Personal and Collective Narrative Meaning Making in the EFL Classroom


Personal experience narratives are among the dominant forms of folklore. Through these stories, we make individual meaning and negotiate collective meanings simultaneously.
Such a pervasive narrative practice should find a prominent role in FL teaching and learning. In order to feel a foreign language, we must first of all feel it as a genuine means of personal expression, somehow filtering our L1 self through the new words, thus beginning a process whereby the new language becomes part of who we are. Low proficiency sometimes prevents students from feeling entitled to engage in such process, but the benefits of narrating do not depend solely on linguistic correctness.
This paper asserts the importance of employing personal experience narratives with university trainee language teachers, with a view to encouraging them to use English in the process of narrative meaning making. Narratives collected from individual trainee teachers will be analysed, as well as collective co-narrations, and peer-to-peer interviews. The focus will be on narrative structures (e.g. ‘turning point’ narratives), narrative competence and students’ reported levels of satisfaction with their stories ( i.e. how faithfully do they feel represented by their own narratives, regardless of potential low proficiency?).
The result is a collective narrative woven through individual stories negotiated in performance during classroom interaction. This narrative practice can represent a most effective source of motivation during their training and a way into developing a sense of authenticity when teaching the language in the future.

Author Information
Licia Masoni, Universita' di Bologna, Italy

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2019
Stream: Professional development

This paper is part of the ECLL2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon