Offline Peer Dialogue in Asynchronous Computer-Mediated Communication Activities for L2 Teacher Development

Offline Peer Dialogue in Asynchronous Computer-Mediated Communication Activities for L2 Teacher Development

Keiko Kitade (Ritsumeikan University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6174-5.ch006
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Abstract

Recent studies in second language (L2) teacher education (L2TE) emphasize the sociohistorical and contextual dimensions of teachers' professional development. In practice, however, teaching practice opportunities, which can help pre-service teachers experience these dimensions, are limited. Innovative technological applications can help address this issue. This chapter proposes a combination of offline and online activities in which pre-service language teachers can engage L2 learners online while augmenting their own learning through offline peer dialogues. Rooted in the sociocultural approach to learning, this chapter presents a case study analyzing the Critical Learning Episodes (CLEs; Kiely & Davis, 2010) found in the peer dialogues of pre-service teachers during their online engagement with L2 learners abroad. The findings suggest that offline peer dialogue serves as an advanced type of reflection-in-practice (Schön, 1983, 1987), utilizing text mediation, a method that assists student teachers to co-construct the situated knowledge and skills that are holistic in nature (thus requiring multiple perspectives) and purportedly crucial for L2 teaching.
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Introduction

Studies on second language teacher education (L2TE) from a sociocultural perspective indicate that it is crucial for teachers’ professional development that they engage in active negotiation with the social aspects of their teaching practice (e.g., Johnson, 2009; Kanno & Stuart, 2011). To promote active learning by student teachers, they need to engage in actual teaching practice that also incorporates reflective practice in order to become aware of the context of their teaching. However, most studies on teacher development have focused on the conditions of student teachers’ learning in the workplace, as pointed out by Miller (2009). Few studies approach the issue of how to provide the social and cognitive scaffolding needed in the L2TE program in order for pre-service teachers to be able to prepare themselves to participate more fully in their future teaching contexts.

This study attempts to utilize computer-mediated communication (CMC) to provide pre-service teachers of Japanese with the opportunity to engage in online tutoring practice with L2 learners of Japanese, combined with an innovative reflective practice, namely offline peer dialogue. By investigating the effectiveness of online tutoring practice incorporating this unique type of reflective practice — offline peer dialogue — this study will explore ways to enhance L2 teachers’ professional development through online engagement with L2 learners.

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