AILA2021 World Congress Symposium – Practitioner Research & Classroom Dynamics

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Emic Insights Through a Small Lens

Hello and thank you for coming to the symposium at AILA2021 about Practitioner Research. If you didn’t pay the (astronomical) fees for the conference, don’t worry – our symposium will be available after the event for free to everyone. We can also continue the discussion here, or on a social network of your choice (as long as it’s Twitter).

The dulcet tones of my favourite Aussie, Richard Sampson, will be a delight to all as our Featured Speaker. His video about Complexity, L2 Learner Psychology, and Practitioner Research even features his own musical composition as BGM!

Digital Handout

This symposium brings together teachers engaged in research, who can offer valuable insights into their own practices and provide a more nuanced and contextually specific cross-section into their classrooms utilising various methods suited to practitioner-research.

Ushioda’s ‘small lens’ approach to researching classroom phenomena was originally intended to focus on motivation with a ‘more sharply focused or contextualised angle of inquiry’ (2016: 566). This can be achieved by utilising various established and emerging practitioner-based research methodologies which utilise a methodical and evidence-based design in order to gain emic insights into the language learning classroom. In this symposium, researchers will utilise a small lens approach to examine a range of psychological and social factors relating to classroom dynamics focusing on both learners and teachers, such as emotions, identity, motivation, autonomy, values and beliefs.

Research done by practitioning teachers is strongly advocated in the literature on complexity paradigm approaches, both within education (Davis and Sumara, 2008) and SLA (Larson-Freeman and Cameron, 2008). As the field of applied linguistics is reshaped by a tendency toward more situated and complexity-informed ways of understanding, insights from practitioner research are also gaining traction. The complex social dynamics that emerge inside specific classrooms are still rare and under-reported within applied linguistics, and this symposium aims to provide a springboard to learn from more emic perspectives from inside language learning classrooms.

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