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Introduction to Discourse Analysis
Journal Review III
A Study of Discourse in Relation to Language Learning in English Classes Co-Taught by Native English-Speaking Teachers and Local Teachers in Taiwan
This article was written by Wen-Hsing Luo (Department of English Instruction, National Hsinchu University of Education, Taiwan) that is published by Canadian Center of Science and Education. This study attempts to explore the nature and the potential of various discourse structures and linguistic functions that may facilitate students’ learning in English classes co-taught by a native English-speaking teacher (NEST) and a local English teacher in Taiwanese elementary schools.
In the study, data were analyzed based on a theoretical framework combining discourse analysis schemes, systemic functional theory of language, sociocultural theory of mind and activity theory. The study reveals that repetition drills were commonly used in the classrooms in spite of the difference in the learners’ levels, and the Initiating-Responding model was the dominant feature of the classroom discourse structure.
This study aims to describe the features of discourse, i.e., classroom talk, in English classes co-taught by a native English-speaking teacher (NEST) and a local English teacher in Taiwanese elementary schools and to explore the aspects of classroom discourse that may contribute to language acquisition. It is possible, through analyzing the discourse of classroom interaction, to bring to light the relation among discourse structures, language functions and learning in language classrooms. Using a case-study approach, the author examines the discourse of interaction between the teachers, i.e., a NEST and a local English teacher, as well as that among the teachers and students in an elementary-school English classroom in Taiwan.
Findings are discussed in relation to the research questions of this study: what is the nature of classroom discourse in the co-teaching classroom and how may the discourse as such lead to students’ production of the target language?
Field of Discourse-Teacher-fronted and Drill Activities. The study shows that the field of the discourse, i.e., the activity orientation of the discourse, in these two classes was mainly teacher-fronted drills (of grammar or vocabulary). There was no student-regulated learning activity in any form in either class. Yet, incidents in which the students appropriated scaffolding from the teacher and consequently produced the target language.
Tenor of Discourse-Teachers vs. Whole Class The study indicates that the role of tenor in both classes was assumed by the teachers and the students, most of time, as a whole class. Although both teachers took on the role of tenor, the NEST would mostly initiate the discourse of interaction in the classes, while the TTE in the sixth grade class would initiate the discourse when she started a new lesson or explained grammar points.
Mode of Discourse-Teacher-reading and Student-Repeating This study reveals that, the mode of discourse commonly seen in the classes was in spoken form: repetition (e.g., teacher-reading and student-repeating, in which the teachers read the texts or sentences and the students repeat what the teacher said). In the teacher’s monologue, the language plays the role of clarifying and providing information. The study shows that the teachers’ use of language in the classes can be characterized as the managerial, materials, and skills and systems modes. No classroom context mode, whose purpose is to enable learners to express themselves, is found in either of these two classes. While this finding is not surprising, as it has been shown in previous studies, repetition activities as such do not involve the students in higher mental processes, e.g., thinking and reasoning, and would consequently affect the degree of student achievement in English learning.
The conclusion is, this study reveals that repetition drill activities were found in both of these two classes, and the I-R model was the feature of the classroom discourse structure. The use of the target language, English, by the teachers was mainly for demanding information or action, while by the students it was for repeating and imitating. The classroom discourse was mostly led by the NEST, and the occurrence of discourse between the NEST and the TTE was not substantially observed in the study. Due to the nature of a case study, the findings of inform teachers as well as teacher educators of the characteristics and the potential of classroom talk that may facilitate students’ production of English in co-teaching English classrooms of this kind.
Source : http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v6n7p96