Built-In Learner Participation Potential of Locally- and Globally-Designed ELT Materials

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

University of Tehran

Abstract

This study aims at empirically measuring a universal criterion for materials evaluation, i.e., learning opportunities, in a locally- and a globally-designed materials. Adopting the conceptual framework of sociocultural theory and its conceptualization of learning as participation (Donato, 2000), the researchers utilized the methodological power of conversation analysis to examine how opportunities for learner participation and, by extension, learning are created whilst the materials are being used. Thirty teachers’ naturally-occurring classroom interactions, evolving from the two types of materials, was videotaped and transcribed line-by-line to identify the interactional contexts in which learner participation opportunities are embedded. Four interactional contexts affording different levels of learner interactional space were prompted by both types of materials. Examining the distribution of contexts revealed that management-oriented and form-oriented contexts were sustained significantly longer in classes with the locally-designed material. The globally-designed material, however, tended to unfold significantly longer skill-oriented and meaning-oriented contexts suggesting higher levels of built-in learner participation potential. The findings of this study raise materials developers’ awareness, especially in periphery communities, about how materials can either marginalize or empower learners in classroom interaction.

Keywords


Akbari, R. (2008). Postmethod discourse and practice. TESOL Quarterly, 42(4), 641–652.
Brown, D. (2014). The power and authority of materials in the classroom ecology. The Modern Language Journal, 98(2), 658–661.
Brown, J. B. (1997). Textbook evaluation form. The Language Teacher, 21(10), 15–21.
Canagarajah, A. S. (Ed.). (2004). Reclaiming the local in language policy and practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Candlin, C. N., & Breen, M. (1980). Evaluating and designing language teaching materials. Practical Papers in English Language Education Vol. 2. Lancaster: Institute for English Language Education, University of Lancaster.
Cunningsworth, A. (1984). Evaluating and selecting EFL teaching materials. London: Heinemann.
Cunningsworth, A. (1995). Choosing your coursebook. Oxford: Heinemann.
Daoud, A. M., & Celce-Murcia, M. (1979). Selecting and evaluating a textbook. In M. Celce-Murcia & L. McIntosh (Eds.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (pp. 302–307). New York: Newbury House.
Donato, R. (2000). Sociocultural contributions to understanding the foreign and second language classroom. In J. P. Lantolf (Ed.), Sociocultural theory and second language learning (pp. 27–50). New York: Oxford University Press.
Ellis, R. (1997). The empirical evaluation of English language teaching materials. ELT Journal, 51(1), 36–42.
Ellis, R. (2008). The study of second language acquisition (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
Fernandez del Viso Roman, V. (2012). Optimizing classroom interaction: An interview with Steve Walsh. Bellaterra Journal of Teaching and Learning Language and Literature, 5(4), 69–74.
Fox, B. A., & Thompson, S. A. (2010). Responses to wh-questions in English conversation. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 43(2), 133–156.
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed (M. B. Ramos, Trans.). New York: Continuum.
Garton, S., & Graves, K. (2014). Identifying a research agenda for language teaching materials. Modern Language Journal, 98(2), 654–657.
Grant, N. (1987). Making the most of your textbook. Harlow, UK: Longman.
Guerrettaz, A. M., & Johnston, B. (2013). Materials in the classroom ecology. Modern Language Journal, 97(3), 779–796.
Harwood, N. (Ed.). (2010). English language teaching materials: Theory and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Heritage, J. (1999). CA at century’s end: Practices of talk-in-interaction, their distributions and their outcomes. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 32, 69–76.
Heritage, J. (2005). Conversation analysis and institutional talk. In K. L. Fitch & R. E. Sanders (Eds.), Handbook of language and social interaction (pp. 103–147). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Hutchinson T., & Torres E. (1994). The textbook as agent of change. ELT Journal, 48(4), 315–328.
Islam, C., & Mares, C. (2003). Adapting classroom materials. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Developing materials for language teaching (pp. 86–100). London: Continuum.
Jacknick, C. M. (2011). But this is writing: Post-expansion in student-initiated sequences. Novitas-Royal (Research on Youth and Language), 5(1), 39–54.
Jefferson, G. (1983). Notes on some orderliness of overlap onset. Tilburg Paper in Language and Literature, No. 28. Tilburg, The Netherlands: Tilburg University.
Jarvis, J., & Robinson, M. (1997). Analyzing educational discourse: An exploratory study of teacher response and support to pupils’ learning. Applied Linguistics, 18(2), 212–228.
Jolly, D., & Bolitho, R. (2011). A framework for materials writing. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Materials development in language teaching (2nd ed., pp. 107–134). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kasper, G. (2004). Participant orientations in German conversation-for-learning. Modern Language Journal, 88, 551–567.
Kasper, G. (2006). Beyond repair: Conversation analysis as an approach to SLA. AILA Review, 19, 83–99.
Kumaravadivelu, B. (2003). Beyond methods: Macrostrategies for language teaching. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). Understanding language teaching: From method to postmethod. Mahwah, N. J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Lantolf, J. P. (2000). Sociocultural theory and second language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Larsen-Freeman, D. (2014). It’s about time. Modern Language Journal, 98(2), 665–666.
Littlejohn, A. (2011). The analysis of language teaching materials: Inside the Trojan horse. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Materials development in language teaching (2nd ed., pp. 179–211). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Markee, N., & Kasper, G. (2004). Classroom talks: An introduction. Modern Language Journal, 88(4), 491–500.
Masuhara, H., Hann, M., Yi, Y., & Tomlinson, B. (2008). Adult EFL courses. ELT Journal, 62(3), 294–312.
McDonough, J., & Shaw, C. (2003). Materials and methods in ELT. Oxford: Blackwell.
McDonough, J., Shaw, C., & Masuhara, H. (2013). Materials and methods in ELT (3rd Ed.). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
McGrath, I. (2002). Materials evaluation and design for language teaching. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Mehan, H. (1979). Learning lessons: Social organization in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Mukundan, J., & Ahour, T. (2010). A review of textbook evaluation checklists across four decades (1970–2008). In B. Tomlinson & H. Masuhara (Eds.), Research for materials development in language learning: Evidence for best practice (pp. 336–352). London: Continuum.
Nation, I. S. P., & Macalister, J. (2010). Language curriculum design. New York: Routledge.
Nunan, D. (1988). Syllabus design. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pourhaji, M. & Alavi, S. M. (2015). Identification and distribution of interactional contexts in EFL classes: The effect of two contextual factors. Journal of English Language Teaching and Learning, 7(15), 93–123.
Richards, J. C. (2001). Curriculum development in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Richards, J. C. (2010). Series editor’s preface. In N. Harwood (Ed.), English language teaching materials: Theory and practice (pp. ix–xi). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rowe, M. B. (1974). Wait time and rewards as instructional variables, their influence in language, logic, and fate control: Part 1. Wait time. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 11(2), 81–94.
Roberts, J. T. (1996). Demystifying materials evaluation. System, 24(3), 375–389.
Rubdy, R. (2003). Selection of materials. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Developing materials for language teaching (pp. 72–85). London: Continuum.
Sacks, H., Schegloff, E., & Jefferson, G. (1974). A simplest systematic for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language, 50, 696–735.
Saslow, J., & Ascher, A. (2011). Top notch: English for today’s world. NY: Pearson Education Inc.
Schegloff, E. A. (1993). Reflections on quantification in the study of conversation. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 26, 99–128.
Schegloff, E. A. (2007). Sequence organization in interaction: A primer in conversation analysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Seedhouse, P. (2004). The interactional architecture of the language classroom: A conversation analysis perspective. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Sheldon, L. E. (1988). Evaluating ELT textbooks and materials. ELT Journal, 42(4), 237–246.
Sinclair, J.  M., & Coulthard, M. (1975). Towards an analysis of discourse: The English used by teachers and pupils. London: Oxford University Press.
Skierso, A. (1991). Textbook selection and evaluation. In M. Celce-Murcia, (Ed.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (pp. 432–453). Boston: Heinle and Heinle.
Slimani, A. (1989). The role of topicalization in classroom language learning. System, 17, 223–234.
Tarone, E. (2014). The issue: Research on materials and their role in classroom discourse and SLA. Modern Language Journal, 98(2), 652–653.  
Ten Have, P.  (2007). Doing conversation analysis: A practical guide (2nd ed.). London: Sage.
Thornbury, S. (2014). Correspondence. ELT Journal, 68(1), 109–110.
Tomlinson, B. (2001). Materials development. In R. Carter & D. Nunan (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages (pp. 66–71). Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.
Tomlinson, B. (2003). Materials evaluation. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Developing materials for language teaching (pp. 15–36). London: Continuum.
Tomlinson, B. (2010). Principles of effective materials development. In N. Harwood (Ed.), English language teaching materials: Theory and practice (pp. 81–108). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tomlinson, B. (Ed.). (2011). Materials development for language teaching (2nd Ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tomlinson, B. (2012). Materials development for language learning and teaching. Language Teaching, 45(2), 143–179.
Tomlinson, B. (Ed.). (2013). Developing materials for language teaching (2nd Ed.). New York: Bloomsbury Academic. 
Tomlinson, B., & Masuhara, H. (2004). Developing language course materials. Singapore: RELC Portfolio Series.
Ur, P. (1996). A course in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Van Lier, L. (1988). The classroom and the language learner. London: Longman.
Van Lier, L. (2000). From input to affordance: Social- interactive learning from an ecological perspective. In J. P. Lantolf (Ed.), Sociocultural theory and second language learning (pp. 245–260). New York: Oxford University Press.
Vine, E. W. (2008). CA and SCT: Strange bedfellows or useful partners for understanding classroom interactions? Discourse Studies, 10, 673–693.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wallace, M. J. (1998). Action research for language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Walsh, S. (2002). Construction or obstruction: Teacher talk and learner involvement in the EFL classroom. Language Teaching Research, 6(1), 3–23.
Walsh, S. (2006). Investigating classroom discourse. New York: Routledge.
Walsh, S. (2012). Conceptualising classroom interactional competence. Novitas-ROYAL (Research on Youth and Language), 6(1), 1-14.  
Waring, H. Z. (2008). Using explicit positive assessment in the language classroom: IRF, feedback, and learning opportunities. Modern Language Journal, 92(4), 577–594.
Waring, H. Z. (2009). Moving out of IRF (Initiation-Response-Feedback): A single case analysis. Language Learning, 59(4), 796–824.
Williams, D. (1983). Developing criteria for textbook evaluation. ELT Journal, 37(3), 251–255.
Wong, J., & Waring, H. Z. (2010). Conversation analysis and second language pedagogy: A guide for ESL/EFL teachers. New York: Routledge.
Xie, X. (2011). Turn allocation patterns and learning opportunities. ELT Journal, 65(3),240–250.
Yaqubi, B., & Pourhaji, R. M. (2012). Teachers’ limited wait-time practice and learners’ participation opportunities in EFL classroom interaction. Journal of Language Teaching and Learning, 4(10), 127–161.