• Adult ancestral language learning and effects on identity

      Peter, Hishinlai' R.; Siekmann, Sabine; Koester, David; Marlow, Patrick; Sims, Christine (2019-05)
      This qualitative study explored the relationship between Gwich'in adult language learning and identity development. Identity is dynamic, fluid and reflects how a person positions themselves and is positioned by others. A person's sense of self influences their feelings, actions, and behaviors. Using grounded theory as an analytical tool and activity theory as a theoretical lens, this study offers self-as-a leading activity as a way to conceptualize the identity formation of two adult Gwich'in language learners. The way a person looks is not a factor in Gwich'in identity, and also to claim the identity of being Gwich'in, one does not have to know the language. There are other strong identity markers, such as cultural knowledge, knowing who your ancestors were and where you came from. However, those who are learning the Gwich'in language feel a stronger connection to gain deeper insights into the Gwich'in worldview. The final outcome of this research are the implications of Activity Theory, which can be used as an analytical tool. Using Activity Theory can help explain for language learners and others, the rules, division of labor, and help identify tensions or contradictions between what the community want to see happen for language learning. The data in this research identifies tensions or contradictions that the main participants experienced, such as the need for positive support, language usage, and practicing to gain proficiency.
    • Communication in the face of diversity: towards a training model for U.S. Army cadets

      Lasiter, Nolan O.; Taylor, Karen; Richey, Jean; Sager, Kevin; DeCaro, Peter (2011-12)
      The purpose of this study was to explore the need for a communication and cultural diversity training program in a Northwestern university Reserve officer Training Corps (ROTC) department. A needs assessment was conducted identifying the need for a training program in both culture and communication. Research questions explored the need for a training program in communication and cultural diversity. Quantitative methods assessed the overall outcomes from the communication and cultural diversity workshops. Hypotheses predicted that Cadet's scores would increase from pretest to posttest as a result of the communication and cultural diversity workshop. Senior level cadets at a Northwestern university ROTC program volunteered to participate in the study. A pilot training program was administered in the spring semester in order generate feedback and improve the design. The final training design was implemented in the fall and assessed using the communication competency measurement and cultural competency instrument. Results showed that there was an overall significant increase of scores from pretest to posttest, suggesting that the workshops improved cadets abilities in communication and cultural diversity.
    • Slowing down: how collaborative pairs support meaning making and the writing process in an elementary classroom

      Short, Kelsey; Martelle, Wendy; Siekmann, Sabine; Patterson, Leslie (2019-05)
      The teacher action research study was conducted within a third-grade classroom. The participants of the study were eight English Language learners who worked in pairs to write a retelling of a storybook. The need for this research developed from observations made by the classroom teacher focusing around the animated oral storytelling of her students and how that joy did not translate to writing. Data was collected in the forms of video and audio recordings, student samples and a research journal. The study attempted to discover what decisions students made as they focused on their written retelling in a collaborative pair. Increasing interaction between students became a main focus of the study and the ideas of sociocultural theory were the main themes that drove the analysis of this research. The study showed that students utilized a variety of mediational tools available to them as they made meaning and participated in collaborative dialogue. They also spent time supporting each other by utilizing those mediational tools to increase the success of their retelling, as well as by giving social support when their partner was flustered or overwhelmed.
    • A teacher's role in feedback and instructional conversations in a kindergarten ELA classroom

      Fairbanks, Emerie; Hogan, Maureen; Martelle, Wendy; Siekmann, Sabine (2018-12)
      This teacher action research examines the role of the teacher and the use of feedback to support kindergarten students' language development. This study provides three emergent categories: A) Corrective feedback provided by the teacher with and without the option of the correct form of students' utterance. B) Student provided feedback: self-correction (no teacher influence) or correcting a classmate. C) Extending the conversation through teacher prompting and students collaborating in the meaning-making process. The findings showed providing feedback was beneficial to students' language development. The findings in this research study can be used to inform educators interested in the role feedback plays in language development as well as how they can most effectively provide feedback to student errors. Although educators' contexts may be different, the findings in this study may assist and guide them in discovering what methods and ways of providing feedback work best for them and their students.
    • Voices from the margins: seriality and the introductory writing classroom

      Cameron, Casie E.; Stanley, Sarah; Carr, Rich; Harney, Eileen (2019-05)
      In an era of great political division and fear of the "other," how can introductory writing classes do a better job of foregrounding marginalized voices and building classroom communities that value many different life experiences over the one presented in dominant discourse? By employing select features of the serial form including: worldbuilding for community, use of devices of continuity to bridge part-whole segmentation, and cyclical communication and recursive writing practices, voices and stories from the margins can break into dominant discourse. This paper begins and ends with my own story as it is spun and woven through the chapters. Between interludes, I initiate a layered exploration defining the origins and scope of the serial form, establish terms and identify storytelling devices that serials rely on for long-term, overarching, and influential success. Turning then to iterations of the modern serial, I explore the continued development of devices of continuity (the cliffhanger and the recap), develop further ideas of cyclical communication, and clarify how the modern serial is tied firmly with capitalism. After an analysis of the evolution of the serial form and its constituent parts, I suggest ways of incorporating certain strategies and devices of the serial form into the introductory writing classroom in order to build community; establish a cyclical, serialized communication through writing and sharing our individual stories; and normalizing outside voices. The implications of this investigation are that pedagogical repurposing of select devices of the serial can support writing instructors' efforts to amplify voices and stories from the margins bringing them into dominant discourse.