This studentship presents a unique opportunity to complete a PhD in an emerging research area and develop highly transferable skills by working both within a university environment and as part of a non-academic international organisation. The studentship project examines the place of English within the contemporary Algerian linguistic and cultural landscape. It explores the historical, political, economic and social contexts which shape learners’ motivation to study English, identifying new directions in research into shifts in global connections and perceptions of what has traditionally been termed ’Francophone Africa’. It also seeks to provide the basis for more research-informed policy-making, enabling the British Council to better focus its work encouraging UK-Algerian co-operation and partnership, including study in the UK, and better direct its English provision for both students and teachers.
The project will be orientated around the following broad themes, to be refined with the successful candidate:
(1) Motivations: What are the motives of Algerians for learning English and/or opting to study in English-speaking countries? To what extent are these decisions shaped by instrumental and integrative goal orientations? How intrinsically motivated are Algerian learners of English at different ages? To what extent is English important to their identities, to their ideal and future selves?
(2) Social worlds: What social worlds are associated with the English language? To what extent is English embedded in Algerian culture / the international culture they are familiar with? Which cultural associations seem to be important? To what extent is English embedded in Algerian culture / the international culture they are familiar with? Which cultural associations seem to be important? Which models of English are important to them: British, American or English as a Lingua Franca? How is this realised in practice?
(3) Change: What changes seem to be taking place at present? How have perceptions/ values/ motives changed in recent decades?
The methodology proposed (to be adapted and refined with the successful candidate) is a multi-case study of in-depth interviews with teachers of English and their students.
Supervision and structure
Year 1: The student will complete a thorough review of the literatures relevant to the project, refining the research questions and methodologies in discussion with the academic supervisors and the British Council Algiers team. S/he will also complete relevant research training, to be agreed upon between the student and the supervisory team.
Year 2: The student will be primarily based in Algeria. Through its close relationship with the Algerian Ministry of Education, the British Council will enable the student to get the access s/he needs in order to carry out fieldwork. When not carrying out interviews or transcribing results, the student will be based at the British Council Algiers office, and will have the opportunity of working alongside staff on the organisation’s English Higher Education Programme. Likely activities include engaging with and organising preparatory workshops for Algerian PhD students planning to come and study in the UK as part of the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and the British Council’s new doctoral initiative.
Year 3: The student will write up the thesis (maximum 80,000 words), and provide an executive summary for the British Council. S/he will also have the opportunity to participate in the co-organisation, with the academic supervisors, of an international conference on languages and area studies, to be held at the University of Portsmouth.
The student will be jointly supervised by the University of Portsmouth and the British Council in Algiers. The academic supervisory team are all members of the School of Languages and Area Studies (SLAS), one of the largest departments of its kind in the UK, and the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR). CEISR focuses on fostering, through its cluster-based structure, cross-faculty research across the humanities and social sciences. This project brings together the Francophone Africa and Language across Borders clusters, both of which have well established and internationally recognised research track records. The British Council has more than 75 years experience in promoting the English language and cultural relations in more than 100 countries around the world. The successful candidate will benefit from an extensive programme of research training and workplace experience, developing skills in intercultural awareness, project management and effective communication.
Full fees paid by the AHRC, bursary stipend per annum of £14,413 (2014/15 rate), plus an additional £1000 per annum paid by the British Council.
Applications are welcome from anyone with a strong academic track record EITHER in the field of language and linguistics (especially educational psychology, applied linguistics or language teaching) OR in the field of Algerian or North African area studies (history, politics, cultures or society).
AHRC terms and conditions mean that to be eligible for this award, candidates must meet certain UK residency requirements.
Full details about the project and how to apply are available here: http://www.port.ac.uk/faculty-of-humanities-and-social-sciences/courses/ahrc-studentship-english-in-algeria/