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    Minority Language Advising in the Workplace: Contextual Practices, Relational Knowing, Mandate, and Change


    Ni Loingsigh, Deirdre (2015) Minority Language Advising in the Workplace: Contextual Practices, Relational Knowing, Mandate, and Change. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    An investigation of minority language advising in the organisational context is carried out in this thesis. The focus is on Irish language support for employees mandated by the Official Languages Act, 2003 to provide public services through Irish. The research participants are adult second-language learners of Irish, designated contacts to provide Irish-medium services at a university. An Líonra Tacaíochta Teanga, a language support network, facilitated by the researcher in the role of language advisor, was established to explore language anxiety and support needs. A Participatory Action Research methodology was used to bring about constructive change in professional practices and attitudes. The conceptual framework merges the theoretical lens of transformative learning (Mezirow, 1991), and the Dialogue, Tools and Context Model for advising in language learning (Mynard, 2012). ‘Relational knowing’ is used as a theoretical ‘tool’. Activities over three action research cycles facilitated worker-learners to move from a situation of individual uncertainty to one of group confidence. Three distinctive language advising stances are revealed. The first role is that of language advisor as architect of learning spaces. Two positions relating to the role of advisor as action researcher are proposed. The first is a role to lead interaction with ‘critical friends’ in the minority language context. The second is that of ambassador for language learners within the organisation. New learner identities and spatial practices of An Líonra members are uncovered. Group transformative learning and a ‘shared mental model’, which prioritised putting colleagues at ease about interactions in Irish, are observed. These are presented as the hallmarks of An Líonra. The study reveals the contextual practices of minority language advising in the workplace. It highlights what happens at the intersections of learning at individual, network, and organisational levels, and the productive benefits of a focus on care and collaboration in professional development contexts. Language learners in the workplace merit attention as a significant group of ‘new speakers’ of Irish. An extended pedagogical framework is suggested for the design of future language support initiatives. A proposal regarding the establishment of a Centre for Irish Language Skills in the Workplace is presented in conclusions regarding new directions for language advising.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Additional Information: Appendix 1 - Cupla Ceist Videos 1-9 available with hardbound copy of thesis (cd)
    Keywords: Minority Language Advising; Workplace; Contextual Practices; Relational Knowing; Mandate; Change;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 6422
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2015 13:49
    URI:

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