Identifying features of dialogic interaction in EFL teacher discourse: A literature review

Roehl Sybing


Instructional conversation (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988) is an approach to dialogic interaction (Hall, 1993) between teacher and student intended to co-construct meaning and foster learner comprehension. Despite the potential impact dialogic interaction can have on learner outcomes in language education, the current research has adopted an input/output orientation that quantifies language rather than assesses the effectiveness of meaning-making processes in the classroom. To that effect, this paper aims to inductively recognize features of dialogic interaction in the contemporary research on English as a foreign language (EFL). Analysis of research from 26 qualitative studies on university EFL classroom contexts highlights how various discourse strategies among language educators such as questioning, scaffolding, and L1 usage satisfy the imperatives of instructional conversation defined by Goldenberg (1992). While discrete elements of instructional conversation can be found in the research, the overall cognitivist orientation in the field poses challenges for holistic observation of instructional conversation, warranting further research into dialogic interaction in language education.

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