Affordances for Teaching in an International Classroom: A Constructivist Grounded Theory

Research output: Types of ThesesDoctoral Thesis


This study focuses on disciplinary teachers’ perceptions of International Classroom Affordances (ICA) during English-medium education in a multilingual university setting (EMEMUS) in Austria. The main aim is to generate a conceptual model grounded in the data that points to the perceptual mechanisms of disciplinary teachers involved in this particular case study. Another aim is in line with the research identity of the author who seeks to exercise activist agency by facilitating a shift in perspective by those engaged in English-medium teaching. This research falls under the constructivist-interpretive paradigm within the boundaries of an ecological context and draws on the works of the perceptual psychologist Gibson (1986; 1977) and the sociologist Giddens (1984) who take organism-environment reciprocity as a central element of their theoretical foundations. Constructivist Grounded Theory (Charmaz, 2014, 2008, 2006), enriched by crucial elements of Nexus Analysis (Scollon & Scollon, 2013, 2004, 2002) has provided the methodological underpinning for this research. The systematic application of research methods anchored in the qualitative tradition and their subsequent analysis has resulted in the ICA model as the final outcome of this Constructivist Grounded Theory. By raising the agents’ descriptive accounts to the analytical level required for grounded theory research, it was sought to identify various contextual layers that allow for the generation of inductive and middle-range theory (Charmaz, 2008). Findings leading to the ICA model suggest that teachers perceive ICA on four analytical levels (at the framing, reacting, appropriating and embracing stage). They were found to appropriate their classroom practices in line with the emergent action possiblities they were able to perceive. The sequential affordance-based perception process largely depended on their subjective grounds for action and reflection, but was also stimulated by the researcher in form of itineraries of transformation. Personal agency coupled with hardened internalised societal patterns and the positivist conception of institutional rules were identified as the biggest defordances in EMEMUS.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • EMI
  • ELF
  • grounded theory
  • higher education research
  • IaH
  • IoC


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