Applications of Nexus Analysis to Investigating Educational Policy and Practice

R19 School of Education, Room G39
Research, Social Sciences, Students
Tuesday 12th June 2012 (11:00-13:00)
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Seminar organisers

Professor Marilyn Martin-Jones

Dr Deirdre Martin

ESRC Researcher Development Initiative (Round 4) Researching multilingualism, multilingualism in research practice

Research seminar organised by the MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism

Speaker: Francis M. Hult, from the University of Texas at San Antonio

The hallmark of educational linguistics is its problem-centered approach to issues in language (in) education (Hornberger, 2001; Hult, 2008). These practical problems or issues are often complex in nature, mediated by a confluence of factors from individual to sociopolitical scales and everything in between—all interconnected (Hult, 2010a; Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008). A related methodological challenge, then, is balancing attention to what Halliday (2007) refers to ‘synoptic and dynamic perspectives,’ in essence attending to our objects of study as they appear in real time (synoptic) while also taking into account how they are articulated as part of larger systems (dynamic). For instance, how can we understand a particular conversational exchange between a student and a teacher in a classroom in interactional terms while also determining how this exchange is mediated by larger scale factors such as the life trajectories of the individuals involved and/or the curricula and policies in place? This workshop presents nexus analysis (Scollon & Scollon, 2004) as a meta-methodology for addressing these kinds of issues in educational linguistic research. Drawing upon my own work (e.g., Hult, 2010b, 2012) as well as the work of others who have employed this approach (e.g., Compton, 2010; Lane, 2010, Pietikäinen, 2010), I demonstrate how principles of nexus analysis serve to tease out relevant factors in complex educational problems and, in turn, aid in tracing how those factors are influenced by discursive processes on other scales. Nexus analysis combines elements of critical discourse analysis, ethnography of communication, and interactional sociolinguistics yet it is more than the sum of these parts, offering a novel and holistic empirical perspective that is ideally suited for addressing multidimensional research questions. In the workshop, I focus particularly on (a) key concepts of nexus analysis and their relevance for educational linguistics, (b) ways in which nexus analysis can guide critical thinking about data collection and analysis, and (c) practical benefits and challenges of applying nexus analysis. During interactive discussions, participants will have the opportunity to experiment conceptually with the potential application of nexus analysis to their own current research.

If you are interested in participating in this event, please contact the seminar organisers. Registration is from 10:00 in the Foyer of the School of Education. Tea & coffee will be available on arrival. A light lunch will be served at 13:00.

Cost: free of charge