Mediating Pedagogies for Teaching and Learning Language and Culture as Discourse: A Multiliteracies-Based Global Simulation in Intermediate French
AuthorMichelson, Kristen E.
KeywordsFrench as a foreign language
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 01-Jul-2020
AbstractContemporary notions of literacy understand communication as a culturally, historically, and socially situated practice of using and interpreting a variety of linguistic and semiotic resources as they combine within oral and written textual genres to fulfill particular social goals within a given cultural context (Gee, 1998, 2012; Cope & Kalantzis, 2000; Kern, 2000; Kramsch, 1993, 1995; New London Group, 1996). These more recent views of literacy have important implications for foreign language (FL) teaching, and call for pedagogies which promote language learning as a socially and culturally situated practice. Despite this, lower level FL teaching in the US continues to feature instructional practices that promote decontextualized, transactional language usage with attention skewed toward oral communication (Byrnes, Maxim, & Norris, 2010; Kern & Schultz, 2005; Schulz, 2006) through materials that locate conversations in students' own contexts rather than in target language discourse contexts (Liddicoat, 2000; Magnan, 2008b). Further, foreign language (FL) departments contain bifurcated curricula where lower-level (LL) courses rooted in instrumental views of language focus on skills of communication, and upper-level (UL) courses primarily center around the study of canonical literature. In 2007 an Ad Hoc Committee of the Modern Language Association (MLA) problematized these divisions, calling upon departments to transform traditional structures toward a more coherent curriculum where language, culture, and discourse are taught holistically (MLA, 2007).This dissertation responds to this call with a curricular design project for intermediate collegiate-level French through a Global Simulation (GS) carried out through a genre-based approach and a Pedagogy of Multiliteracies (New London Group, 1996). For the duration of the course, students adopted character roles through which they enacted contextually- and identity-bound discourse styles within a culturally-grounded fictitious world. Informed by sociocultural theory, this research took a socio-constructivist qualitative approach to analysis of data from learner artifacts, participant written reflections, semi-structured interviews, and questionnaires to explore learners' responses to this fusion of pedagogies from three perspectives: 1) how prior experiences combined with goals and beliefs about language shaped learners' engagement and learning outcomes, 2) how the characters, context, tasks, and textual genres worked in combination to evoke situated language use, and 3) how character-adoption and reflective engagement with LC2 textual meanings invited cross-cultural perspective-taking in the discussion of contemporary social issues. Findings from these three inquiries demonstrate that despite the prevalence of traditional beliefs about language, culture, and FL study, learners are indeed inclined to adapt to new instructional contexts. Further, the combination of pedagogical activities - character, texts, tasks, and critical reflection - can foster second language learners' abilities to recognize culture, context, and identity in communication, and to appropriate language and other symbolic forms selectively for communication of particular meanings across different discourse contexts. These findings point to both the viability and the need to continue ongoing efforts to shape FL curricula and materials in ways which recognize the integral links between language, culture and discourse.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching