Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Using a Polar Grounded Composite to Describe the Socio-Cultural Determinants of ESL Teaching in Rural Fijian Schools

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Using a Polar Grounded Composite to Describe the Socio-Cultural Determinants of ESL Teaching in Rural Fijian Schools

Article excerpt

This paper utilises a grounded narrative to report on the most culturally-Fijian characteristics of teaching. The grounded narrative is a qualitative reporting methodology used to convey the Fijian educational setting vividly and authentically. It highlights the salient cultural characteristics that typify Fijian teaching by depicting a most culturally-extreme Fijian rural school, the 'ideal type'. This description effectively highlights the sociocultural determinants of Fijian school ethos by reporting on extreme aspects of English teaching and daily school management. Key words: Qualitative Reporting, Grounded Narrative, Grounded Theory, ESL, Teaching Methods, and Fiji

Introduction

This paper utilises a grounded narrative to describe major sociocultural characteristics that determine the ethos and administration of Fijian rural secondary schools and that influence their teaching of a common 'English as a Second Language' curriculum.

The ethnographic field work informing this article was conducted in eight rural Fijian secondary schools over three years. Polar analyses of salient observations were coalesced and reported as characteristics of one fictional characteristically-Fijian secondary school. These polar characteristics are grounded by references to the data. This original phenomenological qualitative reporting technique, which I call 'grounded composite narrative', is derived from Weber's 'ideal type' and Grounded Theory methodology.

This paper presents (1) the grounded narrative as a qualitative reporting methodology, then uses the grounded narrative to describe (2) a fictitious rural Fijian secondary school: Koronivuli Lomolomo and (3) its interpretation of the 'English as a Second Language' (ESL) curriculum.

1 The grounded narrative as communicative qualitative reporting methodology

The grounded narrative as an interpretive tool for etic context-representation

The grounded narrative is a qualitative reporting methodology that I used for vividly describing the Fijian educational research context. It is a narrative, grounded in insiders' experiences (Halliwell, 1995) and anchored in reality, which should be seen as "opening a window on the mind, or ... as opening a window on their culture" (Cortazzi, 1993, pp. 1-2). This methodology provides an emic contextual dimension to etic context-representation and allows the grounding of abstract analytic concepts in concrete particulars. The resulting richly vivid descriptive narrative allows the reader to vicariously and emphatically experience the anthropological research context by reorganising and reconstructing its context to create personally relevant meaning.

To this end, I developed three types of grounded narratives. The first is the polar grounded composite of extreme characteristics which functions as a stereotype. The second is the bi-polar grounded composite that contrasts two contexts. This is used for describing two fictitious contexts, each embodying contrasting characteristics. The third type is the modal grounded composite that typifies the research context by a description embodying its modal characteristics.

This article uses the polar grounded narrative which is an extension of Weber's 'ideal type':

   An ideal type is formed by the one-sided accentuation of one or
   more points of view and by the synthesis of a great many diffuse,
   discrete, more or less present and occasionally absent concrete
   individual phenomena, which are arranged according to those
   one-sidedly emphasized viewpoints into a unified analytical
   construct (Gedankenbild). In its conceptual purity, this mental
   construct ... cannot be found empirically anywhere in reality. It
   is a utopia. (Weber, 1949, pp. 89-90)

This unified analytical mental construct allows for the creation of a vivid description of the most culturally-extreme characteristics of Fijian rural secondary schools by coalescing them into one fictional school. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.