Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Vol 10, No 1 (2013)

Problematizing vocabulary in the second language classroom: Unilateral and bilateral approaches

Hansun Zhang Waring, Catherine DiFelice Box, Sarah Creider
Issued Date: 18 Oct 2016

Abstract


Research on vocabulary-learning and teaching has predominantly relied on experimental designs and interviews, in which learning is largely treated as an individual rather than a social process, and factors such as repeated exposure and strategy teaching are highlighted, with a focus on planned vocabulary instruction. Relatively less information exists with regard to how vocabulary, let alone unplanned vocabulary, is taught and learned during naturally occurring classroom interaction. Using data from 28 hours of videotaped interaction from 14 different adult English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms, this conversation analytic study explores how unplanned issues of vocabulary get problematized in situ either unilaterally or bilaterally. While the unilateral approach involves the teacher problematizing an item without any observable evidence of trouble in prior interaction, such evidence is integral to the bilateral approach. Findings of this study may constitute a useful resource for strengthening the professional practice of systematically handling unplanned vocabulary instruction in the language classroom.

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DOI: 10.1558/japl.17144

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