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University of Jyvaskyla
Department of Language and Communication Studies

 Contact details
Contact personDr. Nettie Boivin
Associate Professor 
StreetPO Box 35, University of Jyväskylä, Finland 
Address Jyvaskyla - FI-40014 (Finland) 
 Organisation details
Employees (in Depart.)51-250 
Organisation TypeSecondary or higher education establishment 
 Research Focus

 Fields of activities:
» Languages and Linguistics
» Performing arts
» Visual arts
» Cultural Heritage
» Anthropology
» Cultural studies
» Ethnic studies
» Innovation
» Migration
» Media and socio-cultural communication

 Brief description of your activity focus
Community Social Cohesion: Shared Experiences in Everyday Cultural Practices as Modes of Civic Engagement

 Details about Expertise / Competences / Technologies
Nettie Boivin is an Associate Professor at Jyvaskyla University, ReCLAS. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor of
Multilingualism in the Graduate School of Education at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. She obtained her Ph.D.
in Education specializing in language, literacy, and identity from the University Of York, UK. She received a
postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching and Learning. Dr. Boivin has a BA in Psychology, a BFA in
Theatre, and MA in Applied Linguistics at York University, Toronto, Canada. She spent time researching in various
multilingual language ecologies such as Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Qatar, Nepal, Northern U.K., as well as Canada and
Japan. Her areas of research interests are migrant and transmigrant lifelong learning, multiliteracies, investment in
family language policies, language, culture and identity construction through multimodal practices.
 Research Activities

 EU Framework Programme related activities:

 Project participation
Project #1
Project TypeNational
Project TitleBuilding Bridges- Home and Community
Specific ThemeBridging communities through co-production of arts-based practices

 International and national projects beyond EU Framework Programme
Bridging Home & School: Co-Participation in Arts-Based Ethnographic Practices as Modes of Civic Engagement
Funded: University of Jyvasklya Start-up Fund 60,000 Euros for 2 years
This study, aims to create a co-participatory ethnographic arts-based project that bridges home and school literacy
practices, re-conceptualizes these from the children’s view of literacy and civic engagement. 1) How do we define,
connect, and understand shared experiences of civic engagement? 2) How can this co-production process utilizing
multiliteracies enable institutional stakeholders to bridge with community stakeholders? This project also highlights a
new innovative approach to learning and research. One that utilizes co-production of arts-based materials (Pahl,
2017) research in a multidisciplinary, multi-perspective research project. If knowledge is mediated, shared,
negotiated, and co-constructed through multimodal and socio-cultural practices then research regarding learning,
identity, and language practices must be inclusive- co-participatory, shared, co-designed. Additionally, the research
must highlight how children see and communicate in their space and in the world. To achieve this, we must position
the research as one that co-participates with the children. The research is s two-year project beginning in Jyvaskyla.
This study incorporates co-participatory ethnographic art-based research. It utilizes observations over a year, across
various spaces (classroom, after-school, home, multicultural community center). Data includes co-production in by
children, the cooking videos, observations and smart-phone videos of the arts-based projects. Finally, these dishes
and children’s’ arts-based products will be shared with all community and stakeholders in a special event.

Collaboration, Construction, Reflection (CCR) Approach for Teacher Professional Development of Multilingual Early
Learners: Multiliteracies In Post-Soviet Kazakhstan

Based on the issue that often in post-Soviet contexts, in Kazakhstan, unsystematic observation of colleagues is a
common practice which tends to end up with finding only “successful” or “unsuccessful” practices for teaching. The
case study utilized research-based practice highlighting learning through observations in conjunction with lesson
reflections occurring overtime. The study took a Transformative Multiliteracies Principles (Cummins, 2009) as a new
pedagogy to be introduced for pre-service English languages teachers. The newly designed conceptual framework
incorporates a three-stage approach based on collaboration, construction, and rationale (CCR) underpinned utilizing
Cummins’s (2009) principles of Transformative Multiliteracies Pedagogy (Boivin, 2018). The research questions posed
in this study were: 1) How do early language learner teachers understand literacy and more specifically
multiliteracies? 2) Does practical application within classrooms that utilizes TMP multiliteracies better facilitate
acceptance of the new approach? The data collection tools included pre- and post- semi-structured questionnaires,
classroom observations, and digital reflective journals from the teachers. The grades of the classes were one through
six. There were 7 elementary English teachers per grade and 8 MA student (pre-service). In-service teachers and pre-
service MA students were interviewed before each session and then a week after the session. The special CCR lessons
occurred every other week over a 3-month period. The multiliteracies utilized blending of cultural practices and
globalized multiliteracies from Russian and Kazakh traditional stories that were translated into English. Findings
suggest that the teachers tended to have a little understanding of how to apply and adapt for different contexts, as
their prior language teaching and learning biases appeared to interfere with application of new pedagogies.
Furthermore, overtime findings showed that systematic observation paired with reflection facilitated acceptance of
the new pedagogical approach.
My role was PI. I was responsible for: proposal design and writing, report writing, data analysis and assessment,
training student in the design of lessons, and coordinated with several departments including staff development,
student affairs, director of the institute, and head of the English department.
Publication: Collaboration, Construction, Reflection (CCR) Approach: 21st Century EYL Teacher Professional
Development Chapter 12, Subhan Zein and Sue Grafton (eds.) in Early Language Learning and Teacher Education,
Multilingual Matters. (Forthcoming)
Weblink to the project: https://rizagulsyzdykbayev.wixsite.com/multiliteracieskaz

Community Multiliteracy Bridging Project - Rural Southern Kazakhstan Case Study
Kazakhstan language policy is evolving from one of revitalization of Kazakh to one of trilingualism including, Kazakh,
Russian, and English. However, this shift in policy poses new questions regarding Kazakh preschool children’s’
language and literacy learning. Preschool children learn best through active, social interaction, and the home sphere
is the most influential for learning prior to entering formal education. With global access to technology, home
learning practices have expanded knowledge sharing. However, in the rural context access to digital technology and
global practices is limited. Therefore, this study investigates what types of learning interaction is occurring in remote
areas of Kazakhstan. Also, it asks whether learning practices in rural areas differ from those in larger centres. The
first stage of the two-year study, involved observation in public spaces during the work week. Over 480 observations,
in 20 towns, villages, and urban centers were collected. This initial assessment stage of the study included 200 hours
of non-participatory observation. The factors investigated were: frequency and length of learning interaction, where
the interactions occur, with whom, and what modality, types of practices, purpose, and finally if there was access to
technology. These observations address the questions: What types of practices are being engaged at the pre-school
age, with whom, and using what modality? Leading the question other than parents, can community stakeholders
facilitate communities of learning through digital technology? The results revealed that knowledge-sharing, the types
of learning practices and interactions among elder caregivers differed from those of young caregivers. Additionally,
variations in types of learning practices between older rural and urban community members, was identified. Thus,
the second phase of implementation was four pilot awareness sessions of five hours each on a weekend. Awareness
sessions covered themes such as active learning, multiliteracies, ethnic storytelling, and story construction and
collected pre- and post-session questionnaire data. Preliminary results reveal participants created preschool
resources and a community of learning through digital technology. These findings from the pilot stage address
challenges for rural communities through intergenerational participation of preschool learning. My research role on
this project was sole ethnographic researcher. It was funded by Nazarbayev University Social Policy Grant. My
research duties included: proposal writing, project management, research design, data collection and analysis,
budget design and management, and community outreach activities. This project started from January 2015 but was
funded from November 2015 and completion date is December 2016.
Funded $10,000 USD by Nazarbayev University Social Policy grant.
Publication: 1) Boivin, N. (July 2016) Section 11, Chapter 11, Kazakh Transnational Multiliteracy – Building
Intergenerational Communities of Learning, Changing World Language Map, Stan Brunn and Donna Galbreath (eds.),
New York: Springer.

Peripheral Ritualized Practices
This is an ethnographic study which investigates the practices of language maintenance and ethnic identity affiliation
for immigrant/migrant Nepalese families with primary to middle school children in the United Kingdom. The study
presents a comparative case study analysis of three Nepalese immigrant/migrant families. 150 hours over a 1-year
period of participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and historical narrative interview were used. The study
investigated prior exposure to home country, ethnic, cultural, and social literacy practices that occurred in various
contexts. This analysis revealed a phenomenon and I developed three new categories ‘peripheral ritualized
multiliteracies’, ‘transnational cultural multiliteracies’, and ‘globalized cultural multiliteracies’ (Boivin, 2015; 2016).
Peripheral ritualized practices are a new and important aspect in language maintenance and ethnic identity
affiliation for children and early adolescents. Peripheral ritualized multiliteracies are those which a child or person
are exposed to in a consistent, continual, non-direct interactive practices. These practices are not syncretic nor are
they global practices but rather connected to one’s ethnic community. These include such practices as observing
cultural holidays, wearing ethnic clothes, eating traditional foods, and being exposed to non-verbal religious customs
(overhearing a family member chant or burn incense). Exposure to these practices strengthens children’s’
constructive ethnic identity and increases their future desire to improve their families’ L1. Peripheral ritualized
practices stem from multiliteracies. These practices played a significant role in each family’s position on the
acculturation continuum.
Exposure to peripheral ritualized practices over time creates positive changes in attitudes toward multilingualism and
diversity. Kate Pahl was my external examiner and she stated that:
The thesis links language maintenance practices and ethnic identity affiliation, aiming to explore the perceived
influence of (trans) migration on children’s ethnic identity development. The candidate reviews a vast amount of
literature, introduces new concepts and defines them thoroughly in relation to the literature. Her contribution to
knowledge is substantial and, if disseminated appropriately, will make a positive difference to the experience of
migrant communities in the UK and elsewhere (Pahl, final PhD Dissertation Report 26, September 2013).
In the future, I wish to expand findings that peripheral ritualized practices increase ethnic identity investigating to a
large marginalized, immigrant, or transnational migrant communities. As the reviewers from the Journal of
Intercultural Communications Research stated: “This paper provides an important contribution to understanding pre-
teen transnational and immigrant identity. The use of the 3 categorizations that differentiate cultural practices is
both interesting and has good explanatory power.”
Publications: 1) Boivin, N. (accepted minor revisions August 2016) Multiliteracy practices for trans-migrant children
and youth: Intercultural access to the local domain. Journal of Intercultural Communications Research. 2) Boivin, N.
(2015). Peripheral ritualized practices: Threads connecting decorations to the cloak of identity. Journal of
Intercultural Communications Research 44(1): 44-63

Malaysian Multimodal Community Project
This study aimed to assess the understanding of working Malay parents’ home practices including: emergent, social,
and multiliteracies. The children involved in the study were between the ages two to eight years old. The Multimodal
Community project use multiliteracies (arts and crafts, songs, videos, movies, and storytelling). The findings revealed
parents’ beliefs in what constituted literacy practices differed from research defined social literacy practices. One
need arising from the pilot study findings were the parents desire for training in how to participate in their children’s
home literacy practices. Thus, the training highlighted how working parents, utilizing multimodality, could integrate
social and multiliteracies practices into daily routines. The three-phase, year and a half project, created training
modules and website resources for in-service, pre-service teachers, and parents. The aim of phase two of the study
was to teach working class Malay parents how to increase social and multiliteracies (L2) in the home. Furthermore,
this project led to the creation of a 50 module for EFL teacher trainers whose community is marginalized, migrant,
multilingual, or multicultural. My role was PI in a teach of four other lecturers from the teacher training institute. I
was responsible for: proposal design and writing, oversaw funding, report writing, data analysis and assessment,
design of lessons, and coordinated with several departments including staff development, student affairs, director of
the institute, and head of the English department.
Publications: Boivin, N., Noraini AIbakri, R., Mhd. Yunus, Z., Mohammad, H. & Muniandy, N., (2014). Assessing
emergent, social, and multiliteracy practices in urban Malaysian homes. Malaysian English Language Research
Journal, 10/2, 34-54.

Afghanistan In-Service Teachers- External Factors in Co-Constructing Learning
The purpose of this study was to determine if cultural expectations can impede or facilitate trainer/trainee
relationship between the Malaysian master teacher trainers (MMTTs) and the Afghanistan master teacher trainees
(AMTTs). The study also aimed to highlight the external factors influencing the co-constructing of experiential
learning between the MMTTS and the AMTTs. The sample consisted of randomly selected participants from the 240
master teacher trainers from different teacher training institutions in Afghanistan. For this study, data were collected
using the mixed-method study utilizing trainee’s profiles, post-training feedback via Facebook and e mails, lecturers’
interviews, qualitative observations and course evaluation feedbacks. Findings highlighted empathy for the students’
socio-cultural home context as an important new socio-cultural factor influencing the Malaysian success in their
master teacher training. My role was PI. My research duties included data analysis, research design, administration,
and dissemination of findings.
Publication: Boivin, N., Yashawanora, Y., & Mohammad, H., (2014). External factors influencing the co-constructing of
experiential learning between Afghanistan participants and Malaysian lecturers. International Journal of Teaching and
Education 2(4): 1-16.

Soft CLIL Approach- Social Sciences and English
Redesigning foundation curriculum using content language from social studies implemented into language
development courses. Responsibilities: design and deliver nine weeks of CLIL lessons, six classes of 132 students of
foundation TESOL students, coordinated and scheduled six lecturers, assessed and analysed pre- and post-
questionnaires, coursework and interviews with lecturers and students to evaluate the effectiveness of the project.
Publication: Boivin, N. & Razali, H., (2013). Content and language integration – Redesigning foundation curriculum to
increase motivation. Malaysian English Language Research Journal, 9(2), 1-18.

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