Grounded in sociocultural models of learning, this study explores structures for
participation and types of interaction that occur during the performance of technologyassisted
tasks in a science classroom to detail some of the opportunities for learning
made available to English learners (ELs) and some practices that might constitute
effective instruction within such a context. In particular, this study explores how ELs
use language to socialize and how they are socialized to use language during
technology-assisted tasks in a science classroom within a given participant structure.
Findings show that five different participant structures were used during
technology-assisted tasks, all of which required ELs to understand and use varied
interaction patterns; different levels of authority and responsibilities were given to
interlocutors in each structure. As different participant structures employed different
interactional patterns and practices, learners behaved according to differing norms
expected by each participant structure. Findings showed that members of the class
shared the rules regarding the initiation of interactions and open topics, as well as
allowing time to listen and follow the cue of teachers or technology. In this sense, the
class functioned as a community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Each participant
structure appeared to contribute to the variety of the interaction types, as well as to
kinds of subsequent learning and socialization of ELs, providing divergent levels of
transparency, legitimacy, and peripherality to ELs. The integration of technology
unfolded differently across participant structures and has implications for ELs’
academic language learning opportunities.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. February 2013. Major: English as a Second Language. Advisor: Dr. Martha H. Bigelow. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 182 pages, appendix p. 182.
Kim, Hye Yeong.
Academic language development through technology: English learners in a fifth grade science class.
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