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Title: A dynamic systems approach to wait time in the second language classroom
Authors: Smith, Lesley
King, Jim
First Published: 16-Jun-2017
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: System, 2017, 68, pp. 1-14
Abstract: This study discusses how wait time—the silent pause after a teacher elicits a student response—alters classroom discourse. Previous wait time research suggests overall positive changes in both teacher and student discourse where wait time is over 1 s. However, such studies are primarily structuralist in nature and tend to reduce the intricacy of classroom behavior to distinct variables, which can be easily altered to achieve a desired result. The data presented here comes from a series of structured observations of a UK university postgraduate L2 classroom. The findings were as follows: 1) Wait time played an intricate role in determining classroom discourse patterns and heavily favored an IRF turn-taking sequence; 2) student-initiated discourse was low in all observations and favored higher proficiency students; 3) the length of individual student-initiated turns appears to have been more important than the overall number of student-initiated turns in determining the quality of classroom discourse and was not directly related to changes in wait time length; 4) extended wait time (over 2 s in length) temporarily shifted discourse out of an IRF pattern and into a new, more student-driven phase. While previously thought of as only a pedagogical tool to increase student speech, wait time is shown to be a phenomenon which develops and changes with the composite forces that affect other aspects of classroom discourse.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.system.2017.05.005
ISSN: 0346-251X
Embargo on file until: 16-Jun-2019
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017, Elsevier. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until 24 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Education

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