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Cross-Cultural Research and Qualitative Inquiry

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  • VinUniversity

Abstract and Figures

Cross-cultural research has become important in this postmodern world where many people have been made, and are still, marginalised and vulnerable by others in more powerful positions like colonial researchers. In this paper, I contend that qualitative research is particularly appropriate for cross-cultural research because it allows us to find answers which are more relevant to the research participants. Cross-cultural qualitative research must be situated within some theoretical frameworks. In this paper, I also provide different theoretical frameworks that cross-cultural researchers may adopt in their research. Performing qualitative cross-cultural research is exciting, but it is also full of ethical and methodological challenges. This paper will encourage readers to start thinking about methodological issues in performing cross-cultural research.
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Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
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Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
ISSN 1309-6591
Editor-in-Chief
Abdullah Kuzu,
Anadolu University, Turkey
Associate Editors
Ali Ersoy
Anadolu University, Turkey
Cindy G. Jardine
University of Alberta, Canada
Işıl Kabakçı
Anadolu University, Turkey
Franz Breuer
Westfälische Wilhems-Universität Münster, Germany
Jean McNiff
York St John University, United Kingdom
Ken Zeichner
University of Washington, USA
Wolff-Michael Roth
University of Victoria, Canada
Yıldız Uzuner
Anadolu University, Turkey
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
Advisory Board
Abdullah Kuzu, Anadolu University, Turkey
Ahmet Saban, Selçuk University, Turkey
Ali Ersoy, Anadolu University, Turkey
Ali Rıza Akdeniz, Rize University, Turkey
Ali Yıldırım, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Angela Creese, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Angela K. Salmon, Florida International University, USA
Antoinette McCallin, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
Arif Altun, Hacettepe University, Turkey
Asker Kartarı, Hacettepe University, Turkey
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Benedicte Brøgger, The Norwegian School of Management BI, Norway
Bronwyn Davies, University of Melbourne, Australia
Buket Akkoyunlu, Hacettepe University, Turkey
Cem Çuhadar, Trakya University, Turkey
Cemalettin İpek, Rize University, Turkey
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Cindy G. Jardine, University of Alberta, Canada
Claudia Figueiredo, Institute for Learning Innovation, USA
Dilruba Kürüm, Anadolu University, Turkey
Durmuş Ekiz, Karadeniz Technical University, Turkey
Elif Kuş Saillard, Ankara University, Turkey
Fawn Winterwood, The Ohio State University, USA
Ferhan Odabaşı, Anadolu University, Turkey
Franz Breuer, Westfälische Wilhems-Universität Münster, Germany
Gina Higginbottom, University of Alberta, Canada
Gönül Kırcaali İftar, Professor Emerita, Turkey
Hafize Keser, Ankara University, Turkey
Halil İbrahim Yalın, Gazi University, Turkey
Hasan Şimşek, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Işıl Kabakçı, Anadolu University, Turkey
İlknur Kelçeoğlu, Indiana University & Purdue University, USA
Jean McNiff, York St John University, United Kingdom
José Fernando Galindo, Universidad Mayor de San Simón, Bolivia
Ken Zeichner, University of Washington, USA
Mustafa Yunus Eryaman, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey
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Nihat Gürel Kahveci, Istanbul University, Turkey
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Pranee Liamputtong, La Trobe University, Australia
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Servet Bayram, Marmara University, Turkey
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Udo Kelle, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
Ümit Girgin, Anadolu University, Turkey
Wolff-Michael Roth, University of Victoria, Canada
Yang Changyong, Sauthwest China Normal University, China
Yavuz Akpınar, Boğaziçi University, Turkey
Yıldız Uzuner, Anadolu University, Turkey
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Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
Table of Contents
Supporting Teachers Personally and Professionally in Challenging Environments
Jean McNiff
1
Cross-Cultural Research and Qualitative Inquiry
Pranee Liamputtong
16
Teachers’ and Students’ Opinions about the Interactive Instructional Environment
Designed for Bilingual Turkish Primary School Students in Norway
Suzan Duygu Erişti Şerife Dilek Belet
30
Opinions of Teachers on Using Internet Searching Strategies: An Elementary
School Case in Turkey
Işıl Kabakçı Mehmet Fırat Serkan İzmirli Elif Buğra Kuzu
49
Teachers’ Beliefs on Foreign Language Teaching Practices in Early Phases of
Primary Education: A case study
Mustafa Caner Gonca Subaşı Selma Kara
62
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
1
Supporting Teachers Personally and Professionally
in Challenging Environments
Jean McNiff
York St John University, UK
http://www.jeanmcniff.com
jeanmcniff@mac.com
Abstract
In this paper I would like to outline some of the work I do around the world, developing and
contributing to professional education programmes for practitioners across a range of professions,
using an action research methodology. Here I especially focus on my work with teachers; and I
highlight the point that some of the most problematic yet rewarding work is conducted within
contexts of economic, historical and social change and challenge. I also explain how I conduct my
own action research, which is about finding ways to encourage teachers to think critically and
reflectively about what they are doing, and specifically to engage with questions of the kind, ‗How
do I improve my practice?‘ (Whitehead,1989). Through engaging with these kinds of questions,
teachers can position themselves as having the authority to take control of and make discerning
judgements about their practices, as they seek to exercise educational influence in their own
learning and in the learning of others.
Keywords: Action research; critically and reflectively thinking; personal enquiry.
Introduction
I shall speak primarily about the work with teachers in Ireland, while also referring to work in South
Africa and Qatar. What I have to say is, I hope, relevant to teaching in the rest of the world. I shall
also make the case that, by developing their capacity to engage with such critical questions, teachers
can make significant contributions to new thinking and new practices globally; and they can position
themselves as developing new public spheres within problematic contexts in which individual
practitioners can engage in considered debate about how to create the kind of society they would like
their children to live in.
Let me begin by showing three photographs. The first is a picture of Mary Roche from Cork (on the
right) and myself on the occasion of her graduation at the University of Limerick, in January 2008 (see
Figure 1).
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Figure 1. Graduation at the University of Limerick
The second photograph is of a group of ten teachers from Khayelitsha and myself on the occasion of
their graduation from the University of Surrey, in September 2009 (see Figure 2). Khayelitsha is a
township of a million people, situated just outside Cape Town.
Figure 2. Graduation at the University of Surrey
The third is a picture of Amal Al-Yazori and myself in Qatar (Figure 3). I invited Amal to speak about
her work during a keynote presentation I gave at the Action Research Conference at Qatar University
on 19th June 2010 (McNiff, 2010a). She and I had been working together on the Action Research for
Teachers course, provided by Tribal Education, UK, in collaboration with the Supreme Education
Council, Qatar. Amal‘s writing is now published in the
Teacher Enquiry Bulletin
(Tribal Education,
2010).
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
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Figure 3. Action Research Conference at Qatar University
I am presenting these pictures because they represent the partial realisation of my educational values
in relation to teachers in different social and educational contexts; and each of these contexts, as
noted, is one of change and challenge. In all cases, the challenge took the form of engaging with the
politics of educational knowledge through contributing to the transformation of the hierarchical and
power-constituted structures of a traditionalist Academy within socio-historical contexts of extensive
social and cultural change. The teachers now rightly position themselves as knowledgeable and
articulate professionals, some as master and doctor educators, who have had their claims to
professional excellence validated and legitimated by the Academy in the form of their academic
reports, some for the award of their higher degrees. In all contexts, this has been achieved against
considerable odds (see McNiff, 2000 and 2010c), and the photos show how, with determination and
tenacity, the teachers have won through. These kinds of events give meaning to my own personal and
professional life, as I have found ways to support the teachers. This is the story I tell in this paper;
and I continue the story in a range of other writings.
However, before telling the story, let me outline some of the conceptual frameworks that have
informed my action research. The first and perhaps most important one, since it constitutes both the
content and the form of the paper, is a methodological framework about action research. For those
unfamiliar with the idea, here is a brief summary of what action research is, what it involves, and how
it is done (see also McNiff, 2010b; Whitehead, 2009).
About action research
Action research is a form of self-reflective enquiry that enables practitioners to take control of their
practice by asking questions about how they can improve it. They then make their ideas public for
critical evaluation. This fulfils Stenhouse‘s (1983) definition that research is a systematic enquiry made
public, and goes beyond, to communicate the idea that action research is always conducted with
social intent, for personal and social benefit.
Action research for teachers is therefore about
1. taking action to find ways to improve their classroom practices and other situations;
2. doing research into how they can offer descriptions and explanations for what they have
done, and how they can make judgements about the quality of their research and practices.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
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Both aspects are crucial, because demonstrating quality in professional practice is not only a case of
demonstrating practice improvement, but also of knowledge creation. It is about practice as a form of
enquiry; about making claims to improved practice that may be tested against authenticated
evidence, and having those claims agreed by the critical feedback of a peer community (Whitehead
and McNiff, 2006).
A popular way of doing action research is to think about the following as a framework for researching
one‘s own practice:
I review my current practice;
Identify an area I wish to improve;
Ask focused questions about how I can improve it;
Imagine a way forward;
Try it out, and
Take stock of what happens.
I modify my plans in light of what I have found, and continue with the action;
Evaluate the modified action;
And reconsider the position in light of the evaluation.
(Whitehead, 1989; see also McNiff and Whitehead, 2009)
These points can then be turned into a set of practical questions, such as:
What is my concern? What is my research question?
Why am I concerned?
How do I gather data to show the situation as it is, and as it evolves?
What can I do about the situation? What will I do?
What kind of evidence can I produce to show that what I am doing is influencing someone‘s
learning?
How do I communicate the significance of what I have done?
How do I ensure that any judgements I make are reasonably fair and accurate?
How do I modify my practices and ideas in light of my evaluation?
How do I write a good quality report?
(McNiff and Whitehead, 2010)
These are the kinds of questions I encourage practitioners to ask about their practices. Furthermor e,
because I believe that I should not ask someone to do something that I am not prepared to do first, I
undertake my own action enquiries on a systematic basis. For me, action research is both about doing
projects, as well as (perhaps more so) about adopting an attitude of enquiry throughout one‘s life,
which I try to do, and encourage others to do.
So, to illustrate how to do action research in action, let me outline my own action enquiry, using the
same questions as above, and show how I theorise my practice of supporting teachers in undertaking
their action enquiries. It is possible for all practitioners in any profession to develop such frameworks
as the basis of their own action enquiries.
My Action Research Enquiry
What is my concern? What is my research question?
My concern is that teachers are often positioned as implementers of other people‘s knowledge and
theories, rather than being seen, and seeing themselves, as creators of their own knowledge and
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5
theories. I am concerned that teachers are often persuaded not to see their own knowledge as
valuable, and to look outside themselves for answers to their professional dilemmas, rather than
having the confidence to believe that they already have those answers within their own practices. This
is not to deny that they acknowledge how they can learn from others‘ experiences, often as
communicated through the literatures, and they incorporate insights from other theorists into their
own accounts. I am not alone in holding these concerns; others share them: for example, Apple
(2000), Ballard et al. (2006), Chomsky (2000), and Said (1994). It is a position also shared by
Ireland‘s President Mary McAleese, whom I met on 10 October 2009, on the occasion of the 400th
anniversary celebrations of the granting of Kilkenny‘s Charter. Here is a picture of the President
delivering her speech.
Figure 4. Ireland‘s President Mary McAleese
The President, herself from Northern Ireland, spoke about the need for people to know their practices
and their histories, to celebrate their knowledge of where they come from, and their heritage. She
spoke about how, from her school days in the North, her then curriculum required her to know more
about Bismarck than Belfast. Like Seamus Heaney, however, she believes that knowledge of their
history enables people better to stand their ground in relation to their identity and beliefs. I share her
concerns from my own Scottish-Irish heritage, and my commitments involve giving back to Ireland
some of what Ireland has given me. They also involve fulfilling my own professional commitments,
always to do with learning and knowledge creation, to enable practitioners to celebrate their capacity
to theorise their practices and produce their living educational theories of practice (Whitehead and
McNiff, 2006). The pictures above of the graduations and presentations show what can happen when
practitioners do so. Furthermore, this fits well with policy recommendations, such as those of the
Qatari National Professional Standards for Teachers (Supreme Education Council website) and the
European Commission (2007), which I shall speak about shortly.
Why am I concerned?
I am concerned because I believe passionately that practitioners, in all walks of life, should accept the
responsibility, first, of doing good work, and second, of explaining how their work should be
understood as ‗good‘, and how they make judgements about these things. This can be problematic,
given rival conceptualisations of ‗the good‘ and how it may be theorised (MacIntyre, 1990). By
engaging with the problematics, however, teachers can explain how they hold themselves accountable
for what they do. This fits with my overall commitments to personal accountability and a sense of
gratitude for life, for being in the world. I hasten to add that I appreciate the distinction of ‗doing
good work‘ and ‗doing good‘, a distinction highlighted by Coetzee (2003) in his novel
Elizabeth
Costello
.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
6
I believe, like Foucault (2001), Freire (2005) and Zinn (1997), that all people are capable of thinking
and speaking for themselves, and should do so, and should not be prevented from doing so. I believe
that practitioners in higher education should support the classroom enquiries of teachers, not from a
perspective that theirs is a better form of knowledge, but from their position as knowing what is
required to have teachers‘ practical embodied knowledge validated and legitimated by the Academy. A
key responsibility of higher education professional educators is to find ways of establishing
pedagogical infrastructures for the sharing and co-creating of knowledge between schools-based and
university-based educators (Nixon, 2008). I believe in developing communities of collaborative
practice and critical enquiry within cultures of educational knowledge (Whitehead, 2009), where we
share our knowledge from our different perspectives, and find ways of co-creating the kind of
knowledge that will help us to make our present world a better place and the grounds for creating a
better future.
You can see in what I am saying that I am setting out my educational values. When we ask questions
such as ‗Why am I concerned?‘ we articulate our educational values, and explain how these give
meaning to our lives. We explain how we work to overcome the experience of ourselves as living
contradictions (Whitehead, 1989) when our values are denied in our practices; and how we work to
live more fully in the direction of those educational values.
How do I gather data to show the situation as it is at the moment, and as it evolves?
Having set out some of my educational values, I now need to show the current situation that grounds
my concerns, in the sense that my values may or may not be realised in practice. I need to explain
how I gather baseline data to show the reasons for my concerns, and how I continue to gather data
to show the situation as it evolves. I will explain how I do this from (a) a personal perspective and (b)
a policy perspective.
Personal perspectives
Recently I was working with a group of university-based lecturers, encouraging them to see their work
as a form of research. It is a key institutional requirement for all academic staffs to engage in
research and publish their findings; and a major criterion for judging the quality of the work is
whether it makes an original contribution to knowledge of the field (Murray, 2002). As so often
happens, several colleagues began looking outside themselves for a research topic, asking, ‗What
topic shall we research? Which questions should we ask?‘ I suggested, as I usually do, that they
investigate their own practices as their topics of enquiry. One colleague in particular was puzzled.
‗What is special about my practice?‘ she asked. ‗How can what I find out about myself be in any way
an original contribution to knowledge of my field?‘
This kind of question is asked too often. Since 1992, when I began working as a professional
educator, I have heard countless teachers and other practitioners comment, ‗I‘m just a teacher (or
engineer, or nurse, and so on). There is nothing special about me.‘ This kind of attitude is contrary to
my own beliefs, which I share with Hannah Arendt (1958), that we are all special, and all have
something unique and valuable to share. We can all learn from one another, from sharing our stories
of everyday practice. This belief inspires my own commitments to enable teachers and other
practitioners to write their research stories, get them published, and influence thinking and practices
in the wider world.
I can show, throughout my research programme, how I have gathered data, using a range of sources
such as field notes and other documentary data, interviews and video recordings, about how teachers
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
7
felt marginalised, and how they have come to learn to value themselves and their educational
contributions. In relation to teachers in Ireland, you can read teachers‘ stories in books such as McNiff
and Collins (1994) and Collins and McNiff (1999), and in relation to teachers in South Africa you can
see some of their accounts at
http://www.jeanmcniff.com/khayelitsha/gerrie_AERA_2008.htm and
http://www.jeanmcniff.com/khayelitsha/tsepo_AERA_2008.htm.
These last two accounts are especially significant, since they were written by two teachers from
Khayelitsha (see above) who had been told since birth that they were second class citizens, and who
showed through their work that they were equal with the best. I recall that another member of that
particular group of teachers commented, on the award of his masters certificate, ‗We are now people
among other people.‘ Through the validation of the teachers‘ knowledge, they were granted
legitimacy, both in terms of the validity of their research and the validity of themselves as persons. In
theoretical terms, the situation shows how validity can transform into legitimacy, and how knowledge
can transform into power (Foucault, 1980).
Policy perspectives
I also gather data on a regular basis in relation to how global trends are influencing the development
of new policies in relation to education and teacher education. Among the most important trends, I
would identify the following as most significant:
The global epistemological shift in what counts as knowledge and who counts as a knower
A focus on the contribution of work-based learning for economic sustainability
A recognition of the need for more democratic forms of working in relation to the
development of professional education and its assessment
The global epistemological shift in what counts as knowledge and who counts as a
knower
: There is now wide recognition that individuals‘ personal practical knowledge is as valid and
legitimate as traditional academic knowledge, which remains the most widely accepted form of
knowledge in the western intellectual tradition (Somekh and Lewin, 2010). The relationship between
‗pure‘ academic knowledge and practitioners‘ work-based knowledge was well illustrated in 1983 and
1995 by Donald Schön, who painted a graphic caricature of the ‗high ground‘ of academia, where
‗pure‘ knowledge and theory is created; and the ‗swampy lowlands‘ of everyday practice, where
‗ordinary‘ practitioners create practical knowledge. The dilemma for Schön was that, although
practitioners‘ practical knowledge is generally perceived as of greatest benefit to the problematics of
daily life, normative understandings held that it should not, under any circumstances, be understood
as ‗real theory‘. Furthermore, both academics and practitioners alike should accept this story: and of
course they do, possibly because another powerful story of the western intellectual tradition was (and
still is) that people should not question the idea that social status and ‗official‘ knowledge
automatically go together, i.e. the more official knowledge you have, the higher up the social rankings
you are. Many influential scholars such as Bourdieu (1984) and Gould (1996) have pointed out the
misguided nature of this idea; but the idea is deeply entrenched in the western psyche, and therefore
much emotional and intellectual work is needed to dislodge it.
A good deal of deconstruction work has been going on in the educational research community for
many years, so Schön‘s caricature no longer holds universally, though the situation still obtains in
many places in the world. It is now widely accepted that practitioners‘ everyday knowledge should be
seen as a valid form of knowledge creation, equal in status to academic knowledge. The kind of data
available can be found in the accounts of teachers on my own website (http://www.jeanmcniff.com),
and on influential websites such as http://www.actionresearch.net. A glance at accounts such as
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
8
those by Mary Hartog (http://www.actionresearch.net/janespirophd.shtml), who is a higher education
tutor, and by Ray O‘Neill (2007 – see below), who is a classroom teacher, indicates that both teachers‘
and academics‘ knowledge of practice can hold equal epistemological status.
However, while there is little argument today about the usefulness of practitioners‘ different kinds of
knowledge, new important arguments have emerged, mainly to do with demonstrating the validity of
different kinds of knowledge. I will come to this point shortly.
A focus on the contribution of work-based learning for economic sustainability
: Now let me
show how documents in the public domain can act as data. In 1994, Gibbons et al made a distinction
between ‗Mode 1‘ forms of knowledge, the conceptual, abstract forms I have spoken about, and that
tend to be located in higher education settings; and ‗Mode 2 knowledge, the practical everyday
knowledge of people working in workplaces. They explain that this traditional hierarchical relationship
between different kinds of knowledge is being levelled out so that ‗Mode 2‘ knowledge should be
understood as equivalent in relevance and status to ‗Mode 1‘ knowledge. I agree. I also think that the
underpinning hierarchical arrangement of knowledge should be done away with too, and that the very
notion of hierarchy should be deconstructed. This is already happening, especially in relation to a clear
message in the literatures that work-based learning could be a major route to economic recovery and
stability, as communicated, for example, by the OECD (2009), and by recommendations of the
European Commission:
Teachers are supported to continue their professional development throughout their careers.
They and their employers recognise the importance of acquiring new knowledge, and are able
to innovate and use new knowledge to inform their work.
(Commission of the European Communities, 2007: 12)
A recognition of a need for more democratic forms of working in relation to the
development of professional education and its assessment
: Yet while I agree with this view, I
also emphasise that the realisation of this capacity for the contribution of all carries certain conditions,
the most important of which are (1) an appreciation that teachers can create not only acquire new
knowledge; and (2) power must be devolved by the Academy to practitioners, with an agreement for
power sharing between academics and teachers in relation to issues of knowledge creation for the
improvement of practice, and the capacity to make judgements about how the quality of practice
should be judged. Yet this view raises other questions, about
1. first, what is judged, who judges it, and how it should be judged;
2. second, who is seen as qualified to make judgements, and on what basis.
It is, as Foucault (2001) says, not so much a question of what is known, but of who is legitimated as a
knower, and who says. It is question of the relationship between knowledge and power. And this
returns me to the idea of action research, and how these ideas are now embedded within policy
documents, such as those of the European Commission who recommend that teachers should:
continue to reflect on their practice in a systematic way
undertake classroom research
incorporate into their teaching the results of classroom and academic research
evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and amend them accordingly
(Commission of the European Communities, 2007: 14)
I fully subscribe to this view, having been saying it since the 1980s (McNiff, 1984, 1988). Yet I have
also been calling not only for recommendations about what should be done, but also for practical
strategies and methodologies for enabling the rhetoric to be turned into reality. The question becomes
not only ‗What should be done?‘ but also ‗How is to be done?‘ and, most importantly, ‗How is its
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
9
quality and effectiveness to be judged?‘ – in other words, actively to engage with the practicalities of
the questions and how teachers may be supported. And, from my own commitments to
epistemological democracy, I also ask, ‗By whom should such judgements be made, and who makes
decisions about these things?‘
What can I do about the situation? What will I do?
My response to the situation is to find ways of supporting the action enquiries of practitioners
(teachers, in the context of this paper), in work-based learning programmes, and also for higher
degree accreditation. I have worked with teachers in a range of work-based settings. In Ireland I
have worked with the Marino Institute of Education, on what was then a Schools-Based Action
Research Project (McNiff and Collins, 1994); with the National Centre for Technology in Education;
with the National Centre for Guidance in Education; and with various schools to enable staffs to
investigate their practices. I work with school-based teachers in global settings: in the UK, Malaysia,
India, Canada, the USA, Iceland, South Africa, Qatar, Israel and Ireland.
I also work with practitioners in third level education in those same countries. In Ireland I have been
working intensively with the University of Limerick, and have given lectures and workshops at many
other third level institutions. I aim always to exercise my influence in practitioners‘ learning, as well as
my own, to develop our views about the form of knowledge most appropriate for social transformation
(for example, McNiff, 2009). Those higher education practitioners themselves influence the thinking of
both new and experienced teachers in schools and other education settings, and support them in
producing their accounts of practice to form a robust knowledge base that has the potential to
influence new policy formation. Thus I work for systemic influence; for I believe it is important to aim
to influence all aspects of systems, as they constantly shift in relation to new internal and external
developments.
I also gather data on an ongoing basis. I use a range of data gathering techniques, from a personal
journal and email logs to video tape recordings that show the live action of practice. Some of these
video recordings can be seen on YouTube (see
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsbelPVpUC8&feature=related),
to share and celebrate the achievements of practitioners in all aspects of education systems. And from
my data archive I then generate my evidence base that I use to test the validity of my emergent and
provisional knowledge claims. The issue of how to do so constitutes a major strand in my enquiries, as
I now explain.
What kind of evidence can I produce to show that what I am doing is influencing
someone’s learning?
A key debate in the international educational research community became prominent in the 1990s
about how it is possible to demonstrate quality in educational research. The debate was intensified in
relation to the question of how practitioner research should be judged when submitting scholarly work
for consideration in evaluation exercises associated with funding, such as the Research Assessment
Exercise (now the Research Excellence Framework) in the UK. The point was made by influential
scholars such as Furlong and Oancea (2005) that, if the practitioner research community wished to
have its work judged in terms of its own appropriate criteria, the community itself should identify
criteria and standards of judgement that would be agreed by the community. My colleague Jack
Whitehead, I and others, have been working on this problem for some years; and we have put
forward the idea that one‘s values can emerge as living criteria and standards by which we may judge
the quality of our work and educational influences in learning (McNiff and Whitehead, 2006;
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
10
Whitehead and McNiff, 2006). Therefore, if I hold the value of participation as a key value (as I do),
my question becomes, ‗How do I show that all have opportunities for participation in their own
learning and the learning of others as we work together?‘ The examples in the pictures above,
especially that of Amal Al-Yazori, are attestation to this idea by showing the realisation of my value of
participation in practice.
A powerful knowledge base now exists in the literatures, in the form of books, journal articles,
websites, and other sources to show the realisation of this idea. The development of this knowledge
base is in keeping with the call from Catherine Snow (2001), then President of the American
Educational Research Association, for a systematisation of teachers‘ knowledge and the dissemination
of their work. You can see some of the knowledge base on my own website, at
http://www.jeanmcniff.com, where some of the masters dissertations and doctoral theses of teachers
in Ireland (and elsewhere) stand as evidence that they can speak for themselves and offer their
explanatory accounts of practice. Each of the accounts shows how teachers hold themselves
accountable for their work as they strive for and achieve social justice for the young people in their
care.
Here are some of the accounts:
Margaret Cahill (2006)
My Living Educational Theory of Inclusional Practice
. PhD thesis, University of
Limerick. Retrieved 20 June 2010 from http://www.jeanmcniff.com/margaretcahill/index.html
Chris Glavey (2008)
Helping Eagles Fly A Living Theory Approach󳋡to Student and Young Adult
Leadership Development.
PhD thesis, University of Glamorgan. Retrieved 20 June 2010 from
http://www.jeanmcniff.com/theses/glavey.html
Caitríona McDonagh (2007)
My living theory of learning to teach for social justice: How do I enable
primary school children with specific learning disability (dyslexia) and myself as their teacher t o realise
our learning potentials?
PhD thesis, University of Limerick. Retrieved 20 June 2010 from
http://www.jeanmcniff.com/mcdonaghabstract.html
Máirín Glenn (2006)
Working with collaborative projects: my living theory of a holistic educational
practice.
PhD thesis, University of Limerick. Retrieved 20 June 2010 from
http://www.jeanmcniff.com/glennabstract.html
Ray O‘Neill (2008)
ICT as Political Action
. PhD thesis, University of Glamorgan. Retrieved 20 June
2010 from http://www.jeanmcniff.com/theses/oneill.html
Mary Roche (2007)
Towards a living theory of caring pedagogy:󳋡interrogating my practice to nurture
a critical,󳋡emancipatory and just community of enquiry
. PhD thesis, University of Limerick. Retrieved
20 June 2010 from http://www.jeanmcniff.com/MaryRoche/index.html
Bernie Sullivan (2006)
A living theory of a practice of social justice: realising the right of Traveller
children to educational equality
. PhD thesis, University of Limerick. Retrieved 20 June 2010 from
http://www.jeanmcniff.com/bernieabstract.html
There is no reason why this kind of work should not inform professional education programmes for all
teachers in all schools, as teachers and their supporters ask, ‗How do I/we improve what I am/we are
doing?‘ and develop communities of practice (Wenger, 1999) that engage in critical reflection on and
modification of their practices.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
11
How do I communicate the significance of my action research?
Furthermore, by asking this kind of question, teacher professional education moves from its currently
dominant form of a focus on skills development and the transfer of existing knowledge to a view that
engages critically with the transformation of existing knowledge into new knowledge that is relevant
and essential for moving the field forward. A key issue here in relation to explaining the significance of
what one has done is to appreciate that the practice of placing oneself at the centre of one‘s own
enquiry, and explaining how one is influencing learning, is not a question of arrogance or self-
aggrandisement but of showing how we hold ourselves accountable for our work and exercise
extreme caution in what we say and do. Action research therefore enables people to find ways of
evaluating their work that demonstrate their own commitments to accountability and the development
of a good social order.
How do I ensure that any judgements I make are reasonably fair and accurate?
I explained above how knowledge claims need to be subjected to the critical feedback of peers. A key
methodological strategy of action research is to present one‘s findings to a group of peers, acting as
critical reviewers and evaluators, and invite comment on the potential validity of the claims under
scrutiny. This means engaging in appropriate validation procedures, in two ways.
Personal validation
The first form of validation takes the form of personal appraisal in relation to whether one is living in
the direction of one‘s values in practice. In my case, do I satisfy myself that I am living in the
direction of my educational values? Can I explain how I test the validity of my knowledge claims
against my own evidence base, in relation to how my values come to act as my living criteria and
standards of judgement?
Peer validation
The second form of validation takes the form of seeking the critical feedback of peers to my claims
and its accompanying evidence base, and in relation to criteria such as those articulated by Habermas
(1976) and Lather (1991). In relation to the criteria identified by Habermas, do I show that my claim
is
comprehensible, in that I am communicating my ideas in a way that is understandable and
speaks to others‘ experience?
truthful, in that I am prepared to test the validity of my claims against a public evidence base?
sincere, in that I can show how I try to live in the direction of my values over time?
socially, historically, politically and culturally aware, in that I show that I pay due regard for
what is going in the contexts I am working in?
In relation to the criteria identified by Lather (1991), do I show that I can reflect critically on my own
thinking, and modify my practice in the light of more advanced critique?
How do I modify my practices and ideas in light of my evaluation?
So I am now making this aspect of my research public, and seek critical responses to my ideas, ready
to act on advice. Should I continue working as I am working, or should I change? Do I see areas
where I could improve? I like the ideas of philosophers such as Said (1997) who says that there are
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
12
no endings, only new beginnings. All the moments of my life are new beginnings. What do I begin
now? What do I do differently, in light of my new knowledge? Here are two areas where I am already
extending the range of work: the first is in writing; the second is the focus and geographical location
of my work.
How do I support practitioners’ academic writing?
I have recently identified one area where I feel improvement is essential, which is about supporting
practitioners in writing and producing research reports; and this forms the beginnings of a new action
reflection cycle. I have become acutely aware of the need for practitioners to produce reports that will
enable them to do justice to their research by writing in such a way that people will want to engage
with their ideas (McNiff 2010d; McNiff and Whitehead, 2009). I am now focusing my attention on how
to do this.
How do I work with communities who disagree with one another?
I said above that I work with teachers in Qatar. This work has been conducted since October 2009,
and teachers are now making their work public: for example, Al-Yazori and Mousshin 2010; Al-Hajri
2010; Al Fugara 2010: see also Tribal Education 2010. I am also active in Israel, where teachers work
with students in finding ways to live together with their Arab neighbours. Here is a photo of children
and teachers from the Nave Bamidbar (Oasis in the Desert) School in Ha‘zerim Kibbutz near Be‘er
Sheva (Figure 5). This work will be published soon in a range of forms.
Figure 5. Children and Teacher from the Nave Bamidbar School
I am currently working with others at York St John University, UK, in developing an international
conference where practitioners from many communities, including the ones named in this paper, may
come together to share their educational research accounts.
And so I begin a new enquiry, with a new focus; and I show, through this practice, how the ‗end‘
becomes a beginning, a new question that takes the form ‗How do I …?‘
Conclusion
So this is what I do, as I move forward through life, in which each new day presents new
opportunities for educational influence. Over the past year, and in this paper, I have focused on work
in Ireland, South Africa, Qatar, and now Israel (not to mention work in the UK). Everywhere I work
with practitioners, encouraging them to investigate how they can improve their practice through
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
13
personal enquiry, and produce their descriptions and explanations of practice in the form of their living
educational theories. These accounts show how they hold themselves accountable for their work. I
work consistently to encourage people to have the courage to demonstrate their ontological,
epistemological and social accountability, in the interests of contributing to a better social and world
order than the one we have at present. Doing what I do is my choice. We all have choices, and it is
up to each one of us to make the choices we can stand over and that give meaning to our lives.
Note: An earlier version of this paper was given as a keynote presentation at Kilkenny Education
Centre, 10 October 2009, on the occasion of the 400th Anniversary of the awarding of Royal Charter to
the City of Kilkenny.
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Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
16
Cross-Cultural Research and Qualitative Inquiry
Pranee Liamputtong
La Trobe University, Australia
pranee@latrobe.edu.au
Abstract
Cross-cultural research has become important in this postmodern world where many people have
been made, and are still, marginalised and vulnerable by others in more powerful positions like
colonial researchers. In this paper, I contend that qualitative research is particularly appropriate for
cross-cultural research because it allows us to find answers which are more relevant to the research
participants. Cross-cultural qualitative research must be situated within some theoretical
frameworks. In this paper, I also provide different theoretical frameworks that cross-cultural
researchers may adopt in their research.
Performing qualitative cross-cultural research is exciting, but it is also full of ethical and
methodological challenges. This paper will encourage readers to start thinking about methodological
issues in performing cross-cultural research.
Keywords: Cross-cultural research; qualitative Inquiry;
healing methodology; decolonizing
methodology.
Introduction
The presence of indigenous populations in countries such as Canada, the United States, New Zealand
and Australia has a great ramification for social science researchers. These indigenous people have
been colonised and have become marginalised in their own native lands. More disturbingly, their
traditional knowledge and ways of living have been robbed, damaged and destroyed by the colonising
process (Aspin and Hutchings 2007; Bartlett et al., 2007; Bishop, 2008; Cram, 2009; Denzin et al.,
2008a, b; Iwasaki et al., 2005; Salmon, 2007; Smith, 1999, 2006, 2008; Walker et al., 2006).
Inequalities in education, employment, health, living conditions and opportunities among indigenous
people (in comparison to white, dominant groups) continue to exist and even the ―mainstream‖
societies have become wealthier. In nations like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States of
America indigenous people continue to disproportionately represent those who are poor, sick, and
disadvantaged in health, welfare and opportunity (see Bartlett et al., 2007; Bishop, 2008; Smith,
2008; Iwasaki et al., 2005; Rock, 2003; Walker et al., 2006;). The rates of imprisonment, suicide and
alcoholism are unequally high among indigenous populations around the globe (Smith, 1999). Black
deaths in custody among Australian indigenous men are well-known and continue to the present time.
This has led some social science researchers to suggest that indigenous groups live in the
fourth world
(Bartlett et al., 2007; O‘Neil, 1986). It has been suggested that dealing with these problems among
indigenous people should be seen as ―a top priority‖ not only in policy-making and service provision,
but also in research (Bartlett et al., 2007: 2372).
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
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Due to a concern about reducing inequalities between the indigenous peoples and the ―white‖
populations, there have been attempts to include these vulnerable people in the research arenas. But
as we have witnessed, research concerning indigenous people has been intensely biased by
Eurocentric philosophies and paradigms (Bartlett et al., 2007; Bishop, 2008; Denzin et al., 2008a;
Edwards et al., 2005; Robinson and Trochim 2007; Smith, 1999, 2008; Walker et al., 2006). Smith
(2008: 116) points out that indigenous people around the world become people who are ―the ‗most
researched‘ people in the world‖ but the research has not improved their lives and well-being.
Indigenous peoples have often voiced their concerns about the ―problem of research‖. In Aotearoa
New Zealand for example, Mãoris have been heavily researched by Pakeha (non-Mãori) researchers
who have not only neglected to involve Mãoris in the development of their research (Walsh-Tapiata,
2003: 55), but also marginalised them as people who have problems and who cannot cope or deal
with their problems (Bishop, 2008; Smith, 2008). Pakeha researchers gain great benefit from their
research, but not for Mãoris. This has similarly happened to indigenous people in other parts of the
world. From the indigenous perspectives, Smith (2008: 116) contends, research is ―so deeply
embedded in colonization that it has been regarded as a tool only of colonization and not as a
potential tool for self-determination and development‖. It has now been realised that research in a
number of areas including social welfare and health needs is crucial (Bishop, 2008; Smith, 2008;
Walsh-Tapiata, 2003). But this research must employ culturally sensitive and empathetic approaches
which take into consideration the issues and problems which are important for the people who
participate in the research (Smith, 1999).
There are also those ethno-specific groups who have lived for long periods in some Western societies,
such as African Americans in the United States and Caribbean-born people in the United Kingdom.
These people have also been made marginalised by social, cultural and political factors. Many of them
have been caught in research endeavours carried out by researchers who exploited and abused them
or had little or no regard for their cultural integrity. This has tremendous implications for cross-cultural
research at present time.
In multicultural societies like the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, there has been an
increasing number of people from different cultural, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds. These people
may arrive as immigrants (legal and illegal) or as refugees who have fled war-torn countries. Many of
them have health problems and no access to social benefits. Their health and well-being have
implications for the provision of culturally sensitive health and social care in the host societies. Hence,
the provision of culturally sensitive care has become ―a necessity‖ (Tsai et al., 2004: 3; see also
Barata et al.; 2006; Dunckley et al., 2003).
Globally too, we have witnessed many poor people become vulnerable with health and social issues.
These people have also been subject to abuse and exploitation in intervention and experimental
research (see Macklin, 2004). Because of their poverty and powerlessness, many have been coerced
into research endeavours which further render them more vulnerable. At present time, we are still
witnessing this. Do we, as social science researchers, have the moral obligation to provide culturally
competent care to these marginalised people?
The need for culturally competent social and health care requires knowledge of the social and cultural
contexts of the people and this can be obtained by research, particularly qualitative approach
(Esposito, 2001; Hall and Kulig, 2004; Liamputtong, 2008, 2009, 2010a; Papadopoulos and Lees,
2002; Smith, 2008; Tillman, 2006). Many researchers have started projects with vulnerable and
marginalised people in a cross-cultural context. But it is crucial that the researchers ensure that their
research is conducted ethically and that they take into account cultural integrity of the participants so
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
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that their research will not harm but benefit local people who take part in their research (Borkan et
al., 2000; Liamputtong, 2008, 2010a).
Despite the increased demands on cross-cultural research, as Madriz (1998: 7) contends, discussions
on ―culturally sensitive methodologies‖ are still largely neglected in the literature on research methods
including qualitative methods. As a result, researchers who are working within socially responsible
research in cross-cultural settings often confront many challenges with very little information on how
to deal with these difficulties. Conducting cross-cultural research is rife with ethical and
methodological challenges (Best, 2001; Bishop, 2008; Hall and Kulig, 2004; Hennink, 2008; McDonald,
2000; Mkabela, 2005; Liamputtong, 2008, 2010a; Small et al., 1999a, b). Discussions on undertaking
qualitative research in cross-cultural settings are then essential. This paper fills this gap in literature.
In this paper, I shall discuss the essence of qualitative research in cross-cultural research. I shall then
provide some theoretical standpoints that I believe sit neatly within the framework of cross-cultural
research.
Qualitative Methodology and Cross-Cultural Research
Qualitative research is essential when there is little knowledge of a research area which deals with
―the questions of subjective experience and situational meaning‖ (Davies et al., 2009: 6). Qualitative
approach provides ―a better opportunity for conveying sensitivity‖ (Davies et al., 2009: 6). As such, it
helps to eliminate or reduce the distrust that individuals from ethnically diverse communities may
have toward research and the researchers (Davies et al., 2009; Levkoff and Sanchez, 2003;
Liamputtong, 2007; 2009, 2010a; Skaff et al., 2002).
I contend that cross-cultural research cannot be too rigid and too ―objective‖ as in positivist
(quantitative) science. As Bishop (2008: 171) suggests, much positivist research has insisted on using
―researcher-determined positivist and neopositivist evaluative criteria, internal and external validity,
reliability, and objectivity‖ and this has ―dismissed, marginalized, or maintained control over the voice
of others‖. It is impossible to ―measure‖ people or to ―generalise‖ about people if the researchers wish
to understand people within the context of their society and culture. We are at the juncture of social
turmoil in the 21th century, when too many people struggle with health and social difficulties and
inequalities in their lives. Social scientists have the moral obligation to do something to improve the
lives of many marginalised people in different cultures, and it is only through using a qualitative
approach that we can accomplish this task.
Qualitative research relies heavily on ―words‖ or stories that people tell researchers (Liamputtong,
2010b). The focus of this approach is on the social world instead of the world of nature.
Fundamentally, researching social life differs from researching natural phenomena. In the social world,
we deal with the subjective experiences of human beings, and our ―understanding of reality can
change over time and in different social contexts‖ (Dew, 2007: 434). Essentially, qualitative research
aims to ―capture lived experiences of the social world and the meanings people give these experiences
from their own perspective‖ (Corti and Thompson, 2004: 326; Liamputtong, 2009).
Qualitative research emphasises interpretation and flexibility. The interpretive and flexible approach is
necessary for cross-cultural research because the focus of qualitative research is on meaning and
interpretation (Denzin and Lincoln, 2008; Liamputtong, 2007, 2009, 2010a). As Hammersley (1992:
45) suggests, qualitative data are reliable because they ―document the world from the point of view of
the people…rather than presenting it from the perspective of the researcher‖. For most qualitative
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
19
researchers, it is accepted that in order to understand people‘s behaviour, we must attempt to
understand the meanings and interpretations that people give to their behaviour.
Because of its flexibility and fluidity, qualitative research is suited to understanding the meanings,
interpretations, and subjective experiences of individuals (Denzin and Lincoln, 2008; Dickson-Swift et
al., 2008; Liamputtong, 2007, 2009). Qualitative inquiry allows the researchers to be able to hear the
voices of those who are ―silenced, othered, and marginalized by the dominant social order‖, as
qualitative methods ―ask not only ‗what is it? but, more importantly, ‗explain it to mehow, why,
what‘s the process, what‘s the significance?‘ (Denzin and Lincoln, 2008a; Hesse-Biber and Leavy,
2005: 28; Liamputtong 2009). The in-depth nature of qualitative methods allows the researcher to
express their feelings and experiences in their own words (Bryman, 2008; Liamputtong, 2007, 2009;
Padgett, 2008). This approach is particularly appropriate and essential for researching those
communities ―who have historically been described as oppressed but who are wanting to take control
of their situation and move towards social change‖ (Walsh-Tapiata, 2003: 60). Here, I refer to many
indigenous communities in the world.
In their research regarding drug use and risky sexual behaviour with young, low-income Latina
women, Lindenberg and colleagues (2001) used a qualitative approach. Lindenberg and colleagues
(2001: 134) tell us that ―through the use of qualitative research methods and talking directly with
clients and providers, we gained understanding of the beliefs, knowledge, practices, and social context
in which young, Latina, low-income, immigrant women make their drug use and sexual behavioural
choices‖. In this study, they adopted focus groups methodology and individual ethnographic life
stories. They say that these methods were ―indispensable to understanding the contextual and
cultural realities in which Latinas make their alcohol, drug use, and sexual decisions‖.
Jackson (2000: 347) tells us about a research project in which he had been involved in Zimbabwe in
1998. The project adopted a methodology referred to as an ―enabling state assessment methodology‖
(ESAM). It was developed because of a general dissatisfaction with conventional (positivist)
methodologies in the African context. Often, surveys were used to obtain information from local
people. Jackson (2000: 348) contends that positivist methodologies do not fully capture the views or
agendas of local people. On the contrary, participative research methodology ―relies upon local people
to formulate ideas and then to test them against their own experience‖.
The opinions of Zimbabwean entrepreneurs about the traditional methodologies of questionnaires and
the more participatory-based approach were markedly different. The participatory approach allowed
many participants to express and explore their ideas, which they felt it would have been missed by
positivist methodologies. One participant who has been subjected to numerous research projects said
that none of the projects in which he had been asked to participate ―had allowed him to actually get
his views across. He had filled in numerous questionnaires, but had received very little feedback or
interaction with the research team‖. On the contrary, the ―hands on‖ approach of the participative
research ―had allowed him not only to express and develop his opinions, but also to meet and discuss
these issues with other stakeholders‖ (Jackson, 2000: 356).
Qualitative research, Morris (2007: 410) contends, has functioned as ―the sociological vanguard‖ for
exploring cross-cultural issues. Because of an ability of qualitative approaches to closely follow social
processes as they emerge and change, the inquiry is particularly useful for examining race, culture
and ethnicity as ―the product of social interaction‖. In her research regarding women‘s experiences of
education with South Asian girls and women, Mirza (1998: 82) adopted a qualitative approach. She
articulates on her choice of methodology:
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
20
―I chose to pursue a qualitative research methodology in order to explore the girls‘ and
women‘s lives from their own perspectives. I felt that the interview technique would
best allow social process to be examined and questions of ‗how‘ and ‗why‘ to be
answered. Thus the methodology would provide an informal environment which would
encourage the women to discuss ‗their experiences, beliefs and values, and the social
meaning they attach to a given phenomenon‘ (Brah and Shaw 1992: 53). This was
especially important as I sought to explore sensitive issues such as sexism, racism and
culture, as well as the area of ‗non-traditional subjects‘, which can be difficult.
Interviewing enables respondents to move beyond answering the questions asked, to
raising other issues and concerns which the researcher may not have considered or
seen as relevant, thus providing ‗considerable opportunity for respondents to control the
interview and hence to dictate the content and form of the data.‖
Madriz (2003), in her work with Latina and African American women of lower socioeconomic
background, makes use of the focus group method in powerful ways. This is clearly seen in her book
Nothing Bad Happens to Good Girls
(1997). In this book, Madriz writes about how the fear of crime
creates a latent form of social control on the lives of women. Fear of crime dictates certain rules about
what women ―should‖ and ―should not‖ do in public so that they themselves can be protected. These
ideas inevitably lead to debilitating perceptions about ―good girls‖ and ―bad girls‖. Not only that, they
severely constrain what will be available to lower socioeconomic Latina and African American women
in their everyday practices.
Regarding the research methods, in this book Madriz argues that most research relating to fear of
crime among women has used a quantitative approach. They tended to be large survey studies and
conducted with both men and women. This approach, Madriz argues, vigorously restricts the points of
view and experiences that the participants are prepared to share. As such, research data only reveals
partial and inaccurate accounts of the issue. She suggests that it is difficult to get women, particularly
women of non-Western groups, to speak about sensitive issues like their fears of sexual assault or
rape, in the context of oral or written questionnaires, either when they had to do it alone or with a
single researcher.
Madriz argues that quantitative methods such as survey tend to alienate the research participants.
Individual interviews can also make the participants feel fear, suspicion and intimidation. Hence, she
employed the focus group method in her research as she attempted to obtain richer information with
greater accuracy from the women. She also notes that focus groups offered a safe environment for
the women to support each other when speaking about their experiences of crime and their
discomforts and fears about crime. One of Madriz‘s participants, Carmen, remarked that: ―When I am
alone with an interviewer, I feel intimidated, scared. And if they call me over the telephone, I never
answer their questions. How do I know what they really want or who they are?‖ (Madriz, 1998: 6-7).
The following excerpt is what Madriz (1998: 3) tells us about her choice of method in this research.
Madriz (1998) believes that it was essential for her to ―listen to women‘s stories to understand the
limitations that fear of crime imposes on their everyday lives‖. She writes: ―Rather than addressing
how many of these women are afraid because of crime or how much fear they feel, my particular
study was aimed at exploring the images and representations that shape women‘s anxieties and fears
at understanding the way in which their lives are limited by these fears. I simply asked them about
their worries, anxieties, and concerns related to crime and about the strategies they use to feel safe‖.
In summary, qualitative research is an essential approach for performing cross-cultural research
(Liamputtong, 2010a). We, as cross-cultural researchers, need to cast the net of approach wider
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
21
because we are now living in ―an era when the diversity of human experience in social groups and
communities, with languages and epistemologies, is undergoing profound cultural and political shifts‖
(Smith, 2008: 137). In the following sections, I propose several methodological standpoints on which
cross-cultural qualitative research can be based.
Embracing Healing Methodology
In the time of global uncertainty and crisis that we are now facing, ―a methodology of the heart, a
prophetic, feminist postpragmatism that embraces an ethics of truth grounded in love, care, hope and
forgiveness, is needed‖ (Denzin et al., 2008a: 3). Hence, I am introducing the ―healing methodology‖
in this section.
Healing methodology is theorised by Cynthia Dillard (2008: 286) who argues that the approach is an
essential ethics and methodology for working with indigenous and African women. Healing
methodology, accordingly, is ―a form of struggle against domination‖. The methodology is ―consistent
with the profound indigenous pedagogical tradition of excellence in the history of African people‖ (see
also King, 2005: 15). Healing methodology involves action; the researchers must ―engage and
change‖ situations with which they encounter in their research endeavours. Dillard (2008: 286)
asserts:
―We must fundamentally transform what research is and whose knowledge and
methodologies we privilege and engage… In this spirit, there must be a ‗letting go‘ of
knowledge, beliefs, and practices that dishonour the indigenous spiritual understandings
that are present in African ascendant scholars, given our preparation and training in
predominately Western, male, patriarchal, capitalist knowledge spaces and the manner
in which our spiritual understandings are negated, marginalized, and degraded.―
The essence of healing methodology is ―spirituality and transformation‖ (Dillard, 2008: 287). This
methodology can work to counteract the negative attitudes of many African American toward research
which was due to ―abusive hegemonic structures that have characterized the methodologies and
practice of research in the Western academy‖.
Healing methodology encompasses the principles of: ―unconditional love, compassion, reciprocity,
ritual and gratitude‖. Dillard (2008: 287) also refers to these principles as ―methodologies of the
spirit‖. These components are proposed as ―a way to honour indigenous African cultural and
knowledge production and as activist practice designed to acknowledge and embrace spirituality in the
process of all of us becoming more fully human in and through the process of research‖. The first
three principles are essentially relevant to performing cross-cultural research involving indigenous and
marginalised ethnic communities. Hence, I shall focus my discussion on these three issues in the
following paragraphs.
Love is the first principle of healing methodology. Too often, as Hooks (2000: 287) says, researchers
do not consider love as the wisdom which can produce ―reciprocal (and thus more just) sites of
inquiry‖. Love as a knowledge will allow the practice ―of looking and listening deeply‖. Thus, the
researchers will ―know what to do and what not to do in order to serve others in the process of
research‖. Love also includes carefully seeking understanding of ―the needs, aspiration, and suffering
of the ones you love‖ (Hanh, 1998: 4). Deeply understanding the humanity of individuals with whom
we engage in the research process is ―a necessary prerequisite for qualitative work in the spirit‖
(Dillard, 2008: 287).
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
22
The second principle of healing methodology is to embrace compassion. According to Dillard (2008:
288), compassion is about ―the intention and capacity to relieve and transform suffering through our
research work‖. It is ―a form of struggle against dehumanizing contexts and conditions‖. Compassion
as a methodology requires the researchers to ―relieve communities of their suffering through the
process of activist research‖. It means that the researchers must have serious and ongoing concerns
for the research participants and want to bring benefits to them through their research. As
researchers, Dillard (2008: 288) contends, ―we must be culturally and historically knowledgeable
about and aware of suffering, but retain our clarity, calmness, our voices and our strength so that we
can, through our practice, help to transform the situation and ourselves‖.
Seeking reciprocity is the third principle of healing methodology. Within this principle, the researchers
must have their ―intention and capacity to see human beings as equal, shedding all discrimination and
prejudice and removing the boundaries between ourselves and others‖ (Dillard, 2008: 288). If the
researchers continue to perceive themselves as ―researchers‖ and the others as the ―others‖ (the
―researched‖), or if they continue to see their own research agenda as more crucial than the needs
and concerns of the research participants, they ―cannot be in loving, compassionate, or reciprocal
relationships with others‖ (Dillard, 2008: 288).
Healing methodology (love, compassion, and reciprocity) allows us to see those with whom we do our
research as human beings, and this will have a profound impact on our ways of performing cross-
cultural research.
Decolonizing Methodology
Research has been referred to as ―a colonizing construct‖ (Mutua and Swadener, 2004: 1), with a
legacy that Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999: 80) writes: ―They came, they saw, they named, they claimed‖.
Colonising refers to the process where a foreign settler creates a new colony in a new land, and over
time, takes away the livelihood and suppresses the identities of many native peoples. And he has
resulted in significant loss of culture and ways of life impacting on the health and well-being of local
people (Bartlett et al., 2007). Smith (2008: 126) says that in of the process of colonization,
―something gets lost‖. The ―something lostfor indigenous peoples include ―indigenous knowledge
and culture‖. Chow (1993) terms this ―something lost‖ as ―endangered authenticities‖. Smith (2008:
126) puts it:
―In biological terms, the something lost‘ is our diversity; in sociolinguistics, it is the
diversity of minority languages; culturally, it is our uniqueness of stories and
experiences and how they are expressed‖.
Smith (1999, 2008) and Swadener and Mutua (2008) argue that through the refusal to recognize non-
Western perspectives as ―legitimate knowledge‖, the colonial research traditions have made cultural
knowledge silent. This is referred to as the ―methodology of imperialism‖ by Said (1995: 21). To
counteract this hegemony, the perspectives of indigenous people must be ―adopted and valorized in
the research process‖ (Bartlett et al., 2007: 2372). Indigenous researchers such as Smith (1999,
2008) and Duran and Duran (2000) call for decolonizing methodology to recognize and undo the
damage caused by the colonial authority. Decolonizing methodology, Smith (2008: 117) suggests,
requires ―the unmasking and deconstruction of imperialism, and its aspect of colonialism, in its old and
new formation alongside a search for sovereignty; for reclamation of knowledge, language, and
culture; and for the social transformation of the colonial relations between the native and the settler‖.
Decolonizing methodology questions colonial models of understanding the indigenous reality and
―challenges dominant modern methods of knowing and reinforces Indigenous identity and discourse‖
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
23
(Habashi, 2005: 771). This methodology accepts indigenous standpoints, processes, and ways of
learning and knowing (Bartlett et al., 2007; Brooks et al., 2008; Smith, 1999; Vannini and Gladue,
2008). It aims to create research which allows for indigenous self determination. As Kaomea (2004:
43) says: ―Indigenous research should be about healing and empowerment. It should involve the
return of dignity and the restoration of sovereignty, and it should ultimately bring formerly colonized
communities one step further along the path to self-determination‖.
Decolonizing methodology is guided by the values, knowledge, and research of indigenous people
(Bartlett et al. 2007; Smith, 1999; Prior, 2007). Therefore, the methodology can begin to address the
suspicion and harm that previous research has created in indigenous communities. Decolonizing
discourse assists in developing trust in the researcher and researched relationship through respect,
reciprocation, collaboration and cooperation throughout the research (Brooks et al., 2008; Prior, 2007;
Vannini and Gladue 2008).
Thus, decolonizing methodology attempts to change research practices which have damaged
indigenous communities in the past. Rather than accepting the research application of traditional
scientific methodology, from design to dissemination, decolonizing methodology deconstructs research
to reveal hidden biases (Brooks et al., 2008). This methodology strives to empower indigenous
communities and respect their culture and traditions (Brooks et al., 2008). To adopt a decolonizing
methodology to the research, the voices of indigenous researchers, those who live and work in
indigenous communities, are privileged (Bartlett et al., 2007).
Methodologically speaking, traditional positivist research has often denied the agency of indigenous
(the colonized) populations. This has led to methodological resistance among decolonizing
researchers. Denzin and colleagues (2008a: 11) say this clearly: ―Indigenists resist the positivist and
postpositivist methodologies of Western science because these formations are too frequently used to
validate colonizing knowledge about indigenous peoples‖. Instead, decolonizing researches advocate
―interpretive strategies and skills fitted to the needs, languages, and traditions of their respective
indigenous community. These strategies emphasize personal performance narratives and testimonies‖.
Thus, the use of qualitative research inquiry and more innovative methods are promoted in
decolonizing methodology (see Bartlett et al., 2007; Bishop, 2008; Brooks et al., 2008; Smith, 2008;
Vannini and Gladue, 2008).
More importantly, Bartlett and colleagues (2007: 2376) contend a community-based participatory
action research (PAR) is an important method within the framework of the decolonizing methodology.
The principle of PAR increases the likelihood that the research process and its outcomes will be more
related to and beneficial for indigenous individuals and communities. The research process and
sequences also provide empowerment among those individuals involved (Park, 2006; Reason and
Bradbury, 2006a; Brooks et al., 2008; Conrad and Campbell, 2008; Kemmis and McTaggart, 2008;
Pyet et al., 2010).
Decolonizing methodology also allows collaboration among the native researchers themselves and
with outsider researchers. Within decolonizing research, Swadener and Mutua (2008: 31) contend,
―the possibilities of forging cross-cultural partnerships with, between, and among indigenous
researchers and ‗allied others‘ and working collaboratively on common goals that reflect anticolonial
sensibilities in action are important facets of decolonization‖. Collaboration with others requires that
decolonizing researchers ―acknowledge and interrogate theories that inform our research agendas and
the ethical and moral issues embedded in them as part of making this a reality‖ (Jankie, 2004: 101-
102). More importantly, it requires that research to be carried out in ways which are sensitive and
culturally appropriate for both the research participants and the decolonising researcher.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
24
Indigenous and postcolonial (decolonising) researchers are part of a ―cacophony of subaltern voices‖
(Gandhi, 1998). Such subaltern voices, Swadener and Mutua (2008: 39) remind us, speak many
languages and communicate through oral storytelling, song, poetry, dance and rituals. These voices
make use of ―performative styles‖ which reflect a wide range of ―indigenous epistemologies that go
far beyond prevailing Western academic styles and venues for dissemination‖. Such subaltern voices
reject ―external definitions of what is of worth‖, and often mirror ―relational versus individualistic
constructions of human beings and other creatures‖. As such, decolonizing methodology supports the
use of alternative and performative styles such as storytelling, narratives, music, drama, and arts ―as
vehicles of growing resistance to Western, neoconservative, and positivist paradigms‖ (Swadener and
Mutua, 2008: 41).
Decolonising methodology, according to Swadener and Mutua (2008: 35), does not only apply to
researching ―exclusively in contexts where the geopolitical experience of colonization happened, but
indeed among groups where colonizing research approaches are deployed‖. To them, decolonising
methodology applies to non-Western, marginalized people such as those living in poverty and ethnic
minority groups. Decolonising methodology offers indigenous cultural ways of undertaking research
for other researchers (Bartlett et al., 2007). For Kaomea (2004: 43): ―We should think on these
factors as they apply to our own research, and if and when we decide to proceed, we should do so
humbly, in an effort to serve‖. This is the stance that I also advocate.
Conclusion
Cross-cultural research has become hugely important in this postmodern world where many people
have been made, and are still, marginalized and vulnerable by others in more powerful positions like
colonial researchers. In this paper, I have suggested that qualitative research is particularly
appropriate for cross-cultural projects because it allows us to find answers which are more relevant to
the research participants. I have also provided a different theoretical framework that cross-cultural
researchers may adopt in their research. They are methodologies that will allow us to see the world
through the eyes of the research participants. They are methodologies that will ensure that our
research products provide benefit to the participants instead of harming them. Performing qualitative
cross-cultural research is exciting, but it is also full of ethical and methodological challenges. This
paper will encourage readers to start thinking about methodological issues in performing cross-cultural
research. I hope that it will be useful for many of you in the field.
Note: This paper is based on a Keynote Address given at the 10th Advances in Qualitative Methods
Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 8-10 October, 2009.
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Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
30
Teachers’ and Students’ Opinions about the Interactive
Instructional Environment Designed for Bilingual Turkish
Primary School Students in Norway
Suzan Duygu Erişti
Anadolu University, Turkey
sdbedir@anadolu.edu.tr
Şerife Dilek Belet
Anadolu University, Turkey
sdbelet@anadolu.edu.tr
Abstract
Within the context of multicultural education process, bilingual students face the risk of
failure due to the problems they experience while using their mother language. One of
the groups that have similar problems is Turkish students in Norway; these students also
have many problems in learning and using their mother language, Turkish. Some of
these problems can be listed as being incompetent in comprehension and self-
expression, having limited vocabulary size, inadequate source for language learning and
having few class hours for Turkish learning (Belet, 2009). As one of the alternative
solution for all these, designing an interactive learning media can be suggested. In this
context, the present study contains two phases as designing process of interactive media
for the bilingual students‘ use of mother language and then revealing teachers and
students‘ opinions about the design process and designed interactive media. Before the
design process of interactive learning media, a need assessment study on the basis of
the teachers‘ opinions about the problems that the students experience in Turkish
learning, their expectations and characteristics was conducted. The data of the research,
which was projected, based on the qualitative research method, were collected in the
form of survey with open ended questions on need assessment study and design
evaluation process, the findings obtained were analyzed and interpreted based on the
descriptive analyses method. The results of need assessment indicated that Turkish
primary education students in Norway were active in technology use but incompetent in
comprehension and self-expression in Turkish, besides they did not have enough
vocabulary knowledge. Furthermore, it was obtained that they did not have enough
sources for language learning and use, thus they expected to use various learning CDs as
alternative solution for these problems. According to the results of needs assessment
study, some criteria for the design process were determined and then the interactive
Turkish learning media was designed. At the second phase of the study, the teachers and
students‘ opinions about the deigned interactive media were examined. Consequently, it
was observed that both the teachers and students generally had positive opinions about
interactive learning environment.
Keywords:
Interactive learning environment design; bilingual students; language
learning and teaching.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
31
Introduction
Parallel with the developments in the European Union and multicultural education process which gains
importance in international scale, bilingualism and bilingual education concepts have commenced to
play important roles in determining the national education policies, at the same time; community
language and teaching children with different mother languages have revealed as a fundamental
process (Khan, 1983). Additionally, bilingualism is one of the basic problems in education systems of
multicultural societies since bilingualism is considered as a negative factor while gaining community
language skills and children have different language experience at school and family (Luchtenberg,
2002, 49-50; Martin, 1999, 67). Furthermore, when examined the minority group students with low
academic achievement, some studies put forth that such students have limited language use, thus
they are not successful at education process (Khan, 1983).
As citied by İleri (2000) from Skutnabb-Kangas and Toukomaa‘s study (1976); not having exact
command of both languages influences thinking skill and development of intelligence in a negative
way while having competence of one of the languages does not influence thinking and intelligence
development. On the other hand, at the top level where both languages are known ingeniously,
thinking skills and intelligence are influenced positively. Likewise, one of the current controversies is
about how the use of mother language as a medium instruction enables early and rapid transition to a
second language beyond decreasing the students‘ potential skills. Moreover, teaching mother
language can be used as a mean to remove the gap between school and home, which disturbs for
educational and psychological aspects (Khan, 1983).
Turkish students are one of ethnic groups that have problems related to bilingualism at national and
regional level in Norway as one of the European countries. In 2000, out of 580.300 students at compulsory
education in Norway, 6.6% (38.600) were enrolled to the courses on minority languages. For most of
these students, medium of instruction at their schools are not their mother languages. Preliminary minority
languages in Norway are English, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Croatian, Bosnian, Albanian, Somalian,
Tamil (SSB, 2000). Although education in mother language is accepted as a right for students in Norway,
within national and regional educational policies, Norwegian teachers have various problems due to
bilingualism. In this context, referring to the findings of her study on Turkish students‘ mother language
learning in Norway, Belet (2009) suggested the inclusion of Turkish course to teaching program and
supporting Turkish teaching with various sources in order to solve the students problems in learning
Turkish, particularly comprehension and self-expressions owing to limited use of mother language within
family. Meanwhile, the researchers in literature stated that teaching mother language is an important way
to prevent Turkish students in Norway losing their own cultures. For instance Baker (2000) and Skutnabb-
Kangas‘a (2000) explained that the mother language loss is little at the early years of education and thus
they put forward that in order to hinder students alienation from their families and to develop their
thinking skills as well as community language, technology supported learning media (software for Turkish
learning etc) could be developed in addition to elective mother language courses so that teaching mother
language and its use out of class could be encouraged.
In technology supported learning environments, students are at the center of learning and their
needs, expectations and desires related to teaching process can be taken into consideration.
Technology support which aims to annihilate students‘ negative views, attitudes and reluctance about
learning can make learning more effective and thus qualifies in line with individual differences. Since
technology supported learning environments provide multidimensional transfer of learning content to
students. Thus, it can be claimed that technology-supported learning environments contribute to
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
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development of students‘ high level thinking skills and facilitate them to learn by comprehension
(Renshaw and Taylor, 2000)
Along with technology developments at learning processes and environments, many facilities such as
computer, Internet (virtual environments), interactive instructional media have emerged. These
systems contain multimedia opportunities such as graphic, sound, text; Picture and the use of these
opportunities become widespread day by day (Reeves, 2003). The similarities between learning
environment and real life are one of the important factors to embody and make information to be
learned meaningful, to enable interaction, and to increase students‘ achievement (Ringstaff & Kelley,
2002). Appropriate to such an approach, it is essential to apply systematic and realistic understanding
while designing learning environments and activities (Seels and Richey, 1994: 4-22)
Learning environments can suit to present requirements of technology with appropriate instructional
designs. These requirements can be accomplished with well-rounded team work including pedagogue,
education specialist, psychologist and designers. In comparison with traditional applications,
technology supported learning develop children‘s creativity and learning while doing (Resnick, 1998).
Thus, developing learning environment and processes within the context of technological
requirements guide students to search, observe, review and satisfy curiosity while enable to reach the
goal of learning processes by drawing their attention and synthesizing their learning in a certain
system.
In technology supported learning environments, the students with different talents and skills can learn
different from each other and individually with different learning approaches. The technology, which
provides learning environments according to student characteristics, increases learning quality and
provides permanence (Winn, 2002). Nowadays most of the students at learning processes have
viewpoints based on immediate satisfaction, ever-changing and images. Thus, the learning
environments are expected to have interesting content and dynamic structure, open to development
and satisfy their expectations (Riley and Prentice, 1999).
Interactive learning facility is one of the commonly used technology facilities in learning processes.
Interactive learning media can be classified in terms of functions as computer based and computer
supported learning environments, Internet based and Internet supported learning environments,
interactive environments, simulation and virtual reality environments. General properties of these
environments are to contain multimedia based learning applications and activities. On the other hand,
the contents of interactive learning media differ in terms of the intended use. These environments can
be listed as for learning purpose, repetition purpose, animation-simulation purpose, game purpose.
Interactive learning media can influence learning processes positively as long as they are associated
with learning process and content effectively.
Interactive CD‘s as interactive learning media can appeal to different senses, enable to transfer
abstract information to real situations, provide opportunities to students to study on their own pace,
increase students‘ motivation for learning activities, make learning fun and interesting, enable active
participation to learning process, support information transfer with multimedia facilities such as
graphic, picture, video/sound/animation (Wilson, 1993). In parallel with all these properties, when
learning environments designed in interactive learning environments are associated with the
characteristics and cultural properties of the target population, it is considered that in line with basic
properties such as individualizing learning, increasing learning quality, enabling learning permanence,
making learning environments attractive; such environments can be an alternative way for the
solution of problems that bilingual Turkish primary education students abroad experience while
learning their mother language, Turkish.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
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Aim of the Study
The aim of the study was to determine teachers‘ and students‘ opinions about properties and design
of the interactive instructional media designed for bilingual Turkish primary education students. On
this purpose, the following research questions were addressed:
1. What are the teachers‘ opinions about the properties of interactive learning media to be designed
to teach mother language to bilingual Turkish primary education students?
2. What are the teachers‘ and students‘ opinions about
‗Interactive learning media with Turkish
learning content‘
which was designed to teach mother language to bilingual Turkish primary
education students?
Method
The research model of the study, which was conducted through qualitative research design and
demographics of the participants, data gathering instruments and data analysis procedures were
explained in the following:
Research Model
This study, which aimed to determine the properties of
‗Interactive CD with content of Turkish
learning‘
designed to teach mother language to bilingual Turkish primary education students and the
teachers‘ and students‘ opinions about these CDs, was designed with survey method. In order to
reflect students‘ and teachers‘ opinions effectively, descriptive analysis was realized and direct
quotations are made by the researchers (Miles and Humerman, 1994; Yıldırım and Şimşek, 2005).
Participants
In this study, out of purposeful sampling methods, critical incident sampling was used to select the
participants. As Şimşek and Yıldırm (2005) citied from Patton, the most important indicator addressing
to a critical incident or incidents is whether there is a judgment or not as ―if it happens here, it will
absolutely happen at similar situations‖ or another indicator ―if this group faces a certain problem,
other all groups will have this problem‖. Furthermore, critical incident samplings will be more useful if
the researcher does not have enough sources to study on certain number of cases. In this context,
critical incident sampling is preferred considering that the students who live abroad and have difficulty
in learning their mother language but have different characteristics can use the CD effectively in case
the CD satisfy their requirements and contribute to mother language learning as Belet (2009)
suggested in her study on interactive instructional CD for bilingual Turkish primary students‘ mother
language learning referring her finding that Turkish students who lived in Norway after immigration in
a multicultural environment had comprehension and self-expression problems in Turkish.
In this sense, the participants of the study were 11 teachers and 40 students attending to 2nd, 3rd,
4th, 5th grade (8 second grade students, 11 third grade students, 15 fourth grade students and 6 fifth
grade students) at Fjell Multicultural Primary School in Drammen, Norway.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
34
Data Collection Procedure
In line with the aim of the study, the data collection procedure was carried out at two phases. At the
first phase, the teachers‘ opinions about the properties of Interactive instructional CD, which were
suggested by teachers and students in Belet‘s (2009) study as a solution for the students‘ problems in
comprehension and self-expression in Turkish due to limited vocabulary and ineffective use of mother
language, were examined through open-ended questions at ‗Survey on Opinions about Properties of
Interactive Instructional CD‘. During the need assessment, it was a critical to ask teachers open-ended
questions to understand key points about students‘ comprehension and self-expression problems
better. In this regard, researchers agreed that open-ended questions would work better than
structured simple yes-no questions.
Then, Interactive Instructional CD was prepared in line with these opinions and related studies. At the
second phase of the study, the students and teachers‘ opinions about this designed CD were
investigated through open and close-ended questions at ―Survey on Teachers‘ Opinion about
Interactive Instructional CD‖, ―Survey on Students‘ Opinion about Interactive Instructional CD‖. The
properties of data gathering instruments and CD design procedure were explained in detail in the
following:
Survey on Opinions about the Design Properties of Interactive Instructional CD:
This survey contains 5
open-ended questions. Respectively, the first question is regarding the problems teacher mainly
experience in the class while teaching Turkish, the second question is about teachers and students‘
expectations from interactive instructional CD, besides, the third question is about the design
components, the fourth question is related to the use of technology. On the other hand, the last
question is asked to describe students‘ in-class performance, properties of mother language use within
their age range, their developmental properties, interests, competence and social approaches.
The survey questions are as follows:
What do you say about the problems mainly experienced in the class while teaching Turkish?
What do you say about your expectations from interactive instructional CD?
What do you say about the design components you wish to be included on interactive CD
(images, colours, typography, text contents, sounds and etc.)?
What do you say about the students‘ use of technology and technology competency?
What do you say about the students‘ in-class performance, properties of mother language use
within their age range, their developmental properties, interests, competence and social
approaches?
The scope and intelligibility of the items in the instrument were checked by two experts in field of
Turkish teaching and two experts in the field of learning environment design. (Two assistant
professors experienced in the domain of education, particularly in instructional design; two assistant
professor experienced in researches and practices on language education and literacy in children).
Then, according to field experts‘ opinions, some parts were changed and sent to the teachers via e-
mail. The surveys were recollected within 15 days.
Design Process of Interactive Instructional CD:
In this process, task analysis related to design
components to be used in CD were determined as a result of need assessment, in line with the
researchers‘ studying fields. In that sense, text samples for listening and reading practices, text
comprehension activities, and vocabulary game for developing vocabulary knowledge, speaking and
writing activities for development of self- expressions were then prepared to involve in CD which were
developed in line with students‘ needs. At this point, considering the function of language for culture
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
35
transfer, it was paid attention to involve students‘ own ethnical cultural values, traditions, life styles
and ancestral heroes since it has been accepted that in language teaching at primary education,
qualities of culture, value system, viewpoints, expectations and communication styles that students
experience play important role. Furthermore, if language teaching gets associated with cultural
functionality, it becomes inevitable to create an interactive learning process enjoying students.
Cultural qualities within language and social life and the association of thinking systems influence
language teaching and interaction positively, hence the components of this interaction process
constitute cultural qualities, conceptual competence, readiness level and knowledge, process strategy
(Goodman, 1971; Coady, 1979). In this context, for the designed CD, the texts that emphasized the
properties of Turkish culture such as ―Karagöz and Hacivat‖, ―Bayramlarimiz‖ were included,
additionally, and some samples from world literature (e.g. La fonteine fables) that could draw
students‘ attention were also involved in the content of CD. After deciding on how content and
activities would be presented in CD, two experts, one of whom worked with bilingual Turkish primary
education abroad, students while the other worked with Turkish primary education students in Turkey,
were asked to revise CD and according to their opinions, some related changes were made. Then, the
researchers decided on how the selected texts and activities would reflect to design process.
Thereupon, the design process of visual and functional qualities of CD were carried out. In this design
process, it was decided which visuals, animations and vocalizations would be used for the selected
texts, for these ―Adobe Photoshop CS 2, Adobe Flash CS 2, Gold Wave and All Sound Recorder
programs were used.
After checking over the final version in terms of content and design component for the last time, the
designed interactive instructional CD were applied to the participants in Fjell Multicultural Primary
School in Drammen, Norway on 17 May 2008. In data collection procedure, CD content which were
prepared for all participants were installed on laptops. After that, the students were asked to examine
CD (1st session-1 hour) and then they were asked to use it (2nd session 2 hours) with supervision
and cooperation of the researchers. Figure 1 depicts a screenshot of the interactive instructional CD.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
36
Figure 1. Interactive Instructional CD screenshot
Survey of Students‘ Opinions about Interactive Instructional CD:
The survey contains totally 10 items;
9 closed-ended and 1 one open-ended items. First seven items are related to design components and
interactive environment design, while 8th item is for texts with culture theme in CD, and 9th close-
ended item is about the effectiveness of interactive game activity in CD. On the other hand, in 10th
open-ended items, participants are asked to evaluate the interactive environment design and write
about their extra expectations. After scope and intelligibility of these items were checked by four
experts, the final version of the survey was conducted on 17th May 2008.
Survey of Teachers‘ Opinions about Interactive Instructional CD:
Teacherssurvey consists of 7 items;
while 1st item is about learning content, 2.3.4.5th items are about the effectiveness of design
components, 6th items is regarding the association of scenarios used in CD with culture, lastly 7th item is
for evaluation of vocalization in terms of cultural and instructional aspects. The final version revised again
by four experts was given to the participants on the same date, 17th May 2008.
Data Analysis and Interpretation
Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the quantitative data of the study. After enumerated and scored
students and teachers‘ surveys, the obtained data was analyzed through SPSS package program; the
obtained findings were presented as frequency and percentages.
On the other hand, the collected qualitative data was analyzed through descriptive analysis technique. In
this context, the qualitative data which was collected at two phases were also analyzed at two steps:
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
37
Firstly, a framework on the basis of conceptual and theoretical background of the study was constructed in
order to define and arrange themes.
Then, data was revised, selected and arranged under these themes. By describing data and
supporting them with quotations, the findings were presented. At this stage, in order to explain, relate
and make sense of the findings, the cause effect relation between findings were put forth and the
obtained findings were compared with the findings of other studies so that it was aimed to have more
qualified interpretations (Yıldırım and Şimşek, 2005). In this sense, two survey forms for teachers‘ and
students‘ opinions were developed and descriptive index and research comment section were included
in these forms. For the reliability of the study, one field expert revised the forms and determined the
items which had consensus and dissensus. Then, using Miles & Humerman‘s (1994:64) Formula, the
reliability of the study was ensured as 0.85. The validity study was based on the content validation of
2 field experts (one assistant professors experienced in educational sciences and one assistant
professor experienced on language education and literacy) conducted over data‘s gathered from
survey forms.
Findings and Interpretations
The findings of the study were gathered and presented under two themes respectively as ―Teachers‘
Opinions about Design Properties of Interactive Instructional environment and their Reflections to
Design Process‖ according to the findings collected before design process, and ―Teacher and Students‘
Opinions about Interactive Instructional Learning Environment Designon the basis of the findings
collected after design process.
Teachers’ Opinions about Design Properties of Interactive Learning Environment and the
Reflections of Teachers’ Opinions to Design Process
Primarily, the teachers were asked to explain the problems the students experience regarding Turkish
teaching and learning. As a result, most of the teachers emphasized the theme of
―not having enough
Turkish sources‖
. For instance, one of the teachers, S1 stated that ―
there is not enough source when
we want to teach the same subject that we have taught in Norwegian, in Turkish class‖
In this regard,
S2 added that
―it is big shortcoming not to have reading and working books, CDs that students could
use‖.
Nine of the teachers complained that
we could not benefit from technology since we do not
have technological sources‖.
On the other hand, some of the teachers emphasized the theme of
―not
having enough class hours‖.
In this regard, one of the teachers, S11 reported that
―…our most
important problem is that we do not have enough class hours‖.
Furthermore,
―having inadequate
vocabulary knowledge‖
was revealed as another problem based on the teachers‘ opinions in the need
assessment in the study. Regarding this, the teacher S4 explained that
―pronunciation makes
vocabulary teaching difficult‖,
besides another teacher S6 expressed that
the most important problem
is to have little vocabulary knowledge‖.
Additionally, the teacher S7 stated that
―for students, it is
difficult to learn and make sentence with the newly heard word‖.
Thus, the main themes revealed within the context of the teachers‘ opinions about the problems they
experienced, namely; their needs for technology supported sources, limited class hours and problems
related to students‘ vocabulary knowledge were taken into consideration while designing interactive
instructional CD. In this sense, the suggestions for the solution of the problems were offered upon a
sample learning activity and modules. Moreover, it was paid attention to design CD as repeatable and
appropriate to students‘ pace. Besides, for the problem of students‘ inadequate vocabulary
knowledge, vocabulary games were designed in CD.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
38
On the other hand, regarding the teachers‘ opinions about the students‘ qualities, within the context
of
―Students‘ competence of technology use‖
and
―Reasons of students‘ problem in language use‖
themes; it could be claimed that the students could use computer well, they were inclined to use
technology, all of the students had laptops and they were interested in computer games and activities.
In this respect, related to
―Students‘ competence of technology use‖,
the teacher S1 explained that
―Most of the students are very successful at computer use; they are some students who are better
than teachers (although they just attend to 3rd year)‖.
Moreover, the teacher S6 stated that
―the
students are good at using computer and they are enthusiastic about participating to various
computer supported activities
Furthermore, the teacher S4 emphasized that
―I realized that the students concentrate at the activities
with CD very well‖.
On the other hand for the theme of
―Reasons of students‘ problem in language
use‖,
most of the teachers put forth the reasons as being bilingual and having inadequate competence
in both languages. For instance, the teacher S3 underlined that
―Due to bilingualism, they do not
know them adequately, they get confused between them‖,
the teacher S7 described the student
profile as
―students who have inadequate Turkish language knowledge and need to improve it‖.
Regarding this, the teacher S8 added
―They do not have enough Turkish, they have limited vocabulary
knowledge and no reading habit, their knowledge and skills are below the average‖.
The teacher S11
emphasized that
―It should be take into account that children grow up in an environment which is
very different from Turkey and they do not have very rich vocabulary knowledge‖
Concerning previously identified themes such as,
―technology use competency of students‖
and
sources of problems that students faced in language use‖
which were used to define the target
population, it was found that technology use competencies of the students were very high and they
had serious problems in language use. The environment was designed concerning the findings that
were merged from the themes. For instance, the learning Turkish oriented interactive environment
was developed as simple as possible with reference to the observed bilingualism problems. Moreover,
concerning high-level technology use competencies of the students, the environment enriched with
visuals in order to make it more attractive and motivating.
With reference to the expectations of the teachers about the interactive environment design, various
expectations were gathered within the frame of following themes, which are,
the content should
cover expressions that were proper to the target population, ―the content should be amenable to the
level of the students‖
and
―the content should be applicable for different technology supported
environments.
Concerning ―
the content should cover expressions that were proper to the target
population‖
theme, one of the teachers (S6) expressed that the content of interactive Turkish learning
environment might cover
reading comprehension activities, vocabulary enriching activities,
vocabulary pronunciation activities, fill in the blank activities,
and
activities related to idiom
definitions.
Another teacher (S2) stated,
―There should be a plenty of examples in the CD and they
should be prepared in the form of games‖
. Similarly, S10 expressed that
―game oriented and
motivating CDs or CDs teaching the concepts might be prepared‖.
The teachers also expressed their
ideas related to theme which was
―the content should be amenable to the level of the students.‖
For
instance, S11 stated,
the content should be proper to their experiences, the concepts should be
unsophisticated, and there should be short sentences‖.
In terms of the levels and profiles of the
students, one of the teachers (S2) stated
―... the content should be suitable for all ages and the topics
of the year. We should assume the fourth graders in Turkey as second graders here.‖
Similarly, one of
the teachers (S8) stated,
―it should cover applied Turkish teaching methods, and should have rich and
multileveled activities that serve for all age groups.
‖ In relation to the theme, which was
the content
should be applicable for different technology supported environments
, one of the teachers (S2)
expressed that
―Since we use smart boards, the content should be suitable for such technologies. For
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
39
instance, students could fill in the blanks through drag and drop activities when they come to the
board‖.
The content and types of the activities that could take place in the interactive environment were also
emerged while focusing on the identification of the expectations of the teachers related to the
environment. The activities that were expected to take place in the content of the interactive learning
environment were primarily related to reading and reading comprehension, however, reading, reading
comprehension, enriching the vocabulary knowledge, fill in the blanks in the sentences, texts and
tales, games, abridged subjects for younger learners, and using the media in the different technology
supported environments were also outstand among other expected activities in the content of the
interactive environment. Regarding the expectations of the teachers, the activities were organized and
designed so as to cover expectations of different age groups. In this respect, the content of the
environment were design so as to cover fill in the blanks, vocabulary games, question-answer type
activities. Moreover, the interactive learning environment was designed as suitable for different
technology based environments and as suitable for its out-of-school use by the students. Concerning
the frame of the module that was shaped through activities, various texts were also inserted onto the
learning environment. In the selection of the texts, the culture and background knowledge of the
students (Karagöz and Hacivat, Feast Excitement) and simplified examples of classic literature (The
Lion and The Mouse) were used as reading texts. While designing the learning environment, the
vocabulary games were organized as attractive, motivating and as vocabulary repertoire enriching
activities.
During the process of identification of the quality of the learning environment, the teachers expressed
various opinions within the context of previously identified main themes. For instance, with respect to
the theme, which was ―
the visual characteristics should be suitable for the target population,
while
the
teacher (S2) expressed
it should be neither too simple nor too complicated
, teacher (S7) stated,
―it
should be colourful and attractive, and there should be effective and nice pictures‖.
Most of the
teachers also highlighted that; there should be plenty of pictures, tales and examples. Concerning the
theme that
the audio characteristics of the content should be suitable for the target population,
S2
stated, ―The
speed of the audio of the stories should be slower, same as for the tales
…‖ and teacher
S3 stated,
There should be oral narrating.
While teacher S6 stated,
―sentences should be heard,
stress should be heard, a special attention should be given on pronunciation of the words‖
teacher
S10 expressed that
―the sounds should be uttered with different intonation‖
. In terms of suitability of
written texts, while teacher S8 expressed that ―
stories, jokes, and sample texts from newspaper might
be used …‖
the teacher S10 declared that ―
the language should be legible and fluent‖.
With respect to
the theme, which was
the visual characteristics should be suitable for the target population;
teacher
S2 stated,
the transitions should be slow‖
while
teacher S6 highlighted that
―there might be some
animations‖
. Teacher S8 stated,
―Educational cartoons might be used‖
, whereas teacher S10 stated,
they should attract the children‘s interests‖
.
Concerning the characteristics of the interactive environment, which was based on the opinions of the
participating teachers, the outstanding characteristics of the content should include plenty of visuals,
audio narrations, animations in relation with tales, stories and jokes, and fluent and plain sound
recordings. With the purpose of fulfilling the above-mentioned expectations of the teachers, two of
the texts were selected as animated texts and the other texts were illustrated with pictures while
designing the learning environment. Moreover, the visuals and motion videos were supported with
high quality sound recordings in order to provide the fluency.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
40
The Opinions of Teachers and Students Related to the Design of the Interactive Learning
Environment.
The opinions of teachers and students related to the design of the interactive Turkish learning
environment were grouped under two sub-themes, which were
teachers‘
opinions related to design‖
and
―students‘ opinions related to design‖
Teachers’ Opinions Related to Design
With reference to the use of interactive learning environment in the learning processes, the teachers
of Turkish students who enrolled in Fjell Multicultural Primary School were asked to evaluate and
express their opinions related to the use of the interactive media. Eleven teachers were asked to
evaluate the design of the interactive media along with the characteristics that were identified by the
researchers as
―suitability of the content to the target population‖, ―suitability of the design properties
of the media‖, ―suitability of the visuals, sounds and animations‖,
and
―suitability of the design
scenario‖.
Concerning the obtained data on the subject of
―suitability of the content to the target
population‖
theme, it was observed that a significant number of the teachers expressed that
―the
design of the interactive media is suitable for the target population‖
. For instance, teacher S11 stated,
―this media is suitable to the status of the students here and I believe that we can use it effectively‖.
Similarly, teacher S6 expressed that
I think, the CD that you‘ve prepared is suitable to the target
population …‖
Another theme that emerged from the opinions of the teachers related to the suitability
of the media to the target population was
―the design of the interactive media is highly effective and
attractive‖.
For instance, teacher S3 expressed that
the design is effective, attractive and joyful for
the students. Being audio is also beneficial. Including activities is informative and I think CD is
multidimensional. It is motivating for the students. It is also thought provoking. It breaks the
gloominess of the courses and a multi dimensional and constructive resource‖
. Another theme that
emerged from the opinions of the teachers was ―
the suitability of the interactive media to the
language use of the students‖
. For instance, teacher S4 opined,
―it is suitable to the language use of
the students‖
. With reference to the content characteristics of the interactive media, teachers stated
various opinions such as, it could be enriched by including various activities, it could be used at home
as well, and more vocabulary games should be included to its content. The most noticeable
characteristics of the interactive media, which was developed for the use of primary school level
students is that, the interactive media meets the expectations of the students. In this respect, the
needs assessment study that was held with teachers is used effectively with regard to the
expectations of the students as well as teachers who are closely acquainted with the students. Since
the teachers, who evaluated the design of the interactive media, mentioned some of the
characteristics of the design as, effective, multidimensional, motivating, thought provoking, suitable
for language use, and meets the expectations indicated that the developed media can fulfill its
purpose of design process.
The teachers, who were asked to express their opinions related to the use of design properties of the
interactive media, commonly believed that colours, typographic elements, and composition of the
media are suitable. With respect to theme that was
suitability of the design properties of the design,
teacher S3 expressed that
―the use of colours is spectacular and this promotes ongoing motivation.
The use of colour is well balanced, therefore, it is neither complicated nor eye straining. It is exiting
for the students, the writings are not irksome, comprehensible and easily useable by students;
compositions are legible and thought provoking…‖
Likewise, teacher S11 said,
―the colours of the
visuals in the media which was prepared for the first to fourth grades are very important
.
There
should be a harmony between the text and object, the legibility of the text and the length of the text
is just suitable for the students here‖.
The teachers who participated to the analysis study mostly
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
41
highlighted that Turkish speaking and writing skills of the student in Fjell Multicultural Primary School
were not similar to the students in Turkey, hence, the design characteristics of the interactive media
were designed as motivating the perceptions of students, easily perceptible, plain and effective while
designing the interactive media. Concerning the opinions of the teachers, it can be claimed that the
design characteristics of the media might motivate the perception of students.
The teachers expressed positive opinions related to the
suitability of the visuals, sounds and
animations in the design of the media.
For instance, teacher S3 declared, ―…
it overlaps with texts,
entertaining for the students, easy for students‘ use and they integrated very well
. Teacher S7 stated,
―Motion properties are attractive enough for the children‖
, similarly, teacher S10 stated,
―… perfect,
display is very important, visual elements are well integrated with the texts‖.
Teachers also expressed
that the interactive media should be enriched with music.
Teachers also expressed highly positive opinions related to the
―suitability of the design scenario‖
of
the media. One of teachers S1 stated,
Scenario is in tune with the level of the children and also
having a lingual scenario is important in teaching Turkish‖,
another teacher S3 stated, it is important
in terms of cultural aspect and it is appropriate. Similarly, another teacher S7 expressed, ―
the
scenarios used in the media are compatible with the culture of the children‖.
The teachers‘ appreciating the scenarios as compatible with the multicultural background of the
students is highly important. Since the target users are bilingual and bicultural students, supporting
the content with both languages and cultures through familiar visual symbols, verbal expressions, and
written texts, that is, associating the content with both languages and cultures might be very
effective. Thus, providing such content might offer a learning process, which enables students to
associate the content of the media with their own culture as well as with the culture in which they
live.
Students’ Opinions Related to the Design
The data, which were obtained through closed ended questions, that related to the opinions of the
participants about the design were illustrated in Table 1 as frequencies and percentages, whereas, the
data which were obtained through open ended questions related to the opinions of the participants
about the design were presented with direct quotations.
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
42
Table 1. Students‘ Opinions Related to the Interactive Learning Environment
Opinions related to the environments/media
f
%
The use of multimedia attracted my attention
32
80
The motion videos, audios, visuals and typographic elements in the content made
the learning more enjoyable.
27
68
The motion videos, audios, visuals and typographic elements in the content
attracted my attention.
24
60
The motion videos, audios, visuals and typographic elements in the content
assisted me to learn the subjects better.
26
65
The design of interactive media accommodated me an enjoyable learning
25
63
Being in accordance with the pace and possibility of reviewing the subjects
contributed to my learning
25
63
I am not distracted throughout the learning process
16
40
Seeing samples of my own culture in the learning content attracted my attention
24
60
Presentation of the learning content with games attracted my attention
25
63
A great deal of the students expressed that using multimedia facilities (e.g. motion videos, visuals,
audios, game interactivities, etc) attracted attention and eased their understanding of the subjects.
Similarly, a great deal of students expressed that they found the design of the interactive media as
enjoyable when it was considered as a whole and they stated that instructions as well as the quality of
pace contributed to their learning. Students highlighted that seeing examples of their own culture in
the learning content and use of games in the presentation of the learning content attracted their
attention. With reference to the opinions of the students, it was found that only a certain part of the
students expressed that they are not distracted; possible reason of the expression of such an opinion
might be based on the problems in the physical conditions in the practice setting. However, it ca n be
claimed that, most of the students generally found the media as effective.
Concerning the findings of the data obtained from the open-ended question, it can be claimed that a
great deal of students (17 students) expressed positive opinions related to the interactive CD. The
most explicit theme emerged from the study is that
―the media is enjoyable and effective‖.
A plenty
of students highlighted that the presence of games and animations in the content of interactive
instructional CD is effective and they affirmed that they liked most the animated characters associated
with Karagöz, Hacivat and Bayram heyacanı which were the texts that were presented in the content.
For instance, one of the students E37 opined,
―Hacivat was very funny, the lion was slightly pretty,
the souvenir story was very nice‖.
Similarly most of the students declared their opinions related to the design of the interactive media
under a main theme that
―the effectiveness of the games in the design of interactive media‖
. The
students (11 students) who acknowledged that they liked games also expressed that they need more
games. For instance, while student 19 stated,
―it would be much better if there are more games‖
student E4 said,
―There should be a little bit more time for the games‖
. Similarly, expressing
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
43
―everything was good, however, it would be much better if there are more questions in the games‖,
the student E27 highlighted the importance of the game content.
Some of the students opined that the design of the interactive media should give place for different
multimedia facilities such as films, songs and videos along with the games. Regarding the opinions
related to the theme that
the need of using different multimedia facilities,
student E29 stated
―… it
would be better if there were videos‖
whereas student E8 stated,
I expected to see the videos of
each tale‖
. It was observed that students enjoyed the interactive media in general and one of the
most remarkable aspects is that students mostly liked the animated characters, which were associated
with their own culture. It could be regarded that using attention-getting animated characters that
associate the culture of the students with the culture that they live in served the purpose of using
culturally familiar characters in the interactive media. Similarly, regarding the properties of their ages
and based on the opinions of the students it was found that students need interesting vocabulary
games while learning Turkish through interactive media. The game based learning environments in
primary education level are very effective in terms of motivating students and in terms of directing
students into the learning environment.
One of the students E33, highlighting the need of an interactive media expressed that
―… it was very
good; I want a CD which is suitable with our subjects‖.
Among the students (3 students) who
declared their opinions related to the design of interactive media within the theme of
―the contribution
of interactive media to the learning process‖
the student E19 stated,
―the CD was good and helped me
to learn many things‖
. Another important finding is that the interactive media was found as a
supplementary reference for learning. The students‘ expressing their opinions on this context is also a
sign of the effectiveness of the interactive media.
Results and Discussion
In the world of global and multicultural education, bilingualism and bilingual education as well as
mother language education of the children who live in another language environment become a very
important and problematic concept. Since, parents who live in another language environment mostly
give importance to the education of their children‘s second languages as they assume that the
education of the mother language could be achieved naturally in their family or in their migrant
environments (Khan, 1983). What is more, children in such migrant environments have difficulty in
using their mother language. Along with these facts, the findings of the studies also revealed that
bilingual students might encounter the risk of failures. One of such groups who experience such
problems is the Turkish students who live in Norway (Taguma at.al., 2009). However, the related
literature highlights that the mother language education contribute to participation to the learning
environments, creating a relative equity in the education of multicultural students, gaining higher
learning outputs, reducing repetitions in the grade levels, reducing dropout rates of the students,
producing socio-culturally beneficial products both for individuals and the multicultural societies, a
sustainable impact on reducing the educational costs and developing the critical thinking processes of
the children (World Bank Institute, 2005)
The bilingual Turkish students who live in Norway come across with various problems in using and
learning their mother language, Turkish. Some of their problems are comprehension problems, lack of
self-expression skills, lack of a rich vocabulary knowledge, lack of sources for learning their mother
tongue and lack of Turkish courses in their learning curriculums (Belet, 2009). It is considered that
one of the alternative solutions for their problems is designing an interactive learning environment.
Since, the interactive learning environments provide an important contribution to the education of the
individuals through enabling the students find creative solutions for the problems they faced instead
of getting the information as passive learners (Anglin, 1995).
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
44
The joint points of the conceptual definitions of the education are self-reformation and self-
development of individuals, learning through technology and authentic materials and developing a
learning motivation. The fundamental relation between teacher and students is changing. The
technology endows the students with the control of self- learning. The new technologies enable
students to reach new information easily and this process can be controlled by the teachers at the
same time (Rakes, Flowers and Cakes, 1999).
The technology supported learning environments provide various ways and opportunities for students
to learn and reach the information; hence, it presents a great distinction from the traditional practices
(McCorduck, 1994, p. 255). The role of visual and audial media in the educational prac tices is beyond
the question (Bolter, 1996, p. 261). One of the effectual practices of the technology supported
learning environments is their interactive design, which contributes the learning process of the
students positively.
The findings of the needs analysis study, which was held to identify the needs and current properties
of the participants prior to the design of the interactive learning media revealed that the Turkish
primary school students in Norway are keen on using technology and enthusiastic to use various
interactive CDs as an alternative learning tool, however, they have insufficiency in comprehension of
Turkish and self-expression skills, they have inadequate vocabulary repertoire and they don‘t have
sufficient sources for learning and using their mother tongue. Additionally, the preliminary findings
revealed that participants expected to see culturally familiar elements and visuals in the content of the
designed material.
Butler-Pascoe and Wiburg (2003) declared that the most important aspects of the technology and
language learning relation are providing an interactive relation, providing activities, which enable
students to express themselves and attain the real qualities of the target population. In fact, Butler-
Pascoe (1997) highlighted that the language reflects the culture of individual who speaks that
language and provides the learners‘ own culture to the learners of the language. That is, it can be
claimed that the more the interactive media designs provide a content with culturally familiar identities
and instruments related to the perceptions of learners, the more interactive relation between students
and the interactive media design is occur. Along with these viewpoints, the quality of the inherited
culture, ethos, viewpoints, expectations and communication styles of the students is also very
important in language learning in the primary school level. The learning of language is related to the
quality of the inherited culture, it can be enriched by cultural motives and if it is presented with
cultural functionality, it creates a more effective learning process that includes the participation of the
students. The association of the quality of the inherited culture and the thought system in relation to
communal manner of life affect the language learning process positively, and the elements of such
interactive relation process include quality of the culture, conceptual competence, and readiness level
and knowledge of process strategy (Coady, 1979; Meichenbaum and Goodman, 1971).
When the opinions of the teachers and students about the interactive media taken into consideration,
it is observed that participants in both groups have positive attitudes in general. The findings also
revealed that both teachers and students appraised positively the audios in the visual facilities,
possibility of repetition of the activities and presenting culturally related content of the media design.
In this respect, it can be claimed that if the design process of instructional environment planned
through the expectations, needs and the social status of the students, the interactive visual media
supports an effective learning competency, (Nunan, 1999).
Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2010, 1(1)
45
The content of the interactive media which was designed within the framework of the current study
includes four different main activities, such as; learning through texts that were selected with
reference to the expectations and characteristics of the students; learning through performing
educational animations and entertaining interactions; and learning through pictures, graphs and other
visuals. The purpose of including various learning facilities (activities) is to strength the interpretation
and perception skills of the students as well as introducing the students a multi dimensional language
learning in connection with what they have learned. What is more, regarding the fact that the
students might have varying learning strategies, various learning practices and narration techniques
were also included into the content. The content was also enriched by attractive vocabulary games
related to learning of Turkish. The students‘ positive attitudes towards the presence of different
learning activities (motion videos, visuals and audios, etc.) and the design of the games can be
regarded as positive outcomes and solutions of the problems identified during the needs analysis
study.
The participants‘ positive attitudes towards the interactive learning environment seem to support the
similar findings in the literature (Clement, 1981; Reeves and Reeves, 1997; Renkl and Atkinson, 2002;
Rowland, 1995; Sanders and Morrison-Shetlar, 2001; UNESCO, 2002). The positive reflections of
technology use in language learning can be summarized as; learning through experience, providing a
learning space, providing motivation, increasing the learner achievement, providing authentic learning
environments for the learners, providing intensive and effective interaction, providing individualized
learning, providing multi dimensional information sources and making students gain a global
viewpoint. The findings of the present study also supports Lee (2000) who stated that technology
supported environments provide an individualized learning environment that responds the
expectations of the inherited culture of the students who lives in a multidimensional culture that cause
a dilemma.
As a conclusion, it can be claimed that all of the participants expressed positive attitudes towards the
interactive learning environment, which was designed to solve the Turkish learning problems of
multicultural and bilingual Turkish students who live in Norway, and which was designed with
reference to the characteristics of the design that was mentioned in the related literature.
Particularly, it can be claimed that the design of the interactive media can be more attractive if its
content associates with the culturally familiar facilities that exist in both culture. The technological
expectations of the learners such as using motion videos, audios, visuals and games in the content
engage student attention to the learning process besides cultural expectations of the students.
Concerning the findings of the present study, following suggestions can be offered; in order to assess
the effectiveness of the interactive learning environment that was designed to teach Turkish for
bilingual students, the accomplishments of the learners in using and learning their mother tongue can
be examined before and after the use of interactive CD. Some further developments can be made for
the interactive CD so as to use as a long-term learning instrument. What is more, the present study
can be replicated with different sample groups and with different data gathering instruments.
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