Classroom talk, interaction and collaboration

Authored by: Steve Walsh , Li Li

The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415747394
eBook ISBN: 9781315676203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317384472


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This chapter looks at the important relationship between classroom talk, interaction and collaboration, a relationship which needs to be understood in order to maximise and enhance language learning. Learning, in this context, is viewed from a broadly sociocultural perspective, closely associated with learner participation, engagement and co-construction, where language acts as a mediating tool (see Negueruela-Azarola and García, this volume, for further discussion of sociocultural theory). Although participation in itself cannot always be equated with language learning, there is a strong and identifiable relationship between participation, collaboration and learning. For the purposes of this chapter, collaboration refers to the ways in which learning can be enhanced through interaction. It includes both the co-constructed learning which takes place in the second language classroom between teacher and students, and students and students, and also the ways in which teachers and teacher educators might collaborate in developing more detailed understandings of classroom interaction. This perspective, highlighting the importance of participation and collaboration, offers valuable insights into the learning and teaching process. Implications for teacher education and classroom practice are also discussed.

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