Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, Vol 2, No 2 (2011)

Teacher-student interaction in classrooms of students with specific learning disabilities learning English as a foreign language

Irit Cohen
Issued Date: 29 Aug 2011


The study reported in this article examines teacher-student verbal interaction in classrooms of high school students with specific learning difficulties learning English as a foreign language. The aims of the research were twofold: a) to examine teachers' interactional strategies when teaching a foreign language to these students and b) to search for strategies which appeared to support and activate students' participation in language learning activities. This article presents data analysis from one of three classrooms involved in a larger-scale research project (Cohen, 2006). The research was conducted in classrooms of low ability groups of high-school students over a period of four months. The classrooms were composed of students with specific learning difficulties which affected their ability to acquire proper literacy skills in English as a foreign language and whose literacy and communication skills in English were therefore limited. The main sources of data were transcripts of observation notes and video-taped classroom interactions. The conceptual framework for analysis and interpretation of the data included a socio-cultural model of teacher-student interaction and examination of deviations from the traditional, restricted Initiation-Response-Feedback (IRF) classroom sequence. This article focuses on one of the teachers and represents data based on four out of ten of her lessons examined in the original research. Results show how the teacher's instructional strategies and the quality of her interaction have a potential to open up and increase learning opportunities for students with specific learning difficulties.

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DOI: 10.1558/jircd.v2i2.271


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