• Slowing down: how collaborative pairs support meaning making and the writing process in an elementary classroom

      Short, Kelsey; Martelle, Wendy; Siekmann, Sabine; Patterson, Leslie (2019-05)
      The teacher action research study was conducted within a third-grade classroom. The participants of the study were eight English Language learners who worked in pairs to write a retelling of a storybook. The need for this research developed from observations made by the classroom teacher focusing around the animated oral storytelling of her students and how that joy did not translate to writing. Data was collected in the forms of video and audio recordings, student samples and a research journal. The study attempted to discover what decisions students made as they focused on their written retelling in a collaborative pair. Increasing interaction between students became a main focus of the study and the ideas of sociocultural theory were the main themes that drove the analysis of this research. The study showed that students utilized a variety of mediational tools available to them as they made meaning and participated in collaborative dialogue. They also spent time supporting each other by utilizing those mediational tools to increase the success of their retelling, as well as by giving social support when their partner was flustered or overwhelmed.
    • Tomo ni manabu: task-based language teaching in a high school English class in Japan

      Holland, Yoshie; Siekmann, Sabine; Murakami, Chisato; Martelle, Wendy (2019-08)
      Task-based language teaching is a method that emerged in the field of second language acquisition in the U.S. Task-based language teaching facilitates language learning in context. However, there are few examples of research that investigate the applicability of task-based language teaching in classrooms in Japan where constraints such as big class size, college entrance exams, and designated textbooks that follow the national curriculum guidelines are factors. This study investigates the response of a Japanese teacher and 41 high school students in Japan, the students' language development as well as the suitability of task-based language teaching in classrooms in Japan. It also offers some guidance to make task-based language teaching more easily applicable to classrooms in Japan. This mixed method study involved a series of semi-structured interviews with a high school teacher in Japan, class observations of the task-based language teaching lessons, and a pre-test and post-test with surveys for the students. The study found out that the teacher expressed tensions between his current teaching context at that time and the task-based language teaching lesson plan. However, the teacher finished the lesson with a positive attitude towards task-based language teaching. Also, the students learned the grammar focus from the task-based language teaching lesson even though the lesson was not focused on the grammar as much as the traditional teaching. Overall, task-based language teaching in the teaching context worked well where the students worked in groups since it facilitated learning among students. This study also suggests that the teacher and his students adopted task-based language teaching positively and that the specific approach of task-supported language teaching is likely to be most suitable in this teaching context.