This paper offers a reconceptualisation of international students’ transitions into and through UK higher education. We present two case studies of students which explore their transitions in terms of their academic speaking skills from pre-sessional courses into their disciplinary studies. Students describe how the development of their confidence and performance in academic speaking was contingent on a number of factors and micro-moments, and how this progress into and within disciplinary studies often involved regression and discomfort. Nevertheless, they also talked of developing strategies to overcome challenges and the resultant learning. We argue that transitions to disciplinary studies in terms of academic speaking can be more helpfully understood as non-linear, fluid and rhizomatic. This study offers valuable insights for individuals and institutions to move away from a fixed student lifecycle perspective to consider instead how reciprocal, embedded and on-going support for international students may better reflect students’ experiences.
Pragmatic competence is a component of language knowledge; therefore, it is as intrinsic to the ability to successfully communicate for a foreign language (FL) learner as it is for a native speaker, especially where perceptions of politeness may vary between cultures. Despite this, pragmatics is under-represented in FL course materials and assessments, and consequently educators are often left unsure as to how to include it in their classes. The result of this is that learners may achieve proficiency in the linguistic competences (knowledge of lexis, syntax, phonology), but remain pragmatically underdeveloped and susceptible to pragmatic failure. The present study seeks to investigate how second language (L2) pragmatic competence can be comprehensively developed in the ordinary EFL classroom, using an explicit teaching method which fundamentally integrates assessment into the instructional process. To conduct this investigation, a novel method was designed and implemented with the participation of advanced Serbian EFL learners. Data sources, including role-play and video-based assessments, interviews, discussions and observations, were then obtained for the purposes of cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis to address three research questions. The first two questions explore how the components of pragmatic competence develop as a result of the instructional method and the role of pragmatic awareness in this. The third question investigates the practicality (validity and feasibility) of incorporating such a method in the classroom context. Findings suggest that the assessment-integrated instructional method constitutes a practical and effective means of comprehensively developing L2 pragmatic competence in the ordinary EFL classroom, as evidenced by the demonstrable development of participants’ conscious knowledge and ability to apply contextually appropriate Head act and External modification strategies. L2 pragmatic awareness appears to be key to the process of developing particular pragmatic sub-competences. Findings also serve to indicate further implications for pragmatics-related instructional methods, such as the phenomenon of ‘pragmatic fossilisation’.
Developing global graduates or global citizens is a goal often expressed in university mission statements. This study draws on Amadasi & Holliday’s (2017) distinction of block narratives and thread narratives of culture and applies these to interviews with first year students. It shows that some ability to draw on thread narratives and therefore non-essentialist views of culture is in evidence from the start of students’ university careers. Universities need to implement policy and practice to foster the emergence of these abilities and thus enable students to acquire the attributes of a ‘global graduate’. This will also ensure that ‘internationalisation at home’ is not a value-free concept.
In ihren Leitbildern setzen sich viele Universtitäten das Ziel, sogenannte ‘global graduates’ oder ‘global citizens’ auszubilden. Die vorliegende Studie untersucht Interviews mit Studienanfängern auf der Basis von Amadasi & Holliday’s (2017) Unterscheidung von Sperr- und Strangnarrativen. Sie stellt fest, dass die Fähigkeit, Strangnarrative zu verwenden, schon zu Beginn der Universitätskarriere dieser Studenten erkennbar ist. Universitäten sollten durch Leitlinien und praktische Maßnahmen die Herausbildung dieser Fertigkeiten fördern, um es Studenten zu ermöglichen, die Eigenschaften eines ‘global graduates‘ auszuprägen. So kann sichergestellt werden, dass ‘internationalisation at home’ kein wertfreies Konzept bleibt.
This paper explores, through the example of HE group work, how principles derived from English as a lingua franca (ELF) research (e.g. accommodation, strategic competence) can provide insights into the speaking demands of group work in Anglophone EMI settings which includes native speakers as well as non-native speakers. The paper maps data gathered through interviews with first year undergraduate students against Mercer et al.’s (2017) oracy framework. It shows that students draw on a combination of linguistic, cognitive, physical and social & emotional skills, many of which align with ELF principles. However, current frameworks of support for speaking demands in HE (EAP & Academic Skills) lack focus on dialogic speaking, pay little heed to ELF findings and cater for native speakers and non-native speakers separately despite their needs being similar. The paper argues that a focus on ELF can contribute to the development of speaking support which sits at the centre of students’ academic journey and encourages better interactions between native and non-native speakers.
In the internationalised classroom of the Anglophone world, tutors as well as students face the challenge of negotiating the norms of classroom interaction which frequently remain opaque, potentially leading to feelings of alienation and lost learning opportunities. After reviewing the literature on academic classroom talk in international and multilingual/multicultural settings, this paper uses episodes from one UK higher education classroom and the retrospective comments by the classroom tutor to discuss the challenges faced by students and tutors in today's “internationalised” Anglophone university. It ends by suggesting that the principle of “reflective practice”, if implemented in staff development courses and in courses for all members of the classroom community, can train students to use spoken academic language more effectively in the internationalised Anglophone university. The paper further hopes to be able to bring together the discourses on internationalisation used in applied linguistics and education studies in the interest of more intensive collaboration between the two fields of research.
Recent years have seen the emergence of Web2.0, in which users are not only passive recipients of the featured content, but actively engaged in constructing it. Sites such as ‘Facebook’, ‘Myspace’ are typical examples of this, as are blogs that allow users to present themselves online, to write about their daily lives or even to establish themselves as an authority on a particular subject. Due to the opportunities for self-reflection and interactive learning offered by blogs, they have also become one of the emerging tools in language pedagogy and higher education. At the same time, peer feedback is a technique that is increasingly used by educators instead of, or in addition to, tutor feedback, due to its potential to develop students’ understanding of standards, to initiate peer feedback, and to engage the student in the process of learning and assessment. This paper is concerned with the question to what extent blogs can facilitate peer feedback and what issues need to be addressed for them to be a valuable tool in this process. After reviewing the recent literature on peer feedback and the specific issues emerging from providing feedback through computer mediated communication (CMC) technologies, the 2 paper presents the results from a pedagogic research project in an advanced German language class in which blogs were used for this purpose. Drawing on students’ blogs as well as the responses given by students in questionnaires and focus groups and responses by experienced tutors in interviews, the paper argues that blogs are potentially valuable tools for peer feedback, but entail the need to address specific issues regarding the choice of CMC tool for feedback tasks, training in the use of interactive online tools and the roles of teachers and students.
This paper introduces a more nuanced view of face and facework than the commonly used frameworks in interlanguage pragmatics. It argues that ILP not only prioritizes research on the expression of politeness in the L2 and the acquisition of politeness strategies, but that the field also does that in at? extremely decontextualized manner that takes little account of the situatedness of linguistic discourse. Moreover, the paper suggests that existing accounts office and facework with their focus on politeness alone may not be sufficient to capture speakers' projection of other aspects of self-hood, i.e. the social identities and/or attributes that they want to foreground and be attributed with in particular situations.By analyzing an argumentative conversation of two L2 learners of German, the paper shows different ways in which self-presentation is performed, e.g., by the way speakers organize their turns, the way they modalize their discourse, and the way they use markers of reference and identity. It then argues that the field of interlanguage pragmatic should move away from its focus on politeness in a limited set of speech acts and focus also on self-presentation.
This study contributes to the growing field of research on interlanguage pragmatic development with a study on the development of argumentative discourse ability by second-language learners of German. I will be focusing on facework—that is, the use of verbal strategies that allow the speaker to have his or her social identities, particular personal qualities, and attributes validated by others. The study approaches the data, which were gathered from learners of German at 3 levels of proficiency, from the perspective of sequential and preference organisation. The analysis shows that argumentative sequences develop from a simple 2- or 3-turn structure, which consists of merely 1 “core” adjacency pair (assessment/opinion–agreement/disagreement), to being extended by postsequences and insertion sequences. It is only for learners of higher proficiency, however, that these extensions serve to further the argument rather than merely building on agreement. When disagreeing, learners increasingly use agreement turns to sharpen forthcoming disagreement or use their interlocutors’ turns to serve that purpose. These developments are then explained from a sociocognitive perspective. I will argue that developments are due to learners overcoming processing constraints as proficiency progresses as well as their changing frames of reference for the task.
This paper approaches data from L2 German argumentative discourse from Goffman’s related notions of face and frames. Face as the social identities and qualities speakers want to have upheld is seen to be associated frames, i.e. the way speakers frame and interpret an event. Comparing three examples from a cross-sectional data set of discussions on issues associated with university life, the paper shows that, in each of these cases, speakers applied different frames to the task, resulting in different patterns of turn-taking and modalisation. These differences can be explained with the varying degrees of exposure to the target language in classroom and out-of-classroom situations as well as the educational environment in which the data were collected. The paper ends with a number of proposals for research in the field of interlanguage pragmatics, suggesting that politeness and speech act perspectives are insufficient to grasp learners’ real pragmatic intent. Instead, the question of how tasks and situations are interpreted by learners need to be at the forefront of inquiry, with methods for data collection and analysis appropriate to that agenda following suit.
This paper argues that the field of interlanguage pragmatics – the study of L2 use and development – has neglected facework strategies that are directed towards the speaker rather than the hearer. These strategies serve to present particular identities and qualities of the speaker. This is exemplified through examples from L2 learners of German at three different levels of proficiency taking part in an argumentation task and retrospective interviews with thee learners. The analysis shows that, the lower learners’ level of proficiency is, the more likely it is that the organisation of the discourse and the use of epistemic verbs such as ‘ich denke’ (I think) are oriented towards the maintenance of a ‘good L2 speaker’ face. Learners in essence play the role of a language learner rather than the role imposed on them by the argumentative task, and ‘politeness’ towards the interlocutor is not at the forefront of their mind. As a consequence, the paper suggests that interlanguage pragmatics needs to integrate perspectives which see face management as more than the mere enactment of politeness.
This paper introduces Goffman’ theory of ‘face’ as a theory of identity, arguing that individual speakers retain agency for the kind of self-image they want to construct in terms of their qualities and social roles. Drawing on data elicited through elicitation tasks (argumentative conversations) by learners of German at three levels of proficiency, as well as retrospective interviews with these learners, the paper shows that linguistic limitations and limitations in processing control mean that learners at lower levels or proficiency are more likely to use their limited resources in the service of constructing a ‘good L2 speaker’ identity rather than an identity associated with the argumentative task. The paper thus argues that labelling learners’ performance as deficient is not helpful. Rather, their attention is simply diverted to aspects of ‘face’ that are salient and important to them.
Drawing on video-recorded classroom interactions and interviews with tutors, this study investigates what considerations for rapport motivate tutors' repair strategies in two culturally diverse higher education classes in the UK: an Oral Skills class from an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programme and an undergraduate Accounting class. The analysis shows that repair initiations in the Oral Skills class tend to be made off-record, be mitigated, and generally lead either to student self-repair or other-repair by a class member, while repair initiations in the Accounting class tend to occur close to the trouble spot, be direct and explicit, and often lead to other-repair by the tutor. What is common to both classes is that the tutors foreground a collective frame of reference to protect the group's equity and association rights at the partial expense of their own and individual students' face claims. Because this article can only show the general relationship between repair strategies and rapport considerations, it is suggested that studies on classroom interaction need to systematically explore classroom practices in different subject areas and educational environments in which English is used as the language of communication. This will further our understanding of different norms of classroom interaction and inform the teaching of EAP. © 2014 The Modern Language Journal.
This paper discusses how a microlevel linguistic analysis, using interactional sociolinguistics as an umbrella framework and drawing on analytical concepts from politeness theory and conversation analysis, can be used to advise chatbot designers on the interactional features contributing to problematic human user engagement as part of a consultancy project. Existing research using a microlevel linguistic analysis has analysed human user: bot interactions using natural language. This research has identified a central role for language which promotes sociability between the machine and users in the alignment of their goals and practices. However, there is no research currently which discusses how a microlevel linguistic analysis can help identify how the discursive construction of alignment and affiliation within prompt: response chatbots supports social presence and trust. This paper addresses this gap through an analysis of a database of prompt: response chatbot interactions which identified problematic sequences involving misalignment and disaffiliation, undermining human users’ trust and sense of social presence within the interaction. It also reports on how the consultancy project suggested changes to the programming of the chatbot which have potential to lead to improved user engagement and satisfaction.
This book reviews and summarizes what we know about interaction in the Anglophone university classroom, drawing on publications from applied linguistics, education studies and psychology.
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