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Triadic dialogue in oral communication tasks: What are the implications for language learning?

By J Radford, J Ireson and M Mahon


Asymmetry in classroom discourse, typified by teachers' frequent use of inauthentic initiating question turns, does not afford the best opportunities for the learning of language skills. More favourable conditions would appear to be associated with collaborative discourse patterns that display genuine interest in the child's contribution and build on, and respond to, the child's turn. Video-recordings were made of consecutive episodes of 'story-writing', 'speaking-book' and 'circle-time' activities to explore the sequential implications of the teachers'initiations across each task. During speaking-book the teacher initiates with topic initial elicitors which invite news, ideas or opinions from the child. In story-writing the teacher employs invitations, which call for the children to generate ideas or suggestions. Analysis of teacher follow-up turns demonstrates ways in which they recast and reformulate the children's response turns and elicit further material related to the pupils' agendas. By contrast, there is limited evidence of negotiation in the circle-time activity. The study demonstrates the potentially facilitative role played by triadic dialogue in language learning and therefore has professional significance for all those involved in the development of oral language skills in classrooms. © 2006 J. Radford et al

Year: 2006
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Provided by: UCL Discovery

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