Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Session 10

Dufva, Suni, Salo & Aro:
Policy-making in the mind: A socio-cognitive approach to language education

The focus in their research project(s) is in the interplay between external policies and internal beliefs.

They have been using dialogical, systemic and ecological approach to the relationship between mind and social sphere. The presentation discusses the following questions:

  • Who is/are the policy-maker(s)?
  • Who needs languages and for what purposes?
  • Do linguistic resources of the environment function as affordances and learning opportunities?

Three cases: English, Swedish and Finnish

English is the most popular choice in primary schools (starting from 3rd grade). According to latest survey English is considered most useful language from the language learner point of view.
Student views of learning are quite traditional. Social view of language learning isn't represented. Also many of the children do not consider informal learning as learning. Many learners of Swedish are unmotivated, because they think they don't need the Swedish language.

Dufva posed many useful questions: How do learners see the language? How do learners see themselves as agents in learning process? How do learners see the learning process? It is clear that there is not only one answer to these questions, and perhaps for that reason they are so fascinating. But as usual, more research is needed.

In the end of the presentation Dufva pointed out that in addition to language policies it is important to consider pedagogical implication as well.


Abdoul Aziz Diop:
Tales of Gnostic nightmares and cases of cognitive dissonance: Another perspective on mother tongue education

Learners have a certain linguistic background when they come to school no matter where they come from, and this should not be ignored.

What kind of cognitive pitfalls do we create for children as we poorly educate them in a language that is totally foreign to them?

Furthermore, what do we lose when we teach kids with a language that they don't speak very well? What do we lose when we don't understand the culture from which learners come from?

"Nothing is impossible to understand if it is unhidden well."

I am sorry for this entry being mostly questions but as someone once said good questions are more important than answers.

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