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Learn Finnish by Singing – the potential of music education for second language learning

Doctoral project of Johanna Lehtinen-Schnabel

In my interdiciplinary doctoral research I’m examing culturally and linguistically diverse choirs that intergrate L2 learning into choir practice. In this practice, music and language are approached equally and non-hierarcically drawing on the direct social needs of the adult choir participants. My article-based study asks:

  1. What specific features of the choir singing design and practice support second language learning amongst adult immigrants?
  2. What are the gains for Finnish language learning (language expression in particular) demonstrated by members of the choir following the period of choir singing?
  3. What kind of affordances does choir singing offer, if any, to adult participants and how do the participants themselves experience Finnish

Research material for my mixed method research was generated during
2019-2020. The material consists of 23 semi-structured interviews; video recordings
from lessons and concerts; researcher’s and participants’ journals;
language tests (Phonology pre- and post-tests); and a metaplan (underlying
pedagogical aims and principles of the choir practice).

Theoretically the study draws on activity theory, in particular activity systems thinking  (Engaström, 1987, 1991, 2001), and the concepts of boundary crossing (Akkerman
& Bakker, 2011; Star & Griesemer, 1989) and affordance (e.g., Gibson,
1979/1986; DeNora, 2000).

I’m part of an interdisciplinary research project ELLA (2021-
2024), funded by Kone foundation, and coordinated by the University
of the Arts Helsinki, that investigates how embodied language learning
through the arts may generate substantial change within communities.

Johanna Lehtinen-Schnabel is a doctoral student in the Research Study Programme at the MuTri Doctoral School.

Future doctors in music

We have approximately 150 doctoral students enrolled at the Sibelius Academy. This blog offers a view to their research projects.

The doctoral students are a part of a research community which is a unique combination of artistic activities, education, and research.

Their projects cover a wide spectrum of topics in the realm of music, combining musical practices and different research approaches.

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