The teaching/learning relationship : Learning opportunities and learning outcomes an Algerian case study.
The major thrust of the study was to explore the relationships
between what a group of Algerian learners claimed to have learned from
lessons and the interactive work in which, together with their
Algerian teacher, they have participated. This opportunity is taken
to examine, in the light of our data, some variables, claimed by
classroom centered and second language acquisition studies to be, in
some strong sense, relevant to second language development. These
variables are: the impact of frequency of language use, the effect of
the use of conversational adjustments (CAs) in the discourse, and the
role of participation in the classroom. The analysis of the learners'
responses has led also to the examination of the importance of the
participants' topicalisation. Besides the investigation of the
claims, the data was used to test the limits of direct classroom
observation to provide answers as to how second language learning
develops in the classroom.
Two types of data were necessary for the investigation of the
issue: Learners' specific claims collected through questionnaires,
and detailed accounts of the learning opportunities obtained through
systematic observation of 11 hours of audio- recorded naturally
occurring classroom data. The latter set was supplemented with field
notes taken by the observer and author of this study. The numerical
information obtained through the analysis of the data was used in
combination with a qualitative analysis of the classroom interaction
to derive the following suggestive findings.
The relationship between interaction and uptake was seen, in this
study, to be far more complicated and indirect than the claims made by
others in the field might have led us to believe. Frequency of the
teacher's use of language presented a rather low correlation with the
students' learning outcomes. The use of CAs did not show an overall
significant correlation with the learners' claims. Most of the coding
schemes used to quantify learner input generation failed to show a
correlation between interaction and progress. A weak correlation
appeared between interaction and achievement. The examination of the
theme of topicalisation has shown the learners, as discourse
initiators, to be more influential than the teacher on what gets
claimed to be learned in this specific instructional setting.