The social unfolding of task, discourse, and development in the second language classroom. Gabrielle Kahn

ISBN: 9780549791171

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NOOK Study eTextbook

227 pages


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The social unfolding of task, discourse, and development in the second language classroom.  by  Gabrielle Kahn

The social unfolding of task, discourse, and development in the second language classroom. by Gabrielle Kahn
| NOOK Study eTextbook | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, RTF | 227 pages | ISBN: 9780549791171 | 5.21 Mb

Studies on tasks for second language learners have often promoted task types that are highly structured and designed to elicit particular interactional devices. Less explored have been tasks designed with open-ended outcomes, analyzed qualitatively, and implemented in classrooms as opposed to experimental settings. This study examines the language arising from open tasks---tasks designed to unfold by learners and teacher in emergent directions---in a low-level English as a Second Language classroom of adult learners.

The central purpose is to discover what dialogic phenomena characterize the discourse arising from open tasks and what relation these phenomena have to second language development. Approximately 20 hours of open task discourse were audiotaped over an eight-week period in both teacher-fronted and small-group interactions.

Data were transcribed according to conversation analysis conventions and qualitatively examined through the analytical lens of sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978). Three central dialogic phenomena were inductively identified in the open task corpus: (1) emergent form foci, (2) complex negotiation of meaning, and (3) imitation. Dialogic phenomena were analyzed in the open task participation of two different learners as they attended to two different language structures over time---one learner with a syntactic structure (WH-question formation), and the other learner with a discourse structure (narrative formation).

The study detailed the participants negotiation of intersubjectivity in their discourse. Learners were found to expose their thinking and their developmental needs in the open space of their tasks, with their teacher and peers found to reach out with tailored support to build new knowledge and shared activity goals. The findings of this study suggest that: (1) learners linguistic activity can open a window into their cognitive activity, (2) an open-ended task structure with both teacher and learners participating can set in motion a dynamic interactive process through which the social unfolding of learning can occur, (3) the internalization of new knowledge is a gradual process, and (4) imitative, experimental utterances exhibited during the unbounded tasks of this investigation provide evidence of second language development in process.



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