Marlen and JYU students Maiju Uusipaikka, Annika Karinen, Diana Raitala, Reetta Elonen, Tanja Räsänen, Hanna Huumonen & Otto Tuomela will present their co-authored manuscript entitled Bridging Passion & Profession: Supporting Agency and Investment in Multilingual University Writers at the 8th anuual EMTU Days at University of Jyväskylä. This conference is sponsored by the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU), a multidisciplinary association of Finnish researchers, established to promote research in this field in Finland. The theme of the ETMU Days organized in Jyväskylä is cross-currents in language and culture. The aim of the ETMU Days (27–28 October 2011) is to challenge the polarized debate about cultural diversity, and multilingualism.
Jyväskylä ETMU Days aim at consciously breaking down the juxtaposition between the language of science and everyday language and understanding. The objective is the concrete interaction between everyday life and academic culture. The program includes events that are open for all.
Authors: Marlen Harrison, Maiju Uusipaikka, Annika Karinen, Diana Raitala, Reetta Elonen, Tanja Räsänen, Hanna Huumonen & Otto Tuomela
Summary: Throughout the last two decades, scholarship discussing learner development has expanded from viewing the learner as one who possesses intrinsic or extrinsic motivation to a performer who to varying degrees invests in the learning process – one who interacts, gives and gains. Likewise, learner autonomy has also expanded beyond a mindset or attitude, e.g. “the learner’s psychological relation to the process and content of learning” (Little, 1991, p.4), to include discussions of learner agency where “the student contributes actively to shape [his or her] own learning” (Carpenter & Murphy, 2007, p.4). With this expansion in mind, the authors sought to look back at the trajectory of their experiences in a second language communication and composition course in order to more deeply understand the roles of agency and investment in their own and fellow classmates’ learning. Key to these students’ success was their sense of ownership in the learning process. This ownership, as noted in the students’ final reflective letters for the course, was largely attributed to their freedom to focus on career-related research projects, a pedagogical choice that the instructor thinks of as “a bridging approach.” As such, this presentation examines the role of project-based learning activities in the lives of high-proficiency, multilingual, university writers at a Finnish university’s language centre – particularly projects that attempt to bridge the learners’ personal and professional interests – and asked the student-researchers themselves to report via written narrative how such a bridging approach in the learning environment supports learner investment and agency. Students were asked, “In what ways did our course offer you the opportunity to connect your personal interests (passions) and professional goals? More importantly, what impact did this have on you as a language learner/multilingual writer?”