Title

The complexities of English language learning and use: Exploring low-literate adult indigenous immigrant language learner identity and agency

Location

2071

Format Type

Paper

Format Type

Paper

Start Date

14-1-2017 10:30 AM

End Date

14-1-2017 11:50 AM

Abstract

This two-year photovoice study examines the language learning trajectories of two adult indigenous female participants in a community-based English as a second language (ESL) course. Drawing on positioning theory (Davies & Harré, 1990) to analyze classroom discourse and learner-created visuals in a class for immigrants with low literacy skills, this study investigates how participants discursively negotiate their gender, mother, working class, and migrant identities, and literacy practices within the societal expectations to scaffold their learning and gain access to linguistic and cultural resources. The analysis of interviews and class interactions based on participant-created visuals reveals that language learning is both a process of becoming and an act of negotiation, contestation, or conformation of a self-assigned or other assigned identities. Preliminary findings reveal that challenges, such as family obligations, work, transportation issues, and school proximity, as well as lack of L2 interactions outside the class prevents them from improving their English skills. Oral traditions, family, and community validate participants’ voices and support English language development. Interactions based on learner-created multimodal discourses transcend linguistic boundaries and create opportunities for them to contest dominant discourses on official language, national identity, and immigration. Through these interactions, participants constitute a transnational, hybrid identity and develop English oral communication skills. The study suggests that participatory, visual-based action research, such as photovoice (Burris & Wang, 1997), promotes community dialogue about issues identified by the participants and develops their identity, agency, and engagement in language learning and use.

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Jan 14th, 10:30 AM Jan 14th, 11:50 AM

The complexities of English language learning and use: Exploring low-literate adult indigenous immigrant language learner identity and agency

2071

This two-year photovoice study examines the language learning trajectories of two adult indigenous female participants in a community-based English as a second language (ESL) course. Drawing on positioning theory (Davies & Harré, 1990) to analyze classroom discourse and learner-created visuals in a class for immigrants with low literacy skills, this study investigates how participants discursively negotiate their gender, mother, working class, and migrant identities, and literacy practices within the societal expectations to scaffold their learning and gain access to linguistic and cultural resources. The analysis of interviews and class interactions based on participant-created visuals reveals that language learning is both a process of becoming and an act of negotiation, contestation, or conformation of a self-assigned or other assigned identities. Preliminary findings reveal that challenges, such as family obligations, work, transportation issues, and school proximity, as well as lack of L2 interactions outside the class prevents them from improving their English skills. Oral traditions, family, and community validate participants’ voices and support English language development. Interactions based on learner-created multimodal discourses transcend linguistic boundaries and create opportunities for them to contest dominant discourses on official language, national identity, and immigration. Through these interactions, participants constitute a transnational, hybrid identity and develop English oral communication skills. The study suggests that participatory, visual-based action research, such as photovoice (Burris & Wang, 1997), promotes community dialogue about issues identified by the participants and develops their identity, agency, and engagement in language learning and use.