As previous studies have proved, a majority of teachers maintain authoritative practices in Hungarian classroom discourses. Instead of behaving as independent agents, students often play the role of a patient, paraphrasing textbook definitions and their teachers’ words. This condition of dependence is usually reflected in students’ narratives, and classroom observations confirm this impression.
Has classroom interaction in Hungary become more democratic after the fall of communist dictatorship (1989)? Previous studies suggest that in the case of mainstream state schools, the answer is no. However, from the end of the 1980s, there was a period of the rise of experimental programs in Hungary. CLIL (Content and language integrated learning) programs became popular, but did not become part of the mainstream, since they regularly serve the goals of elite training. It is unfortunate, because – as P. A. Duff has argued –, CLIL practices may promote democratic principles. CLIL may be intertwined with more active student participation and symmetric interaction than standard teaching.
Based on large corpora collected in standard (state mainstream) and alternative (CLIL and experimental) settings, recorded classroom discourses and interviews will be compared. The systematic CA and DA analysis of classroom discourse and teachers’ and students’ narratives on their school experiences will serve a better understanding of institutional language policies, speakers’ identities and roles of agency. These are the piers of the cultural and linguistic socialization in a school, and their analysis supports the preparation of pedagogical innovations.
The host institution’s expertise in CLIL and FL studies is inevitable for a better understanding of Hungarian formal training, and the role of metalanguage in the achievement of Hungarian students. The results will be used for the elaboration of non-authoritative learning environments.
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