Authenticity in the adult ESOL classroom and beyond

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Authenticity in the Adult ESOL Classroom and Beyond CELIA ROBERTS King’s College London London, England MELANIE COOKE King’s College London London, England The debate over authenticity is a longstanding one in the teaching of English to speakers of other languages This article revisits that debate in the context of linguistic-minority adults who, in the process of migration, experience a loss of independence and cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1986/2004) Adult migrants must develop authentic voices in their new second language both for social and interpersonal encounters and in bureaucratic and institutional settings such as job interviews and medical consultations These needs are not adequately met by invented or oversimplified functional materials which flatten out interactional complexity Rather, materials should be research based so that they exemplify the social relations and discourse routines of everyday and institutional interactions his article considers the question of what counts as authenticity in the teaching of English to speakers of other languages (ESOL), both in terms of content and the interactional environment of the classroom It examines the discursive challenges facing linguistic minority migrants in superdiverse settings typical of western urban centres (Vertovec, 2006), and the pedagogic instruction and materials which are intended to address these challenges For migrants, the English language classroom offers several opportunities, two of which we focus on in this article: first, the opportunity to develop the voice (or voices) needed for authentic self-expression, in English, in social and interpersonal encounters, and second, the opportunity to close the gap between fleeting asymmetrical encounters (often mediated through interpreters) and the ability to manage the extended institutional interactions required to negotiate welfare, medical, and work-related communications Many migrants have little interaction with the majority population (Baynham et al., 2007; Bremer, Roberts, Vasseur, Simonot, & Broeder, 1996; Norton, T 620 TESOL QUARTERLY Vol 43, No 3, September 2009 Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:01 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 2000;) and lack opportunities for lifelong and ‘‘lifewide’’ discourse socialisation in English (Duff, 2008, p 257) ESOL classrooms must compensate for this lack with instruction and materials that reflect the interactional realities of the world outside and provide affordances for authentic communication in class In order to explore the issues arising from this challenge we revisit the debate about authenticity in language teaching, placing some of the questions raised in that debate against the background of language learning in migrant contexts In the concluding section of our discussion we focus on the production of a particular genre, that of narrative, as a way of illustrating several points made in the article about authentic language, pedagogic materials and their relevance to migrant learners Some of the questions we explore are N What counts as authenticity in the ESOL classroom? N What does research tell us about the features of spoken interaction in contexts such as workplaces, medical consultations, and job interviews, and how does this research inform ESOL pedagogy? N What are the challenges and barriers to turning real-life, authentic language into pedagogic materials? N What kinds of classroom practices facilitate ESOL learners in their development of an authentic voice across both institutional and everyday settings? We draw on several large-scale pieces of research and related development projects carried out in 2003–2007: a study of 40 ESOL classrooms in London and the north of England (Baynham et al., 2007), a study of over 200 doctor–patient interactions in family practices in London (Roberts et al., 2005), and a study of language and ethnicity in 60 job interviews for low-paid work throughout the United Kingdom (Roberts & Campbell, 2006) These large corpora of institutional encounters are examined alongside current ESOL curricular materials in order to consider the authenticity of the latter and their relevance to the needs of linguistic-minority adults AUTHENTIC PEDAGOGIC MATERIALS In this article, we explore two different sides of authenticity in language teaching The first regards the issue of what counts as authentic materials, that is, texts and models for classroom use, and the second is the question of authenticity with respect to self-expression and the development of authentic voice The debate about authenticity in teaching materials is a longstanding and sometimes contradictory one in English language teaching There are three main strands to this AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:02 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 621 debate: (a) what counts as authenticity; (b) what counts as task authenticity; that is, what are learners being asked to with curricular materials; and (c) the potential for authentic materials to produce a narrow and overly functional learning experience Communicative language teaching (CLT) promoted a preference for real or authentic texts, that is, texts which have been produced by and/ or for expert users of the language for use outside of the classroom; that these were superior to texts devised for language teaching purposes became a strong ‘‘item of faith’’ (Cook, 1997) The promotion by some exponents of CLT of authentic texts as inherently superior has been critiqued from several angles, all of which challenge the notion that the classroom and pedagogic texts are in some way inauthentic or artificial when contrasted with the supposed authenticity of the world outside Two of the chief criticisms stem from the question posed by Widdowson (1997) of how far a text can remain authentic once it is removed from the specific context in which it was uttered or written, and the question of task authenticity (Breen, 1985; Taylor, 1994) i.e what matters is not whether a particular text is authentic but whether a learner interacts with it in an authentic way AUTHENTICITY AND SELF-EXPRESSION The other notion of authenticity we refer to here is that of the development of self-expression and authentic voice Some critics argue that the insistence in CLT on authentic materials can produce curricula which are too narrowly functionalist and which not provide affordances for learners to be themselves in the new language Cook (1997) argues that authentic language is not always the most appropriate for pedagogic models, and that a focus on authentic texts has led to an overly functional view of language at the expense of the creative language play essential to learning Kramsch (1993) also makes a case for the special nature of the language classroom as a place where learners should be allowed to be learners, that is, to creatively exploring the hybrid ‘‘third spaces’’ between their first language/culture and that of the target language/culture We agree that the classroom has its own reality, interactional imperatives and opportunity for creativity, and that authentic learning is always less about materials and more about how they are used—no cutting and pasting into the classroom can replicate the lived experience of actual interaction Indeed, our own data from ESOL classrooms (Baynham et al., 2007) revealed a marked contrast between the talk produced by students when they spoke ‘‘from within’’—or in the words of Charles Taylor (1991) in their ‘‘languages of personal resonance’’ 622 TESOL QUARTERLY Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:02 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) (p 89)—about subjects which mattered to them, on the one hand and, on the other, the talk which resulted from contrived activities such as dialogue building and role plays of supposedly real-life scenarios The former invariably produced longer and more complex turns than the latter, even amongst low-level learners We return to this issue later in the article (see also Cooke & Roberts, 2007) A related concern is that shared by many ESOL and adult literacy educators over the way in which authenticity translates in curricular materials into a sometimes dreary diet of pseudo real-life scenarios such as shopping or filling in forms ESOL has, of course, historically been concerned with teaching migrants to navigate interactions and literacy demands in, for example, health settings and street bureaucracies such as welfare offices and banks, and there is no doubt that this is a necessary part of instruction, especially for new arrivals ESOL and adult literacy classrooms are believed by many (see, e.g., Jacobson, Degener, & PurcellGates, 2003) to be more relevant and motivating if students use language and texts produced for real purposes in the real world, as opposed to materials which are decontextualised or school only However, the themes suggested as relevant to adult learners’ lives by Jacobson et al (2003) rarely seem to step beyond the realms of shopping, cooking, cleaning, and basic civics; the question of powerful genres and registers in texts and the inequality and marginalization faced by many ESOL and adult literacy students are not proposed as themes for class study or discussion Teaching confined to functional, survival-type situations has been criticised for uncritically representing students as passive consumers of welfare, for an overemphasis on problems, and for reproducing social inequality, that is, socialising migrants to take their place as low-paid, low-grade workers (Auerbach, 1986; Tollefson, 1986) We argue, however, that, although the insistence that ESOL reflect students’ day-to-day lives has indeed led to humdrum prescriptive materials, this, in itself, does not remove the need to raise awareness of the interactional challenges they face outside the classroom and to explore these with the students The challenge is to this in pedagogically interesting ways and, importantly, with materials which reflect the patterns and structures of the discourse produced in real contemporary institutional encounters—it is to this we turn in the next section RESEARCH-BASED MATERIALS ESOL classrooms are faced with the question of how to prepare linguistic-minority adults for interaction in the world outside the classroom, and none of the arguments against authenticity at any cost challenge the proposition that curricular materials aimed at developing AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:03 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 623 the communicative resources for students for use in real world contexts should, at least, be research based Much of the material available for teaching is invented and presents an idealised interactional world in which people use the same variety of standard English, everyone co-operates, migrants not have to struggle for the right ‘‘to impose reception’’ (Bourdieu, 1977, p 75), and all participants are equally legitimate speakers This is particularly misleading in representations of interactions where power is held by the majority speaker because of his or her social or institutional position (Roberts et al., 1992; Bremer et al., 1996) Invented, idealized interactions and scenarios are removed linguistically, culturally, and socially from the features of interaction in real-life contexts Carter (in, e.g., 1998) and Carter and McCarthy (1995, 2004) have written extensively about the lack of fit between pedagogic grammars based on written language and the grammar of spoken English Although they not ignore the fact that ‘‘the leap from linguistics to pedagogy is far from straightforward’’ (Cook, 1998, p 57), they argue that at the very least learners should be exposed to naturally occurring talk and encouraged to become aware of its common features Carter and McCarthy base their argument for the grammar of spoken talk on evidence collected for large corpora of spoken language such as the British National Corpus (University of Oxford, 2005) and CANCODE (Cambridge University, 2009) We would argue that there are two kinds of evidence which must be taken into account when designing curricular materials: the evidence that research provides through the collection of corpora and discourse analysis and what learners themselves know about the real world which is idealized for them in their pedagogic materials The following extract, for example, from the Skills for Life ESOL learning materials (Department for Education and Shille [DfES], 2003 Entry 1) used in the United Kingdom, raised laughter and ironic comments among the beginners to whom it was presented in class They know, as well as most other people, that such a straightforward interaction when booking an appointment to see a doctor is somewhat unlikely within the current U.K health system: Receptionist: Hello Ashlea Surgery Filiz: Hello, can I make an appointment for my daughter to see Dr Green please? Receptionist: Yes What’s the name? Filiz: Gulay Akpinar Receptionist: Can you spell her first name please? Filiz: Yes It’s G-U-L-A-Y Gulay Akpinar Receptionist: OK Dr Green’s next appointment is on Thursday morning Filiz: Thursday OK Receptionist: Right Is 9.30 OK? 624 TESOL QUARTERLY Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:03 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) Filiz: Yes, that’s fine Thank you very much (From DfES [2003] Skills for Life ESOL learning materials Entry 1, Unit 5, p 18) Although this invented interaction has useful elements, for example, how to make requests and how to spell out names, the text lacks authenticity because the students are better informed than the materials writers about the difficulty of getting an appointment with the family doctor when they want The orderliness of the text belies the lived experience of negotiating scarce resources FROM AUTHENTIC LINGUISTIC DATA TO PEDAGOGY We would argue, along with others working in language teaching in English-dominant settings (Burns et al., 1997; Carter, 1998; Carter & McCarthy, 2004; Mawer, 1999; Newton, 2007) that, unlike invented materials, curricular materials which draw on language data collected in real-life contexts can act as an essential bridge between the classroom and learners’ real lives Pedagogic tasks based on real data provide learners with explicit awareness of features of institutional interaction which they otherwise have little chance of getting outside the classroom Without tasks which make explicit the features of communication in settings such as the workplace and medical consultations, many of the processes and discursive demands of these interactions will remain hidden to linguistic-minority speakers By way of illustration, in the following sections, we present two examples of pedagogic material alongside extracts from transcripts of interaction which took place in a similar real-life scenario, followed by a comparison of both We follow these extracts with a discussion of the implications for ESOL pedagogy ESOL AND BUREAUCRATIC ENCOUNTERS: DOCTOR– PATIENT CONSULTATIONS The first examples deal with a medical consultation, a commonly taught topic in ESOL lessons but one for which there are few pedagogic materials available; for example, the Skills for Life ESOL learning materials (DfES, 2003) contain no doctor–patient interaction at all Extract 1—an invented dialogue taken from the series New Headway (Soars & Soars, 2000), a popular global textbook—is used by ESOL teachers in the absence of other material The dialogue follows a section on vocabulary related to illness and is presented as a listening comprehension exercise which students are invited to use as a model to practise and then invent their own dialogues AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:03 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 625 Extract D5Doctor, M5Manuel D Hello Come and sit down What seems to be the matter? M Well, I haven’t felt very well for a few days I’ve got a bit of a temperature, and I feel just terrible I’ve got stomach ache as well D Have you felt sick? M I’ve been sick a couple of times D Mm Let me have a look at you Your glands aren’t swollen Have you got a sore throat? M No, I haven’t D Have you had diarrhea at all? M Yes, I have, actually D Have you had anything to eat recently which might have disagreed with you? 10 M No I don’t think so Oh! I went to a barbecue a few days ago and the chicken wasn’t properly cooked 11 D It could be that, or just something that was left out of the fridge for too long 12 M Yes, I started being ill that night 13 D Well, you should have a day or two in bed, and I’ll give you something that will look after the stomach ache and diarrhoea Drink plenty of liquids, and just take things easy for a while I’ll write you a prescription 14 M Thank you Do I have to pay you? 15 D No, no Seeing me is free, but you’ll have to pay for the prescription It’s £6 16 M Right Thanks very much Goodbye 17 D Bye-bye (From Soars & Soars (2000) New Headway Pre-Intermediate, Unit 8, p 124) We contrast this invented interaction with the opening phase of a videorecorded real encounter between a local Londoner (K) and a family doctor (D) whom she has not met before: Extract 2 K yeah well its just um I’ve got flu or virus and D oh dear what’s been happening K um well I don’t know I was um going away for Easter and um I had a pain in my back (.) in the lung and I had it bad once and um I thought ‘uh uh’ you know I’ll brush it off so I had a very very dry cough last week when I went to work and er I couldn’t go in on the Wednesday and then Thursday and Friday I was coughing and coughing but nothing (.) hurt me but last night I never slept at all and I was going to go up to G 626 TESOL QUARTERLY Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:03 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) hospital one minute its hard and one minute its soft and then when I cough (.) it nearly kills me so 10 D oh dear and when you say it’s hard and soft what you mean by that1 The contrast between the invented and real examples illuminates several features of real institutional discourse: how institutional discourse routines change over time but for a period a certain routine becomes the preferred model; how subtle means of self-presentation will affect the social relationships that are negotiated in interaction (and possibly the outcomes); and how linguistic and sociocultural knowledge are wired in together We look at each of these in turn The most obvious contrast between the two is the difference in length between the presentation-of-symptoms phase In the constructed version this phase takes only three lines, whereas in the real example, even after lines, the doctor’s intention is to elicit further telling of symptoms Earlier doctor–patient studies suggested that doctors interrupt patients early on in this phase (after 18 seconds according to Beckman & Frankel, 1984) Recent more patient-centered initiatives have focused on a much longer and detailed opening phase, encouraging patients to describe and comment on their symptoms The presentation of symptoms, with local English-speaking patients, tends to follow a micro-discourse routine which consists of three aspects (Roberts et al., 2004): the description of symptoms, the context—including the circumstances and history of the symptoms—and, crucially, the patient’s stance The patient’s stance consists of both affective stance, indicating feelings, and epistemic stance (Ochs, 1996), indicating the degree of certainty of knowledge, which often includes some aspect of selfdiagnosis In the constructed example, the patient describes his symptoms and refers very briefly to when they started He also displays, fleetingly, an affective stance: ‘‘I feel just terrible.’’ By contrast, the real patient gives much more detailed symptoms and context and, most significantly, displays her affective stance—‘‘it nearly kills me,’’ ‘‘you know, I’ll brush it off’’—which both justify her coming in and presents her as a worthy patient This attention to the moral self is common in local English-speaking patients but rarely present among linguisticminority patients Indeed, their opening phases are consistently different from that of the local speakers, lacking the integration of the three elements described earlier (Roberts et al., 2004) Thus, the subtle ways in which self-presentation is achieved displays the patient as one worthy of the doctor’s attention and care This analysis of self-presentation in the opening phase of the consultation also shows how linguistic and The video is from the video database for the Patients With Limited English and Doctors in General Practice project, funded by the Sir Sigmund Warburg Voluntary Settlement AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:03 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 627 sociocultural knowledge work together We would argue that regardless of whether materials are real or constructed, if the learner’s attention is not directed to these aspects of interaction, task authenticity cannot be achieved Although conversation analysis (CA) has made a special study of the orderliness of social interaction in doctor–patient communication (Heath, 1981; Heritage & Maynard, 2006; ten Have, 1989) from which relevant text materials can be derived, little attention has been paid to linguistic and cultural variety Only within a comparative perspective, can the differences between local English speakers and those from linguistic minorities be highlighted So though corpora of real interactions can help to create models, task authenticity can be addressed only by studying these differences In other words, presenting a text as an interactional model or comprehension task, as in the New Headway example, does not focus on those aspects of the interaction which may most clearly challenge learners’ assumptions about relevant and appropriate interactional behaviour In this instance, learners would need to focus on integrating the three elements described above—that is, the symptoms, the context, and patient stance (Roberts et al.,2004)— and to understand that patients are now encouraged to give a fairly extended presentation of symptoms They would also need to know that it is common practice to present the self as a worthy patient within the cultural norms of a free health service, and that such self-presentation may help negotiate the asymmetrical health encounter In summary, the constructed doctor–patient text, while displaying some examples of patterns found in the real data, is simplified to such an extent as to lose the essential elements which linguistic—minority speakers would need to successfully navigate such an encounter Time is concertinaed into one or two minutes; the interaction is smooth with no repairs or misunderstandings, and both sides negotiate conditions for making appropriate inferences from the other’s talk There are no issues of power or discrimination and no intimation of how current procedures and/or ideologies such as patient-centredness enter into the interactions In the next section, we show that a similar oversimplification—or indeed, distortion—occurs in materials designed to help ESOL applicants in job interviews ESOL AND JOB INTERVIEWS This section again compares an invented example with a real one The first extract comes from the Skills for Life ESOL learning materials and is intended for students at the low-intermediate level 628 TESOL QUARTERLY Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:03 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) Extract Interviewer: May: Interviewer: May: Interviewer: Good morning, Mrs Lee Did you have problems finding us? No, no problem at all Good Well then, please take a seat Thank you So, you want to work for ACE Stores? Have you worked in a supermarket before, Mrs Lee? May: No, but I worked in a shop I was a stockroom assistant Interviewer: So why are you applying for this job? May: Well, I enjoy my present job but it’s a long way from home It takes me an hour to get to work This job looks interesting and it’s near home Interviewer: I see Most staff here work early and late shifts Can you that? May: Sorry, I don’t understand Could you explain? Interviewer: Yes of course It means that some staff work from in the morning until in the afternoon That’s the early shift Others work from until 10 at night That’s the late shift So one week you work the early shift, the next week you work the late shift May: I see That’s fine Interviewer: Is there anything you would like to ask me? May: Yes Do staff have to wear a uniform? Interviewer: There’s a company T-shirt May: And what about the pay? Do you pay weekly or monthly? Interviewer: Weekly May: That’s fine Interviewer: Do you have any more questions? May: No, I think that’s all Interviewer: Well, thank you for coming We’ll let you know in a couple of days (DfES (2003) Skills for Life ESOL learning materials Entry Unit 8, p 13) This example is contrasted with a small section of a real job interview for a low-paid job in a delivery company Extract C5candidate, I5interviewer I: okay that’s all right erm What about in oth- other jobs er- were there changes, either because the nature of the job changed while you were there or you moved into something that was very different from what you’ve previously had experience of because your work in the opticians must have been a little bit different? C: mm well what p-between the two companies or I: yeah AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:04 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 629 C: or as in I: eh-I mean that’s quite an unusual you know actually making the spectacles C: mhm I: ehm and the time pressure that- that you’re under to achieve that C: mhm I: that must have been quite different from just about anything else you’ve ever worked in 10 C: erm well it is I think the -m-majority of the jobs that I have worked in I have been erm customer focused and deadlines and under pressure, erm catering I’ve -you know my family own a business and I’ve worked in that since the age of nine, you know helping them out erm but that that’s I suppose that’s a different field altogether from 11 I: yeah 12 C: customer focus but I’ve sort of gone off on a tangent now 13 I: no it’s I mean the range of experience just shows you 14 C: mmm 15 I: in many ways that you’re used to 16 C: yeah I’m quite 17 I: having new things thrown at you (adapted from Talk on Trial, Roberts & Campbell, 2006, p 103) As in the doctor–patient extracts, the most obvious contrast is in terms of length Whereas the whole invented job interview was over in a matter of moments, the real interview lasted 45 minutes, requiring both extended answers from the applicant and the capacity to respond to long and not always coherent questions and comments from interviewers Indeed, the two examples contrast on almost every level The job interview in much of the English-speaking world is designed around a competency framework in which applicants have to demonstrate their competencies in areas such as team working, self-organization, dealing with customers and, as in the example above, managing change Questions about why you want the job are now much less frequent, especially in the public sector, and when they occur, the preferred answer is designed around what the candidate can offer the company and not what suits the candidate In the invented example, there is no attempt to elicit a demonstration of competence, nor any awareness of what such a demonstration would look like Comparative studies of local English-speaking applicants and those from linguistic minorities show that the former use two successful strategies in the job interview (Roberts & Campbell, 2006) First, they integrate three discourse types into their responses, blending institutional, professional, and personal discourses This is illustrated in the candidate’s answer above (Turn 10) She introduces her response with institutional discourse (‘‘customer focussed and deadlines and under 630 TESOL QUARTERLY Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:04 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) pressure’’), using the abstract terms to generalise and stand back from the self, she then shifts to a brief professional description of the catering business (‘‘my family own a business’’) and within this gives a personal glimpse of the little nine-year-old helping out (personal discourse) Second, successful candidates tell stories which illustrate the key competencies using a narrative structure which fits into the bureaucratic evaluation categories of the interviewers’ record; we discuss this particular strategy further in the section on pedagogy below Neither of these strategies—blending discourses or the production of stories—is touched on at all in the invented example Indeed, the candidate says very little, and what she does say is more about why the new job would be more convenient for her FROM AUTHENTIC DATA TO PEDAGOGY: CHALLENGES Bridging the ESOL classroom with the real world is of course fraught with difficulties, the first being the complexity and hybridity of discourses in contemporary workplaces, institutions, and communities The discourses of the new work order (Gee, Hull, & Lankshear, 1996) are complex and constantly evolving with an ‘‘endless infusion of new technologies, social and industrial restructuring, outsourcing and globalisation’’ (Duff, 2008, p 257) Similarly, medical interactions reflect changing ideologies of patient-centredness and a discourse that frames publicly funded healthcare as a limited, even dwindling resource Even the casual conversations and quotidian interactions of linguistic minorities are just as likely to be with other minority speakers as with socalled native speakers of English A further, and related, difficulty is that collecting naturally occurring real-life data is time-consuming and expensive and access to sites to record events such as job interviews and medical consultations is difficult to gain Where data exist and are available to teachers and materials writers, the task of removing them from their original context and making them useable by selecting extracts which are amenable to the classroom can be problematic, as Widdowson (1997) and Cook (1998) pointed out This is acknowledged by Newton (2007) in his work on using corpora of workplace language for classroom pedagogy: Workplace interactions are embedded in localised contexts reflecting the discourse history or particular communities of practice and referring to contextual artefacts or shared procedures not accessible to a listener or reader of a transcription Further, a single interaction, even when framed with opening and closing moves, is typically shaped by its role as a small part of a much larger ongoing conversation involving past and future interactions between interlocutors (p 520) AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:04 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 631 However, as we have discussed in previous sections, ESOL teachers are usually required to teach English for work or employability, or ESOL citizenship or civics without any recourse to authentic data at all and are therefore unlikely to be able to identify any features of professional, institutional, or interpersonal interactions in particular contexts Teachers are left to their own intuition with regards to these interactions and have to guess what happens in particular workplaces and other settings Even where teachers are familiar with a particular professional field, there is often an emphasis in training on technical language connected to particular fields rather than discourse routines and subtle means of self-presentation—that is, managing face and the moral self and managing different genres in paradoxical and asymmetrical institutional settings (see Duff, Wong, & Early, 2002, for an interesting example) Despite the difficulties inherent in turning real linguistic data into pedagogy, we claim that the effort is necessary and, furthermore, that materials can be created which address real-life communication concerns and avoid the narrow functionalism of other ESOL material We explore these possibilities in the next section FROM AUTHENTIC DATA TO PEDAGOGY: POSSIBILITIES There are some interactive patterns in frequently occurring communicative events which can be pinpointed from discourse analysis and corpora which lend themselves to classroom study Examples of these include the grammar of spoken talk (Carter & McCarthy, 1995, 2004), awareness of pragmatics in diverse contexts (Huth & Taleghani-Nikazm, 2006; Katz, 2000; Li, 2000; Newton, 2007; Wigglesworth & Yates, 2007) and the data we are highlighting in this article: the structures of medical consultations (Roberts et al., 2005; Roberts & Sarangi, 2004), the hidden meaning of questions in the competency framework of interviews and high-frequency structures such as narratives which occur across all communicative settings in different forms (Campbell & Roberts, 2005, 2007a; Roberts & Campbell, 2007; Roberts, Cooke, Campbell, & Stenhouse, 2007b) The large data set of job interviews used in Talk on Trial was synthesised to form the basis of a DVD, FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions and Quickly Found Answers, the Great British Job Interview (Roberts et al., 2007b), which was produced to raise awareness of the discursive demands of job interviews amongst linguistic minority candidates and their teachers Our approach in producing FAQs was to trawl through the Talk on Trial report and video data to select examples which met the following criteria: particular relevance for the interpretive and productive challenges ESOL students face in such a culturally specific encounter; technical quality; and gender and ethnicity mix Particular 632 TESOL QUARTERLY Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:04 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) focus in the DVD is on interpreting and responding to competencebased questions such as ‘‘how you cope with change’’ or ‘‘how you manage repetitive work,’’ as in Extract The DVD therefore employs an awareness-raising approach in which candidates are encouraged to notice and explore these features, rather than use the original data as models of target language to be learned In all cases, the data is presented as it was recorded in its original context rather than simplified or idealised, but, in order to ensure all learners have access to the data, we use subtitles, an explanatory commentary, and a guide containing all the transcriptions In this way, we adopt an approach similar to Bhatia (1983), who argued for the easification of complex legal documents, in which the L2 reader was helped to navigate the text in its original complexity rather than simplification, a process during which Bhatia found that important legal meanings were sometimes lost In Extract 5, we present one example from FAQs, that of narrative, a frequently occurring genre in the interview data We also use narrative to illustrate two final arguments: (a) that using original data does not have to be narrowly functional and (b) that some interactional patterns such as narrative are transportable across different contexts and settings As we mentioned earlier, the production of narratives in job interviews was seen to be a common strategy which successful candidates used to show their key competencies, as in Extract 5, ‘‘how you cope with repetitive work?’’: Extract I Interviewer, C Candidate I: what I’m looking for here is an example where you have done a similar kind of like routine repetitive work over a period of time C: well one specific agency contract I got it was only four months but it was the complete mind numbingly same repetitive stuff I: okay C: I was working for (XXX) in Harrow and we were building headsets for helicopter pilots and my specific task was to get this tiny little ear piece and get a little grill and glue that and that was all I had to all day everyday I didn’t have problem with that because I was sat round a table with half a dozen other blokes and 10 you know you don’t really need to turn your brain on to something like that you AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:04 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 633 11 can just chat and get the job done and it’s you’ve got to keep yourself amused for 12 boring jobs it’s as simple as that (From Roberts & Campbell, 2005, p 47; Roberts et al., 2007b) With this brief narrative the candidate, Duncan, packages up his answer into a short vivid story which presents him as a person who, while finding repetitive work boring, is able to find ways to deal with this boredom and continue to work efficiently His answer is what the question was looking to elicit, and is both memorable to the interviewer and, more important, ‘‘bureaucratically processable’’ (Iedema, 1999, p 43); it can be readily fitted into a box on the interviewer’s form The candidates who used this structure invariably fared better in their interviews than those who did not Duncan’s story follows the standard Anglo narrative structure of abstract (lines 3–4), orientation (lines 6–7), complication (lines 7–8), and evaluation-result (lines 8–12) as outlined by Labov and Waletzsky (1967/1997) A simplified form of this structure (without, we suspect, the benefit of Labovian analysis) has been co-opted by the business sector and used in the training of interviewers in the form of the STAR structure, which we also use in the DVD: situation (‘‘well one specific agency contract I got’’), task (‘‘my specific task was to get this tiny little ear piece’’), action (‘‘I was sat round a table with half a dozen other blokes’’), and result (‘‘you’ve got to keep yourself amused’’) This particular pattern is extremely amenable to awareness raising and noticing amongst learners and, as we argue later, is found across most communicative settings and contexts Important for our discussion, narrative is known to be an essential part of self-expression and fundamental to the development of authentic voice SPEAKING FROM WITHIN: AUTHENTICITY ACROSS CONTEXTS The research carried out for Talk on Trial suggested that candidates who did not seem to be speaking with an authentic voice—in the case of job interviews a subtle blend of personal, professional, and institutional discourses packaged into brief narratives—were regarded as less trustworthy, less likely to be good workers, and therefore less likely to be successful in the post In other words, a judgement was made about their character and behavior on the basis of how they presented themselves in interaction The idea of an authentic voice returns us to the problem that authentic materials sometimes produce a narrowly functional learning experience Though materials based on real interview corpora sharpen up the institutional context and show how to manage some of its complexities and hybridities, it is equally important 634 TESOL QUARTERLY Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:04 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) to focus on developing the authentic voice of the student so that they can perform in a range of settings, including in their superdiverse neighbourhoods and within their social networks We suggest that although the focus in materials such as FAQs is on a specific communicative encounter, this does not mean it is narrow in focus or limited to only that particular context Narrative structures, for example, occur in most communicative settings, and therefore a focus on narrative in one context, such as job interviews, is very likely to be transportable to another This ability to transport narrative structures from one context to another would also mean that current policy, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, which tends to parcel off, or segment language into categories such as ‘‘English for work’’ or ‘‘citizenship’’, is misleading and unnecessary AUTHENTICITY AND NARRATIVE VOICES Research on narrative shows that its uses and functions go beyond the job interview example In fact, narrative telling is a fundamental human activity which is essential for creating and maintaining a sense of ourselves and our communities It is believed that we perceive the world in narrative form (Ochs & Capps, 2001) Narratives of everyday life (Ricoeur, 1984) are necessary for humans to identity work, explore their emotions, organize their experiences into meaningful episodes, and shape their worlds and their places in it (Fraser, 2004) It follows that narrative telling in a new language is an important part of exploring the construction of new migrant identities and one which ought to be a central part of the teaching and learning of ESOL Pastor and De Fina (2005), analysts who look particularly at narratives of migrants and other displaced people, make this observation: Narrative activity becomes particularly illuminating in the case of ‘‘displaced’’ groups such as immigrants, in that it is through the process of retelling and reconstructing past experience that members of these groups make sense of social encounters and conflicts and foreground an emerging sense of their identities, a process that in many cases implies contesting established roles and claiming social space (p 37) Narrative telling for ESOL students then is important from many points of view It serves an effective function which may be important for migrants trying to come to terms with difficult experiences, and it also contributes to what Pastor and De Fina call moral relocation, that is, a means by which people might exercise agency, resist negative stereotyping, change their social role, and become socially visible as opposed to invisible AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:04 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 635 While many researchers study complete narratives produced as data in life-story interviews, others stress the essential role that narratives play in interaction such as the job interviews we discussed earlier and in ordinary conversations Rather than study narratives which are complete and polished, some analysts choose to study the function of unfinished or ongoing narratives which are co-constructed in everyday conversations (e.g., Ochs & Capps, 2001; Schriffin, 1996; Wortham, 2000) Bamberg (2006) and Georgakopoulou (2007) study the small stories which arise unsolicited in conversation and how people use stories in everyday mundane situations in order to create and perpetuate a sense of who they are: ‘‘Continuous and repetitious engagements ultimately lead to habitus (plural) that become the source of a continuous sense of who we are’’ (Bamberg & Georgakopoulou, 2008, p 379) Small stories can be about ongoing, future, or hypothetical events; shared known events, including allusions to previous stories; and very recent or still unfolding events Unpolished and unfinished stories, according to Ochs and Capps (2001), ‘‘pervade ordinary social encounters and are a hallmark of the human condition’’ (p 57) Narratives, then, are central to self-expression and self-presentation and therefore fundamental to the second kind of authenticity we set out to explore in this study In our ESOL classroom data (Baynham et al., 2007), we found that the classrooms in which teachers opened up interactional space to their students and responded contingently to the stories they brought along to class (Baynham, 2006) produced examples of student narrative telling which arose from an urgency and compulsion to what we have called speak from within, to tell of happenings and events or of matters of personal resonance We found that when students did this, they produced longer utterances and expressed more complex ideas than in the types of classrooms which relied mainly on invented dialogues or teacher-prescribed topics In this final extract, we provide an example from classroom data of one such unpolished, small story (see Cooke & Roberts, 2007, and Cooke & Simpson, 2008, for a fuller discussion) The extract is taken from a low intermediate level class in a London suburb in which the teacher is talking to Melinda, a shy student, about her homework The teacher says, ‘‘Well done, Melinda, very brave but just remember when you feel a bit worried, slow down don’t panic, there’s no bus, no tram we’ve finished the rush.’’ The mention of the tram sparks off Melinda’s story: Extract M Melinda, D Dalia, T teacher M: yesterday I left my children in the tram they didn’t T: tram 636 TESOL QUARTERLY Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:04 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 M: the tram closed the door I leave my children inside T: [intake of breath signaling shock] D: yesterday I saw you you get down T: what, Dalia was getting off? D: yeah getting off, out M: I am inside my children both out T: so you were left on the tram and your children M: out T: were on the pavement M: yeah T: what did you do? M: they are shouting I shouting but the tram is starting yeah T: but can you D: there is a was a button you can er speak with the driver M: yeah but the (XXX) somebody’s there but he can’t stop it T: so did you shout to the driver? M: yeah T: and what did he do? M: I waiting last the box, the tram box I shout but he didn’t (XXX) T: so you shouted into the box? Was it an intercom? (Cooke & Roberts, 2007, p 9) At this point, Dalia and the teacher have an aside about how the intercom system works and what happens when the ticket machine breaks The teacher then returns to Melinda’s story: 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 T: So tell me, did you get your children back? M: yeah yeah [laughs] T: good! [laughs] oh that’s worrying isn’t it? Ss: Mm T: oh dear M: next stop I (xx) last stop I get off and back one stop T: [laughs] so you’ve done all your keep fit for the week? There are several points to be made about Melinda’s narrative The first is that she is given the interactional space by her teacher to tell this story; this in itself was quite unusual in the classroom data collected for the ESOL Effective Practice Project (Baynham et al., 2006) The second is that Melinda is not generally heard to produce utterances of any kind at all, let alone one in which she tells a whole story This reinforces our suggestion that when people have a need to communicate from within about matters of importance to them they will strive for the linguistic means to so The extract also shows how narrative is used as a shared resource between teacher and students and how between them they build a sense of community within the classroom and as members of the same geographical location Narrative telling is also about performing AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:05 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) 637 the self In this extract, through the acting out of her story, Melinda presents herself as the central dramatis persona, positioning herself as the one with agency to take action to avert calamity Of course, there are flaws in Melinda’s story, such as the absence of a resolution (which the teacher provides for her), which lend themselves to instruction Melinda and others like her will benefit from an explicit focus on narrative structure, awareness raising, and practice in this kind of communicative setting as much as in the more concrete one of the job interview, workplace, or doctor’s surgery (see Cooke & Roberts, 2007, for examples of pedagogy which this) Finding an authentic voice is fundamental in all these areas of linguistic-minority adults’ lives CONCLUSION In the process of migration, linguistic-minority adults experience a loss of independence and cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1986/2004) As speakers of minority languages in English-dominant countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, migrants are subject to powerful language ideologies (see, e.g., Kroskity, 2006) which promote some ways of speaking—and therefore some speakers—as more legitimate than others Those who speak the dominant language (and, more specifically, the standard variety of that language), in this case, English, have more right ‘‘to impose reception,’’ in Bourdieu’s terms (1977, p 75), than speakers of other languages In asymmetrical, gatekeeping encounters such as those we describe in this article, linguistic-minority speakers are, in fact, doubly disadvantaged—whereas everyone may lack the necessary socialisation and experience for, say, a job interview in an unfamiliar sector, new arrivals and people born abroad lack both experience of institutional discourses (see Gumperz, 1982) as well as expertise in English, the language in which most public and institutional discourse takes place We are not proposing that power and inequality can be flattened out by learning about the discourse patterns of job interviews or health encounters, or by understanding the structure of narrative On the contrary, making the hidden processes of job interviews and medical consultations more transparent to students, their teachers, and the gatekeepers themselves can lead to a sense among linguistic-minority people of greater interactional control in asymmetrical encounters Bringing to the surface the micro-discourse routines of such institutional events can also raise awareness of the larger discourses which, in a Foucauldian sense, determine what is allowed to be said and ‘‘the appropriation of discourse to certain categories of subject’’ (Foucault, 1972, p 227) In other words, such awareness can be used in classrooms to consider critically the powerful institutional games that regulate 638 TESOL QUARTERLY Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:05 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - Rev 7.51n/W (Jan 20 2003) access and whose rules need to be brought to the surface for both critique and acquisition Similarly, regaining control over how to present the self and developing an authentic voice help diminish the sense of powerlessness felt by many migrants, at least at a local, contingent, interactional level We suggest that developing an authentic voice in a new language can help to revive a sense of agency and conviviality which may have been threatened or lost in the migration process We have argued that the notion of authenticity needs to be revisited both in terms of materials and pedagogy Students who routinely have to face the street bureaucrats who are the gatekeepers to scarce resources are not well served by invented or oversimplified functional materials Rather, such materials need to be research or corpus based, not just to provide examples of real language but also to exemplify the discourse routines and social relations that determine institutional outcomes Comparative, research-based materials which highlight the particular challenges faced by the ESOL student are relevant in ways that invented examples or simplifications that flatten out interactional complexity cannot be The focus on discourse routines and social interaction also help to identify the transportable elements in any context-specific set of materials, and we have used narrative to illustrate the fact that features of an apparently narrow, functional topic such as job interviewing leak into many aspects of everyday communication Such leakage challenges current policy, which tends to parcel off language learning into categories such as ‘‘English for work’’ or ‘‘citizenship.’’ We would contend that there is no such clear disjuncture between the selfpresentation required to manage institutional encounters and the language of personal resonance that is developed when students are given the space to speak from within on matters of urgency or significance to them Finding an authentic voice within the formal learning context and beyond entails revisiting what counts as authenticity in both the content and interactional environment of the ESOL classroom THE AUTHORS Celia Roberts is Professor of Applied Linguistics at King’s College London, England Her interests are in language and inequality, institutional discourse, and ethnographic method Melanie Cooke is a researcher at King’s College London, England Her interests are the teaching and learning of English in migrant contexts, and language and citizenship AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:05 The Charlesworth Group, Wakefield +44(0)1924 369598 - 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London, England Her interests are the teaching and learning of English in migrant contexts, and language and citizenship AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d... stereotyping, change their social role, and become socially visible as opposed to invisible AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM AND BEYOND Tesol Quarterly tesol205416.3d 30/12/09 20:05:04 The. .. between them they build a sense of community within the classroom and as members of the same geographical location Narrative telling is also about performing AUTHENTICITY IN THE ADULT ESOL CLASSROOM
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