Bridging the Gap: Discourse in Text-Based Foreign Language Classrooms


  • Miguel Mantero

    1. University of Alabama
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      Miguel Mantero (PhD, The Florida State University) is Assistant Professor of Foreign Language and ESL Education at the University of Alabama.


ABSTRACT: This study investigated text-centered talk in an “Introduction to Hispanic Literature” university-level classroom. The study was framed within sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1986, 1991) and attempted to establish the nature of classroom talk in the college-level foreign language “bridge course.” The study also aimed to clarify the relationship between cognitive processes and language acquisition in a foreign language course. Student-initiated talk or opportunities for discourse were observed in relation to those opportunities recognized or provided by the instructor. The data was analyzed according to the level of talk (utterance, dialogue, discourse) and the level of cognition of the students' responses. This analysis characterized text-centered talk in the university-level foreign language classroom as mainly teacher-centered, student-supported dialogue that did not take advantage of the majority of opportunities for extending classroom talk into the discourse level. Representative samples of the collected data are provided to support the findings of the study.