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Title: English in global voluntary work contexts : conceptions and experiences of language, communication and pedagogy
Author: Page, Nathan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 9709
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2015
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This research project focuses on situations where Japanese volunteer workers use English to communicate with local interlocutors in a diverse set of overseas countries, including Kenya, India and Jamaica. Before being dispatched, volunteers take an intensive ten week language learning programme in Japan, to act as preparation for using English during their time overseas. There are two strands to this project, firstly research into the conceptions of English held by teachers and students at the language training centres in Japan, relative to the overall context of language pedagogy and usage. Secondly, experiences of the overseas volunteers are investigated in terms of language and communication. This structure to the project allows for a consideration of the relationship between: a) conceptions of English and appropriate language learning for this context and b) experiences of language and communication in the target contexts of language usage. Exploring this relationship will facilitate the discussion of locally relevant issues in the pre-service language pedagogy for future JICA volunteers and for language education in other related contexts. The research methods which are used here derive from a discourse analytic approach to interviews and focus groups, and linguistic ethnography. In terms of conceptions in the pre-service pedagogical context, a range of perspectives are demonstrated, where some participants orientate strongly to standards-based conceptions of language and others adopt a more flexible, intelligibility-based view of global communication and language pedagogy designed to facilitate it. In terms of the post-pedagogy uses and experiences of English in the locations of voluntary work, the linguistic forms utilised in the communication are diverse in nature, and could be characterised as problematic by some ELT practitioners. In the extracts presented here, non-alignment with standard language forms does not lead to a reduction in mutual intelligibility between the participants. Instead, a reluctance or inability to align with and accommodate to interlocutors leads to the interactional trouble which does occur. Further aspects of the volunteer interactions are analysed and discussed such as cultural dimensions and matters of personal and professional identity. Regarding the implications of these findings for how a locally relevant, situated ELT pedagogy can be realised by language teachers at JICA and in related contexts, such a pedagogy would need to account for linguistic diversity in global uses of English, and for the development of vital intercultural communication skills such as the ability to achieve specific pragmatic moves in interaction and how to handle reductions in intelligibility, including situations where an interlocutor is not mutually working to scaffold interactive success. A standards-based orientation towards language pedagogy is problematised based on the investigation’s results, and suggestions are provided for raising teacher and learner awareness of issues in international communication which facilitate an intelligibility-based view. This project therefore contributes to a growing body of research into English in global contexts in terms of how teachers and learners conceive of language and communication relative to grammatical standards, the nature of real-life global communicative practices and the implications of this for language pedagogy.
Supervisor: Hall, Christopher J. ; Wicaksono, Rachel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available