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Date(s) - Jun 21, 2018 - Jun 22, 2018

Location
Università di Bologna

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Working Group 3: Social Networks and Integration in Residence Abroad

‘Studies of socialisation in the context of transnational mobility and migration’

21-22 June 2018, Bologna

 

Local organisers: Ana Beaven and Claudia Borghetti

 

While student migrants have been the main focus of existing work on study abroad (SA) outcomes, in particular with a view to plotting linguistic outcomes through immersion, we turn our attention to language learning affordances against the backdrop of international mobility/migration and transnational social spaces, thereby capturing SA practices in a dynamic way, focusing on different aspects of the mobility/migration experience. Although individual researchers may define groups of learners according to particular external characteristics or measures (target language or languages, age, time spent abroad, etc.) a strong case is made, nonetheless, for a broad approach: SA learners are not referred to as such, but are rather considered as people who experience mobility and/or migration – be it physical or virtual – and who use language(s) as a result of that mobility.

Thus by stepping back from the typical SA reification of (student) language users as (student) language learners, we are concerned more with patterns of movement of language users and types of practices, looking at many types of mobility, including virtual, and also long-stay mobility or migration. If we take language learning in its broadest sense, considering different types of learner and different contexts of stay or study abroad, it is hoped that a more complete yardstick for studying language immersion and social networking while abroad can be obtained as varied (or simply different) patterns of integration and experience serve to enhance current understanding of what it means to live and learn abroad: different types of input and interactions, different discourses (motivations, integration, uses of languages, etc.).

 


 

Programme

 

Thursday 21 June

08:30-09:00 – Arrival Palazzina della Viola

09:00-09:15 – Welcome by the organisers

09:15-10:15 – Keynote: Maurizio Ambrosini: [awaiting title]

10:15-10:45 – Paper presentations:

  • The side effects of transnationalism: The case of Syrian students in Turkey (Emre Guvendir)

10:45-11:15 – Coffee

11:15-12:45 – Paper presentations:

  • To Erasmus or not to Erasmus? Factors that influence one’s decision to participate in a stay abroad programme (Katarzyna Ożańska-Ponikwia & Angelica Carlet)
  • Duration of study abroad and interaction with a diverse range of learning spaces (Anne Marie Devlin)
  • Thresholds to interaction and adaptation during study abroad (Clare Wright)

12:45-14:30 – Lunch

14:30-15:30 – Paper presentations:

  • The role of learner status in the use of second language pragmatic markers (Annarita Magliacane)
  • What’s cooking: Host Family Dinner Conversations as shared cultural space for socialization and language (Julia Carnine)

15:30-16:00 – Coffee

16:00-17:00 – Paper presentations:

  • Critical hermeneutics and qualitative study of narrative identity of SA-learners (Jacob Dahl Rendtorff)
  • New understandings about data and language through the lens of small culture formation on the go (Sara Amadasi & Adrian Holliday)


 

Friday 22 June

09:00-10:00 – Keynote: Dan Dewey: [awaiting title]

10:00-10:30 – Paper presentations

  • Language and intercultural learning during study abroad: maximizing language use intensity and social network formation (Ana Maria Moreno Bruna)

10:30-11:00 – Coffee

11:00-12:30 – Paper presentations

  • Reflections on tracking language development during a year abroad (Amanda Edmonds & Pascale Leclercq)
  • Extracurricular activities in foreign language learning (Saule Petroniene & Saule Juzeleniene)
  • Professional French teaching programs offered by philosophical and pedagogical faculties in the Czech Republic (Helena Horova)

12:30-14:30 – Lunch

14:30-15:30 – Roundtable discussion

15:30-17:30 – Working group meeting

ABSTRACTS

 

 

 

 

Studies of socialisation in the context of transnational mobility and migration

 

21-22 June 2018, Bologna

 

Organiser: Henry Tyne

Local hosts: Ana Beaven and Claudia Borghetti

 

While student migrants have been the main focus of existing work on study abroad (SA) outcomes, in particular with a view to plotting linguistic outcomes through immersion, we turn our attention to language learning affordances against the backdrop of international mobility/migration and transnational social spaces, thereby capturing SA practices in a dynamic way, focusing on different aspects of the mobility/migration experience. Although individual researchers may define groups of learners according to particular external characteristics or measures (target language or languages, age, time spent abroad, etc.) a strong case is made, nonetheless, for a broad approach: SA learners are not referred to as such, but are rather considered as people who experience mobility and/or migration – be it physical or virtual – and who use language(s) as a result of that mobility.

Thus by stepping back from the typical SA reification of (student) language users as (student) language learners, we are concerned more with patterns of movement of language users and types of practices, looking at many types of mobility, including virtual, and also long-stay mobility or migration. If we take language learning in its broadest sense, considering different types of learner and different contexts of stay or study abroad, it is hoped that a more complete yardstick for studying language immersion and social networking while abroad can be obtained as varied (or simply different) patterns of integration and experience serve to enhance current understanding of what it means to live and learn abroad: different types of input and interactions, different discourses (motivations, integration, uses of languages, etc.).

 

 

 

 

Abstracts

 

Sara Amadasi and Adrian Holliday

New understandings about data and language through the lens of small culture for-mation on the go

Abstract: Interviews with study abroad postgraduate students in Britain revealed the way in which they and we two researchers all positioned ourselves through a joint, interventionist negotiation of sometimes conflicting grand and personal narratives. It became apparent that these research events themselves constituted what Holliday has called ‘small culture formation on the go’ – the everyday creative engagement with culture that we all take part in throughout our lives. The research act itself therefore becomes core data for the study abroad experience and how we and the students come to understand it. Once this was appreciated, to explore the phenomenon more fully, we found it necessary to look at other data sources leading up to the interview event, such as research diaries, where preoccupations and positionings of students and researchers in stages leading up to the research event might be evident. A further revealing factor was the impact of the different Englishes employed by the students and we researchers. These enabled diverse linguacultures in which there was a healthy marginalisation of native-speakerist prejudice. There was a helpful resonance here with experience of researching Italian migrant schoolchildren in which institutionalised, teacherly perceptions of ‘target language’ could be put aside. Other important resonances within our personal research trajectories, from outside the study abroad domain, also helped in this sense-making – concerning perceptions of Otherness among undergraduate students in Germany and the discovery of unrecognised cultural contribution in many language educational locations across the world. Another contributor to our understanding is the research being carried out by postgraduates studying abroad in Britain on Othering, resilience, discourses of Britishness, and radical identity change. The understanding of small culture formation on the go in study abroad must therefore transcend sub-disciplinary boundaries.

 

Maurizio Ambrosini

Migrations, transnationalism, diasporas: Distinctions, types and empirical findings

Migrations are a crucial aspect of globalization of present societies. They can be defined as a form of “globalization from below”, enacted by common people, in opposition to financial or economic globalization fostered by powerful vested interests and elitist actors. At the same time, migrations jeopardize nationalist projects of borders enforcement and construction of homogeneous national societies, in which population, citizenship and belonging coincide.

Transnationalism represents an advancement of such perspective (Smith & Guarnizo 2003). In this approach, the migrant is seen as an actor placed simultaneously in two or more social fields: those of the societies of origin and of destination (Glick Schiller et al. 1992; Levitt & Jaworsky 2007; Portes 1997, 2003). Economic, political, cultural and social relations between the two sides are established by the links that migrants maintain (Portes et al. 1999). For the most optimistic, this bifocality of migrants (Vertovec 2004) translates into investments, donations, political, religious and cultural relations which confirm the commitment of expatriates to their places of origin. Economic studies, in turn, show that the presence of immigrants is positively correlated with the development of trade with their homelands (Bryant et al. 2005) and of direct foreign investments (Javorcik et al. 2006).

From a policy point of view, the image of migrants as protagonists in the advancement of the communities from which they come accords with a neo-liberal approach to the issues of development which is now widely adopted. Instead of waiting for the arrival of investments, from somewhere or other, able to boost the economy in disadvantaged countries, individuals should be deployed from the bottom up, at a micro level, in order to redirect resources to the homeland, relieve poverty, and encourage economic and social progress (Durand et al. 1996; for a critical perspective, see de Haas 2010). Approval for migrants’ initiatives, and their remittances, goes hand in hand with the loss of trust in States and international organisations.

The concept of transnationalism, however, is also contested (Waldinger & Fitzgerald 2004; Waldinger 2010). Critics argue against its novelty, because also in the past immigrants were engaged in various forms of connection with their homeland; against its clarity, because too many activities, behaviours, but also attitudes and feelings, are involved in the broad notion of transnationalism; against its extension, because in reality not many immigrants are effectively and durably connected with their country of origin.

Here I would like to advance in this discussion, along three directions: 1) comparing transnationalism with another well-established concept in social research on ethnic minorities, namely diaspora; 2) drawing a conceptual map of different meanings of transnationalism; 3) distinguishing two main forms of transnationalism, basic and advanced transnationalism, on the basis of research studies conducted in Italy.

 

Julia Carnine

What’s cooking: Host family dinner conversations as shared cultural space for socialization and language

Cross border mobility for learning takes many shapes occurring in and out of the classroom as well as other specifically academic contexts. Homestay meals shared between hosts and students are considered reliable and significant pathways for language and culture learning (Kinginger et al. 2017; Shiri 2015). They can provide opportunities for spontaneous and personalized language production for all parties as well as specialized spaces where students may learn social behaviors underscored by key cultural values. This qualitative, longitudinal, micro-ethographic study analyzes dinner conversations recorded between American college-aged SA learners in France and their local homestay family.

This paper will explore the following research questions:

  • How do host family members understand their role and organize their interactions to promote learning?
  • How do students understand their role and organize their interactions to promote learning?

Preliminary results will be presented based on interviews and analysis of data in the form of recorded conversations.

 

Jacob Dahl Rendtorff

Critical hermeneutics and qualitative study of narrative identity of SA-learners

From the point of view of the critical hermeneutics of narrative identity, this paper relates to research documenting methodological choices and theoretical/epistemological underpinnings of the sociolinguistic study of socialization and language development in transnational mobility and migration.

The paper will present some philosophical and methodological reflections about the study of SA learners with regard to the formation of personal identity through culture, languages, age, and time spent abroad. Focus is on the philosophical and ontological dimensions of mobility and migration between languages and cultures. In this context, we will begin by presenting the concept of critical hermeneutics as the basis for understanding the ontological dimensions of the narrative identity of SA-learners.

Here, in this first main section of the paper, the main topic is the explanation of the stay abroad as an element of the formation of personal identity of the SA-learners and this part of the paper will present a methodological and philosophical approach to the understanding of personal identity in the socialization process of transnational migration and mobility.

The second section of the paper will, based on this narrative conception of personal identity of SA-learners, describe some essential elements of the qualitative interview in the study of SA-learners. This section of the paper will present some essential dimensions of the qualitative research interview as an instrument to understand and capture the life world of mobility and migration among SA-learners in Europe.

The paper will here briefly touch on the practical, ethical and epistemological dimensions of the qualitative research interview applied to study abroad research. With this it the aim of the paper to present some essential elements of the philosophical understanding of the SA-learner-subject and the methodology to capture the depth of this experience in different social and cultural contexts.

 

Anne Marie Devlin

Is this immersion? An exploration of the intensity and diversity of language contact in a short-term SA

The following paper sets out to explore the relationship between short-term study abroad and intensity and diversity of language contact. It takes a novel approach to qualifying and quantifying contact with the language employing a blended method drawing on theories of social networks and space. Social networks refer to who the learners interact with and how often they do so. On the other hand, space intends to reconceptualise how the context of SA is viewed. This reconceptualisation goes beyond what Block (2009: 10) defines as “the physical location of language learning as well as the sociohistorical and sociocultural conditions that accompany that physical location”, to encapsulate qualitatively differential interactions that learners can engage in. In this study, such socially-constructed spaces are conceptualized as loci of learning. The concept has been influenced by recent work in social psychology intended to ensure that “the specific linguistic and interactive dynamics of the contact situation matter” (Harwood 2010: 148). For the purpose of this study, three socially-constructed spaces – or loci of learning – have been identified: the conversational; the institutional; and media-based.

Data were collected from 20 US students of Russian on a six-week SA programme in Moscow. Preliminary findings show that social networks are overwhelmingly formed with other NNSs and that interaction with the institutional locus dominates. As a result, the six-week time limit may not be sufficient to facilitate engagement with rich and diverse cultural and linguistic environment which SA potentially offers.

 

Dan Dewey

Social interaction and SLA during study abroad

In this presentation, I present research indicating the importance of social interaction during study abroad. I then overview ways of evaluating that interaction. Finally, I present research-based suggestions for increasing the amount and quality of social interaction second language learners engage in with locals during study abroad experiences.

 

Amanda Edmonds and Pascale Leclercq

Reflections on tracking language development during a year abroad

Research into how a stay abroad influences language acquisition has been dominated by research on relatively low-level American learners who travel abroad as an intact group (Kinginger 2009). This population is of course not representative of the stay abroad experience as it is manifest in a European context, and since the publication of Kinginger’s book, several large longitudinal research projects, based in Europe, have been put into place. These include the Study abroad and language acquisition (SALA) project (https://www.upf.edu/en/web/allencam/sala), which followed Spanish nationals studying abroad in the UK, and the Social networks, target language interaction, and second language acquisition during the year abroad: A longitudinal study (LANGSNAP) project (http://langsnap.soton.ac.uk/), for which the participants were British nationals studying in Mexico, Spain, or France. These research projects have provided important longitudinal insight into language development for the cohorts investigated (see Mitchell et al. 2017; Pérez-Vidal 2014) Against this backdrop of strong academic commitment to exploring the stay abroad experience and the language learning that accrues during and after, we are currently setting up a pilot study whose aim is to track language development at the individual level, via a series of case studies. Participants are French nationals majoring in modern languages and who will be studying abroad as Erasmus students in either Ireland or England for the 2018-2019 academic year, which corresponds to the final year of their undergraduate degree. We aim, among other things, to focus on the development of the expression of modality (Leclercq & Edmonds 2017), on general productive lexical knowledge (Fitzpatrick & Clenton 2010) and on the development of phraseological competence (Eyckmans 2009) over the course of the year abroad, using a combination of controlled tasks administered before and after the stay abroad and a series of oral and written productions collected throughout the study period. In the proposed talk, we will present this new project, and reflect on decisions concerning data collection, with an aim to fostering discussion around methodological issues in stay abroad research.

 

Emre Guvendir

The side effects of transnationalism: The case of Syrian students in Turkey

This study examines how the transnational connections of 30 Syrian university students in Turkey have influenced their decisions to pursue graduate studies in different parts of Europe. Turkey has been hosting millions of Syrian refugees and thousands of Syrian students since the beginning of the war in Syria. During the first years of immigration, Syrians in Turkey constructed strong solidarity and provided emotionally and culturally motivated sense of support to each other. However, this support has run short as the financial resources started to drain when the stay of refugees extended and their number radically amplified. The study findings based on interviews show that Syrian community in Turkey have started to see the Syrian university students who want to pursue their education at the graduate level as a burden as they considered additional education as a waste of time and financial resources. Additionally, the scarcity of part time jobs and the limitation of scholarships in Turkey have caused these students to look for other study abroad options in Europe to pursue their education. The study findings reveal that although transnational ties initially appeared valuable for the Syrian students, these connections produced unpredicted burdens in the long run.

 

Helena Horova

Study at the Faculty of Arts at the University of West Bohemia (UWB) and study abroad : how to make student mobility more effective?

The aim of our communication is to find answers to the question of how to make student mobility more effective (especially the Erasmus study stay), for foreign students arriving at Faculty of Arts UWB and also for students of this faculty who regularly go to partner European universities. The communication can be divided into two main parts. The first part will introduce the Faculty of Philosophy with regard to the offered study opportunities for foreign students. The next part will try to define the needs of Czech students preparing to go abroad. We will also focus on current trends in foreign language didactics and try to define the individual competencies necessary for the realization of a foreign study placement at a partner university. Attention will be paid in particular to issues related to student socialization during the internship. We will look at how language knowledge can contribute to better learning outcomes and positively influence the entire course of the internship.

 

Annarita Magliacane

The role of learner status in the use of second language pragmatic markers: A comparative analysis between two types of experiences abroad

While study abroad (SA) extend to wide-ranging types of mobility programmes, SA research has predominantly focused on university students. Hence, a question which needs more investigation concerns the differential characteristics of the learner’s status abroad, such as work experience or university student, as they may have potential implications on the amount and type of interactional opportunities while abroad. This paper analyses learner status during SA experiences by focusing on the use of second language (L2) pragmatic markers (PMs) in conversation. PMs have been claimed to be frequent in the language of native speakers (NSs), whereas their use by instructed learners appears to be limited (Liao 2009). Previous research has shown that PM production in the L2 can be aided by NS contact (Sankoff et al. 1997) and, by extension, their use in the L2 has been considered as an index of language exposure (Migge 2015) and social integration (Grieve 2013). Thus, if commonly-held belief holds that SA constitutes a combination of instructed and naturalistic exposure, then the analysis of such linguistic items raises questions on the potential of SA to impact the learner’s pragmatic development as well as on the amount and type of language exposure learners have while abroad.

Against this background, this paper analyses the use of PMs in the learner language with a view to illuminating potential differences during the experience abroad. The participants were 15 Italian Erasmus students and 15 au pairs during a six-month sojourn in Ireland. Spoken data were collected in the form of an individual sociolinguistic interview (Labov 1984). The learners’ pragmatic development was tracked longitudinally during the duration of their stay in order to relate potential differences in the characteristics of use of PMs with their L2 exposure and types of interaction during the SA experience. The PMs concerned were three commonly occurring markers (i.e. ‘like’, ‘you know’ and ‘well’) in the English language. Findings were subject to quantitative analysis and were analysed in the light of the exposure to the language that participants claimed to have had while abroad. Results of the research illuminate the benefits of the experience abroad, but also point to a number of constraints such as linguistic factors influencing the use of the PMs concerned, social factors such as networks and social participation, and input and interaction factors concerning language use and intensity and type of language contact.

 

Ana Maria Moreno Bruna

Intercultural guidance abroad: Impact of learning intervention on social network formation

This paper is an empirical contribution to the Study Abroad research field. I will provide some insights into the possible relations between Social Network Formation and students’ intercultural and language learning during a short SA experience. It would seem that linguistic and intercultural benefits of sojourns abroad cannot be taken for granted, as several studies have reported large individual variation in study abroad outcomes (for a review see Kinginger 2015). This may be even more pertinent in study programs in which the sojourn abroad is compulsory, which is the case at the department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication of Ghent University.

The paper reports on the impact of an experimental study, based on a four-month online curricular intervention where two groups of Flemish students (n= 82) are tracked during their SA sojourn in Spain. One group of students is enrolled in the intervention program and is encouraged to engage in linguistically and culturally challenging encounters with native speakers, the other group is not. I will elaborate on how such program seeks to trigger the link between students’ language and intercultural learning by fostering interactional contact with native speakers. The main assumption is that a pedagogical intervention would foster students’ Social Network formation during the SA period. Its design is grounded in Cohen and Paige’s work (Paige et al. 2009) and the IEREST Project (Van Maele et al. 2016). Working from a mixed-method approach, I will first present the quantitative data from the Study Abroad Social Interaction Questionnaire (Dewey et al. 2013) on students’ Social Network formation during their SA experience. I compared the data gathered after the experience, both among the participants enrolled in the intervention and the control group. The questionnaire is complemented by a qualitative analysis of the corpus of students’ narratives gathered through weekly entries in intercultural diaries during the intervention, providing significant examples of their intercultural and language learning process, intercultural reflections and intercultural encounters during their SA experience.

 

Katarzyna Ożańska-Ponikwia and Angélica Carlet

To Erasmus or not to Erasmus? Factors that influence one’s decision to participate in a stay abroad programme: A look at personality traits, emotional intelligence and L2 proficiency measures.

The Erasmus exchange programme has become very popular with growing numbers of student sojourners each year. However, even if it was widely acknowledged that study abroad programmes have a positive impact on the perception of university students when it comes to cultural enhancement, personal development and foreign language proficiency (Jacobone & Moro 2015), it is still not clear what factors might pertain to the very decision to participate in such programmes. Consequently, the primary purpose of this study was to focus on self-selection in the context of international mobility. In order to do so, we examined university students participating in the Erasmus programme and those continuing their regular course of study at their home university with regard to their personality traits, emotional intelligence and L2 proficiency measures. The data analyses showed that the only variables that differentiated both groups were linked solely to personality profiles of the informants with the stay abroad group scoring significantly higher on Extraversion, Social initiative and Open-mindedness. Therefore, it could be suggested that students’ personality traits might have a direct influence on their decision to participate in a stay abroad programme. The present study, even if is only able to give a limited glimpse into the role of both higher-order and lower-order personality traits in the international mobility self-selection context, shows that personality is an important factor that might significantly influence the very process.

 

Saule Petroniene and Saule Juzeleniene

Extracurricular activities in foreign language learning

Extracurricular (ECA) or Extra Academic Activities (EAA) are recognised as important tools in foreign language teaching/learning. Such activities are generally voluntary (as opposed to mandatory), social, philanthropic, and often involve other students of the same age.

ECA are usually defined as learners’ activities that fall outside the normal curriculum of educational institution, they supplement the regular course of classroom instruction and are sometimes organized or conducted with some participation of instructors (Campbell 1997). There are different opinions of what is considered an extra-curricular activity. According to Reva (Reva 2012), classifications of ECA introduced in Russian literature divide ECA into four types: competitions, mass media (school newspapers, radio, etc.), cultural (holiday celebrations and any other cultural events, trips to museums and galleries, etc.) and political (debates, focus groups, discussions).

A few examples of activities outside the school day may include pro-social activities such as dances, team sports, and performing arts, while in-school involvement activities may include intramurals, and academic clubs. Different levels of activity involvement and participation may positively impact future success for those who participate. Research also indicated that both the type of extracurricular programs and level of participation may impact the individuals’ development (Eccles 2003).

The purpose of the research project was to investigate the attitudes towards extracurricular activities by foreign students studying at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) and the University of Health Sciences (LSMU) in Kaunas, Lithuania.

In total 30 students participated in the research (Erasmus students as well as degree students from Pakistan and India from KTU side, those representing LSMU were degree odontology students from various European countries). The research was based on the questionnaire which consisted of close-ended questions about Lithuanian language learning experiences. The results of the research revealed students’ positive attitude towards ECA in foreign language learning.

 

Clare Wright

Thresholds to interaction and adaptation during study abroad

This mixed-method study tracked social interaction and adaptation among 20 international academic sojourners (postgraduates from a range of countries on a one-year programme in the UK). We examined assumptions that second language proficiency and interactional engagement directly underpin sociocultural adaptation. Interviews and self-reports of interaction conducted at time 1 (within one month of arrival), and repeated at time 2 (ten months after arrival) showed that participants remained frustrated by a perceived “threshold” barring successful interaction with English speakers. However, they also reported a reluctance to take up available opportunities for interaction, often based on complex self-identity beliefs, but apparently independent of language proficiency and level of engagement in international student life. We challenge linear models of adaptation, highlighting the many variable complex issues affecting the capacity and motivation of international sojourners in crossing the threshold to successful interaction and adaptation.

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