Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Oral Academic Discourse Socialization of In-Service Teachers in a TEFL Program

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Oral Academic Discourse Socialization of In-Service Teachers in a TEFL Program

Article excerpt


Oral academic discourse socialization refers to a process through which students learn about the conventions and practices of their disciplinary fields while doing academic spoken practices. In this study, it refers to the interactions of the participant teachers with their peers and instructors as well as their engagement with academic texts. This paper reports on academic discourse socialization of several EFL teachers in a TEFL graduate program in Iran through oral discourse practices including small-group discussions and debates after microteachings over the first year of the program. It explores how the student teachers are initiated further into the values and practices of their EFL discourse community through collegial interactions with their peers. The active participation of the participant teachers in discourse socialization practices facilitated learning in a collaborative learning community. The participants shared their personal practical experiences, scaffolded their peers and engaged with assigned academic texts. Designing professional training programs that are likely to contribute to collegial interaction can be of great importance in teacher education programs.

Keywords: oral academic discourse socialization, collegial interaction, collaborative learning community

1. Introduction

Graduate study is a very important part of any academic discourse community as it can initiate students into their professional discourse communities by introducing them to topics under discussion, disciplinary language, and discourse community culture. It both introduces the community to the graduate students, and also revitalizes the discourse community by bringing new members. Graduate students are initiated into their discourse communities through engagement in their practices and interaction with their members.Their learning is a multilateral situated process in which they try to participate in discourse community practices through learning its discourse and prevalent conventions and practices. This is possible through undergoing the process of academic discourse socialization which initiates newcomers or less experienced members of a discourse community into its prevalent values and practices.

TESOL discourse communities, including EFL discourse community, can be seen as discourse communities where their members share the same concerns about how to teach English to the speakers of other languages. Like other graduate students in other fields, graduate students in the TESOL discourse community undergo the process of academic discourse socialization to become initiated into the discourse cultures of the community. The question is whether graduate programs can initiate these non-native English speaking (NNES) teachers into the values and practices of the TESOL discourse community through their engagement in oral discourse socialization practices.

2. Background of the Study

Academic discourse socialisation which is subservient to language socialization theory can be considered as an orientation to literacy development (Duff, 2010) in academic settings. During the process, novice learners learn how to participate actively in their discourse communities to develop their identity and agency (Duff, 2007) and it is not simply taking possession of academic knowledge, but it is multi-layered and can "involve struggles over access to resources, conflicts and negotiations between differing viewpoints arising from differing degrees of experience and expertise" (p. 577).

Academic discourse socialization has been the innermost core of many graduate study programs and refers to a process through which newcomers become initiated into the discourse community's conventions to be more capable member of their discourse community. According to Duff (2010), Academic discourse is concerned with "specific disciplines or professional areas and is embodied both in texts and in other modes of interaction and representation. …

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