In this section you will find more about our team members’ recent conference contributions:
Challenging discourses of internationality and international language(s): Ethnographic and historiographic approaches to institutions in transformation – Panel convenor: Maria Rosa Garrido
The goal of this panel is to critically analyse and question the discursive tropes of “international(ity)” and “international language” in different types of institutions orienting beyond the nation-state frame in their ethos, activities or membership. In particular, the papers jointly interrogate these emic concepts in “international” institutions which are undergoing historical, socioeconomic and discursive transformation in late modernity. Which are the sociopolitical aims and historical processes behind the discourses of internationality? How are given languages constructed as “international” within the current discourses of diversity, in particular English? Following Bourdieu (1991), institutions are understood as a durable set of social relations that endows speakers with power, status and resources under certain conditions. The panel reports on an international organisation (the Council of Europe), an international humanitarian agency (International Committee of the Red Cross), an elite international school (Forum International School) and an international artistic event (Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival) as producers of discourses on multilingualism and diversity.
The papers investigate the historical conditions of discursive production (Foucault 1984) and intertextuality with other fields and across institutions (Bakhtin 1981). Epistemologically, the contributions will draw on historiographic methods (Duchêne 2008) and institutional ethnography (Smith 2005). The findings reveal that “internationality” is often caught in the tensions between ideologies of authenticity based on pride and identity values, and ideologies of anonymity that construct linguae francae for everybody (Gal/Woolard 2001, Heller and Duchêne 2012) in the institutions studied. Discourses on internationality celebrate diversity (Urcioli 2015), but they ultimately reveal inequalities among linguistic resources and may encourage the predominance of an “international language”, which is mainly English as documented in international NGOs (Tesseur 2014), multilateral organisations (Pym 2008) and multinational workplaces (Park 2013). In line with the rhetorics of a multilingual Europe (Sokolovska 2016), languages other than English are constructed as “international” to add value and distinguish institutions as more “innovative” than others in their domain, as is the case of Chinese as an emergent language in international schools, or as more “traditional”, as in the case of French as a diplomatic language in established humanitarian agencies.
The neoliberalisation of educational systems: Englishization policies and the creation of flexible workers – Panel convenor: Eva Codó
This panel seeks to gain a critical understanding of the process of intensification of English-medium instruction (referred to as EMI or CLIL depending on regional area or level of instruction) in different parts of the world. The objective of the panel is two-fold. First, it aims to tie Englishization policies and practices to the marketizing and neoliberalizing agenda of contemporary school systems, the objective of which is to create productive workers who can enhance the global competitiveness of national economies. Lo Bianco (2014) has argued that the status of English in the school curricula is changing in that it has entered the set of basic skills all kids should acquire and is disappearing as a separate discipline. This is part and parcel of the training of students for the service economy, which requires soft and relational skills, and of the technicist drive in education (Hill & Kumar, 2009), which favours professional, transversal and transferrable skills (Hirrt, 2009). Secondly, the panel purports to explore the effects of the whole-heartedly embracing of English as a vehicular language on the flexibilization and precarization of the teaching profession, following the work of scholars like (Urciuoli, 2008), who has investigated the skillification of contemporary labour. This political economic perspective is largely absent from EMI/CLIL studies, and follows pleas by Block, Gray, & Holborow (2012) and Ricento (2015) among others, to adopt a more interdisciplinary and materialist approach to applied linguistics.
This panel is innovative for several reasons. On the one hand, because it aims to compare ethnographic data from distinct state contexts (Spain (Catalonia), the Philippines and Sweden) and educational levels (primary, secondary and tertiary education (teacher training)). On the other, because it tries to dissect the intertwining of English policies and labour issues from different angles: What types of ideal student-workers do these policies aim to produce with what consequences for what kinds of students? What impact on teachers’ labour conditions may these policies have with what consequences for what kinds of teachers? What shape does EMI/CLIL take depending on local policy conditions? What educational tensions are engendered through the introduction of CLIL? What alternatives exist for teachers and students in the era of institutionalized competitiveness and uncertain (global) futures?
Internationality and Language in the IB Diploma Programme of an International School near Barcelona – Andrea Sunyol
In the Barcelona area, many schools that were founded following national patterns have been internationalizing in the last decade. They need to adapt to the changing conditions of a latemodern society to remain competitive in a highly disputed educational market. Internationality can take more or less explicit forms, and can vary in intensity in public, semiprivate and private schools (Alba et al., 2015; Bonal, 2009). It usually involves, however, intensifying the presence of English and other foreign languages, and implementing international curricula such as the ones by the International Baccalaureate Organisation, which are gaining presence among schools worldwide (Resnik, 2012; 2015) —and Catalonia is no exception.
This study explores the construction of the category international in two elite educational institutions, a British international school and a Catalan international school in the Barcelona area. In order to disambiguate the meaning of the keyword international it is crucial to understand who is a legitimate member of an international school community, and who is excluded. The processes of social stratification and legitimation and delegitimation of speakers are often language-based. The language core subjects of the IB are quite dialogic and debate oriented. In these debates, both teachers and students often explore the self in light of the other. A close analysis of student and teacher interactions at the English B class, and individual interviews will shed some light on who gets access to which (linguistic) resources, and why; on who gets capitalized and decapitalized with the categorization of speakers; and what consequences this has for the social and academic endeavours of students.
The management of multilingualism and discourses of diversity in international organisations – Panel convenor: Maria Rosa Garrido
This thematic panel for EDiSo 2017 explores the management of multilingualism and the category “international language”, as well as the discourses on diversity that justify this construction, in International Organizations (IO) such as the Council of Europe, International Committee of the Red Cross or the International Organization for the Francophonie. These organizations are de facto multilingual since they recruit employees from different nationalities, carry out their activities in different headquarters and/or delegations all over the world and fulfil a mandate of international reach. We are looking for researchers who analyse the socio-political conditions and linguistic ideologies shaping present-day constructions of multilingualism in IO from a critical, ethnographic perspective.
“The IB is to develop as a person.” Educating the self-governing individual through the IB diploma programme – Andrea Sunyol and Eva Codó
The number of private schools in Catalonia has not ceased to grow in the last decade. Since the crisis years, governments have been limiting the funding of public and semi-private education. Such covert privatisation strategies have only worsened the reputation of the national system, and have reduced its capacity to be at the forefront of educational innovation (Bonal & Tarabini, 2016; Resnik, 2015). The devaluation of public education and the need for an education that meets the new demands of a globalised neoliberal society has brought private schools and multinational educational companies to embrace internationality as the ultimate reform. In the Barcelona area, more and more elite schools are rebranding the type of education they offer into a more marketisable and globally competitive product (Holborow, 2015).
The school where the sociolinguistic ethnography that informs this study was conducted has recently undertaken an internationalisation process devised to gain a distinct niche in the market (Bourdieu, 1989) and as a result attract a broader spectrum of students. Their internationality in the making has thus far materialised in the implementation of a trilingual policy, numerous exchange programmes and other International events, and in making available the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) to some students. By these means the school meets the demands of the local community but it also rolls out the red carpet to students with transnationally mobile students, now a growing minority. With international programmes and encouraging the acquisition of English, the school is stocking students’ “bundles of skills” (Urciuoli, 2008) with useful, exportable knowledge that should convert into valuable human capital in a highly competitive job market (Park & Wee, 2012; Holborow, 2015).
Historicising multilingual professional identities at the International Committee of the Red Cross – Maria Rosa Garrido
The goal of this presentation is to explore historical transformations in the construction of multilingual professional identities for and by delegates at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland). It investigates the intersection between the ICRC’s trajectory and individual careers, with a focus on multilingualism and language learning in delegates’ mobile trajectories after the ICRC’s opening to an international labour market in 1992. The data comprise ethnographic interviews with ICRC delegates who were active between 1970 and 2015 triangulated with recruitment materials published between 1989 and 2016.
The opening of delegate positions to non-Swiss nationals gradually transformed institutional linguistic requirements and delegates’ repertoires. The ICRC was historically a Francophone institution, with English required for expatriate positions, and “internationalisation” reinforced English a lingua franca. New generations come from more diverse linguistic backgrounds and show more interest in language learning for humanitarian work. The delegates’ biographies play a great role in their employability since English and French are institutionally required and tested, with working languages like Arabic or Spanish as assets. Concurrently, their humanitarian careers shape and are shaped by their linguistic repertoires since delegates learn new languages (e.g. Tamil & Arabic) during their missions, often in response to unplanned linguistic needs, and are allocated missions owing to their linguistic competences.
The ICRC constructs entrepreneurial selves whose “cosmopolitan capital” (Igarashi and Saito 2014, Jansson 2016) allows them to navigate international contexts through English, as in UN agencies, and to (minimally) learn local languages in the field.
5th ASYRAS International Conference (Barcelona, January 2017)
“English is taken for granted”: Internationality and Language in the IB Diploma Programme of an International School near Barcelona – Andrea Sunyol
In recent years, the education system in Catalonia has undertaken several forms of internationalisation, some more explicit than others. Among the most extended internationalising practices is the intensification of the presence of English and, to a lesser extent, of other foreign languages in the curricula of public, semi-private and private schools (Alba et al., 2015; Bonal, 2009). The latest internationalising trend among elite private schools is to offer the two- year pre-university program by the International Baccalaureate (IB), the IB Diploma Programme, which is gaining presence among schools worldwide(Resnik, 2012; 2015) and also in Catalonia. Despite its impressive growth, which is seen as a distinction practice, the IB Diploma Programme is offered by a minority of schools (4 public; 12 private) and only few privileged students have access to it.
This paper is a diary-based case study of a student who has recently enrolled at the IB Diploma Programme at an elite school in the area of Barcelona. The student’s diary entries and diary-based interviews are the main source of qualitative data, which are complemented by ethnographic observations of the IB classes, visual texts from the school’s landscape, key stakeholders’ interviews and field documents. The study analyses the role of language in the discursive construction of the internationality and elitism of the IB program. These discourses are embedded in the socio-political and economic conditions of the late modern era: in a linguicised economy (Pujolar, 2007) language education is reconceptualised as added value (Duchene & Heller 2012a; 2012b), as job skills that have to foster employability and mobility in hyper-global education and labor markets.
Annual Meeting Svisa Esperanto-Societo (Fribourg, January 2017)
Espéranto et Croix-Rouge: Internationalisme, neutralité et paix – Maria Rosa Garrido
9th International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca (Lleida, 2016)
Language, labour market and inequality in a Catalan secondary school – Eva Codó and Adriana Patiño
The aim of this paper is to examine the process of implementation of English-medium content teaching (generally known as CLIL) in a state secondary school in the Barcelona metropolitan area. Specifically, the study purports to understand the positioning of the five non-English specialists participating in a government-supported experimental scheme to promote plurilingualism in Catalan secondary schools. Ethnographic data of different sorts (individual interviews, classroom recordings, teaching materials, focus groups, open day sessions, informal talk, etc.) was gathered over the course of one academic year (2015-2016). The study is framed within a political economic view of language teaching/learning (Block, Gray and Holborow, 2012; Kramsch, 2014), a fairly unexplored angle within applied linguistics, and follows recent work on the effects on neoliberalism in second/foreign language education (Bernstein et al. 2015).
The paper examines the impact of the implementation of CLIL on committed teachers of schools located in traditional working class neighbourhoods in terms of tensions and contradictions emerging in practices. The preliminary results show that at the same time as CLIL teachers want to democratise access to English for their students, they are themselves trapped in deprecatory discourses about their English-language competence and a neoliberal self-responsible ethos leading them to invest time and money in their own English education. The situation is much more complex for those who are not permanent staff members since they must redesign their courses to be taught in English and enrol in government-sponsored training programmes with heavy workloads,without a clear reward for them in terms of future job stability.
Translanguaging as transformation: linking an out-of-school reading program and teacher education – Emilee Moore
This paper will report on a work in progress that takes: 1) an out-of-school reading program for 4th and 5th grade primary school children in Barcelona –at which the researchers also volunteer –as the hub site for an ethnographic study of school and out-of-school ideologies and practices of plurilingualism and pluriliteracy; 2) a university subject in primary school language teaching in which both the researchers are also teacher educators as a critical learning space from which to engage future teachers with the out-of-school program through service learning. The analysis of ethnographic and audio-visual data in our corpus allows us to identify certain practices and spaces that we define using the notion of translanguaging. Such practices and spaces challenge dominant linguistic ideologies and offer potential for educational transformation. This paper not only aims to highlight such findings, but also to make explicit the epistemological and methodological challenges and opportunities posed by the notion of translanguaging for our research and university teaching practice. The project aims to contribute to the theoretical and methodological state-of-the-art, as well as having an impact on the day-to-day dynamics within the out-of-35 school program with which we collaborate, on our teacher education program, and to inform other programs, schools and educational policy makers.
Foreignness, authenticity and legitimacy in internationalising educational programmes in Barcelona – Eva Codó
Several authors have recently challenged received notions of foreignness and cultural authenticity in relation to worldwide languages, in particular English. In a recent paper, LoBianco (2014) exposes the modernist views that sustain the notion of “foreign” languages, and the extended nationing agenda of FL teaching. Kramsch (2014), in turn, posits that although the native-speaker myth has been amply questioned in the applied linguistics literature, issues of purity, correctness and cultural authenticity still inflect most FL teaching practice. Both authors argue that under current conditions of globalization and worldwide communication, a radical shift in conceptualization and pedagogy is needed to understand English and other global languages not as the language of some (un)desirable Other, but in relation to processes of reflexivity, identity (re)configuration, lifestyle and the expression of a distinctive voice.
This paper aims to understand how notions of authenticity and legitimacy play out in relation to the ideologically-constructed status of English as a “global”, “foreign”, “official” or “local” language in various types of English-medium school programmes in Barcelona. To do this, I examine ethnographic and discursive data from two different socio-educational contexts: on the one hand, a Catalan-immersion programme in a state school located in a working class neighbourhood where English has just been introduced as a medium of instruction, and on the other, an elitist international school where Catalan, Spanish and English enjoy equal official status as institutional languages. The findings reveal that teachers display different forms of self-appropriation of English in relation to which they construct themselves as il(legitimate) or (in)authentic speakers, and express emotions such as embarrassment or confidence. Interestingly, it is in the international school context where English is most rigidly construed as the language of the Other, and where the desire for unattainable native speaker competence is most vividly expressed. This leads to fracture in the student body and among the teaching staff with consequences for the social cohesion of the school.
Translanguaging in and around an out-of-school reading program – Emilee Moore, Claudia Vallejo
A large body of research has demonstrated that the plurilingualisms and pluriliteracies that children and youth in our cities bring to classrooms are often not those required for success in formal schooling. This is even more so for students from underprivileged backgrounds, a demographic where children and youth with trajectories of migration are overrepresented. In Catalonia, where this research is situated, perpetual strains on schools mean that extra support for children and young people struggling to reach educational objectives is often provided through volunteer-based out-of-school programs. While from a critical perspective it might be argued that such programs take the onus of educational equity away from schools and punish certain learners, previous research has argued that they also have the potential to re-order power imbalances and challenge linguistic ideologies and practices of formal education. Yet research is lacking, both generally and in our specific research context, as to the agendas pursued by such programs, the types of achievement they explicitly and implicitly promote and accomplish, how 508they complement or contrast with school, home and other learning spaces, and how they –together with schools –might include, without necessarily adopting, practices typical of child and youth cultures. This paper will report on a work in progress that is taking a metropolitan, out-of-school literacy program for 4th and 5th grade primary school children in Barcelona –at which the researchers are also volunteers –as the hub site for ethnographic case studies of school and out-of-school ideologies and practices of plurilingualism and pluriliteracy (or translanguaging) and their relationship with students‘educational successes and failures. The objectives of the project include: (1) To comprehend, particularly through the study of situated practices, the emergent ideological framing of the out-of-school literacy program, the aims pursued and the types of achievement promoted, in relation to the children‘s plurilingual and pluriliterate repertoires; (2) To explore the complexities of the translanguaging practices that the children participate in within (i.e. in interaction with volunteer tutors, with peer participants) and beyond the out-of-school program (e.g. at home, in friendship groups, at school) and to account for the relationship between their plurilingual and pluriliterate ways of knowing and doing and their educational successes and failures; and (3) To offer insights for educational improvement, in particular in terms of how formal schooling and community-based educational programs may include translanguaging for the promotion of successful schooling.
The construction of Mandarin Chinese as an elite language in international schools in Barcelona – Andrea Sunyol, Eva Codó
Mandarin Chinese is a latecomer among the group of foreign languages (FL) traditionally learnt and taught in Spain. The region of Catalonia, and its capital city, Barcelona, is no exception. Over the last 35 years, English has quickly replaced French as the main FL in primary, secondary and tertiary education. Despite initial mass abandonment, French has gradually retained its status as second foreign language, together with German and, occasionally, Italian. In this scenario, Mandarin Chinese has emerged as an ―exotic‖ addition to the list of FL with particular connotations of elitism and academic excellence. This is particularly the case in the ever-growing number of international(ising) schools in the Barcelona area. In some of these educational institutions, Chinese is the language that sets their offer apart from that of other private or semi-private establishments in the local educational market, and thus, makes it particularly attractive for distinction-seeking families.
This study reports on an educational ethnography conducted in an international school in Barcelona where Mandarin Chinese is currently taught from 1st to 4th grade of primary education (2 weekly hours) as part of the school‘s multilingual curriculum. A preliminary investigation of linguistic and educational ideologies among educators and school administrations shows how Mandarin Chinese is commodified as an emblem of both internationality and elitism; it is grounded on discourses of the economic ascendance of China as a global actor, and thus of social and individual language-based profit (Heller and Duchêne, 2012), and of the cognitive advantage of early Chinese language learning, a well-rooted nationalist myth, both in China and abroad (Hua and Wei, 2014). The paper intends to also incorporate the voices of other stakeholders, namely parents and the students themselves, to understand their positioning vis-à-vis marketised institutional discourses on the value of Chinese, with a focus on the construction of distinction and elitism. The study contributes to the scarce literature on the growing presence of Mandarin Chinese in Western FL primary and secondary school curricula (see Hua and Wei, 2014, and Pérez-Milans, 2015, for the UK), and to research on the language-based construction of elitism (De Mejía, 2002).
Privatising language education for undocumented migrants: Elite multilingualism and voluntary labour in a Catalan migrant-support NGO – Maria Rosa Garrido
In late capitalism, Western states have gradually privatised their social provision to NGOs, especially for peripheral populations. Based on a two-year critical ethnography (2007-2009), this article explores the privatisation of Catalan and Spanish language education in a migrant-support NGO, organised by volunteers for migrants who cannot access state-funded language education in Catalonia (Spain).
This NGO constructed multilingualism as an unremunerated “talent” (Kahn and Heller 2006) and did not have any language requirements for its low-paid staff. Volunteers took on the multilingual job, especially those organising Catalan and Spanish classes and partnerships. They positioned themselves as language experts who taught their native languages and studied foreign languages. One of their main motivations for volunteering was to practice French and English, which are locally considered to be middle-class symbolic capitals (Codó 2012) not easily accessible for retired and un(der)employed volunteers. Simultaneously, institutional agents categorised clients through English and French as “global” languages and ideologically erased the migrants’ multilingual repertoires. The institution, however, relegated global languages as temporary concessions for migrants to learn Catalan and Spanish.
NGOs emerge as “Trojan horses for global neoliberalism” (Harvey 2005: 177) linguistically. Privatising language education to NGOs implies cheap labour that take migration as an opportunity to gain global linguistic capitals in interaction with decapitalised migrants in Catalonia. The widespread discourse of solidarity in NGOs masks volunteers’ contribution to privatisation and overlooks their motivations for socio-linguistic recognition, as well as the clients’ unequal access to linguistic capitals in and beyond the language classroom.
“L1 Use and Focus on Form in a co-taught CLIL programme” – Elisabet Pladevall
One of the main aims of CLIL programmes is to increase the number of hours of exposure to a foreign language (FL) in the students’ curriculum (Dalton-Puffer, 2011). However, recent studies have explored the role of the L1 in the CLIL class and in students’ FL oral production tasks and findings suggest that CLIL classes are not always carried out in a monolingual FL mode (Gené Gil et al. 2012). More importantly, the coexistence of the L1 and the FL in a CLIL class may be beneficial for students to carry out specific tasks (Martínez Adrián, 2015; Pladevall-Ballester and Vraciu, to appear), to access and consolidate content (Méndez García and Pavón Vázquez, 2012) and to aid their affective learning. It remains to be seen how the use of the L1 in a CLIL class affects the integration of content and language and how or if focus-on-form is implemented. The present study explores the amount and type of L1 and FL (English) use and the presence of focus-on-form in a CLIL program that is taught by both the content teacher and the language specialist at the same time in 6th grade of primary school. Ten 1-hour CLIL science sessions were recorded, transcribed and analysed. Results suggest that L1-L2 use is kept separate in the case of teachers but not in the case of students. That is to say, while students tend to alternate and mix the use of the L1 and the FL when interacting among themselves and with the teachers, the language specialist only uses the FL and the content teacher only uses the L1, mainly to clarify concepts and expand on key content topics. Focus-on-form is hardly present and mainly restricted to the language specialist, but it is both pre-emptive and reactive and lexical and grammatical.