Doing Italian as a Foreign Language: investigating talk about language and culture in three British university classrooms

Fanton, Giovanni (2011). Doing Italian as a Foreign Language: investigating talk about language and culture in three British university classrooms. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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The study presented in this thesis focuses on teacher-student talk-in-interaction in three Italian classes for beginners taught by two teachers, one British and one Italian, in two British universities. The aims of the study are to: (1) investigate the views of language and of language teaching/learning that informed the teachers‟ practice; (2) identify the cultural worlds and images of Italian-ness constructed through the classroom talk; (3) examine the different identities the teachers assumed as they discussed language and culture. The research combines ethnographically-informed classroom observation, video-recording of classroom interaction with discourse analysis. It is guided by poststructuralist thinking and by Kramsch‟s (1993:9) vision of language teaching/learning as “social practice that is at the boundary of two or more cultures”. It reveals similarities in the composition of the classes. Both included international students and both teachers drew on the diverse funds of linguistic and cultural knowledge represented in their classes, creating „third places‟ for language teaching/learning. The research also reveals differences between the teachers – in their views of language, their representation of Italian „culture‟ and in the classroom identities they assumed. These differences are explained with reference to the teachers‟ linguistic and cultural backgrounds and their professional biographies.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages


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