Arab World English Journal(July 2012)                                                           Theses / Dissertations

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Author: Kimberly Bunts-Anderson
Title: Relations between teachers’ conceptions of in-class and out-of-class interactions and reported teaching practices: Teachers’ belief study
Subject/Major: Teacher Cognition and English Language Learning/ Linguistics and Psychology
University name, department name::Macquarie University, Division of Linguistics & Psychology, Department of Linguistics
Degree: PhD
Year of Award: 2006


Spoken interaction with others is one of the most powerful tools in learning and teaching a second language. This investigation is concerned with uncovering and categorizing the ways a group of L2 teachers’ describe their experiences and beliefs of two types of spoken interaction; those that occur in the classroom (ICI) and those that occur outside the classroom (OCI). Twenty-eight EAP teachers were interviewed using phenomenographic and ethnographic investigative approaches and asked to describe their experiences and how they thought about and used spoken interactions in the teaching and learning of a situated lesson. The conceptions that emerged as consistent (reported as experienced most frequently across the group and within individual transcripts) were identified and categorized into two sets of categories of description (COD) one for each type of interaction. Across the group of teachers, five stable ICI categories of conceptions were identified and four stable OCI categories of conceptions were identified. These categories describe the range of conceptions that emerged across the group as a whole and do not attempt to rate the understandings of individual teachers. The conceptions of interactions in both sets of categories followed a hierarchal pattern of development from less complete to more complete understandings of these interactions. These descriptions formed two frameworks that are supported by similar patterns describing less complete and more complete understandings of various concepts in sets of categories published in other education settings (Marton & Booth, 1997). Exploration into the teaching and learning approaches reported in the teachers’ experiences of ICI and OCI indicated that the utilization of interactions was constrained by the ways these interactions were conceived. Relations between more developed conceptions of both phenomena emerged in situations where more developed conceptions were reported. In these situations bothICI and OCI were simultaneously present in the teachers’ awareness and perceived as different aspects of the same teaching/ learning situations. Across the group the teachers reported less powerful ideas of how to utilize OCI than how to utilize ICI.

Keywords: Interaction Analysis ESL/ESOL/EFOL, Phenomenographic categorical frameworks for TESOL, Formal and Informal Communication in Teaching EAP, Language Teacher Cognition (Experience and Conceptual Development), The role of spoken ESL/EFOL interactions in Higher Education