ABSTRACT Providing examples of authentic target-language discourse is a challenge for teachers of first- and second-level foreign language courses. The Teacher's Partner is a multimedia tool that assists the teacher by presenting communicative exchanges among native speakers. Compared to videotape, this computer-mediated videodisc permits more precise control over video segmentation–essential for the limited language decoding skills of novice learners. The computer also provides contextualized textual and graphical resources, including a hypertext transcript that will reveal word and phrase definitions and selective grammatical explanations in the target language.
The use of the Teacher's Partner influenced the nature of classroom discourse in a French 1 and French 2 class. Year-long research analyzing classroom interaction patterns showed increased use of communicative discourse by a teacher and students in those class periods when the Teacher's Partner was used by the teacher (an increase of 39 percent in French 1 and 55 percent in French 2.) Reflections by the teacher provide a rationale for how this tool scaffolded teacher-student discourse. The challenge of integrating advanced technology into classroom settings is discussed.