Major issues in second language classroom research

Chapter one is all about the major issues in second language instruction that arose during classroom research. There are four general issues concerning the effectiveness of the classroom instruction that was mentioned.

The first issue is entitled “Learning from instruction” which concerns Krashen’s extensive analysis of the role of instruction within his framework of interpreting L2 acquisition, wherein he views the effects of instruction as limited, however: the classroom should function to provide the learner with comprehensible target language (TL) input in an affectively supportive climate.

The second issue is entitled “Teacher talk” the main goal of this research has been to determine what makes teacher talk an aid to learning, the initial approach of this research has been to describe the features of L2 teacher talk which distinguish it from speech to L2 learners in non instructional settings.

The third issue is entitled “learner behavior”, both the teacher and the learners have been investigated not only their linguistic behavior but their learning strategies and social interactions with other learners have been the target of research. Some researchers have placed great emphasis on finding out whether the learners are viewed as being in control of their own learning.

The last issue is entitled ”Interaction in the classroom ”, interaction is viewed as significant because it is argued that 1) only through interaction can the learner decompose the TL structures and derive meaning from classroom events, 2) interaction gives learners the opportunities to incorporate TL structures into their own speech. In chapter one the four major issues were introduced, because in the chapters that will follow, each chapter will treat the issues just outlined in greater detail.

Chapter 2: Classroom research methods.

Chapter two presents the principal studies and concepts that have elaborated the methodology for observing and analyzing classroom instruction and interaction. Several approaches were mentioned in this chapter, majority of it is the methodological approaches. Methodological approaches to the study of L2 classrooms are extremely varied, reflecting both a great diversity of research questions and purposes, and a range of theoretical perspectives on the conduct of research.

There is a continuous give-and-take between the success and failures of quantitative and qualitative approaches to portray and explain precisely the processes and products of classroom interactions.

These approaches have followed methods adopted by researchers in native language schooling or other sociological and sociolinguistic studies of communicative interaction. In this chapter these methods were described with regard to their capacity to extract and validate generalizations about social and linguistic processes occurring in L2 classrooms.

Chapter 3: Teacher talk in second language classrooms

Chapter three surveys research on the linguistic and discourse characteristics of teacher speech to L2 learners. This chapter reviews research that has investigated second language classrooms in terms of teacher’s language use in the classroom, especially the characteristic features that differentiate speech to nonnative speakers from that to native speakers.

It was also mentioned here the four modifications in teacher speech which are: first is the modifications of speech rate, prosody, phonology, wherein the researchers that were involved , found teacher’s speech to second language learners to be slower, in comparison with other contexts and conditions.

Second is the modifications of vocabulary, where they claim that both non teachers and teachers tend to use a more basic set of vocabulary items in their narratives told to L2 learners. Third is the modifications of syntax, it is by far one of the most investigated and quantified characteristics of teacher talk has been teacher’s syntactic modifications. These can be grouped into five types: measures of length of utterances, measures of subordination, measures of markedness, measures of grammaticality, and measures of distribution of sentence types.

And the last one is the modification of discourse, which has two categories: the framing moves, where the only significant difference in framing moves was that visiting teachers used more, compared with the regular teachers. The second category is the self-repetition, where on the assumption that repetitions may provide the learner with more opportunities to process information or follow the teacher’s model. In this review, a variety of teacher behaviors have been described and compared across different contexts.

Chapter 4: Learner behavior in second language classrooms

Chapter four reviews research on the characteristics of learner behavior- participation and speech. They consider research on the contribution of the learner acquisition of a second language. Classroom researchers have focused on learner’s verbal and social interactions and have inferred learning strategies from learner’s behavior in such interactions. There were also hypotheses in the data and tentative conclusions about relationships to learning that are described in this chapter. These hypotheses will form the basis for organizing the results of studies on learner behavior.

Research on learner’s classroom behaviors addressed several major hypotheses. In addition, a final section of this chapter examines studies of learner’s learning strategies, a relatively recent area of investigations in second language classroom research. As for learner strategies, there are clearly fruitful topics for further research. It is evident that the strategies identified to date constitute a very mixed set of phenomena, not all of which can be investigated under classroom conditions.

Chapter 5: Teacher and student interaction in second language classrooms

Chapter five describes research on teacher-leaner interaction. In this chapter several of the factors that have been considered to influence the quality and quantity of teacher-student interaction are examined.

The interaction which occurs as a result of these factors is described, and some of the likely consequences of the interaction for learners are suggested. In the view of many researchers and practitioners, conversation and instructional exchanges between teacher and students provide the best opportunities for the learners to exercise target skills, to test out their hypotheses about the target language, and to get useful feedback.

The classroom research has shown that teachers may be less likely to address L2 learners when they are mixed with native speakers. It has also been revealed that teacher’s different questioning strategies may be either helpful for inhibiting of communication in classrooms.

The greatest error teachers make may be the assumption that what occurs as ”correction” in the classroom interaction automatically leads to learning on the part of the student. The nature of interaction in L2 classrooms is perhaps the most critical issue concerning formal second language learning, and although the research cited in this chapter suggests important ways in which current instructional practice may be both effective for and detrimental to promotion of TL skills, the complete picture remains to be developed.

Chapter 6: Learning outcomes

Chapter six draws together all of the foregoing research, as well as other studies, to determine the state of knowledge about learning outcomes resulting from teacher’s and learner’s classroom interaction. This chapter will review research on L2 classroom processes that have a potentially positive effects on learner’s perception and incorporation of the forms and functions of the target language. It should be clear that there is substance to the view that classroom instruction will aid L2 acquisition. The direction of results in the few large-scale classroom studies favors slightly a focus on form or explicit talk about grammar.

Research on outcomes of learner production and teacher-learner interaction, suggests furthermore that other factors in classroom learning may contribute greatly to acquisition. Some of these factors may underline or interact with the effects noted in this section. The research reviewed here concerning the TL learning effects of interaction in L2 classrooms is limited in its conclusions, yet highly suggestive for further research. But still there are many research that remained unsolved, but hope that in the future many of these will be once and for all solved.

Chapter 7: Directions for research and teaching

As the last chapter it is obvious that the major findings of the research will be summarized, and that implications for further research and teaching in second language classrooms will be suggested. Despite the increase of classroom-oriented research in recent years, few can be made with great confidence because of the difficulty of synthesizing.

When all the research has been carefully analyze it has been shown that research is lacking in consistent measures of classroom processes and products. Sometimes inadequate in design to address critical research question. It is also incomplete in its quantitative or qualitative analysis, which leads to a need of greater theoretical specification of the constructs and relationships to be investigated.

A discussion of these methodological issues is to be carried out before any future directions are suggested. In this chapter it was also pointed out the areas for future research on classroom reading, outline major implications for curriculum planning and L2 instruction, and lastly to suggest ways of achieving greater consistency across classroom research studies. The reason of pointing these out is because, it makes it more easier for future researchers to find answers.

Summary

Since the 1960s, there has been an increasing attempt in research on teaching and learning from instruction to relate the major features of teacher and student behavior in classrooms to learning outcomes. The research in this book deals with the nature of the teacher and student behavior in real classroom.

Using this set up , researchers were able to observe and analyze what is really the nature of the teacher and the student’s behavior. They were able to determine what are the factors that can affect a L2 learner in acquiring language. They were focused on the learning and acquisition of the L2. In the first chapter, they discussed the major issues that arose during the research.

The chapters that follows, the primary research studied is that conducted in L2 classrooms, in simulations of language classrooms, or in semi-instructional, tutoring interactions between teachers or L2 speakers and language learners.

Many theories, hypotheses and approaches were formed and used in these research. But there was a memo in the start of the chapter, it says that the fact that this book is reviewing research on the preceding issues does not guarantee that the research will provide unambiguous answers to them. It’s because the research that was done in this book has not yet been proven to be accurate.

The purpose of this book has been to attempt to elucidate the critical issues and findings of research in and about second language classrooms. While the studies reviewed here clearly are not always as rigorous or convincing as we would like, the past ten years of classroom-oriented research is impressive in the breadth and depth of study of a variety of issues, when virtually every study was groundbreaking in one respect or another- methodology, research questions, population studied, analytical techniques applied.

At the same time, second language instruction has been gaining importance, as more people throughout the world find the need to acquire one or more second languages. There is diversification in the specific purposes of language instruction, an increase in language schools and programs, and an expansion in training programs for second language teachers, researchers, and program developers. For these reasons alone, second language classroom research has an important role to play.

Reflection

I think this book is quite the catch. Especially if you are an English major like me. This book helped me to understand a bit more the importance of second language acquisition. I already know from my ESL/EFL class that learning a second language is important, but this book made me realize that acquiring a second language will be very advantageous for me.

Because if I learn my second language perfectly, I know that I will be more confident in myself. And that I can be globally competitive. This book does not only talk about second language acquisition, it also talks about classroom-oriented research. In the classroom-oriented research they tackled the nature of the teacher and the behavior of the students.

They wanted to know what are the factors that affect the L2 leaner in acquiring language and how can they overcome these if they were to be problems, and how can they improve it if it were a solutions. In this book there were also hypotheses theories, and approaches that were formed and used.

The setting that was used is the classroom, and that the main subjects are the teachers and the learners. This book is a big help in understanding second language acquisition. Although some words are a bit hard to understand , I will still recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning and acquiring a second language. And also to my fellow majors, because I know this book will be a big help in our studies.

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