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Friday, August 14 • 11:00am - 11:25am
Seen and Heard ... or Not? The Dilemmas and Possibilities of Intersubjectivity in Shared Language Classrooms

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While the effects of technological mediation on students' negotiation of meaning and achievement of intersubjectivity in synchronous CMC environments (audiochat, videoconferencing) have been documented in focused, two-party encounters, little research has addressed these phenomena at the whole-class level. Yet, in the case of the increasingly common room-to-room, video-mediated shared language classroom, where one teacher coordinates learning among two groups of distally located learners, questions of intersubjectivity and meaning-making as a group are of significant concern: how can teachers ensure reciprocity in participation and understanding in pair and group work across classroom sites, and in distributed whole-class discussions? How can students build confidence in being both heard and understood not just by their teacher (often the most visible, audible, or ‘ratified’ respondent in technology-dependent video exchanges), but by other students as well? And what affordances and impediments does the shared class dynamic create with regard to the formation of a sense of classroom-as-community?

The present study reports on two semesters of classroom observations, student and teacher interviews, and other qualitative data collected from a number of shared language classrooms in three private universities in the northeastern U.S., where instruction in less commonly taught languages is carried out through high-definition videoconferencing, interactive whiteboards, and other tools. A number of conversation and discourse analytic techniques are employed to reveal evidence of intersubjective formations (and the lack thereof) in classroom discourse itself (e.g., Hutchby & Wooffitt, 2008), as well as in the cultural framings and metaphors employed by students and teachers outside of the classroom, explaining embodied experiences in ‘real’ language classrooms in light of physical absence and the non-reciprocity of perception. In addition to offering provisional findings, the presentation concludes with the suggestion of strategies for the enhancement of intersubjectivity in shared language classrooms.

avatar for David Malinowski

David Malinowski

Language Technology & Research Specialist, Yale Center for Language Study

Friday August 14, 2015 11:00am - 11:25am EDT
Holden Chapel Holden Chapel, Harvard Bus Tunnel, Cambridge, MA