Author

Rong LiFollow

Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

John M. Peters

Committee Members

Schuyler Huck, Dolly J. Young, Clara Lee Brown

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate how a group of Chinese students made meaning of their collaborative learning experiences as they engaged in creating a supportive dialogical environment in an Intensive English Reading class. The class utilized dialogue as inquiry along with activities that facilitated communication to approach the learning process. These activities included: pre-class writing, in-class presentations, after-class reflections, and small group online discussions. Students and teacher engaged one another in questioning and responding that implemented a process of reflective dialogue about texts and knowledge of language.

Thirty sophomore English major students participated in this study, ten of whom were randomly selected for final participation. Data sources consisted of transcriptions from phenomenological interviews, student weekly and final written reflections, and researcher’s field notes. Analysis of these data yielded four themes: relationship, confidence, engagement, and change. That the four themes overlap suggests that they mutually reinforce one another to make students’ learning experiences collaborative.

Results indicate that creating a socially, affectively, and pedagogically-supported dialogical environment promotes students’ communication with others as well as creative and reflective doing and thinking. The results have implications for foreign language teachers, educators, and researchers interested in performing action research in their practice.

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