and language learning at the expense of other issues" (Pennycook, 1990, p. 304). Rather than drawing from the fields of sociology, psychology, anthropology and education for rich insights into approaches for studying the cultural aspects of a second language, as recent modern language pedagogues (Kramsch, 1993a; Tedick et al. 1993; Weber & Mitchell, 1996) have encouraged, second language education has limited itself to the fields of linguistics for a theory of language, psycholinguistics for a theory of learning, and sociolinguistics for a theory of language use. This has resulted in an instrumentalist and positivist orientation towards language and teaching. "In this view, language becomes an objective system that can more or less be described by the theorists and transmitted by the practitioners, and teaching becomes a technical process prescribed by the experts and implemented by the teachers" (Pennycook, i99°> P- 3°4>-In their article outlining the problems that plague modern language education, Tedick et al. (1993) argue that the view of language as "object", "— that which is acted upon, an entity to be scrutinized, analyzed, and broken down into its smallest components—" (p. 305) is pervasive in modern language teacher education programs and is, in turn, perpetuated in modern language classrooms. As a result, language educators have denied the social nature of learning and language acquisition, and defined it as a topic to be studied, a content area. "As such, this focus nullifies the essence of language as intercultural communication, as key to profound consciousness" (p. 305). In response, socio-cultural theory, a new movement in second language acquisition research which studies the social aspects in second language acquisition, is quickly gaining momentum (see Lantolf, 2000). The frustration and isolation language teachers experience as a result of being seen as technicians rather than professionals and, therefore, marginalized in the schools, is well documented (Bernhardt & Hammadou, 1987; Hammadou & Bernhardt, 1987; Saito, 1996; Weber & Mitchell, 1996). These feelings have led language teachers to make efforts to legitimize their place in North American schools. Modern language teachers, in particular, Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 55 have traditionally needed to justify their content area as more than a "frill" and, in so doing, they have defined a body of knowledge or content for their discipline and developed a scope and sequence for delivering that body of knowledge. They have defined the content as the lexicon, syntax, morphology, and phonology of language—or as the notions and functions (Tedick et al., 1993, p. 305). Though these efforts have allowed some modern language educators to establish a precarious foothold for themselves in their academic institutions, they have done little to set modern language education apart as unique from other disciplines. The overuse of the students' native language in far too many modern language classes is further evidence that the target language is a content area which should be talked about, rather than used as a vehicle for the class participants to share and analyze the different perspectives of the human and non-human course Subjects. Even when teachers are very competent in their second language, they tend to use English as the major vehicle for actual instruction, thus devaluing the second language as a legitimate means of communication (Tedick et al., 1993). Students may be made to feel small by the lack of confidence their teachers place in their ability to comprehend the target language, further reinforcing their unequal power relationship. Modern language teachers can look to ESL and immersion programs as models that communication can be carried out entirely in the target language. Low expectations for the capabilities of the language learner limits language examples to objectified utterances that illustrate the aims of the teacher, publisher or administrator, but not the student. The challenge for the critical modern language teacher is to ensure that discussion allows for meaningful exchanges of perspectives based on the experiences and realities of the students, rather than detached and objectified examples of linguistic structures. Culture as object Many teachers and student teachers would eagerly teach their interpretations of cultural studies, but are held back by the traditional view of language as object. This Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 56 sentiment is voiced by one my secondary student teachers on practicum when she sighs, "I haven't really gone over it much, about culture, per se, there's just so much language." Culture, in the modern language classroom, as well as in their adopted textbooks, is treated as an add-on, always secondary to the more important linguistic content. Among the European intellectual scene in the 18th century, "culture" was considered to be a condition of total perfection, attainable through education. Culture came to be defined by the writings and ideas of a small group of "men" of letters, poets, philosophers, and academics and, though anthropologists have managed to separate culture from civilization, this general notion of culture as a display of accomplishment and perfection still persists today (Whittaker, 1992). It is this objectified concept of "C" culture, easily transmitted as facts since it manifests itself in the canonized literature, music, art, and history of the target culture, that modern language teachers are inclined to teach (Weber & Mitchell, r996). Anthropologists hold a different view of culture, seeing it as a process, patterns of beliefs, and systems of interpretation that guide the actions and interactions of its members (Weber & Mitchell, ^96). One of the most prominent anthropologists, Clifford Geertz (1973), has been instrumental in bringing about a redefining of culture and reasons, "believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning" (p. 5). More recently, culture is believed to be characterized by the diversity of discourses which exist within a society (Clifford, 1988; Gee, 1992; Kramsch & von Hoene, 1995; Kubota, 1999). Ironically, this recognition of multiple discourses in postmodern, poststructuralist, and feminist ideology could also bring about a demise of "culture" as we know it since the very recognition of voice within a society negates the imperialistic notion of culture as an object to be studied. This demise of "culture" appears to be happening in TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Langauges), an institution whose Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 57 extensive research in the areas of second language learning and teaching informs modern language education. In a recent review of the articles published over the last ten years in the TESOL Quarterly, Atkinson (1999b) notes that, in addition to "discourses," other terms such as "identity, hybridity, essentialism, power, difference, agency, resistance, and contestation are being used by second language theorists as a way to call into question the traditional monolithic notion of 'culture'" (p. 626). Atkinson attributes this shift in terminology to a gradual change from "more traditional/received to more postmodernist/critical understandings of culture" (p. 629, note 6). Though he acknowledges some critical perspectives have begun to infiltrate the field, he believes that culture is still very much an understudied notion in TESOL and one which needs to be substantially revised and updated. To facilitate this advancement, he proposes the following six ideas, or principles, to be used as "sociocognitive thinking tools" (p. 649), not as a specific theory or definition of culture: First, "all humans are individuals" (p. 641). Second, "individuality is also cultural" (p. 642). Individuals do not exist separately from their social world and are therefore, "individuals-in-context" (p. 642). Third, "social group membership and identity are multiple, contradictory, and dynamic" (p. 643). Individuals are entwined in multiple discourses, or social practices, social tools, and social products, which identify them as members of social groups. Fourth, "social group membership is consequential" (p. 645) in that one's membership or exclusion from different groups will have a negative, positive or neutral effect on their daily lives and opportunities. Fifth, "methods of studying cultural knowledge and behavior are unlikely to fit a positivist paradigm" (p. 646). In critical approaches to culture, qualitative and ethnographic approaches lend themselves better than quantitative ones because their flexibility accounts for cultural knowledge and behavior. However, in this paradigm, Atkinson proposes quantitative ideals such as "validity," "reliability," and "generalizability" be replaced with other justificatory concepts such as "particularizability" Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 5 8 (Ramanathan & Atkinson, 1999, pp. 55-59), "understanding" (Maxwell, 1992) and "thick description" (Geertz, 1973). Sixth, "language (learning and teaching) and culture are mutually implicated but culture is multiple and complex" (p. 647). Understanding of the sociocultural context within which language is used and also for what action it exists it critical to the knowledge of language. What's more, each circumstance is unique and therefore explanations which rely on simplified and stereotypical representations of cultural phenomena do not do justice to the target language's many unique and interconnected cultures. To conclude, Atkinson encourages his colleagues to develop a notion of culture which takes into account "the cultural in the individual and the individual in the cultural" (p. 648). Pennycook ^999) also outlines an alternative to traditional interpretations of culture, based on critical pedagogy, which is in line with Atkinson's above mentioned principles: In critical pedagogy (...) culture takes on a fundamental role in the way we make sense of the world and is taken to be a productive rather than merely a reflective system. It reflects the personal ways in which an individual makes sense of and lives out her situation in the world. From this point, critical pedagogy is then able to outline a project of cultural politics, a project which makes problematic the way in which teachers and students "sustain, resist or accommodate those languages, ideologies, social processes, and myths that position them within existing relations of power and dependency" (Giroux, 1988, p. 136). This, then, starts to address questions of student voice, popular culture and difference (p. 309). . Curriculum as object In opposition to traditional positivist positions regarding second language instruction and research, Pennycook (1989) makes two basic claims: that all education is political, since it "is constantly involved in the (reproduction of social and cultural inequalities (both within and between nations), and of particular forms of culture and knowledge" (p. 590); and that all knowledge is "interested" since "it is produced within a particular configuration of social, cultural, economic, political, and historical circumstances and therefore always both reflects and helps to (re)produce those conditions" (p. 595). These Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 59 assertions are especially relevant to modern language education since, first, language is forever tied to the controversial issues of bilingualism, minority education, and internationalism, and, second, curricular guidelines are generally developed by researchers within the fields of linguistics and applied linguistics where there is a "dominance on one particular type of knowledge (rational-purposive or scientific-technological)" which makes "claims to universality, objectivity, and truth, and the belief in inherent progress" (p. 595). This underlying ideological framework has led to an environment in which scientific . objectivity is prized over subjectivity, and curricular models are designed in the interest of dispensing unquestioned truths. This curricular approach is an example of Freire's banking concept of education in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits. They do, it is true, have the opportunity to become collectors or cataloguers of the things they store. But (...) it is the people themselves who are filed away through the lack of creativity, transformation, ana knowledge in this (at best) misguided system (Freire, 1970/1993, p. 52). The study of modern languages as sets of compartmentalized linguistic and cultural facts has lead to a curriculum that is largely decontextualized and unrelated to students' real life within their school, community, family, and peer groups (Moore, 1996; Pennycook, 1989, p. 305). When human elements are included in the curriculum, they are invariably incarnated in the practices and products of the "Other," which makes the content area even more "foreign," or strange, and further alienates the students from the target language and culture(s). Indeed, some students suffer from "culture panic" at the thought of having to take on the "cultural baggage" that accompanies the learning of a second language (Kramsch, 1995, p. xviii). Reagan & Osborn (1998) assert that these power plays in the modern language curriculum doom the students to failure from the outset due to the limited number of contact hours, an overemphasis on the strange and alienating nature of the "Other," and complete disregard for the personal realities of the students, among other reasons. So Chapter2: Subjectifyingthe objectified 60 indoctrinated into the educational system that gives credit for hours seated in a classroom and all but discourages the learning of a second language, students see the course requirement as a necessary hoop for entrance into university, completion of the undergraduate requirements or the research requirement in graduate studies. Given the choice, they would rather complete this step within the instructionist curriculum which requires the least emotional investment and to which they are already accustomed. This instructionist curriculum, which consists of easily assessable goals of proficiency and mastery of linguistic and cultural facts, inevitably leads to a means-end view of language and culture pedagogy. Within this framework, more emphasis is placed on the sequencing of linguistic structures in the syllabus than on developing a keen understanding of one's own and the target culture's products, practices and perspectives. It also assumes that there is a "dichotomy between human beings and the world: a person is merely in the world, not with the world or with others; the individual is spectator, not re-creator" (Freire, 1970/1993, p. 56). Yet language is not a world of its own. It is not even a world. But because we are in the world, because we are affected by situations, and because we orient ourselves comprehensively in those situations, we have something to say, we have experience to bring to language (Ricoeur, as cited in Grumet, 1988). To invert the oppressive power structures which have constricted students' learning and self expression, we can reconsider the role of the curriculum and imagine ways to liberate it from its objectified state. Adler & Goodman (1986) remind us of our ability to effect change by recognizing we all have potential to be Subjects in this dynamic relationship: "The curriculum, the "public" knowledge presented in schools, like social institutions themselves, has become reified and objectified; but, like institutions, it is socially constructed and therefore open to change" (p. 3). Steps to effect change would include a process oriented curricula which encourages student exploration (Fischer, 1996; Goldman-Segall, 1998b; Hellebrandt, 1996), an experiential curricula which focuses on the personal lives and experiences of the students Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 61 (Grumet, 1988; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Moore, 1996), and a curriculum based on generative themes which would promote multiple critical literacies to prepare the students to (pro)actively participate in the restructuring of their social environments (Freire, 1970/1993; Graman, 1988). Method as object The dominance on rational-purposive and scientific-technological types of knowledge in the fields of linguistics and applied linguistics have left modern language education with a legacy of positivist method-dependent teaching practices which leave little room for new exploratory and experiential approaches to meaningful learning of language and Subjects-in-interaction. Despite the fact that most modern language teaching practices in use today are basically reconfigurations of strategies which have existed for the past 2,000 years, applied linguists' blind faith in inherent progress has inspired academics in elite institutions of higher education to create—and recreate—a myriad of methods for second language teaching, each one purporting to be better than the one before, and each promising a new and improved version in the next published edition. An examination of their inherent qualities, however, would not show a linear progression towards excellence in teaching, but rather a reactive change due to shifts in the social, cultural, political and philosophical climate (Pennycook, 1989, p. 608). The Grammar Translation Method, widely used in academic institutions of higher learning until the 19th century (though one could argue is still alive and well today), comes from methods used in teaching Latin. This method requires little language or culture proficiency from the instructor, is easily assessed, and, because it extracts the language structures from all social context, is highly abstract and cognitive in nature. These characteristics may explain its popularity in a time when education was viewed as an activity for the elite, far removed from the realities of the social world. The Audiolingual, or "Army," Method, popular in the 1950's, was a direct result of technological advances Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 62 originated in World War II. This method, which left little room for the expression of individual differences, was ideal at a moment in history when rapid assimilation of immigrants and the functionality of US Army personnel overseas was a social priority. It relied on the use of tapes, language labs, and prefabricated dialogues spoken by a monolithic, usually male, voice. "Designer" methods of the 1970's directly reflected the public's radical ideological shift in the r96o's, a period of experimentation, self-expression, and political uncertainty. Methods such as Community Language Learning, Suggestopia, The Silent Way, and Total Physical Response, placed an emphasis on group dynamics, interpersonal relationships, discovery learning, and physical responses. These seemingly different methods, which can be identified by their accompanying textbooks and accoutrements, all constitute "interested knowledge." Though they have been instrumental in advancing the academic and professional careers of academics and publishers alike, they have not been proven to reflect the realities of the classroom and have done little to advance the teaching and learning of modern languages and their cultures. Pennycook (1989) asserts: Method is a prescriptive concept that articulates a positivist, progressivist, and patriarchal understanding of teaching and plays an important role in maintaining inequities between, on the one hand, predominantly male academics and, on the other, female teachers and language classrooms on the international power periphery (p. 589)-A new anti-method movement, initiated by critical theorists, has resulted in attempts to replace the oppressive term, "Method," with more teacher friendly alternatives, all of which have caused some initial, and perhaps continued, discomfort in the modern language community. In the post-method condition, prescriptive method terminology of the past is recoded with broader terms, such as principles (Brown, 1994), approaches (Duquette, r995; Littlewood, 1981; Nunan, 1989; Penfield, 1987; Ramirez, 1995; Richard-Amato, 1988; Savignon, 1983; Yalden, 1981), or macrostrategies (Kumaravadivelu, 1994), that are open to the Chapter 2: Subjectifyingthe objectified 63 interpretation, based on their situational realities, of the different participants in the modern language classroom. Theories of language as a hierarchically arranged system of rule-governed structures have been replaced by theories of language as a system of meaning whose primary function is interaction and communication. Dialogues and drills, repetition and memorization, and pattern practice have been substituted with processes that engage learners in communication such as information sharing, interaction, and negotiation of meaning. Syllabi based on a contrastive analysis of phonology, morphology and syntax have become more flexible; their ordering is guided by the learners' needs and include either structures, notions, themes, and/or tasks. What is a modern language teaching methods teacher to do at a time in which, on the one hand, critical theorists claim the very concept of method is in complete ideological contradiction with their aims, and, on the other, many modern language researchers, educators, and materials developers still cling to it as their life-line and meal ticket? Adler & Goodman (1986) reveal the tensions that are inherent in the development of critical methods courses, which traditionally exist within a very different paradigm from ones that come from critical theory: [Djominant assumptions about teaching and learning in the twentieth century have emphasized efficiency, measurable outcomes, and objectivity. The teacher within this dominant tradition, is not seen as one who designs curriculum or reflects upon alternatives, but rather, as one who is to master techniques of effective instruction in order to implement a predetermined curriculum (p. 6). Simply advising student teachers to develop an "eclectic approach," as was popular in the past, does not allow them to develop confidence in an effective teaching approach. Without this, they risk falling back on the outdated, yet trusty methods they were exposed to as language students themselves. At the University of British Columbia, the adopted approach for preparing modern language student teachers is to ground them in the fundamental concepts (i.e. the role of Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 64 the student, teacher, materials, activities, language etc.) of a highly adapted version of the communicative approach. A critical methods course that involves student teachers in an experiential, exploratory, process-oriented curricula would also incorporate constructionist teaching phdosophies that empowers them to understand difficult course concepts by engaging in hand-on activities in which they connect personal experiences to course content. These student teachers involve themselves in an active conversation with themselves and the other Subject elements in the ecosystem of teaching.23 Originally introduced in the early 1980's, the communicative approach has evolved from a thinly veiled reincarnation of previous paternalistic language teaching methods, which prized information sharing over meaningful interaction, to a new educational philosophy which aims to create experiential learning environments which draw on the personal experiences of the participants and encourage a reflective and enlightening exchange of perspectives. Though the philosophy of teaching within the communicative approach has changed over the past 20 years, the terminology, unfortunately, has not. Student teachers entering modern language methods courses are familiar with terms such as "communicative competence" and "authentic materials." Their teaching paradigms, nonetheless, often reflect the prescriptive environment in which they learned the language they will be teaching; one in which the curriculum was determined by the "communicative," yet grammar driven textbook, and in which the materials, though "authentic", were used for superficial exercises for language proficiency. A critical methods course would integrate guiding philosophies of a modern communicative approach and constructionism, in order to engage the participants in hands-on activities in which they construct and reconstruct the various realities of the participants, whether they be the students, the teacher, the language, or the materials. For, "knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through For a model, see the UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Grant Making Movies, Making Theories: Digital Media Tools for Educating Educators to Connect Experiences to Curriculum (Goldman-Segall/Beers, 1998). Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 65 the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other" (Freire, 1970/1993, p. 52). Constructionism and the communicative approach Constructionism, an educational philosophy and method developed by Seymour Papert, builds on the "constructivist" theories of Jean Piaget, arguing that knowledge is not transmitted from teacher to student but constructed in the mind of the learner. In the process of constructing a personally meaningful object, learners construct and reconstruct knowledge out of their experiences with the world. This knowledge arises from the relationship that exists between the content, the artifact and the process binding them together. Constructionism is a wholly appropriate and applicable learning model for enabling learners to experience the relationship between the products, practices and perspectives of the students' own and the target cultures, because of the emphasis it places on affect, personal experience, diversity, and relationship forming. It creates an environment in which to experience the dynamic nature of Subjects-in-interaction. First, constructionism, like communicative language learning theories, recognizes that learners are most likely to become intellectually engaged when they are working on personally meaningful activities and projects. Second, constructionism emphasizes diversity by setting up learning environments which encourage multiple learning styles and multiple representations of knowledge and, third, constructionism asserts forming new relationships with knowledge is as important as forming new representations of knowledge (Kafai & Resnick, 1996, p. 1). Materials as object Language teachers have to teach the language of kitchen recipes and the language of poems, language as a means of communication and as a mode of representation, they have to focus on the message and on the form of utterances. But most of all, behind someone's words, they have to teach their students how to recognise both the cultural voice of a socially dominant group and the unique voice of a particular person (Kramsch et al., 1996, p. 105). Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 66 New teaching approaches that view language as discourse and advocate the inclusion of multiple perspectives in order to represent the many voices present in one individual, not to mention her culture(s), call for a shift in the focus of instruction. Whereas the aim of teaching methods of the 1980's was to place the learner at the center of instruction, the goal of the 1990's is to situate the Subject at the center of learning (Kramsch et al., 1996; Lave & Wenger, 1991), in an attempt to validate the subjective perspective with its multiple points of viewing (Goldman-Segall, 1998b). In this framework, the enunciating Subject, whether it be the text, the student, or the teacher, becomes the focus of inquiry, in which a critical analysis of its situated perspective provides insight into its cultural reference points and history, ultimately leading to a keener understanding of, and empathy for, its Subject position. Modern language education has long been dependent on the textbook as the main source of pedagogical, linguistic, and cultural content and guidance. Indeed, the textbook, often referred to as simply, "the text," has been synonymous with various instructionist methods over the years and teachers still cite it as the number one source for culture teaching (Moore, 1996). Administrators are attracted by its potential to standardize instruction and content across different sections of language courses and, in response, publishers have even tried to create "teacher-proof instructional materials. Recently, however, the textbook has been the focus of several studies (see Brosh, 1997; Heilenman, 1991; Kramsch, 1989) which have criticized its cultural biases and representation of the target culture realities. As a result, many modern language teachers have turned to new forms of materials, most notably authentic texts, in the hopes of introducing the cultural perspectives of the target culture into their isolated classrooms. "Authentic," a term used "as a reaction against the prefabricated artificial language of textbooks and instructional dialogues (...), refers to the way language is used in non-pedagogic, natural communication. (...) An authentic text, [therefore], is a text that was created to fulfill some social purpose in the language Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 67 community in which it was produced. " (Kramsch, 1993a, p. 177). Though they are most commonly manifested in various limited genres of printed communication, such as menus, timetables, and advertisements, teachers are adopting a broader interpretation of text— as anything that can be read or interpreted— and have included songs, television programs, films, and, more recently, multimedia texts from the Internet. So popular are these authentic texts for teaching culture that teachers rank them as their number two source for culture teaching (Moore, 1996). But what do we really know about how these texts are used in the classrooms and what, if any, culture learning takes place? Despite their popularity and persistence in the modern language teacher's repertoire, surprisingly little research has been carried out on how they are selected, used, and read in the classroom. Are these texts used to explore the practices, products and Subjective perspectives of the target culture or do they serve as a colorful repackaging of the linguistic content already available in their textbooks? Those few researchers who have considered this topic in any depth (see Fischer, 1996; Hellebrandt, 1996; Kramsch, 1989; Moore, 1996) suspect readings of these authentic texts stay within a proficiency based methodology and rarely move beyond a superficial understanding. The reality in the classroom, it would seem, is that Text is forever equivalent to Method, whether it be in the form of a prefabricated textbook with accoutrements or authentic materials collected from the target culture. To enable our texts to move from their role as object of linguistic or folkloric study to that of Subject in which the historical, ideological and political voice of the author becomes the focus of critical inquiry, students and teachers need to develop multiple, active literacies. In a Freirian sense, literacy involves a good deal more than reading and writing: It is a form of social practice, interwoven into larger social practices, and developed through apprenticeship. Moreover, it is not just a receptive process of socialization into certain conventions of language use—it is an active process of critically evaluating those practices into which one is being socialized (Kern, 1995, p. 68). Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 6 8 Modern language students are frequently called upon to analyze and decipher the texts of the "Other," yet they are rarely asked to become the authors of their own, multilayered texts.24 By creating their own cultural texts, in which the content and genre are drawn from their own subjective, political and historical perspectives, they, and their texts, would become the Subject of exploration, ultimately leading to a greater sensitivity for the perspectives and points of viewing of their fellow authors. What's more, this activity builds on van Lier's (1996) three principles that guide meaningful interaction in the language curriculum: Awareness, autonomy and authenticity. The first principle follows the belief that for students to learn something new, they must first notice it. Once they are aware, they are able to focus their consciousness on that concept and process it by linking their perceptions of the outside world to the patterns of connections that exist in the mind (p. ir). The second principle, autonomy, stems from the knowledge that the impetus for learning must come from the learner. If the students feel a sense of choice and responsibility towards the activity this will have a direct influence on the degree of positive affect, stemming from feelings of control, ownership and competence, they experience (p. 12) . The third principle, authenticity, moves beyond the common interpretation of authentic as applied to classroom texts and tasks. To formulate his notion of authentic, van Lier draws from the existentialist definition which deems an action to be authentic "when it realizes free choice and is an expression of what a person genuinely feels and believes" (p. 13) . In the language class, therefore, authentic should also be looked at as" a process of engagement in the learning situation, and as a characteristic of the persons engaged in learning. As such, authenticity relates to who teachers and learners are and what they do as they interact with one another for the purposes of learning" (p. 125). The reflexive process of creating and interpreting one's own texts raises the students' awareness of their underlying cultural assumptions and builds a bridge between their own 24 For discussions on the multiple layers of representation and interpretation of student generated [digital] Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 6 9 and the target language cultures. In the process, these studentss are involved in an authentic activity as they interact with their fellow learners while working on their personally meaningful texts. Concluding Remarks Modern language educators, curriculum designers and policy makers agree that the teaching of culture as process, not product, needs to take a higher priority in the classroom if we are to succeed in preparing our students to take their place as respectful and enlightened cosmopolitan citizens. In intellectual circles, a great deal of debate has followed about which concept of culture should be promoted, ranging from anthropological views on cultural processes to feminist and multicultural views of difference. Ultimately, this has led to a common understanding that culture consists of the many perspectives and voices that are represented by its members and manifested in their socially constructed multi-layered artifacts, whether in the form of texts or institutions. To decipher these artifacts and understand the situated position of the Subject, teachers and students require critical literacies that enable them to recognize their own position, and that of the voice, or author, who speaks. To develop this critical literacy, teachers and students may need to re-conceptualize not only their relationship with each other, but also with the educational and social tools and instruments—manifested in language, culture, curriculum, method and texts—they have created. "[B]y helping students to decode the ideological dimensions of texts, institutions, social practices and cultural forms, critical literacy aims to develop a critical citizenry capable of analyzing and challenging the oppressive characteristics of the society" (Pennycook, 1990, p. 309) In constructionist and communicative learning environments and ecologies, modern language teacher educators and student teachers have the exciting opportunity to call upon texts, see Goldman-Segall 1995b, 1998b. Chapter 2: Subjectifying the objectified 70 their life experiences to share and read the many situated points of viewing of the various Subjects-in-interaction. To move beyond, student teachers can then use the multiple, active literacies learned in their methods courses to construct not only new interpretations of the cultural artifacts created by individuals within their own and the target culture, but to create their own texts, in a variety of media, that reflect their newly discovered awareness of their Subject position in relation to the socially constructed artifacts of the cultures of study. Chapter y. Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 71 Chapter 3 Designing Selves, Interpreting Others: Digital Video Ethnography as a Methodology for Apprentices to Appropriate Multiliteracies Theoretical Lineage of Educational Theory and Method Piaget to Papert In 1964, Seymour Papert left behind the Alpine villages near Geneva, Switzerland, where he had spent the previous five years immersed in the constructivist child development theories of his mentor, Jean Piaget, to enter the "urban world of cybernetics and computers" (Papert, 1980) at MIT in Boston, Massachussetts. There he carried inside himself Piaget's theories and began a life long inquiry into how children think and how computers just might think one day. In the process, he developed constructionism, a teaching method which assumes that children are more actively engaged when working on a personally meaningful external artifact, which he calls an "object-to-think-with" (Papert, r98o). Papert remembers his bicycle gears as his very first object-to-think-with and the joy he derived from thinking about them, tinkering with them, and using them ultimately fueled his passion for mathematics. He created the computer language LOGO to encourage children to invent their own objects-to-think-with. One such object is Turtle, a computer controlled cybernetic animal which exists within the cognitive minicultures of the LOGO environment. Turtle is a successful object because it embodies "an intersection of cultural presence, embedded knowledge, and the possibility for personal identification" (Papert, r98o, p. n). Papert has spent most of his professional life advancing the constructivist ideas of Piaget by developing his own theories of constructionist teaching practices. Graduate Chaptery. Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 72 students who have passed through Papert's MIT Media Lab have immersed themselves in the Piagetian/Papertian theories that guide their research within its walls and those of the inner-city classrooms in which they conduct research. Graduate students over the past fifteen years have constructed their own objects-to-think-with and emerged with their own theories which take these scholars' research to new levels of understanding and practice. Papert to Goldman-Segall In 1990, one of these doctoral students, Ricki Goldman-Segall, left behind the cyber labs of MIT and the urban classrooms of Boston for the lush and rainy forests of British Columbia, Canada. With her she brought her object-to-think-with, Learning Constellations 1.0, and her theory, configurational validity. Learning Constellations 1.0 is the digital media ethnographic analysis tool Goldman-Segall created and used to analyze six video discs of data she collected of children using LOGO to design cyber objects-to-think-with at the Hennigan School in Boston. This tool is the first video annotation system built which supports the analysis of an entire body of research data using ethnographic style video data (Goldman-Segall, 1990). It employs the metaphor of stars and constellations to build upon the ethnographic research methods of Clifford Geertz within a constructionist framework. Users select, label and annotate individual data chunks, stars, and then group them into meaningful knowledge clusters, constellations. This digital environment allows not only for the media designer's "thick description" (Geertz, 1973) of the event, but also the interpreter's "thick interpretation" (Goldman-Segall, 1998b). Goldman-Segall's theory of configurational validity argues that distributed communities of inquiry can build more robust analyses of multimedia stories. Stories of multiple "authors" can be layered in clusters, or "constellations," in such a way that larger, more robust theories emerge (Goldman-Segall, 1995a, p. 1). Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 73 Since coming to the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, Goldman-Segall has gone on to develop other digital media tools— Constellations™, Points of Viewing™, WebConstellations™ and, most recently, Orion™—to further the digital data analysis methods in the field of research she has pioneered, digital video ethnography. In her Multimedia Ethnographic Research Lab, MERLin, Goldman-Segall has carried on in the Piagetian/Papertian model, working with graduate students to extend and further the methods and theories of her mentors as well as her own. Many of Goldman-Segall's recent digital tools and theories have emerged from a three-year digital video ethnographic study she carried out with middle-school children who studied Clayoquot Sound, one of North America's largest temperate rain forests with intact watersheds, as a community of inquiry. In this socio-scientific study, the students assumed the role of video ethnographers who researched the various points of viewing (Goldman-Segall, 1998b) of its members, ranging from loggers to environmentalists, tourists to local shopkeepers. These student-ethnographers collected data in various media forms and used Constellations to build artifacts and theories. They didn't try to find a solution to the problem, they tried to use it as an object-to-think-with. Eventually, however, Goldman-Segall found it necessary to re-articulate Papert's notion of objects as catalysts for learning. In wanting to emphasize the importance of the humanistic elements in the Clayoquot Sound project, she puts forth the notion of subjects-to-think-with. She shares her theory-making process in this digital video ethnography when she writes, "what we found was that it was our relationship with it, how we turned an object into a subject of interest for us all, that kept our interest levels high" 01996b, p. 106 ). Goldman-Segall refers to this phenomenon in her earlier research in the late 1980's, when she observes that Mindy, a student at the Hennigan school in Boston, has an affinity for programming make-believe girls in LOGO. Goldman-Segall ponders: Is the object a transitional obsession, as Freud would have us believe—a fetish around which to gather our images? Or can the object provide a sociocultural window into a thinking process, a way to think about thought and about the lives we Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 74 live? Maybe the girls that girls make are indeed epistemological inventions, subjects rather than objects-to-think-with, as Mindy suggests (1998b, p. 186) In her subsequent articles, Goldman-Segall uses the term subject in the same context as when she describes Mindy's girl object as a socio-cultural subject. For Goldman-Segall, subject is field of study to be explored, whether it be academic, such as mathematics or science, or socio-cultural such as the political, social and environmental tensions in Clayoquot Sound. Within these various subjects exists a multitude of perspectives and stories to be learned. The digital video ethnographic tools that Goldman-Segall develops provide the platform for these voices to be heard, a forum for what she terms "a multi-logue" (1995a). Goldman-Segall to Beers In 1996 I left behind the Flemish belfroi towers and flat countryside of Lille, France, for the streamlined skyscrapers and snow-capped mountains of Vancouver, Canada. A native of California, I had been in Lille on a three-year English language teaching assignment at the National Centre for Scientific Research and the Institute of Political Sciences. I came to Vancouver to begin a Ph.D. program in modern language education at the University of British Columbia and brought with me my experience and expertise as a Spanish and English language teacher, teacher educator and materials developer (see Ascarrunz Gilman, Zwerling Sugano, & Beers, 1993; Beers, 1997; Gil & Beers, 1993). In my 9 years teaching prior to my arrival, I had consistently centered my lesson plans and textbook materials on authentic media documents, such as newspaper, television and music, taken from the target language culture. I witnessed with enthusiasm the growing popularity of the Internet, which houses a myriad of multilingual multimedia texts, and sensed this would be the direction language teaching and materials development would take. Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 75 Over the years I had become dissatisfied with the level of sense making that my students and I were able to achieve with traditional media texts. I predicted these new digital texts would require an even more sophisticated literacy, one that would call upon the intellectual and technical skills needed to decipher their inherent cultural, linguistic and design elements. My role as teacher and author assumed I was an expert of sorts in my ability to lead my students to understand the meaning behind these texts, yet I was sure that I, and my colleagues, had much to learn. My search to develop a method to promote an authentic media text literacy in teachers and their students ultimately transpired within the walls of MERLin, working closely with Goldman-Segall. Here in MERLin we are immersed in the Piagetian/Papertian theories of educational development and design, submerged in the artistic and seductive filming techniques of Richard Leacock (1973, 1986) and Glorianna Davenport (1993), and, in short, mentored by its maker in the art of digital video ethnography. Whereas Goldman-Segall's object-to think-with was her digital media ethnographic analysis tool, Learning Constellations™ 1.0, my object-to-think-with is the modern language methodology course I designed and taught over a three year period, Advanced Studies in Language Education: Integrating Language and Culture with Modern Media. To improve upon each new version of the course, I adopted the iterative and integrated design process used by systems design teams in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) interface usability studies which allowed me to alter and improve aspects of the course in response to student feedback and instructor observations. While Goldman-Segall's jw^Vrt-to-thirik-with is her recent research is Clayoquot Sound, my subject-to-think-with is the course content of versions 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 of the modern language teacher education course. The theory I put forth in this dissertation, Subjects-in-interaction, comes as a result of designing and re-designing my object-to-think-with and analyzing the data collected during the digital video ethnography carried out in versions 2.0 and 3.0. It builds upon Papert's notion of objects-to-think-with in that the authentic media texts can serve as Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 76 catalysts for exploration and discovery on the part of the student and teacher, and it builds upon Goldman-Segall's notion of subjects-to-think-with in that it highlights the humanistic aspects inherent to the area of study. However, I view Papert and Goldman-Segall's notions with a critical theory lens, in which the object and subject take on a new level of agency. The Subject is, therefore, promoted to the status of proper noun and assumes the role of actor, rather than companion, as in object-to-think-with, or site, as in subject-to-think-with. Subjects-in-interaction extends Goldman-Segall's theory of configurational validity. Configurational validity, as applied to a socio-cultural subject such as Clayoquot Sound (Goldman-Segall, 1996b, 1998b), says that a more robust interpretation of the phenomenon can be achieved when the human participants are given a forum to view and discuss each other's representations and interpretations, or readings, of an event. Subjects-in-interaction, as applied to modern language education or, more specifically, the designing and interpreting of authentic media texts from one's own and the target language culture, says that all of the textual elements, human and non-human, are active agents in the social construction of the event. Subjects-in-interaction is both a theory and a methodology for the writing and reading of authentic media texts which looks at the process of creation and inter-pretation of the text as the event. In this dynamic meaning-making process, all Subjects, human and non-human, are agents in an ever changing, dialectical inter-action. Application of Educational Theory and Method In this section, I will examine how the theory and methodology of Subjects-in-interaction can inform our practice as we encourage modern language teachers and students to become expert designers and interpreters of digital media texts. First I will discuss how the methodology of digital video ethnography informs our teacher education practice as we strive to prepare certain modern language student teachers to become expert designers and Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 77 interpreters of digital media texts. Second, I will explore how the notion of self and other, in the context of a digital video ethnography, informs our practice as critical, multiliterate modern language designers and interpreters of media texts. Multiliterate designers and interpreters of digital media texts In modern language teacher education, the aim is to prepare student teachers to be experts in the languages they teach, so they, at the sides of their students, can begin a life long exploration of the target language culture and the texts it produces. These teachers will encourage their language students to eventually become critical interpreters of the target language texts; to draw from their own interactions with the world to comprehend and even delight in the interactions of the other. Carmen Luke (2000), a language and literacy pedagogue, outlines the three components inherent to critical literacy. It includes a meta knowledge of diverse meaning systems and the socio-cultural contexts in which they are produced and embedded in everyday life; the mastery of the technical and analytic skills with which to negotiate those systems in diverse contexts; and, finally, the capacity to understand how these systems and skills operate in relations and interests of power within and across social institutions. In my approach within the modern language classroom, we are active participants in our sense making as we constantly call upon our life experiences and interactions to decipher the codes of the texts we read and the discussions we hear. Traditional authentic texts from the target language culture have always been multilayered and enigmatic. Their pages incorporate cultural references nuanced in color, type set, and image. Their language is encoded with register, style and mood. Their voices capture accent, rhythm and intonation. More and more, digital media is changing the ways in which we communicate. The messages we are able to transmit across language communities are taking on new representational forms; they are increasingly more complex, incorporating sound, video, Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 78 image and text. These new multilayered electronic texts, despite their life-like qualities and increasing depth of detail, are no truer than older, simpler versions. After all, they are still artistic re-presentations of one author's experience presented through a medium. As Elliot Eisner notes: One feature of a medium is that it mediates and anything that mediates changes what it conveys; the map is not the territory and the text is not the event. We learn to write and to draw, to dance and to sing, in order to re-present the world as we know it (1998, p. 27). Cultures throughout history have created formulas and genres to facilitate the re presentation of an event, but they are only effective when mutually understood by the designer and the interpreter. Language teachers and learners who are versed in the myriad of genres of communication are best able to decipher these texts. Eisner's (1998) notion of connoisseurship and criticism help identify some of the skills student teachers and their students can use to call upon their life stories to become active interpreters of the target culture's texts: "The word connoisseurship comes from the Latin cognoscere, to know. In the visual arts, to know depends upon the abUity to see, not merely to look" (p. 6). Eisner explains that an expert in any field, whether a radiologist studying an x-ray or a conductor directing an orchestra, is able to draw from her experience to see certain qualities that other lay people do not notice. Only when these qualities are seen can they be appreciated; for when they are invisible they go unnoticed and no further reflection can take place. Luke (2000) argues the digital information environment has forced us to reconsider the qualifications we use to paint our profile of an expert. These days, an "understanding of the relations among ideas is as if not more important than mastery of the ideas themselves" (p. 73). The expert is no longer the one with the decontextualized facts, Luke says, she is the one who "sees and seeks the connection among related pieces of information" (p. 73). In this sense, the expert interpreter of the target language's authentic media texts not only sees the inherent qualities of the text, as Eisner explains, but also seeks how they, the interpreter included, inter-act to co-create meaning. Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 79 Luke's digital age expert possesses a digital electronic text multiliteracy,25 based on notions of hybridity and intertextuality, that "transcends genres, media and cultural frames of reference" (2000, p. 73). In this context, [m]eaning making from the multiple linguistic, audio, and symbolic visual graphics of hypertext means that the cyberspace navigator must draw on a range of knowledges about traditional and newly blended genres or representational conventions, cultural and symbolic codes, as well as linguistically coded and software driven meanings (p. 73)-The technological multiliteracy which Luke defines is difficult to develop even when reading the texts of one's own culture, in which one is versed in the common protocols of daily life and language. Presented with the texts of the target language culture, the task's difficulty is compounded. As tourists, we may only see the superficial qualities in the target language culture: We hear the rhythm of the language, we see the icons of its civilization, we see the color of its people and feel the fabric of its dressings. We remain at our novice understanding of its potential. As experts, we are able to penetrate deeper into the multilayered text, to see those qualities that a lay person may overlook. We can enjoy the difference, understand the reasons, and grow personally from this interaction. The qualities of the text, their inter textuality and inter-action, become the Subject in research, not the Object. Digital video ethnography as methodology to foster multiliteracies Subjects-in-interaction as a theory and methodology for developing multiliteracies for writing and reading digital texts is informed by the general assumptions that guide qualitative researchers in their inquiry. Qualitative researchers believe there is no such ideal as a single objective reality. Instead, multiple realities of any given phenomenon are socially constructed through individual and collective interpretations of the situation (McMillan & 25 Ricki Goldman-Segall (7998a) notes that, as a result of being involved in the Clayoquot Sound project, some of the Bayside middle school children showed signs that they had "become more fluent in the use or media and the role of media when thinking about complex socio-scientific issues(...) They had shown that they could converse, write about, and build representations that showed their deep understanding of the issues" (p. 11). Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 80 Schumacher, 1993, 14). Each individual constructs her own reading of the event as directed by her sense of self in relation to the other. The self is the sum total of the life experiences that have informed the paradigm in which she operates and the other is the entity which either confirms or contradicts this paradigm. The qualitative researcher's aim is to understand the event from the perspective of the participants, to uncover the qualities that contribute to re-constructing its meaning and significance. Ethnographic studies are prototypical examples of qualitative research in that the ethnographer integrates herself into a localized group of individuals, often taking on a participatory role in their activities. Critical ethnographic approaches to research in second language learning and teaching (see Atkinson & Ramanathan, 1995; Canagarajah, 1993; Holliday, ^96; Ramanathan & Atkinson, 1999) have enabled researchers to treat formal learning and teaching contexts as cultural constructs and thereby situate them within the larger social realities in which they operate. The ethnographer collects data in the form of field note observations, artifacts, interviews, conversations, and images and compiles them into a descriptive and interpretive account. She recognizes she is an active element in the dynamic and ever evolving cultural phenomenon of inquiry who changes the social context. She also acknowledges the subjective lens through which she views the events will influence her findings and interpretations. Early positivistic approaches to ethnographic research, however, tried to eliminate the subjective self from its equation, thinking that objectivity makes it possible to locate and isolate the reality of the world out there. Subjectivity was seen to weaken the validity of the findings, in that they might say more about the beliefs of the person carrying out the study than about the truth itself. We are the sum total of our life experiences. Our wisdom is created by our contact with nature, its inhabitants and their artifacts. Qualitative inquiry acknowledges that the self is the instrument through which we experience the world around us. As such, this inquiry "is not only directed towards those aspects of the world 'out there,' it is also directed to objects and events that we are able to create" (Eisner, 1998, p. 21). Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 81 Digital video ethnography is a qualitative research methodology which centers its processes of interpretation on those very objects and events we are able to create (Goldman-Segall, rooo, 1995a, 1996b, 1998b). It is a testimonial to Goldman-Segall's struggle with the dilemma between subjectivity and validity in the human sciences. It reconceptualizes and reinvents traditions of qualitative research within a post-modern framework, one in which authorship and identity are transitive in relation to the context of the event. Goldman-Segall's theories on what constitutes robust research in a socio-cultural site are inspired by the work of scholars from the areas of visual and cultural anthropology (see Clifford, 1986; Geertz, 1973; Mead, 1975), critical ethnography (see Lather,i99i; Tyler, 1986) semiotics (see Barthes, 1977), and filmmaking (see Davenport, 1993; Leacock, 1973, 1986) and are embodied in her digital ethnographic methods and data analysis tools (1990, 1997, 1998b). In her method, Goldman-Segall encourages the participants in the study to take on new roles as digital ethnographers, thereby becoming both the researchers and researched, while investigating their chosen subject of inquiry. Together, they create a robust collective database of qualitative digital data, open to interpretation and re-interpretation by its many users. These participants use digital ethnographic tools, such as video camcorders, movie making software and Goldman-Segall's digital video ethnographic analysis tools to build these robust collective data bases, or, as she also terms them, "platforms for multi-loguing" (1995a). The use of these visual forms of data for cultural analysis and interpretation is not new since anthropologists have long incorporated a wide variety of media representations, in the form of photographs, films, novels and cultural artifacts into their field notes. What is different is the interaction that this new media provides for the sharing of the different perspectives as they relate to these media objects. These tools support rich interactions between the different human and non-human elements, enabling them all to take on a more active role of Subject, rather than object, in research. Goldman-Segall's digital video ethnographic tools exploit digital video's descriptive capacities and the potential of on-line digital networks for perspective sharing and trading. Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 82 Video is able to provide the "thick description" Geertz (1973) calls for in ethnographic fieldwork because it captures the subject of interest, along with her interactions with the environment, tools and the others (1998b). In its digital format, the video can be scrutinized, analyzed, and catalogued down to its most minute detail (Goldman-Segall, 1989). With Goldman-Segall's data analysis tools, the digital video ethnographer can further contextualize her video with text, documents, fieldnotes, and other data in order to gain insights into what to shoot and to provide other users with layer upon layer of meaning, interpretation and significance (Goldman-Segall, 1993). As the data base grows, the digital video ethnographer can sort, annotate, and group this data into meaningful configurations based on her own interpretations while other users can simultaneously do the same. With Goldman-Segall's most recent on-line tools, WebConstellations™ and Orion™, these users need not operate within local networks, they may work from removed sites, assuming the role of viewer or active participant, depending on the access they desire or are granted. Digital video ethnographic scenario in modern language education In the body of literature on multimedia and digital video ethnography Goldman-Segall has written over the last ten years, she has invited the interpreter to partake in her methods and use her tools by sharing her experiences and presenting scenarios that can serve as models of practice. She has chosen not to outline specific procedures to follow and techniques to implement, acknowledging the individuality each video ethnographer brings to the relations between her subject of study and fellow researchers. In this tradition, this dissertation presents an example of a digital video ethnography carried out within a university modern language education methodology course. In the model presented in this dissertation, 29 modern language student teachers took on the role of digital video ethnographer in the summer of 1999 as they developed theories about how personal life Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 83 experience, representation and interpretations of culture affect one's writing and reading of digital media texts. Digital media, with their capabilities to create media rich texts complete with sound, images and video, create a new unexplored predicament for the language teacher and learner in this new role as ethnographer. Whereas the anthropologist traditionally starts from a context-and-experience-rich environment and imagines a text, the language teacher and learner start with a text and must imagine a context (Teroaka, 1989), drawing from previous experience, knowledge, or stereotypes about the target language culture. To explore this quandary with my student teachers, I implemented a media-based approach based on communicative language teaching and constructionist learning models which encourages pre-service and in-service modern language teachers to use their personal experiences to create and interpret multi-layered media rich texts. By, in effect, reversing the contextual void these modern language teachers and learners often confront when interpreting the texts from the target language culture, I hoped to raise our awareness to the many subtle and dynamic inter-relations between the human and non-human textual Subjects that lead to the process of creation and inter-pretation. In this digital video ethnography, participants used a digital movie authoring and design tool, CineKit™, to make 30-second digital movies on their cultural interpretation of an object of their choice. Topics they chose included coffee, cars, flowers, and letters. The purpose of centering their movie around a physical object, was to heighten their awareness to the many human faces, or perspectives, that give it meaning. Students were encouraged to choose their own topics to ensure they felt a sense of ownership and personal attachment to their project, thereby encouaging autonomy and authenticity in the activity (van Lier, 1996). Throughout the project, the participants filmed each other and were filmed as they worked and reflected on their digital artifacts. They then used WebConstellations™ to share, annotate and critique the digital representations of their process and product in Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 84 relation to the content, the integration of language and culture with modern media, being studied in the course. Multiliterate designers and interpreters of digital texts, like ethnographers involved in qualitative research, try to unearth the various Subjects in a social artifact to study the way their inter-actions contribute to the designer and interpreter's sense-making process. They acknowledge there is no single reading of a text, just as there is no single account of an event. The text is the visual artifact of a social process involving one or more authors' re presentation and inter-pretation of an event as viewed through each interpreter's cultural filter. Digital video ethnography enables the researcher and the researched to become experts in seeing the qualities in the target language culture as manifested in its artifacts. It does this by providing a tangible medium in which to step outside of one's self to view the data from multiple perspectives (Goldman-Segall, 1998b), each perspective building upon the former, to approximate a whole. In the process of working toward capturing the entirety of an event, one discovers the impossibility of it. As Eisner affirmed earlier, "[t]he text is not the event" (1998, p. 27). Digital video ethnography reminds us that interpretation is a cyclical, infinite process. When the digital video ethnographer sets out to create a text in the form of a short digital movie, she is obliged to make a series of decisions based on her understanding of the event. In a 30-second movie, real estate is coveted. In other words, there is only enough visual and audio "space" for a fraction of the images, sounds and words she may like to include. She must assess the role each Subject plays in the whole and work within the constraints of the medium to best represent this interaction: Being a digital ethnographer combines groping through [a] myriad [of] video-taped conversations and finding connections between and among them, fumbling through data, catching the nuance in a smile, and finally producing a work that seems whole, even though, as author or co-author, one always has a feeling of partiality (Goldman-Segall, 1998b, 87). Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 85 After striving, yet failing, to capture the entirety of the event, the digital video ethnographer no longer believes that a reality does exist out there, which can be captured and documented. Terms such as validity and authenticity are no longer prized, as they only reflect degrees of proximity to this unattainable ideal. The language learner's interpretation of the target culture's authentic media text, therefore, is but one of many possible readings; often an inexperienced reading at that. The Subject position digital text designers and interpreters occupy becomes even more apparent when the ethnographer's digital creations, along with data chunks capturing moments in her creative process, are posted in a visible, open forum. At this point, the digital video ethnographer has no alternative but to reposition (...) [her]self as a member of a community of inquiry—one voice among many. The ethnographer, the video technology, and the total environment within which the researcher and the [Subjects]26 interact are inseparable (Goldman-Segall, 1998, p. 88). Confronted with multiple interpretations that sometimes differ, sometimes confer with her own, the digital video ethnographer is acutely aware that her self is but one Subject-in-interaction with the others. A Digital Video Ethnography of Self and Other The notion of self and other, explored in the context a digital video ethnography, can inform our practice as multiliterate modern language designers and interpreters of digital texts. With practice, a digital video ethnographer learns to seek different data and her ability to see the important qualities of a text heighten: As one's ability to take different perspectives grows, what is considered relevant shifts. The data one seeks change. The interpretation that is appropriate alters (...) It 26 Goldman-Segall uses "children" in the original citation, a reference to her digital video ethnographic research with middle school children in Boston and Vancouver Island. I have replaced "children" with "Subjects" to apply her observation to my situation. Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 8 6 is a matter of being able to handle several ways of seeing as a series of differing views rather than reducing all views to a single correct one (Eisner, 1998, p. 49). This awareness of self and other as gained in the research process is a significant step toward becoming multiliterate digital text designers and interpreters in one's own and the target language. The constant role reversal that digital video ethnographers undergo, as they move between viewer and viewed, teacher and learner, Subject and object, develops a certain flexibility of perspective which facilitates the study of self and other. This skill is valued in the second language learning process, as it can lead to communicative and cultural competence (Byram, 1994) and, ultimately, greater intercultural understanding (Byram, 1994; Christie, 1990; Rorty, 1995). Multiple identities: The study of selves and others Before my student-teachers and I set off exploring what it might look like to begin to understand and teach the nuances in the products, practices and perspectives of those who speak the target language, I lead them through a simple, yet revealing, activity of self discovery. I ask them to draw a graphic representation of their many selves, or identities and social roles, to share with their classmates.2" Most often my words are met with cocked heads and quizzical looks. Many are wondering what relevance this exercise has for the course content and others are fretting the personal probes that are bound to come their way. I begin with myself because, over the years, I have developed a policy to never ask my students to engage in activities in which I would not feel comfortable participating. I am a teacher, a student, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and a friend. I am an American, a native English speaker, a near-native Spanish-speaker, and a reluctant French-speaker. My graphic representation of self may take the form of gradually expanding circles, or a series of boxes with interconnected arrows, or perhaps a tree with hanging branches and penetrating roots. Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 87 After I have shared my graphic self-representation with my students, I ask each one to extend this metaphor further by creating an identity object, a 3-dimensional representation of her self. This assignment, inspired by Papert's constructionist notion of objects-to-think-with (1980), is designed as a rapport building activity that can promote sharing and contribute to building participant identity and group awareness of the various countries, cultures, and values represented in the class. Its aim is to encourage the participants to go beyond the traditional forms of representation and provide the first tangible bit of data for discussion on the relation between identity and language learning. In any of my imaginings, or in those of my students, the same is always true: We, as individuals, are invariably defined by our relationship with the other. Indeed, the "root word of self—se, or seu, (...) [is] the pronoun of the third person. Most of the descendant words, except self itself, were constructed to allude to "other," to connected people" (Heshusius, 1994, p. 17). I am a daughter because I was born to a mother and father. I am a teacher because I share my knowledge and experience with my students and try to create an environment which fosters learning. Modifiers can be attached. I am a reluctant French speaker because I am ashamed of my accent and syntax, yet I am a French speaker nonetheless because I have at one point in my life formed a deep and intimate relationship with the French language and those who speak it. These multifaceted physical objects make obvious the fact we are not a singular self but multi-identitied selves. Likewise, our classmates are not each an other, but others, increasing exponentially with the size of the class. Culture teaching in modern language education has typically concentrated on the lives and artifacts of the target language native speakers, with little regard for the personal stories of its learners. As a result, the perceived social distance between the two has made language and culture learning appear to be a daunting, if not impossible, task (Reagan & This activity was first inspired by the "Identity Posters" module in Talking Culture (MacNiel & Wilmann, Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 88 Osborn, 1998). This dilemma finds its origin and, fortunately, its possible alternative in the field of anthropology. The problem, as Elvi Whittaker, an anthropologist, explains, is that Anthropology has invented the notion of culture as a means of promoting the self worth of the colonial, white male by drawing clear distinctions—and distances—between the researchers and their objects of study: [Cjulture is the very epitome of othering. It depends for its existence on the subjective ordering of a world full of Others (...) the Other is such essences as class, gender, race, ethnicity. The very act of research makes an Other out of someone" (p. 113). In this passage, the Other, not the Subject, is promoted to the status of proper noun, thereby emphasizing the grandiose position it has occupied in anthropological research. Lingering implications from this ethnocentric attitude towards cultural diversity are manifested in contemporary society in the form of multicultural government policy and educational practices. For example, Peter MacLaren (1995, p. 122), a critical theorist, argues that conservative approaches to multiculturalism in the schools do not treat whiteness as a form of ethnicity and therefore posits whiteness as an invisible norm by which other ethnicities are judged. In this way, ethnic cultures are treated merely as add-ons and are judged in relation to the inflated culture capital of the Anglo middle class. Target languages and their cultures are often the objects of study in modern language classrooms, but are rarely the Subjects. Several modern language and other critical pedagogues have suggested approaches to classroom exploration which aim to include and validate the conversant voices in a culture. For Claire Kramsch and Linda von Hoene (1995), the metaphor that speaks to the difference of gender, class, age, region, and ethnicity is the metaphor of culture as discourse; discourse being the process by which people create, relate, organize, and realize meaning (p. 337). As a framework in which to treat culture as discourse in the modern language classroom, they propose a critical feminist modern language 1996). Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 89 pedagogy which they define as, "the dialogic emergence of differences in an attempt to promote a critical social consciousness through self-reflexivity and self-revision" (p. 331). Ryuko Kubota (1999, as cited in Pennycook, 2001), in her analysis of Japanese culture constructed by discourses in English language teaching, is also critical of the ways that Japanese culture(s) and other cultures are constructed in the language classroom. She argues that discussions on difference [hjave tended to dichotomize Western culture and Eastern culture and to draw rigid cultural boundaries between them. They have given labels such as individualism, self-expression, critical and analytical thinking and extending knowledge to Western cultures on the one hand, and collectivism, harmony, indirection, memorization, andconserving knowledge to Asian cultures on the other (p. 146). Poststructuralist feminists point to the multiplicity of Self which strives to break down the dichotomies of native/"foreign," self/other, Subject/object to which Kubota refers. In the same vein, other modern language pedagogues (Fisher, 1996; Hellebrandt, 1996; Moore, 1996) have stressed the need to critically study and assess a linguistic or cultural concept and phenomenon from multiple perspectives. These scholars would agree that what is needed of both the teacher and of the students is a metalinguistic and metadiscursive awareness that can explore the enactment of difference and encourage critical reflection and revision of one's own subject position (Kramsch & von Hoene, ^95, p. 339). The modern language classroom has been dominated by a single voiced discourse that restricts the students from seeing themselves as they may be perceived from the perspective of another culture, or even through the eyes of their classmates. A double voiced discourse, however, could incorporate more of the many identities that compose each member. In his description of an ethnographic study carried out in his modern language class, Fischer (1996) has outlined the advantages of using technology to enable students to become cultural explorers, rather than tourists. He develops his position in the context of an email exchange between American and German language students and demonstrates that students need not remain at a superficial "touristic" level of discussion despite their limited language abilities. He urges them to probe deeper, to explore the target cultures' beliefs and value Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 90 systems. Although the study focuses on the other, at the exclusion of self, in that the target language learners are not asked to explicitly reflect on what their own answers may be in their native culture, many of my student teachers have been inspired by the distinction he makes between these two approaches to cultural travel. These student teachers are eager to accompany their future students on an exploratory adventure of this nature since it is only an electronic variation to a familiar approach to research in the language classroom; for most, culture is out there, it is embodied in the other. Let us imagine the possibilities, however, when these same student teachers are immersed within a digital learning environment that encourages them to re-search and re think their interactions with the Subjects that surround them, both in their own worlds and in the worlds of the target language speakers. What might these student teachers learn about themselves as learners, teachers, language speakers, and active members of local and global communities? What skills might they learn in the process that will allow them to carry out similar investigations with their future students and what impact might this have on their students' lives and the lives of those with whom they interact? An alternative to developing still more approaches to anthropological research which essentially evaluate the worth of the target culture from an ethnocentric Anglo perspective, therefore, is to lead the student teachers in a reflective (Schon, 1988; Wallace, 1991) and reflexive (Prell, 1989) process in which they are both the Subjects and objects of study. These students no longer limit their investigations to the other, but also explore themselves and others. This exercise is useful to develop skills in the second language as well as intercultural sensitivity. Digital media, when used within a constructionist discourse based pedagogy, can empower students to carry out their own critical ethnographic research in which the students are able to become both researcher and researched in a "mutually enlightening relationship" (Prell, 1989). Though the United States and Canada are pluralistic democratic societies which pride themselves on their liberal multicultural ideals, the integration of "culture" and Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 91 "diversity" into their modern language curriculum has usually taken the isolated and superficial form of an occasional "cultural day" in which students are treated to folkloric spectacles and a sampling of the target culture's products. Rather than fostering tolerance, intercultural sensitivity, and a higher motivation for learning, these approaches can, in fact, do more harm than good in that they increase the social distance between the learner and the target culture, perpetuate stereotypes, and give only a static, and often archaic, snapshot of what is really an evolving and dynamic cultural discourse within a people who speak the target language. If, as Mendus (1995) states, "we should see education as, quite generally, a means of enabling all students to understand themselves" (p. 181), and, as Prell (1989) observes, "one must know oneself through and in light of the other" (p. 252), it is clear that the study of self and other should be central to any meaningful curriculum. The process of reflecting on self and other plays a key role in critical multicultural education and modern language education can learn a great deal by following this lead. "Inter-cultural" education, which is the basis for multicultural and anti-racism programs, and modern language education share the common concern which is to prepare students to take their place as cosmopolitan citizens. In her argument for including cross-cultural and modern language education in the democratic curriculum, Rorty (1995) states, "we cannot hope to understand ourselves-and still less make wise political decisions-without understanding the values, the politics and economics that mark our global neighbors" (p. 62). This exploration of self and other, to which Rorty alludes, is a critical step in the process of constructing one's identity and finding one's place in a modern democratic society. It is also one that is critical to one's success in second language learning. The contemplation of self and other in the modern language classroom attaches the contextual meaning to the linguistic structures the students are learning, fosters the positive psychological traits adolescents need to live in a pluralistic society and continue in their language learning endeavors, and promotes a favorable classroom Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 92 environment conducive to learning. Furthermore, this reflective process guides students to develop critical thinking skills as they contemplate larger issues of native and "foreign" languages and speakers, which can ultimately be applied to the notions of in-group and out-group. Critical thinking as described by Pennycook (2001), "is used to describe a way of bringing more rigorous analysis to problem solving or textual understanding, a way of developing more critical distance" (p. 4). To establish what skills are necessary to become an international citizen, we can look to the aims of both "inter-cultural" education, which is the basis for multicultural and anti-racism programs, and modern language education. Byram and Morgan (1994), modern language specialists, note that these two fields share the common concern which is "to encourage the acquisition of psychological characteristics susceptible of generating harmonious relationships: lack of ethnocentrism, cognitive flexibility, behavioral flexibility, cultural knowledge, interpersonal sensitivity, {and] communication skills" (p. 181). Speaking from the perspective of multicultural Britain, though these ideals are applicable to any pluralistic society, he argues, "it is thus feasible to see language and culture learning as a significant - perhaps the significant - locus for education for international citizenship" (p. 181). In light of the strength of his conviction, I believe these characteristics warrant a deeper discussion of their meaning and implications for developing digital media text multiliteracies. Within the first of Byram's characteristics, a lack of ethnocentrism, lies the assumption that ethnocentrism is an undesirable quality. Indeed, in examining the characteristics included in Sumner's (1940) definition of ethnocentrism, one can see the threat this attitude can pose to harmony in a pluralistic society: Ethnocentrism is the technical name for this view of things in which one's own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it...Each group nourishes its own pride and vanity, boasts itself superior, exalts its own divinities, and looks with contempt on outsiders (as cited in Damen, 1987, p. 214). Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 93 However, Damen (1987) argues that ethnocentrism - an "adherence to a given set of cultural options adjudged right" (pp. 213-214) - is, in fact, a necessary and natural human attitude which is the very foundation of human identity, given that humans find safely and strength in groups. It is only in modern pluralistic societies, when different ethnic groups come into closer contact and become more accessible to one another, that ethnocentrism can become a threat. In this context, ethnocentrism becomes negative when it is used to "shut others out, provide the basis for derogatory evaluations, and rebuff change" (Damen, 1987, p. 214). A parallel can be drawn between Byram's ideal of possessing a "lack of ethnocentrism" and Richards' (as cited in Mendus, 1995) ideal of "humility." Richards explains that if we understand humility not as "holding oneself in low esteem," but rather as "having oneself in proper perspective," then humility can be a valuable trait in Western society (p. 40). Mendus (1995) concludes, "the humble person is not someone who puts a low value on his own talents. Rather, he is someone who makes a proper assessment of those talents" (p. 40). In a similar vein, we can further benefit from adopting Appiah's (1997) sentiment of "cosmopolitanism" as an ideal to counter ethnocentrism. For Appiah, the cosmopolitan patriot can entertain the possibility of a world in which everyone is a rooted cosmopolitan, attached to a home of her own, with its own cultural particularities, but taking pleasure from the presence of other, different, places that are home to other, different, people (p. 2). In order to learn a second, or third, language and enjoy interactions with its speakers and the texts they produce, it is important to be able to first imagine the possibility of a culture beyond one's own; one worthy of the investment it takes to learn the linguistic components of its language and cultural practices of its people. One must also keep in mind that we are, in effect, members of " 'imagined communities' of modernity we call 'nations'" (Appiah, 1997, p. 10), and that these differences and particularities we reject from the other groups are really endemic to our own as well. This ability to emotionally shift from one world to another reflects a higher level of thinking, one Rand Spiro (see Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobson & Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 94 Coulson, 1991) describes as cognitive flexibility in his work with the effects of digital hypermedia with learners. Byram (1989) is not alone when he speculates as to "the [cognitive] effects on the individual of being exposed to two languages and cultures, particularly two which are fundamentally distant and distinct from each other; in other words, of having the linguistic and cultural potential realized simultaneously in two ways rather than one" (p. 105). Byram's mention of the positive trait of cognitive flexibility arises from Lambert's early studies on the cognitive process of bilingual students in French immersion schools in Canada. Lambert (1977) concluded that bilinguals are psychologically different from monolinguals. More recently, Lambert et al. (1993) have made the claim that bilingual schooling leads to higher cognitive processes in the students which improves their performance across the curriculum (p. 18). These findings have been contested since they can just as well be attributed to such variables as the high socio-economic class of its learners and the high status and cultural capital of the French language and culture in the Canadian society in which they live. These factors lead Carey (1997) to speculate: (...) students in bilingual programs at all ages spend much time contemplating differences in expression between the two languages and playing with the similarities and differences in the languages with their peers (...) However, to argue that explicit awareness of a second language, as opposed to enrichment in the first language, is more beneficial to cognitive functioning has not been demonstrated (p. 216). Nonetheless, I believe it is fair to assume that knowing two languages is much more than simply knowing two ways of speaking. The mind of a speaker who has in some way attached two sets of linguistic details to a conceptual representation has contemplated possibilities and alternatives that the monolingual speaker has had no need to consider. It is in keeping with this opinion that Stern (1982), in his plea to reform French core programs across Canada, proposes a general language education syllabus as an integral component of the curriculum. In this syllabus, one would attempt to "think about language and languages in general, about language learning, about cultures and societies" (p. 41). He justifies this progressive change in the modern language curriculum by stating that this Chapter y Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 95 syllabus would deal with general linguistic and cultural phenomena, make learners alert to the process of language learning (...) and might even include discussions of a philosophical nature about the relations between language and thought, language and society, or language and reality" (p. 42). The teaching strategy he proposes would be a "highly cognitive one that involves students in making "crosslingual" and "crosscultural" observations and comparisons and that will encourage them to think about their own language learning" (p. 42). The larger goal would be for learners to be able to transfer their insights into language and culture gained in their core French, or other modern language, classes to other languages and cultures in their own society. Some of the recommendations Stern (1982) has made have only just recently been embodied in the new British Columbia modern language curriculum, manifested in the curriculum guidelines (IRP's) for each modern language taught in grades 5-12. A commonly held assumption in modern language education is that if an individual is familiar with the social norms and shared beliefs of a culture, this knowledge will then inform her to model her behavior accordingly (Byram, 1989; Seelye, ^93). However, it has been established that neither the mere banking of cultural facts nor the close physical proximity of the minority and majority members leads to intercultural appreciation or tolerance (Byram, 1989; Christie, 1990; Kramsch, 1993). A consistent analysis of the underlying motivations of the actions performed by members of the students' own and the target culture is critical to developing an understanding of what contexts lead to what actions by members of both groups, as well as a sensitivity and willingness to alter one's performance accordingly. The two ideals of cultural knowledge and behavioral flexibility that Byram identifies can be clarified by contrasting the two multicultural models of cultural competence and cultural understanding Feinberg (1995) presents. He defines cultural competence as "what we have when we are able to recognize and participate in the routines of another way of life and thereby guide a part of our own development by its conceptions of performance and Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 96 excellence" (p. 54). Cultural understanding, however, means "we understand its core set of beliefs about self and other and we are able to translate these into particular patterns of behavior" (p. 56). In other words, "to say that a person understands a culture is to say that she has access to that set of beliefs and is able to reconstruct them when required" (p. 55). Having engaged in the reflective process of creating and sharing one's interpretation of one's own culture, as well as reading the texts of the target culture, one becomes conscious of the difference between the accepted and expected behavior of one's own culture and that of the other. This insight is the result of a multitude of nuanced decisions taken from cues in the context, in the form of qualities, in which the interpreter finds herself. Language is a social construction, invented by humans to transmit the codes and meanings of a culture. To communicate, one must be able to read the other person, like a text, and intuitively grasp the meaning and emotion she is trying to convey. Communication skills, which are needed to carry on a dialogue with another person, therefore involve a sensitivity to the other speaker. Communicative competence involves "knowing what to say, when to say it, how, and to whom in any given speech act" (Damen, 1989, p. 368). These skills require not only linguistic and lexical knowledge about the target language but also intercultural and interpersonal sensitivity and critical language awareness. Because individuals are members of many communities, cultures and subcultures, it is useless to learn only the labels, or signifiers, without also experiencing those codes and artifacts, or signifieds, to which the signifiers are attached. Geertz (1973) believes that reading culture is like reading a text. Systems of meaning, or webs of significance as he calls them, are sets of arbitrary relationships between variables— such as words, behaviors, and physical symbols— in a culture and the meanings that are attached to them. To read the culture and its texts, then, it is crucial to learn what it is about these signifieds that gives them importance to the community that refers to them. The modern language student teachers involved in version 3.0 of this university course and research project created their movies with the intent to unearth the webs of Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 97 significance in which the object of choice in their movie is entangled. They made the implicit systems of meaning surrounding the object explicit when they meticulously chose and layered the qualities they wanted to include into their textual representation of this object. These systems of meaning grew as each participant used WebConstellations™ to spin their interpretations and re-interpretations of the digital media texts into this web. Subject-ive Conclusions In light of the new BC Language Policy, implemented at the dawn of the Pacific century, in which we will see a shifting in the status and cultural capital of minority languages and cultures (Carey, 1997), I believe it is timely to re-evaluate the state of modern language education. Innovative methods we use to educate our student teachers, by nature of their design, can have a dramatic effect on our future success in preparing young learners to take their place in a pluralistic society. We can shake up conventional power relations between traditional Subjects and objects of research by inviting the participants to undergo a systematic and multidimensional exploration of not only the other, but selves and others as Subjects-in-interaction within the context of a digital video ethnography. In this way, we can model positive investigative methods to be used by all Subjects of the research project— ranging from text to classroom student to student teacher to teacher educator and university professor. A focus on ones' own textual representations, along with those of the others, is an important first step in balancing the unequal power plays in which the dominant language group scrutinizes the other culture from the superior position of their generally shared interpretation of what is normal. Naturally, when one is member of a seemingly homogeneous group of language learners involved in a one-way study of the other, it is easy to evaluate those other customs, products and perspectives as strange, rather than viewing them as different, but valid. In these situations, without an in-depth and systematic Chapter y. Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 98 inclusion of selves, intercultural sensitivity goes out the window and we are left with target culture consumption. The study of selves and others in modern language education can, indeed, be a catalyst in fostering in its learners those positive psychological traits that facilitate successful language learning and a cosmopolitan inspired approach to global citizenship. But let us not end the argument here. Lous Heshusius (1994) cautions against becoming overly concerned with the self in the research process— or the other, for that matter—lest our preoccupation with the still-dominant discourse of Cartesian dualism cloud our abilities to interpret and know. Heshusius calls for a new approach to ethnographic research, one she terms participatory consciousness, in which there exists an "awareness of a deeper level of kinship between the knower and the known" (p. 16). For this to occur, "an inner desire to let go of perceived boundaries that constitute "self—and that construct the perception of distance between self and other—must be present" (p. 16). Language learning requires a certain generosity of spirit and reckless abandon in that the learner adopts new ways of looking at the world and communicating. To achieve this level of competence, she alters herself and grows in light of the others. It is not enough to acknowledge that there are two or more ways of operating in the world, she internalizes the two systems and remains open to more. Ideally, the learner, or ethnographer, is able to step outside of herself to achieve "an attitude of profound openness and receptivity" (p. 16). Heshusius adopts Berman's (1981, 335, as cited in Heshusius, 1994, p. 17) term selfother to signify participatory consciousness. Self and other do not exist, they are fused into a selfother (p. 17). This process involves a temporary eclipse of all perceiver's egocentric thoughts and strivings, of all preoccupations with self, and self-esteem. One is turned toward other (human or nonhuman) "without being in need of it" (Schachtel, 1959, p. 181) or wanting to appropriate it or achieve something (Heshusius, 1994, p. 16). Multiliterate designers of digital texts are keenly aware of their Subject position, as they have undergone a meticulous process of selection and refinement in their creative process, and they use this knowledge and experience to close the social distance between Chaptery Designing Selves, Interpreting Others 99 designer and interpreter. They meet somewhere in the middle, in a place that is rich with perspective, not assumption. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 100 Chapter 4 Subjects-in-interaction Version 3.0: The Integrated and Iterative Systems Design Process The classroom culture, its course content and the tools it uses to create, connect and communicate meaning comprise an interactive learning environment which, when successful can enhance teaching and learning. Digital ethnographies and case studies which richly and thickly describe harmonious interactions between tools, learners and teachers outline innovative projects that would not have been attempted were it not for the capabilities of new media tools (see Goldman-Segall, 1998b; Hellebrandt, 1996; Tang, 1993). In Canada, an extensive network of educational researchers, practitioners, and industry partners exists under the name of TeleLearning, a term it defines as, "the use of networked computer environments and tools for education and training" (1998). This organization established an international network of Centres of Excellence,28 in which each center has aimed to become a model of innovative uses of technology to improve learning experiences, often the result of positive collaboration between industry and academia. These new partnerships are changing the inherent structure of academia, and models for the development of courses, or learning environments, need to evolve to support this trend. New approaches to learning call for new frameworks in which to develop these learning environments. Successftdly innovative learning environments which integrate digital tools are frequently on the cutting—or bleeding—edge of technology development. In 28 WebConstellations™ earned the First Prize in the Demonstration Category at the Annual Conference of Canada's National Centers of Excellence in Telelearning (TL-NCE), held in Vancouver, BC in 1998. In this demo, the MERLin team used WebConstellations™ to showcase data from Goldman-Segall's graduate seminar on Digital Video Ethnography and Version 2.0 of Beers' modern language teacher education course, described in this dissertation. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 101 addition to the effort required to design and develop the digital tools themselves, there is an overwhelming amount of work involved in simultaneously modifying and adapting the curriculum, method and support materials. Given the complexity and volume of tasks required to design, test and implement the various interconnected components that make up a digital learning environment, projects of this nature may begin with one solitary teacher with a vision but certainly do not finish this way. The teacher often consults with a variety of experts in different domains and may enlist the help of colleagues or technical support for different phases of the project, even delegating some tasks completely. This is not a typical higher educational teaching model. Traditionally, an instructor is responsible for developing and carrying out all aspects of her course from beginning to end. It might be considered irresponsible to enlist the help of her colleagues, who are, after all, busy with their own teaching loads. The rare exception is the case of large lecture style courses where the instructor manages a team of teaching assistants who lead individual discussion sections and assist in such matters as marking. In this context, however, these persons are employed to assist the primary lecturer in carrying out the original course concept by managing its large numbers of students, not to provide creative support in the initial design stages. In this chapter, I will describe the method I followed in designing and teaching a university modern language teacher education methodology course that served as the site for my doctoral research. This course has been my object-to-think-with (Papert, 1980) and subject-to-think-with (Goldman-Segall, 1998b). I will describe its three-year integrated and iterative design process, the specs and content of each of the three versions that emerged and how it facilitates the exploration of Subjects-in-interaction. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v.3.0 102 The Integrated and Iterative Design Processfor System SII V. 3.0 A site for inter-active, inter-disciplinary research and development The research site for this project can, in the broadest of terms, be called a university course. Indeed, it had all the required specs: it was listed in the UBC course schedule as MLED 480A: Advanced Studies in Language Education: Integrating Language and Culture with Modern Media, it had an enrollment code (51162), a section number (921), and met regularly (Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM) for a period of 6 weeks, (May 17 to June 21) in the summer session. There was one teacher and enough students enrolled to make it economically viable, and even profitable, for the university (29). Students who successftdly completed this course received 3 credits toward graduation and a mark on their transcripts. Yet this course was unique in that students configured themselves in unusual groupings, assumed uncommon roles, and used a variety of new digital learning tools (WebConstellations™, CineKit™, Photoshop™, QuickTime™, FusionRecorder™), some never before released to the public, to carry out innovative projects. A better descriptor for this site, therefore, may be "digital learning environment," since this conjures up a mental image of a stimulating place where students come to engage with digital technologies to carry out meaningful tasks and learn. But this term is unsatisfactory, too. It does not allow me to tell the whole story of how this place came to be; how it started from a broad spectrum of ideas, gained momentum from student and administrative support, grew in scope with new partnerships and collaborations, and evolved and transformed itself over a three year period. What emerged was not a place that I, the teacher, created and to which they, the students, came; but a place where teacher, students and tools converged to create an ever evolving culture of learning. As we turn to more collaborative, interdisciplinary projects which incorporate multifaceted tools, and multi-skilled individuals, it is easy to see that previous individualistic Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 103 models of teaching, based on the ideal of one teacher before a group of students, do not lend themselves to innovative risk-taking in education. It is therefore helpful to turn to established development models which have proven to be efficient and productive in other cultures outside of academia. If we imagine a digital learning environment to be a smooth running system, rather than a course taught in a school with its traditional roles and expectations, we can free ourselves to step outside of our firmly entrenched schemas we use to define the functions of each component. We can look to the model of systems design teams in the fields of Human Factors and Human Computer Interaction to find such an organizational framework. Human-computer interaction to study Subjects-in-interaction Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a field of research which converges experts from a variety of disciplines, including computer science, graphic design, kinesiology, applied linguistics, and experimental psychology. Once gathered on a common project, each contributes her individual expertise toward developing a computer system which successfully interfaces with its users. In an academic setting, like in industry, a systems design team can be more effective for developing a quality product than an individual, regardless of her area of specialty, since an effective team is more than a set of skills. It is also an appropriate combination of personalities, each making a contribution. Consider a favorite "team" in an adventure novel or movie. Very likely one member will be cerebral; a second, physical; and a third, aesthetically oriented. Different personality types are important in facing unknown challenges (Baecker, Grudin, Buxton, & Greenberg 1995, p. 277). Unknown challenges are a part of education. Students come to a classroom from a variety of backgrounds with different talents and motivations, each one affecting the emerging classroom dynamic. The availability of tools and resources, along with the teacher and students' skill at using them, can also contribute to the overall success of a project. A team-Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 104 like approach, which taps into the strengths of each member, can only benefit the group as a whole. Terminology The terminology used to describe the various roles people play in a system design team can easily be adapted to academia. This is most appropriate in academic courses and programs which integrate technology, since simultaneous and cyclical development of curricular and technical aspects closely emulates the iterative and integrated systems design process popular in industry for creating digital tools. A computer system is an architecture that is designed to help users perform their tasks. The systems design team, or development team, refers to those actively involved in the systems development project and normally excludes contributions made by those in management and support roles (Grudin, 1991/1995, p. 294). The term user refers to the people directly engaged with the system and generally is synonymous with end user, though as Grudin explains, "[o]f course, developers are also users of the tools and the development system" (1991/1995, p. 294). For the purposes of this chapter, I will use the general term system, to represent my research site, MLED 480A. Administrative reasons, unrelated to the course content, prompted the course number to change from 480B to 480A after the second year. To avoid further confusion and better reflect the three-year evolution of this system from 1997 to 1999,1 will refer to the three evolving versions of this course as Subjects-in-interaction (SII) version 1.0 (1997), SII version 2.0 (1998) and SII version 3.0 (1999). Each version corresponds to the course, or system, taught during three consecutive summer sessions at the University of British Columbia. Due to my key role in the conception, design and installation of the system, I have appropriated the title of principal developer. Other members of the systems design team include advisors and colleagues in the Modern Language Education program, MERLin, Bitmovers Communications Inc. and the University of Toronto, as well as the student Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 105 teachers themselves. Within the general system, two digital tools, WebConstellations™ and CineKit™, were being developed simultaneously. The development team for WebConstellations™ was led by Ricki Goldman-Segall at the University of British Columbia and the development team for CineKit™ was led by Ron Baecker at the University of Toronto. Given the integral part these two tools played in the smooth running of this particular system, they can be considered subsystems in this context, though they are both independent tools for a range of purposes on their own. The term user, though problematic due to the passive role it connotes, refers to the pre-service and in-service modern language teachers who used the three versions of this system. The user interface of a computer system is the part that handles the output to the display and the input from the person using the program (Myers, 1995, p. 323). Since we have established the user to be the student, and the system to be this university course, we can then conclude the interface, in the general context of versions 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, refers to the medium of communication the user interacts with, whether it be technology, text, discussion or lecture. Human factors and HCI for systems design HCI emerged as its own reputable field in the early 1980's after it distinguished itself from the earlier field of human factors, which was "dismissively referred to as 'knobs and dials' psychology" (Bannon, 1995, p. 209). Cognitive scientists agreed that what was "required was a better cognitive coupling between the human and the new universal machine, the computer, and not simply better designed surface characteristics of display" (Bannon, 1995, p. 209). Since its inception, the area of human-computer interaction has become widely respected both within academic research environments and corporate research laboratories, accounting for its tremendous increase in followers. Scholars from HCI, most notably in North America and Scandinavia, have developed different methodologies to aid systems design teams in developing and testing usable products. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 106 John D. Govald from the IBM Research Center, Hawthorne, has been instrumental in advancing the field of HCI and identifying the steps it takes to develop successful products (Bannon, 1995, p. 211; Grudin, 1991/1995, p. 293). To put it simply, says Gould, the best systems, are "easy to learn, easy to use, contain the right functions, and are liked" (1988, p. 93). In his seminal article, "How to Design Usable Systems," Gould provides HCI researchers and systems design teams with a comprehensive set of objectives to follow during system development and installation, along with a chronological time line for achieving them. He recommends adhering to four key principles during the usability design process: 1) early, continual focus on users; 2) early, continual user testing; 3) iterative design and 4) integrated design (p. 95). By doing so, Gould provides us a working framework in which to describe the system development of SII version 3.0. Where he falls short, however, is in his restricted conceptualization of the user. Systems users as actors, not factors Several scholars have identified the unidimensional interpretation of the term user as problematic in HCI studies. Liam Bannon (1995) concedes that Gould's view of the user is a welcome departure from the Human Factor approach to systems design where the human is often reduced to being another system component with certain characteristics, such as limited attention span, faulty memory, etc., that need to be factored into the design equation for the overall human-machine system (p. 206). Nonetheless, Bannon critiques Gould's view on the role of the user, in which she is relegated to the sidelines of the design process, and offers a more inclusive perspective. Bannon thus provides us with a powerful link between systems design and Freire's concept of education when he contrasts the terms human factors and human actors, much like Freire contrasts objects and subjects. Bannon has chosen these terms because he believes it "highlights a difference in the perception of the person; the former connoting a passive, fragmented, depersonalized, unmotivated individual, the latter connoting an active, controlling one" (p. 206). Bannon states that "users are not simply passive objects that Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 107 others must study and design for, as some accounts would have it. People are, or can become, active agents" (1995, p. 207). This view not only makes for a healthier work environment, it's just good business. After all, "involvement of users in design is both a means for promoting democratization in the organizational change process and a way to ensure that the resulting computer system adequately meets the needs of the users" (1995, p-211). As technology advances, it will become even more important to include the user in the design process and hold her perspective in high regard. Grudin cautions: [tjhe generic term 'user' masks a tremendous diversity of computer users and contexts of use. This diversity will continue to increase—even if progress in hardware development stopped today, current technology would take decades to realize its potential. (...) The physical separation of developers from some or all users is often critical, as are barriers of class, culture, or language (1991/1995, p. 297). In both academic and work environments, the social distance between users and developers can be narrowed by encouraging users to participate actively in the design process. In this collaborative working relationship, each participant can discover and appreciate the human qualities of the other, and how this affects the way in which they operate in the world. After all, "[pjeople are more than a sum of parts; be they information-processing subsystems or physiological systems, they have a set of values, goals, and beliefs about life and work" (Bannon, 1995, p. 206). Iterative and integrated system design process The collaborative integrated and iterative systems design process, in which individuals interact with each other and their creations, leads to iterations not only in the tools they are developing but also in their understandings of the system's function and potential. We are constantly transformed by the interactions we have with the human and non-human Subjects that surround us, and are enriched by the ideas, partnerships and resources they bring to our being. The three-year iterative design process of this system Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v.3.0 108 corresponds precisely with the first three years of my doctoral work. The three resulting versions of this system are the embodiment of iterations in my thinking brought on by the intellectual ideas presented in the graduate courses I was enrolled in and new collaborations and partnerships within the university and extended community. In this section, I will present a chronological account of the iterative design process of this system by presenting the intellectual, collaborative and technical contexts that have shaped each version's transformation. 1997: Version 1.0 Gould (1995) describes the first phase of iterative design as the gearing up phase, which is "mainly a time of information gathering and conceptualization." This accurately describes the first year of my doctoral studies, in that I immersed myself in the theories of my professors and respected scholars in my fields of inquiry as well as the needs and interests of my modern language student teachers. The ideas presented in the graduate seminars I enrolled in, along with those that arose in my teaching, interacted to inform my evolving concepts of culture, language teaching and research.29 During this time I was also learning more about curriculum design by working in close CoUaboration with Dr. Monique Bournot-Trites, an experienced instructor in the modern language education program, as we team-taught a modern language education methods course. This course provides an overview of second language acquisition theories, curriculum guidelines and policies, unit and lesson plan creation, and teaching strategies for the four language modalities—listening, speaking, reading and writing.30 An important focus of this methods course is to prepare the student teachers to meet the objectives outlined in the newly released curriculum guidelines, called Integrated Resource Packages. These guidelines 29 Graduate seminars included Patricia Duffs seminar The Application of'Theories ofSecondLanguage Acquisition to Curriculum and Instruction; Stephen Carey's seminars Multilingualism, Multiculturalism and Education in the Asia-Pacific and Multilingualism, Multiculturalism and Education in the Pacific Century; Kogila Adam-Moodley's seminar Advanced Studies in Multicultural Education; and Riclti Goldman-Segall's seminars The Multimedia Classroom: Creating an Electronic Space for Learners and Digital Video Ethnography: Culture, Technology and Interpretation. 30 See Appendix D for course outline of the 1998 methods course I taught for the student teachers enrolled in Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 109 are based on objectives outlined in the new British Columbia language education policy (Spanish, 1996), the majority of which address intercultural and multicultural issues. I became curious to learn if these student teachers are, indeed, prepared to address these issues and, if not, what preparation they would need. In my graduate seminars, I began to investigate this area further. From the literature, I identified what I considered to be the desirable skills for meeting these cultural objectives, initial methods for acquiring them, and the current state of culture teaching at the secondary level in North America. At this point, I began what Gould (1988) would call the "initial design phase" of this system. This began when Stephen Carey, coordinator of the UBC Modern Language Education program at the time, called a meeting for the summer session modern language education instructors to coordinate the course offerings for pre-service and in-service teachers. Several of these courses, which are aimed at preparing pre-service and in-service teachers to meet curricular objectives, are offered under generic titles such as "Advanced Studies in Language Education" to give the instructor the freedom to choose the course content and teaching approach most suited to his or her expertise and interest. In the past, for example, Stephen Carey had used electronic bulletin boards to facilitate discussion and interactivity in his courses (Carey, 1999; Carey & Crittenden, 1998). In this meeting we negotiated the areas of expertise each of the three offered courses would cover. It was decided that my course would focus on methods to integrate language and culture with modern media at the secondary level. A second course would concentrate on language policy and global issues as they relate to modern languages and a third course on interactive methods for teaching French at the elementary level. I proposed a title for my course, "Integrating Language and Culture with Modern Media," and a series of objectives it would meet. Once approved, I selected ten course readings, created a series of assignments and class activities, and determined the evaluation procedures. I then taught this course over a three week period, from July 7-25. SII version 3.0. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 no Though, using low tech, I had incorporated concepts into this system from Goldman-Segall's graduate seminars, such as the exploration of self and other through the creation and sharing of cultural artifacts, I had not yet established a formal collaboration with the MERLin laboratory at this point in the design process. Nor had I determined it to be the site of my doctoral research. 1998: Version 2.0 The second year of my doctoral studies, I continued to grapple with the challenge of how to prepare student teachers to address concepts of culture in their future teaching. By this time I was an active member of Goldman-Segall's team in MERLin and was apprenticing in digital video ethnographic research. This experience, along with ideas presented in the graduate seminars I was enrolled in, provoked further iterations in my thinking in regards to teacher education, cultural exploration and classroom tools.31 At the same time, Goldman-Segall had agreed to collaborate with a colleague, Ron Baecker from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, in the co-development of their digital tools, CineKit™ (Baecker) and WebConstellations™ (Goldman-Segall). Their goal was to integrate these two tools, thereby increasing their functionality for a variety of users in different contexts. Funding This set of circumstances provided an ideal environment for collaboration between developers, educators, researchers and students. It also created a rich context in which to carry out my doctoral work. Goldman-Segall and I conceived a learning scenario, described in a successful UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement (TLE) grant application entitled: Making Movies, Making Theories: Digital Media Tools for Educating Educators to Connect Experiences to Curriculum (Goldman-Segall & Beers, 1997), in which participants use Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 111 CineKit™ to create representations of their learning experiences in the form of digital movies and then use WebConstellations™ to share, annotate and critique these movies in relation to the subject being studied in the university course. The project outlined in this grant consisted of three phases. The first was to develop the learning model and tool, the second was to refine them in Goldman-Segall's video ethnography graduate seminar in July of 1998, and the third was to implement them in my modern language teacher education course in August of 1998. Subsystem usability studies During the development of the learning model and tool, I visited the University of Toronto to meet with Baecker and his CineKit™ development team to learn about the digital movie tool and foster possible research partnerships with MERLin. I returned to Vancouver with an alpha version of CineKit™ and, in collaboration with three classmates from my human computer interaction graduate seminar, performed a usability study on the tool. In this study, three different diads were asked to perform a similar task with CineKit™ after having received different treatments of instruction. Based on the Subjects' feedback, as well as our observations, we submitted a list of thirty recommendations to the Toronto development team—most of which were incorporated into subsequent versions of the tool. At this stage, WebConstellations™ was also in its early developmental phases, though it had the advantage of emerging from two intellectually grounded and technically sound tools: Constellations™ (Goldman-Segall, 1995), a desktop digital data analysis tool, and Points of Viewing™ (Goldman-Segall, 1998b), an on-line digital data annotation tool. Students enrolled in the video ethnography course, phase two of the grant, conducted an informal usability study on WebConstellations™ when they used it to annotate their 31 Graduate seminars included: Gaalen Erickson and Anthony Clarke's Doctoral Seminar in Teacher Education and Kellogg Booth and John Dill's seminar Human-Computer Interaction. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 112 movies, though students enrolled in version 2.0 of my course, phase three of the grant, used Constellations™. System iterations Though the bulk of the course content remained the same, the integration of these two digital tools, or subsystems, prompted a structural overhaul for version 2.0 of this modern language system. Outside funding and new partnerships with MERLin and the University of Toronto made it possible to attempt new projects in version 2.0 that were impossible to imagine in the earlier version. First, these modern language student teachers now had access to the MERLin and MUSES computer labs, previously unavailable to them, to carry out their digital creations. Second, it provided a salary for a fellow graduate student in MERLin, Aaron Bond, to work along side me in managing the 30 students as they learned to use and debug the movie making software. Bond was an excellent resource, as he offered not only a great deal of emotional and physical support in carrying out the daily tasks of conducting a digital video ethnography of this scale but also insightful observations and feedback that informed the creation of the final version of this system. The methodological changes to version 2.0 attempted to eliminate the lingering influences from the instructionist teaching models into which I had been enculturated as a student. I replaced these with constructionist approaches, as manifested in assignment descriptions, course readings, and evaluation procedures. For example, assessment methods in version 1.0 placed a disproportionate weight on traditional genres of knowledge representation, such as written lesso'n plans and formal group presentations on readings. In version 2.0, I tried to stay more loyal to constructionist teaching methods, central to which was the creation and sharing of the students' own objects-to-think-with (Papert, 1980) in the form of three-dimensional identity objects and 30-second digital movies. The few substitutions I made to the readings reflected the evolving intellectual classroom culture. I eliminated the article which detailed the elements of a whole language Chapter^.: Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 113 lesson plan, noting that it was redundant since the fall methods course had already prepared the student teachers in lesson plan creation. In its place, I inserted the introduction from Goldman-Segall's (1998b) book, Points of Viewing Children's Thinking, which provides a discussion on constructionism and the digital classroom culture and a excerpt from Tedick et al.'s article (1993), "Developing Language Teachers for a Changing World," which discusses the notion of language as object. The evaluation procedures in all versions of this system are based on pre-established criteria, but the responsibility for evaluating the assignments changed radically in version 2.0. In version 1.0 the students were only responsible for self-assessing 10% of their final mark, through self- evaluation of their participation. In version 2.0, the criteria descriptions were made more relevant to the students' experiences and peer and self evaluation constituted 60% of the student's final mark. 1999: Version 3.0 Version 2.0 of this system served as a pilot study for the data collection for my doctoral dissertation, and as a beta test site for the systems and subsystems development. For my purposes, the installation of version 3.0 was the final phase in my data collection as well as the system and subsystems' iterative design process. Continued funding from a subsequent TLE grant, On-line Digital Data Documentation An Integrated Model for Teaching Media Arts and Sciences (Goldman-Segall & Grimm, 1998), made it possible to carry over changes made to version 2.0 to version 3.0. Version 3.0 is the most robust of the three versions, in that it incorporates improved data collection techniques. First, it incorporates filmed focus group meetings, which, in addition to being useful to the students by providing a forum in which to reflect openly and exchange ideas, have provided a clear entry into their thinking processes. Second, it incorporates WebConstellations™ as a tool for sharing and documenting experiences and interpretations. These additions to version 3.0 greatly added to the students' individual Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 114 experiences as they engaged in the system, as well as in my interpretation and analysis of their processes. As Gould notes, the iterative nature of this design process acknowledges that, though final in the context of the project and the user, the latest version of the system can always be improved upon. In the following section, I will describe the specs and content for the system and subsytems as they were during the system installation phase. Specs and Content for System SII Version 3.0 SII v. 3.0 aimed to promote in its users the development of a wider knowledge base and instructional techniques for language and culture teaching. Specifically, users were expected to become familiar with methods of teaching second languages and their cultures to develop an informed approach; become familiar with constructionist learning philosophies to create meaningful media projects; and learn the value of approaching a topic from multiple perspectives to gain insights into their own and other cultures and develop critical thinking skills. To achieve these objectives, the system was set up to provide the users with four simultaneous cycles of exploration. The first cycle, Community Building, aimed to establish a trusting learning environment in which users felt safe to open up, take risks in their learning, and invite an exploration of selves and others. The second cycle, Active Readings of Texts, encouraged the users to make constant connections between their own life experiences and those ideas presented in the written, digital, and oral system texts. The third cycle, Cultural Artifact Construction, engaged the users in the hands-on creation of explicit public representations of their implicit cultural interpretations as informed by the ideas presented in SII v. 3.0. The fourth cycle, E-value-ation (Goldman-Segall, 1995) is a Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 115 shared process in which the users elicit the value up, down and across, of their own and each other's participation in the process and product of construction. First cycle: Community building The first cycle, Community Building, aimed to establish a trusting learning environment in which users felt safe to open up, take risks in their learning, and invite an exploration of selves and others. What is community? Successful learning communities are built by people who share an interest in a subject area, such as modern language education, but approach it from different perspectives and diverse experiences. Once gathered around a common goal, each member contributes to the overall enjoyment of the exchange by the manner in which she participates. Communication in itself does not lead to community, despite their shared linguistic lineage, and conscientious teachers play a pro-active role in establishing and maintaining a caring and supportive dynamic to ensure the benefits of this community are reaped by all its members. A successful group can lend support and maintenance, serve as a pool of resources and as an instrument to facilitate learning (Douglas, 1983, as cited in Hadfield, 1997, p. 11). Indeed, a positive dynamic, in the language classroom as in geographical spaces, is essential to the free exchange of ideas and personal resources: A positive group atmosphere can have a beneficial effect on the morale, motivation, and self-image of its members, and thus significantly affect their learning, by developing in them a positive attitude to the language being learned, to the learning process, and to themselves as learners (Hadfield, 1997, p. 11). To promote active participation, sharing and community building in SII v. 3.0, users were expected to present and/or participate in various activities. These included daily warm-up Chapter^: Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 116 activities, the sharing of snacks and the application of ideas presented in the lectures and readings in the form of practical group activities. Creating a positive classroom dynamic Warm-ups: In groups, students took turns leading the class in a daily warm up activity aimed at building trust and a better understanding of each other as individuals. I led the students in a model activity on the first day, and then each group was responsible for finding and orquestrating a ten minute activity that corresponded, in sequence, to one of the three themes. The first phase, Breaking the Ice and Building Trust, emphasized the affective side aimed at introducing group members to each other and creating a relaxed and supportive atmosphere in which to learn. Examples included leading a blindfolded partner through the obstacles of the classroom and divulging secrets and unknown qualities of each other's personalities. The second phase, Exploring "Self and "Other" and Creating Culture, encouraged students to develop an awareness of the different perspectives that comprise a culture by exploring the views and backgrounds of the members of their own micro-culture of SII v. 3.0. Examples included an interactive multicultural bingo and "Find someone who..." scavenger hunt. Users determined that, in their multicultural group, they sometimes conferred and sometimes differed in point of view, much like what happens in the larger society. The third phase, Towards Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication, built upon the trust established at this point to further explore and bridge personal and cultural differences. Students learned that a positive classroom dynamic is a result of support, negotiation and compromise. Examples included role plays, skits and debates that explored heated expressions of difference and cultural misunderstandings. Group-work: Engaged in the dynamic interlockings of the system, the group often participated in collaborative hands-on activities to explore practical applications of the Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v.3.0 117 theories presented in other fields of the interface. For example, lectures on conservative and liberal multicultural frameworks in which to teach modern languages, coupled with readings that address cultural stereotypes as portrayed in authentic media texts from the target language, were followed by interactive group activities that invited students to explore their own stereotypes. One activity from Talking Culture (MacNiel, & Wilman, 1996) begins lightheartedly by first soliciting class stereotypes on the driving abilities of different groups of Canadians, and then explores the ways in which stereotypes are originated and perpetuated. As a result of participating in this activity, students acknowledge that family, friends and media play a key role in maintaining this cycle. To address the media's influence, I replicate an activity which explores intercultural differences, as outlined in a course reading from Kramsch (1993b). In this case, groups view a Snapple™ drink commercial which makes many stereotypical cultural references to North American schools and then create their own target cultural equivalents. These interactive activities, which the student teachers can repeat with their future modern language students, provide a low-tech forum in which to explicitly explore the implicit cultural assumptions that guide the decisions they make in choosing and interpreting the authentic texts they use in their classrooms. Though these activities address larger, culturally loaded issues, the entertaining nature of these exchanges fosters a relaxed environment which contributes to the sharing of perspectives and experiences and a gradual heightening of awareness of their importance. Second cycle: Active readings of texts The second cycle, Active Readings of Texts, encouraged the users to make constant connections between their own life experiences and those ideas presented in the written, digital, and oral system texts. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 118 The media text capitalizes on a myriad of culturally significant references to transmit a message as efficiently as possible within a short time span and assumes a certain shared literacy and knowledge base amongst its readers. Each reader draws from her personal experience and resources to best interpret the text. Riv-Ellen Prell (1989), a critical ethnographer, highlights the active role personal experience plays in the acquiring and interpretation of ethnographic data when she explains the relationship between ethnographer and Subject of study: [o]ne must know oneself through and in light of the other. The subject-subject relationship is itself a reflexive event in which a self is presented with the full knowledge of reporting, or constructing itself. The recorder participates fully in a parallel if submerged frame, (p. 254). In critical ethnography, this personal filter, or bias, that allows the ethnographer to learn about herself and the other is not to be considered a hindrance to a valid interpretation of the events, but, rather, a carefully honed skill that the ethnographer uses to actively write and read cultural accounts. It is a skill to be developed in multiliterate writers and readers of digital texts so they, too, can learn about themselves and the others in light of the digital representations they and the target language culture produce. The new digital age is changing the way in which media is distributed, confronting the reader with an overwhelming amount of data to interpret. Douglas Rushkoff, a pop-culture media critic, warns: "If we are about to enter an age of information glut, those who can wade through it will be people with the ability to inspect, evaluate, and discard a screen of data immediately" (1996, p. 51). Rushkoff believes the MTV generation, with its ability to interpret non-linear texts that appear chaotic to the illiterate, has developed a higher form of literacy than the linear readers. In effect, these new viewers are able to ignore the textual qualities that are irrelevant to their own situation and summon their life experiences in their own sense making of the flashing images, sounds and words that appear on the screen. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 119 The digital video ethnographer is in a similar quandry. Faced with an exorbitant amount of data to describe and interpret, she must learn to "wade through" the task top-down, inspecting, evaluating and discarding the information that does not fit into her personally meaningful knowledge system. Rather than amass information, she must use herself as a fdter to construct knowledge from the data. While completing her doctoral dissertation, Goldman-Segall (1990) was obliged to make sense of the vast amounts of digital information she had collected on video disks during her digital video ethnography on children's thinking styles at a computer-rich Boston inner city elementary school. To enable her to use her ethnographic eye to select "chunks" of data, such as text, image, sound and video slices she determined representative of the entire body of data, she and her design team developed a digital tool, Learning Constellations™. In this metaphor, carried over into her more recent tools such as Constellations™ and WebConstellations™, these chunks of personally selected data become individual stars which are later grouped into personally meaningful constellations. Originally conceived to aid Goldman-Segall and her participants in her middle school research projects (Goldman-Segall, 1994), chunking is an activity that eventually transferred to her teaching in a graduate research seminar, Video Ethnography: Culture, Technology and Interpretation, in which I was a participant during my first year of doctoral study. On the first meeting of this seminar, Goldman-Segall introduced the notion of chunking in ethnographic research and suggested we begin to hone our research skills by selecting a few chunks from the assigned readings we found to be intriguing, enlightening, or worthy of criticism. The first few weeks of the course we sent our chunks to Goldman-Segall, who later compiled and photocopied our excerpts for the next class discussion. Later, however, one of the students suggested we use a listserv to post our chunks directly on-line so we could relieve Goldman-Segall of the organizational task and have more time to read each other's chunks and comments. As the course progressed, this chunking activity transformed the Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v.3.0 120 class dynamic as we actively engaged with not only the articles but also our classmates' interpretations of them. Anxious to meet in person after our on-line sharing, we often delighted in the uncanny similarities and revealing differences of our choices. Later that year, several of us (Goldman-Segall et al., 1997) shared our experiences at the annual meeting of the AERA (American Association of Educational Research) in San Diego in a theatrical performance entitled: "Selecting 'Chunks' For On-Line Theory-Building: A Case Study of a Video Ethnography Course." Having experienced first hand how this chunking activity encourages active and personally meanmgful readings of academic texts, I introduced this activity in SII versions 2.0 and 3.0. Due to the large number of students in the class, I limited the exchanges of chunks to small group in-class discussions. As in Goldman-Segall's video ethnography course, students are asked to identify two or three chunks, or quotations, they find intriguing, enlightening, or worthy of criticism from each of the assigned readings. However, the student then pulls these chunks from their context and copies them onto a separate paper along with an additional sentence or two explaining why she has chosen that chunk. These chunks are shared in small groups the day of the assigned reading. The motivation of chunking is to encourage the reader to read for herself, rather than for the author's seeming intent or teacher's projected expectation, by calling attention to only those moments in the reading in which the words resonate with her own life experiences. By reconstructing a second text with these excerpts, the reader moves to the role of author. Chunking is a timely metaphor for this post-modern era in which we lament the death of the Subject and question the notion of authorship. In this "age of mechanical reproducibility (...) the self is dissolved into so many bytes of ephemeral messages" (Arnowitz, 1994, p. 9). The act of chunking and sharing these readings educates the system user in the practice of parceling out that data relevant to her personal knowledge system. It allows her to seek and see the filters through which she interprets the qualities in the traditional and digital texts she reads and creates. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 121 Reflective summaries Chunking is a shared activity that encourages the students to exchange their interpretations and experiences with the text. It is an initial dialogue with the text and their peers in which they probe for connection and meaning and try out new intellectual concepts. As an extension to this ongoing activity, each student individually writes three reflective summaries, each based on any one of the eleven assigned articles. Two pages in length and submitted at different dates throughout the course, this assignment is evaluated by the instructor based on three pre-established criteria. First, the ideas of the article are synthesized in no more than a half page; second, key ideas are given critical consideration; and, third, personal reflections and anecdotes illustrate an insightful understanding of these ideas and how they relate to one's own teaching situation. For the user, the goals of this assignment are to further explore personal reactions to the readings in the chunking experience and engage in a reflective (Schon, 1988) analysis of how the concepts presented in the readings may apply to their personal teaching experience. This assignment aims to make evident to the user that readings from areas outside of her particular language specialty can inform her practice, a position previous modern language students in the UBC teacher education program did not readily hold. Secondly, it provides valuable data into the users' thinking processes as they struggle to make connections between the concepts explored in all domains of the system interface. Reading content The system readings were selected on a basis of thought-provoking ideas, readability and mention of a practical application for the issue discussed. They are organized into five subtopics, which form a general ideological framework in which to base lectures and discussions. The first unit, Student teachers: Their Cultures and Reflective Process, invites the learners to call upon their recent experiences to situate themselves in the cultural context of the teacher education course and determine "where they are at." The second unit, What is Chapter^: Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 122 Culture and Why Should We Teach it?, explores psycholinguistic, sociological, anthropological, and multicultural concepts of culture and its traditional and future role in language education. The third unit, How Can We Construct Meaningful Learning Environments in Which to Study Culture? presents constructionist and communicative models for creating meaningful digital learning environments in which to actively investigate course concepts. The fourth unit, What Materials Can We Use to Teach Culture and How Should We Use Them? is central to the system content in that it critically examines the ways in which we select and read authentic media texts and exploit them for cultural exploration. The final unit, What Is the Students Role in Understanding Culture and What is the Teacher's Role in Integrating Language and Culture? encourages teachers and students to take active and collaborative research roles in setting up meaningful and adventurous digital media learning environments in which to explore one's own and the target language culture.32 Third cycle: Cultural artifact construction The third cycle, Cultural Artifact Construction, engages the users in the hands-on creation of explicit public representations of their implicit cultural interpretations as informed by the ideas presented in SII v. 3.0. The first project asks students to individually construct a three-dimensional "identity object" which represents the multiple facets: social, professional, emotional, intellectual, cultural, etc., that form an individual's identity. This artifact can take any form the creator wishes as long as it can be brought to class. This assignment is designed as a rapport building activity to promote sharing and contribute to building participant identity and group awareness of the various countries, cultures, and values represented in the class. For the second, and central, project, participants used a digital movie authoring and design tool, CineKit™, to make 30-second digital movies on their cultural interpretation of an object of 32 See appendix E for student-generated summaries of the course readings. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 123 their choice. Both of these assignments encourage the participants to think beyond the traditional forms of representation and to provide "objects-to-think-with" (Papert, 1980), for discussion on the relation between identity and language learning. Fourth cycle: Evaluation up down and across The fourth cycle, E-value-ation (Goldman-Segall, 1995a), is a shared process in which the users elicit the value up, down and across, in their own and each other's participation in the process and product of construction. Digital video ethnographers are faced with the challenge of managing large quantities of data objects and media forms and organizing them into useful personal knowledge systems that can be shared with others. One of Goldman-Segall's digital ethnographic tools, Constellations™, addresses this problem by enabling the users to use a significance scale to e-VALUE-ate, or assign values to attributes within the media objects, so that users can see what data are important to a given task (Goldman-Segall, 1995a). She explains, "We need to be able to attach weights to the qualities of the data as we see, hear, or read them. Assigning weights will assist our visualizing which data are significant" (1995a, p. 29). SII v. 3.0 incorporates a variety of significance scales which aim to elicit the value in the processes and products of its users and developers. The evaluation procedures evaluate up, down, and across as they involve evaluation of the process and product of student, peer, teacher and developer. Inspired by anthropological perspectives that see culture as a process, this system gives significant value to the process of creation and learning. These e-value-ation measures include self-assessed criterion evaluation of the users' participation and group collaboration; peer-assessed criterion evaluation of the final movies; teacher-assessed criterion evaluation of the students' written reflective summaries, identity objects and WebConstellations™ comments; student-assessed criterion based evaluation of the course Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 124 and teacher's performance; and electronic and comment based evaluation of the two digital subsystems, CineKit™ and WebConstellations™33. Margaret Riel (1996) observes, "one of the most important partfs] of any community is the valuing of their work and knowledge. The ideas and product must be in a format that can be shared, and others with access to this work need to determine its value" (p. 1). Assessment practices for traditional representations of knowledge are not readily applicable to the media artifacts produced in new media learning environments. Creators and viewers of media objects, therefore, need to develop common understandings of what qualities contribute to the overall value of not only the product, but the process as well. The criteria used to elicit the value of the movies and group process created in versions 1.0 and 2.0 of SII have evolved from a series of co-constructions between various creators and viewers. First, Goldman-Segall proposed an initial series of criteria she had developed after reflecting on calls from the scholarly community to address this need. Next, graduate students enrolled in the first phase of the Making Movies, Making Theories grant carried out in Goldman-Segall's Video Ethnography and Multimedia Classroom courses proposed their own versions, which Goldman-Segall and I used to refine her original suggestions. For my course, SII v. 2.0, which followed shortly after, I began the process again by first adapting the most recent criteria to the context of SII v. 2.0, and then encouraging the students to make adjustments as they saw fit. As such, users helped create the criteria used to e-value-ate the process and products shared in various domains of the SII v. 3.0 interface. The final criteria used to assess the process and product of participants engaged in SII v. 3.0 were, therefore, developed over a period of several years by determining the attributes that lead to successful digital media design teams. Self andpeer: Self-and peer assessments constitute 44% of the users' final marks, with ro% attributed to overall participation, 16% to group creative process and 18% to the movie product. Group process criteria ensures the group manages conflict, disagreements and See Appendix B for evaluation criteria of the students' process and products. Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 125 tensions in a constructive manner; makes full use of tools, time and human resources; modifies its ideas and adapted to each member's suggestions; validates each other's viewpoints as decisions are made; and shares the spotlight with each other in the storyboarding phase, shooting of video, chunking of video, and final editing. The product criteria ensures the movie accommodates and represents a variety of viewpoints; captures a notion of culture which is not limited to "Big C" or "small c"; is engaging and encourages the viewers to explore content issues; stands on its own without further explanation; and tells a story and communicates it in a unique and original way. Teacher-student: I have retained some aspects of my conventional role as teacher to bridge the university and digital media cultures and maintain accountability on the part of the students. I am responsible for assigning the remaining 56% of the marks of which 30% is attributed to individual written reflective summaries, 10% to the creation of identity objects, and 16% to comments on the WebConstellations™ data base. The criteria for the reflective summaries have already been discusssed. The criteria for the identity objects ensures the object demonstrates creativity and incorporates resources in a non-traditional way; conveys a clear message without additional explanation; and represents and/or embodies the multiple layers that comprise one's identity. Originally, I had not planned on formally assessing the WebConstellations™ comments but later, based on my observations of the users' comment writing practices early on in SII version 3.0, I saw the need to intervene in order to ensure a productive level of engagement on the part of the users. As a group, we established the criteria I used to evaluate these written comments. Comments were to be constructive; show critical analysis; show a connection to one's own personal experience; and illustrate an insightful understanding of the key ideas presented in this course. Tools: Evaluation of digital tool performance includes a running log of user feedback to CineKit™ and WebConstellations™ developers. Questions generally address usability concerns, such as the general intuitive nature of the interface, ease of use and functionality Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 126 of its features, and technical soundness. CineKit™ also incorporates a bug report feature which allows the programmers to debug instabilities in their software. At the moment of a crash, the user is prompted to write a brief message in which she anecdotally describes what function she was intending to do at the time of the problem. This, along with a computer generated bug report which describes the state of the computer operating system at the time of the crash, were emailed to developers in Toronto. Student-teacher: As per university regulations, students completed an anonymous standardized criterion and comment based evaluation of the course and the teacher. Feedback from the students over the three year development phase have been invaluable as they informed the iterative design process of the system and my practice as teacher. Criteria include aspects of my teaching style and perceived interest in the course, competence in the subject matter and classroom management, clarity of lectures and evaluation procedures, and respect for students. They also address the relevance of course materials and assignments and degree of intellectual challenge provided in the course, the results of which have confirmed the users' perceived success of the system. Conclusions: SII 3-0 as a System for Exploring Subjects-in-interaction Digital media's potential for changing the ways in which we make sense of the world cannot be ignored. Culture itself is determined by the media messages that it proliferates and, invariably, the messages the readers learn are deeply and profoundly affected by the media in which they are represented (Eisner, 1998; Landow, 1992; Rushkoff, 1996). Currently, the global boundaries we use to define our neighbors and ourselves are narrowing. Culture is not static and the various Subjects that comprise a culture are in a constant state of flux. As their interactions change, they redefine themselves as well. Goldman-Segall (1998b) observes: Chapter^ Subjects-in-interaction v. 3.0 127 our tools are continually working with us to recreate our cultures, and our cultures are being reshaped by this interaction, which, in turn, reshapes our tools. The relationship is not one of cause and effect but interactionist: cultures, tools, and artifacts orbit around each other in all kinds of unusual patterns (p. 11). SII v. 3.0 is a system that enables the study of Subjects-in-interaction. It is a malleable framework that incorporates a plethora of media, tools and perspectives in which users can focus on the process of textual creation and inter-pretation as the event. It is a system with multiple cycles of inter-action, whose actors are constantly informing each other as they cycle and spin, twist and turn. As they come into contact, these elements merge and e-merge, transformed by the experience. As such, the users, developers, texts and tools are in an iterative process of inter-pretation, as they read, write and re-present each other's intentions in mutating forms of media. Chapter J: Products and Processes 128 Chapter 5 Designing Products, Interpreting Processes: Analysis and Interpretation A Piagetian/ Hermeneutic Framework for Data Analysis Jean Piaget (1896-1980), a Swiss psychologist and pioneer in the study of cognitive development, has had an enormous impact on modern psychology and education. Best known for his research on the development of cognitive functions in children, Piaget's learning theory of equilibrium also informs our understanding of how we, adults included, continue to construct knowledge as we interact with the world around us. These very ideas are the founding principles of the various tenets of the constructivist movement which maintain a strong and renewed influence at all levels of current education practice. "The constructivist mode of learning promotes the paradigms developed by Piaget - that knowledge is invented and reinvented. In other words, knowledge is constructed and reconstructed by the learner" (Alcyalcin, 1997). Hermeneutic interpretations of texts also acknowledge the cyclical nature of meaning making inherent in Piaget's theories. The reader is not a passive object in the relationship, but one who actively calls upon her prior knowledge to help her construct and re-construct meaning from what is present in the text. The theory and methodology of Subjects-in-interaction is informed by the concepts shared by constructivist and hermeneutic philosophies which explain how we make internal meaning from our interactions with external objects— whether they be in the form of digital movies, course materials or classroom discussions. As such, Piaget's notion of equilibration (Piaget, 1975) Chapter 5: Products and Processes 129 and an hermeneutic notion of interpretation, which both highlight the interactive nature of knowledge construction, provide a useful framework in which to analyze the data collected during this study. Vygotsky's (1986) Activity Theory, as described earlier in Chapter Two, is also a useful framework in which to examine the effects that interactions have on the development of higher thinking levels and his emphasis on language and communication as mediator of these interactions make his theories popular in second language acquisition circles. However, James Lantolf (2000) has drawn a convincing correlation between Vygotsky's theory of the zone of proximal development (ZPD) and Piaget's theory of equilibration. To make his case, Lantolf presents Newman, Griffin and Cole's (as cited in Lantolf, 2000) interpretation of Vygotsky's theory. They call the ZPD the "construction zone" (p. 191) because "when people with different goals, roles, and resources interact, the differences in interpretation provide occasions for the construction of new knowledge" (p. 191). Lantolf finds this interpretation to be similar to Piaget's theory of equilibration in which "fdjifferent perspectives, knowledge, and strategies create cognitive conflict in the participants, and in the resolution of such conflict, in the context of social interaction, new perspectives, knowledge, and strategies are created" (Lantolf, 2000, p. 191). For the purposes of this dissertation, which builds on a constructionist learning model inspired by the ideas of Piaget and aims to identify and address the interactions which affect these student teachers' learning processes, not necessarily their acquisition of a second language, I have chosen to analyze this data within a Piagetian framework. In this chapter, therefore, I will explore Piaget's theories on cognitive development and equilibration as well as hermeneutic approaches to text interpretation and how they inform the theory and methodology of Subjects-in-interaction. I will then identify and examine various states of equilibrium and disequilibrium eight modern language student teachers involved in this study go through as they learn to design and interpret their own Chapter y. Products and Processes 130 digital media texts in relation to the course topic—integrating language and culture with modern media. These teachers pass through periods of equilibrium and disequilibrium as they learn to claim the language class for themselves, develop new concepts of culture, develop the technical and intellectual skills to design and interpret their own digital media texts, and develop new methods to teach these changing concepts of culture in their evolving concept of the modern language classrooms. Piaget's theories on cognitive development Piaget believed that children evolve through four levels of cognitive development—sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational—in which cognitive structures progressively become more complex. In the sensorimotor stage (birth to 2 years), children develop their intelligence through sensory experiences and movement. The child is primarily concerned with gaining motor control and learning about concrete objects. Once the child progresses to the preoperational stage (ages 2-7), she becomes preoccupied with mastering symbols, such as pictures and words, to represent ideas and objects. She can name objects and reason intuitively. Cognitive development during the concrete operational stage (ages 7-12) includes logic but requires physical examples to which the logic can be applied. The child begins to deal with abstract concepts such as numbers and relationships. Children in the formal operational stage (age 12-15) begin to reason logically and systematically about abstract concepts. This allows analytical and logical thought without requiring references to concrete applications. Although Piaget believed that all children eventually achieve formal operational abilities, some recent studies have contested this assertion. These studies show that many adults, up to 50% in some reports, never achieve this final developmental phase, and continue to carry out their adult functions in the concrete operational stage of reasoning. Chapter y: Products and Processes 131 Equilibration Though Piaget's findings of when children learn new concepts have at times been contested, his theories on how children construct knowledge as they interact with the world around them are still widely respected. Constructivist movements in secondary and higher education show that this concept is applicable to all learners, regardless of age. To explain this learning process, Piaget adds his notion of equilibration to the three classical factors traditionally believed to contribute to cognitive development, which include: influences from the physical environment, innateness, and social transmission (Piaget, 1977, p. 838). Piaget believes that individuals, regardless of the cognitive stage they are in, pass through states of equilibrium and disequilibrium as they construct and re-construct new understandings of the external world. Equilibrium is a temporary state in which the learner has struck a balance between her internal schema and the external event. It is not a resting point but rather a transitional stage from which to embark upon new discoveries. As the learner comes into contact with a new external source, whether it be an idea or physical object, she enters a process of assimilation in which she attempts to fit the new information into her existing schema by making connections to her own background knowledge and prior conceptions. Invariably, differences prompt the learner to leave this period for one of accommodation, in which she alters existing schemas or creates new ones in response to this new information. As a result, a new state of equilibration is achieved, from which the learner can again depart to build new knowledge structures. In this continual process, knowledge is constructed as the learner alternates between states of equilibrium and disequilibrium, as she assimilates and adapts new knowledge structures in relation to her pre-existing schema. This assimilation and accommodation of an external object into the learner's internal schema is the first of three types of equilibration Piaget has identified in cognitive development. The second is an equilibrium among the subsystems of the subject's schemes. "In reality," Piaget explains, "the schemes of assimilation are coordinated into partial Chapter 5: Products and Processes 132 systems, referred to as subsystems in relation to the totality of the subject's knowledge. These subsystems can present conflicts themselves" (1977, p. 839). The third kind of equilibrium must be established piece by piece as the parts of one's knowledge is reconciled with its totality. There must be an equilibrium between the differentiation and the integration because this eventually leads to "new actions upon the previous actions" or "new operations upon the previous operations" (p. 839). Piaget considers this final type of equilibrium to be the secret to cognitive development which prompts a transition from one developmental stage to the next. Piaget credits the distinguished biologist, Weiss, and the cognitive scientist, Presburger, for inspiring the notion of equilibrium. In biology, the totality of a cell structure remains stable despite, and because, its elements are active. Similarly, in cognitive science, a system remains coherent and closed despite, and because, its subsystems are open and dynamic. Indeed, the success of the totality of the cell and system remain dependent on the active negotiation between its parts and subsytems. Likewise, the learner's ability to construct new knowledge, and thus carry out informed action, relies on her capacity to maintain the integrity of her schema while assimilating and accommodating new concepts. "[Ejquilibration is the search for a better and better equilibrium in the sense of an extended field, in the sense of an increase in the number of possible compositions, and in the sense of a growth in coherence" (Piaget, 1977, p. 840). Hermeneutics Hermeneutics in education Traditionally, hermeneutics has been regarded as the art and science of interpretation of historical literary texts. Recently, however, as scholars adopt a wider interpretation of "text," hermeneutics is gaining more ground in educational contexts as an approach to construct meaning from knowledge representations in a variety of media. Chapter y. Products and Processes 133 Education itself is a human enterprise, to which linguistic understanding and communication are essential, and is guided by the interpretation and creation of texts and commentary. Hermeneutics, which draws on these subject matters to form its theories, can aid in building a deeper understanding of the learning process (Gallagher, 1992, p. 24). Historical hermeneutics hold important implications for intercultural language learning and teaching in that it provides a framework in which the learner can situate and develop her historical and cultural understanding of self and the linguistic other through the interpretation of media rich texts (Roche, in press). Central to hermeneutic interpretation is a process known as the hermeneutic circle, in which individual features of a text become clear in terms of an entire context, and the entire context becomes clear through the individual features. "This interchange of interpretations is a dialectical give and take between one interpretation and another, and it characterizes precisely the process of learning" (Gallagher, 1992, p. 38). Parallels can be drawn between Piaget's concept of learning, in which the learner rocks between stages of equilibrium and disequilibrium as she assimilates and then accommodates new ideas into her pre-existing schema. The notion of the hermeneutical circle does not originate with modern day philosophers of hermeneutics, however, nor with Piaget. Indeed, it is one of the oldest and most influential philosophical concepts. Aristotle and Plato both make reference to the fact that we learn because we have the ability to place the unknown within an already known context which gives it sense (Gallagher, 1992, p. 68). Nonetheless, two German philosophers, Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer (as cited in Eagleton, 1996), have been instrumental in applying this concept specifically to the interpretation of literary texts and offer insight into how the reader can call upon her prior knowledge, or "pre-understandings," to better understand the text and, ultimately, herself. Chapter J: Products andProcesses 134 Hermeneutics of Being Heidegger believed that we, human subjects, are in constant interaction with others and the material world (Eagleton, 1996). This world is a reality which we can never objectify, since we are as much the creators of this reality as we are participants in it. Human existence, or Being, is a dialogue with the world and, he advises, the more respectful activity is to listen rather than speak. Language is not merely a means to communicate, it is communication itself. As such it forms the basis for human existence, for it is only through participation that human beings come to be human at all. As a result of our being in the world, we carry with us certain pre-understandings, or assumptions, about how the world operates. It is from these pre-understandings that knowledge departs. Understanding is the structure of human existence, for life itself is always a question of fresh possibility, of perpetual advancement and reinvention of self. Historical hermeneutics Gadamer's concept of historical hermeneutics recognizes the importance and constraints historical perspective places on the interpretation of texts, in that we understand the present through the past, yet view the past from within our narrow viewpoint, based in the present (Eagleton, 1996). It sees history as a living dialogue between the past, present and future, and seeks patiently to remove obstacles to this endless mutual communication. The event of understanding occurs when our own historical meanings and assumptions of the past merge with those embodied in the text. This area of interception is what, in Gadamer's hermeneutics, constitutes meaning. It is an understanding aided by our pre-conceptions which are based in an historical, literary tradition. Understanding involves advancing the meaning of a text with what we bring to it, finding in it new potential. In this sense, understanding is a "coming home," in that we better understand ourselves when the past and present, subject and object, alien and intimate are drawn into our own realities. Chapter 5: Products and Processes 135 Subjects-in-interaction Subjects-in-interaction, as applied to modern language education or, more specifically, the designing and interpreting of authentic media texts from one's own and the target language culture, assumes that all textual elements, human and non-human, are active agents in the social construction of the event. In Piagetian terms, the event is the process of discovery, as in Columbus finding what already existed, or invention of new concepts, as in the creation of the first airplane. We learn by being in active contact with the world, by continually putting ourselves in contexts where we are confronted with new human elements, such as ideas, and non-human elements, such as children's building blocks. These external elements are the catalysts for our learning, from which our schemas can deepen and expand. Hermeneutic theorists say that we are part of the human and material world, both past and present, and, as a result of our social involvement, have constructed assumptions as to how these worldly elements, human and non-human, operate. These assumptions guide our interpretations of the world, through its texts, and can only become further informed through continual interaction and dialogue with their elements. Our role as humans is to consider these elements as active agents, each with a voice, and defer the parole to them so they can penetrate our consciousness. Subjects-in-interaction is both a theory and methodology for the creation and interpretation of authentic media texts which looks at the process of creation and inter pretation of the text as the event. The learning process, in which one alternates from states of equilibrium and disequilibrium, moving back and forth between the known and the unknown, reconciling discrepancies between external objects and one's schema, or rejecting them altogether if they are too foreign to be accommodated, constitutes the essence of our human existence. Learning, for Piaget, is always a productive process since the learner is constantly achieving better, or optimized, states of equilibration. The temporary state of equilibrium is not the goal, but rather a starting point from which to re-initiate this active Chapter y: Products andProcesses 136 process. It is not the state of equilibration that is primordial to our cognitive and emotional growth, but rather the disequilibration. Interpretation in hermeneutics is also productive and focuses on this iterative process of perpetually optimizing our understanding of the textual event. The hermeneutic circle engages the interpreter in an active process in which she alternately centers her attention on the discrete qualities and the global picture of the text. With each re-interpretation, she finds new potential in the text, and in herself, since she develops an increased understanding of how the interactions between the individual elements, and her connection to them, affects the meaning she makes from the text. This interpretation is based on a merging of the reader's historical world views and assumptions and those of the author. What comes of this fusion is perhaps not a better understanding of the author's intention, since one can never presume to embody the sentiments of an other, but rather a heightened awareness of the reader's association with the text, her interactions with its qualities and understanding of their inter-relatedness. The modern day digital environment, with its expanded authoring capabilities, calls on the reader to assume new roles in her textual interpretations, thus requiring a new set of multiliteracies. Often the interpreter finds herself in the simultaneous roles of creator and interpreter, transgressing notions of time, past and present, culture, native and "foreign," and medium, traditional and modern. These multihteracies describe the reader's ability to interpret the connections between the information, the meaning making events, rather than the information itself. The flexibility to move from author to interpreter, known to unknown, alien to intimate, other to self, are skills that can facilitate intercultural hermeneutics. Subjects-in-interaction notes that in this dynamic meaning-making process, all Subjects, human and non-human, are agents in an ever changing, dialectical inter-action. In modern language education, intercultural mediation occurs at many levels. Any exchange in which the parties are confronted with differences, or even commonalties, in world view Chapter y. Products and Processes 137 based on age, gender, ethnicity, medium or power discrepancies constitutes an intercultural mediation. These exchanges, carried out between the human, teacher, student and cultural "other," or non-human, such as texts, methods, or curriculum, can be integral to an individual's intercultural development — or not. Indeed, Piagetian and hermeneutic theories agree that external objects and concepts are key to optimizing one's understanding, but also that they risk being rejected if determined too distanced from one's internal structure. Joerg Roche (in press) notes that, to assist their learners in developing keen intercultural interpretation skills, modern language classes need to challenge the individual's "at-homeness," in which she perceives the world based on her existing knowledge and rejects the "foreign." Often times this calls for outside help to break through the sometimes deceiving hermeneutic circle, since the cyclical "nature of the processes inherent in understanding makes it difficult for an individual to escape the weight of the gravity field exerted by their own culture's world view" (p. 33). The constructionist learning environment detailed in this dissertation serves as an example of the "outside help" to which Roche refers. Modern language student teachers assume the role of digital video ethnographers as they design their own digital media texts and interpret those of each "other," reflecting on their process and products in relation to the course content. In this investigative learning environment, participants are provided with different venues, such as focus groups, class interactions and on-line forums, in which to openly reflect on their learning process as they grapple with alternative concepts of culture, method and text in modern language education. Many of these reflections are recorded on film, others on paper, and others in an on-line data base. Data analysis of the learning processes of eight student teachers from version 3.0, supported by on-line excerpts of their movies and reflective process, is carried out within the Piagetian / hermeneutic framework described above, which examines moments of equilibrium and disequilibrium as Chapter <;: Products and Processes 138 these learners assimilate, accommodate or reject their evolving concepts of culture, method and text in modern language education. Individual Student Teacher Profiles I chose these eight student teachers to represent the more than ninety that participated in this study over a three-year period for two reasons. First, all were participants in version 3.0 of the study, which was the most complex and smooth running of the three systems due to changes based on lessons learned during the first two versions. Version 3.0 also incorporated the most robust data collection techniques with the addition of focus group forums and WebConstellations™. This additional data allowed me to form more complete profiles on their thinking processes. Second, each of these eight modern language student teachers chose to engage with one particular issue, for example: "self and other" (Paula), "tourist versus explorer" (Kevin), "filming perspectives" (Murray) or "connection and interaction" (Lesley). Each then continued to approach his or her self-selected topic from many different angles, repeatedly articulating his or her thinking processes in various forums and media for reflection and communication, such as in the focus group discussions, written assignments and WebConstellations™ comments. The fact that each of these individuals connected with one topic to such an extent was a surprising result of this study. I did not encourage the students to choose one idea and follow it through, this was a spontaneous personal decision on the part of the individuals. What's more, I do not recall being aware of each student's personal journey at the time of the study, they only became apparent to me upon analyzing the data. I do, however, recall that these themes were common topics for reflection throughout the course. It is interesting to explore these particular eight cases since many of the remaining students also engaged with these themes in the data I collected, though perhaps to a lesser extent because Chapter $: Products and Processes 139 they chose to grapple with several issues rather than one. It should be noted that these eight student teachers were not chosen based on ethnicity nor academic performance, but rather on their level of focus on their chosen theme and their capacity and willingness to provide a window into their thinking processes through clear and consistent articulation of their ideas. Through their stories we can begin to piece together the individual qualities of the text that is this project. Their interactions were many, their interpretations varied, but they all contributed to the creation and understanding of what this project was and what lessons it brought. The research questions that guided my interpretation of their stories in this chapter, as well as my conclusions in the following chapter, are: 1) What is the nature of the human and seemingly non-human interactions that occur when modern language student teachers are: (a) users of a system designed to promote multiliteracies and (b) digital video ethnographers of their own learning processes? 2) How might the use of digital media to create texts within this constructionist learning model inform these student teachers' notions of culture, or Subjects-in-interaction? How might this affect their future teaching? The different types of data called upon to construct these profiles is color coded to aid the reader in understanding its source. The reader is encouraged to consult the following reader's guide for clarification. Chapter y. Products and Processes 140 Readers 'guidefor student teacherprofiles Viewing the videos Media: The reader has been provided with two different media versions of this dissertation. The first media is a pattern-coded printed paper version, and the other a multi-media CD-ROM. One is compatible with PC computers and the other for Macintosh. On the PC CD-ROM, movies for each student profile are within the media folder with the student's name (i.e. aAnne's__Mediaw). Movie file names are indicated in the text box below the embedded image in the printed text. On the Mac version, the viewer has the choice to either select the individual movies from within each student's media folder, as in the PC version, or to view the movies from within the Word document (i.e. "Aime^Stoiy"). Unfortunately, at this time PC versions of Word do not support embedded movies. Software requirements: The text document is in Word '98, the movies are in QuickTime™. Both software programs are compatible with either Macintosh or Windows. To view the videos it is necessary to install QuickTime™ 3.0, which is included on the CD-ROM. A newer version is available, free of charge, from the Apple™ website: http:/Avww.apple.com/quicktime/download/ Pattern coding system for data Final movies created by the design teams. Video captured during Focus Group Sessions. Each student oarticiDated in one of five focus erouo sessions. •7 -\" ^1 -* - * - * - * - * - * - * -• -• -• 3 Video taken from mass media. Video taken during classroom interactions in multimedia labs or classrooms in. or outside of. the Scarfe buildinc. Video taken during WebConstellations™ Focus Group Sessions, carried out near the end of the course. Excerpts from the student's 'chunks' and responses, taken from an article. Excerpts from the student's written reflective syntheses of an article. \ e " i Excerpts from my field notes, written after the day's meeting. Comments posted via WebConstellations™ in response to the video 'star' also included. Video is active, see indicated movie file to play. Cbaptery Products and Processes-Anne 141 Chapter}: Products and Processes-Anne 142 Anne's Story Anne shares her identity object. Movie File: idobjanne.mov Anne has chosen to weave the cultural threads of her identity into an interactive cloth book which beckons the reader to explore its many pockets and folds to discover the borders she has crossed on her journey to Canada. Each symbol has been carefuhy chosen, each artifact safely stored, each cloth meticulously stitched. The more intimate aspects are buttoned into pockets, zipped into cases and hidden under flaps. When Anne describes herself in nationalistic terms, she tucks away the legal documents proving her Russian-German family heritage in a pocket, and places the seal of the farnhy crest of her new British husband under a flap. She reasons these are the aspects of herself that she carries deep inside her, that are not readily visible to the external eye. The internal and external spaces that Anne incorporates into her identity object are a fitting metaphor for the issues she grapples with in this study. As she engages in the reflective forums and constructionist projects in this course, Anne comes to realize that process-based, or internal, concepts of culture, teaching, and learning are imminently more rewarding than the product-based, or external, ones that guided her previous practice. This Chapter*;:Productsand'Processes-Anne 143 transformation is evident in her self-assessment of her teaching qualifications and her opinion of constructionist teaching methods. Anne immigrated to Canada at a young age and spent her childhood co-constructing concepts of Canadian culture through her interactions with the children of fellow recent arrivals. She is unsettled by her perceived lack of knowledge of her heritage language and culture, German, which she will be teaching, as she explains in this focus group discussion: As demonstrated in this exchange, Anne's misgivings about her ability to approach the topic of culture in her language classes is shared by many of her classmates. Other students, like Anne, often equate time physically spent in the target language culture with their qualifications to teach its culture. Interestingly, those students in this study who have spent time on student or work exchanges in the target language culture do not show greater confidence in their abilities to teach culture than those who have not. When Anne admits she would like to "know everything" but would settle for being "knowledgeable," she does not relieve the burden she has placed on herself in terms of professional preparedness. Indeed, there is little difference between the two levels of expertise she has proposed, as Chapter*;: Products and Processes-Anne 144 they both measure culture in terms of stored information, or products, and are never fully attainable. This attitude may be attributed to Anne's lingering concept of teacher as expert in the language classroom. In this role, the teacher embodies the level of mastery, in terms of language and cultural proficiency, which the students should aim to achieve. In recent approaches to language teaching and learning, however, many students find the acceptance of 'interlanguage' as a valid medium for expression and discovery to be a Hberating and motivating alternative. This term, first introduced by Selinker (1972), has been appropriated by other second language theorists and is used in a variety of contexts. Ellis (1994) determines interlanguage has come to be understood as the "system of implicit [second language] knowledge that the learner develops and systematically amends over time" (p. 354). In the context of the corrmiunicative second language classroom, students are encouraged to use the target language, regardless of their level of proficiency, to engage in meaningful interaction. They are no longer expected to postpone this level of engagement until native like mastery, an unattainable goal for most and distant one for all, is achieved. I propose such a philosophy towards the exploration of culture can be equally empowering for student and teacher alike. Students and teachers use their "interculture" to engage in meanmgful cultural exploration, regardless of their cultural background or time spent in the target language culture. In the process, a great deal can be learned about one's self and the target language other. Anne is already coming to accept this notion of interculture, as she begins to redefine her notion of culture to include process-based understandings. She explains in this excerpt from her focus group session that she is begirming to examine the more internal, everyday workings of a culture, rather than its external performances, such as "parades:" Chapter*;: Products and Processes-Anne 145 Having redefined her approach towards culture, Anne begins to reflect back on her teaching practice during her practicum and worries that she may have given her students an overly external, and hence foreign and strange, view of the target language culture: Near the end of my practicum, my sponsor teacher and I planned a German lunch with traditional and some not so traditional foods: breads, meats, cheeses, sauerkraut, sausage, salad, and dessert. In the classes which followed I discussed the various cultural differences associated with food (i.e. going to the bakery in the morning for fresh bread/rolls for breakfast). It seems I only succeeded in helping the students realize how different German culture is, and "strange" in their words. As a result, I can see the value and need of first discussing Canadian culture and also the cultures of our individual backgrounds. This was especially the case in my German classes, because my students all came from a variety of backgrounds, and had themselves immigrated to Canada at some point in their lives. In my German 11 class, no one had been born in Canada! I think it would have been really helpful for them to reflect on their birth cultures, Canadian culture and then learn about German culture. Then German culture would have been another culture, not a different, disconnected culture (Anne's Reflective Synthesis #1, on Mantle-Bromley, 1992). Cbaptery Products andProcesses-Anne 146 In this reflection, Anne begins to see the wealth of cultural resources in her students' multicultural backgrounds. She shares a great deal with them in that she, herself, is an immigrant and still continues to simultaneously learn about the target language and Canadian cultures, as shown in this focus group exchange: Anne & Anju decide if Canada has a "national look." Focus Group #1, May 28,1999 Movie FUe: national_look.mov Ililil Though most outsiders would mistake her for a native-born Canadian anglophone, based on her external physical appearance and language abilities, Anne's carries within her a multilingual and multicultural identity. Unfortunately, Anne believes this compromises, rather than enhances, her inter-cultural teaching expertise. Despite her self critiques on her teaching effectiveness during the practicum, Anne has proven herself to be capable of overcoming more traditional concepts of method and materials in the language class. Like most of the students in this study, Anne had learned about recent communicative language teaching approaches in her Fall methods course and developed many teaching materials based on authentic texts. She was excited to use these new techniques on practicum, but, like many student teachers reported, was discouraged from doing so by her sponsor teacher. This is explained in this video except: Chapter^: Products and Processes-Anne 147 As she reports, Anne is able to eventually incorporate almost all her teaching materials into her classes, despite what she perceived to be strong signals to the contrary. What is interesting in Anne's case is that she persevered in integrating her authentic texts, whereas other students reported giving up when faced with initial hesitation from their sponsor teachers. It is unclear whether the sponsor teachers were expressly adamant about their refusal to allow these materials into their classes or whether the student teachers allowed an initial hesitation on the part of the sponsor teacher to sway them back into performing like the traditional teachers of their educational experiences. Towards the end of the course, Anne is determined to claim the language class and curriculum for herself and looks forward to implementing her newly formed philosophies in her own teaching: Chapter*;: Products and Processes-Anne 148 In my own personal experience on the practicum, the German course was very strongly driven by the textbook. Even though the textbook >was supposed to be communicative, it still presented artificial situations,"and consequently lacked authenticity. My sponsor teacher insisted that I use and follow the textbook, therefore I found myself driven by the chapters in the textbook. There was little time to discuss German culture. I find the classroom which Tedick describes exciting. Once I have my own classes, I would like to set up language learning ana cultural learning side by side with authentic texts, 90% target language usage, and lots and lots of authentic materials. Unfortunately, I don t have much of an idea of how to go about doing so, other than what I have learned at UBC. I know the basics of lesson planning, etc., but how do you put it all together and have it work?.' I guess 111 nave to find out for myself (...) However, all these changes seem so radical in comparison to the way I was taught in high school and from the way I endea up teaching on my practicum, that I question whether I would be able to create the second language classroom that Tedick advocates (Anne's Reflective Synthesis #3, on Tedick et aL, 1993). Despite her will to apply these ideas to her own teaching, she still struggles to reconcile the discrepancies between these contemporary process based approaches she has deemed to be more effective and empowering, and the more traditional, product based ones she has housed within a schema formed over a life long study of language and culture. As she confirms, she is a beguining teacher who has not yet been able to claim the language class for herself. A new level of equilibration will only be possible when she does. This tension between Anne's prior and evolving concepts of culture in the language classroom also affect her view on knowledge representation, which originally prizes product over process. Anne struggles to fit her new appreciation for constructionist projects into a more traditional paradigm for language teaching. In one group classroom exchange, Anne and her classmate, Layla, try to uncover the aspect of constructionist projects that make them so meaningful. Layla argues that it is the frustration level involved but Anne suggests it is perhaps the amount of time spent with the actual object: Chapter^: Products and Processes-Anne 149 Anne & Layla discuss what makes constructionist projects meaningful. Group discussion on chunking in class Movie File: firustration_construction.mov In another scene, however, it is this very element of time that makes Anne wonder if they are feasible in the language classroom: Chaptery. Products and Processes-Anne 150 In the previous conversation, Anne has concluded the amount of time invested in creating a project is what determines its value, yet this, irorucalry, is what devalues these projects in a system in which language learning is measured out in increments to be tallied up at the end of the day. Anne is a creative and meticulous artist, who clearly values and enjoys the process of constructing artifacts to share. She is proud of her identity object, widely regarded as the best "product" in the class. Yet Anne, herself, admits to her tendency to go for the "A," which may have affected her choice of medium in which to construct her object. She is already an accomplished seamstress, having sewn all the dresses for her wedding, and this may have given her the confidence to undertake this assignment. It is only in the movie making process, which obliges Anne to work with new and imperfect tools under various human and technological constraints, that Anne comes to have the most radical transformation in her trunking process. Anne enjoys being part of the software development process and finds it exciting to hold an insider's perspective. She comments on this more than once via WebConstellations™. In her first comment, she responds to a movie in which I explain to a design team the implications of the students' work for the CineKit™ developers: WebConstellations^ Beta Testers! Asme Hickling on 6/26/99 at 5:18:18 PM ' . It-was interesting being part of a beta .test site. I never knew .such things, existed -"before I took this class. It gave mean idea of how computer programs are developed • < and it was pretty cool to be a part of that. Luckily my •: group didn t have too ^many problems -with-Cinekit; we Just weren't -able to polish our movie as much' as we ; .wanted to. I-think I would have been really frustrated if • - we had actually lost sections of it due to; the program ': .crashing. I must admit though, when Cinekit: did crash, r..-. we didn't know why and were pretty.frustrated so we "- didn't type in very many comments. Chapter<>: Products and Processes-Anne 151 In her second comment, Anne responds to her classmate Nazlynn's observation that she has gained a lot of confidence in herself by having experienced success in using media tools that previously mtimidated her: WebConstellations1™ confidence builder Aime Hicklingon 6/26/99 at 4:51:11 PM ,v 1 It; has been exciting to be-on the "bleeding,;edge^of • technology (as Maggie. calls it) but it certainly was --.v. frustrating at times as I'm ^somewhat of a perfectionist. : • I can relate to Nazlynn uvthat it was great to see that:. we could actually learn to use all the .equipment: quite easily That's pretty exciting and then you actually " construct somethmg with it as well. I .would definitehV like to learn more, and feel that I would need to in order to use this in the classroom. 1 Movie File: nazlynn_confideiicejnov In both of these comments, Anne makes reference to her frustration at not being able to make her product as perfect as she would have liked due to the limitations of the beta-version of CineKit™, since system bugs limited the usability of its features and made it prone to crashing. However, it is this very frustration that leads Anne to discover aspects of herself that may have hindered her own learning. This is made clear in her comment on a scene in which I encourage the students to work within their constraints to finish their movies so we have time to follow up with meanmgful discussion on the process via WebConstellations™: Chapter$: Products and Processes-Anne 152 „ t \ WebConstellations™ 1 i * 1 « J V Lower your Expectations! Anne Hkkting on 6/26/99 at 5:40:15 PM I think our group was going to ask for an extension as well, except that we d i ./ that others had au^dy been answered in the negative^ . ' I remember toe spent one day at Muses [multimedia laboratory in the Faculty of Education] until 6:30 and at the end of that day I felt braindead! I think we : -maybe wanted to accomplish too much, I guess weVe all been conditioned to strive for the "A." Sometimes I think we do ourselves a disservice by doingsoywe'd Erobably learn a lot moreif we just sloweddown a-;-, trie bit. I think:weVe:heen.brainwashed:into.valuing , the product more than the process. t heard , In her transition from product to process based approaches to learning and teaching, it appears that Anne has learned some valuable lessons that will continue to inform her practice when she claims her language class for herself. Anne has learned that she can look to her multilingual, multicultural self as a valuable resource for the exploration of culture. She has also learned that cultural exploration is a long and difficult process which consumes a great deal of time and, as Anne has admitted herself, is all the more meaningful because of it. Chaptery. Products and Processes Layla Layla Layla's Movie "Fine Grind" Chapter^: Products and Processes-Lay ta 154 Layla's story Layla is a bi-cultural and bi-lingual Spanish teacher whose family immigrated to Canada from Spain when she was a young child. Through relatives and frequent visits back to her "homeland," her study of the Spanish language and culture has been a life-long process. Layla's borderland identity has undoubtedly contributed to her interest in cultural studies, culminating in an undergraduate degree in anthropology. This degree makes Layla a cultural expert in the eyes of her classmates, who often look to her for guidance on the ideas and methods presented in the course as they pertain to language teaching. Layla, however, does not share this high opinion of her skills, as she still admits near the end of the course, as she has throughout, "I seem to have more questions than answers in regards to this idea of culture" (Layla's Reflective Synthesis #3, on Fischer, 1996)). Though she is versed in the theories of anthropology and envied by her peers for her language skills and cultural knowledge, she, too, is struggling to reconcile the dual concepts she holds of culture as they pertain to anthropology and language teaching. Prior conceptions of language teaching, reinforced in her practicum experience, have prevented Layla from readily applying process oriented anthropological notions of culture to her own teaching practice. In the course of this study, nonetheless, Layla eventually comes to reach new levels of equuibrium, and disequuibrium, as she appropriates new process oriented concepts of culture as they apply to the teaching of modern languages. Layla's parents have served as the main source for her linguistic and cultural education, speaking the target language at home and providing her with interpretations of its cultural symbols and meanings. Her family interactions carried out in a non-dominant language of the society in which she lives have, no doubt, made her associate culture with family and country of origin. This may explain why she chooses to "chunk" and respond to this quote which offers a different perspective on culture: Cbapter$: Products and Processes Layla 155 Chunk from Goldman-Segall, 1998, p. 11: "Culture is not merely the sum total of what we inherit from our parents and social groups; it is what we create with others in the context of our lives, with or without various technologies." Response from Layla: This is a very interesting way of looking at culture. One that I've never thought about. Culture really isn't just what we've received from our parents. It also includes other things like the society in which you live and the people that surround you (not including your family). I've realized that culture is everything that surrounds a person and not just where they come from. Further churikings and responses also concentrate on notions of culture, making evident her efforts to reach a deeper understanding of its role and implications for her teaching. Examples follow: Cbaptery. Productsand' Prvcesses-Layla 156 Chunk from Kramsch, 1989, p. 327: "A coherent undemanding of another culture includes "the central a code of (that) culture plus an awareness of its socioeconomic and regional variations." Response from Layla: I agree with this idea as I feel that understanding another culture is not just knowing the language and a little history. Understanding culture includes all aspects of that society. Looking at the political, economic and sociaL They are all required to fully understand a culture. Chunk from Kramsch, 1989, p. 341: "However, knowledge of cultural facts and events is of limited use, even in a pragmatic sense, if it is not accompanied by an awareness of the larger ideological context." Response from Layla: I feel this is to the point. Just stadying culture on the surface is of no use to anyone unless they also understand the intricacies of that culture. Studying culture means moving beyond the artifacts and historical events and actually digging deeper into the ideological perspectives of the culture. Chunk from Kramsch, 1993, p. 349: "The current emphasis on the relationship of language and culture in language teaching is prompting many educators to reassess their definitions of both language and culture, and to declare culture an indisassociable component of language teaching." Response from Layla: Once again, this statement just backs up the claim of many that language and culture cannot be separated. Without language, culture is missing something and vice versa. I agree with this because I feel that they are one in the same. Chunk from Kramsch, 1993, p. 349: "Culture was a sightseeing curiosity or the stuff" that dairy life is made of." Response from Layla: This is just another way of saying that culture is everything in society. The politics, economic, social aspects, language. Everything life is made of. Ibeli eve that to learn a culture you have to look at all its angles and perspectives. Cbapter$: Products and Processes-Layla 157 It is interesting to note that other students do not pursue the concept of culture to the extent that Layla does, even though it is the topic of the course. Others choose different themes, each meanmgful in terms of their own personal quest for understanding. Despite Layla's background in anthropology, she does not seem satisfied to rest with the definitions of culture she has encountered thus far. She continuously chunks and responds to the author's descriptions of culture, comparing them to her own ideas to either confirm or disconfirm them for her own use. Although she acknowledges that culture is "everything in society," which can not be understood by knowing "the language and a little history," Layla continues to hold the belief that a "real" culture does, indeed, exist and, given the skills and enough class time, it is possible to teach it in a language course. In her reflective synthesis on Tedick et al's, article on language as object, Layla laments: As a Spanish teacher and anthropology major, I feel that the study of culture ."J is foremost in the study of a language. Without going into depth into the. "real" culture, the language being studied is decontextualized. I found this to be one of my greatest challenges during my practicum. How am I supposed to teach the "real" culture of Spanish speaking countries when there remains; • such a vast amount of grammatical learning to occur within a short thirteen week period? It is of paramount concern to me that although I retain a strong belief in the value of learning and teaching a cultural reality, I was onh/ able to integrate such an endeavour in merely one of my lessons. This leads me to question how strongly I believe in teaching culture. I thought that by using authentic material within my grammar lessons, the cultural significance would be obvious. However, when I read this article it increased an awareness in me that perhaps I had failed to teach "real" culture to my students. I realized I was guilty of teaching only the superficial, often stereotypical perspective of culture, and that cultural relevance was largely transparent. I was doing the exact thing I vowed never to do (Layla s Reflective Synthesis #1, on Tedick et al., 1993). As Layla probes deeper in her journal writing, she discovers for herself that her inexperience as a teacher and prior conceptions regarding the nature of language class, in which the rules of grammar monopolize the curricula at the expense of even the most limited cultural exploration, are what present the greatest challenges for her: Cbaptery Products and' Processes Layla 158 I^jring my practicum I was largely concerned with one thing...passing. To do this I nad to do my best as a teacher and in so doing it was safer and more confidence bunding to use techniques that I was comfortable with. As a result of this, I realize that my failure to incorporate more cultural lessons was a result of my discomfort with the process of teaching cultural material congruent with the material necessary to effectively complete the grammatical component of language education. I was taught that in a language class you learn about grammar and how to use it orally and written. The whole idea of culture and teaching it as a part of language education was new to me, thus it could be said that I was reluctant in the attempt to teach it. However, by reading this article, my eyes have opened to the fact that the teaching of culture is as important, if not more so, than the teaching of grammar (Layla's Reflective Synthesis #1, on Tedick et ah, 1993). Layla had received some instruction on culture teaching with authentic documents in the fall methods course and was enthusiastic about experimenting with this approach on her practicum. However, like many, if not most, of her classmates reported, her sponsor teacher was not eager to allot class time to this exploration if it usurped the place of grammar: Chaptery Products and Processes Layla 159 It is interesting to note in this video excerpt that the other focus group participants, while ustening to Layla's story of her hijacked culture lesson, vacillate between empathy for her disappointment and self-motivated interest learning which grammar point she was able to extract from her documents. Though Layla explicitly points out that "the point of the lesson was not to do grammar,'' the conversation immediately turns to talk about what grammar point she presented and how she was able to adapt it to the various language levels of her students. If grammar talk is able to take over this focus group conversation, despite its explicit focus on the use of authentic texts for teaching culture, it is not surprising that student teachers are confronted with almost insurmountable obstacles to exploiting their authentic texts for cultural underetanding in more traditional classrooms. Layla soon begins to consolidate the process oriented concept of culture she holds for anthropology and the product centered one for modern language education during the making of her movie. She is excited about the potential of the media she is using and sees how it can espouse the previously divergent interpretations of culture for her new professional life. Fischer's (1996) urging to use available media to turn our modern language students into explorers, rather than tourists, as cited in Hellebrandt's article on humanistic approaches to the use of multimedia intrigues Layla. She observes: Chunk from HeHebrandt, 1996, p. 252: "...without access to and use of modern technology student's cultural learning resembles that of a tourist." Response from Layla: I never thought about it this way but this is very true. Using modern technology can really open up many doors into other cultures that we never had before. This new technology can really push us into becoming explorers as opposed to tourists. New information and different perspectives can really help towards becoming an explorer. Cbaptery Products and Processes-Layla 160 Layla reveals that she enjoys the frustration involved in the debugging process inherent to constructionist media projects and believes that this level of engagement makes them personally meaningful and, hence, memorable. Via WebConstellations™, she shares in the excitement of a classmate who has overcome a challenge in the creation process: WebConstellations™ capturing excitement Layla D'Emanuele on 6/16/99 at 10:50:32 AM ; i felt the exact same way that syb/ie felt when I first ^captured my video, this is an amazing technological v, - mnovation. when l think about the process l went i;through to get my movie on web constellations l am . r,,.;:yery proud of myself.,before I took this class I '•^thought I was a technological idiot, but now all l-can >think about is my movie and I want to show •; -I everybody :what l accomplished; in this sense i: feel as v-iriexqited as syhae did: when she first:captured a part-of: her movie > 1 1 i In an earUer comment Layla writes, "Studying culture means moving beyond the artifacts and historical events and actually digging deeper into the ideological perspectives of the culture." In the movie making and reflective processes Layla has learned a great deal about her own perspectives and those of her classmates, as revealed in this closing focus group session carried out at the end of the course in which the individual design teams discuss the lesson learned from making their movies and commenting on them and the process via WebConstellations™: Chaptery. Products and Processes-Layla 161 Layla discusses the importance of seeing the process to understand the product. WebConstellations™ Focus Group, June 16,1999 Movie File: product_end_result.mov Though she has yet to settle some issues regarding the integration and language and culture in her teaching, these may only be resolved through personal experience in her own modern language classroom. Nonetheless, Layla has moved "beyond the artifacts and historical events" of the culture in which she has been immersed and has learned, through looking at the process in which they are created, to uncover and give voice to the perspectives of its members. Chapters: Products and Processes-Paula Paula Paula's Movie: "Cars 'R' Us" Cbaptery Products and Processes-Paula 163 Paula's Story The daughter of Portuguese immigrants, Paula's life story is similar to that of many of her classmates. She has maintained her mother tongue and cultural ties through community and family interactions and this experience has fueled her passion for discovery of other cultures. A French and Spanish specialist, Paula takes an equally enthusiastic approach to her language teaching and professional development. She greets new discoveries about herself and her field with sincere pleasure and a contagious laugh. Paula struggles with the dilemma of how to explore the target language culture without perpetuating the stereotypes found in media. On the first day of her practicum in her home town of Kelowna, British Columbia, Paula asked her students to share with her the first thing that comes to their minds when they think of Spanish. She recounts this exchange and the students' surprising response with her focus group mates in this video clip: Chapter^: Products and Processes-Paula 164 The "Taco Bell Dog" to which the students referred, is a comical chihuahua who speaks either in English with a Mexican accent or Spanish with English subtitles. He is a marketing construct, aimed to sell tacos and burritos, which taps into the shared North American concept of Latin American culture. These ads have been carefully constructed, their target audience meticulously researched. Taco Bell™ is, after all, a $4.8 billion company with 6,500 stores serving approximately 55 million customers a week.1 Not surprisingly, this chihuahua's success has been phenomenal, inspiring his own website2, complete with video clips of commercials starring the Tack Bell Dog, as seen below, and a "Taco Dog Mall" in which visitors can select from a line of merchandise including windchimes, tee-shirts, snack boxes and talking plush toys. This chihuahua evokes "endearing" images of gun-ready revolucionarios, all powerful dictators and love sick Romeos. To the older generations watching these television commercials, they revive fond Taco Bell Dog as love sick Romeo. Movie File: quieroi.avi Taco Bell Dog as a revolucionario. Movie File: quier05.avi 1 As reported on: http:/Avww.nucrosoft.comAvindowsAvindowsmedia/en/archive/casesmdies/tacobeiydefault.a sp Accessed from the World Wide Web January 5, 2001. 2 These video clips of commercials and the Taco Bell Mall can be found at: http:/Avww.everwonder.com/david/tacobelldog.html Accessed from the World Wide Web January 3, 2001. Chapter*;: ProductsandProcesses-Paula 165 childhood memories of Saturday mornings spent watching cartoons of the gun slinging "Speedy Gonzales," which have since been removed from circulation due to the less than positive image they perpetuate of Mexicans in specific and Latin Americans in generaL For many of the younger generations, these ads present a seductive characterization of a distant culture. Kelowna is a city in the interior of British Columbia which does not have a large Hispanic community. As such, Paula was keenly aware that, for these students, she was the main, if not only, source of contact with the Spanish speaking world. She was teaching students who had never taken Spanish before and therefore felt it was her responsibility to present her students with other cultural viewpoints than the "Taco Bell Dog." She invited native Spanish speakers to her classes and created cultural Hstening lessons based on authentic texts such as songs and videos, as she had learned in her Fall methods course, but she is still not satisfied with her success when she begins this course in the summer. This problem continues to nag Paula, and she reflects on it in light of Kramsch's (1989) article on the use of media materials: This article poses questions that I asked during my practicum and still do — how do we teach culture without continuing the biases and stereotypes inherent in the minds of the students. For instance, when I asked my students what the Spanish culture meant to them, they responded by saying "The Taco Bell Dog or burritos and tacos. These of course are fabrications and commercialization manipulated by media in order to capitalize on a stereotyped culture. When you turn on the TV and observe a dog with a stereotyped Spanish accent selling burritos and tacos, it is no wonder that students attribute such images to the culture. In my opinion, the role of the teacher is to teach culture in such a way that dispels these myths and fabrications (Paula's Reflective Synthesis #2, on Kramsch, 1989). Paula has identified the dilemma early on in the course and makes it the focus of her personal discovery and growth. As she completes her first constructionist assignment, the identity object, and engages in a series of course lectures on the notion of self and other and its potential for stimukting intercultural reflection and understanding, she continues to Chapter<<j: Products and Processes Paula 166 construct a personal undeistanding of how these ideas can inform her own teaching. This video excerpt is an example of a class lecture in which the notion of self and other is applied to the projects the participants are constructing and their implications for teaching: Maggie gives an overview of how the class assignments can be used in the student teachers' future teaching to learn about self and other. Movie File: overview_mag.mov Once Paula has assimilated the concept of self and other into her pre-existing schema, she undergoes what can only be described as a "cultural revelation" as can be witnessed in this excerpt from her focus group session: Cbaptery. Products and Processes-Paula 167 Paula now grapples with this new found notion of self and other and applies it to all aspects of her learning, not releasing it until she has accommodated it completely. On one level, Paula applies this notion to the use of classroom materials, such as textbooks and authentic texts, and on another to constructionist learning activities. In response to the video clip in which Kevin admits to using only the textbook for teaching culture, Paula agrees this practice is, indeed, common in the schools. She offers a plea to her fellow student teachers to break free from this cycle and suggests the notion of self and other as an alternative: WebConstellations™ Textbook Culture Paula Alves on 6/16/99 at 11:16:10 AM I agree that in the majority of the schools culture is taught using cultural notes in a textbook. We need to break free from the vicious circle of stereoypes and biases. I believe using the notion of self and; other is an effective method to combat these preconceptions. Chapter^: Products and Processes-Paula 168 In another WebConstellation™ star, Paula views a conversation between several focus group members who debate the quality of cultural materials in the textbooks they've been using on practicum. They go on to admit that, had it not been for their involvement in this course, they might not have questioned their practice with regard to selecting and using teaching materials. They would have assumed teaching primarily from the textbook was, "what teachers do." Now, however, they have developed the confidence to incorporate their own materials and demand more reflective tliinking from their students. Paula adds to this discussion with her written comment in which she confirms the points they make and suggests emphasizing the notion of self and other to aid them in reaching their goals: Taclsy Texts*?::;::;:^ V. T"!•*T7•* \t *imaAl^e? on 6/24/9? a^lli57:4lJi!M ."'Vv?: ;";;f""^ !;!:f^::f^r^ ,:S^d° are t^,^'i.^;^i^1 . sruaents have, tbese,;mcorrect notions that the " - -•«-» -w™^ v .French forv example only eat baguettes or that the I " Spanish only eat tacos. I trunk it is acceptable: to ; ^ incorporate these texts, but not emphasize^ them as the only perspective. Teachers ... should i always • "^corporate more than one perspective in the classroom and as well, emphasize the notion of self and other. This will most certainly not abolish these misconceptions but it will certainly shed a fmore broader and multifaceted vision ofcrulture - - ^; • • Textbooks are an integral part of the modern language curriculum and can be excellent guides to understanding various grammatical, lexical and even cultural points. Having authored various forms of textbook related materials (see Ascarrunz Gilman, Zwerling Sugano, & Beers, 1993; Beers, 1997; Gil & Beers, 1993), I am keenly aware of the collaboration process between publisher and practitioner/author and how the cultural Chapter^: Products and Processes-Paula 169 distance between the two can ultimately strengthen or weaken the quality of the final product. In my class lectures, I shared my experiences — most notably one in which the majority of the authentic texts I had based the written activities on were omitted at the last minute in order to save costly space — and cautioned the students to view all textbooks with a critical eye. When I urged the students to have as much, if not more, confidence in their own self-selected authentic texts than in the prescribed textbook, many students interpreted this to mean they were to throw the book out completely. They subsequently expressed feelings of guilt when they reflected on moments in which they "resorted" to the textbook for lesson plan suggestions in the wee hours of the night during their practica. To reopen this topic, I posted this group discussion on WebConstellations™ in which I give some suggestions on critical approaches, based on the notion of self and other, to using the textbook in the classroom. As can be expected, this topic resonated with Paula and she offers this comment: WebConstellations™ Canadians love to dance! Paula Alves on 6/24/99 at 11:33:53 AM v :: : I think that if we were to ask teachers teaching french in Germany and then people in France to show the french culture, we would most • certainly observe different perpectives. Therefore, as Maggie says, by allowing us to have an introspective look at how others see us may allow us to break or tap into the circle of ' .biases and stereotypes in order for us to gain-: r. more awareness and understanding of our own misconceptions. In this latest comment, Paula appears to have reached a new state of equilibrium in her understanding of the notion of self and other as it pertains to the use of classroom materials for cultural learning. Cbaptery. Products and Processes-Paula 170 The second level on which Paula applies this notion is with regard to classroom projects. In video excerpt which documents the "open-house" format for sharing each individual's identity objects, Paula comments about the construction and sharing process and how it has allowed her to learn about her "self" and the "others" in the class, and how these lessons can be extended from the local to a global context: WebConstellations™ Identity obiects-Jessica/Erin , , Paula Afres on 6/24/99 at 11:39:23 AM «is.I really enjoyed making the identity objects even though at times I:was concerned or •not being able to produce something;- I am not extremely creative." Howeyer,-1 di(| and it was amazing to see not only my own »»— 1 ' 1 •••••I construction but everyone:elses interpretation;of themselves. I think this was a valid learning -experience -and one that< could be - easily . :: incorporated in the. classroom. I think by creating L^&nfBt&Btito* 4ik p' ):r] r. identity objects it allows us to the view.the'world W^WWrr'lB^^HL-^^-1 ..-,, in a more dynamic and multi-faceted approach realizing there arc differences and similarities among all of us rather than a narrow, tunnel-like approach to who we are. % This first project is an individual construction. The other class members share in each others' products by exploring, touching, and discussing them amongst themselves as they circulate mformalfy from one to the next. The second project, the making of the movies, is a group project in which the members collaborate and negotiate which parts of themselves they wish to include or omit from their final products. Most of the students are novice computer users, with little or no experience in creating digital artifacts of their own. In this hands-on project based learning approach, they develop their technical literacy skills through co-discovery learning methods as they construct their final products. Paula makes an interesting comparison between this approach to learning to use computers and more traditional ones, Chapter*;: Products and Processes-Paula 171 Paula compares this constructionist approach to learning computers to other approaches. Movie File: DaulaJearnine.mov Paula ajiah/zes these teaching strategies within the notion of self and other and develops some pointed insights into the effects each has on the opinion one ultimately forms of one's self and the other. In traditional computer classes, the teacher is at the head of the class and imposes her will on them by directing the students to learn the features of a program linearly. Students develop negative opinions of self when they find they are unable to keep up with the teacher's direction or retain the information of the program that has been presented. This process is other oriented in a negative way since the fellow students, or "others," are negatively perceived as a nuisance, or hindrance to one's own learning if they dare interupt the instruction with a question and thereby stall the tour. The product is also other-oriented in a negative way, since the product is the program itself, that which is causing the negative sentiments towards self and other: Cbapter$: Products and Processes-Paula 172 Paula describes negative and positive learning processes. Movie File: paula_computers.mov For Paula, the co-discovery constructionist approach to digital media instruction, however, promotes positive perceptions of self and other. In this computer culture, the students are self motivated because they are engaging in hands-on work on personally meanmgful projects. The "other" is seen as a collaborator, helper, and peer. As a result of this collaboration, each individual is able to experience success, and hence pride, in her achievements, fostering positive feelings of self. The process and product are other-oriented in a positive way, since the product is not the program itself, but rather the personally meaningful group constructed artifact. Paula demonstrates that her assimilation and accommodation of the concept of self and other have moved her to to a new state of equdibrium with regards to the dilemmas she encounters in her language teaching. Her process of discovery has been an ejoyable and exciting one in which she has learned a great deal about herself as a learner and teacher and her classmates as collaborators and friends. She has developed a new strategy for addressing stereotypes and confronting bias in her language classroom and is excited to try them out. Fortunately, the digital camcorder's battery lasted long enough Chapter^: Products and Processes-Paula for me to capture most of this excitement on tape: Paula reflects back on how the theory of self and other has helped her learn. Movie File: paula_self.mov Chaptery. Products and Processes-Kevin Kevin Kevin's Movie "The Cultural Flower" Kevin's Group Movie, "The Cultural Flower" Design Team: Janetta, Soraya, Chris, Murray Kevin, John Movie File: culturalflower.mov Chaptery. Products and Processes-Kevin 175 Kevin's Story Kevin, a self described "shy guy," communicates his thoughts through a few chosen words, often laced with sarcasm and delivered with a devious smile. His frank insights into his own teaching practices, usually followed by a dose of self deprecating humor, have won him the respect and affection of many of his classmates. Early in the course, Kevin boldly admits his lack of attention to matters of culture in his French language teaching, surprising many with his candid honesty about his dependence on textbooks and prompting further frank discussions on this topic in a variety of media throughout the course. The video excerpt of this particular confession was placed on WebConstellations™ where it solicited empathetic comments from nearly half his classmates, mcluding a characteristically humorous one from Kevin himself: WebConstellations™ Textbook .Culture.,-:, ...... ,„.,,.„.... ..... . :.r>.. John Little on 6/14/99 at 11:41:43 AM I, too, have experienced the burning pain of having to portray the "Venetian -gondola driver, the "French guy in a beret," the "Japanese woman in a kimono,"; " of.true culture, like an artifact dug up from some stereotypical mudhole. 1 think I may just use- these .. examples from : textbooks for comic relief when . : - they come up in the;future, and hope that it turns into a lesson on how to cnticauy . examine •.information. Kevin Haslbeck on 6/14/99 at 11:31:47 AM •Who was that dashing young man? "S Clearly, this dilemma on whether to allow one's self to depend almost entirely on the textbook for teaching materials strikes close to home for many beginning language teachers. These teachers often find themselves short on personal resources and long on prescribed learning outcomes, most of which pertain to grammatical points outlined in the textbook. It is thus understandable that the "cultural corners," which provide static, uncontroversial Chapter $: Products and Processes-Kevin 176 depictions of the target language culture and emphasize the grammatical points and vocabulary presented in the chapter, are an attractive option to the overly taxed beginning teacher. One might imagine that Kevin's dismissive comments regarding his use of the textbook indicate that he has no desire to further reflect on this aspect of his practice, yet this is not the case at all. Subsequent communications, written and oral, clearly indicate that Kevin is quite disturbed by the fact that he has neglected to promote any critical cultural reflection not only in his students during his previous teaching experience but also in himself as a language learner. He uses all interfaces of the course to, first, methodically investigate the underlying components of his psyche that have allowed him to be unreflective in his presentation of culture, and then to develop a critical approach for his future teaching. Kevin questions the basis for his own cultural perspective early on in the course when he selects and responds to this chunk: Chunk from Mantle-Bromley, 1992, p. 120: "An ethnocentric outlook can hamper some students' second language and culture learning. They may believe that learning about other languages and cultures is somehow unpatriotic, and consequently resist alternate views and beliefs." Response from Kevin: I never before considered the impact of ethnocentricity on second language and culture learning. I'm wondering whether subconsciously, my own ethnocentric attitude has been getting in the way of my own cultural learning. From now on, I'm going to be more aware of this factor in all my learning. Kevin has come to realize that he may have compromised his learning experiences by relying too heavily on the first view that presents itself, whether it be the unidimensional perspective of the textbook or his own ethnocentric outlook. This opens him to question the very notion of learning and knowledge construction when he reads and comments, Cbaptery Products and Processes-Kevin \j] Chunk from Goldman-Segall, 1998b, p. 6: "In this book, I demonstrate how knowledges are deconstructions, reconstructions, and co-constructions that emerge as a result of the interaction between what is already known and what is yet to be known again, in a new form." Response from Kevin: This quote first seemed a little confusing to me, but after reading it a few times, I realized how accurate its message is. Knowledge does not come from one mdividuaL but from all individuals who perceive certain pieces of knowledge in slightly different ways. I see now that knowledge is not a static phenomenon, but one that changes over time. It is no surprise that the more advanced the world's forms of communication become, the more knowledgeable we all will be. Kevin's enthusiasm over media's potential to facilitate knowledge construction based on the sharing of different perspectives causes him to reflect upon his own language teaching. As he interacts with the readings and the ideas presented in the course, he looks back on his practicum experience with a sense of disappointment at the lost opportunities for cultural sharing. After viewing a video excerpt on WebConstellations™, in which a fellow classmate shares the restrictions placed on her use of media by her sponsor teacher, Kevin laments: WebConstellations™ Media in the practicum Kevin HasObeck on 6/16/99 at 2:07:39 PM During my practicum, I had the same sort of situation where the advertisements I used in class were part of a unit in the textbook on advertisements. In fact, the adds that mysponsor teacher supplied me with were in English!! Talk about unauthentic materials!! From the '^instruction I've received at UBC, I realize how important it is to use authentic materials, no matter ••: • what the topic of the unit is. There is always a way to incorporate them! Chapters: Products and Processes-Kevin 178 Kevin experiences his own cultural revelation when he reads Fischer's (1996) article which makes a distinction between touristic and exploratory approaches to cultural learning. With respect to his teaching, Kevin writes: When I first began reading this article, I immediately thought that : getting students who can barely identify themselves in a foreign language to . partake in a digging inquiry of that language's culture and social realities would be impossible. At the end of the article, I found out that I had committed a "crime" through my assumption. Indeed, I felt shame — quite deservingry, I might add. Ultimately Fischer had fully convinced me that I should be an explorer and that I should help my students become the same. So many secondary students complete their foreign language training having ; learned next to nothing about the language or the culture. The reason? For , most of them, there was no motivation or driving purpose to learn it. The beauty of being a language explorer is that the students have the opportunity to create their own purpose (if the teacher allows for freedom of project v choice) and are self-motivated in the process to pick up the linguistic tools necessary to accomplish their goals. The important thing I learned about myself through the reading of this article is that I am still unprepared for teaching culture in my classroom. Contrary to Fischer's assumption, I have certainly not "developed a deep , undemanding of the country and the people". During my practicum, I was learning almost as much as my students about French culture through the stale, concrete slabs of information that the textbook provided. If I do hot • develop my cultural knowledge prior to reentering a classroom, I feel I have at least the necessary reflective and inquisitive skills to guide myself and my /• students on an exploration of culture and language (Kevin's Reflective Synthesis #3 on Fischer, 1996). Kevin's insights into language learning are not umited to his students. He is also prompted to reconsider the way in which he has conducted himself as a learner in his personal travels and what he has been able to gain from them as a result. Contrary to what many of Kevin's fellow classmates commented on at various points in the course, he does not believe that travel abroad guarantees in depth cultural learning. This is exemplified in his response to this video clip posted on WebConstellations™: Cbaptery Products and Processes-Kevin 179 WebConstellations™ HI travel julia 1 -Kevin Hastbeck cm 6/16/99 at 1:42:37 PM Travelling abroad does not1 necessarily mean that cultural education is any easier. After reading the Fischer article, I realized that the trip I had made to France a \ few years back was really no better than learning \ 1 - ' culture through the textbook clips. The problem was that I went there as a tourist. I actually went there to work, but I carried the tourist mentality of gathering information like snapshots, not as pieces ofmoluable culture. The thing to do is to go into another culture =as an explorer, finding out why things are the way they are and why they differ from the realities I bring with, me from my own life and culture. 1 V 4 Movie File: travellulia.mov At this point in the course, Kevin has established a clear idea of what he hopes to accomplish for himself and his students in his modern language classroom. Kevin hopes to create a media-rich learning environment in which students and teacher alike appropriate the skills to become explorers, rather than touristic consumers of culture. For Kevin, the fundamental skill required of an explorer is the ability to ask pointed and relevant questions: Chunk from Fischer, 1996, p. 77: "Asking such sincere information-seeking questions shows reflection, and asking questions is the first step in exploration." Response from Kevin: As much as questions are valued in classrooms, I wonder why they aren't promoted as strongly. Too often teachers will spew out a clump of information and follow it up with, "Was that clear?" or "Any auestions? This does not motivate students to question. Teachers should efinitery spend more time teaching students how to ask higher level questions and find ways to make their students want to learn more and therefore question more. ChapterProducts and Processes Kevin 180 Kevin suggests we may learn more from these movies by asking questions about them, not making comments. WebConstellations™ Focus Group, June 16,1999 Movie File: questions_not_comments.mov Kevin does not stop with himself or his students, he holds the same high expectations for critical reflection for his peers as well. In this WebConstellations™ focus group session near the end of the course, Kevin demonstrates he has appropriated the ethnographic skills to become the cultural explorer he aims to be. He applies Fischer's concept of "tourist vs. explorer" to the movie making and annotating process carried out in this course and suggests that more could be learned by asking questions about the movies rather than making comments on them. Chapter*,:ProductsandProcesses-Kevin 181 Furthermore, when asked whether commenting on other people's constructions on WebConstellations™ helped him think about his own thinking, Kevin replies that he found himself questioning the way he was tliinking, "Is that right! Or is that wrong?", making reference, perhaps, to his vow to be critical of his own ethnocentric perspective: Kevin found himself questioninehis dunking while commenting on the movies via WebConstellations™.. WebConstellations™ Focus Group, June 16,1999 Movie File: is-that-richt.mov Finally, when asked whether he enjoyed more viewing the finished products or the process of making them he provides a fitting closing by drawing the conversation once more to the "tourist/explorer thing'' to put his textbook "culture corners" behind him for once and for all. As can be predicted, Kevin prefers the process of discovery learning because, "just watching the movie it's like getting fed a cultural fact. Like a little box, right?...And seeing the...observing the making of that movie is like exploring why certain cultures do certain things:" (cont...) Chapter $: Products and Processes-Kevin Kevin applies tourist/explorer concept to WebConstellations™. Focus Group, June 16,1999 Movie File: process_explorer.mov Chaptery. Products and Processes-Klara Klara Chaptery. Products and Processes-Klara 184 Klara's story Bom in the Czech Republic where she spent most of the first half of her life, Klara then immigrated to Canada with her family and has maintained a solid link to her past through her native language and family ties. Her bright eyes, expressive mannerisms and explosive smile engage the viewer and provide an open window into her thinking processes. Klara constructs and performs her ideas as she speaks. Her eyes dart back and forth while she processes, they narrow and travel off* to the right as she ponders a deeper thought and eventually they open wide to indicate she has arrived at a final conclusion. Her words are accompanied by gestures and movements that captivate the viewer and narrate the sentiments she is evoking - she clutches her heart as she indicates that something comes from inside, opens her arms to extend an idea globally and punctuates her conclusions with a radiant smile. Klara is multilingual, specializing in the teaching of French and Spanish. She enjoys learning about different cultures and her embodied communication has surely facilitated her interactions with their speakers and the learning of their languages. She carries this enthusiasm over into her philosophy of teaching, as shown in this comment she made on her classmate's observation on how she has learned about culture: Chapter*;: Products and Processes-Klara 185 WebConstellations™ 1 i liife-long culture learning 1 ' Mara KohWova on 6/18/99 at 1:41:5 7 PM ' , Like Anju, I feel like I'm always learning about different cultures and I really * enjoy that Learning languages to me is a way of getting to know other people and j t their cultures What use is language if you do not use it to communicate with . , people with whom you would not norrnalb/ have contact? In our second language classrooms, c-:. students may not be able to have contact -with people from the target culture until later, but if we teach them the target culture in an interesting way, with different points of view, they will get 'excited about that culture and will want to make contact with people from it Isn't that our job? •v..::.? How can -anyone -get: excited about a language from learning its grammar* t Klara identifies her experiences with those of an ethnographer, moving between cultures, leaving one to immerse herself in another. She makes this point by selecting and commenting on this chunk from Fischer's (1996) article on tourists and explorers: Chunk from Fischer, 1996, p. 74: "Where, to a certain extent, ethnographers belong to two worlds, to their own and to the new, they almost invariably create some distance from their home culture through partial immersion in another culture." Response from Klara: I could identify with this idea because I feel like the more cultures I study and immerse myself in, the less I belong to any of them. I feel like the more you can identify with other cultures, the more you feel like an outsider in your "own" culture because you see things which they do not. rJuring this project Klara hones her ethnographic research skills by becoming a perceptive participant observer of the computer culture in which she is immersed. She first examines and restructures her concept of culture and then appropriates the technical and intellectual Cbaptery Products and Processes-Klara 186 skills to identify and research the symbols and patterns that mark the artifacts and observations of her fellow researchers. Early in this course, Klara believes that cultures are self contained entities, best left alone to thrive since they risk collapsing if presented with too many external influences: Klara believes that cultures are to be protected and nurtured. Once an individual begins to take on too many cultural identities she risks becoming confused as to her cultural identity, or worse, left without any. At one point in the focus group session, Klara recounts a painful memory of her return to Czechoslovakia on a family visit after having spent years in her new country, Canada. Anxious to visit her childhood friend, with whom she had shared so many pleasant moments, Klara is stunned when her friend shuts her out, refusing to see her. Clearly, Klara had abandoned her home culture, and proved herself unworthy of a welcome return. Klara's heartbreak at not finding the Czechoslovakia she remembered might be attributed to the static notion she held of culture, along with, perhaps, a sense of nostalgia and longing for what once was. Her concept evolves to consider cultures as dynamic, Cbaptery. Products and Processes Klara 187 moving entities in which relationships are structured and restructured based on changing circumstances, as demonstrated in this selection and response to Weber and Mitchell's (1996) article on the culture of student teaching: Chunk from Weber & Mitchell, 1996, p. 302: "Because cultures are rarely static, defining cultural boundaries is a rather arbitrary, difficult, and probably futile enterprise. Cultures interact, overlap, evolve, expand, disappear, re-emerge, change. To be human implies living within one or more cultures. Emanating from human interaction, culture is not only social, it is constitutes and shaped by individuals who are in turn shaped by the culture or cultures in which they live." Response from Klara: I found this quote interesting because it presented a very dynamic view of culture. For this reason, it is difficult to teach effectively since it is hard to get a grasp of what it is. The reason everyone has such a different view of what culture is is probably because it is so dynamic and complex and because there is a constant interaction between the individual and the culture. Confronted with a new concept of culture in the classroom, Klara passes through a moment of disequilibrium as she re-evaluates her teaching experience based on these prior conceptions: Chapters: Products and Processes-Klara 188 Klara entered this course with reservations about her own technological abilities and also the merits of constructionist projects. Klara admits that she never liked "buUcling things'" when she was a student and was surprised to find this approach to be especially effective in making the abstract more explicit. She comments: When it came to my own learning in this course, I found I learned a great deal form the hands-on making of the movies. Apart from the great side benefit of learning how to use internet and media technology, I found that through the process of making the movies, the ideas about culture which were up to that point abstract and unclear, became more concrete and real. As we made the movie, we would ask ourselves if we were portraying different views of culture, if we were presenting different layers in our movie, etc., which improved our movie and our undemanding of the material presented in class and through the readings (Klara's Reflective Synthesis #3, on Kafai & Resnick, 1996). This point is further iterated in a post process interview in which she also emphasizes the importance of personal affect and attachment in her project: Klara and Adele explain constructionist projects first intimidated them. Lab-rime to comment via WebConsteuations1 Movie File: intimidatecLattached Chaptery. Products and Processes-Klara 189 Having gone through this hands-on constructive process, Klara clearly has a keener understanding of the issues that inform her ethnographic investigations. Culture, for Klara, is an open, dynamic and interactive social construct which is more easily studied by seeking and seeing the many perspectives of its members. She comments: Chunk from Rorty, 1995, p. 60: "...any viable culture is dynamically internally divided, encompassing radically distinct outlooks and insights.'' Response from Klara: I liked this quote because it stresses the fact that a healthy, growing culture is one that has many divisions and different points of view andthat is changing and developing. It means that we should not try to "pin" culture down in order to analyse it but to observe its many aspects and be open to contradictions and differences. It is clear that Klara enjoys being the Subject of ethnographic research. When describing her own movie, she acknowledges her group capitalizes on the efficiency of employing culturally loaded symbols to convey larger messages within the 30-second time constraint. She looks forward to learning the different interpretations her classmates construct of her movie, based on the perspective each one brings to the reading: Cbaptery. Products and Processes-Klara 190 Klara makes a relationship between symbols and interpretation. Lab-time to comment via WebConstellations™ Movie File: interpret_symbols.mov In the final stages of the movie making and annotation process, Klara, unlike many of her fellow classmates, is not content to merely comment on her enjoyment of the mdividual products posted on WebConstellations™. She digs deep into the content of the movie to make her own ethnographic analysis: WebConstellations™ Cars Are Us ..." Klara Kohoutova on 6/14/99 at 11:03:49 AM ; It was interesting that many people talked about the ;Y .-obvious use of cars, namely transportation. But other. f ; people picked up on the status symbol of cars: These.: i people mentioned that their self-esteem improved : '.when they had a'nice car...I believe this is very . " typical ioN^ amongst young .;: • ;pepple..:but thaf?s"a stereotyped good work!:) ; Cbapter$: Products and Processes-Klara 191 Klara goes beyond interpretation of the movie itself and performs a meta-ethnographic analysis on her classmates' comments on the movies. She searches for the different points of view presented in her classmates's comments, identifies patterns and contradictions, and speculates on their motivations. It is clear in this video excerpt that Klara has appropriated the technical and intellectual skills to actively design and interpret digital media texts: Klara makes shows her ethnographic skills. Lab-time to comment via WebConstellations Movie File: ethnographic_findings.mov Chapter y. Products and Processes-Murray 192 Murray's Movie "The Cultural Flower" I"* 1 sisi c Murray's Group Movie: "The Cultural Flower" Design Team: Janetta, Soraya, Chris, Murray Kevin, John Movie File: culturalflower.mov Chapters: Products and Processes-Murray 193 Murray's Story Murray is a ready participant in all cycles of the course. He actively contributes his ideas in group conversations, gets his hands dirty with the new technologies and is one of the first to spontaneously pick up the digital camcorder to film his classmates during their learning. Murray uses his participation in this project to develop keen technical and ethnographic skills, especially to examine the relationship between filming angles and perspective. Though all the students receive instruction from MERLin team members in how to film, most notably from Ricardo Trujeque and its director, Ricki Goldman-Segall,