Where they re coming from: roles for English textbooks where lectures are in foreign languages

Where they’re coming from: roles for English textbooks where lectures are in foreign languages. Philip Shaw, Špela Mežek, Diane Pecorari and Hans Malm...
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Where they’re coming from: roles for English textbooks where lectures are in foreign languages. Philip Shaw, Špela Mežek, Diane Pecorari and Hans Malmström BALEAP 2015

Blommaert, Collins, & Slembrouck (2005): space, not place “Entering such spaces involves the imposition of the sets of norms and rules [about] … (a) what people can or cannot do (it legitimizes some forms of behavior while disqualifying or constraining other forms); (b) the value and function of their sociolinguistic repertoires; (c) their identities, both self-constructed (inhabited) and ascribed by others.” (p. 203)

Theme • A scale difference between: o state-scale contexts/language regimes o international-scale contexts/language regimes • The language of instruction does not determine the scale of the context. • International-scale teaching  rethinking the official language regime of the context.

Blommaert, Collins, & Slembrouck (2005): Scale ”State-level activities, for instance, such as policies in education, are responsive both to influences from higher-level, transnational scales (consider the growing concern with English in almost every education system in the world) as well as from lower-level, intranational scales (the national and regional political dynamics, minority issues...).” (p. 202, formatting added)

Three HE language contexts worldwide 1. State-level monolingual  lectures in national language, reading in national language;  monolingual situation naturalized, other L1s obscured, national language only onstage.

2. State-level bilingual  A: lectures/interaction in national language, reading in English;  B: CLIL: lectures/interaction in English, reading in English, bilingual situation naturalized, L1 and English sometimes both onstage.

3. International English-only  Multilingual situation obscured;  Onstage language English, frequently confused with 2B especially by administrators.

Data • Recordings of 15 BA lectures in Swedish – Biology and Engineering lectures – the EVA project

• Online questionnaires to HE teachers on purposes of Englishmedium literature (Pecorari et al., 2011a) • Paper (post-lecture) questionnaire to students on their reading practices (Pecorari et al., 2011b) • Interviews with students on their reading habits (Mežek, 2013)

Two levels of aims of teachers in Sweden • Teachers expect that students will:  learn content AND  improve English (state-level aim)  become socialized into the international scale (international-level aim)

(Pecorari et al., 2011a)

English as desirable but indeterminate

(Pecorari et al., 2011a)

State-level biliteracy is normalized and stabilized • Reading English should not be a problem:

A lot of fantasy is in English, so that I have to read in the language it was written in. But my whole- the rest of it is in Swedish. It’s [the languages I read in] kind of fifty-fifty.

(Mežek, 2013, p. 173)

But not entirely normalized • Would you choose a textbook in English if the choice were free? 44% - no 28% - depends on the course 14% - makes no difference 13% - yes

(Pecorari et al., 2011b)

Context 2: Explicit bilingualism Det här är i alla fall en kromosom och det blir en hel del begrepp nu som jag kommer nämna och jag kommer nämna dem på svenska även om de står på engelska. […] När ni går in på eran kursgenetik introduktionssidan så finns en ordlista som är ganska lång. Ni kan söka på ett ord där och ni kan få förklaringen från engelska till svenska och så vidare på alla olika begrepp, vad de betyder. Så använd den där ordlistan flitigt och gå in så fort ni inte kan, eller kommer ihåg vad ett ord betyder, så gå till ordlistan då och kika sen.

(Bio 2 Lec 2 recording)

Context 2: Explicit bilingualism Anyway, this is a chromosome and there will be plenty of concepts that I’m going to mention and I am going to give you the terms in Swedish even if they’re in English [on the screen] […] When you go into the introduction page for your genetics course there’ll be a pretty long word list . You can do a search on a word there and get the explanation from English to Swedish and so forth for the all the various terms, what they mean. So use that list regularly and go into it as soon as you don’t know, or can’t remember what a term means, just go to the list and have a look. (Bio 2 Lec 2 recording)

Context 2: Role of slides and national-language material Sen har vi då en bok […] Det är den här och det är den som läsanvisningarna är till. Och den kan ni köpa. … Den är på engelska så om ni tycker det är jättejobbigt så finns det en bok på svenska men den är inte lika grundlig men den kanske kan hjälpa till lite för förståelsen. […] Jag kommer skriva mycket på tavlan och visa overheads från er bok.

(Bio 2 Lec 1 recording)

Context 2: Role of slides and national-language material And then we have a book […] It’s this one and it’s what your reading instructions refer to. It’s the one you can buy. … It’s in English but if you think that’s a real drag there’s a book in Swedish, it’s not as thorough but it could help a bit with understanding. […] I’m going to write a lot on the board and show overheads from your book.

(Bio 2 Lec 1 recording)

Context 2: Policing the language boundaries: Keeping the languages apart och sedan har vi då rectifying section eller rectifyer. Eller förstärkare. Man ska dock inte säga amplifier då. Det brukar inte vara vanligt. Varför ska man inte säga det. Vad är amplifier för något? Mera elektronik förstärkare då. Det ska man inte säga. Men förstärkare funkar bra på svenska.

Context 2: Policing the language boundaries: Keeping the languages apart and then we have the rectifying section or rectifier. Or förstärkare. But you shouldn’t say amplifier. That’s not usual. Why not? What’s an amplifier ? More of an electronic förstärkare, isn’t it. So don’t call this by that name. But förstärkare works well in Swedish.


’Rectifier’ (chemical engineering) ’Amplifier’(electronics)

The type 2 state-scale HE classroom… … is like a (fairly modern) bilingual secondary-school classroom:  Language differences are highlighted where necessary;  Biliteracy is normal;  Lesson accomplishment = sole goal  Making use of the resources necessary (translanguaging)

Transition to international level • Increase in number of non-local students (globally): English-medium classrooms used as international-level forums; Implications for teaching (e.g. in Sweden).

Implications of the international level in Sweden • Much teaching in ELF; • Caution about using local metaphors (etc.) in translation; • Avoidance of local examples; • Explicit discussion of Swedishness of particular issues.

The international scale is like a state-scale multilingual secondary classroom • The aim = ’accomplish the lesson’: o achieve successful ’deep’ learning o socialize the learners into the appropriate language regime (i.e. make sure they know the national language in an accepted way) • Schools often (used to) discourage use of vernaculars, even offstage. … As in the international-level HE classroom.

Socialization and language policing on the international level An example: Teachers sometimes try to break up groups with similar L1 and discourage use of L1, even offstage, to encourage socialization and language learning. BUT • Students resist  it interferes with learning effectively (by ’deep’ interaction constructing knowledge) ? Students themselves should be able to balance the aims against each other; ? The multilingualism should become visible as in state-level bilingual HE.

When the national language and the vernacular are both English In the UK: the majority population the state level the international level

the same language (English)

However… • The register of lecture is more colloquial than that of books (MICASE; e.g. Biber, 2006). • Is the ’language’ of lectures at the state level appropriate at the international level?

When the national language and the vernacular are both English • How do British lecturers adapt to the international level? • Is the state/international distinction clear when there is no language difference? • Should it be?

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Slides on academia.edu

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