Creating communities of practice for fostering second language learning in people in crisis

Authors

  • Anna Chrabaszcz University of Pittsburgh, USA
  • Vera Anisimova Independent Researcher, the Speak Up For Peace project, Évian-les-Bains, France
  • Julia Antropova Independent Researcher, the COMMON project, Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Daria Bikina Harvard University, USA
  • Anna Menukhova Independent Researcher, the COMMON project, Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Sandra Mirabo Independent Researcher, the Speak Up For Peace project, Évian-les-Bains, France
  • Victoria Odnoshivkina Independent Researcher, the Speak Up For Peace project, Évian-les-Bains, France
  • Anna Shcherbakova Independent Researcher, the COMMON project, Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Anna Tikhomirova Independent Researcher, the Speak Up For Peace project, Évian-les-Bains, France
  • Tetiana Zmiievska Independent Researcher, the Speak Up For Peace project, Évian-les-Bains, France

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.29038/eejpl.2022.9.2.chr

Keywords:

people in crisis, refugees, trauma, second language acquisition, online language instruction, foreign language tutoring, volunteer instruction, community of practice

Abstract

This paper describes two volunteer-based nonprofit initiatives, COMMON and Speak Up For Peace, which originated as a response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of the Russian Federation of Ukraine. The initiatives function as communities of practice that provide free online foreign language instruction to people in crisis (predominantly Ukrainian refugees). We conducted an online survey in a subset of language instructors (N = 75) and participating people in crisis (N = 102) with the goals 1) to assess the effectiveness of provided language instruction, 2) to gain a better understanding of the participating learners’ and teachers’ experiences and attitudes towards their learning and teaching, respectively, 3) to identify the main challenges and issues that learners and teachers face while participating in the projects, and 4) to gauge the viability of these and similar volunteer-based language projects for people in crisis and refugees in the future. The survey revealed a significant improvement in proficiency and motivation of participating people in crisis to learn a new language. Additionally, participating in the projects was associated with overall positive emotional and psychological benefits, for both learners and teachers. Among the most common issues related to learning and teaching in the context of the projects were student absenteeism and attrition, work balance, and teacher training. Overall, the study revealed interesting insights about perceived attitudes toward learning and teaching in students and instructors, respectively. It may be of interest to educators, language instructors and policymakers working with refugee groups and people in crisis.

Author Biographies

Anna Chrabaszcz, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Vera Anisimova, Independent Researcher, the Speak Up For Peace project, Évian-les-Bains, France

Julia Antropova, Independent Researcher, the COMMON project, Tbilisi, Georgia

Daria Bikina, Harvard University, USA

Anna Menukhova, Independent Researcher, the COMMON project, Tbilisi, Georgia

Sandra Mirabo, Independent Researcher, the Speak Up For Peace project, Évian-les-Bains, France

Victoria Odnoshivkina, Independent Researcher, the Speak Up For Peace project, Évian-les-Bains, France

Anna Shcherbakova, Independent Researcher, the COMMON project, Tbilisi, Georgia

Anna Tikhomirova, Independent Researcher, the Speak Up For Peace project, Évian-les-Bains, France

Tetiana Zmiievska, Independent Researcher, the Speak Up For Peace project, Évian-les-Bains, France

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Published

2022-12-26

How to Cite

Chrabaszcz, A., Anisimova, V., Antropova, J., Bikina, D., Menukhova, A., Mirabo, S., Odnoshivkina, V., Shcherbakova, A., Tikhomirova, A., & Zmiievska, T. (2022). Creating communities of practice for fostering second language learning in people in crisis. East European Journal of Psycholinguistics, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.29038/eejpl.2022.9.2.chr

Issue

Section

Vol. 9 No. 2 (2022) Special Issue "Language and War"