English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 27.2
English Australia Journal Volume 27 No 2 19 specific eight- or ten-week courses of two contact hours per week plus a number of hours of homework, with a total of 269 students (an average class size of 14). Most of the participants were at intermediate or upper intermediate level. Students' first languages (L1s) were varied, the most common languages being Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Chinese. All classes were of mixed genders and language backgrounds, and all participants were university- oriented, attending either a pre-entry course such as ELICOS or a Foundation Studies course. Some students had already been accepted into a university but still had acknowledged English speaking issues. These were often postgraduate students. Some students were academic teaching staff. Data sources included: journal notes about planning for, implementing, observing the effects of, and reflecting on teaching experience; lesson plans with activities and materials; audio recordings of student speech; and students’ evaluations of their own learning and of my teaching. Speech as performance As long as four centuries ago, Shakespeare observed that, 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players', but it has not been until the last half century that, with ‘performance as a kind of critical wedge, the metaphor of theatricality has moved out of the arts . . . into every branch of the human sciences’ (Carlson, 2004, p. 6), especially language studies. In 1959, Goffman observed that speech is a form of (mostly) improvised performance; not merely the making of decipherable sounds, but carrying the speaker’s (actor’s) communicative intentionality and requiring the actively complicit presence of others (audience), with the speaker endeavouring to regulate the response of those others to the utterance and to shape it so as to construct an idealised notion of self-identity (character) (cited in Richards, 2001, p. 62). This notion has since been elaborated upon by scholars of linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, feminism, education and, of course, performance, with landmark contributions from Austin (1962), Searle (1969), Schechner (1985), Derrida (1988), Bourdieu (1991) and Butler (1993, 1997). A comprehensive and reasonably accessible overview of the evolution of performance theory and its application in a range of social science fields, including language studies, can be found in Carlson (2004). A result has been the destabilisation of the very notion of identity, with the idea that we perform acts of identity, including speech, 'as an ongoing series of social and cultural performances rather than as the expression of a prior identity' (Pennycook, 2003, p. 528). In other words, a person's identity is always a work in progress, always being (re)constructed and constituted – though mostly not consciously.
English Australia Journal 28.1
English Australia Journal 27.1