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Don't turn a deaf ear: a case for assessing interactive listeningThe reciprocal nature of spoken interaction means that participants constantly alternate between speaker and listener roles. However, listener or recipient actions – also known as interactive listening (IL) – are somewhat underrepresented in language tests. In conventional listening tests, they are not directly assessed. In speaking tests, they have often been overshadowed by an emphasis on production features or subsumed under broader constructs such as interactional competence. This paper is an effort to represent the rich IL phenomena that can be found in peer interactive speaking assessments, where the candidate-candidate format and discussion task offer opportunities to elicit and assess IL. Taking a close look at candidate discourse and non-verbal actions through a conversation analytic approach, the analysis focuses on three IL features: 1) listenership displays, 2) contingent responses, and 3) collaborative completions, and unpacks their relative strength in evidencing listener understanding. This paper concludes by making a case for revisiting the role of interactive listening, calling for more explicit inclusion of IL in L2 assessment as well as pedagogy.
Interactional competence with and without extended planning time in a group oral assessmentLinking one’s contribution to those of others’ is a salient feature demonstrating interactional competence in paired/group speaking assessments. While such responses are to be constructed spontaneously while engaging in real-time interaction, the amount and nature of pre-task preparation in paired/group speaking assessments may have an influence on how such an ability (or lack thereof) could manifest in learners’ interactional performance. Little previous research has examined the effect of planning time on interactional aspects of paired/group speaking task performance. Within the context of school-based assessment in Hong Kong, this paper analyzes the discourse of two group interactions performed by the same four student-candidates under two conditions: (a) with extended planning time (4–5 hours), and (b) without extended planning time (10 minutes), with the aim of exploring any differences in student-candidates’ performance of interactional competence in this assessment task. The analysis provides qualitative discourse evidence that extended planning time may impede the assessment task’s capacity to discriminate between stronger and weaker candidates’ ability to spontaneously produce responses contingent on previous speaker contribution. Implications for the implementation of preparation time for the group interaction task are discussed.
The mediation and organisation of gestures in vocabulary instructions: a microgenetic analysis of interactions in a beginning-level adult ESOL classroomThere is limited research on second language (L2) vocabulary teaching and learning which provides fine-grained descriptions of how vocabulary explanations (VE) are interactionally managed in beginning-level L2 classrooms where learners have a limited L2 repertoire, and how the VEs could contribute to the learners’ conceptual understanding of the meaning(s) of the target vocabulary items (VIs). To address these research gaps, we used a corpus of classroom video-data from a beginning-level adult ESOL classroom in the United States and applied Conversation Analysis to examine how the class teacher employs various gestural and linguistic resources to construct L2 VEs. We also conducted a 4-month microgenetic analysis to document qualitative changes in learners’ understanding of the meaning of specific L2 VIs which were previously explained by the teacher. Findings revealed that the learners’ use of gestures allows for an externalization of thinking processes providing visible output for inspection by the teacher and peers. These findings can inform educators’ understanding about L2 vocabulary development as a gradual process of controlling the right gestural and linguistic resources for appropriate communicative purposes.
Vocabulary explanations in beginning-level adult ESOL classroom interactions: a conversation analysis perspectiveRecent studies have examined the interactional organisation of vocabulary explanations (VEs) in second language (L2) classrooms. Nevertheless, more work is needed to better understand how VEs are provided inthese classrooms, particularly in beginning-level English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classroom contexts where students have different first languages (L1s) and limited English proficiency and theshared linguistic resources between the teacher and learners are typically limited. Based on a corpus of beginning-level adult ESOL lessons, this conversation-analytic study offers insights into how VEs are interactionally managed in such classrooms. Our findings contribute to the current literature in shedding light on thenature of VEs in beginning-level ESOL classrooms.