What do the data show? Multiple theoretical perspectives on learning in a single L2 classroom.
Language Learning Roundtable Colloquium
Organizer: Paul Toth, Temple University
Discussant: Leila Ranta, University of Alberta
This colloquium investigates instructed second language (L2) learning by documenting interrelationships among a range of sociocognitive factors within a single L2 classroom. Presenters representing current social and cognitive theoretical frameworks will analyze a comprehensive set of quantitative and qualitative data gathered in a third-year L2 Spanish class at a suburban US high school during a single, one-week instructional unit. In this class, students developed an explicit rule for the pronoun
After an initial 20-minute introduction to the data gathering context and procedures, colloquium participants will each discuss, in 15-minute time slots, the importance of different feature(s) of the data from one of five perspectives:
- Generative psycholinguistics
- Cognitive skill development
- Sociocultural theory
- Conversation analysis
- Social identity/positioning
To build cohesion, each presentation will address the following key questions:
- How is L2 development understood within your theoretical perspective?
- What features of the classroom data are most relevant to your perspective on development?
- What features of the documented classroom experience appear to have had the most important impact on learners’ development?
A 30-minute discussion with attendees will synthesize common threads among the various perspectives while also identifying how each makes unique contributions to understanding L2 instruction and development. Relevant connections between the empirical evidence, theory, and practice will be interwoven within the discussion.
A generative psycholinguistic perspective
Feature reassembly in the classroom: L2 Spanish instruction on the clitic
Alan Juffs, University of Pittsburgh
This study investigates how L1 morphology affects L2 Spanish development among instructed English native speakers. Following Lardiere’s (2009) Feature Reassembly Hypothesis (FRH), it considers to what extent explicit instruction promotes novel associations of semantic and syntactic features with
One hundred thirty-eight Spanish learners were divided into three treatment groups: control (n = 40), explicit, deductive instruction (n = 49) and explicit, inductive instruction (n = 49). They completed a timed grammaticality judgment and a written production task with different classes of Spanish verbs. They were tested before instruction, immediately afterward, and six weeks later. Results on both tasks show that the instructed L2 learners increased in both accuracy and overgeneralization of
A cognitive skill development perspective
A cognitive approach to classroom data: Understanding the factors that lead to the development of L2 Spanish
Kara Morgan-Short, Briana Villegas, Joshua Buffington, University of Illinois-Chicago
Cognitive perspectives of
We apply such an approach using the current dataset provided by Toth. Although data about input, interaction, and processing during instruction are not available for each individual, observations taken during classroom instruction provide insights into the general strategies that occurred within each instructional group, such as the amount of metalinguistic language used in the classroom. After describing these strategies to understand the differences between groups, we examine the effect of instructional treatment on the development of L2 Spanish
A sociocultural perspective
Understanding language development: A sociocultural perspective
Kristin Davin, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
Ali Kushki, Loyola University of Chicago
This study investigates concept development within the PACE approach to grammar instruction (Adair-Hauck & Donato, 2016). After presenting a culturally valid text to learners and directing their attention to a target structure within it, the teacher co-constructs a grammar rule with them before they complete communicative extension tasks to apply the rule. In this high school second language (L2) Spanish class, the target concept was the use of the pronoun
From a sociocultural perspective, L2 proficiency development benefits from the
This paper examines how the mediation provided by the teacher and peers during a PACE lesson fostered or, in some cases, failed to foster, learners’ development of concepts related to the pronoun
Presentation 4: A conversation analysis perspective
Co-constructing participation and learning in a high school Spanish class: A conversation-analytic perspective
Innhwa Park, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
As an approach to the study of social interaction, Conversation Analysis (CA) offers a systematic analysis of how people coordinate language and action on a moment-by-moment basis. CA research assumes that the activities of producing and responding to talk exhibit identifiable interactional practices such as turn-taking, sequence organization, and repair. From the CA perspective, learning resides in these identifiable practices as a public and accountable process.
Building on a substantial body of research that employs CA to investigate how classroom interaction unfolds in real time, this study examines the interaction in a high school Spanish class. The data consist of the whole class discussions that follow a series of group co-construction tasks in which learners are working on understanding Spanish -
Presentation 5: A social identity/positioning approach
What do the data show? A social identity/positioning approach
Raquel Mattson-Prieto, Temple University
Rachel Showstack, Wichita State University
When studying a second language, learners develop roles as participants in social practices (Young, 2009). An important element of their participation is how they represent and negotiate identities through language. Linguists from various disciplines apply the notion of stance to understand how certain social positions are embedded in discourse and interaction (e.g., DuBois, 2007). More specifically, research in applied linguistics and social interaction has begun to examine ‘epistemic stance,’ or positions of certainty, doubt, imprecision, etc., to show how knowledge is claimed in discourse (Biber et al, 1999). By exploring stance-taking practices, we can identify the processes by which learners claim certain identities and how these identities are negotiated through interaction in the classroom.
This study examines classroom development from a positioning and social identity approach (e.g., He, 2004; Jaffe, 2009), considering how learners position themselves as language experts and novices during peer interaction in the Spanish L2 classroom. The data come from audio and video recordings of small-group interactions as learners discuss their understandings of grammatical concepts. We analyze how learners utilize discursive resources, such as justifying and mitigating their responses and requesting help and confirmation, to display and ascribe epistemic stances, and we consider how these stances may index particular identities. Our findings reveal how learners claim these identities and represent their roles as Spanish speakers in the classroom.
Because these classroom interactional data only tell us part of the story about students’ identities as language learners, future research including learners’ backgrounds is necessary. Our study