Fecha de catalogación: 10/07/2013
1° Edición: Septiembre de 2013.
Diseño: Sebastián Kladniew
© 2013, APIBA
Roots & routes in language education: Bi-multi-plurilingualism,
interculturality and identity.Selected papers from the 38th FAAPI Conference /
Laura Renart y Darío Luis Banegas. - 1a ed. - Buenos Aires: Asociación de
Profesores de Inglés de Buenos Aires - A.P.I.B.A., 2013.
1. Capacitación Docente. 2. Enseñanza de Inglés. I. Banegas, Darío Luis II.
Roots & routes in language education:
Selected papers from the 38th FAAPI
Asociación de Profesores de Inglés de Buenos Aires (APIBA),
FAAPI 2013 Organising Association
Darío Luis Banegas
Asociación de Profesores de Inglés de Zona Andina y Línea Sur (APIZALS)
Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................................... ii
From the editors ................................................................................................................................... iii
From FAAPI President ......................................................................................................................... vi
38th FAAPI Conference ....................................................................................................................... ix
1 Lessons from research on immersion programmes in Canada ........................................................... 1
2 The landscape of English language teaching: Roots, routes and ramifications ................................. 17
3 Communicating across cultures: encounters in the contact zone ...................................................... 35
Claudia Mónica Ferradas
4 Narrative inquiry within Argentinean EFLTE: Crafting professional identities and knowledge
through students‘ narratives ................................................................................................................ 44
María Cristina Sarasa
5 Designing intercultural and bilingual e-material for primary and secondary schools ........................ 56
Silvana Barboni and Liliana Simón
6 Border pedagogy: Towards re-routing roots in intercultural education ............................................ 73
Florencia Verónica Perduca
7 Pensamiento crítico, reflexión, conciencia cultural crítica: características de la interculturalidad en la
lectura en lengua extranjera ................................................................................................................. 86
8 Cultural bonding in the 21st-century language classroom ................................................................ 98
GabrielaN.Tavella and S. Carina Fernández
9 Interweaving critical reading of media texts and culture in a first year teacher training college ...... 109
Claudia Naom and Leandro Carreño
10 Meet the words: a philological and socio-cultural approach to discourse analysis at teacher training
college .............................................................................................................................................. 124
Florencia I. Viale
11 Future teachers: Identities, trajectories and projections ............................................................... 136
Flavia S. Bonadeo and Maria Susana Ibáñez
12 Cultural awareness and language enhancement through microblogging ....................................... 147
Paola Lorena Barboza and Ana Cecilia Cad
13 Digital identity and teacher´s role in the 21st century classroom ................................................. 158
14 ¿Se puede hablar de oportunidades de aprendizajes intraculturales? ........................................... 171
María E. Lizárraga
15 Reading and interacting with electronic texts: A multimodal process?......................................... 182
Yael Alejandra Hasbani
16 The future teacher of English in Argentina: The roles of the humanities, of research and of
collaboration in the new curricula...................................................................................................... 198
María Susana Ibáñez and Raquel Lothringer
17 Using Spanish in academic English language learning ................................................................ 210
Nancy C. González
18 The use of multimodal resources to explore a text‘s voices ......................................................... 223
Rosa Inés Cúneo and Natacha Carolina Sánchez Romera
19 Reflecting on identity and intercultural issues through literature ................................................. 236
María Ximena Maceri
20 Computer and Internet mediated narrative construction in EFL ................................................... 248
María Cecilia Chiappero, Agustín Massa, and Claudia Elizabeth Schander
Notes on contributors ........................................................................................................................ 262
About the editors............................................................................................................................... 267
APIBA wishes to thank:
APIZALS for sharing their experience of editing the 37th FAAPI Conference Selected
Papers (2012) to support APIBA in producing the 38th FAAPI Conference Selected Papers
The Members of the Academic Committee, all Members of various FAAPI Associations,
for their conscientious and invaluable work.
From the editors
While Laura is working on these selected papers in Buenos Aires, Darío is in Esquel. Laura
knows that beyond her door, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Chinese, and many other
languages are there, interacting, living, inhabiting different settings and identities which
come to shape and be shaped by a constellation of voices. She knows that there are children
and teenagers learning some of these languages at school, at home, with the help of their
families and the internet. Darío knows that beyond his doors, Spanish, Welsh,
Mapudungun, English and others are being used to create and recreate the world. He knows
that there are children attending a mapudungun-español school in Lago Rosario, Chubut.
All these languages attest to our roots and routes in all directions and reveal who we are.
Bi-multi-plurilingualism, interculturality and identity in language education are
growing in different directions (Aronin & Singleton, 2008; Blackledge & Creese, 2010;
Hornberger & Link, 2012; Kramsch, 2009; Taylor & Snoddon, 2013) and may be seen, as
Weber and Horner (2012) discuss, in terms of languages or in terms of linguistic resources
and repertories (see Greer, 2010). An interest in bi-multi-plurilingualism, interculturality
and identity is not new in FAAPI conferences and Argentina. Ferradas (2003, 2006, 2009)
discusses the intercultural speaker, the concept of otherness, identity, and self by building
bridges with literature. Banfi and Rettaroli (2008) and Renart (2003) have also contributed
to this interest by examining bilingualism and bilingual education in Argentina.
The XXXVIII FAAPI Conference focused on such a fascinating topic of language
education and the 20 selected papers which constitute the body of this publication evidence
the different branches we may find and explore. We may group the contributions under
three main categories: (1) reflective and theoretical discussions (Papers 2, 3, 6, 10, 13, 14,
16, and 19), (2) research-based reports (Papers 1, 4, 7, 11, and 12), and (3) classroom
accounts and materials (Papers, 5, 8, 9, 15, 16, 18, 20). It is also remarkable to see how
unifying areas of interest emerge from the authors: language teacher education (e.g. Papers
2, 7, 9, 10, 11, 16, 19, and 20), literature (e.g. Papers 3, 15, 15, and 19), and the use of
digital resources (e.g. Papers 12, 13, 15, 18, and 20). In terms of languages, it may be
interesting to note that two papers (7 and 14) are written in español and the rest in English.
Editing these contributions has been a powerful learning experience and a drive to
engage in critical examination of the literature, reflective practices, and research. The
presence of concepts such as border pedagogy (Paper 6), digital identity (Paper 13), digital
narratology (Paper 15), and aprendizajes intraculturales (Paper 14) has been eye openers to
new routes which may motivate us all to develop our curiosity further. Curiosity killed the
cat. Yet, curiosity may help teachers live professional lives more fully.
Laura and Darío
Aronin, L., & Singleton, D. (2008). Multilingualism as a new linguistic
dispensation.International Journal of Multilingualism, 5(1), 1 – 16.
Banfi, C., & Rettaroli, S. (2008). Staff profiles in minority and prestigious bilingual
education contexts in Argentina. In A. de Mejía & C. Hélot (Eds.), Bridging the gap
between prestigious bilingualism and the bilingualism of minorities (pp. 140 – 182).
Clevendon: Multilingual Matters.
Blackledge, A., & Creese, A. (2010). Multilingualism: A critical perspective. London:
Ferradas, C. (2003). Meeting the other, learning about ourselves: cultural awareness in the
language classroom. In Humanizing our practices: Minding the whole person. FAAPI
2003 Conference Proceedings (pp. 19 – 27). Salta/Córdoba: FAAPI/ASPI.
Ferradas, C. (2006). Diverse readings, plural responses.In N.L. Séculi & M.B. Lembo
(Eds.), XXXI FAAPI conference. Multiple literacies: Beyond the four skills. Conference
Proceedings (pp. 17 – 23). Rosario: APrIR.
Ferradas, C. (2009). Communicating identities: Finding a voice in English. In D. Fernández
(Coord.), XXXIV FAAPI Conference Proceedings. Teachers in action: Making the
latest trends work in the classroom (pp. 20 – 24). Bahía Blanca: FAAPI.
Greer, T. (2010). Identity in interculturality: Using (lack of) cultural knowledge to disalign
with an identity category. The Language Teacher, 34(3), 3 – 7.
Hornberger, N.H., & Link, H. (2012). Translanguaging and transnational literacies in
multilingual classrooms: A biliteracy lens. International Journal of Bilingual
Education and Bilingualism, 15(3), 261 – 278.
Kramsch.C. (2009). The multilingual subject. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Renart, L. (2003). Bilinguality and bilingualism in Argentina: A look at privileged
bilingualism. In Humanizing our practices: Minding the whole person. FAAPI 2003
Conference Proceedings (pp. 28 – 33). Salta/Córdoba: FAAPI/ASPI.
Taylor, S.K., & Snoddon, K. (2013). Plurilingualism in TESOL: Promising controversies.
TESOL Quarterly, 47(3), 439 – 445.
Weber, J., & Horner, K. (2012). Introducing multilingualism: A social approach.
Abingdon/New York: Routledge.
The editors made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information contained in this
e-book. However, the editors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the
accuracy, completeness or suitability for any purpose of the contents and disclaim all such
representations and warranties whether expressed or implied to the maximum extent
permitted by law. Any views expressed in this publication are the views of the authors only.
From FAAPI President
Siempre es motivo de satisfacción para FAAPI no sólo la realización de un nuevo
Congreso, sino también la publicación de una Selección de Artículos presentados para cada
Este Congreso organizado por APIBA en Buenos Aires pone en blanco y negro tópicos
que están en la agenda de la enseñanza de las lenguas en los últimos años, cuyo abordaje es
más que oportuno realizar.
La enseñanza de las lenguas tiene facetas fascinantes. Esta tarea ha sido motivo de
interés no sólo de profesores, sino mucho de pedagogos, lingüistas y psicólogos. Este
desvelo por la enseñanza de las lenguas permite contar con una larga tradición que se
remonta al siglo XVI, desde el método de ―gramática-traducción‖ descripto por primera vez
por Valentin Meidinger (1756-1822), creador del método y con el fin de enseñar el francés.
A partir de entonces, han sobrevenido nuevos métodos y enfoques, y llegamos a este siglo
XXI con la globalización –con sus luces y sus sombras- la internacionalización que deviene
de la primera, y la irrupción de la tecnología, los medios sociales, paredes del aula que caen
para dar lugar allí aprendizaje ubicuo, donde la sacralización del libro se desdibuja para dar
lugar a nuevos modos de comunicación y aprendizaje.
Vivimos rodeados de sofisticados aparatos electrónicos -que habrían hasta intimidado a
nuestros ancestros- que facilitan ¿? la comunicación con ―los otros‖ que hasta pueden están
lejos. Pero debemos subirnos a la ola, y buscar familiarizarnos con nuevos términos que se
van acuñando: lectoespectador, internauta, interactividad, multitareas, multimodalidad,
multimedialidad, hibridización, aprendizaje ubicuo; sin dejar de lado conceptos
sociolingüísticos como la otredad y el racismo.
En los años 1970s se empezó a manejar el concepto de competencia comunicativa; en
este milenio, ya hablamos del desarrollo de la competencia comunicativa intercultural, ya
que el cambio de centuria nos enfrenta cambios socio-históricos, y debemos estar
preparados para desaprender lo aprendidos y reaprender un nuevo rol como educadores.
Y esta re-adaptación pone a los profesores en la encrucijada de decidir o seguir las
directivas institucionales de que los celulares deben desaparecer del aula, o demostrar que
nos sirven para desarrollar las clases, usando Facebook o Twitter de manera significativa.
También irrumpen en el aula las redes sociales y las tablets, de tamaños diversos, con un
lector de libros, que puede ilustrar una clase de lengua o literatura.
Es un fenómeno que se da en todas las sociedades, y en términos de Clifford, se trata
de definir términos relativo a los viajes, en condiciones globales de cambio: las rutas
(routes) que se transitan, y las raíces (roots) que se poseen, que forjan la individualidad y la
historia de particulares mapas e historias, con conceptos como grupos minoritarios,
inmigrantes o etnicidad ligados a los caminos (roads) que recorren las personas. Es ver a los
inmigrantes como personas que luchan para aprender una lengua que les permita participar
en la vida social de la nueva comunidad, ya que su sentido de identidad está unido de
manera inextricable con la lengua materna.
En Argentina dada la conformación de la población, se dice que ―venimos de los
barcos‖, dicho que deja fuera a los grupos originarios. Entonces cuestiones de identidad, la
otredad, las lenguas en contacto, el bilingüismo, el plurilingüismo son una constante. En
una vuelta de tuerca, asistimos a la revalorización de nuestra L1 en el aprendizaje,
impensada hace veinte años.
Sudhoff juega con las palabras wor(l)d, mundo-palabra, cuando señala que el
aprendiente interculturalmente competente es más consciente de las convenciones
culturales que subyacen al mundo/a las palabras con que se encuentra y usa, que a la
gramática y la forma. Es que justamente el reconocimiento de las similitudes y diferencias
culturales promueve claramente el internacionalismo, que es el vínculo entre grupos por
encima de las fronteras de los estados y naciones, al decir de Byram.
Es sobre estos temas tan convocantes que distintos colegas han decidido generosamente
compartir sus estudios, experticia y conclusiones con otros colegas.
Están invitados a leerlos, y a través de ellos, seguir abriendo puertas que dan al
conocimiento, el disfrute intelectual y el aprendizaje continuo. ¡FAAPI se regocija!
Prof. Cristina Emilia Mayol, M.A.
38th FAAPI Conference
FAAPI 2013 Organising Committee & APIBA Executive Committee
President: Analía Kandel
Vice-President: Corine Arguimbau
Secretary: Belén Tur
Treasurer: Cecilia Cicolini
Deputy Treasurer: Laura Karina López (Web & Social networks)
Laura Renart (Academic Team)
Mariángeles Portilla (Virtual Platform)
Valeria Kharsansky (Volunteers & Social Programme)
Laureana Moreno (Administration)
Collaborators: Mariela Enrici, Silvia Rettaroli, Luciana De Bartolis (Treasury); Darío
Banegas, Luciana De Bartolis (Academic Team); Liliana Simón & Jennifer Verschoor (Virtual
Platform e-moderators); Selected Papers E-book Co-editors: Darío Banegas & Laura Renart
FAAPI Executive Committee
President: Cristina Mayol (APIM Misiones)
Vice-President: Gabriela Tavella (APIZALS Zona Andina y Línea Sur)
Secretary: Emma del Valle Figueroa (APISE Santiago del Estero)
Treasurer: Marisel Girardi (ACPI Córdoba)
Perla Angélica Pereyra (AsCaPi Catamarca)
Ricardo Javier Palma (APIT Tucumán)
María del Rosario Baigorria (APISN San Nicolás)
Ana Isabel Agüero de Renner (APISE Santiago del Estero)
Claudia Naom (APIBA Buenos Aires)
Silvia Pérez (APIT Tucumán)
Coordinators: Laura Renart (APIBA) and Darío Luis Banegas (APIZALS)
Mariel Amez (APrIR Rosario)
Alicia Artusi (APIBA Buenos Aires)
Darío Luis Banegas (APIZALS Zona Andina y Línea Sur)
Cristina Banfi (APIBA Buenos Aires)
Claudia Ferradas (APIBA Buenos Aires)
Emma Figueroa (APISE Santiago del Estero)
Silvia Iummato (APIBA Buenos Aires)
Mario López Barrios (ACPI Córdoba)
Claudia Naom (APIBA Buenos Aires)
Cristina Mayol (APIM Misiones)
Ricardo Javier Palma (APIT Tucumán)
Silvia Rettaroli (APIBA Buenos Aires)
Sandra Revale (APIBA Buenos Aires)
Gabriela Tavella (APIZALS Zona Andina y Línea Sur)
María Teresa Viñas Urquiza (APIBA Buenos Aires)
Elizabeth White (APIBA Buenos Aires)
Conference Coordination: Paula De Gennaro
Conference Organisation: Ana Finochetto
Conference Web: www.apiba.org.ar/faapi13
Federación Argentina de Asociaciones de Profesores de Inglés (FAAPI) and its Teacher
Asociación de Profesores de Inglés de Buenos Aires (APIBA)
1 Lessons from research on immersion
programmes in Canada
Several popular forms of French immersion are available for English-speaking students in
Canada; they vary with respect to the grade when French-L2 is first used to teach academic
subjects and how much academic content instruction is provided through the L2. Academic
content refer here to subjects prescribed in the school curriculum whose primary focus is
not language –such as mathematics, science, and history. Immersion in languages other
than French exists in Canada; but, the focus in this review will be on French immersion. In
early total immersion, all school subjects in Kindergarten to Grade 2 are in French.
Instruction in English begins in Grade 3 and increases in each subsequent grade until about
50% of instruction is provided in French and 50% in English by the end of elementary
school (age 11). In early partial immersion, about 50% of instruction in each elementary
school grade is provided in each language, beginning in Kindergarten. In middle
immersion, use of the L2 for content instruction is delayed until grade 3, and in late
immersion the L2 is not used for content instruction until grade 7 (more detailed
descriptions of these programs are provided in Genesee, 2004, and in Paradis, Genesee, &
Crago, 2011). Students in middle and late immersion receive traditional French-L2
instruction in the grades preceding use of French for content instruction.
The following general goals are common to these programs:
age/grade-appropriate levels of competence in speaking, listening, reading
and writing in the L1,
advanced levels of functional proficiency in the L2, and
grade-appropriate levels of achievement in prescribed academic subjects
(e.g., mathematics, science, history).
These general goals have motivated much of the research reviewed in this article. Student
learning outcomes have usually been evaluated by comparing the performance of
immersion students to that of students in the same grade in monolingual school programs
that use the L1 for all instruction or to their performance on standardized tests with norms.
In Genesee‘s research, immersion and non-immersion students were selected to be
comparable with respect to socio-economic status and academic ability so that these factors
would not influence test performance in favor of one group.
The following review is organized with respect to L1 outcomes, achievement in non-
language content subjects, and L2 outcomes. Findings within each of these sections are
organized according to important questions which are often asked about each of these
topics. Most research has evaluated the learning outcomes of students in general. However,
many educators, parents, and policy-makers have questioned the suitability of immersion
education for students who might be at risk for academic difficulty in school. This issue is
addressed in a section on the Suitability of Immersion Education for All Students. This is
followed by a brief section on Pedagogical Issues.
2. Student outcomes
2.1. First language outcomes
2.1.1. Do immersion students acquire the same competence in English-L1 as students in
Evaluations of immersion students‘ L1 skills have consistently shown that, in the long run,
there is no significant difference between their skills and those of students in monolingual
English programs (Genesee, 2004; Lambert & Tucker, 1972; Swain & Lapkin, 1982). In the
case of evaluations of early total immersion, it has been found that immersion students often
score significantly lower than non-immersion students during the primary grades, when all
instruction is in French, on tests of reading and writing in English; they demonstrate no such
lags in speaking and listening comprehension. These lags disappear within one year of
receiving instruction in English. The rapid catch-up in reading and writing in English that
early total immersion students experience is often attributed to the transfer of reading and
writing skills in French to English and the fact that they have extensive exposure to English
outside school. The same pattern of results has been found in immersion-type programs for
majority language students in other countries – for example, in Japanese-English immersion
programs in Japan (Bostwick, 2001), Russian-Estonian immersion programs in Estonia
(Mehisto & Asser, 2007), and Spanish-English bilingual programs in the U.S. (Lindholm-
2.1.2. Is more and early instruction in English advantageous?
Evaluations of alternative forms of immersion have indicated that students acquire the same
levels of L1 competence as non-immersion students regardless of when instruction in English
begins (early vs. delayed or late) and regardless of how much instruction they receive in
English (50% in the beginning or none) (Genesee, 1981). To the contrary, there is evidence
that, in some cases, the English language skills of immersion students are superior to those of
students in monolingual non-immersion programs despite reduced exposure (Lambert,
Genesee, Holobow, & Chartrand, 1993). The home language advantage demonstrated by
some immersion students has been attributed to their extended exposure to French in school
which, in turn, is thought to have additive effects on their English language development.
2.1.3. Does linguistic similarity matter?
Immersion-type programs have been implemented in a variety of languages in communities
around the world, including languages that are typologically different; for example,
Mohawk-English (Jacobs & Cross, 2001), Hawaiian-English (Slaughter, 1997), Japanese-
English (Bostwick, 2001), Hebrew-French-English (Genesee & Lambert, 1983), Chinese-
English (Johnson, 1997), Estonian-Russian (Mehisto & Asser, 2007), and Swedish-Finnish
(Björklund, 1998). Some of these language combinations also entail different orthographies
(e.g., Japanese-English and Chinese-English). There is no evidence from evaluations of
these programs that typological differences, with or without orthographic differences,
influence student outcomes significantly.
2.2. Academic outcomes
2.2.1. Do immersion students attain the same levels of academic achievement as non-
Evaluations of immersion students‘ achievement in their non-language school subjects
indicate that they achieve the same levels of competence as comparable students in
monolingual English language programs -- in mathematics, science, history, and other
subjects. Parity with non-immersion students is often exhibited even in early total
immersion programs when students receive all academic instruction through their L2,
provided the assessment is conducted in the L2 and modifications are made to take into
account that full competence in the L2 has not been acquired. Parity with students in
monolingual programs has been found even in the case of secondary school students who
were studying advanced level mathematics, science, physics, and other school subjects in
French (Genesee, 2004).
2.2.2. Is the academic achievement of immersion students with low academic ability
Parents and educators often believe that students with below average academic ability are
not good candidates for immersion because they will struggle to acquire new skills and
knowledge if they are taught through a non-native language in which they lack proficiency.
Genesee (1976) found that below average students in immersion scored at the same level as
below average students in monolingual English programs on a variety of academic
achievement measures, including standardized achievement tests and examinations
mandated by the government, in subjects such as mathematics and science. While the
below average students in both programs scored significantly lower than their average and
above average peers in their respective programs, the below average immersion students
were not further disadvantaged in academic achievement as a result of participation in
Students who struggle academically in school are often advised to switch to a
monolingual program on the assumption that they will struggle less in a monolingual
English program. In fact, academic difficulty is often the main reason for students
switching out of French immersion in Canada. Indeed, Bruck (1985a, 1985b) found that
students who switched out of early French immersion in Montreal scored significantly
lower on a number of achievement measures than students, on average, who remained in
immersion. She also found, however, that the academic difficulties of the students who
switched were no worse than those of a sub-group of students who remained in immersion
despite low academic performance. Of particular interest, the immersion students who
switched expressed significantly more negative attitudes toward schooling (and immersion
in particular) and exhibited more behavioral problems than students who remained in
immersion despite academic difficulties. Bruck suggested that it was not academic
difficulty per se that caused the students to switch out of immersion; rather, they switched
because they had motivational and behavioral problems coping with poor academic
2.3 Second language outcomes
2.3.1. What level of L2 competence do immersion students acquire?
The French-L2 proficiency of Canadian immersion students has been found to be significantly
superior to that of non-immersion students in monolingual English programs with
conventional French-L2 instruction which usually consists of instruction for about 45-50
minutes in French per day with a focus on vocabulary and grammar. This has been found to be
true for speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In comparison with students who speak
French as a native language, immersion students often score at the same level on tests that
assess comprehension skills –listening and reading. Their performance on tests of language
production - speaking and writing - are generally very impressive. They are able to understand
and make themselves understood in all school contexts, and they demonstrate an uninhibited
and creative use of French for communication that is seldom achieved by students in
conventional French-L2 programs. At the same time, immersion students‘ use of French is less
than native-like: (a) they make numerous grammatical errors; (b) they often have restricted
vocabulary and simplified grammar; and (c) their usage is non-idiomatic (see Lyster, 2007).
These gaps in L2 competence have led to discussions of how best to integrate language and
content instruction to maximize L2 proficiency, a point discussed later in the section on
Pedagogical Issues (e.g., Lyster, 2007; Swain, 1998).
Research on immigrant children who spoke neither English nor French as an L1 and who
participated in French immersion programs has shown that they performed as well as
monolingual children who spoke only English (Swain, Lapkin, & Hart, 1990; Swain &
Lapkin, 2005). Of particular note, Swain and her colleagues found that acquisition of literacy
skills in the heritage language (L1) had a significant and positive correlation with the
immigrant students‘ acquisition of French-as-a-third language. These findings underline the
importance of promoting literacy in immigrant students‘ heritage language.
2.3.2. Does competence in the L2 depend on students‟ level of academic ability?
Studiesof elementary and secondary school immersion students have revealed interesting
and differential effects of academic ability on L2 achievement. Genesee (1976) found that
below average students in both early and late immersion scored lower on tests of French
reading and writing than average and above average students in the same programs;
similarly, the average students in both program types scored lower than the above average
students. In contrast, while average students in late immersion also showed advantages on
measures of speaking and listening in comparison to average and below average students,
there were no differences among the ability sub-groups in the early immersion program on
measures of L2 speaking and listening. Overall, these results suggest that early immersion
is more effective for students with different levels of academic ability than immersion
programs at the secondary level.
2.3.4. Does more L2 exposure result in higher levels of L2 proficiency?
The relationship between L2 exposure and achievement in immersion programs is complex.
On the one hand, students intotalimmersion programs generally acquire higher levels of
French proficiency than students in partialimmersion programs (Genesee, 2004; see also
Cenoz, 2008). On the other hand, students in two-year late immersion (grades 7 and 8)
have been found sometimes to perform as well as early total immersion students despite the
fact that the former have significantly less exposure to French in school (Genesee, 1981).
One explanation for these findings is that older L2 learners need relatively less exposure to
the L2 because they are better learners overall than younger learners. As well, older
learners who are already able to read and write in the L1 are able to transfer these skills to
French, making learning French relatively efficient. Students in late immersion are also
self-selecting and, thus, are highly motivated to do well.
Pedagogical factors are also probably important. Evidence for this comes from research
that compared two types of late immersion – one that was teacher-centered and one that
was student-centered (Stevens, 1983). In the teacher-centered program, native English-
speaking students spent 80% of their school day in French, while in the student-centered
program students spent 50% of their school day in French. Stevens (1983) found that,
despite the time advantage of the students in the teacher-centered program, students in the
student-centered program scored as well on a variety of French language measures. She
argued that students in the student-centered program achieved such impressive French
language skills because their program permitted more active use of French and, as well,
learning was more individualization insofar as students were given opportunities to choose
what they would study and how they would meet curricular objectives.
2.3.5 Is age an important factor in L2 achievement?
It is widely believed that ‗younger is better‘ when it comes to L2 learning. However,
evidence in support of this belief most often comes from studies on L2 learning in non-
school settings. Evidence from research in schools is more complex. Research in Canada
has shown, on the one hand, that students in early total French immersion generally achieve
significantly higher levels of French proficiency than students in programs with a delayed
(middle elementary grades) or late (secondary school) starting grade (Genesee, 1981; see
also Wesche, Toews-Janzen and MacFarlane, 1996, for a review). On the other hand,
Canadian research also shows that students in two-year late immersion can sometimes
achieve the same or almost the same levels of proficiency in French as students in early
total immersion in some domains of language, even though early immersion students begin
studying through French earlier and may have had 2 to 3 times more exposure to French
than late immersion students (Genesee, 1981). Similar findings in favor of older learners
have also been reported in evaluations of less intensive forms of L2 instruction in other
countries (e.g., Burstall, 1974; Krashen, Long & Scarcella, 1979).
3. The suitability of immersion for all students
Educators, parents and policy makers often believe that students who are at risk for
academic difficulty should not participate in immersion because such students are likely to
struggle in monolingual programs and, therefore, are likely to struggle even more in
programs where they are taught through a language they do not know. Research in
Canada has examined the suitability of immersion for at-risk students with the following
learner and background characteristics which often put them at a disadvantage in school
(Genesee, 2007): (a) low academic ability (or intelligence) (Genesee, 1976), (b) low socio-
economic status (Bruck, Tucker, & Jakimik, 1975; Genesee, 2004), (c) poor L1 abilities
(Bruck, 1978, 1982), and (d) minority ethnic group status (Genesee, 1992; Jacobs & Cross,
2001). It has been found consistently that English-speaking students who are at risk for the
above reasons can attain the same levels of competence in English-L1 and in academic
domains in immersion as comparable at-risk students in monolingual programs. At the
same time, at-risk students benefit from immersion by acquiring advanced levels of
functional proficiency in French.
4. Pedagogical issues
Notwithstanding the overall effectiveness of various forms of immersion, there is concern
over students‘ competence in French, as noted earlier. There are several possible
explanations why students‘ in immersion struggle with some aspects of French. It may be that
the strong focus on content that characterizes immersion teacher instruction focuses learners‘
attention on content more than on language per se. In other words, as long as students
understand what is being said about content and as long as they can communicate about
academic content in meaningful ways, the accuracy with which they use language to
communicate may go unnoticed, unchecked, and, thus, underdeveloped. Moreover, teachers
and students are not held accountable for L2 outcomes to the same extent as they are for
achievement in their other school subjects. It may also be that teachers who are teaching
content through French-L2 tend to rely on linguistic forms, including vocabulary, grammar,
and discourse-related skills, that students have already acquired in order to ensure that input
about content is comprehensible and mastered. Thus, the complexity and accuracy of students‘
competence in French may be limited by the language input they receive from their teachers.
In a related vein, errors in language made by students during content classes may receive little
or unsystematic attention from teachers for the sake of keeping communication going, but
with the unfortunate side effect of stunting students‘ accurate use of French. In any case,
educators and researchers in Canada, and the U.S., have turned their attention on how to
optimize language learning in immersion programs while maintaining high levels of academic
There is growing recognition that it is critical when teaching through an L2 that
teachers systematically and explicitly promote development of students‘ L2 skills at all
times since students have little opportunity to learn the L2 outside school. This means
that teachers who are teaching non-language-based content subjects, such as mathematics
or science, should be familiar with the academic language skills of their discipline and be
able to plan instruction that promotes those language skills at the same time as students
are learning discipline-specific skills and knowledge. It is especially important that this
be done during the lower grades so that students can comprehend complex academic
content taught through the L2 in higher grade. If students do not acquire advanced
academic language skills in the L2 early on, they will not have the sophisticated language
and literacy skills they need to handle academic instruction taught through the second
language in the higher grades. Researchers and educators working in Canada and in the
U.S. have proposed strategies for promoting language development in immersion
programs (e.g., Echevarría, Vogt & Short, 2008; Genesee, 1991; Hamayan, Genesee, &
Cloud, 2013; Lyster, 2007; Snow, Met & Genesee, 1989; Swain, 1998).
Various forms of immersion education have been implemented and evaluated in Canada. In
general, these programs have been shown to be very effective. In particular,
1) English-speaking students in immersion programs demonstrate competence in their L1
that is comparable to, and in some cases better than, that of similar students in
2) Immersion students attain grade-appropriate levels of achievement in academic
3) Immersion students achieve levels of functional proficiency in French-L2 that are
significantly superior to that of students who received conventional French-L2
3) However, the L2 competence of immersion students can be enhanced if teachers are
more systematic and explicit in integrating language and content instruction, especially
if these efforts are coordinated across grade levels.
4) L2 outcomes are also enhanced when students are given plenty of opportunities to use
the language actively in interaction with teachers and other students.
5) Immersion education has been shown to be effective even with students who might be
at risk for difficulty in school due to low academic ability, poor first language skills,
and low socio-economic background.
6) In general, students who have greater exposure to French-L2 achieve higher levels of
proficiency than students who have less exposure.
7) In contrast, more exposure and instruction in English-L1 does not necessarily result in
greater levels of proficiency in that language.
There are many advantages to bilingualism – the ability to communicate and interact
with others, the ability to access information from electronic and other sources in multiple
languages, for cognitive enrichment, and for personal, cultural, and educational enrichment.
Second/foreign language immersion programs are an effective way to students to acquire
competence in additional languages.
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expansion. In J. Cenoz & F. Genesee (Eds.), Beyond bilingualism: Multilingualism and
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Genesee (Eds.), Bilingual Education (pp.125-138).Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
Bruck, M. (1978). The suitability of early French immersion programs for the language
disabled child. Canadian Journal of Education, 3, 51-72.
Bruck, M. (1982). Language disabled children: Performance in an additive bilingual
education program. Applied Psycholinguistics, 3, 45-60.
Bruck, M. (1985a). Predictors of transfer out of early French immersion programs.Applied
Psycholinguistics, 6, 39-61.
Bruck, M. (1985b). Consequences of transfer out of early French immersion
programs.Applied Psycholinguistics, 6, 101-120.
Bruck, M., Tucker, G.R., & Jakimik, J. (1975). Are French immersion programs suitable
for working class children? Word, 27, 311-341.
Burstall, C. (1974). Primary French in the balance. Windsor, England: NFER Publishing
Cenoz, J. (Ed.) (2008). Teaching through Basque: Achievements and challenges. Clevedon,
U.K.: Multilingual Matters.
Echevarria, J., Vogt, E., & Short, D. 2008. Making content comprehensible for English
language learners: The SIOP Model (3rd Edition). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Genesee, F. (1976).The role of intelligence in second language learning.Language
Learning, 26, 267-280.
Genesee, F. (1981). A comparison of early and late second language learning.Canadian
Journal of Behavioral Science, 13, 115-127.
Genesee, F. (1991). Second language learning in school settings: Lessons from immersion.
In A. Reynolds (Ed.), Bilingualism, multiculturalism, and second language learning:
The McGill conference in honor of Wallace E. Lambert (pp. 183-202). Hillsdale, NJ:
Genesee, F. (1992). Second/foreign language immersion and at-risk English-speaking
children.Foreign Language Annals, 25, 199-213.
Genesee, F. (2004). What do we know about bilingual education for majority language
students? In T. K. Bhatia & W. Ritchie (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism and
multiculturalism (pp. 547-576). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Genesee, F. (2007). French immersion and at-risk students: A review of research findings.
Canadian Modern Language Review, 63, 655-688.
Genesee, F., & Lambert, W. E. (1983). Trilingual education for majority language
children.Child Development, 54, 105-114.
Hamayan, E., Genesee, F., & Cloud, N. (2013). Dual language instruction from A to Z:
Practical guidance for teachers and administrators. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.
Jacobs, K, & Cross, A. (2001). The seventh generation of Kahnawà:ke: Phoenix or
Dinosaur. In D. Christian & F. Genesee (Eds.), Bilingual Education (pp. 109-121).
Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
Johnson, R. K. (1997). The Hong Kong education system: Late immersion under stress. In
R.K. Johnson & M. Swain, M. (Eds.), Immersion Education: International
Perspectives (pp. 171-189). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Krashen, S., Long, M., & Scarcella, R. (1979). Age, rate, and eventual attainment in second
language acquisition.TESOL Quarterly, 13, 573-582.
Lambert, W.E., Genesee, F., Holobow, N., & Chartrand, L. (1993). Bilingual education for
majority English speaking children.European Journal of Psychology of Education, 8, 3-
Lambert, W.E., & Tucker, G.R. (1972). The bilingual education of children: The St. Lambert
experiment. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Lindholm-Leary, K. J. (2001). Dual language education. Avon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Lyster, R. (2007). Learning and teaching languages through content: A counterbalanced
approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Mehisto, P., & Asser, H. (2007). Stakeholder perspectives: CLIL programme management
in Estonia. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 10(5), 683-
Paradis, J., Genesee, F., & Crago, M. (2011). Dual language development and disorders: A
handbook on bilingualism and second language learning (2nd Ed.). Baltimore, MD:
Slaughter, H. (1997). Indigenous language immersion in Hawai‘i: A case study of Kula
Kaiapuni Hawai‘i. In R.K. Johnson & M. Swain (Eds), Immersion education:
International perspectives (pp. 105-129). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Snow, A., Met. M., & Genesee, F. (1989). A conceptual framework for the integration of
language and content in second/foreign language instruction.TESOL Quarterly, 23,
Stevens, F. (1983). Activities to promote learning and communication in the second
language classroom.TESOL Quarterly, 17, 259-272.
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Williams (Eds.), Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition (pp. 64-82).
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Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
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education in Canada: Some implications for program development. International
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impacts of early, middle and late entry French immersion options: Review of recent
research and annotated bibliography. Toronto: OISE/UT Press.
2 The landscape of English language
teaching: Roots, routes and
MEGCBA, ENS en LV “SBS”, IES en LV “JRF”, ISP “JVG”, UB, UBA
This paper will sketch the current landscape of the teaching of the English language in
Argentina and, to some extent, Latin America. It will trace the roots that reflect the
background of English language teachers and English language professionals. Then it will
outline the options or routes followed by teachers as part of their continuing professional
development and work life. Finally, the ramifications of these options in relation to our
context, with particular emphasis on the past two decades, will be presented and some
current trends will be briefly discussed.
2. Roots and routes
When we explore the professional roots of English language teachers we first turn towards
their educational background. As members of FAAPI associations in Argentina what
teachers have in common is a degree of Teacher of English. This may have been obtained
at a university or teachers‘ college; it may be generic, i.e. for all levels or specializing to
teach in Primary or Secondary schools; it may even have been designed as a four or two-
and-a-half-year degree. However, in spite of this evident diversity, many teachers are not
aware that their course of studies can trace its roots to the pioneer plan included in the
decree issued by President Julio Argentino Roca and his Education Secretary, Dr. Juan
Ramón Fernández on February 10th, 1904 as part of the creation of the institution currently
known as IES en Lenguas Vivas ―Juan Ramón Fernández‖ (see Banfi & Moyano, 2003).
The number in between parenthesis indicates the number of weekly periods taken by
students over the course of each year.
Foreign Language (12)
Spanish and its literature (3)
Spanish and its literature (3)
Spanish and its literature (3)
Child Psychology (2)
Moral and Logic(3)
This is my translation of the Spanish terms used in the decree. Note that where the
translation says Geography / History, the original plan referred to Geografía / Historia de
ese pueblo to draw a distinction with Argentine Geography / History. This is owing to the
fact that this generic plan was intended for teacher training programmes in English, French,
German and Italian. In those days, the reference to ―the people who speak that language‖
did not require further clarification. Nowadays it could be considered a more ambiguous
term and, yet, the content of the courses has not varied significantly. In the first instance
only English and French were implemented. This programme was a great innovation for the
time in that it provided specific and specialised education for language teachers, something
that was viewed as a matter for the State to be involved in directly. This model would be
emulated and expanded in subsequent plans in different institutions at various stages.
A trait that appears evident in that plan, and that has continued to be present in the
design of these programmes, is its interdisciplinarynature. Contents and approaches are
drawn from different disciplines and, with the passing of time, new disciplines that
emerged were incorporated, e.g. (Applied) Linguistics, Phonetics, Discourse Analysis, to
mention some. One of the current challenges in the curricular design of teacher education
programmes is, in fact, finding ‗space‘ in any given plan for all the content areas that are
deemed ‗necessary‘. A related challenge is the nature of teacher educator appointments and
the level of (in-) flexibility when it comes to updating content in rigidly assigned slots. This
is not a minor issue and is linked to the academic vs. professional nature of the programmes
and institutions. Pierce (1991) writes:
Although most studies fail to define the term [discipline] explicitly, they typically
assume that boundaries of disciplines closely follow those of academic departments.
The use of such boundaries may seem to fix overly concrete limits on a highly
abstract phenomenon, excluding too large a number of people with interest in the
subject. But its importance in creating and maintaining disciplinary communities
makes the academic department the building block from which disciplines are
created.(Pierce, 1991, pp. 22-23)
A related aspect of the programmes that has been present from the outset is the
devotion of considerable time to the language development of prospective teachers, hence
the presence of a significant number of hours allotted to ‗Foreign Language.‘ This
overarching objective has on occasion distorted the boundaries between instrumental
content/skills development and those areas that are discipline-bound (see Banfi & Iummato,
At a comparativelevel, the common ground that Argentine teachers share may lead us
to the mistaken belief that this is the way teachers of English have always been educated
everywhere. However, models for educating foreign and second language teachers are as
varied as the contexts and traditions where they exist. There are various reviews of foreign
language teacher education in Europe (Kelly et al, 2002), in various countries from a US
perspective (Pufahl, Rhodes & Christian, 2000), in Chile (Vivanco Torres, 2012), in
Mexico (Ordoñez, 2009), in Colombia(Moss & Salamanca, 2012). Some elements that can
be observed in the programmes in many countries in Latin America are the recent creation
or major reform of English language teacher education programmes reflecting the
expansion of English language teaching in schools and the active participation of agencies
such as the American Embassy and the British Council.
The parameters for differentiation are not only geographical or national but temporal.
The late 1990s saw the passing of new educational legislation (Ley Federal de Educación –
LFE – Ley24.195 and Ley de Educación Superior – LES – Ley24.521) and the birth of
Licenciaturas for teachers (i.e. two year university conversion courses for holders of
tertiary level degrees) and postgraduate courses, particularly Master‘s programmes. There
was also the formalization of different in-service and continuing education courses and
programmes with greater or lesser recognition at an official level. Professional associations
have played a part in providing information about these programmes as they appeared and
expanded to ensure that teachers had access to the information necessary to make a choice
(e.g. Moyano, 1999a &b for the summary produced by APIBA following the 1999 APIBA
Seminar). They also participated in the field of courses with accreditation. Crucially, they
have acted as networks where teachers could share experiences and information (see
APIBA SIGs, Kandel, 2002).
A concomitant effect of the LES was the segmentation and differentiation of two sub-
sectors within the Higher Education area, i.e. ‗universities‘ and ‗non-universities
institutions,‘ as labelled in the law, a clear distinction in status. A direct effect of the
passing of the LES and a related law concerning funding of education (Ley 24.049 – Ley de
Transferencia de Servicios Educativos) was the transfer of non-university higher education
institutions to the sphere of the provinces and the City of Buenos Aires. There is
insufficient time to analyse this situation in depth here (see Banfi 2013 and forthcoming),
but we can say that the effect has not been altogether felicitous in strengthening the
teaching profession and raising the status of teachers. Several projects to reform the LES
have been under study in Congress but have not yet obtained sufficient consensus to redress
this situation, as well as other shortcomings of the current law. It would be most important
for teacher‘s associations, as well as colleges, to play a role in these discussions, although
to date they have been underrepresented.
Teachers‘ multiple and often overlapping jobs have taken them down various roads.
Teachers of English in Argentina may work in the state or private sector or both. They may
teach at one or more educational levels (i.e. Pre-school, Primary, Secondary, Higher
Education). The courses they teach may fall under the label of ‗curricular‘ or ‗extra-
curricular‘. Other possible, and often concurrent, jobs may include: materials writer,
examiner for examiner body, consultant or advisor for different institutions, teacher
educator, etc. (see APIBA, 2006). Along these paths teachers have often needed to go back
to ‗school‘ to update their knowledge-base and acquire news skills in areas as diverse as
educational management, age group specialization, school management, online teaching,
etc., all in the spirit of the much-discussed continuing professional development(see Craft,
2000 and Banfi, 1997). This often took teachers down the road of degree-plus programmes
(NB: Licenciaturas are undergraduate degrees according to Argentine law, even if for
teachers they are second degrees, see Marquina, 2004 for clarification), and has frequently
implied making a choice between specializing, changing track (or even discipline), or
taking a broad outlook.
Along the road teachers often realize that there are different benefits and challenges
associated with the diverse professional and educational paths they have chosen.
Now we turn to some further changes and trends that have characterised the last two
decades and that have had considerable impact on the education and professional practice
of English language teachers in our country and, to some extent, in our region. One
overarching feature that has characterised this period has been that of almost permanent
change. This trait is not exclusive to our area or profession but probably a defining
characteristic of the Zeitgeist. Let us concentrate on those changes that are most specific to
teachers of English.
As we have mentioned, the last two decades have seen the emergence of a range of
new degrees and institutions that provide teaching qualifications and degrees-plus
qualifications for teachers. During the 1990s we saw a number of instances of what has
come to be known as Transnational Education (Banfi, 2002). Whereas before the only
possibility to specialise at postgraduate level was to change discipline or go abroad, almost
overnight, a number of options became locally available. Also, the passing of the Ley de
Educación Superior lead to the appearance of different Licenciaturas, initially the only
way, as an intermediate step, to access local postgraduate courses (Álvarez & Dávila,
2005). This would later change with the introduction of Artículo 39bis of the law (see
Banfi, 2003), but Licenciaturas, nevertheless, became part of our landscape to the present
as are some MA programmes of interest to teachers. We have yet to see if full-blown four-
year Licenciaturas and Doctorates in relevant disciplines are to follow.
Another change in educational options for teachers was the emergence of new types of
providers of different kinds of certification and accreditation. This is a 21st century
development that is still very much in its early stages. Various agents are taking part in this
growing ‗market‘ ranging from university extension departments to publishers and
examination groups, sometimes in conjunction, and, in many cases, with profit motivations.
We will probably see considerable growth in this area (for a discussion of the issues, see
In parallel to these formal developments, and to some extent preceding them, we have
seen great expansion in the area of the organisation of conferences, workshops, courses and
other events … of all sorts. Many senior members of our associations remember when the
association was the single most important, if not the only, source of such activities (e.g. see
testimonies in Day, 2002). This was some time ago, however. Over the last two decades we
have experienced what I will label a Cambalache situation (for an early discussion of this,
see Banfi, 2000). In the very mixed bag of events we often find a wide variation in the
quality of speakers, material, content, etc. If we review a list of events presented as ‗teacher
development‘ in a given year or even month, we find pseudo-conferences organised by an
individual with a profit motive, or sponsored activities with commercial backing;
presentations given by researchers or practitioners, others by individuals with vested
interests (e.g. author or bestselling book looking for a platform); and even activities almost
akin to yoga or Reiki. It is not a question of dismissing any of the above as more or less
useful or even attempting to rank them: it is clear that they are essentially different and
hardly comparable. Some of these events have helped communicate certain notions,
methods and approaches vary widely. Thus, ideas such as multiple intelligences (Gardner
1983, 1993), intercultural approaches (Byram, 1997 Colbert, 2003, MEGCBA 2009), Task-
Based Learning (Willis, 1996, Willis & Willis, 2007), CLIL and Content-Based instruction
(see Mehisto, Marsh & Frigols 2008,Met 1999), bi-, multi- and plurilingual education
(Genesee, 2002, García, 2009, and Hamel, 2008), the benefits of an early start in language
learning (Banfi, 2010 and MEGCBA, 2010), and the educational value of teaching
additional languages (MEGCBA, 2001 and Banfi, 2012) are now present in the rationales
of teacher‘s projects as described, for example, in the III Jornada de Intercambio de
Experiencias Pedagógicas de Idioma Extranjero de los DDEE 19 y 21 in July of this year
as well as the Jornadas Buenos Aires y sus Idiomas, held at the Legislature of the City of
Buenos Aires since 2010. Professional associations play a crucial role in the development
of critical appreciation necessary to develop awareness among their members of the
difference between activities of substance and relevance and those that have other
objectives. In other words, there is a place for everything, but different things belong in
The growth of post-degree activities, particularly postgraduate degrees, has led to the
incipient emergence of research in the area. Much of the work done as part of these courses
is contributing to a better understanding of the issues in the field, but its reach is still
limited, often to the institution or even a cohort of students. There is still great need to share
and communicate these findings. We should be particularly tentative in this respect
because, even though we may have entered an Age of Research (Banfi, 2007), there is still a
scarcity of research positions or positions that combine research and teaching: individuals
have commitment and good will to conduct research, but a proper research structure
requires institutionalised support and initiatives. There are some opportunities for research
projects such as those promoted by the INFD Instituto Nacional de Formación Docente,
but there is almost no room for what could be labelled ‗curiosity-driven research‘. There is
much to learn from those who have explored educational research in other contexts (e.g.
The need to form networks among teachers and communicate the results of research
has led to the appearance of different publications and forums. The English Language
Journal – ELJ, edited by Aldo Blanco between 1970 and 1989, was a pioneer publication,
possibly too innovative for its time. The newsletter and e-forum ELT News and Views,
published between 1994 and 2000 by Martin Eayrs were important in disseminating
information and getting the ball rolling. Both these publications were the result of the
determined effort of individuals and had difficulties to be sustained in the long run. The
annual Revista Lenguas Vivas published by the IES en Lenguas Vivas ―J.R. Fernández‖ has
institutional support and brings the concerns and work of academics and practitioners from
the different languages taught at that institution. The launch of the Argentinian Journal of
Applied Linguistics - AJAL in 2013 is an auspicious event that will hopefully mark the
beginning of a new era in academic publications in our midst. Issues such as the Open
Access debate are bound to have great impact among us as well (for an introduction to this
controversial debate, see Freedman & Anyangwe, 2012). As Milner-Gulland (2013) very
aptly puts it (my emphasis):
At the moment most open access is based on an author-pays mode. However this also risks
imposing substantial inequalities, and means that many people who are best placed to
translate their knowledge into practice – authors outside academia and in poorer countries –
are precluded from publishing their work. Put crudely, we are moving from a position in
which the less privileged can write but not read, to one where they can read but not
write – neither is conducive to open dialogue.
Much has been said about the increasing access to information from all over the world
that globalization and information technologies have brought. This access has forever
changed the way language teachers can obtain material for teaching (e.g. authentic audio
and video texts, ready-made teaching materials, automated exercises, etc.) as well as
academic and professional publications for teachers (for very early examples, see Banfi &
Day, 1995). A question that is inescapable if we think about access to information, though,
is that of selection. How, assuming it is true that we have access to ‗everything there is‘
(and that is a leap in itself), are we supposed to sift through it and get to what really matters
In the professional arena the status of teachers has been much discussed (e.g. Banfi,
1997, 2006). There is a clear tension between two quite distinct outlooks: one that views
teachers as professionals vs. another that considers them workers. This tension manifests
itself in the organisational structures of professional associations on the one hand and
unions on the other, with significant differences in outlook. Related to this is the porous
nature of the English language teaching profession. A defining characteristic of associations
is the need to possess officially recognised teaching qualifications as the entry requirement
to the profession. Yet, as we are well aware, there are numerous cases of individuals who
engage in the teaching of English, and even teacher development and coordination, without
any such qualifications. Some analyse this as a consequence of the increasing demand for
teachers of English that makes it possible for students, and even those who have no specific
studies, to get formal and informal jobs as teachers. Others refer to the fact that there are so
many job opportunities for teachers of English, many much more ‗glamorous‘ than the
classroom, that many qualified teachers opt out of the education system. Yet others blame
the deceitful and unscrupulous for exploiting the ignorance and misconceptions that the
general public have as regards what it takes to be a teacher of English. They are probably
all partly right. Whatever the case, the fact is that we are dealing with an increasingly
heterogeneous and diverse sector with multiple needs and interests. This is a challenge to
professional associations as they cannot think of an ideal or unique type of member but
rather an increasingly diversified reality. The dichotomy between Native and Non-Native
Teachers interestingly presented and reconciled by Peter Medgyes seems to be nowadays
moving in favour of the Non-Native Teacher (though, see Phillipson, 2009 on the native
speaker fallacy). Given the plethora of resources and the ubiquitousness of English
(internet, SAP, cable, see Graddol, 1997) we can safely say that the balance is tipped in
favour of the professional teacher to the detriment of ―the native speaker with a vocation
If we go beyond the individual level or even the sector and we look around us, we will
notice that many of the changes we have discussed so far have taken place as a
consequence of changes further afield that may involve policy (educational and other),
markets, and other collectives. Teachers cannot abstract themselves away from these
changes or, if they do, they will have to learn to live with their effects. Crucially, in the
period we are discussing, there have been policy changes that have affected the teaching of
English specifically. There has been legislation and government regulation at the national
and jurisdictional levels on curricular design and teacher education. In these changes, the
teaching profession and its representative organisations have had limited representation.
This is partly because we simply lack the strength in numbers and dedicated resources that
other groups have. On the other hand, we have seen the expansion of the teaching of
languages and, in particular, English. This is a worldwide phenomenon but in some
countries and regions it has had quite significant impact in terms of the demand of teachers.
The manner in which this demand is met and the long-term projection of this trend vary
considerably from country to country as does the role of the State and of other providers in
Another trend that seems to be acquiring significant momentum is the development of
regional links and projects. The ELT N&V e-forum was an early example of these links and
there have been some conferences and other events that have brought project leaders to
share common concerns (e.g. see the British-Council-organised Policy Dialogues ―English
for the Future‖, Cartagena, October 2012 www.britishcouncil.org/colombia-policy-
dialogues-english-for-the-future.htm). Several projects that can be viewed as regional at
some level are being launched. The programmes Ceibal en Inglés in Uruguay (see Banegas,
2013; Banfi & Rettaroli, forthcoming) and the CiSELT teacher development programme in
Chile are hiring teachers and trainers based regionally to work in various capacities, e.g.
materials design, teaching using IT, etc. Whether this is outsourcing of some kind or
networking and capacity-building at a regional level remains to be seen (for some related
issues see Fairclough, 1989; Phillipson, 1992; and Pennycook, 1994).
Opportunities for collaboration and collaborative projects can be found at levels other
than the regional and have great potential, for example to bridge the gap between different
kinds of language education (see Banfi & Rettaroli, 2008). Or it can serve to bring different
types of experiences to bear when analysing complex situations, such as in the project
SEEDS (Toledo, 2012).
We touched on the issues of quality when discussing event organisation and we should
return to this at this stage. Quality and separating the wheat from the chaff will certainly
become a central concern in the years to come. References to instances of pseudoscience
(e.g. Emoto‘s crystals; readers need go no further afield than the Wikipedia entry to check
this) or the bastardisation of scientific results (see Dörnyei, 2009‘s critical review of the
misuse of the results of lateralization research) have a short life expectancy in teacher
development activities. When assessing faculty for university or teacher educator positions
we will have to start making distinctions between different degrees, different kinds of
publications and not simply ticking boxes or adding apples and oranges. We should be
prepared to raise the bar, make it clear that ‗not everything goes,‘ or that there is a place for
everything, but everything should be in its rightful place.
If I need to think of a conducting thread for our reality, it would be the notion of
change. We can be sure that change is not innocuous, but remaining unchanged only makes
us move backwards. We have to learn to live with the fact that change is and will continue
to be a permanent feature of our time and, if we don‘t adapt, we recede. Also, change is not
only some external force we should deal with. We are also capable of generating change. It
is up to us to take stock of these developments and direct our destiny, both individual and
collective. So, in the spirit of plurilingual education, we can safely say Plus ça change, …
plus on a besoin de changer. The more things change, the more we need to change.
Manuscripts can be obtained contacting the author at email@example.com
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3 Communicating across cultures:
encounters in the contact zone
Claudia Mónica Ferradas
Instituto de Enseñanza Superior en Lenguas Vivas “Juan Ramón Fernández”
Our identities are transformed by everything we learn, and this is particularly evident in
foreign language learning, which involves an encounter between self and other:
Every time language learners speak, they are not only exchanging information with
their interlocutors; they are organizing and reorganizing a sense of who they are and
how they relate to the social world. They are, in other words, engaged in identity
construction and negotiation (Norton, 1997, p. 410).
Rather than encouraging learners to hide behind the mask of an ideal native speaker, thus
sacrificing their own multiple and fluid identities, the overall aim of foreign language
education, in Michael Byram‘s words, should be the development of an ‗intercultural
a learner with the ability to see and manage the relationships between themselves and
their own cultural beliefs, behaviours and meanings as expressed in a foreign language,
and those of their interlocutors, expressed in the same language—or even a combination
of languages—which may be the interlocutor‘s native language or not(Byram 1997, p.
In fact, the development of intercultural awareness is at the core of the national guidelines
for foreign languages in Argentina (Núcleos de Aprendizajes Prioritarios de Lenguas
extranjeras, subsequently referred to as NAPs):
La perspectiva plurilingüe e intercultural […] apunta a tornar visibles las relaciones
entre las lenguas y culturas que están o podrían estar en el currículum y a
sensibilizar hacia la pluralidad constitutiva de estas lenguas y culturas. Apunta,
asimismo, a contribuir a que la enseñanza de lenguas en el contexto escolar
reconozca el papel del español en tanto lengua de escolarización y sus distintas
variedades y valorice el lugar de las otras lenguas y culturas maternas diferentes del
español que circulan en Argentina. Desde esta premisa, los NAP de LE [Núcleos de
Aprendizajes Prioritarios de Lenguas Extranjeras] privilegian tanto el saber de y
sobre las lenguas y el lenguaje, como la formación de ciudadanos/as respetuosos/as
de las diferencias lingüísticas y culturales, favoreciendo actitudes que promueven
nuevas formas de ser y estar en el mundo y de situarse frente a la diversidad
sociocultural y lingüística.
Esta perspectiva de enseñanza de lenguas, entonces, promueve enfoques
multidisciplinarios y combina el aprendizaje de lenguas con la capacidad de
reflexión y disposición crítica necesaria para convivir en sociedades de gran
diversidad cultural; en otras palabras, propicia la participación activa en procesos
democráticos y contribuye a la educación para la ciudadanía y la paz. (NAPs 2)
To achieve these aims, which go beyond the acquisition of the language system, the NAPs
are structured into six strands (ejes): the four macro-skills, reflection on the language being
learnt and intercultural reflection, which links language learning to the acquisition of
democratic values and behaviours and the development of citizenship skills.
On the basis of this conception, intercultural awareness is now a transversal objective
in foreign language curricula in different regions of Argentina. However, teachers often
find it challenging to plan classes with an intercultural focus. Often used to syllabi
traditionally designed to develop the four macro skills and only occasionally encourage
metacognitive reflection, teachers may find the intercultural focus an overwhelming
addition to their very busy agendas. This is related to the fact that intercultural concerns are
often perceived supplementary aspects of English language teaching, rather than integral,
2. Materials from the contact zone
It is my contention that what McRae (1991, p. 3) calls ‗representational‘ materials can help
us focus on intercultural issues. These materials include literary works, but also texts
produced and distributed unconventionally, as well as any kind of multimodal texts (verbal,
auditory and/or visual) which involve the imagination of the receiver: comics and graphic
novels, advertisements, graffiti, song lyrics, films, video clips, blogs, v-logs, hyperfiction
…. Such texts are rich in cultural content, often metaphorically expressed, and challenge
readers‘ schemata. English, as an international language, can open doors into a wide range
of cultures that express themselves in English. A whole world of multicultural texts is at
our disposal (Ferradas, 2010).
In particular, texts in which intercultural encounters are illustrated may help teachers
highlight intercultural aspects and encourage students‘ personal response and reflection on
identity. Such texts can contribute to developing an awareness of difference, overcoming
stereotypes and leading to a respectful encounter with otherness. They illustrate what Mary
Louise Pratt calls encounters in the contact zone: “the space in which peoples
geographically and historically separated come into contact with each other and establish
ongoing relations, usually involving conditions of coercion, radical inequality and
intractable conflict‖ (Pratt, 1993, p. 6).
Dealing with this potential conflict, which Pratt considers unavoidable in colonial
situations, is the challenge we need to be aware of and face in our hyperconnected post-
millennial context. The contact zone may be our own neighbourhood, our Facebook page,
the classroom… Our aim should be to educate citizens who do not just tolerate but respect
and enjoy diversity and are ready to consider their own views and customs critically. How
can we empower students to express their own meanings, learn about others and negotiate a
respectful position in the encounter with difference?
3. Travelling and translation revisited
In the constant encounters with otherness we undergo in the post-millennial world, we have
become what James Clifford in his book Routes calls travelling cultures. His use of the
adjective ―travelling‖ is not to be taken literally, for it embraces not only ―the ways people
leave home and return, enacting differently centered worlds, interconnected
cosmopolitanisms‖ (1997, pp. 27-28) but also ―sites traversed‖, as ―the travel, or
displacement, can involve forces that pass powerfully through –television, radio, tourists,
commodities, armies.‘ (Clifford, 1997, p. 28).
In Clifford‘s use, ―travel‖ is a ―translation term‖.
By ―translation term‖ I mean a word of apparently general application used for
comparison in a strategic and contingent way. ―Travel‖ has an inextinguishable taint
of location by class, gender, race, and a certain literariness. It offers a good reminder
that all translation terms used in global comparisons –—terms like ―culture‖, ―art‖,
―society‖, ―peasant‖, ―mode of production‖, ―man‖, ―woman‖, ―modernity‖,
―ethnography‖— get us some distance and fall apart. Tradittore, traduttore. In the
kind of translation that interests me most, you learn a lot about peoples, cultures
and histories different from your own, enough to begin to know what you are
missing. (Clifford 1997, p. 39, my emphasis)
Clifford‘s concept of translation, understood as movement, both from one language to
another and from one cultural locus to another, seems particularly suitable to frame the
intercultural awareness we aim at when teaching and learning a foreign language.
4. Exploring routes to express our roots
When our ―translation‖, like that of planets around the sun, involves changing places
(though tourism, displacement, exile, or simply virtually on the web or social media), we
find ourselves facing the challenge of ―translation‖ in the sense of finding the words to
express our own meanings —explain our customs, express our values, often to others who
see the world from a very different perspective. This is, according to Claire Kramsch, the
central problem of foreign language learning: ―wanting to express one world view through
the language normally used to express another society‘s world view‖ (1992, p. 20).
However, in aiming at intercultural awareness, very often the emphasis is laid almost
exclusively on otherness, on difference, to such an extent that learners may feel that their
cultural identity is at risk, as was the case when the ―native speaker model‖ was prevalent.
Instead, when selecting materials and strategies to approach them interculturally, teachers
need to make sure learners can profit from the enriching experience of coming into contact
with otherness by reflecting on their own values and identity and on the construction of
their self-image. While teaching the language system, teachers can focus on activities
which aim at developing the linguistic repertoire learners need to express their own
meanings in English.
We can contribute to intercultural awareness by putting representational texts from
different cultures in contact, making sure texts which may be representative of students‘
identities are part of the selection. Besides, the varieties of English used in texts from
different contexts can encourage reflection on the role of English as an international
language and develop awareness of the cultural and linguistic diversity of ―world
Personal response and reflection based on comparison can be encouraged by means of
‗textual intervention activities‘ (Pope, 1998) that invite students to adapt the text, change it
and extend it creatively. The silences in the text (information and opinion gaps) are left for
readers to fill in with their own reading. Transposing situations in the text to the students‘
own cultural context can prove particularly enriching, as they will need to find the words to
express their own customs and views and will find opportunities to reflect on their own
5. Constructing identity
By putting the foreign language and culture in contact with the students‘ own reality, the
comparison invites students to read both cultures from a ‗third place‘ which keeps a critical
distance from both worlds. At the intersection of multiple native and target cultures, the
major task of language learners is to define for themselves what this ‗third place‘ that they
are engaged in seeking will look like, whether they are conscious of it or not. (Kramsch,
1993, p. 257).
By reflecting on similarities and differences, by discussing how to describe their own
context and customs and express their own vision of the world in a foreign language,
students may become aware of the values expressed in the text and wonder how
representative they are of what they consider their own identity—and how stereotypical.
Texts which exemplify encounters in the contact zone can illustrate potential conflicts in
the students‘ context vicariously. Racial, social and gender issues, cultural
misunderstandings, bullying, etc. are themes which such texts deal with, and the teacher
can then find appropriate ways of reflecting on the students‘ own circumstances and teach
them the language necessary to describe them and discuss them.
6. Suggested resources
Some of my favourite examples of authentic texts (which can be adapted by the teacher) to
bring the contact zone into class are:
Telephone conversation by the Nigerian Nobel Prize Wole Soyinka (racial
Kill to Eat by the aboriginal writer Oodgeroo Noonuccal (the values and beliefs of
Aboriginal Australians as compared to that of ―the white man‖)
Robert and the Dog by the Nigerian writer Ken Saro Wiwa (different sets of values
connected with culture and social class)
Some of the most productive resources for the Argentine context are texts written in
English about Argentina, not only travel literature from the nineteenth century but more
recently published accounts that illustrate culture clash as well as attempts at mutual
understanding. Some highlights are:
Tales of the Pampas by William Bulfin
Goodbye Buenos Aires by Andrew Graham –Yooll
The Whispering Land by Gerald Durrell
El Ombú and Other Stories by William Henry Hudson
Sebastian‟s Pride by Susan Wilkinson
‗Faith Hard tried‘: The Memoir of Jane Robson
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
Out of Patagonia by Janet Dickinson
Apart from providing relevant vocabulary, as well as glossing and paraphrasing strategies
to describe the Argentine context and way of life, these texts can become provocative
starting points for discussion, critical consideration of stereotypes and defamiliarisation of
cultural features which may have been naturalised. An elementary level version of the story
of the encounter between the Welsh and the Tehuelche in Chubut, available at
www.claudiaferradas.net under ―intercultural activities‖, intends to prove that even
linguistically complex texts can be adapted to suit the level and maturity of different
classes. Such texts can provide an opportunity, as early as possible, to reflect on conflict
resolution, encourage respect for diversity and develop democratic citizenship skills.
Our selection of texts and strategies to approach them can make a significant contribution
towards peaceful global citizenship with a local impact, if we highlight not only our
differences but what all human beings have in common.
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Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon:
Byram, M., A. Nichols & D. Stevens (Eds.) (2001). Developing intercultural competence in
practice. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Chatwin, B. (1977). In Patagonia. London: Jonathan Cape.
Clifford, J. (1997). Routes. Travel and translation in the late twentieth century.Cambridge, Mass:
Harvard University Press
Consejo Federal de Educación (2012). Núcleos de Aprendizajes Prioritarios. Lenguas Extranjeras.
Educación Primaria y Secundaria. . Available at:
http://www.me.gov.ar/consejo/resoluciones/res12/181-12_01.pdf. Last accessed: July 20, 2013
Dickinson, J. A. (2008). Out of Patagonia… A collection of short stories set in the beautiful
provinces of the South of the Argentine. Ushuaia: Zagier & Urruty Publications.
Durrell, G. (1961 / 1975). The whispering land. New York:Penguin.
Ferradas, C. M. (2010).Outside Looking In: intercultural and intermedial encounters in ELT –
Closing Plenary IATEFL Cardiff 2009.In Beaven, B. (Ed.),IATEFL 2009 Cardiff Conference
Selections(pp. 16 - 20). Canterbury: IATEFL.
Ferradas, C.M. (2011). The Anglo-Argentine web. Available at www.claudiaferradas.net
Graham-Yooll, A. (1999). Goodbye Buenos Aires. Nottingham: Shoestring Press.
Kramsch, C. (1993). Context and culture in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University
McRae, J. (1991). Literature with a small „l‟. London and Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Noonuccal, O. (1997). Kill to Eat In Global Tales, Stories from Many Cultures, London: Longman.
Norton, B. (Ed.). Language, identity and the ownership of English.TESOL Quarterly,31, 409–429.
Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity and educational change.
Harlow: Pearson Education/Longman.
Pope, R. (1998). The English studies book. London: Routledge.
Pratt, M.L. (1992). Imperial eyes. Travel Writing and Transculturation. Abingdon and New Cork:
Robson, J. (2000). ‗Faith Hard tried‘: The Memoir of Jane Robson. In I.A.D. Stewart (Ed.),
(2000). From Caledonia to the Pampas.
Saro Wiwa, K. (1997). Robert and the Dog. InGlobal Tales, Stories from Many Cultures, London:
Soyinka, W. Telephone Conversation. Available at: http://lit205a.blogspot.com.ar/2008/01/week-
10-telephone-conversation-by-wole.html. Last accessed: July 15, 2013.
Wilkinson, S. (1988). Sebastian‟s Pride. England: Michael Joseph.
4 Narrative inquiry within
Argentinean EFLTE: Crafting
professional identities and knowledge
through students’ narratives
María Cristina Sarasa
Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata
This paper summarizes a narrative inquiry developed naturalistically during 2007-2011
with sophomores attending the course Overall Communication (OC), in the English
Foreign Language Teacher Education Program (EFLTEP), School of Humanities,
Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina. It considers students‘ identity
descriptions as textual interventions and written biographical narratives emerging after
exploring a syllabus unit on Irish Studies. Categories of analysis derived from narrative
investigation of these texts are interpreted in their local setting. Discussion of results
examines how narratives allowed undergraduates to (re)conceptualize their academic
identities and trajectories.
2. Research rationale and design
This research stems from narrative investigations on good university teaching practices, as
recounted by students, and memorable professors‘ biographies by the Education and
Cultural Studies Research Group, School of Humanities, Universidad Nacional de Mar del
Plata, Argentina (Álvarez, Porta & Sarasa 2011; Álvarez & Sarasa, 2007; Sarasa, 2008). It
aims at describing narratively textual interventions and biographical narratives written by
OC students in the EFLTEP, examining undergraduates‘ productions and their reported
observations on theseexperiences. The study also aims at discussingsome implications these
pedagogical interventionsbear for EFLTE. Its twoancillary goals are to elucidate students‘
insights into these class activitiesinvolving their family and academic existences and to
appraise the educationaloutcomes of student–created stories.
Narrative inquiry in education (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990;Clandinin& Murphy,
2009) involves ―a way of thinking about experience.‖ As a methodology, it means adopting
―a particular narrative view of experience as phenomena under study‖ (Connelly &
Clandinin, 2006, p 477). In EFLTE (Johnson & Golombek, 2011),narrative inquiry
includes research and development to enhance teachers‘ personal practical knowledge. In
this case, the narrative process adopted in the classes, and the current narrative analysis, are
in themselves forms of inquiry in ―the phenomenal world in which experience is mediates
by story‖ (Xu & Connelly, 2009, p. 222).
This small scale ethnographic study(Wilson & Chadda, 2010) was undertaken during
2007-2011 with sophomores attending the subject OC, which endeavors to boost awareness
of the global status of English (Canagarajah, 2006) through exploring print and media texts,
striving to render contents relevant to EFLTE (Álvarez, Calvete, & Sarasa, 2012). This
naturalistic research (Bowen, 2008) involved OC syllabus second unit on Irish Studies
(Calvete & Sarasa, 2007). First, from 2007 to 2010, thirty undergraduates(S1—S30, out of
four small cohorts totalling fifty six) voluntarily responded in writing to the essay ―I Am
One of the People‖ (Patterson, 2006b) composing their parallel textual interventions(Pope,
1995).In this paper, Northern Irish writer Glenn Patterson(2006b) defined his identity
embracing his private Belfast domain within the public European realm. Patterson (2006a,
2006c) observed how roots and routes (Clifford, 1997) forged individual and communal
trajectories. Second, in 2011, students explored the films Michael Collins (Jordan, 1996)
and The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Loach, 2006). Among other questions, they
considered representations of Irish heroes (Ó Giolláin, 1998) shown in these pictures.
Afterwards, undergraduates narrated common people‘s praiseworthy lives orally. Then,
nineteen (SI—SXIX, out of a total a large single cohort of thirty) freely wrote their
contribution, providing feedback on this class experience.
This paper addresses categories of analysis derived from a purposive sampling
(Teddlie & Yu, 2007) of students‘ textual interventions and biographical tales in their
context of production and reception (Pavlenko, 2007). Drawing on the theoretical literature
(e.g. Clandinin, Steeves & Chung, 2007),the author interpreted the written productions
conceptually, uncovering emerging themes in students‘ written accounts (Corbin & Strauss,
2007; Polkinghorne, 2007).
3. Discussion of results
Volunteered texts problematized undergraduates‘ identities, exploring the itineraries they
wished to follow as students and prospective educators. When composing their writings,
students found sustenance along their demanding course of study. Thus, life-writing
encouraged life-learning (Pope, 2002). Similarly, undergraduates explored a professional
knowledge landscape (Clandinin & Connelly, 1996), reaching into the teaching identity
they wished to acquire and the stories they wanted to enact as future educators (Clandinin,
Downey, & Huber, 2009).
Textual interventions derived from ―I Am One…‖ (Patterson, 2006b) disclosed rich
immigrant origins. As S4 indicated, ―I am one of the descendants of the three hundred
thousand European immigrants who flocked into Argentina during the late nineteenth
century and the first half of the twentieth.‖ Next, S19 explained that ―I am one of the great
great-granddaughters of… an Italian immigrant who arrived in Argentina together with a
large number of Italian, German, and Spanish immigrants in the 1880s.‖ S18 displayed a
mature awareness of her roots, indicating that
I am one of the many people who find themselves lost in a melting-pot of identities.
I am neither Italian, nor Spanish, nor Uruguayan, nor Native American, nor English,
nor Arab, nor Argentinean, but somehow I am a bit of all that…
Concurrently, S3 revealed her all-encompassing background: ―I am one of the people who,
born in a melting pot and speaking three languages, find myself torn among three cultures:
a mother culture which is already a mixture of many others…‖
These origins became a source of strength. S25 asserted that ―I am one of the people
who are extremely proud of her Italian grandfather, who fought in WWI.‖ Then, S28 stated
I am one of the million people who live in a country that has officially welcomed
other peoples since 1853 and has absorbed these peoples‘ culture since then. I am
one of the people who live in a country where everybody is proud of their foreign
Students‘ pride in their background was mirrored in their relatives‘ biographies, the
common—though heroic—lives undergraduates retold after watching the two films. SVI‘s
and SXVI‘s great-grandparents had fought the two World Wars and had immigrated into
Argentina to build a family life based on hard work. SXV`s grandfather had ―had to settle
in a country which was not his homeland and adapt to it,‖ witnessing how his siblings and
wife passed away but being ―strong enough to survive and live without them…‖.
Ancestors‘ migrant existences surfaced in written considerations on the class experience,
when the group created shared knowledge.SVI remarked that ―this gave us a kind of family
feeling, our families had all gone more or less through the same things, all—or most—of us
are immigrant descendants and our stories melted into one...‖
These ancestors‘ itineraries were successful because their pains had been rewarded by
the family ties they had constructed. Therefore, ―all of the stories were teachings of
courage, endurance and most important of love‖ (SVII). SVIII praised these biographies‘
value, since students had told true stories of ordinary people—mainly our grandparents—
who had suffered because they underwent many hardships, mainly because they had had to
flee from their country, had fought a war, had worked very hard since they were kids, but
who had been happy too because they got married and had kids, succeeded in life, (or)
accomplished their goals.
Eventually, tales signified pride in a non-essentialist heritage while infusing students
with their protagonists‘ valour. These undergraduates, empowered by their telling, gathered
strength to continue an arduous course of study. The textual interventions dwelt on the
EFLTEP‘s challenging nature. S4 stated that ―I am one of the few people who, after five
years, still struggle in the English Language Teacher Education Program.‖ Similarly, S15
was ―one of those English students… able to survive the ‗jungle of the state university.‘
One of those who prefer to remain at university no matter what, rather than choose the easy
option of ‗fleeing‘ to ‗safer‘ private institutions.‖ S13 indicated that ―I am one of the
hundreds of students who complain that the Course is TOO HARD but who keep on trying
every day to get their degree,‖ adding that ―I am one of the people who after so many years
of being in the educational system can compare it to a Trail of Tears.‖ More identities were
marked by these difficulties: ―I am one of the students who have taken very long to
complete their degree, maybe longer than physicians take to qualify. Why then didn‘t I
change to a private institution if it was so difficult for me?‖ (S19). Finally, S21 linked
textual interventions with relatives‘ biographies by disclosing the perseverance needed and
the lessons learned.
I am one of the hundreds of students of English… who really never thought that the
course of study was going to take such a long time! But who still believes and
knows that getting a University degree is almost a privilege nowadays and that,
therefore, giving up or quitting is not an option.
Likewise, students who told their families‘ epic narratives found that thosespelt hope
for their future. Shared accounts of relatives overcoming difficulties became stimulating
within their trying EFLTEP context. SIV explained that
We are now convinced that although our course of study gets harder and harder,
experiences such as the ones we gained… in (this subject) make students reflect
upon their future as teachers. And in spite of all adversities, we can make it
Furthermore, these tales encouraged students to visualize their teaching practices
optimistically. SXVII believed that
What mattered was… creating a bond, a human perspective so many times absent at
University… which I feel is so much necessary if we are to work ―teaching‖
people… I hope (we) can understand… that every time we step into a class it is not
only up to the teacher to make it memorable, it is also up to us.
Inquiring narratively into relatives‘ biographies empowered students. For SV, ―as I
finished talking I realized I had felt comfortable… I also realized that many other students‘
unheroic characters, especially grandparents, had gone through tough situations just as my
grandmother had.‖ According to SXVII, ―it was marvellous to share these narrations about
great people, who were close to us, and who touched our hearts and changed our lives
forever.‖ Wisdom was derived from the class, since ―all of us were surely left pondering
not just on grammar or on pronunciation but on what is really important in life.‖ (SVII)
Finally, SVIII explained that
We were given the opportunity to speak about something that we regarded as
meaningful and we were eager to share it with the rest of the class… I know that we
are studying to be language teachers so we have to pay a lot of attention to how we
say something instead of what we say… but this class was different because we
were paying attention to what we wanted to say instead of how we said it.
Ultimately, this narrative inquiry evolved from a ―pedagogy of life-telling‖ (Elbaz-
Luwisch 2002, p.408) to a pedagogy of life-learning (Goodson, 2012). Students elaborated
not just their ―roots‖ but the ―routes by which they have been arrived at‖ (Patterson, 2006c,
p. 171). They also discovered that their families‘ roads were connected.
What are some of the implications of this narrative inquiry into ties between EFLTE and
academic identities (Tedder & Biesta, 2007)?Bauman (2009, pp. 157-163) argues within
―education in the liquid-modern setting,‖ students need ―counsellors who show them how
to walk rather than teachers who make sure that only one road, and that already crowded, is
taken.‖ These counsellors should help students ―to dig into the depths of their character and
personality, where the rich deposits of precious ore are presumed to lie…‖ This EFLTE
class strived for linguistic and cultural authenticity by working with students‘ own expert
NNSE productions (Canagarajah, 2006; Morris, 2001) unearthing stories as experiential life
processes (Bathmaker, 2010; Huber, Caine, Huber, & Steeves, 2013).
Likewise, instructors and students created knowledge from class-generated texts
(Trahar, 2009). Consecutively, a narrative pedagogy intervention facilitated the encounters
to produce these accounts constructing identities which shape consecutive teaching
practices. Understanding derived from life-stories and identity papers constitutes narrative
learning proper, suitably meaningful when sustained during scaled-up inquiries (Goodson
& Gill, 2011). Undergraduates experienced narrative research while working towards
agency development (Bruner, 1996), acting upon the family roots revealed in their texts to
envision academic and professional routes. This occurred when students became aware of
how their—and their families‘— lives‘ plots (Biesta & Tedder, 2008) helped them imagine
a hopeful future. Thus, students came to own the English language to voice their meaning
(Bakhtin& Holquist, 1981; Pope, 2002) translating themselves away from NSE-NNSE
dichotomies (Rushdie, 1991). Thus, ―appropriating the language by confidently using it to
serve one‘s own interests according to one‘s own values, helps develop fluency in English‖
(Canagarajah, 2006, p. 592).
This paper highlighted the centrality of attending to lives and experiential knowledge
in EFLTEPs. Students bring to class rich linguistic and cultural existences and family
stories—which are undergraduates‘ tales too. These narratives embody ―roots and routes,
fixed and entrenched in one sense and on the move in another‖ (Friedman, 2002, p. 22).
Indeed, future EFL teachers can learn the language while learning from lives and for their
professional lives (Biesta & Tedder, 2008) within a reflexive teaching and learning context.
This was an occasion for balancing family identities, understanding origins, projecting
expectations, and representing identities to others meaningfully (Mosselson, 2006). These
results also suggest the emancipatory significance (Nelson, 2011; Nunan & Choi, 2010;
Smolcic, 2011) of sharing biographical knowledge in EFLTEPs to contribute to teachers‘
development by implementing scaled-up interventions to support narrative inquiry in these
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5 Designing intercultural and
bilingual e-material for primary and
Universidad Nacional de La Plata
Programa de Educación Plurilingüe e Intercultural Pcia Bs. As.
1.2 The challenge of a plurilingual pedagogical perspective in ESOL
The last decade has been witness to deep theoretical changes in ESOL education in the
province of Buenos Aires. The changes introduced at regulatory levels since 2006 have
brought about the recognition of English as an international language in the context of a
provincial system of education which is in turn nurtured by the linguistic and cultural
diversity present in its 4.7 million students (Barboni & Porto, 2011). This diversity is the
result of sustained migratory processes especially from neighbouring countries, increased
interaction with an international community in our present knowledge society reality and
policy changes in line with national and regional development policies. The change
processes required considering two main principles in the ESOL education provided by the
state which do not constitute the ways in which English was traditionally taught in non-
compulsory educational settings in Argentina: social justice and social practice. Social
justice refers to intercultural awareness principles guiding teaching while social practice is
the principle at the basis of a discourse perspective of language teaching.
On the one hand, the principle of Social Justice stems from a need to recognise the
multiple identities that are conveyed in the use of languages and the diverse linguistic and
cultural backgrounds that students reveal in educational institutions of the province. This
diversity is constituted by the diverse trajectories that students bring to the English class in
formal schooling under present educational laws. Unlike ten years ago, when secondary
education was not compulsory and English was not a compulsory subject in all primary
schools, the present legal frame challenges educators and policy makers to develop
inclusive educational strategies. These strategies are aimed at embracing an understanding
of English as one of the languages present in the province of Buenos Aires among other
languages such as Guaraní, Wichi and Mapuche as well as Spanish. While Spanish bears
the status of the language of schooling, indigenous languages remain to be the mother
tongue for a great part of the children attending schools in the province. English in this
context acquires the status of an international language that ―allows speakers from different
linguistic and cultural backgrounds [...] to have their voices heard and to interact directly
without the need of mediators or translators‖ (Byram, 2009) in an international context.
Social justice in the English class is present when the teaching strategy used "enables the
creation of a learning context which is not threatening to students´ identities but that builds
multiplicities of language uses and linguistic identities, while maintaining academic rigour
and upholding high expectations‖ (García, 2009, p. 318).
On the other hand, the principle of Social Practice―places learning through an
additional language as a result of collaborative social practices in which students try out
ideas and actions (Lave & Wenger, 1991), and thus socially construct their learning
(Vygotsky, 1978). Learning is seen as occurring through doing (Dewey, 1897). Thus, an
action-based pedagogy falls within this principle. In the field of language education, this is
often referred to as task based pedagogy (Ellis, 2009)‖ (García, 2009, p. 323). An ESOL
pedagogy stemming from this principle embraces a communicative curriculum prescribed
as part of the learning experiences that children should undergo during formal schooling
with a strong emphasis on a task based pedagogy. This is to be translated in school
programmes that present learning English through using it by solving problems (Ellis,
2003, 2010). Emphasis is given to interactive processes to address some of the present day
concerns with literacies: knowing languages will multiply improved communication
strategies (García, 2009: 5-18) in multiple contexts of use for work, study, entertainment or
any other purpose. Languages, whether it be the mother tongue, a second language or a
foreign language, are seen as a resource to the development of translanguagings, that is to
say, ―multiple discursive practices‖ (Ibid, 2009: 45 - 47) necessary in a world of constant
interaction among people. In this respect, Canagarajah (2011) advocates a focus on what
he calls performative competence, that is, the type of knowledge conveyed through
interactive skills and strategies that people use when they are using and learning to use
languages in specific situations (of use).
These ideas relate to some of the main objectives of the ESOL curriculum of Primary
education which is to help children find ways of saying and doing things in English in a
sheltered environment: one that encourages them to take risks –a necessary condition to
learn languages. On the other hand, they connect with the theoretical foundation of the
ESOL curriculum for Secondary education when it says:
English being an effective resource for international communication and the spread of
technical-scientific knowledge and literature, it allows access to:
• advances of science and technology for its use and adaptation in the development of
• other cultures and a reflection about self culture;
• an education in agreement with present day work requirements and with new modes
• updated information in their original language.
All of the above address language as an object of study as well as the construction of
knowledge on how to do something, that is to say, knowledge to address communicative
situations inside and outside the classroom. (ESOL Secondary Level Curriculum Design,
200, p. 155).
2. The setting of the project
The teacher meetings developed with ESOL teachers across the Province of Buenos Aires
as from 2010 reveal a pervasive concern of teachers in the public sector with teaching
materials. Through the 134 districts of the province, teachers have acknowledged
difficulties to work with the ESOL textbooks in the market, in particular, in contexts of
vulnerability. It is evident that the textbook industry studies the populations that are likely
to buy those textbooks and develops a target user as the aim of their publishing projects. In
all cases, they are considering those audiences who invest in books for the commercial
reasons associated to their activity.
The state system of education of the province receives a 20% intake of students within
the social vulnerability index. That intake reaches higher percentages in schools located in
certain areas of poverty and deprivation of the "conurbano" in the province of Buenos
Aires. Also, these schools receive immigrant populations and certain minority groups
established in the territory. The state is responsible for these citizens since children in these
contexts need to have their identities and their linguistic diversity recognised.
The collection "Cuadernos para el Aula de Inglés" (―Workbooks for the English class‖)
was in fact developed for these contexts of vulnerability. Though it is not the intention of
the Ministry of Education to develop a publishing enterprise as a body of the state, it bears
the responsibility to cater for the needs of those who are often neglected and whose
vulnerability is sometimes the reason for their exclusion. In this context of inclusion and
social justice, the project was released to provide resources to schools where vulnerability
rates reach high percentages. Thus, approximately twenty thousand children for each
educational level, out of a hundred and eighty thousand, are entitled to their "cuadernos".
3. How are these principles realised in the design of ESOL materials for compulsory
schooling in the Province?
When designing ―Cuadernos para el Aula de Inglés‖, a set of aspects were considered in
relation to the principles of social justice and social practices. These aspects were:
An understanding of English as an international language and of language learning
as a process of developing a ―translanguaging‖ understanding of language use.
A strong local contextual reference as part of a Latin American perspective.
A task-based pedagogic perspective considering a focus on content, language and
thinking skills integration in activities.
A digital support for the analogic publication in the structure of ―the digital corner‖
3.1. ESOL learning for translanguaging practices
It is a well recognised fact that people use today the languages available to them to develop
better communication practices. That is part of what researchers are studying in connection
to the ways in which linguistic diversity and plurilingualism is improving the way people
communicate around the world. These practices, which refer to the ways people use
―language‖ have been called ―translanguaging‖ and can be described as the ―multiple
discursive practices in which bilinguals engage in order to make sense of their bilingual
worlds (García, 2009, p. 319).‖ This notion was taken up for the construction of interaction
in the materials developed. As the example in picture 1 in the appendix shows, the flexible
use of languages before different interlocutors, the use of ―non translatable terms‖ such as
che or pichi - both exponents of indigenous language terms reflect that translanguaging has
become natural in our provincial context. The interactions intend to exemplify the
systematic, strategic, affiliative and sense-making process that is carried out by bilinguals
to include and facilitate communication with others, but also to construct deeper
understandings and make sense of their worlds which are lived in different languages.
3.2. From the local to the international
The situations present in the material refer to genuine language uses in the local context to
speak about our local reality. By means of geographical references, explicit allusions to our
natural world in this part of the world and a clear understanding of the world from the eyes
of Latin America, with its ecology problems and its social reality, the teaching of English
becomes highly contextualized in our own land to help us talk about us in an international
context. There is a strong presence of our local natural world with explicit references to
Latin American geographical mobility and sociocultural practices. An example of this can
be found in picture 2 of the appendix in which a picture story is presented.
3.3. Solving problems to learn language and content.
The tasks developed in the material include a wide set of information gap, reasoning gap
and information gap tasks, involving different levels of work in terms of thinking skills,
from lower order to higher order ones aiming at the uttermost objective of critical thinking.
All the tasks amount for the construction of a set of four final projects among which
teachers and students can choose depending on their interests and contextual circumstances.
These final inclusive projects are third generation tasks with an educational ethical
dimension accounting to students´ citizenship education. Picture 3 in the Appendix shows
examples of these tasks.
3. 4. Digital component in the digital corner
Once the "Cuadernos para el Aula de Inglés" were published, the second stage of the
Project was ready to start. This second stage involves the integration of Learning
Technologies in the classroom. Technology is already present in many secondary schools in
the province of Buenos Aires with the National Programme called ―Conectar Igualdad‖
which started in 2010. Also this year (2013) the primary schools of the province of Buenos
Aires are launching a new project called ―Aulas Digitales‖; thus, primary schools will
receive netbooks to be used in primary school classrooms. Thanks to these programmes,
students have now the opportunity to enhance their learning with the use of technology in
the language classes.
However, computers are not enough to make the big change in the 21st century
learners. Even though teachers from the Province of Buenos Aires have been receiving
training sessions on Learning Technologies delivered by the programme ―Conectar
Igualdad‖ and the programme of Plurilingualismand Intercultural Education of the Province
of Buenos Aires, we are aware of the fact that teachers still have difficulties in the use of
technologies in their classroom. Teachers need to be confident in order to offer effective
technology integration with appropriate strategies in their real contexts. Therefore, we
decided to create a special place for teachers of English who can find motivating e-
activities triggered by the content developed in "Cuadernos para el Aula de Inglés" called
―Digital Corner‖ (―Rincón Digital‖).
The following text is the introduction of the e-book ―Digital Corner‖:
The main focus of the Digital Corner materials is to help and guide
English teachers to walk together the paths towards Learning
Technologies. We all know how technologies have invaded our teaching
context and that we cannot resist its integration anymore. We know that
each teacher has a personal and unique scenario in his/her own class;
therefore, we will suggest different paths to take together with
technology, your students and you.
Remember that you together with your students will be leaving your
digital footprints when you walk through the paths of the web. Hope
this e-booklet will help you throughout your digital way.
All the activities suggested in the ―Digital Corner‖ were already tested; all the webtools
used are free and all the photos and pictures used are free as well. In this way, we have tried
to avoid copyright issues and we teach teachers how to create online material free of legal
problems. The webtools recommended are user-friendly and appropriate to the age and
level of knowledge of the students and their learning context.
The e-activities suggested by ―Digital Corner‖ involve the ―students learn by doing‖
principle mentioned by Dewey (1897). The four skills are present throughout the e-book:
reading, writing, speaking and listening. Once the students finish with their tasks, all the
projects can be uploaded to a school/class/student blog , wiki, school webpage, etc. In these
virtual environments students have the opportunity to share their work not only with their
classmates but also with other institutions, their parents and, of course, the rest of the
Reading and writing activities have always been easy to carry out in our classes
whereas listening and speaking tasks have presented more difficulties as regards the use of
the different technological gadgets we have used in the last years. Nowadays, the
convergence of technologies and the growth of webtools have solved many of our
problems. For example, using tools like Voxopop students have the possibility to record
themselves, to listen to their partners and also to leave a comment on the place. An example
of this task is shown on Picture 4 in the appendix.
Also computer skills are part of the practice in the e-book, such as a puzzle game
where the students drag and drop the pieces of the puzzle. We have to bear in mind that
many students will be touching computers for the first time