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Stratan (cas.

Rotariu) Mihaela-Luciana
Master In Applied Linguistics , II year


The Development of Classroom Research

What is classroom research?

Classroom-centered research investigates what actually happens inside the
• how teachers respond to learners’ errors
• how interaction occurs in classrooms
• the type of linguistic input provided in classroom settings
• the feelings of teachers and learners at various points during or after lessons

How is it done?
Research is essentially a matter of data collection and analysis
Techniques of data collection:
• records – direct observation and note taking or audio/video records
- the observer should decide in advance what he is looking for, make
an observational schedule with the categories he considers appropriate , and than
record what happens under those category headings
• surveys – usually through interviews or by written questionnaires ; self reports
- give people the opportunity to report for themselves what has
happened to them and what they think about it
- survey data collection techniques normally involve working out in
advance the categories you are going to use for your investigation
• ethnography – is a collection of procedures used by anthropologists who
attempt to document and understand the behaviour of people in cultures; it
gained considerable support as an approach to classroom research in education
in general as well as in studies of language teaching and learning
• test data

Where did classroom research come from and how has it developed?
Classroom research began in the 1950s among teacher trainers who needed to
investigate effective teaching and then find a way of incorporating their findings into
effective teacher training

What has happened to the early concerns?

1. 1950s - early 1960s - battle between methods – audiolingualism vs. the
grammar translation method and the ‘cognitive code’
2. research at the level of technique (various activities implemented during a
3. 1970 – Politzer recorded the frequency with which certain techniques were
used and related the frequencies to learner achievement in the different classes
There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ teaching techniques

4. Researchers stopped looking at teaching and focused on

• the way people interact in the classroom and
• the way language might be acquired from the input provided by the
teacher’s talk
• the language produced by learners in classroom settings

What has happened to the basic tools?

The basic tools
• were borrowed from general education research
• consisted of techniques for using observation schedule for the classification
of teacher behaviour
Flanders(1970) in his ‘Interaction Analysis’
• used direct observation to study teaching
• developed ten categories of observation schedules for general education
purposes, to be relevant to a variety of lessons, rather than for any subject in
Moskowitz (1967, 1968, 1971, 1976) – “Foreign Language Interaction”
• expanded and refined Flander’s categories and used her version both as a
research tool (‘good’ language teaching) and as a feedback tool in teacher
• she trained student teachers to analyze their own teaching behaviour
Fanselow (1977)
• Made major modifications in Bellack’s pioneering analytical system to
produce ‘FOCUS’(Foci for Observing Communications Used in Settings)
• ‘FOCUS’ - was an observation schedule developed as a descriptive system
applicable to research on any example of human interaction
- it has general categories that can be used regardless of who the
participants are or what role they play in the interaction
Long, Adams, McLean and Castanos (1976)
 invented a new classification system named ‘Embryonic Category System’
which was used to code the communicative variety in transcripts of speech
produced by learners
COLT system ‘Communicative Orientation of Language Teaching’ ( Allen, Frohlich
and Spada) was developed to distinguish communicative language teaching
classrooms from those that are more teacher- centred and form-focused