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Hania Salter-Dvorak Tracking the learning experiences of MA students: Hurdles faced by the researcher.

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Presentation on theme: "Hania Salter-Dvorak Tracking the learning experiences of MA students: Hurdles faced by the researcher."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hania Salter-Dvorak Tracking the learning experiences of MA students: Hurdles faced by the researcher

2 outline The study: aims & design My aspirations: text and context Front stage/backstage Front stage: hurdles Back stage: hurdles Two ethical dilemmas Conclusions on insider field work in educational settings

3 Working title Entering the argumentative fray of Anglophone academia: How learner identity and agency interact with affordances.

4 Research questions 1. How do learners acquire the discourses of EAP and develop a shared awareness of academic genres and rituals that successful players use? 2. How do learners transfer the EAP discourses to specific disciplines? 3.What evidence is there of factors relating to language/agency/ identity/ affordances affecting participation on the Masters course?

5 Phases of project Phase 1 Oct – Dec 2007 Collection of data from case studies on my Postgraduate Academic English classes Phase 2 Jan 2008 – Jan 2009 Collection of data from case studies on Masters courses.

6 Design and methodology situated ethnographic longitudinal study eclectic approach to data collection learners take centre stage learners perspectives triangulated with my own (as their EAP lecturer) and those of their subject lecturers and peers. dynamic interaction of the processes that affect the cognition of learners, by viewing them as embedded.

7 Lillis: Text and Context research lens goes beyond the text and the researcher adopts an openness to writer- insiders comments, perspectives and discourses, whether or not these relate to a research focus pre-defined by the researcher (2008:361) deep theorising between text and context (2008:356)

8 Goffman Front stage What happens in the classroom What happens in tutorials What happens in talk around texts Back stage What students say about the above What lecturers say about the above

9 Front stage data What happens in the classroom Observation 6 observations - field notes What happens in tutorials Observation? recording?I recording What happens in talk around texts between students and lecturers High tech? Deception? No data

10 Back stage data What students say about the classroom/ tutorials/talk around texts 38 recorded interviews What lecturers say about the classroom/ tutorials/talk around texts 15 recorded interviews

11 Front stage: Hurdles 1. Will university research ethics committee give permission for the research to take place? 2. Will the students/lecturers agree to participate? 3. What will I be able to see/hear in class? 4. How can I capture what I see/hear without being obtrusive?

12 Back stage: Hurdle role relations may crucially influence the research process and outcome Sarangi and Roberts, 1999 :23

13 Back stage: Hurdles Interviews with students identities: lecturer/advisor/colleague/friend Interviews with lecturers identities: colleague/co-researcher/language &literacy expert/amateur interviewer

14 Dissertation advisors: discourses and identities 1.Wants to address problem in department Internationalisation & EAP What are we going to do with them? 2.Wants to enter into a dialogue on learning Professional development & L2 writing What do you think we should be doing? 3. Wants to develop provision/learn from trial and error Evidence based practice with L2 students What have we learnt ?

15 entry into the back regions is not only an index of rapport but of success as an ethnographer (Berrerman, 1968:362, quoted by Sarangi and Roberts, 1999:23)

16 Conclusion Data capture – How do people think, behave and learn? 1.What is feasible? 2. What is ethical? 3. What is reportable?

17 References Lillis, T. (2008) Ethnography as Method,Methodology, and Deep Theorising Closing the Gap between Text and Context in Academic Writing Research. Written Communication 25:3 pp Sarangi, S & C. Roberts. (1999) Talk, Work and Institutional Order Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.


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