Towards a sociolinguistically informed pedagogy: French for L2 nursing students in Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Beaulieu, Suzie
  • This dissertation examines the sociolinguistic competence of French immersion graduates registered in the bilingual Bachelor of Science in nursing at the University of Alberta. More specifically, this research focuses on the stylistic norms required of these students to better treat their patients whose first language is French. Drawing on Valdman’s (1976, 2000) concept of pedagogical norm, two studies were designed to identify the high frequency stylistic features that are most highly valued by the target population.
    First, through observation and recordings of French-speaking nurses and patients in clinical settings, the stylistic norm used by the target population was identified revealing the speech styles that post-immersion nursing students would be exposed to in their clinical placements and future job appointments. The data analysis revealed that neither French-speaking nurses nor French-speaking patients make much use of formal language features in their interactions.
    Second, the study sought to identify the stylistic norm that target community members expect from nursing students. Accordingly, 53 French-speaking community members were asked to listen to a series of interactions in which French L1 and L2 nurses addressed a French-speaking patient using either formal or informal features. Participants rated on a 5-point Likert scale the effectiveness and acceptability of the interactions. Interviews, conducted on a voluntary basis, followed to shed light on the participants’ reactions. The results indicated that nurses who used formal language forms in their interactions were generally judged as cold and distant and received less favourable judgments from the majority of the participants than nurses who used the local norm which was more informal in nature.
    Although this study is confined to French L2 nursing students in Alberta, the broad implications from this dissertation calls for a pedagogical paradigm shift that may well apply to other French L2 teaching contexts. French L2 instructors all face similar educational and ideological challenges with respect to adequately preparing learners for real-life communicative demands and expectations (Chaudenson, 2006; Gadet & Guérin, 2008). As such, a better underestanding of sociolinguistically informed pedagogy could offer widespread benefits to French teachers, textbook designers and teacher trainers.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.