Monday, April 24, 2006

Ethnography and SLA (part 1, I hope)

Ethnographic methods, which have their roots in the field of anthropology, have over time been adopted by other social science-related disciplines. (I need a little more on how this has happened.)

As I approach my first attempt at ethnography from the dual perspectives of a student in an anthropology course and a novice scholar (let me just say right now that I love this term that I learned from Atkinson and Hammersley's book: "acceptable incompetent." That's what I am. I want to be an acceptable incompetent for the rest of my life.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and applied linguistics, I am beginning to avail myself to the embarrassment of riches available to the scholar whose focus is, very broadly, an ethnographic approach to the study of how language is taught, learned, and generally used. Specifically, my project examines the use of language in a multilingual ESL (English as a Second Language) classroom, and in my cursory readings as I prepare to write my ethnography, I have identified a number of fields whose scholars can point the way toward a framework – or at least a scaffolding – for my own research, and which may be influential in shaping the direction of my future academic work. (My ethnography has roots in second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, sociology of language, linguistic anthropology, discourse analysis, TESOL, classroom research....and a lot more )

Helpful Reading:
Understanding Communication in Second Language Classrooms
The Classroom and the Language Learner: Ethnography and Second Language Classroom Research

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