31 SES 06 B, Uncovering the Beliefs and Practices of Pre- and In-Service Teachers for Linguistically Responsive Teaching
As student groups across Western Europe are becoming increasingly multilingual (Gogolin, 2011), teacher education needs to prepare prospective teachers for the current multilingual reality in education (Ziegler, 2013). However, pre-service teachers’ general white, middle-class, female profile has caused some concern among researchers across contexts (Cochran-Smith, 2013; Dahl et al., 2016). Researchers warn that the mismatch between pre-service teachers’ and students’ backgrounds might prevent pre-service teachers from providing the best opportunities for minoritised multilingual students once they transition to teaching (Brisk, Homza, & Smith, 2014; Cochran-Smith et al., 2015; Kayi-Aydar, 2018). Yet, rather than waiting for the demographic profile of students entering teacher education to change, this paper proposes that teacher educators should identify the potential in pre-service teachers for teaching in multilingual classrooms. For teacher educators to be able to prepare pre-service teachers for multilingual settings, they need to be aware of the potential that students entering teacher education bring with them. When teacher educators familiarise themselves with pre-service teachers’ experiences and ideologies, and study their spontaneous language practices, it will be possible to identify a foundation, which teacher educators can take as a point of departure when preparing pre-service teachers for multilingual classrooms.
Hence, this paper reports on a qualitative study (2017-2020) from Norway, which investigates the following research question:
What is the potential in first-year pre-service teachers’ lived experience of language, language ideologies, and language practices in field placement for teaching in multilingual classrooms?
The study combines focus groups with 24 pre-service teachers, 6 pre-service teachers’ linguistic autobiographies, and classroom observation of 4 pre-service teachers participating in field placement in classrooms characterised by multilingualism. The paper explores the potential in pre-service teachers early on in their teacher education because this provides an opportunity to describe the first encounter between the young and inexperienced teacher and the complex reality of classrooms characterised by multilingualism. The three data sets (focus groups, linguistic autobiographies, and classroom observation) contributes with different perspectives on pre-service teachers’ first encounter with multilingualism in their first year of teacher education.
The potential in pre-service teachers’ lived experience of language, language ideologies, and language practices are analysed through theory and methods commonly applied in sociolinguistics, such as the conceptualisation of language as practice and the recognition of speakers’ communicative resources as a repertoire (e.g. Busch, 2017; Otheguy, García, & Reid, 2015). By exploring the richness in the linguistic repertoires of pre-service teachers who self-identified as monolinguals, it was possible to challenge widespread dichotomies within Norwegian education between ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ students (cf. Jortveit, 2018; Westheim & Hagatun, 2015). Rather than classifying pre-service teachers in simplistic terms based on their perceived Norwegian-ness, teacher educators can consider all speakers as possessing a wide repertoire of linguistic and semiotic resources that can contribute to their professional development. Moreover, the current paper applies a language ideology framework (e.g. Ruiz, 1984) to analyse Norwegian pre-service teachers beliefs and attitudes about language in education. Language ideologies have received widespread attention from sociolinguists over the past two decades (Jaffe, 2009; Kroskrity, 2000; Palmer, 2011). Still, there has been a tendency to consider language ideologies as rather monolithic and fixed. However, this paper shows how language ideologies can be considered socially developing and shared, and how language ideologies can be considered to be constantly negotiated and re-negotiated within the individual. The pre-service teachers did not articulate coherent, overarching language ideologies and were open to change their position if necessary. Finally, the pre-service teachers’ language practices were analysed through a translanguaging lens (Canagarajah, 2013; García & Li Wei, 2014).
24 pre-service teachers who were in their very first year of teacher education at two well-established teacher education institutions in Norway were recruited for this study. There were 17 female and 7 male participants, all of whom had grown up in Norway with Norwegian as their home language. The pre-service teachers participated in their very first field placement in schools characterised by multilingualism. During the three to four weeks long field placement, the pre-service teachers collaborated to plan, conduct, assess, and discuss their own and each other’s teaching. The data collection took place in two stages: The first stage consisted of seven focus groups with pre-service teachers at the field placement school towards the end of their field placement or at the university campus immediately following their last week in field placement. In the second stage, all of the participants were invited to write their own linguistic autobiographies and one group of pre-service teachers were selected for classroom observation. Eventually, six pre-service teachers agreed to write linguistic autobiographies with a focus on their experiences with language and multilingualism, and one group of pre-service teachers were observed over the course of one week of field placement. Hence, the potential in pre-service teachers’ lived experience of language, language ideologies, and language practices was investigated from three perspectives: From a biographical perspective, an ideological perspective, and a practical perspective. The biographical perspective consisted of data from linguistic autobiographies and focus groups, where the pre-service teachers’ lived experience of language were object to a narrative analysis (Wortham, 2001). The ideological perspective consisted of data from the focus groups, where the pre-service teachers’ language ideologies were investigated through a dialogical method of conversation analysis (Linell, 2009; Marková, Linell, Grossen, & Orvig, 2007). Finally, the practical perspective consisted of data from focus groups and classroom observation, where the pre-service teachers’ language practices during field placement were analysed through a translanguaging lens (Canagarajah, 2013; García & Li Wei, 2014). The combination of the three perspectives provided a nuanced understanding of how the participants’ lived experience of language, language ideologies, and language practices were closely related and how they influenced pre-service teachers’ first encounter with multilingualism in field placement.
The most important empirical contribution from this study is the extensive examples of how the pre-service teachers’ lived experience of language, language ideologies, and language practices were important influences in their first encounter with multilingualism in field placements. These factors were interacting and were mutually influencing each other. For example, the lack of identification with multilinguals and understanding of multilingualism reported in their linguistic autobiographies seem to influence their perspectives on the role of multilingualism in education. Moreover, the pre-service teachers’ inclination to hold language-as-problem ideologies (e.g. Ruiz, 1984) was reflected in their hesitance to engage with the multilingualism present in the classroom. Despite the general tendency for teacher education to reproduce hegemonic language ideologies and language practices, the paper points out a number of potentialities in pre-service teachers’ rich lived experience of language, hetereoglossic language ideologies, and diverse language practices. First, the pre-service teachers revealed diverse and complex experiences with language that provide rich opportunities for teacher educators to tap into when discussing multilingualism in education (Athanases, Banes, Wong, & Martinez, 2018). Second, due to heteroglossic language ideologies, the pre-service teachers were able to negotiate a space for multilingualism within mainstream education although their ideologies were clearly influenced by language-as-problem ideology (e.g. Ruiz, 1984). Finally, when the situation required that the pre-service teachers drew on a wider repertoire of their own and their students’ language resources, they proved to be both willing and able to engage in translanguaging practices. Although these points constitute a potential, they are not sufficient in their current form. The pre-service teachers’ potential cannot be capitalised upon unless teacher educators draw attention to this potential.
Athanases, S. Z., Banes, L. C., Wong, J. W., & Martinez, D. C. (2018). Exploring linguistic diversity from the inside out: Implications of self-reflexive inquiry for teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 70(5), 581-596. Brisk, M. E., Homza, A., & Smith, J. (2014). Preparation to practice: What matters in supporting linguistically responsive mainstream teachers. In Y. Freeman & D. Freeman (Eds.), Research on preparing preservice teachers to work effectively with emergent bilinguals. Bingley, UK: Emerald. Busch, B. (2017). Expanding the notion of the linguistic repertoire: On the concept of Spracherleben - the lived experience of language. Applied Linguistics, 28(3), 340-358. Canagarajah, S. (2013). Literacy as translingual practice: Between communities and classrooms. New York, NY: Routledge. Cochran-Smith, M., Villegas, A. M., Abrams, L., Chavez-Moreno, L., Mills, T., & Stern, R. (2015). Critiquing teacher preparation research: An overview of the field, part II. Journal of Teacher Education, 66(2), 109-121. García, O., & Li Wei. (2014). Translanguaging: Language, bilingualism and education. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Gogolin, I. (2011). The challenge of super diversity for education in Europe. Educational Inquiry, 2(2), 239-249. Kroskrity, P. V. (2000). Regimenting languages: Language ideological perspectives. In P. V. Kroskrity (Ed.), Regimes of language: Ideologies, polities, and identities (pp. 1-34). Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press. Linell, P. (2009). Rethinking language, mind, and world dialogically: Interactional and contextual theories of human sense-making. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Otheguy, R., García, O., & Reid, W. (2015). Clarifying translanguaging and deconstructing named languages: A perspective from linguistics. Applied Linguistics Review, 6(3), 281-307. Palmer, D. K. (2011). The discourse of transition: Teachers' language ideologies within transitional bilingual education programs. International Multilingual Research Journal, 5(2), 103-122. Ruiz, R. (1984). Orientations in language planning. NABE Journal, 8(2), 15-34. Wortham, S. (2001). Narratives in action: A strategy for research and analysis. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Ziegler, G. (2013). Multilingualism and the language education landscape: challenges for teacher training in Europe. Multilingual Education, 3(1), 1-23.
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