UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Language through literature : real language experiences in an ESL adult classroom Kim, Won


A linear view of second language acquisition (SLA) process is still dominant in adult ESL classes where linguistically-based meaning-making at a sentence level is the focus of instruction and learners are regarded as passive information processors. These classrooms often presuppose the separation of language and social context as well as of language competence and language performance. The thesis reports on a three-month long descriptive case study of an ESL class at a private language institute in Canada with international advanced-level adult learners employing literature-based second language (L2) instruction (LBLI). Based on the findings of the study, this study intended to suggest pedagogical implications to extend its feasibility as an alternative L2 teaching paradigm in light of Johnson’s (2004) new model of SLA, namely “dialogical approach” based on Vygotsky’s Sociocultural theory and Bakhtin’s Literary theory. The study aimed to investigate 1) the nature of teaching practices of the instruction, and 2) students’ learning experiences with such instruction in an effort to contribute to the further scholarly discussion of “how” literature is being and can/should be incorporated for the development of L2. Data was collected through weekly class observations, interviews with the instructor as well as three voluntary students, questionnaires with the whole class, and analysis of written documents. Findings reveal that the essence of Johnson’s SLA model (2004) was evident in this particular class with LBLI where both language learning and language use co-occurred in interactive practices with literature that served not only as a sociocultural resource for language as speech, but also as a source for evoking meaningful interactions. The study also highlights that this content-rich instruction fostered contextualized, real, not just realistic language experiences encompassing the genuine negotiation of meaning while promoting students’ sense of independence as language users. Together with implications for curriculum developers, policy makers, teacher educators, and students, the thesis concludes with pedagogical implications for its successful implementation in various ESL and EFL contexts by discussing different facets of L2 pedagogy, including text selection criteria, classroom discourse, participation structures, students’ and teachers’ roles, extended reading activities, and other preliminary pedagogical issues.

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