This book is the first study to examine how interactional style develops within the walls of a foreign language classroom in the first two years of language study. Results show learners to be highly sensitive to pragmatic information and that learners can move toward an appropriate interactional style through classroom interactive experience.
The book shows how learners are most often sources who offer assistance and correction, with errors serving most often to stimulate further thinking about what form is correct. Analysis shows learners to be active in seeking corrective information in the classroom setting, not only from peer partners but also from the teacher. They are active in noticing how the teacher's utterances--even when addressed to others--contrast with their own, and utilize corrective feedback intended for other students. In addition, the results show that teacher-initiated corrective feedback addressed to individual learners is only one source of corrective feedback. Learners are shown to be active in both teacher-fronted and peer interactive settings.
In newer L2 teaching methodologies which focus on the use of peer interactive tasks, the teacher's role has been de-emphasized. This book, however, shows how important the teacher's role is. The final chapter examines how the teacher can act to maximize the benefits of peer interactive tasks through how they design tasks and present them to the class. First, the chapter looks at how learners use English--their L1--in the classroom, concluding that how teachers present activities to the class has an impact on the amount of L1 used by students during peer interaction. Following up on this finding, the chapter works to address questions that teachers face in lesson planning and teaching. It presents a useful list of questions teachers can ask when designing peer interactive tasks in order to maximize the effectiveness of a wide variety of language learning tasks.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface. From Social Tool to Cognitive Resource: Foreign Language Development as a Process of Dynamic Internalization. Private Speech: A Window on Classroom Foreign Language Acquisition. Peer Interactive Tasks and Assisted Performance in Classroom Language Learning. A Learner-Centered Analysis of Corrective Feedback as a Resource in Foreign Language Development. The Development of Interactional Style in the First-Year Classroom: Learning to Listen in Japanese. From Task to Activity: Relating Task Design and Implementation to Language Use in Peer Interaction. Appendix.
"We conclude this review by affirming that Ohta's book is a valuable innovation in the study of classroom foreign language learning...Ohta has painted a very valuable portrait of the secret talk of foreign language learners, one that we can recommend to colleagues in the fields of SLA and teacher education."
"The book sheds some new light by introducing novel theoretical and methodological perspective in dealing with this old topic...The theoretical explanation is easy to follow, and the description of the data and its analysis is thorough."
—Studies in Second Language Aquisition
"Highly original....The carefully transcribed data alone is valuable for students and professionals as a methodology of transcription and analysis, including the hard-to-capture private speech of learners....The quality of scholarship which has gone into the treatment of the data, from transcription to coding and analysis, is truly outstanding....This book offers new information and novel perspectives on language learning processes in an unrelated language which potentially challenges and informs long-held beliefs on vocabulary learning, grammatical and pragmatic development in second languages."
University of Oregon