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Title: Achieving mutual engagement in ELT classroom interaction : a study of participation in the opening and closing practices of circle time
Authors: Impithuksa, Suparee
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Most studies investigating classroom participation seek an answer for enquiries to such issues as whether students receive adequate opportunities to access interaction and, if so, in what capacity and in what roles. Recently, Conversation Analytic (CA) studies have contributed to the existing body of knowledge on classroom participation by addressing the question of how teachers and students organise such participation in L2 classrooms. However, most of these studies have approached participation in contexts where participation rights are established by the teacher and met by students. In contrast, this study is concerned more with the organisation of participation in EFL classrooms where such conditions do not apply. That is, in the context of this study, teachers need to perform additional interactional practices to encourage participation. The analyses in this study focus on the opening and closing practices of one recurring teacher-led activity in the data—Circle Time (CT). The data come from audiovisual recordings of teacher-student cohort interaction occurring in ‘Fundamental English Listening-Speaking’ (FELS) classes at a Thai university. To examine the organisation of participation, a collection of 30 examples of CT openings and 24 examples of CT closings were made and CA methodology was used in the analysis. CA procedures, including the organisation of sequence, of multimodalities, and of topic, were employed as analytic tools to explicate the classroom participation that participants jointly construct through their verbal behaviour and embodied actions. The findings demonstrate that dedicated openings are the norm for CT openings, and are formed from two action sequences: 1) locating topic for participation, and 2) establishing topic-as-action. The former manifests a clear framework of participation while the latter enhances the participants’ readiness to participate more actively. Regarding CT closings, a typical form of CT closing, termed here dedicated closings, comprise three sequences of action: 1) disengaging from interaction with individual students, 2) gradually bonding contributions and simultaneously connecting participants into one association, and 3) moving out of CT talk. Furthermore, a microanalysis of opening and closing actions illustrates that teachers employ a variety of extra interactional resources, including embodied conducts, turn-design and various techniques of topic development. ii These various types of interactional work are used to establish and maintain multiparty interaction and generate dynamic participation roles among the participants. By participating in CT dedicated opening and closing, students are observed to have more and more opportunities to establish mutual attention, negotiate mutual understanding, and, above all, develop interpersonal relations, or so-called rapport. These three components are evidently oriented to by experienced EFL teachers to achieve mutual engagement of students involved in teacher-led classroom interaction. The main contribution of the study is an enhanced understanding of how participation ‘gets done’ in a CT context where bidding for turns is normally not present. In addition, by using a micro-analytic approach, the study demonstrates how embodied mutual engagement is accomplished in ELT classroom interaction.
Description: IPhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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