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Learning beyond boundaries: voices from the European Centre for Modern Languages

Breslin, Sarah (2019) Learning beyond boundaries: voices from the European Centre for Modern Languages. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The ECML has been supporting the professional growth of language teacher educators for just over 25 years. Underpinning this work is a commitment to Europe’s linguistic and cultural diversity and a belief in education which values all languages in an individual’s repertoire. I set out to understand how professional growth, plurilingual education and the ECML converge, with a view to optimising ECML learning opportunities. Through an analysis of why the professional growth of language teacher educators matters, and what it looks like, I engage with the complex and problematic construct of plurilingual education, arguing for its rightful place at the heart of this learning. I adopt a qualitative, narrative-based methodology, foregrounding the voices of six language teacher educators through semi-structured interviews and a focused group conversation. I present the analysis in the form of narrative vignettes leading into key themes, reviewed through various complementary theoretical lenses, nesting within the overarching framework of complexity theory. The study reveals that language teacher educators struggle to articulate their own learning needs; it identifies critical features that best support this learning; it acknowledges the challenges in implementing plurilingual education and the importance of differentiated pedagogies within a holistic, value-based approach to language education. It indicates that plurilingual education has reached a crossroads: needed more than ever in a climate of growing nationalism and xenophobia, yet widely misunderstood – seen by some as a dogma, by others as a threat to their professional identity. I demonstrate that just as plurilingual education cannot be reduced to a content domain, nor can the ECML be considered simply a context for learning. Instead, it is a transnational mediator, crossing boundaries between languages, cultures and pedagogic traditions, between research, policy and practice. I conclude by urging the ECML to exploit more fully its unique boundary-crossing characteristics and engender transformative learning.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: professional growth; language teacher educators; Council of Europe; plurilingual education
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.801235
Depositing User: Dr. Sarah Breslin
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2020 15:03
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2020 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/26330

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