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Title:Task variation and classroom learner discourse
Author(s):Kinginger, Celeste S.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Savignon, S.J.
Department / Program:French
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Language, Linguistics
Language, Modern
Abstract:In recent years, the second language teaching profession has increasingly adopted peer discussion techniques as a means of improving both the quantity and the quality of classroom language practice opportunities. There is sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that peer interaction provides increased amounts of comprehensible and negotiated linguistic input. However, there has been little research into the ways in which classroom task types, and the classroom context itself, may affect learners' conversational strategies. As a result, little is known of the manner in which these activities may be considered to promote communicative competence in addition to linguistic ability.
This project, based upon a pilot study completed in December 1987, investigates the conversations of intermediate students of French as they perform tasks regularly assigned in classrooms in two university level instructional settings. Four task types, exerting variable amounts of control upon the nature of the discourse, were selected for inclusion in the study. A total of 32 dyads from four intermediate French classes participated. The students were audio recorded as they performed the tasks, and the tapes were transcribed for analysis. A survey of learner attitudes toward the tasks was administered when the conversational data had been gathered in each class.
Analysis includes: (1) descriptions of discourse dynamics, including distribution of turns-at-talk, topic management, repair strategies and negotiation for meaning, (2) a summary of findings from learner attitude surveys, and (3) quantitative analysis, including ratios of words per minute, counts of communication units within a time limit, and type/token ratios indicating the variety of vocabulary employed.
This project is descriptive in nature, and therefore does not address the issue of eventual learning outcomes. However, in describing the learning experiences made available to students through pair work (and by contrast, those which are not) the project contributes to an understanding of one aspect of classroom discourse. It is hoped that these insights will eventually permit informed use of peer discussion techniques in second language classrooms.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Kinginger, Celeste S.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9026231
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9026231

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