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A classroom view of meaning negotiation with EFL adult Mexican students

Dr. Gildardo Palma Lara

Purpose
The purpose of this thesis is to explore the ways classroom interaction inhibits or promotes interactional modifications in the language production of students.

Aims
Two aims are set out: The first one is to replicate Fosters study (1998). The second one is to explore the three parameters suggested in such study (Foster,1998, p.5): i) speech production; ii) comprehensible input; iii) modified output in order to see if and how task types and participant structures affect speech production and interactional modifications

1st parameter speech (language) production:

Does the obligation to transfer information during a task cause students to talk more? Is there a difference in the amount of language produced by students working in groups compared to those working in dyads? (Foster, 1998)

2nd parameter: comprehensible input


To what extent do students in dyads and groups negotiate for meaning in order to make input comprehensible? Is the obligation to transfer information associated with a greater incidence of negotiation of meaning? Is such negotiating more likely to occur in groups or in dyads?

3rd parameter: modified output


To what extent do students in dyads and groups modify their language to make it comprehensible to others? Is the obligation to transfer information associated with a greater incidence of modified output? Are such modifications more often observed in groups or in dyads?

Literature review Longs Interaction Hypothesis (1980, 1996)

promote comprehensible input

negotiation make linguistic forms salient

Learners modify their output

Literature review
Qualitative aspects 1. Negotiation of meaning is well and alive in lab conditions. 2. Transferability to a real classroom scenario. Few interactional modifications . Pretend and hope strategy was used. 3. Results partially supports Fosters findings It adds participants interviews.

1. Pica, Holliday, Lewis & Morgenthalers (1989)


2. Foster (1998) 3. Eckerths (2009) Quantive aspects: 1. a corpus of 1952 c-units, 327 negotiation moves, 116 modified output moves. 2. a corpus of 918 c-units, 87 negotiation moves (9.4%), 20 output moves (2.1%) 3. a corpus of 2175 c-units, 123 negotiation moves (5.6 %) ,32 output moves (1.5 %)

Present study

Introduction of the variable of foreign language instead of L2.

Hypothesis
It may be the case that introducing the variable of Foreign Language contradicts the original findings in Fosters study.

Methodology: tradition

The design of this study integrates a qualitative scope with some quantitative measures namely c-units (Chaudron, 1985; Doughty, 2000 a, b).

Setting
School of Languages of the State university of Puebla (Benemrita Universidad Autnoma de Puebla-BUAP). Out-reach EFL program: Seasonal Courses; EFL upper-intermediate group

Participants
10 Participants identified by pseudonyms same L1 background & Nationality 6 females and 4 males. Their ages range from 20-36. Representing two professional profiles

Professional profiles Pseudonym M.A. in Business administration B.A. in Management Nashielly, Rodrigo, Laura, Victor and Karla Francisco, Patty, Roco, Dulce and Alberto

Instrument: tasks 1. A conscious raising task-text repair (optional info-exchange in pairs)

2. Picture differences (required info exchange in pairs)

3. Consensus, the great diamond robbery (optional info-exchange in groups) 4. The Supersaver map (required infoexchange in groups)

Results
Students in dyads and groups
Mp3 recorder identified by initial Nashielly Task 1 1a Karla Francisco 1b Patty Roco

1c Victor

(Optional information exchange)


Dulce

1d
Alberto 2a Laura

1e
Rodrigo 2b Francisco Patty Roco 2e Alberto 3a Laura Rodrigo

2c Victor

Task 2 (required information exchange)

Nashielly

Karla 2d Dulce

Group Task 3
(Optional information exchange)

Francisco

Karla

Roco
3b

Patty

Dulce

Nashielly

Laura

Rodrigo 4a

Alberto

Victor

Group task 4 (required information exchange)

Francisco

Laura

Dulce 4b

Victor

Rodrigo

Alberto

Karla

Patty

Nashielly

Rocio

Graph 1: Language production


Total c-units: 2016

327

698
371
Dyad Task1 Dyad task 2 Group task 3 Group task 4

620

number of c-units produced by students in dyads and groups

Graph 2: Language production

190

187 Total 3a Total 3b Total 4a Total 4b

137

184

number of c-units produced by students in groups

Graph 3: Language production

16.22% 34.62% 18.40%


Dyad Task1 Dyad task 2 Group task 3 Group task 4

30.75%

% of c-units produced by students

Graph 4: Comprehensible input : Negotiation moves

61

80

1 (a-e)

76 96

2 (a-e) 3 (a-b) 4 (a-b)

Number of negotiated input moves

Graph 5: Comprehensible input in Negotiation moves

18.65%

11.46%

15.48%

1 (a-e) 2 (a-e) 3 (a-b) 4 (a-b)

20.49%

Number of negotiated input moves as % of total c-units

Graph 6: Modified output

71

76

1 (a-e) 2 (a-e) 3 (a-b)

80

85

4 (a-b)

Number of modified output moves

Graph 7: Modified output

10.89% 21.71% 13.71%


1 (a-e) 2 (a-e) 3 (a-b) 4 (a-b)

21.56%

Number of modified output moves as % of total c-units

Graph 8: Modified output

2 24
Syntactic

40 10

Morphologic semantic phonologic

Distribution of types of modified output moves 1 (a-e)

Conclusions

Assumptions

Swain (2005) calls a necessary endeavor to reproduce more studies that show the phenomenon of negotiation of meaning within EFL real classroom scenarios. In EFL scenarios is up to the teacher to recreate the interactional conditions that otherwise are taken for granted in L2 classrooms. EFL students need to be trained to fulfill communicative referential tasks purposes in a FL environment

Conclusions
1. 2.

3.

Participants produced a significant number of interactional modifications. The conscious raising grammar task, in pairs, triggered a significant amount of morphological modifications in the usage of the inflectional particle s in the 3rd person singular. Required and optional information exchange tasks generated similar amounts of language production, negotiation and output moves.

Implications of results and EFL


Participants of this study interpreted the four communicative referential tasks pragmatically different. Learners adapted the tasks and the language use. The tasks were exploited beyond their pedagogical aim. The viability of exploring tasks in different sociocultural contexts is determined as a core issue that needs further research.

Implications of results and EFL


Students seem to interpret tasks in relation to their professional background. This tendency seems to affect interactional adjustments in terms of number, negotiation resources and finally in modified speech.

Thank you!