Mapping multilingual ecology: Exploring sociocultural aspects of learners’ investment in EFL in Pakistan

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dc.contributor.advisor East, M en Ullah, Imdad en 2020-02-25T02:08:37Z en 2020 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract In the multilingual context of Pakistan, the role of English in education has gained increasing attention during the last two decades against the backdrop of the rise of global extremism and the positioning of Pakistan in the so-called "War on Terror". Research and policy documents often link better English education in the country with promoting tolerant views about the western developed countries. Students from upper social classes often have access to quality instruction in private schools as compared to the government schools. Although most private schools use "English-medium instruction" as a catchphrase to attract students, there are significant differences among these schools in terms of the actual use of English on campus and the quality of English teaching. In Pakistan, research often explores issues around English learning outcomes in terms of social constructs like socioeconomic class, gender, and ethnicity, or macro factors like language policy failure and parallel school systems in Pakistan. This study argues that, complementary to these factors, a focus on learners' subjective experiences and their multilingual identities might be an important missing aspect of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learning. Using the naturalistic ethnographic methodology, the study investigated the language perceptions of six students (age 16 to 18 years) from two private schools belonging to high-fee (Global School) and low-fee (Ummah School) categories in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Research tools included semi-structured interviews, classroom and general school observations, ethnographic field notes, documents and artifacts from the field, and reflexive research tools including researcher bracketing interviews and a bracketing research journal. An extended stay in the field lasted for eight months. Data coding was assisted by qualitative analysis software NVivo and was analyzed using thematic analysis. Although both private schools claim English medium instruction, findings suggest that learning EFL is influenced by complex sociocultural factors related to the way languages are perceived in the multilingual context of the learners. As compared to Ummah, Global School is locally known for quality English education and is attended by learners from affluent backgrounds. However, in spite of significant differences in terms of students' social class, school infrastructure and quality of English instruction, both groups of learners seemed to struggle against the hierarchical perception of languages and negative attitudes towards English in social domains that restricted their functional use of the target language. Learners avoided practicing speaking English in social and domestic environments to maintain a positive face and avoid being viewed as westernized. Inside the schools, monolingual school policies and a focus on English to secure good grades were found to be misaligned with the students' EFL goals of using English for authentic communication in daily interaction and in online social media platforms. Findings also suggest that learners' investment in English learning was based on instrumental goals (for example, higher education and career abroad) and integrative goals (outward social mobility and gaining access to imagined communities in the western developed world). Conflictual elements in socio-domestic and academic environments were found to be implicated in learners forming subordinate identities as learners and speakers of English. These aspects can have a negative influence on learners' EFL learning outcomes. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265212914102091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.title Mapping multilingual ecology: Exploring sociocultural aspects of learners’ investment in EFL in Pakistan en
dc.type Thesis en Applied Linguistics en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 795295 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2020-02-25 en

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