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A Conceptual Framework For Small-Group Instruction in High School


  • Marianne C. Ciolti

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      Marianne C. Ciotti (Ph.D., Ohio State Univ.) was Consultant in Modern Foreign Languages with the Vermont State Department of Education 1961–1966. Previously, she taught French on the high school level; methods at the Middlebury College Summer School of French, and at an NDEA Institute at the University of Massachusetts. She served as an officer of the National Council of State Supervisors of Foreign Languages and of the Department of Foreign Languages of the NEA. Miss Ciotti was a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the Test Advisory Committee of the MLA. She is the demonstration teacher of French in the series of pedagogical films produced at Yale in 1962, by Pierre Capretz, “Audio-lingual Techniques for Teaching Foreign Languages.”


ABSTRACT: The conditions and experiences that make the use of a second language a purposeful means of communication in the intimate groupings of social living are recognized as aspects of curriculum and instruction that merit investigation. A theoretical model for small-group instruction is proposed. It consists of conversational stages in sequence that permit the discussion of a cultural narrative in a group setting of five students. The interaction in these stages (which are based upon various networks of communication drawn from sociological research) is gradually freed from the constraints of appointed leadership, thus assuming the characteristics of a natural conversational exchange. The stages are labeled in such a way as to describe the degree of freedom for personal expression, i.e., verbal action and reaction: the controlled stage, the partially-controlled stage, and the non-controlled stage.