Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Many scholars have noted the disjunction between language instruction at the lower- and upper levels of FL study (Byrnes, 2002; Kraemer, 2008; Lord, 2014; Maxim, 2005; Schultz, 2000; Swaffar & Arens, 2005). Whereas lower-division courses tend to focus primarily on learning grammatical patterns and the "four skills," upper-level courses focus mainly on content. This language-content gap is problematic for learners, who often arrive to upper-level courses unprepared for the types of learning that occur there. By providing students a bridge between lower-level and upper-level courses, third-year FL courses carry a heavy responsibility: They must integrate the language-focus familiar to students at the lower-levels while simultaneously preparing them for the types of learning that they will encounter at the upper-levels. It is the aim of this dissertation to reveal the types of tasks that may be useful at this level in order to help learners succeed. Using grounded ethnographic methods, this multiple case study chronicles how a collaborative partnership between an instructor and an applied linguist facilitated the integration of new technology into two sections of a third-year Spanish grammar-and-composition course. For data analysis, two theoretical frameworks rooted in systemic functional linguistics were used: the Knowledge Framework (Mohan, 1986, 2007, 2011) and APPRAISAL theory (Martin & White, 2005). Specific findings surrounded: (a) the role of technology in third-year language learning, (b) the importance of f2f and written feedback, (c) the tasks used as learning tools, and (d) students' language development. Four technology-based themes and four task types were found to be instrumental at this level. Each of these tasks as they occurred during culture, grammar, and writing lessons entailed different ways of using language to construct knowledge. While grammar tasks were especially useful for building up students' knowledge about language forms, culture lessons and writing tasks were instances for the teacher to support students' knowledge of language and content. Specifically, these latter two task types provided opportunities for functional recasting, in which the teacher could make form-meaning relationships explicit (Mohan & Beckett, 2003). This study makes a contribution to the field by showing the types of technology, tasks, and language that were beneficial in third-year Spanish courses. As such, it outlines a curricular model for third-year FL courses, including important task types for helping learners to successfully transition from lower-level language courses into advanced levels of language study.
Jesse Soule Gleason
Gleason, Jesse Soule, "Technology and tasks for bridging the language-content gap: Teacher-researcher collaboration in a third-year Spanish writing course" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13487.