Classroom Interaction in Language Teacher Education: Analysis of Learners' Reactions to Questions and Feedback

Classroom Interaction in Language Teacher Education: Analysis of Learners' Reactions to Questions and Feedback

M. Dolores Ramírez-Verdugo (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain) and Leyre López Castellano (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4697-0.ch010
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Abstract

Guiding classroom interaction with appropriate pedagogical goals could be one of the most important means of creating learning opportunities for students. If interactional practices respond to the goal of teaching the L2, they can be used as pedagogical models to be applied in language teacher education. Making teachers aware of the skills, competences, and dynamics developed in classroom interaction can help them to improve teaching and learning. Within this framework, this chapter explores EFL classroom interaction and analyses students' reactions to different types of questions and feedback by the teacher. Participants belong to two groups of students in their last year at high school (N=63). Eight EFL lessons were analysed focusing on the language skills used. The results concerning questions show that students replied more to display questions and to questions for reason, for opinion, and metacognitive questions. The findings concerning feedback show that students reacted more to recast. The chapter concludes with an overview on likely applications to language teacher education.
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Introduction

Classroom interaction has been analysed as an important and fundamental feature in the teaching and learning process. A thorough understanding of classroom interaction clearly leads to a proposal of interaction patterns to be integrated in language teacher education programs to enhance teacher training approaches to L2 teaching. The study of display and referential questions, together with feedback can reveal effective strategies regarding students’ answers, reactions and, therefore, learners’ uptake. This chapter examines student’s reactions to the type of questions (display or referential) and corrective feedback given by their English teacher in two groups of Baccalaureate in the subject of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). A total number of eight sessions were analysed to see how the eldest students from high school reacted to different types of questions and feedback after the years they have been studying English. The main goals of this research were, first, to compare the reaction to different types of questions in both groups and then, to examine the reaction to different types of feedback in both groups regarding different language skills in each feature. More specifically, the objectives of the present case-study were:

  • 1.

    To compare which type of questions is most associated with each feedback.

  • 2.

    To compare students’ reactions to different types of questions and students’ reactions to different types of feedback.

  • 3.

    To observe which questions and feedback students react to more.

  • 4.

    To compare the reactions to both features regarding each language skill.

To achieve these objectives, the research questions formulated in this case-study were:

  • RQ 1: Which type of question is most associated with feedback?

  • RQ 2: How do students react to different types of questions?

  • RQ 3: How do students react to different types of questions depending on the language skill practiced?

  • RQ 4: How do students react to different types of feedback?

  • RQ 5: How do students react to different types of feedback depending on the language skill practiced?

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Background

This chapter unfolds classroom interaction to create learning opportunities for students and teachers. More specifically, this study focuses on the use of the Initiation- Response- Feedback pattern (henceforth IRF), the use of display and referential questions, the use of feedback, the use of learner uptake and finally the use of Communicative Orientation of Language Teaching (COLT). The meaning and function of each of these terms are explained in the next sections.

IRF Pattern

Classroom interaction refers to the specific communicative strategies applied between the class teacher and the learners, as well as among the whole class learners in terms of the linguistic exchange during the teaching and learning processes in the classroom(Rustandi and Husni Mubarok, 2017). One of the patterns used to analyse this teacher-learners’ interface, as proposed originally by Sinclair and Coulthard (1975), is the so-called is the IRF pattern, developed by three interaction movements:

  • (I) an initiating move by the teacher (e.g. elicitation, directive, questions)

  • (R) a responding move by the student (e.g. reply, acknowledgment)

  • (F) a move by the teacher (e.g. evaluation, acceptance).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Feedback: Information about reactions to a product or a person's performance of a task, that is used as a basis for improvement.

Referential Questions: In an ELT classroom interaction, referential questions are those questions teachers ask learners and learners ask each other. Referential questions can be compared to display questions, for which the answer is already clear, and teachers ask just to see if the learners know the answer, or for language manipulation. In the classroom, extended activities in which learners can practice referential questions include quizzes, interviews, classwork discussion and questions on general knowledge.

IRF Pattern: IRF interaction pattern stands for Interaction-Response-Feedback. It is the least possible kind of interaction that takes place in the classroom. Most of the time, this pattern consists of a question initiated by the teacher, a response given by the student, and then, feedback provided by the teacher.

Display Questions: In an ELT classroom interaction, these are the questions teachers may ask learners to see if they understand or remember something. Display questions can be compared to referential questions, which are questions you ask because you do not know the answer. In classroom interaction, display questions lack the communicative quality and authenticity of referential questions, but they are an important tool in the classroom, not only for the teacher to be able to check and test their learners, but also as a source of listening practice. One of the first things a beginner student learns in English is how to understand and answer this kind of display questions.

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