Group discussions : the teacher's role?
Reinders, Hayo; Lewis, Marilyn; Tsang, Rebecca
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Citation:Reinders, H. , Lewis, M. , & Tsang, R. 2003. Group discussions : the teacher's role? Asian Journal of English Language Teaching (AJELT) 13, 61-73. NOTE: This is research undertaken prior to the author being affiliated with the Unitec Institute of Technology.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2434
Group discussions are a popular way of increasing the opportunities for authentic talk by language learners. However groups can also present problems: one or two learners may dominate talk or teachers may have difficulty in adapting to a less up-front teaching role. This article reports a small action-research project which shows how teachers can monitor and adjust their roles. The teacher-researcher wanted to adapt her directive teaching style to a more facilitative role with small groups. She analysed her own language and its effects on learners’ talk over three sessions in which three different groups of students were discussing a movie. On each occasion this analysis led to her modifying her language in the next session. This study suggests a process whereby other teachers could carry out action research in order to monitor their teaching. The actual effect of a teacher reducing her own intervention suggests that while a decrease in teacher talk may be helpful, this is not the only consideration. Teacher intervention may sometimes be important to maintain interaction levels.