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Appears in Collections:eTheses from Faculty of Social Sciences legacy departments
Title: An investigation into the communicative potential of teachers' target language use in the foreign language classroom
Author(s): Mitchell, Rosamond
Issue Date: 1986
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis describes an investigation into the capacity of foreign language (FL) teachers in Scottish secondary schools to make the target foreign language the sole or main means of communication with their pupils in the formal setting of the FL lesson. In the first part of the thesis, the reasons why FL teachers should behave in this way are explored. Relevant sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic theories are first discussed, together with their implications for FL teaching methodology. Contextual factors thought likely to influence the extent to which British FL teachers would be either willing or able to make the target language the medium of classroom communication are then reviewed. These have to do with a) the nature of the classroom as a social and sociolinguistic setting, and b) FL teachers' linguistic competence and beliefs about the nature of teaching and learning. Existing research on FL classroom interaction, and in particular on structural and functional characteristics of teacher FL talk, is also reviewed. The second part of the thesis reports an empirical study of the classroom talk of a group of teachers committed to the 'communicative approach' to FL teaching. These teachers' classroom use of French (the target FL) and English is described at several levels of detail, notably that of the teaching! learning activity and of the pedagogic move. Structural characteristics of teacher talk are also studied. Special attention is given to teachers' classroom management talk, and it is argued that the choice of French for this purpose is critical for enhancing pupils' experience of message-oriented target language use. comparison is made between the language use patterns of teachers characterised as 'High' and 'Low FL Users'; and an account is given of the discourse strategies which appear necessary to sustain high levels of FL use.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Education
Department of Education

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