Communication strategies in second language teacher talk with special reference to Iranian teachers of English
The focus of this study is the use of communication strategies in teacher talk in ESL/EFL classrooms. Communication strategies consist of adjustments made by speakers to the formulation of their talk in order to facilitate communication, and these are clearly a potentially important aspect of teacher talk. Limiting communication strategies to those adaptations evident in the details of the interaction, the study uses a mixed method design to investigates firstly the type and frequency of communication strategies and their patterns of relationship across teachers grouped in terms of language background and teaching institution; and secondly the type and frequency of strategy use in relation to the focus of talk across the different phases of a standard lesson. The participants were three native speaker and six non-native speaker teachers, across three different ESL/EFL instructional settings. The data consist of a total of twenty seven recordings, made up of three lessons with each teacher. The study reports results from three phases of analysis. The categonsation phase leads to an operational definition of communication strategies which integrates conversational modifications with lexical -compensatory strategies. The quantification phase of the analysis shows that the two types of strategy occur with different frequencies and functions. No important differences were found between NS and NNS teachers. However, significant taskrelated differences were detected. Finally a case study of three teachers revealed a relationship between the focus of talk and the incidence of communication strategies across the phases of the analysed lesson. The implications of these results are firstly that communication strategies are indeed a central element of teacher talk; secondly, that lexical compensatory strategies and meaning negotiation strategies both contribute significantly to the construct; thirdly, that their use is important for both native speaker and non-native speaker teachers; fourthly, that they are used with significantly different frequencies and functions; and finally, that their use is influenced by teaching focus and activity type. It is also likely to be affected by factors such as teaching style. The thesis argues that, on the basis of the findings, further research into the use of communication strategies in teacher talk could make a significant contribution to teacher education.