Series Lead: Lou Harvey (Education)
UK government and media discourses of social cohesion and migrant education continue to be informed by an ideology of monolingual English. Recent leading-edge research in applied and sociolinguistics has drawn attention to fluid multilingualism, or translanguaging, as the norm rather than the exception among new arrivals, with English used as part of a multilingual repertoire. Nevertheless, English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) pedagogy and curricula continue to focus solely on the development of English, and do not acknowledge or account for learners’ complex multilingual/multicultural resources and realities.
These public discourses are also underpinned by a representational and deficit orientation to communication in which language is the primary mode, representing and enabling access to an external world which for which a certain level of proficiency is needed. An emerging body of work in critical intercultural education has applied performance-based approaches to develop new understandings of our multiple ways (embodied, affective, material, unconscious) of learning and communicating. This work has highlighted the affordances of de-centring language as the primary sense-making mechanism, demonstrating how this opens space for alternative articulations of voice and enabling greater understanding of the performativity of communication and learning, in which how learners communicate is inextricable from what they communicate.
Aims of the Series
Our project will build on and extend this research by engaging with practices and perspectives from applied theatre to develop, pilot and research a performance-based pedagogy. Our analysis will extend and enhance existing understandings of the relationship between adult migrant language learner’s (AMLL’s) communicative practices and their lived experience. We will do this by integrating analysis of how learners communicate with what they communicate. In so doing we aim to develop a project which can more fully account for adult migrant language learners complex intersectional identities, the daily realities of their lives, their wellbeing and their developing sense of belonging.
Our project will bring together approaches from intercultural education, applied theatre and applied linguistics to pilot an innovative methodology at the intersections of research, pedagogy, engagement and impact. It draws on leading-edge work in intercultural education applying performance to develop new understandings of our multiple ways (embodied, affective, material, unconscious) of learning and communicating. We will pilot a ten-week series of drama workshops for adult migrant language learners at St Vincent’s Support Centre in Leeds, the city’s largest provider of free ESOL. The workshops will explore how the complexity of adult migrant language learners communicative resources and lived experiences can be engaged and supported in their English-language learning.
We will be guided by three initial research questions, which we expect to evolve throughout the project:
- How can performance-making engage adult migrants’ multiple communicative resources and complex lived experiences?
- How can the engagement of these resources and experiences support the production and development of voice?
- How can this engagement support their English-language learning and social participation?
Events (Further details to be announced in September 2019)
Sep-Dec 2019 Ten weekly drama workshops for adult migrant language learners at St Vincent’s Support Centre, led by A Quiet Word
December 2019 Performance at St Vincent’s for local residents and users of the St Vincent’s centre