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Literacy Education in an Ecological Perspective Triple contexts of participation & language learning Associate Professor Jeppe Bundsgaard (presenter) –

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Presentation on theme: "Literacy Education in an Ecological Perspective Triple contexts of participation & language learning Associate Professor Jeppe Bundsgaard (presenter) –"— Presentation transcript:

1 Literacy Education in an Ecological Perspective Triple contexts of participation & language learning Associate Professor Jeppe Bundsgaard (presenter) – School of Education, University of Aarhus Associate Professor Anna Vibeke Lindø – Associate Professor Jørgen Chr. Bang – Institute of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark

2 Focus Ecological literacy education in an era of globalization and migration, especially the need for communicative competencies related to intra-cultural, inter-cultural as well as trans- cultural communication.

3 Challenge How does language education (mother tongue, second language, foreign language, cross language) contribute to friendly and fair cooperation locally and across regions, nations, ethnicity, sex and ages; and to a fruitful childhood, creativeness, democracy etc?

4 Dialectical linguistics Started by Bang & Døør From end-60-ies-: Focus on language, order and power (class) From mid-70-ies: Focus on sex and age (children) From 1990-ies: Focus on ecology (ecolinguistics) 2000-: Focus on trans-cultural communication og peacekeeping dialogue. Dialectical Linguistics argues for a politically and morally responsible approach to language and linguistics – from our point of view, “a theory of language is part of a theory of life” (Bang & Døør 1998:7). Thus, no theory of language can claim to be neutral.

5 Some principles of language and language use Linguistic communication in natural language is normally and principally a creative process In a communicative situation only a part of the semantic potential is actualized by the participants A communicative relationship is constituted by multi-leveled, interdependent, and criss-cross relations Language-use and text-interpretation is part of a moral and social order, and consequently it is vital and essential who says what, where and for what reason The social order and praxis is constituted by core-contradictions that are asymmetrical relations. (Bang & Døør 1998:7)

6 Dialectical models of communication The dialogue Model

7 Third subject (S 3 ) The third subject is an ecological key concept –Child who overhears parents’ talk –Censor –Overarching subject (‘Das Man’, ‘you’, ‘man’) It reminds us of the fact that speech is never free, never neutral When you participate in a dialogue, you are responsible for the third subjects of the communication as they are involved in the dialogue

8 Core Contradictions

9 Recursive base of the individual Shows the complexity of the contextual dynamics Medium for and a basis of experiencing, understanding and interpreting ourselves, each other and our environment Every situation, every dialogue is more or less constituted by (and constitutes) the nine core contradictions All core contradictions are present and connected as a conjuncture of contradictions in every dialogue They are more or less fore- or backgrounded in the situation.

10 The semantic matrix

11 Social sense and Individual meaning Social sense: traditional way a word is used among the individuals of a community Individual meaning: the word meaning an individual grows up with. (1) the normal way a person uses a word/text; and (2) the interpretation the person habitually uses in understanding other people’s use of the word/text. Relatively stable under different circumstances (time, place, situation). Part of the person’s identity.

12 Social import and Personal significance Social import: a more synchronic dimension of the communication. –The language use of a certain group, an institution or a discipline. Thus, the use of the social import presupposes a common identification of the communicative context and situation. Personal significance is our contribution to the dialogue. –A person’s particular semantics in a specific context Personal significance and Social import: The actual language use. –The foreground of the communication. –The semantics of social sense and the individual meaning – the more diachronic dimensions of the communication – are in the background.

13 Triple contexts of participation & language learning

14 Literacy education in the Danish Folkeskole (K- 9/10) – from the viewpoint state “Danish/Purpose of the subject The purpose of teaching in the subject Danish is to promote the students’ experience and understanding of language, literature and other modes of expression as sources of personal and cultural identity. The subject should promote the students’ ability of sympathetic insight and their aesthetic, ethical and historic understanding. 2. The teaching shall promote the students’ desire to use the language personally and many-sided together with others. The teaching shall strengthen the students’ mastery of the language and develop an open and analytical attitude towards the modes of expression of the contemporary and other periods and cultures. The teaching shall develop the students’ joy of expression and reading and qualify their sympathetic insight and insight in language, literature and modes of expressions. 3. The teaching shall give the students access to the Scandinavian languages and the Nordic cultural community.”

15 Some observations Mono-culture – of the nation state as if it was one culture (intra- cultural) Mostly formal contexts More individual expressions, less collaborative communication Language as system in focus. Language implied being the Danish Standard Language. A system to acquire. Sensibility (sympathetic insight) mostly towards literature and other kinds of one-way texts – less towards other people. Focus on language use as a skill, not on communication as a form of life

16 Cultural contexts Culture is –a group of inter-connected persons –with shared traditions (ways of doing, thinking, valuing, aiming) –and artifacts (tools, laws, institutions) –and often physical places and spaces. In this way a culture can be regarded –a homogeneous unit where members are assimilated and conform to the common traditions; –But core contradictions constitute the relations of the members and thus a culture is a dynamic unit. Cultures can encompass cultures –An ethnic group can encompass villages encompassing families. –Historically cultures developed in more or less closed circles with more or less frequent exchange with other cultures. Today most cultures are highly interrelated due to the globalized market and communication.

17 Three proto-contexts Intra-cultural contexts –Contexts where the participants share deep identifications and understandings –family, tribe, peers; in some connections: the ethnic, religious, national groups Inter-cultural contexts –institutions which in formalized ways organizes the interaction between cultures –the state, school –the international market –the international organizations (EU, OECD, FN) Trans-cultural contexts –Members of two distinct cultures (families, villages, ethnic groups, etc.) meet outside of formalized meeting places –Or where the formal frames does not meet their goals

18 Trans-cultural contexts Challenge of establishing a common ground of participation and communication. One of the most critical tasks of the highly globalized societies of today. Participants must transcend their own cultural background in order to develop a common ground where a new language is created, a language which integrates the cultures at play.

19 Triple contexts of participation & language learning

20 Some prototypical characteristics of the triple contexts of participation and language learning ContextProcessRelationPrototypical communication FunctionApproachParticipation Intra- cultural Homogenization Identity EthicsConversation Deep semantics RitualizationSolidarity (closed) Assimilation & differentiation Inter- cultural Equilibration Categorization PoliticsDiscourse Formal semantics LegalizationLoyaltyNegotiation & war Trans- cultural Heterogenization Identification CrisisDialogue Creative semantics GlobalizationSolidarity (open) Integration & alienation T

21 Processes Intra-cultural: Homogenization - Identity Inter-cultural: Equilibration - Categorization Trans-cultural: Heterogenization - Identification

22 Relations Intra-cultural: Ethics Inter-cultural: Politics Trans-cultural: Crisis

23 Three states of relations War – Destructive –War is to stay in a destructive state Peace – Positive –Peace is to stay in the positive state Crisis – Constructive –Crisis is a transition to another state Crisis is when nobody knows right away what to do. Crisis is when the ways things are done until now does not suffice to handle the ongoing changes.

24 Prototypical communication Intra-cultural: Conversation - Deep semantics Inter-cultural: Discourse - Formal semantics Trans-cultural: Dialogue - Creative semantics

25 Prototypical communication and S 3 Intra-cultural context –The third subject: the child who overhears the conversation of the parents and hereby makes its early experiences with different ways of language games (Wittgenstein, 1953) and life forms in the family. –Conversation. Inter-cultural context –The third subject is more anonymous –And the communication therefore seems to be in accordance with the dominating common values and logics of the culture and appears as neutral –Discourse, because we now operate on a more abstract level

26 Prototypical communication and S 3 Trans-cultural context –the participants traditionally will focus on the differences in he communication. –We call it dialogue, because we define a dialogue as a complex language game in which we are forced to reflect on both similarities and differences. –The similarities, the shared, makes it possible for the participants to identify a common ground. –Differences are often related to different identifications of S 3 (authorities, God, truth, good and evil, legitimate, legal etc.) –The differences might be regarded as constraints, but the identification of the differences might also lead to new insights and cooperation. –Cooperation is not possible without some sort of experiments that include a will to more or less radical change from all parts involved.

27 Functions Intra-cultural: Ritualization Inter-cultural: Legalization Trans-cultural: Globalization

28 Approach Intra-cultural: Solidarity (closed) Inter-cultural: Loyalty Trans-cultural: Solidarity (open)

29 Participation Intra-cultural: Assimilation & differentiation Inter-cultural: Negotiation & war Trans-cultural: Integration & alienation

30 No pole of the triple contexts is inertly good Staying in either pole easily leads to the negative results Staying in the intra-cultural pole: –Monopolization of truth –Xenophobia Staying in the inter-cultural pole: –Certification –Technologization Staying in the trans-cultural pole: –Rootlessness

31 Dialectics of homogenization, categorization, and heterogenization Homogenization –Learning to speak in homeliness contexts assimilating oneself into the language and world view of mother and father, the local community and the regional tribe. Categorization –Learning to negotiate in the common room of local, regional, national and international societies, in the institutional contexts of bureaucratic discourse. Heterogenization –Learning to integrate differences and oppositions of language and world views locally, regionally, globally, in order to be a part of a dialogue of change and solidarity.

32 Three languages Democratic literacy education relates to all three contexts and supports children and students in the development of languages and literacies related to the dominant languages and communication practices of each context: Mother tongue Neutral languages (specialized languages (technical, administrative, bureaucratic, etc.), standard national language, lingua franca (English)). Danish as second language Local and global common languages

33 Created in the situation to communicate and mediate experiences and insights. In order to be able to communicate with strangers or friends with another mother tongue (another dialect, language, cultural or social background, etc.) Sometimes with the use of body language, some times using versions of English, some times with a national standard language etc.

34 Educational aim and objectives Sense and sensitivity –To support the student's development of sensitive sympathetic insight into the meaning and sense of other people's utterances. Further development of the deep semantics. Discourse –To support the student's mastery of the 'neutral' language of core institutional contexts. Argumentation, reasoning, criticizing. Dialogue –To support the student's development of the principles of democratic dialogue: 0) Who is participating in the situation? 1) What is shared in the situation? 2) What are the differences between the participants? 2b) What are the individual characteristics of the participants (“særhed”)? 3) How can we construct an experiment to develop our common practice in healthy directions and overcome oppositions?

35 References Bang, J. C.; Døør, J.; Steffensen, S.V. & Nash, J. (2007). Language, Ecology and Society. London: Continuum. Bang, J. C.; Døør, J.; Alexander, R.J.; Fill, A. & Verhagen, F.C. (eds.) (1996). Language and Ecology—Ecolinguistics. Problems, Theories and Methods. Odense Universitet Barton, D. (2007). Literacy: An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language (2. ed.). London: Wiley-Blackwell. Bundsgaard, J. & Lindø, A. V. (2000): Dialectical Ecolinguistics. Three Essays for the Symposium 30 Years of Language and Ecology in Graz December Odense: Nordisk Institut. Fill, A.; Penz, H. & Trampe, W. (eds.) (2002): Colourful Green Ideas. Papers from the Conference 30 Years of Language and Ecology (Graz, 2000) and the Symposium Sprache Und Okologie. Bern: Peter Lang Publishing. Lindø, Anna Vibeke (2007): “Der stumme Gast: Das dritte Subjekt als ökolinguistische Schlüsselkategorie”. In: Fill, Alwin, Hermine Penz (eds.): Sustaining Language. Essays in Applied Linguistics. Wien, Austria: LIT Verlag ( )


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