Saturday, September 24, 2011

B. Norton & C. McKinney (2011) An Identity Approach to Second Language Acquisiton

[This is one of the articles compiled for a class for my graduate students in the autumn/winter semester in 2011/2012.]

Bonny Norton & Carolyn McKinney (2011) An Identity Approach to Second Language Acquisition in Dwight Atkinson (ed) Alternative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (Routledge) [Paperback,Kindle Edition ] (pp. 73-94)

Note: This article has much to share with Chapter 6 of Pennycook (2001) Critical Applied Linguistics: A Critical Introduction. Routledge. [Paperback, Kindle Edition]

You may want to read my note for Chapter 6

It may be better, though, to read the following page to understand keywords including Postcolonialism, Postmodernism, Poststructrualism, and Foucault.

See the index page as well.

p. 73

Q: Summarize the first paragraph.

Q: What do the authors mean when they say "In this view, every time learners speak, they are negotiating and renegotiating a sense of self in relation to the larger social world, and reorganizing that relationship in multiple dimensions of their lives (p. 73)"?

p. 74

Q: Can you paraphrase Norton's three characteristics of identity: the multiple, non-unitary nature of identity; identity as a site of struggle; and identity as changing over time. Compare these characteristics with those that you associate with the concept of identity.

Q: What is psychometircs?

Q: What are instrumental motivation and integrative motivation (Gardner and Lambert)?

Q: What do you think of the following observations by Ushioda (Ushioda 2011)?

Simplifying somewhat, it is probably true to say that the study of language motivation over the past 40 years or so has been shaped by two successive though overlapping research traditions ? North American social psychology, and cognitive motivational psychology. Both traditions share a common root in psychometric approaches to the measurement of individual traits or differences. This means that they deploy measurement techniques and statistical procedures that make certain assumptions about the normal distribution of particular traits in a given population.

Ushioda (2011) "A Person-in-Context Relational View of Emergent Motivation, Self and Identity" in Dornyei, Zoltan; Ushioda, Ema (2011). Motivation, Language Identity and the L2 Self (Kindle Locations 4717-4721). Channel View Publications. Kindle Edition.

Let us consider, first of all, the role of context in models of motivation developed in the Gardnerian social-psychological tradition. In this connection, it is worth noting that, although we call it ‘social’ psychology, the focus in social psychology is on the individual (as social being), rather than on the social or cultural collective (as in sociology). As Dornyei (1999) points out, Gardner and Lambert’s (1972) original social-psychological model of L2 learning is essentially a theory of individual, rather than socially or culturally motivation; and social and cultural factors are reflected only through the individual’s attitudes, measured through self-report instruments. Although the influence of the socio-cultural environment is implicit in this and later versions of the model, in the form of ‘cultural beliefs’ in the social milieu which are assumed to shape an individual’s attitudes (Gardner, 1985: 146-147), the model sustains the basic Cartesian dualism between the mental and material worlds, between the inner life of the individual and the surrounding culture and society.

Ushioda (2011) "A Person-in-Context Relational View of Emergent Motivation, Self and Identity" in Dornyei, Zoltan; Ushioda, Ema (2011). Motivation, Language Identity and the L2 Self (Second Language Acquisition) (Kindle Locations 4741-4749). Channel View Publications. Kindle Edition.

p. 75

Q: What is investment (Norton Peirce, 1995)?

Social Identity, Investment, and Language Learning
Author: Peirce, Bonny Norton
Source: TESOL Quarterly, Volume 29, Number 1, Spring 1995 , pp. 9-31(23)
Publisher: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL)

The author argues that second language acquisition (SLA) theorists have struggled to conceptualize the relationship between the language learner and the social world because they have not developed a comprehensive theory of social identity which integrates the language learner and the language learning context. She also maintains that SLA theorists have not adequately addressed how relations of power affect interaction between language learners and target language speakers. Using data collected in Canada from January to December 1991 from diaries, questionnaires, individual and group interviews, and home visits, the author illustrates how and under what conditions the immigrant women in her study created, responded to, and sometimes resisted opportunities to speak English. Drawing on her data analysis as well as her reading in social theory, the author argues that current conceptions of the individual in SLA theory need to be reconceptualized, and she draws on the poststructuralist conception of social identity as multiple, a site of struggle, and subject to change to explain the findings from her study. Further, she argues for a conception of investment rather than motivation to capture the complex relationship of language learners to the target language and their sometimes ambivalent desire to speak it. The notion of investment conceives of the language learner, not as ahistorical and unidimensional, but as having a complex social history and multiple desires. The article includes a discussion of the implications of the study for classroom teaching and current theories of communicative competence.
(Download the paper (password will be requested))

Q: What is cultural capital? How is it different from economic, social and symbolic capitals?

Q: What did "silence" mean in Duff (2002)?

Q: How is investment different from instrumental motivation?

p. 76

Q: What could happen if a learner is "a highly motivated language learner, but may nevertheless have little investment in the language practice" (p. 76)? Do you think you've observed such cases?

Q: What are the imagined communities?

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New Edition)

Q: The authors argue: "These imagined communities are no less real than the ones in which learners have daily engagement and might even have a stronger impact on their identities and investments." (p. 76). Would you agree? Recall different types of persons you know and see if this observation applies to each one of them.

p. 77

Q: How the poststructuralist view of language different from structuralist view of language?

You can find some information on poststructulalism here
and on structuralism here

Q: Summarize the last paragraph on Bakhtin.

p. 78

Q: What did Bourdieu mean when he said "speech always owes a major part of its value to the value of the person who utters it" (1977, p. 652)? Would modern linguists agree with him?

Q: What are the implications of Bakhtin and Bourdiew on SLA theories?

p. 79

Q: What is the Foucauldian notion of subjectivity?

Foucault analyzes the discursive and practical conditions for the existence of truth and discursive meaning. To show the principles of production of truth and discursive meaning in various discursive formations, he details how truth claims emerge during various epochs on the basis of what was actually said and written during these periods. He particularly describes the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, and the 20th century. He strives to avoid all interpretation and to depart from the goals of hermeneutics. This does not mean that Foucault denounces truth and discursive meaning, but just that truth and discursive meaning depend on the historical discursive and practical means of truth and meaning production. For instance, although they were radically different during Enlightenment as opposed to Modernity, there were indeed discursive meaning, truth and correct treatment of madness during both epochs (Madness and Civilization). This posture allows Foucault to denounce a priori concepts of the nature of the human subject and focus on the role of discursive practices in constituting subjectivity.

Below are my blog articles on Foucault and other related topics.


Q: What is to "de-essentialize and deconstruct identity categories such as race and gender"?

Q: What are Legitimate peripheral participation (LPP) and situated learning?

p. 81

Q: Elaborate the last paragraph.

p. 82

Q: What is the first assumption that the identity approach shares with such studies as qualitative approach, critical ethnography, feminist psotstructuralist theory, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology? Explain.

Q: What is the second assumption?

Q: What is the third assumption?

Q: What does Pennycook (2007, p. 39) mean?

p. 83

Q: Would you agree with Pavlenko (2001b, p. 167)?

p. 87

Q: What is the difference between the identity approach different and the sociocognitive approach?

Q: What is the difference between the identity approach and the sociocultural theory (SCT) approach?

Q: What is the difference between the identity approach and the conversational analysis (CA)? (What is an emic understanding?)

Q: Q: What is the difference between the identity approach and the language socialization approach?

p. 88

Q: Do you think our identities are affected by the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT)?

p. 89

Q: Elaborate the last paragraph.

Q: Finally, what is your sense of identity? How would you describe your identity (or identities)?

You may want to read other works by Bonny Norton.

Identity and Language Learning

Critical Pedagogies and Language Learning

Researcher Identity, Narrative Inquiry, and Language Teaching Research
Authors: Norton, Bonny; Early, Margaret
Source: TESOL Quarterly, Volume 45, Number 3, September 2011 , pp. 415-439(25)
Publisher: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL)

Whereas there has been much research on language and identity with respect to learners, teachers, and teacher educators, there has been little focus on the identity of the researcher, an important stakeholder in language education. Our research therefore addresses the following question: To what extent can narrative inquiry illuminate the ways in which researcher identity is negotiated in language teaching research? To address this question, we draw on a digital literacy study in multilingual Uganda to narrate how we engaged in our own storytelling, and the process by which we invited teachers to share their experiences of teaching through the medium of English as an additional language in a poorly resourced rural school. Central themes were our attempts to reduce power differentials between researchers and teachers, and our desire to increase teacher investment (Norton, 2000) in our collaborative research project. Drawing on numerous small stories (Bamberg, 2004; Georgakopoulou, 2006), we argue that several researcher identities were realized, including international guest, collaborative team member, teacher, and teacher educator. Our article supports the case that small stories enrich traditional narrative inquiry, both theoretically and methodologically, and make visible the complex ways in which researcher identity impacts research, not only in language teaching, but in education more broadly.
(Download (password will be required))


If you're interested, please read my essays as well.

"Where is Self, and what is it?" No, it's rather "How is Self?": Luhmann's theory of autopoiesis.

A summary of Damasio’s “Self Comes to Mind”

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