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Title:Communicative Inferencing Between Classroom Teachers and Limited English Proficient International Children (Sociolinguistics, Discourse)
Author(s):Kleifgen, Jo Anne
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Bilingual and Multicultural
Abstract:This study examined communicative inferencing between experienced and preservice teachers and non-English speaking international pupils in three mainstream classrooms: a kindergarten, first grade and third grade. The locus of observation was a dyadic instructional encounter, in which one of the participants perceived that the child required help to carry out a task. Natural classroom interactions were video- and audiotaped weekly for one semester. The focal subjects and the pupils' parents were interviewed in their native languages and were probed during playback procedures for their interpretations of the encounters. The pupils were debriefed on three occasions and the adults were debriefed once at the end of the semester. All interviews were audio-recorded.
The results of the qualitative analysis of the sixty-two hours of transcribed data were as follows. First, the teachers' arrangement of the physical setting of their classrooms mirrored their educational goals and served as frames for the negotiation of meaning. Next, participants appeared to use primarily top-down procedures as they drew on four elements to infer the intent of their partners: sociocultural--attitudes, beliefs, and values; prior knowledge and experience; knowledge of classroom events, routines, and discourse structures; and linguistic and nonverbal code. With sociocultural and knowledge-based elements of meaning providing a basis for inferring what was intended, teachers in all three classrooms accommodated linguistic forms according to their judgments of the pupils' understanding. Pupils used certain attention-getting and nonverbal tactics that served as signals for their teachers. Pupils varied in their willingness to be cooperative communicative partners, thus sometimes placing the burden of the interactional task on their teachers.
Finally, student-teachers were not as proficient as experienced teachers at building on shared values, beliefs, and background knowledge. Nor were they as competent in the quality of their accommodation of linguistic forms. However, the differences between the two teacher groups' linguistic accommodation skills did not appear to have great impact on the communication. Rather, the ability to draw on sociocultural and knowledge-based elements for interpreting meaning was more crucial to the success or failure of instructional interactions.
Issue Date:1986
Description:397 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8701533
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1986

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