Effects of communication strategy training on EFL students’ performance in small-group discussions

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Stuart Benson
Danielle Fischer
Joe Geluso
Lucius Von Joo

Abstract

In recent years, a number of studies have been conducted with regard to communication strategy training and performance on communicative tasks (Lam, 2009; Nakatani, 2010; Naughton, 2006). This study aims to add to the literature by examining how two strategies, clarifying/confirming and extending a conversation, and two methods of teaching the strategies, affected the interactional sequences and overall group discussion performance of EFL students at a university in Japan. Pre and posttreatment small-group discussions were recorded for assessment, and a stimulated recall interview was administered to determine the participants’ perceptions of their learning and language use. Posttest results reveal that the experimental groups that were taught predetermined phrases aimed at clarifying/confirming and extending a conversation employed such phrases more frequently than the control group. However, this employment of phrases did not lead to higher gains in group discussion skills as the control group enjoyed the largest gains from pre to posttest. The researchers consider the findings in light of previous research, and conclude with recommendations for future research on the topic with special regard to research design.

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Author Biographies

Stuart Benson, Kanda University of International Studies

stuart-b@kanda.kuis.ac.jp

Stuart Benson currently works in the Department of International Communication at Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. He graduated from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand with a Masters degree in TESOL. His research interests are in vocabulary, specifically in the explicit teaching of vocabulary learner strategies and collocations.

Danielle Fischer, Kanda University of International Studies

danielle-f@kanda.kuis.ac.jp

Danielle Fischer is a lecturer in the Department of International Communication at Kanda University of International Studies, Japan. She graduated with an MA in TESOL from Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, USA. She has previous experience teaching pragmatics and discussion skills to business professionals both in Japan and in various countries in Eastern Europe. Her most current research focuses on critical thinking and cultural exploration through book discussions.

 

Joe Geluso, Iowa State University

jgeluso@iastate.edu

Joe Geluso is currently working towards a PhD iKrn applied linguistics and technology at Iowa State University, USA. From 2009 to 2013 he was a lecturer in the Department of International Communication at Kanda University of International Studies, Japan. His research interests include second language acquisition, cognitive linguistics, phraseology, corpus linguistics, and CALL.

Lucius Von Joo, Kanda University of International Studies

lucius-v@kanda.kuis.ac.jp

Lucius Von Joo currently teaches at Kanda University of International Studies, Japan. He graduated with an EdM in comparative and international education from Teachers College. He has taught deaf education, elementary education and EFL/ESL in California, Japan and New York in the past 10 years. His research interests include computer assisted learning, film and documentary content based learning, discussion skill pragmatics, teacher training origins and application oflessons, student educational backgrounds and learning approaches, video-cued multivocal ethnography, and family and communities as educators.

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