23 SES 07 D, Tracing Policies, Leadership Practices and Student Experiences in Multi-Lingual Settings: Lessons in Education Research Methodology from Kazakhstan
The purpose of the workshop is to share with the wider research community methodological lessons learned from a series of multi-lingual (English, Kazakh and Russian) and multi-disciplinary (policy sociology, philosophy, educational leadership and social psychology) studies analysing educational change in Kazakhstan (Bridges 2014). The research, which is now in its third year, approached the analysis of educational change from various perspectives: from the point of view of multiple centres of policy initiation; from the point of view of multiple centres of policy negotiation and enactment; and from the point of view of individual classrooms in the six study schools. In tracing education policy moves across international, national, regional and local terrains and linguistic boundaries, we kept continuous attention on education policies, leadership practices and student experiences – the themes around which we structure this workshop.
In proposing this workshop we invite researchers working in multi-lingual settings to reflect on the limits, opportunities and possibilities multi-lingual settings offer for mono-lingual and multi-lingual researchers working in environments that collect data affording different levels of access and equivalence. Central to this methodological reflection are the questions of language, translation and theory. These concerns can be formulated around the following questions. Do multi-lingual researchers gain a different understanding of the research field from mono-lingual researchers? How does a double role of researcher-translator affect a researcher’s participation in the process of research? What bearing does the translatability of professional discourses have on the framing (and translation) of research questions? To what extent is our knowledge of the field mediated by our theoretical perspective(s)? Or, perhaps more radically, what is more important in the field – the knowledge of theory or language? Because, to paraphrase Braidotti, ‘[the] work [of] a thinker has no mother tongue’ (Braidotti 1994, 21). And, on a more practical level, what are the participants’ actual experiences of dealing with multi-lingual and non-verbal data? What concerns and objectives guide the selection of qualitative versus quantitative approaches in doing research in multi-lingual settings?
To address the above questions, the discussion and practical activities will be structured around the themes of: 1) researching education policy in multi-lingual settings; 2) researching leadership practices in multi-lingual settings; and 3) tracing student experiences in multi-lingual environments by use of a mixture of task-orientated focus groups, closed-form surveys and language-independent means. Each part of the workshop will open with a brief reflection on Methodological Lessons Learnt. This will be followed by a discussion of two different sets of methodological tools: 1) those which use translation, live or textual, to address the question of translation and translatability between languages; and 2) those which aim to minimise the effect of the language on the data collected.
Each of the three presentations will include a practical activity and opportunity for the workshop participants to draw on their experiences of doing and translating research in a multi-lingual environment. We will conclude the workshop by proposing a tentative list of strategies and methodological recommendations on how to move beyond the analysis of ‘the surfaces of texts, events and interactions’ (Thomson 2008, 653) and gain understanding of the ‘logic of practice’, ‘stake in the game’, and ‘what “gets people moving” (Bourdieu 1990, 88) in multi-lingual settings. This workshop will start an important conversation which is long overdue in the fields of comparative and international education (Srivastava 2006; Fimyar 2014), leadership (Klenke 2008; Frost et al. 2014) and, at a more psychological level through capturing student experiences by means of different formats of self-construal and self-reporting of attitudes (Fielding 2004; Rudduck and McIntyre 2007; Cook-Sather 2010), the very real problems of conceptual assumptions of equivalence across language forms.
Braidotti, R. (1994). Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory. New York: Columbia University Press. Bridges, D. ed. (2014). Educational Reform and Internationalisation: The Case of School Reform in Kazakhstan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1990) . The Logic of Practice, trans. R. Nice. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Colley, A., Berman, E. and van Millingen (previous surname), L. (2005). Age and Gender Differences in Young People’s Perceptions of Sport Participants, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35: 7, 1440-1454. Cook-Sather, A. (2007). Translating Researchers: Re-imagining the Work of Investigating Students’ Experiences in School, in D. Thiessen and A. Cook-Sather (eds) International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School, 829-871. Cook-Sather, A. (2010). Learning from the Student's Perspective: A Sourcebook for Effective Teaching. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers. Fielding, M. (2004). Transformative Approaches to Student Voice: Theoretical Underpinnings, Recalcitrant Realities. British Educational Research Journal, 30:2, 295- 311. Fimyar, O. (2014). Translating ‘Excellence’ into Three Languages or How Kazakhstani Teachers ‘Change’. In D. Bridges (ed.) Educational Reform and Internationalisation: The case of school reform in Kazakhstan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Frost, D., Fimyar, O., Bilyalov, D., and Yakavets, N. (2014). The Role of the School Director in Education Reform in Kazakhstan in D. Bridges (ed.) Educational Reform and Internationalisation: The Case of School Reform in Kazakhstan. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press. Gouanvic, J. (2005). A Bourdieusian Theory of Translation, or the Coincidence of Practical Instances: Field, ‘Habitus’, Capital and ‘Illusio’. The Translator, 11:2, 147–166. Kazakhstan Programme Open Seminar Series podcasts: http://sms.cam.ac.uk/collection/1356919 Klenke, K. (2008). Qualitative Research in the Study of Leadership. Bingley: Emeral Group Ltd. Rudduck, J., and McIntyre, D. (2007). Improving Learning through Consulting Pupils. London: Routledge. Srivastava, P. (2006). Reconciling Multiple Researcher Positionalities and Languages in International Research. Research in Comparative and International Education, 1:3, 210–222. Thiessen, D., and Cook-Sather, A. (eds.) (2007). International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School. Springer: London. Thomson, P. (2008). Answering Back to Policy? Headteachers’ Stress and the Logic of the Sympathetic Interview. Journal of Education Policy, 23:6, 649–667.
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