Toward a Pedagogy of Ambiguity: Incorporating and Assessing Ambiguity in a Multiliteracies-Based Foreign Language Classroom
AuthorRichardson, Diane Fern
Linguistic and Semiotic Landscapes
Perspective Taking and Making
Transcultural German Studies
Foreign Language Instructions
Tolerance of Ambiguity
Multiliteracies and Gene-Based Approaches
Fairytales and the Fairytale-Esque
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 26-Sep-2018
AbstractOne of the major challenges that persists in postsecondary foreign language (FL) education in the US today is how to implement a more integrated approach to language and literature instruction, that is, one that fosters critical awareness on multiple levels and prepares learners to be globally-connected and engaged citizens (MLA, 2007; Swaffar & Urlaub, 2014). Major contributions for achieving these goals have come from an array of pedagogical approaches that share in common their focus on language as a resource for making socially and symbolically rich meanings that do more than convey facts or express objectives. These include those designated as multiliteracies and genre-based approaches, as well as those that promote intercultural, symbolic and literary competencies as integral to the language learning experience. All of these frameworks acknowledge to some extent the fact that ambiguity-understood here as the multiplicity, indeterminacy, or destabilization of meaning-characterizes language itself and thus also our day-to-day and global communication, as well as the experience and process of FL learning. This dissertation, based on a qualitative classroom-based research study, considers how ambiguity can more be comprehensively integrated into FL learning and in particular into text-oriented teaching practices. The approach taken was a pedagogy that embraces ambiguity by providing learners and educators with strategies for navigating the moments of indeterminacy, uncertainty, and doubt that they will inevitably encounter in and out of the FL classroom. The study, set in an intermediate German language and culture course at a large public university, investigates 1) how to incorporate and assess moments of ambiguity more comprehensively across the curriculum and 2) how learners responded to various encounters with ambiguity, including ambiguity of genre, perspective, and silence. Data analysis revealed that purposeful integration of induced ambiguity can facilitate more comfort with those three dimensions and that it complements the principles of a multiliteracies-based FL pedagogy.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Transcultural German Studies