Turn-Taking and Opening Interactions
This short article is based on a comparative qualitative study examining opening turn-taking practices during peer-to-peer interactions. Drawing on his findings the author provides the rationale and activities for teaching students to develop language skills and negotiate meaning. The author briefly re-caps research regarding the need for learners to become practiced in starting and participating in conversations, whether at the workplace or the store. He moves on to offer activities that might increase students utilizing the target language, thereby increasing fluency and communicative competence. This study is limited in its small number of participants (N=5) however the detailed examination of interactions (N=100) as students progressed from a beginning-level class to an upper-level class provides a close-up view of what is occurring during meaning negotiation activities. Note: This resource references another document (http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/1b/d4/6a.pdf) it has not been reviewed by LINCS experts.
One of the strongest features of this resource is the inclusion of original lab research conducted among beginning- and upper-level learners at the Lab School in Portland. Transcripts of the negotiation of pair tasks vividly illustrate the turn-taking that beginner pairs engage in and how it evolves as they transition to upper-level classes.
Another strength of the resource is its discussion of instructional implications. The author argues for structuring activities that utilize social skills that not only provide opportunity for talk and learning in the classroom but also familiarize the student with English language models of turn taking and interactional conversation that can be used outside of the classroom to extend learning and promote acculturation. The resource offers concrete suggestions for making learners aware of the importance of practicing spontaneous interactions and for helping them to gain proficiency in this area. It also presents a convincing case for learners’ potential to transfer these interpersonal communication skills to other real-world contexts in which they need to open an interaction.
In sum, the most useful features are:
- A compelling analysis of the importance of the opening interactions that precede pairwork.
- Excerpts from original research that document different types of student-to-student turn-taking.
- A discussion of instructional implications that practitioners will find immediately applicable.