The EFL P.Æ.C.E. Corpus is a collection of authentic class-driven texts where students are given the opportunity to express, in a written format, their inner-representation and self-interpretation of who they think they are as students of foreign languages (FL) and who they would like to be. This inner look into students’ perspectives about their world as language learners makes this corpus a rather unusual collection of texts where students themselves give voice to their learning process, fatigue, needs, and more or less disciplined efforts to reach what some of the students named a “dream competence,” in a language (English) that may make a difference in their future lives and in the occupational world of tomorrow. In order to mirror and identify some of the aspects that create conflict and slow down harmonic language learning development, I carried out a longitudinal study at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” with the auspices and sponsorship of the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Incoming, first-year university students of English were asked for five years in a row (2005/06–2009/10), and with reference to English language learning, to look at their learning paths retrospectively and write about their past histories and recent decisions in EFL. The data (more than 100,000 words) were gathered, organized in five segments (each per year), and electronically systematized in the P.Æ.C.E. corpus. The protocol foresaw three phases: Opening declaration, Guided visualization (GV), and Introspection. Nearly 600 students volunteered to offer, in anonymous texts, self-representations of their learning states (Phase I) at the beginning of their first-year course of English Language and Linguistics I. They talked about their preferences, expectations, certainties, hopes and desires, positive and negative attitudes and affective actions or reactions toward English, before and after a visualization (Phase III). Students were required to report about their mental journey (as they called it) describing the experiences the GV had stimulated (Phase II), giving as many details as they could in the allotted time (7–8 minutes). The visualization was orchestrated following neuro-linguistic programming modalities. From the data, it emerges that most students understand the importance of becoming fluent in English (e.g., to get a job in Italy or abroad, to travel, to enjoy international interactions, to become a language teacher). But they approach its study with a variety of potentially diminishing factors and conflict-activating mindframes. These impinge negatively on getting high marks in coursework and completing required credits on time. Major among these blocking factors are: flickering motivation types, poor self-esteem, inefficient study skills, many and diversified types of fears, inaccurate awareness of personal proficiency, inefficacious timeframes, high and unreachable expectations. Besides these conflicting self-representations, however, the data in the corpus also show that students want to be active constructors of their future worlds, desire to become proficient in English, wish to integrate and fulfill their goals, and dream about getting a good job, possibly abroad. In the students' visions about their future lives, English countries, English cultures, English people, all the Englishes around the world, and English music are present as a magnetic and pulling force.

P.Æ.C.E. An Italian-English Corpus Based on EFL Students

LANDOLFI, Liliana
2012

Abstract

The EFL P.Æ.C.E. Corpus is a collection of authentic class-driven texts where students are given the opportunity to express, in a written format, their inner-representation and self-interpretation of who they think they are as students of foreign languages (FL) and who they would like to be. This inner look into students’ perspectives about their world as language learners makes this corpus a rather unusual collection of texts where students themselves give voice to their learning process, fatigue, needs, and more or less disciplined efforts to reach what some of the students named a “dream competence,” in a language (English) that may make a difference in their future lives and in the occupational world of tomorrow. In order to mirror and identify some of the aspects that create conflict and slow down harmonic language learning development, I carried out a longitudinal study at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” with the auspices and sponsorship of the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Incoming, first-year university students of English were asked for five years in a row (2005/06–2009/10), and with reference to English language learning, to look at their learning paths retrospectively and write about their past histories and recent decisions in EFL. The data (more than 100,000 words) were gathered, organized in five segments (each per year), and electronically systematized in the P.Æ.C.E. corpus. The protocol foresaw three phases: Opening declaration, Guided visualization (GV), and Introspection. Nearly 600 students volunteered to offer, in anonymous texts, self-representations of their learning states (Phase I) at the beginning of their first-year course of English Language and Linguistics I. They talked about their preferences, expectations, certainties, hopes and desires, positive and negative attitudes and affective actions or reactions toward English, before and after a visualization (Phase III). Students were required to report about their mental journey (as they called it) describing the experiences the GV had stimulated (Phase II), giving as many details as they could in the allotted time (7–8 minutes). The visualization was orchestrated following neuro-linguistic programming modalities. From the data, it emerges that most students understand the importance of becoming fluent in English (e.g., to get a job in Italy or abroad, to travel, to enjoy international interactions, to become a language teacher). But they approach its study with a variety of potentially diminishing factors and conflict-activating mindframes. These impinge negatively on getting high marks in coursework and completing required credits on time. Major among these blocking factors are: flickering motivation types, poor self-esteem, inefficient study skills, many and diversified types of fears, inaccurate awareness of personal proficiency, inefficacious timeframes, high and unreachable expectations. Besides these conflicting self-representations, however, the data in the corpus also show that students want to be active constructors of their future worlds, desire to become proficient in English, wish to integrate and fulfill their goals, and dream about getting a good job, possibly abroad. In the students' visions about their future lives, English countries, English cultures, English people, all the Englishes around the world, and English music are present as a magnetic and pulling force.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11574/61005
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