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Language learner-teachers: evolving insightsTheresa ausTin

Abstract This study reports on the developing emotions and perspectives of 68 in-service teachers regarding their experiences in university-based Spanish classes as part of the ACCELA project (Access to Critical Content and English Language Acquisition) at UMass-Amherst. The program gave teacher-participants the opportunity to experience and reflect on the emotional intensity of their own initial language learning, and to personally connect with the challenges that the second language learners experience in their classes where restrictive language policies operate. The researcher argues that their display of growing insights about second language acquisition and their emotional development through interactions with community resources in both English and Spanish reveal their ideological positions in regard to L2 and its learning. This study enhances our comprehension of how language learning experiences can enrich teachers appreciation of their students challenges and perspectives. This article contributes to understanding the role of emotions in language learning, of ideology in the mutual development of second language teachers and learners, and of the interrelationship of learning in schools and communities. Keywords: non-native L2 teachers; learner-teachers; in-service language teachers; emotion and language learning.

1. IntroductionAlotofthenon-nativespeakerslikedthegesturesandbodylanguagethattheprofessorsdidduringthelesson...Isawthattheyenjoyedthehands-onpartofthelesson, thosethatwereapartofithadgottenusedtotheirplanetsnameandaremorecomfortablesayingit,butagaintheywouldliketohaveseenorevenhavethechancetowrite whattheyhadtosayinSpanish.(AnasnotesduringasciencelessoninSpanish)01652516/11/02080119 WalterdeGruyter Intl. J. Soc. Lang. 208 (2011), pp. 119137 DOI10.1515/IJSL.2011.015

120 T. Austin Whenhighlyliterateadultsstarttolearnanotherlanguage,feelingsofdiscomfortoftenariseastheyexperiencealackoforalcomprehension,particularlyif theconsequencesmatter.TheobservationsaboveweremadebyAna,abilingualteacher,asshedocumentedherfellowteachersparticipationinascience immersionlessononplanetsinSpanish.Foroverayear,eachoffourcohorts of urban elementary and middle school teachers enrolled in a series of 69 creditSpanishcourses.Theyweresatisfyingonerequirementintheir33-credit professionaldevelopmentgraduateprogramforEnglishasasecondlanguage licensure.Theprogramincludedcoursesonteacherinquiry,secondlanguage theories,multimodalliteracies,andcriticalmulticulturalchildrensliterature, amongothers(Willettetal.2007).ItisinthiscontextthatIreportondataanalyzedfromalargerfive-yearethnographicstudythatbeganin2002todocumentmyexperiencesworkingwithin-serviceteachers.Allparticipantsalso actedasresearchersintheprogram. Iwasteacher-researcherandco-instructorwithagraduateteachinga sociate, s YvonneFario,whojoinedintheresearch.Myinitialguidingquestionswere: Howdoteachersdrawonexperientialknowledgeforinsightsintopracticesfor theirownclassrooms?Howwelldotheytapintothesocialnetworksintheir schoolcommunitiestobecomeusersofSpanish?Asthecoursesprogressed, wecollecteddataacrossfourcohorts.Emergingpatternsofemotionsandideologiesaboutsecondlanguageandlanguagelearningshiftedmyinitialfocus. Forthisreport,Ianalyzetheteacherparticipantschangingemotionalorientationstotheirlearningasevidencedintheirentriesandthetypesofprojects theyusedtolearnSpanishthroughinteractions,tasks,andactivities.Iargue thattheirdisplayofgrowinginsightsaboutsecondlanguagedevelopmentand theiremotionaldevelopmentthroughinteractionswithcommunityresources inbothEnglishandSpanishrevealtheirideologicalpositions.Thispapercontributestounderstandinghowemotionsinlanguagelearningshapeideology, influencethemutualdevelopmentofsecondlanguageteachersandlearners, andaffecttheinterrelationshipoflearninginschoolsandcommunities.

2. Background 2.1. Emotions shaping teacher knowledge, ideologies, and community relations Studiesabouttheinfluenceofemotionsonadultsecondlanguage(L2)learning informalsettingsoftenrelatetotwomajoremotionalcontexts:voluntaryand non-voluntaryeducationalprograms.IntheUnitedStateswhenlanguagelearningisarequirementforgraduationorprofessionaladvancement,oftentheen-

Language-learner teachers 121 rollmentprocessfiltersoutthosewhocannotimaginemeetingtherequirement andretainsthosewhobelieveintheirabilitytosucceed.Thus,self-selectionis itselfanindirectmeasureoflanguagelearnerspositiveself-image.Whileall learnersmaynotachievethesameleveloflanguageuse,theycanbesaidto viewlanguagelearninggoalsasinitiallyattainable. TheliteratureonemotionsinlanguagelearningreflectsthatdevelopingaL2 is fundamentally social and emotional as well as cognitive (Pavlenko 2002; Harrisetal.2006).Tobesuccessful,classroominstructionmustaddressthe learnersentiredevelopment,includingphysical,socio-emotional,cognitive, and ethical aspects. Language study that divorces language from learners emotionaldevelopmentmayleavethelearnerunabletoexpresseventhesimplestemotionsinanL2,whilefailingtodeveloptheL1.Thislossmayisolate learnersfromfamilyandcommunitymemberswhocouldotherwisebehelpful tothem(WongFillmore1991).ForclassroomeducatorsofL2learners,languageinstructiondevoidofemotioncouldshapehowlearnersenvision possibilitiesofsuccessorfailureinschool(Manningetal.1995). However,manyteacherswhohaventlearnedanotherlanguagecannoteasilybuildfirst-handknowledgeofdevelopinglessonsforinstructingbothlanguageandcontent.Eventhosewhoarebilingualmayfeelchallengedtouse insightsfromtheirownL2learningexperiences,astheirlearningcontextmay havebeenmoresupportiveofbilingualdevelopment.Thefactthatlanguage developmentinevitablyoccursinaparticularpoliticalandhistoricalcontext alsoaffectsthelearnersemotions.InMassachusettsasaresultofastateballot, Question21,teacherswererestrictedtousinganon-Englishlanguagesolely forclarificationpurposes.Asaresult,manyteacherswhowerebilingualfelt inhibitedinusingtheirandtheirstudentslinguisticresources.OtherEnglish teacherswhoweremonolingualwerealsofrustratedatnotbeingpreparedto teach their subject matter to emergent bilingual learners in English. Consequently,teachersandlearnersfeltvulnerableastheywereheldaccountable foracademicgoalssetprimarilybyhigh-stakestesting.However,recognizing theemotionalstatesoftheparticipantsisonlyafirststep.Justhowtosuccessfullydeveloplearnerslanguagewhileencouragingemotionaldevelopmentto becomebilingualusersremainslargelyunexplored. Thefewstudiesthatexistaddresstheseissuesthroughnarrativeresearchon L2learners,includingtheirreflectionontheprocessandfocusingontheirL2 identityconstruction(Oxford1995).ThecurrentstudycontributestothisliteraturebydescribingtheemotionsthatadultlearnersexperienceastheydevelopinsightsintoL2processesandbydocumentingtowhatextenttheybecomeusersofSpanish.Inthisway,evidenceoftheirlanguageperformanceas wellastheirreportedexperiencesisanalyzed.Alsoincludedaretheirreports on theinterconnectionof this experienceand thelives of their students and studentsfamilies.

122 T. Austin 2.2. Teachers professional development, emotions, and language learning competence Well-informed teachers can organize their instructional resources, time, and materials, as well as student peer groups, to provide more support for L2 l arners social, academic content, and language development (Willett et al. e 2007;Gillanders2007).Thosepoorlypreparedtotakeonthistaskexperience lesssuccessformanyreasons.Recently,Gndaraetal.reported...thatprofessionaldevelopmentmakesadifferenceinhowconfidentteachersfeelmeetingthechallengeofteachingEnglishlearners(2005:11).Basedonteacher self-reports, these researchers also found that teachers felt that acquiring knowledgethroughin-serviceandpre-serviceprofessionaldevelopment,the lengthoftimeteachingL2learners,andthenumberofL2learnersintheclassroom correlated highly with their competence to teach these students in all a easexcepttheprimarylanguage.Psychologicalresearchalsoprovidesclear r evidenceofteachersemotionsplayinganimportantroleinteacher-childrelationships(GarnerandWaajid2008).Similarly,teachersunpreparedtorespond to the cultural diversity of learners from racial backgrounds different from theirownoftenfailtoinstructchildreninculturallyresponsiveways(FlorioRuane2001;Manningetal.1995).Therehasalsobeenmuchresearchincriticalmulticulturaleducationdemonstratingthat,overtime,alackofconnection tolearningengendersconditionsforlearnerstodevelopoppositionalidentities toschooling(SmithandWilhelm2002;Valds2001).Thus,itbecomesimperativetofocusonteachereducationinordertoattendtoL2learnersemotionalaswellassocialandacademicdevelopment. PreparingteacherstounderstandtheimplicationsofL2learnersemotions inlearningiscomplex.Emotionsareshapedbyinteractions;thatis,teachers andstudentsemotionsmutuallyaffecteachother.InaVygotskianmodelof learning,expertsscaffoldinteractionswithchildrentobringlearningwithin reachofthelearners.Calledthezoneofproximaldevelopment(Vygotsky1978), learnersareguidedthroughactivitiesandgraduallyshifttoself-regulationand creative production. But this process assumes that a mutual relationship of trust,care,andattentionexists. Unwittingly, teachers unfamiliar with L2 learners oral development frequentlylabeltheirstudentsasshy,perceivingareticencetospeakratherthan emergentlevelsoforalproficienciesandacculturation.Otherlabels,including easilydistracted,aregiventostudentswhoseattentionwandersfromlessons taughtexclusivelyinEnglish,alanguagetheyarestrugglingtounderstandfor at least 6 hours a day.A more serious label is trouble maker for students whosebehaviorgetsothersinvolvedinactivitiesnotsanctionedbytheteacher. Yettheseissuesofbehaviormanagementfrequentlyarisewhenthemedium andcontentofinstructionfailtoengagenon-nativestudentsascapablel arners. e

Language-learner teachers 123 Whilebehavioralissueshavemultiplecauses,somemightbedirectlyrelated tothelackofmeaning-makingpossibilitiesfornewL2learners.Inturn,these labeledlearnersmaythenbecomemoredisaffected

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