Sla Second Language Aquisition as Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The researcher observed the following conclusions about conversation analysis

The use of a conversation-analytical transcription is important because it pinpoints details which are essential for understanding code-switches and the negotiation of roles and relations (Steensig 2004).

The method also provided a detailed analysis of what it is pertinent for each participant to do at precise points in the interaction (Steensig 2004). This is critical to comprehending the context in which events such as code-switches, occur (Steensig 2004).

The conversation-analysis theory can also aid in understanding how Participants make alliances and afford "power wielding" in the interaction (Steensig 2004).The author asserts that "Although this point was only cursorily developed in Steensig (2000a) it was claimed that detailed analyses using conversation analytical methods may be a clue to a better understanding of the social relations between the participants (Steensig 2004)."

Advantages and Disadvantages of Conversation analysis

The primary advantage of conversation analysis is that it relies upon the participants' actual conversational process. According to Steensig (n.d.) "Conversation Analysis only uses data from recordings of situations in people's daily lives where nothing has been done to favor certain types of behaviour or otherwise experimentally control what is going on (Steensig n.d.)." Because analyst only use the participants actual conversations they can garner an accurate view of the participants actual organizational structure as it relates to second language acquisition. Steensig (2004) also notes that the conversation analysis method is advantageous because the detailed manner in which the data is gathered makes it easier to understand and draw conclusions from.

The primary disadvantage of conversation analysis is the sheer complexity interpreting the data once it is collected. There are a myriad of factors researchers take into consideration, including body language and the tone of the conversation. In some cases, the conversations that are researched are relatively short and it may be difficult for the researcher to gather an accurate analysis of the conversation.

Stimulated recall methodology

Stimulated recall is also an approach that is utilized in analyzing second language interaction in the classroom. Stimulated recall methodology is unique in that it is an introspective approach. Gass and Mackey (2000) assert that the stimulated recall methodology is one subset of a range of introspective methods that represent a means of eliciting data about thought processes involved in carrying out a task or activity. The assumption underlying introspection is that it is possible to observe internal processes in much the same way as one can observe external real-world events. Another assumption is that humans have access to their internal thought processes at some level and can verbalize those processes (Gass and Mackey 2000)."

Stimulated recall is of particular important in the area of second language acquisition because it seeks to understand the actual thought process of an individual as they acquire a new language (Gass and Mackey 2000). Other methodologies that are used in second language research are sometimes troublesome because "understanding the source of second language production is problematic because often there are multiple explanations for production phenomena that can only be assessed by exploring the process phenomena (Gass and Mackey 2000)."

Utilizing the Stimulated recall method

Gass and Mackey (2000) report that prior to using this method in second language research, there should be a research protocol should be created. The author explained that a detail protocol is needed to ensure that the researchers do not succumb to the pitfalls of the stimulated recall method due to its complex nature (Gass and Mackey 2000). For instance, the authors assert that, "a stimulated recall of oral interaction often involves making at least two separate data recordings, one replay, and two sets of instructions. Thus, the amount of detail specified in the research protocol is important. A detailed protocol helps the researcher to anticipate problems in advance while also acting as a checklist for the many variables and factors the researcher needs to consider and balance while carrying out the procedure (Gass and Mackey 2000)."

In addition, the authors contend that it is crucial that researchers perform a pilot test on all procedures that they present to the learner (Gass and Mackey 2000). Researchers using the stimulated recall method should also pay close attention to the impact of their instructions on the procedure. In this instance pilot testing is critical because it can lead to modifications and clarifications of the protocol (Gass and Mackey 2000). Pilot testing can aid researchers in avoiding expensive and time-consuming problems during the data collection procedure (Gass and Mackey 2000). It can also aid to avoiding the loss of useful and perhaps irreplaceable data (Gass and Mackey 2000).

Case study using Stimulated recall (Excerpt included)

The particular case study was conducted by Nabei and Swain (2002). The study involved an adult Japanese learner's second language learning. It researched the student through her teacher's recasts in an EFL classroom in Japan (Nabei and Swain 2002). The learners name is Shoko, she was interested in learning English so she took an entrance exam and was admitted to a private women's college that had a concentration in English education (Nabei and Swain 2002). Shoko was put in the upper-intermediate level based on the placement test given to her by the college at the beginning of the school year. The researchers observed the classroom interactions by videotaping the class and presenting recasts in the EFL classroom (Nabei and Swain 2002). The researchers also investigated "the relationship between the student's awareness of recast feedback and her L2 learning. Stimulated recall interviewswere used to elicit the student's awarenessof the feedback, and grammaticality judgement tests of the actual sentences uttered by the teacher and students in the classroom were used for measuring learning (Nabei and Swain 2002)."

The researchers explain that this was a theme-based English discussion course (Nabei and Swain 2002). During the two terms the course the students were expected to develop their communication skills by discussing themes such as 'human rights' and 'environmental issues' (Nabei and Swain 2002). The students were also expected to "understand and use the vocabulary of the topics with a fair degree of accuracy' as well as 'to expand their horizons' to become aware of current events in the society and world (Nabei and Swain 2002)."

The class was made up of 28 women and an American teacher (Nabei and Swain 2002). The women were between the ages of 18 and 20 and were placed in the course based on the score they received on the placement test (Nabei and Swain 2002). To increase the interaction with the students the teacher placed the young women into seven groups, each group containing four members (Nabei and Swain 2002). By doing this, the teacher was able to monitor the students' use of English in-group activities, and any group that extensively used Japanese was penalized (Nabei and Swain 2002).

In observing classroom interaction using stimulated recall the researcher found the following patterns, listening only for the meaning of the message, not listening at all and listening for the message meaning and language use (Nabei and Swain 2002). The last pattern was placed into two separate divisions; attending to language and noticing feedback provision. In Shoko's case

These different levels of listening to utterances occurred depending on her degree of engagement in the conversation. Shoko tended not to listen to the conversation when the interaction took place between the teacher and another student during teacher-fronted activity. That she was not listening was usually obvious in the video whether she was whispering with her groupmate, playing with her stationery on the desk, or looking in a dictionary. Shoko reported that she often felt bored when teacher-student interaction took place in the teacher-led discussion because she did not have opportunities to give direct verbal reaction to the speaker (Nabei and Swain 2002)."

Using the Stimulated recall method Shoko was able to respond to the behavior that was observed on the tape. The first excerpt was described by Shoko in the following manner.

First Excerpt was not listening then... When I saw myself in the video, I thought I looked very bored. I don't like to listen to others. Just listening to them is not fun. I always want to talk. So I tune out when others give opinions, and since I'm bored, I find other things to do. For instance, I look into the dictionary because reading random pages in the dictionary is fun. (Recall Session 4; 1 Nov.) (Nabei and Swain 2002)."

The researchers assert that Shoko's inability to listen could also be attributed to the inaudibility and inability to understand many students' utterances in class. (Nabei and Swain 2002)."

The researchers explain that many of the students in the class were soft spoken when the teacher called on them to answer questions (Nabei and Swain 2002).." In addition, many of their responses were fragmented because students' preparation for speaking in class was to read a newspaper article…

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