LANGUAGES, CULTURES & SYSTEMS IN AN ERA OF COMPLEXITY

hardtofindcurtainΠολεοδομικά Έργα

16 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 10 μήνες)

86 εμφανίσεις

LANGUAGES, CULTURES & SYSTEMS IN AN
ERA OF COMPLEXITY


Richard Johnstone


LLAS/SCILT SEMINAR

Friday 27
th

April, 2012

1

OVERVIEW OF PRESENTATION


Introduction


Four projects:

China, Scotland, Scotland, Spain


Research in an era of complexity


2

Four Projects


Teaching English at primary school in the People’s Republic
of China


Walker Road Primary School (Aberdeen): Early Partial
Immersion in French


Foreign Languages in the Upper Secondary School: Partners
in Excellence (Three Local Authorities)


Spain: The National Early Bilingual Education Project
(Spanish Ministry of Education in collaboration with the
British Council).


A key issue: sustainability

3

BEP Spain: P5/6 performance in class
-

Explanations


Q:
‘Can you describe the smell?’


A:
‘It's repulsive and smells like rotten eggs!’


Q
:
‘Can you tell me something about mercury?’


A:
‘It's
toxic and therefore must stay sealed’


Q
:
‘What is the difference between a mixture and a compound?’


A: ‘
A mixture can be returned to its earlier state.’


Q
:
‘What is the process called when we turn a solid into a gas?’


A:
‘Sublimation
.’


The
dialogue then proceeded in a more open way:



Q:
‘Who could tell me something about, for example, polonium?’


A: ‘
Its symbol is Po, it is number
84 in the periodic table. Its
mass is 209. It is highly radioactive…’




4

BEP Spain: P5/6 performance in class
-

Explanations

[light
]



We know that light travels in straight lines because ………
behind the opaque object, you cannot see the light, only the
shadow. When you put a bottle or glass in front of a source
of light, the light travels through it’.




5

BEP Spain P5/6 performance in class


T: ‘What happens when you have a cold?’


P: ‘Mucus goes through the Eustachian tube into
the middle ear.’


T: ‘How does the doctor know this if he cannot see
into the middle ear?’


P: ‘He sees a change in the position of the
eardrum.’

6

BEP Spain P5/6 performance in class


‘If a liquid is not in a container, it will spill
(spread) out.’
(boy)


‘If we pour a liquid from one container to
another, it changes shape’
(boy)


‘If you put the water from the jar into the
beaker, it will take the shape of the new
container. The shape of the water change’
(
sic
).


‘We can see that solids can be different. They
have different volume and matter’
(girl)



7


Factors and Outcomes in Languages Education:

A few examples only

Societal Factors


Extent of L2 exposure


Political will


Parental pressure


Influence of media

Provision factors


Teacher supply, training &
development


National/regional support,
development and evaluation


Time & Intensity


Continuity primary to secondary


Information


Networks

Process factors


Understanding

& expressing L2
meanings (words/concepts

…)


Internalising

forms


Explaining


Interacting


Learning & Using Strategies


Diagnosing


Managing


Consulting


䥮f潲浩湧

Individual factors


Age, Aptitudes & interests


Prior
attainments & experience


Prior language(s)


Socio
-
economic
status


Geographical
location


Ethnicity


Gender


Attitudes & Motivation

Outcomes


(Inter)national)

examination
attainments


L1, L2, L3 … proficiency


Citizenship


Intercultural competence


Generic skills

8

9

SOCIETAL FACTORS

PROVISION FACTORS

PROCESS FACTORS: PUPILS

INDIVIDUAL FACTORS:
PUPILS

OUTCOMES: PUPILS

Internet & www, & other
new

technologies

Transnational policies, e.g. EU,
CoE

Input processing

Age

Plurilingual

proficiency

Homogenisation


National policies

Output modification

Gender

Proficiency in particular language(s)

Internationalisation

Teacher supply

Interaction

Socio
-
economic background

Attainments in particular language(s)

Localisation


Initial teacher education

Noticing

Prior language(s)

Levels of literacy

Emergence of dominant
languages &

Threats to smaller languages


Continuing
professional

development
for teachers

Monitoring

Level(s) of literacy

Multiple identities

Mobility of employment & study

Materials

Feedback (
positive

or corrective)

Prior educational attainments

Attitudes

& Motivation

Fast capitalism & elite bilingualism

Equipment

Rule
-
learning

Metalinguistic

awareness

Qualifications

Large
-
scale financial crises

Suitable rooms and facilities

Incidental vocabulary learning

Attitudes & Motivation

Self
-
efficacy

Displacement of populations

Starting age

Explicit vocabulary learning

Geographical location

Aspirations

Declining(?) influence of nation states

Amount and distribution of time

Prefabrication

Anxiety

Citizenship

Enlargement of
EU


Support for innovation

Backsliding

Self
-
efficacy & confidence

Cognitive development

Equal rights across
EU


Research & evaluation

Fossilisation

Ethnicity

Critical thinking

Influence of the media

National examinations

Transfer (positive or negative)

Cultural background

Information
-
handling knowledge &
skills

Attitudes to particular languages

Levels of funding

Drawing on first language

Beliefs & Interests

Intercultural development

Status of particular languages

Degree of articulation from
one

section
to another

Negotiation of meaning

Identity/Identities and values

Social development

Extent of
use


outside
education

School
-
industry links

Early literacy development (top
-
down


psycholinguistic guessing)

Siblings & others as role models

Beliefs
& commitments

Perceived business needs
and

opportunities

School
-
school
international

networks

Early literacy (bottom
-
up)

Parents / Carers

Capacity for further study

Influence of particular groups,

e.g.

parents
, associations

Quality assurance

Use of non
-
verbal strategies

Peer
-
group norms and values

Mobility and employability


Political
will in support of
particular

languages

Accessibility of up
-
to
-
date,
relevant

and
reliable information

Repetition & rehearsal

Aptitudes or disabilities

Transferable skills

LANGUAGE EDUCATION AT SCHOOL: A SELECTION OF POSSIBLE FACTORS AND OUTCOMES

Note: There could be many more additions to each column, and those shown here are only by way of example.


©RMJ June 2011

COMPLEXITY / Dynamic systems theory


The most common research paradigms in the social sciences tend to examine variables in
relative isolation rather than as part of a system or network, and most established
quantitative data analytical procedures (e.g. correlation analysis or structural equation
modelling) are based on linear rather than non
-
linear relationships (ZD: 2011)


In dynamic systems we usually cannot find straightforward linear cause
-
effect relationships
where input leads to a proportionate output (e.g. the higher the motivation, the higher the
achievement). In non
-
linear systems a huge input can sometimes result in very little or no
impact, while at others even a tiny input can sometimes lead to what seems like a
disproportionate ‘explosion’ (a phenomenon sometimes called the ‘butterfly’ effect). This
is because the system’s behavioural outcome depends on the OVERALL CONSTELLATION OF
THE SYSTEM COMPONENTS


how all the relevant factors work together.


The behaviour of a complex system is not completely random, but neither is it wholly
predictable (LF & C: 2011).

10

COMPONENTS OF COMPLEX SYSTEMS:


Heterogeneity


The elements, agents and/or processes in a complex system are of many different
types (p28)


Dynamism


In a complex, dynamic system everything changes, all the time (p29)


Non
-
linearity


The interactions among elements and agents in a complex system change over
time. This makes for non
-
linearity (p 30)

Openness


Open systems allow energy or matter to enter from outside the system. Being open can
enable a ‘far
-
from
-
equilibrium’ system to keep adjusting and maintain stability (p32).


Adaptive


In adaptive systems, change in one area of the system leads to change in the system as a
whole (p33).

Attractor states


‘A key tenet of DST is the recognition that system development often involves stable and
predictable phases when the system is governed by strong attractors, resulting in settled,
non
-
dynamic ‘attractor states’ (ZD: 2011)


11

SOME IMPLICATIONS OF COMPLEX SYSTEMS FOR RESEARCH


Causality


‘The
unknowableness

and interconnectedness of systems makes it much
more difficult, if not impossible, to isolate independent variables that act
in causal ways ….. it is highly unlikely that a single cause will give rise to
a causal event.’ (L
-
F & C: p232)



‘Let us understand clearly, once and for all, that variables don’t exist.
They are not real. What exists are complex systems …..’ (Byrne, 2002: 31)



(L
-
F & C: p235).



12

SOME IMPLICATIONS OF COMPLEX SYSTEMS FOR RESEARCH

Replicability


There can be no absolute
replicability

because the
conditions are always changing.

The changed nature of context


‘Context includes the physical, social, cognitive and
cultural and is not separable from the system. It cannot be
seen as a frame surrounding the system that is needed to
interpret its behaviour. ’ (L
-
F & C: p239)



‘We cannot separate the learner or the learning from
context in order to measure or explain it. Rather, we must
collect data about and describe all the continually
changing systems involved.’ (L
-
F & C, p239)


13

SOME RESEARCH METHODOLGIES WHICH GO WITH
COMPLEXITY THEORY


Ethnography


‘Studying real people in their human contexts and interactions rather
than aggregating and averaging across individuals as happens in
experimental and some quantitative studies.’ (L
-
F & C: p242)

Retrodictive

Qualitative Modelling


‘The idea behind
Retrodiction

is that by identifying the main emerging
system prototypes we can work ‘backwards’ and pinpoint the principal
factors that have led to the specific settled states. ….. By tracing back the
reasons why the system has ended up with a particular outcome option
we produce a retrospective qualitative model of its evolution’ (ZD: 2011)

14

SOME RESEARCH METHODOLGIES WHICH GO WITH
COMPLEXITY THEORY (
cntd
)

Longitudinal case studies


‘We can use computerized databases, graphing and statistics to track
complex patterns of variation in second language learners over time’ (p245)


‘We need to adopt and develop more appropriate ways of analysis to allow
for the non
-
linearity of the process, such as multivariate time
-
series
modelling ….’ (p245)

Microdevelopment


We need … dense corpora that involve highly intensive sampling over short
periods of time



In traditional research, change is often inferred from an end
-
point
measurement. Conversely, an assumption of researchers using a
microdevelopment

approach is that there are moments in the evolution of
behaviour where we can directly observe change happening. Furthermore,
since change works at multiple timescales, these small
-
scale changes can
illuminate changes at a longer time
-
scale.’ (p246)



15

SOME RESEARCH METHODOLGIES WHICH GO WITH
COMPLEXITY THEORY (
cntd
)

Computer
-
modelling


Computer simulations or models offer an important approach to
researching complex dynamic systems …. This approach builds a
computer model of the real
-
world complex system under investigation
and takes it through multiple iterations, replicating change over time.
The model is designed and adjusted so that the outcomes over time
reflect what is known of the real
-
world system ….’ (L
-
F & C: p247)


Brain imaging


‘EEG (electro
-
encephalographic (EEG) and functional Magnetic
-
Resonance Imaging (
fMRI
) are allowing detailed descriptions of the
dynamics of brain activity, promoting a shift of emphasis from
knowledge as static representation stored in particular locations to
knowledge as processing involving the dynamic mutual influence of
interrelated types of information as they activate and inhibit each other
over time.’ (L
-
F & C: p249)


16

Retrodictive

Qualitative
Modelling
, as applied to:

BEP (Spain) Key positive components of a successful Attractor State)

SOCIETAL

PROVISION

PROCESS

Political will


Parental interest & demand


Widely held view that the BEP
(Spain) in those regions in which it
took place ought to involve
Spanish
-
English, in view of Spanish
as national language and global
status of English


An early start (in some cases from age 3)


Substantial time for English (40%)


Leadership at national level from Ministry &
British Council together


Supernumerary teachers fluent in English


Agreed continuity across primary and secondary
education


Supportive national Guidelines on BEP
curriculum


In
-
service courses for teachers


Highly reputable external international
examination for students at age 16


General teaching strategies,
articulated through English


Language
-
focused strategies,
covering grammar and vocabulary,
plus the discourse of different
school subjects


Activities which offer students
cognitive challenge, integrating
their knowledge across subjects


Creation of community atmosphere
in class, in which students
collaborate


Use of assessment in support of
learning


Management approach based on
consultation and collaboration with
teaching colleagues.

17

BUT DST NOT ALL ABOUT BIG PICTURES OF APPARENTLY STABLE
ATTRACTOR STATES


The small things can make a big difference too, e.g.


Butterflies


Broken windows

18

Butterfly effect: Personal

Class
2A 1950s Reading


C’était

un
hardi

dessein

qu’avait

eu

le
capitaine

Hatteras de
s’élever

jusqu’au

nord
, et de
réserver

à
l’Angleterre
,
sa

patrie
, la
gloire

de
découvrir

le
pôle

boréal

du monde.
Cet

audacieux

marin

venait

de faire
tout
ce

qui
était

dans

la
limite

des forces
humaines
. Après
avoir

lutté

pendant
neuf

mois

contre

les
courants
,
contre

les
tempêtes
, après
avoir

brisé

les
montagnes

de glace et
rompu

les
banquises
, après
avoir

lutté

contre

les
froids

d’un hiver sans
précédent

dans

les
régions

hyperboréennes
, après
avoir

résumé
dans

son
expédition

les
travaux

de
ses

devanciers
,
contrôlé

et
refait

pour
ainsi

dire
l’histoire

des
découvertes

polaires
, après
avoir

poussé

son brick le Forward
au
-
delà

des
mers

connues
,
enfin
, après
avoir

accompli la
moitié

de la
tâche
,
il

voyait

ses

grands

projets

subitement

anéantis

! La
trahison

ou

plutôt

le
découragement

de son
équipage

usé

par les
épreuves
, la
folie

criminelle

de
quelques

meneurs
, le
laissaient

dans

une

épouvantable

situation

:

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN RESEARCH


COMMUNITY RESEARCH


An invited colloquium of the British Association for Applied Linguistics
(BAAL) annual conference, 6
-
8 September 2012, Southampton, UK


A community
-
based approach has a number of defining characteristics.


The research is grounded within a community; the data are collected,
analysed and interpreted in situ with reference to the history and
structure of the community.


The research questions are of direct relevance to members of the
community, in addition to the researcher.


The research process is managed collaboratively and equitably between
the community members and the researcher through
active and
reciprocal involvement in the research design, implementation and
dissemination.


The research, both the process and the outcome, is useful to the
community in making positive social change and to promote social
equity.


20

KEY REFERENCES

Dobson, A., Pérez Murillo, M
-
D & Johnstone, R. M. (2011).
Evaluation of the
Natinal

Bilingual Education Project (Spain).
Madrid: British Council and
Ministry of Education (Spain)



Dōrnyei
, Z. (2011).
Researching complex dynamic systems: ‘
Retrodictive

qualitative modelling’ in the language classroom.

Available at Cambridge
Journals Online (CJO) 2011
doi
: 10. 1017 S02614481100056



Larsen
-
Freeman, D. & L. Cameron. (2011).
Complex systems and Applied
Linguistics.

Oxford: Oxford University Press


21