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On Language Teachers’ Classroom Practices: Bridging Conversation Analysis with Language Teacher Education Research

Fagan, Drew S.

Since the late 1980s, second language teacher education (SLTE) research has grown immensely as a field of inquiry within applied linguistics, particularly as teacher knowledge, expertise, and cognition have been found to influence students’ language learning processes in classroom contexts (Borg, 2011). Much empirical evidence illustrating this connection has been gathered using a variety of ethnographic data techniques such as individual interviews, focus groups, journal writing, questionnaires, field notes, and stimulated recall sessions. The strengths of these data sources are numerous in that, when triangulated, they provide insight into teachers’ thought processes and perceptions of their teaching practices. It has been asserted elsewhere (see Fagan, in press a), though, that while many studies within the SLTE field have attempted to draw implications from such findings for teachers’ classroom practices, the methods used do not allow for such assumptions. In fact, as Borg (2011) presents in his summary of SLTE research over the past two decades, there remains a lack of juxtaposition between findings on teachers’ perceptions and their actual classroom practices in situ. That is not to say that there have been no studies bridging such data sources. Tsui (2003), for example, utilizes varied ethnographic data sources, including the use of classroom discourse data, to get at language teachers’ development of expertise. This study, however, is representative of the few in the SLTE field that incorporates glosses of interactions into their analyses. In other words: (a) transcriptions tend to solely consist of the verbal non-suprasegmental components of the discourse rather than include other interactional resources (i.e., prosodic cues, pausing, nonverbal conduct) illustrating the intricate constructions of teachers’ communication; (b) the focus of the classroom data does not detail the specific sequential environments in which certain teacher practices appear.

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Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics

More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Published Here
November 6, 2015