Exploring the creation of a digital resource to support the learning of undergraduate students of L2 French and L3 Spanish

Fitzsimons, R., 2022. Exploring the creation of a digital resource to support the learning of undergraduate students of L2 French and L3 Spanish. EdD, Nottingham Trent University.

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The research presented in this thesis focuses on the development of a bespoke online resource to support the learning of undergraduate students with English as their native language (L1), studying French as their first foreign language (L2) and Spanish as their second (L3). It explores the experiences of both staff and student members of a university department of Modern Languages, and contextualises the data by drawing upon theories of cross-linguistic influence (CLI) and metalinguistic awareness (MA). Simultaneously, this collaboration is analysed in the context of the development of a language-learning community, to determine whether it can be deemed the endeavour of a Community of Practice (Wenger, 1998).

The research uses an Action Research approach, employing a sequence of interviews and focus groups to generate data relating to linguistic aspects of L2 French and L3 Spanish language-learning, as well as pedagogical and practical considerations in the design of the resource. The emerging data are scrutinised through thematic analysis. The prototype e-learning resource is piloted by student participants, who subsequently engage in a debriefing process to evaluate its effectiveness.

The evidence confirms that students of L2 French and L3 Spanish felt the benefit of working with a bespoke resource addressing their specific learning experiences and needs. They demonstrated MA in their engagement with materials focusing on areas identified as potential sources of CLI. There was also evidence of a heightened sense of community identity in this enterprise, which the study concludes as being an example of a collectivity of practice (Lindkvist, 2005).

The project proposes a living educational theory, which is articulated before and after the study and evolves as a result of the research conducted. The theory stresses the appropriateness of collaborative endeavour in the context of the study, and contends in the conclusion that through collective activity in a language-learning domain, a sharing of ideas and understanding can exist and be developed.

In its focus on developing an online learning resource to support the specific audience of English L1 students learning L2 French and L3 Spanish, and achieving this by harnessing a language-learning community to pinpoint lived and living experiences of CLI and MA, this study addresses a gap in professional practice. Its findings are presented both as a contribution to the teaching and learning of Modern Languages, and as a stimulus for further research and development in the field of bespoke resource design for students simultaneously engaging with L2 and L3 studies. The innovative approach, embracing sequenced input from staff and students and drawing on both learning experiences and relevant theories, offers transferability to different language combinations, and to other language-learning settings across the HE sector.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Fitzsimons, R.
Date: April 2022
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author, Ronan Fitzsimons. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or for information if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the intellectual property rights.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Institute of Education
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 10 Nov 2022 10:06
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 10:06
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/47362

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