Encyclopedia of Language and Education

2008 Edition
| Editors: Nancy H. Hornberger

Ethnography and Language Education

  • Kelleen Toohey
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30424-3_253


The term ethnography refers both to a set of research methods and to the written report of information obtained by these methods. Originating in the discipline of anthropology, ethnographic methods include participant observation, face-to-face interviewing, researcher reflection/journaling, and analysis of archival records (Eisenhart, 2001). Ethnography as a written genre is aimed at describing and understanding the cultural practices and perspectives of groups of people. Appropriating ethnography from anthropology in the 1970s or thereabouts, educational ethnographers were hopeful that ethnographic research methods might illuminate aspects of educational practice that were difficult to see in quantitative descriptions of learning and teaching activities. They were (and are) further hopeful that specific situated descriptions of the varieties of ways people organize their cultural and educational practices would prove helpful in improving schooling at all levels....


Language Learner Language Education English Language Learner Ethnographic Method Language Practice 
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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelleen Toohey
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationSimon Fraser UniversityBurnaby BCCanada