You are on page 1of 22

Using conversation analysis in the second language classroom

Outline
Current trend in teaching speaking for second language learners Conversational analysis conceptions The relation of conversation analysis to research and second language teaching Some crucial conversational features of CA teaching The role of teacher in applying CA to teach L2 learners Sequenced activities designed to L2 speakers Teaching implication in using CA to teach L2 spoken interaction References

Current trend in teaching speaking for second language learners


In recent year, the constructs of communicative competence and proficiency have been emerging due to the world-wide demand for English an International language of millions people. Hence, speaking has become an indispensable part of second language instruction. Particularly, the communication through interaction is also viewed as a major focus of most English teachers in helping their students to achieve the best effective conversational skills. Some theories of communicative competence and natural second language acquisition thus have been developed which aims to generate a wide-spread belief in the necessity of learners exposure to authentic or natural language in the process of acquisition and have encouraged a focus upon meaning and purpose, which is viewed as the essence of authenticity and naturalness, rather than on form (Cook, 1997), cited by Mori (2002).

Current trend in teaching speaking for second language learners


According to Barraja-Rohan (1997), conversation is a complicated activity of human being that needs to be not only acknowledged but also captured in language teaching. In other words, conversation is a natural, planned or unplanned, everyday phenomenon in which all learners have opportunities to engage in real-life interaction. Thus, Qi & Tian (2010) claim that conversation analysis is used as one of the practical tools in order to draw students attention to what real conversation looks like (Harmer, 2007). Consequently, the endeavor to enable learners to join in the interaction with native or non-native English speakers in real life situation is the essential target in the recent trend of communicative orientation (Mori,2002).

Conversational analysis conceptions


Conversational analysis (CA) is: Cited in Moris (2002), originally established and developed as a branch of ethnomethodology by Sacks, Schegloff, and Jefferson (1974). Or strongly connected with ethnomethodology and adopted as a method for dealing with the linguistic analysis of conversation (Johnson & Johnson, 1998), cited by Qi & Tian (2010). The reason for this relation is that both CA and ethnomethodology are interested in the way that peoples activities create what they regard as observable social phenomena of some kind, like a conversation between friends, a job interview or the enactment of legal judgement (Gibson, 2009). Generally, as Seedhouse (2005) explains, CA provides the methodological framework for the analysis of natural conversation which is now applied in a very wide range of professional and academic area. Moreover, he also states that CA and the broad field of language teaching and learning are associated creating a close relationship increasing interest of many educationists.

Conversational analysis conceptions


In particular, cited in Moris work (2010), language classroom is seen as amongst these fields in which CA has been applied in order to discover the structure and process of classroom discourse, as well as to deal with such matters as the ways in which the interactional practices or devices observed in ordinary talk are employed to construct pedagogical discourse (Baker, 1992; Heap, 1985, 1990; Lerner, 1995; Macbeth 1990, 1991; McHoul, 1978, 1990; Mehan, 1979). Therefore, through these fundamental theories, CA is certainly relevant to second language teaching. Besides, as more and more studies of various discourse analytic dimensions into second language acquisition are conducted, CA is becoming more widely engaged in this teaching area, especially in interactional competence instruction.

The relation of conversation analysis to research and second language teaching


In the field of conversation research Psathas (1995) claims that CA studies order and organization of social interaction, cited by Seedhouse (2005). Crystal (1997) defines CA is a particular method of studying conversational structure. Gibson (2009) suggests CA as an investigation of how speakers organize their talk as well as analyze each others talk occurring in ordinary context. Hence, in the last 30 years, CA has been considered as a research methodology that makes the inroad of CA into second language (L2) teaching is still in its infancy (Barraja-Rohan, 2011).

The relation of conversation analysis to research and second language teaching


However, the relationship between CA and L2 teaching has been gradually growing since this application of CA to L2 teaching is demonstrated to be useful in enhancing the L2 conversational skills learning (Barraja-Rohan, 1997) and successful in teaching the complications of spoken interactions in different contexts (BarrajaRohan, 2011). Obviously, there is a majority of researchers such as Wong (2000); Mori, (2002); Mc Carthy and OKeeffe (2004), etc have testified that CA has been used as a means of comprehending and reinforcing L2 speaking in educational contexts.

The relation of conversation analysis to research and second language teaching


In addition, as stated in CA conceptions of L2 acquisition, its objective is to exam the ways to attain the mutual understanding in interaction by relying on natural settings between participants as well as to bring authentic conversations into L2 classroom assisting learners in penetrating into the real life (Barraja-Rohan, 2011). Although cited in Barraja-Rohans work (2011), CA is used in L2 teaching for various purposes such as pragmatic functions acquisition (Huth & Taleghani-Nikazm, 2006) or news interview teaching (Packett, 2005), etc, in relation to ordinary conversation, some features of interactional competence such as turn-taking, adjacency pairs, repair, or context etc. known as the major and indispensable aspects should be employed in analysis by interactants.

Some crucial conversational features of CA teaching


In applying CA to L2 speaking classroom, some following concepts that need to take into consideration by teachers and students Turn-taking Turn-taking is involved with how and when interactants take turns in conversation, overlapping, competition for turn, pauses between turns, etc. (Qi & Tian, 2010). Indeed the organization of turn-taking is established by a set of norms with options that speakers can choose to perform specific social actions Seedhouse (2005).

Some crucial conversational features of CA teaching


Adjacency pairs Adjacency pairs, as Richards (1992) and Burns (1996) concern as the paired utterances sequentially connected in which the first utterance is likely to be followed by the second one or a particular kind of response (cited in Qi & Tian, 2010). For example, question followed by answer, complaint followed by apology, invitation followed by acceptance/ rejection, etc. Thus the concept of adjacency is said to be useful if the second part is uttered contiguously befitting the prior (Barraja-Rohan, 2011). Using adjacency pairs, students are able to predict and comprehend what is going on (Barraja-Rohan, 1997). However, occasionally, the response is not produced for the first part (Seedhouse, 2005). Hence, once the second utterance is not provided, it will be heard as absent and may require some form of repair work (Gibson, 2009).

Some crucial conversational features of CA teaching


Repair Repair appears as a crucial feature of interactional discourse due to its ability to treat some problems such as errors or misunderstandings troubling by the speakers. As Schegloff et al. (2002) states, utilizing repair feature means that participants are attempting to deal with problems occurring during their conversation. Thus, it is essential for both teachers and students to exam when and how to accomplish a repair (Seedhouse , 2005). According to Hutch and Wooffitt (1998), cited by Qi & Tian (2010), there are four types of repair need to distinguish: Self initiated self-repair Other-initiated self-repair Self-initiated other-repair Other-initiated other-repair Furthermore, repair is a vital mechanism for maintenance of intersubjectivity (Seedhouse, 2005). In other words, repair is an important system intended to maintain the way that speakers make meaning to each other and display common understanding and knowledge (Barraja-Rohan, 2011).

Some crucial conversational features of CA teaching


Preference organization Preference organization is related to the adjacency pair organization since this system is an alternative so as to produce the second utterance. The system involves two elements: preferred response (e.g. accepting a request) and dispreferred response (e.g. declining a request). By applying this concept, learners can gain the way to form the language and understandhow utterances are sequentially placed (Barraja-Rohan, 1997). Context Participants design the context through their utterances and actions in which their relationship is reflected (Barraja-Rohan, 2011).

Some crucial conversational features of CA teaching


Paralinguistic activity As explained by Barraja-Rohan (1997, 2011), paralinguistic activity involves intonation, sentence stress, silence, body language, gaze, gestures, perturbations, laughter, and others, so this aspect is easy to be captured and draws much attention of participants since it is absolutely relevant to real life. Specifically, it has functions in helping the speakers express their feeling or carry meaning of message through the prosody or body language

Some crucial conversational features of CA teaching


Sequential organization Sequential organization is viewed as the primary concern of nearly interactants due to it includes opening, centring, pre-closing, and closing stages forming the structure of conversation. Therefore, through this aspect, the communicationists can organize their talk (Gibson, 2009) as well as recognize at what stage they are in any spoken interaction and to predict what is coming next (Barraja-Rohan, 1997). Sociocultural norms This concept offers students ability to recognize the cultural differences and similarities between their first and second language due to its aim to exam the cultural interaction through greeting, invitation, or leavetaking

The role of teacher in applying CA to teach L2 learners


Firstly, according to Barraja-Rohan (2011) Teachers needs to get their students explicitly grasp those conversational features and resources by eliciting suitable techniques and explanations through analyzing conversations, so students can re-use them in a meaningful way. Though in teaching CA concepts to L2 learners, there are still other concepts such as social action, affiliation, or respond token, etc. that need to take into consideration, briefly, teachers should draw their students attention to both aspects of conversation: verbal resources and non verbal resources. In creating speaking activities and instructional materials for CA concepts teaching, teachers have responsibility for selecting and providing conversational instances which are naturally spoken by native speakers or entirely embedded in real life settings to guarantee that the social functions in various contexts will be retained

The role of teacher in applying CA to teach L2 learners


Secondly, in choosing activities for interaction teaching, as Qi & Tian (2010) quote that: teachers have to be careful when considering whether these activities can help students develop knowledge and skills in using spoken language or not (Burn and Joyce, 1997). In order to raise learners consciousness of learning process as well as their responsibility for practice speaking, teacher ought to let their learners understand the activities target before joining in an activity.

Sequenced activities designed to L2 speakers


Sequenced activities designed to L2 speakers In most recent research, speaking activities usually consist of listening/observation task, cloze exercise, questions, conservation manipulation, and reconstruct exercises through the use of transcripts (Barraja-Rohan, 2011). Nonetheless, in general, these activities have to obey some following order standards which cited in Qi & Tian (2010): Preparation For example, brainstorming activity aims to lead students to the context in which the interactional purpose is set and make them clear about what kind of conversation they will utter (Burn and Joyce, 1997). Focusing on language awareness and skills Teachers employ two aspects of language skill such as vocabulary and sentence structures to some activities so as to improve students knowledge in spoken interaction (Burn and Joyce, 1997). For example, information gap filling or sentence constructing.

Sequenced activities designed to L2 speakers


Concentrating on discourse awareness and skills Because of being relevant to conversational analysis, practicing the transcribed and analytic conversation is seen amongst activities facilitating students for spoken interaction. For instance, transcribing workshop or group discussion Interaction Learners use role-play activity to practice reacting to what the others say as well as how to complain and consult with rent problems Extension According to Burn and Joyce (1997), this activity is utilized to recycle students language skills and knowledge, assist them to enhance their utterances, and make them become more confident. In this case, video observation is mainly used.

Sequenced activities designed to L2 speakers


Assessment This is an essential activity since through the evaluation of students performance, both teacher and student can attain the feedback and use it to support their teaching and learning. Employing video-tapping is known as a supportive tool in evaluation so that teachers will be able to access all students speaking performances.

Teaching implication
Oral teachers employ CA as a useful device which provides them an orderly structure, method, and direction to teach conversation (Barraja-Rohan, 1997). Because conversational discourse is a complicated issue that requires the most difficult skills to teach (Richard, 2006), through the application of CA into classroom, teachers attention can be drawn to some following major aspects:
The interactional contexts The conversational structure, structural features, intonation, grammatical patterns, etc How to interpret the tacit meaning through some prosodic features in the conversation

Teaching implication
The significance of speakers role and relationships in spoken interaction Techniques of helping speakers obtain the social target Capacities to create appropriate activities supportive their teaching The development of knowledge of the difference between spoken and written discourse (Burn et al, 1996, cited by Qi & Tian, 2010)

In brief, basing on the concepts of some CA salient features such as turn-taking, adjacency pairs and classroom activities, teachers are able to give students opportunities to gain knowledge of an authentic conversation as well as techniques to perform well an interactional talk in specific real-life contexts.

References
Barraja-Rohan, A. M. (1997). Teaching Conversation to Adult Learners of English with Conversation Analysis and Politeness Pragmatics. Teaching Conversation: How do we start? Paper presented at the 22nd Annual Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA) Conference, Toowoomba, Australia. Retrieved from http://eslandcateaching.wordpress.com/about/ Barraja-Rohan, A. M. (2011). Using conversation analysis in the second language classroom to teach interactional competence. Language teaching research, 15(4), 479-507. Crystal, D. (1997). The Cambridge encyclopedia of language. Cambridge UP, Cambridge, UK, 01. Gibson, W. (2009). Negotiating textual talk: conversation analysis, pedagogy and the organization of online asynchronous discourse. British Educational Research Journal, 35(5), 705-721. Harmer, J. (2007). The practice of English language teaching. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Longman. Mori, J. (2002). Task design, plan, and development of Talk-in-interaction: An analysis of a small group activity in a Japanese language classroom. Qi, S & Tian, X. (2010). Conversation Analysis as Discourse Approaches to Teaching EFL Speaking. Crosscultural communication, 6(4), 90-103. Richard, J. (2006). Developing Classroom Speaking Activities ; From Theory to Practice. Retrieved from http://www.professorjackrichards.com/pdfs/developing-classroom-speaking-activities.pdf Schegloff, E. A., Koshik, I., Jacoby, S., & Olsher D. (2002). Conversation analysis and applied linguistics. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 22, 3-31. Seedhouse, P. (2005). Conversation Analysis and language teaching. State-of-the-art Article. Lang. Teach, 38, 165-187.