Diverse voices, dialogue and intercultural learning in a second language classroom
In this chapter we adopt a sociocultural theoretical framework to theorize classroom learning as the process of appropriating various sociocultural voices, and competence as the capacity to adopt voices that are culturally privileged, that is, those voices that have audibility and status within specific cultural contexts. Voice provides a methodological tool that is sensitive to the polyphonic nature of classroom talk. With this tool we examine how participants negotiated and re-mediated identities through their deployment of cultural and linguistic resources. Key episodes of classroom talk are analyzed to illustrate the nuances of participants’ ventriloquation of diverse voices and shifting strategic identities, reflecting changing local, national and global material conditions. The site of our investigation is a second language classroom in a primary (elementary) school setting in Northern Australia, where we have recorded the diverse voices that students and the teacher take up during their ideological becoming. In this second language (Indonesian) classroom students adopt subtle ways of ventriloquating as they re-voice teacher utterances. For example, there are numerous episodes where students parodied the teacher to create a sense of distance between themselves and the teacher — rejecting the identity of “Indonesian speaker” even as they mastered a rudimentary vocabulary. The teacher either ignored or did not recognize the implied insults in the students’ parodying of his voice, so such episodes often degenerated into playground burlesque where the students were able to make fun of the teacher as if he were a low-status peer, rather than an authoritative adult. We argue that these classroom episodes of mimicry, parody and burlesque must be interpreted in relation to broader conflicts beyond the school boundary regarding cultural diversity and national identity.
Dialogic learning: shifting perspectives to learning, instruction, and teaching
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