Teacher Talk in Grammar Instruction: A Sociocultural Perspective

By Mei-yun Ko and Tzu-fu Wang.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study examined two grammar teachers’ classroom discourse, attempting to understand how different teacher talk can make a difference in students’ learning. Data were collected by observing and audio-taping two grammar classes, taught by two different teachers. The audio-recorded data were transcribed for analysis from a sociocultural perspective. Results showed that one teacher was interactive while the other was not, and the interactive teacher employed various discourse strategies such as questions and recasts, successfully engaging students in interactive co-construction of meaning and linguistic forms. Her questioning techniques reflected Wood et al’s (1976) six scaffolding functions like keeping student interested in the task, simplifying the task when students had difficulty, highlighting the critical features and discrepancies between what students’ production and the ideal solution, and reducing students’ frustration. By contrast, the other teacher adopted an explicit approach to grammar instruction. She usually provided direct grammar explanation and numerous skill-getting exercises, and seldom created opportunities for participation, interaction, and negotiation. In conclusion, a teacher should adopt a dialogic approach to teaching, constantly gauging the learner’s level and providing them with graduated assistance through interaction.

Keywords: Teacher Talk, Grammar Instruction, Sociocultural Theory, Discourse Analysis

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp.271-280. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 603.744KB).

Prof. Mei-yun Ko

Associate Professor, Department of Applied Foreign Languages, Natinal Formosa University, Yunlin, Taiwan

Mei-yun Ko is Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Foreign Languages at National Formosa University in Taiwan. She is also currently a Ph.D. candidate in Lanugage Education Department at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research interests include reading instruction, critical literacy, and discourse analysis.

Prof. Tzu-fu Wang

associate professor, Department of Applied Foreign Languages, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Yunlin, Taiwan

Tzu-fu Wang is associate professor in the Department of Applied Foreign Language at National Yunlin University of Science and Technololgy. He earned his Ph.D. from Department of English, National Taiwan Normal University. His research interests include translation, text analysis, and writing instruction.

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