LKALE PROJECTS

This is a selection of some of our projects. Do not hesitate to contact us (Sally Zacharias / Victorina González-Díaz) if you would like us to showcase your LKALE-related research project.

PROJECT 1:

WORDS AND ACTIONS PODCAST

A podcast about how language matters in business, politics and beyond

Hosted by: Erika Darics (Aston University), Veronika Koller (Lancaster University) and Bernard DeClerk (Ghent University)

Aim: The aim of this podcast is to promote language awareness and (applied) linguistic research to the wider public, to educators and to students. 

Brief description: The podcast explores topics from professional and public life and examines how language matters in these situations. In each episode we talk to at least one specialist or researcher, we quote and draw on academic scholarship and analyse a text. The podcast is accompanied by a website (www.wordsandactions.blog) where we publish a full transcript  and references, making it an excellent resource for teaching. 

The podcast is available on all major podcasting platforms: 

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/words-and-actions/id1478413579

PROJECT 2:

NATE ‘Diversity in the Curriculum’ Conference (26-28 February 2021) 

NATE ‘Reviewing Literature’ Sig Group: ‘Race in the English Classroom’ Roundtable Discussion  

Aim: There is a lot of discussion about curriculum, but we need to move beyond texts representation and begin to think about: the role of teachers and students within the classroom; assessment; parents and senior leadership; the way texts should be taught and the departmental/whole school training required in relation to anti-racism. The group consisting of doctoral researchers, tutors and secondary English teacher will present a session exploring each area to move forward from talking about the issues of diversity in English, and act upon the recommendations proposed.

Description: Furzeen Ahmed will be exploring the role of questioning between teacher and students, particularly how questioning is perceived in the English classroom as challenging the status quo of literature. Using excerpts from discussions had with students from her doctoral research looking at aspects of diversity in the English classroom, Furzeen will discuss how classroom talk provides insight into the cultural tensions that arise when discussing literature and will explore the need for a rethink of pedagogical approaches to interactions in this learning space. 

PROJECT 3:

Creative Language Practice: Exploring Translanguaging in Pedagogical Contexts and Beyond. Teaching resources for teachers working in multilingual environments.

Aim: The aim of the project is to promote language awareness through a translanguaging lens and provide teachers with resources to use in the classroom.

Hosted by: Lavinia Hirsu (University of Glasgow), Sally Zacharias (University of Glasgow) and Dobrochna Futro (University of Glasgow).

Description: Creative Language Practices: Exploring Translanguaging in Pedagogical Contexts and Beyond is a project that started with a few important questions: What is the role of translanguaging in language teaching? How can teachers enrich their practice if they are to engage with translanguaging? What does translanguaging mean for teachers and pupils in different multilingual classrooms? How can practitioners talk about translanguaging in their daily practice? In an attempt to answer some of these questions, our project aims to discover and develop creative practices, activities and ideas that teachers can use in multilingual classrooms within a translingual framework. The project builds on a collaborative model that brings together expertise about multilingual learning and teaching, as well as arts-based methods and creative practices.

As language researchers and practitioners, we believe in the creative potential of languages and the important role of all our communicative resources. In a world where languages oftentimes become measures of someone’s identity, place and individual worth, we have a duty to support our learners of all linguistic backgrounds. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/gc/creativepracticestranslang/

Project four:

Yorkshire dialect in the classroom: speech, writing and identity

Aim: this project aims to gain a better understanding of the links between language, social values, and identity for Yorkshire speakers.

Hosted by: Paul Cooper (University of Liverpool)

Description: I want to understand the ways in which speakers perceive their use of spoken language in educational contexts to see what linguistic resources people draw upon. I am particularly interested in speakers’ attitudes towards the use of Yorkshire dialect in the classroom and how this relates to their identity.

In my prior research I’ve interviewed Yorkshire speakers and found that Yorkshire dialect is positively evaluated in terms of characteristics like friendliness, plain-speaking, etc. but it can simultaneously be viewed as being unintelligible, in both a positive and negative way. Additionally, many people expressed the idea that younger speakers were ‘less broad’, and that the Yorkshire identity was ‘not as homogenous’ as it once was. Despite this, younger people still strongly identify as being Yorkshire dialect speakers and use many (but not all) of the language features employed by older speakers. They also use written representations of the dialect in online contexts such as instant messaging or on Facebook and Twitter. This suggests that the notion of being a “Yorkshire dialect speaker” is evolving and that young people have a different conceptualisation of Yorkshire identity than older people. This evolution of Yorkshire identity is occurring alongside advice for teachers provided in GCSE English Language syllabuses where seemingly contradictory statements occur such as: ‘in the interests of clarity, your students should avoid the use of dialect, but must also realise that Standard English can be spoken with a regional accent’. This highlights the potential for development of the ways in which regional dialects are approached at GCSE level.

To investigate this, I conducted an online survey aimed at people who went to secondary school in Yorkshire and who speak the dialect. The questions related to their views on Yorkshire dialect, the social values they associated with it, as well as their experiences with dialect when they were at school – in particular, whether their school had any language policies relating to dialect in the classroom (e.g., language policing, etc.).

Going forward I am hoping to work with schoolteachers and GCSE English Language students who go to school in Yorkshire to investigate:

  • Attitudes and perceptions of Yorkshire dialect (in and out of the classroom) for both teachers and students
  • The ways in which dialect is dealt with by GCSE English Language syllabuses
  • Whether there is a link between the above syllabus advice and the perception that young people in Yorkshire are ‘less broad’

Ultimately, I aim to make several recommendations to GCSE English Language syllabus providers which will include guidelines for dealing with regional dialects in the classroom based on the principles of descriptive sociolinguistics and regional dialectology.

Project five:

Language, teaching and the mastery of writing over time

Hosted by: Dr Victorina González-Díaz (English Department, Liverpool University) and Dr. Elizabeth Parr (School of Education, Liverpool Hope University). 

Description: This project aims to investigate stability and change in the writing of Merseyside schoolchildren across time (1980s-2020s). It will do so by comparing a selection of the Merseyside data from the government’s APU Surveys of Language Performance (see The Art of Writing English project) with similar data that will be collected from local primary and secondary schools (2020s, Year 6 and Year 11). 

The analysis and comparison of data across schoolchildren’s cohorts (including, but not restricted to, the analysis of vocabulary and grammar) will enrich current models of writing development. Furthermore, this project is highly significant to teachers and schools as it will move forward our understanding of how children’s writing has changed. In turn, we will use the findings to support the development of teachers’ subject and curriculum knowledge in writing, leading to improved outcomes for children. The Mastery of Writing project is of particular importance post-pandemic as writing has been heavily affected by school closures and remote learning. The Juniper National Dataset report (2021) highlights that prior to the pandemic 79% of Year 1 pupils achieved age related expectations in writing but by the summer term of 2020 this figure had dropped 54%. Worryingly for Liverpool, disadvantaged pupils fared worse than their non-disadvantaged peers. By summer 2020 across all primary year groups only 36% of disadvantaged pupils (those who qualified for pupil premium) had met age related expectations for writing compared with 55% of non-disadvantaged groups. 

Project SIX:

Using fiction to challenge language discrimination in schools

Hosted by:

Ian Cushing, Brunel University London

Anthony Carter, Bushey Meads School

Aims:

To explore how young readers at KS3 might use contemporary Young Adult fiction as a vehicle for exploring, understanding and interrogating structural language discrimination.

To develop a ‘toolkit’ for identifying where and why language discrimination occurs – and for exploring ways of addressing it – which can be taken up and used by educators in a range of contexts.

Description:

This UK Literacy Association funded, teacher-researcher study will explore how Young Adult (YA) fiction might be used as a vehicle for exploring language discrimination, with a particular focus on Key Stage 3 students in England’s schools. It combines young people’s responses to literature and their narratives of their own lived experiences of language discrimination with artist illustrations and author interviews. It looks to move beyond thinking about language discrimination as individualistic toward an understanding based on structural and intersectional forms of discrimination. For further information, please click here.

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