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					Can chat deliver the goods?
 An example from an online task
 in second language teacher
 education

   Leila Ranta, Amy Meckelborg
        University of Alberta


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Instructor and Head Researcher         Educational Technology Consultant




  Dr. Leila Ranta,                         Amy Meckelborg, Technology
  Associate Professor                      Professional Development
  Department of Educational                Facilitator
  Psychology                               Tech PD
  TESL Program


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Outline of Presentation

1.   Background
2.   The task
3.   Analysis
4.   Results
5.   Discussion


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Background


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Instructional Activities


     Active Learning                         Higher Order
                                             thinking skills




  Greater learning outcomes and increased motivation



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Task-based learning in language
instruction



                                            Practice grammar




Authentic communication of meaningful content




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    Technology in teaching
    and learning
   Broader range of tools and
    opportunities for tasks
   Enable intercultural
    dimension to tasks
   Experience using technology
    improves ability to teach
    with technology




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A Canada-Finland exchange
Edmonton, Alberta                    University of Jyväskylä




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The course
   EDPY 497: Pedagogical
    Grammar of English
   400-level course for students
    in the TESL Diploma program
   16 adult learners enrolled




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Course objectives
   Cover the most important aspects
    of English grammar for ESL
    teachers
   Introduce students to basic
    techniques in teaching grammar
   Build students’ confidence and
    provide practice explaining
    grammar



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Specific objectives of the task

   Actively involve the students in
    authentic communication about
    English grammar
   Engage higher-order thinking skills
   Provide opportunity for students to
    practice and develop confidence
    explaining English grammar



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The Task


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Task design decisions
   Use of synchronous chat
   TappedIn to host the chat
   Small group size
   Participation grade attached
   Modals & social etiquette as
    topic




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The chat task
   Pre-chat activities
       In-class discussion of reading on modal
        verbs
       Preliminary completion of worksheet
        outside of class
   The chat
       A series of questions/activities on the
        worksheet
   Follow up activities
       Post teaching ideas to discussion board
       Send transcript of chat to instructor

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The Pre-chat Exercise
     Modals and Social Etiquette in Canada and Finland

Complete the following sentences for both Canada and Finland
using the most appropriate modal verb from the following list:

must have to    should     mustn’t don’t have to     shouldn’t

In Canada ...                      In Finland ...
a) When you are invited to         a) When you are invited to
someone’s house, you               someone’s house, you
_________ take a gift.             _________ take a gift.
b) You ____________ smoke          b) You ____________ smoke
without asking permission.         without asking permission.
c) You ____________ hug            c) You ____________ hug
friends when you see them.         friends when you see them.
...                                ...


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The chat
2.   Compare answers with your Finnish partners.
3.   Identify how much obligation is involved in each
     situation by using a percentage.
4.   Select situations with high levels of obligation and
     imagine that you see a friend from another country
     “break” the rules. What would be the appropriate
     thing to say to that person?
5.   Ask Finnish partners what they have learned about
     how to give advice in English. Do they remember
     ever practicing giving advice in an English class?
6.   Come up with an activity that gives ESL/EFL students
     practice in giving advice.


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Preparing the Students




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Implementation of the Task

   Groups arranged own meeting
    times
   Chats occurred over a week
   Students released from class time




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Analysis


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Data collection
   Eight chat transcripts submitted by 8
    groups
   Two transcripts chosen for in-depth
    analysis
   Follow up posting to discussion board
   An immediate survey for feedback on
    the activity
   End of term questionnaire questions


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Taxonomy of idea framing
(Tan, 2000)


   Analysis of how knowledge is
    constructed through examination of
    how ideas are linked to each other in
    discourse

   Additive framing and reactive
    framing categories




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Additive framing

The second idea is the addition to the
first idea without judgment or
evaluation or comment on the quality
or truthfulness or validity of the
propositional content of the first idea.




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Additive framing categories
             addition of a similar new idea to the head idea or
Adding
             the list of ideas preceding it
             addition of a generalized idea to a part or whole of
Concluding
             the preceding idea
             addition of an intermediate idea that brings in
Converging   opposite or different ideas or which synthesizes
             different ideas
             addition of a different idea to the preceding ideas
Diverging
             initiating a switch in the flow (attention getters....)
             addition of more specific information to part or
Expanding
             whole of the preceding general idea

             the second idea is an explanation of the first idea
Explaining   (reason to justify the first idea, a consequence,
             causal or temporary)


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Reactive framing

The second idea is an addition to the
first idea but with the speaker’s
judgment on the truthfulness, validity
or value of the original idea.




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Reactive framing categories
                the second idea questions the validity or truthfulness of the
Challenging     first idea often in the form of a question - challenging rather
                than checking or asking

                the second idea contradicts the validity or truthfulness of
Contradicting
                the first idea


                addition of an opposite idea to the preceding idea(s) The
Contrasting
                two ideas are presented as being both true (but, anyway)


                the second idea reduces the validity or truthfulness of the
Counteracting
                first idea (ie. under specific conditions, qualifying the idea)


                the second idea is an evaluation of the quality, truthfulness
Evaluating
                or validity of the first idea (evaluative adjectives)




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  Sample coded transcript
First Idea    Can1: e) When a woman is introduced to a new
Adding        person she doesn't have to offer to shake hands; we
Explaining    say about 60% non-obligatory because if it is a
              person in authority you are being introduced to for
              the first time a handshake is almost mandatory
              (should) - agree B?/
Concluding    Can2: YES, I agree. Formal situations are very
              different.
              Fin1: In Finland it doesn't make any difference
Adding        wether you are a man or a woman, you should shake
Adding        hands when being introduced to a new person (95%).
Expanding     On the other hand, if the situation is very informal
              you don't necessarily have to shake hands, but
              usually you do./
Qexplaining   Can1: So in an informal situation is it a "should" or a
              don't have to?
Concluding    Can2: Yes, people in Europe shake hands much more
              often than we do.
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Results


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Results: Totals
   Coding     Number of Coded Ideas
 Categories   (% of total # of coded ideas
              in transcript)
                 Group SL       Group SB
                (Total=228)   (Total =137)
Additive
                    155 (68%)       69 (50%)
Framing
Reactive
                        6 (3%)       6 (4%)
Framing


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Predominance of additive framing

   According to Tan, 2003
    o   additive idea framing can lead to “new
        significant or original ideas and
        knowledge”
    o   But to do so, the discourse needs to
        move forward “from the specific to the
        general, from similar to opposite, from
        straightforward description to non-
        straightforward interpretation” (p. 256).



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Results: Additive framing
Coding Categories     Number of Coded Ideas
                      (% of total # of coded ideas in
                      transcript)
                          Group SL           Group SB
                         (Total=228)       (Total =137)
Additive Framing           155 (68%)        69 (50%)
(Total)
 Adding                        73 (32%)    38 (28%)
 Concluding                     8 ( 4%)     2 (15%)
 Converging                     2 ( 1%)     0
 Diverging                      4 ( 2%)     1 (1%)
 Expanding                     21 ( 9%)     5 (4%)
 Explaining                    47 (21%)    23 (17%)


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Results: Reactive framing
Coding Categories     Number of Coded Ideas
                      (% of total # of coded ideas in
                      transcript)
                         Group SL           Group SB
                        (Total=228)       (Total =137)
Reactive Framing             6 (3%)          6 (4%)
(Total)
 Challenging                     1 (.05%)   0
 Contradicting                   0          0
 Contrasting                     0          0
 Counteracting                   0          0
 Evaluating                      5 (2%)     6 (4%)




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Discussion


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Specific objectives of the task

   Actively involve the students in
    authentic communication about
    English grammar
   Engage higher-order thinking skills
   Provide opportunity for students to
    practice and develop confidence
    explaining English grammar



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Engage higher-order thinking skills?

   Most of the conversation in the chat
    focused on description – adding,
    explaining and some expanding.
   Concluding, converging and
    diverging, which would have
    indicated some synthesis and
    analysis, were seldom if ever used.
   Very few reactive ideas reflect a
    lack of these processes as well.

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Actively involve the students in authentic
communication about English grammar?

   The students were actively involved
    in discussing grammar.
   Students reported that they found it
    interesting to learn about the Finns’
    experiences and about Finnish
    culture.




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Provide opportunity for students to practice
and develop confidence explaining English
grammar?

   This happened more in some groups
    than others.
   Students focused on accomplishing
    the task (filling in the blanks) rather
    than understanding the relationship
    between the grammatical forms and
    the meanings.



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    Student feedback
   Almost only positive comments
   Some technical difficulties
   Problems finding a meeting time
    because of the 9-hour time difference




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Reflections
   Task: More support and guidance
    needed to help students focus on
    the overall purpose of the task
   Tool: The chat environment may
    not be conducive to problem-solving
    and deeper processing
   Logistics: Important that both
    groups have the same
    understanding of the task and its
    purpose
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Thank you
          Leila.ranta@ualberta.ca

        Amy.meckelborg@ualberta.ca



We’d like to acknowledge the collaboration of
Professors Riikka Alanen and Paula Kalaja and
                their students
    at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland




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References
   Tan, B.T. (2000). Multi-dimensionality of idea framing in
    group work in academic settings. Language and
    Education, 14, 223-249.
   Tan, B.T. (2003). Creativity, diversity and originality of
    ideas in divergent group discussion tasks: The role of
    repetition and addition in discovering ‘new significant’, or
    original’ ideas and knowledge. Language and Education,
    17, 241-265.
   Tapped In (2007): http://tappedin.org/tappedin/




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Images

   Group work image by noii's
    www.Flickr.com
   Globe images by duncan
    www.Flickr.com




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