Chapter published in:Expanding Individual Difference Research in the Interaction Approach: Investigating learners, instructors, and other interlocutors
Edited by Laura Gurzynski-Weiss
[AILA Applied Linguistics Series 16] 2017
► pp. 282–302
Preservice instructors’ performance on a language learning task
Altering interlocutor task orientation
Previous research has shown that preservice instructors focus less on language while completing dyadic language learning tasks (Polio, Gass, & Chapin, 2006) and give less feedback than experienced instructors in a classroom setting (Mackey, Polio, & McDonough, 2004). Although most language teacher education programs provide some training in second language acquisition (SLA) to encourage, inter alia, preservice instructors’ understanding of the importance of focusing on language, it is not clear to what extent the information obtained in these courses or course modules is utilized in practice. This paper investigates the extent to which a short intervention based on SLA research findings is successful in modifying the awareness and behaviors of preservice instructors with respect to learners’ output and teachers’ task orientation (i.e., their perceptions of the purpose of the task). An experimental group (n = 17) of preservice teachers was given instruction on the role of output in SLA and training in ways to elicit output. They were then each paired with an English-as-a-second language (ESL) learner and participated in a dyadic interactive task. A control group (n = 14) did not have training prior to the interactive task. Six instructors from the experimental group and five from the control group participated in a stimulated recall session. The results demonstrated that the intervention was successful in raising preservice instructors’ awareness of how they should complete the task. However, with respect to behavioral change, their intended strategy did not always last through the entire interaction; these preservice instructors often reverted to tactics typically used by novice teachers. In light of these results, we argue that extended hands-on activities combined with discussions of SLA constructs can lead to behavior changes for preservice instructors.
Keywords: preservice instructors, learner output, task orientation
Published online: 12 December 2017
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