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A Study of English Language Learners' Second Language Use in the Context of a Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041605/00001

Material Information

Title: A Study of English Language Learners' Second Language Use in the Context of a Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task
Physical Description: 1 online resource (277 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Mutlu, Berna
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: collaborative, constructionism, discourse, ell, english, gee, graphic, interaction, language, organizer, qualitative, second, social, sociocultural, task, vygotsky
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Curriculum and Instruction (ISC) thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This study explored how English language learners use language to interact with each other in the context of a collaborative graphic organizer task. Six adult English language learners from different cultural and language backgrounds of the same intermediate writing proficiency levels but at different levels of spoken English participated in a collaborative graphic organizer task. According to the findings from the study, the students used a large span of academic vocabulary at varying levels of difficulty and both simple and complex sentence structures. Students conversations involved multiple language functions expressed in various ways. The nature of the conversations was academic and activity-oriented, centering around the goal of completing the graphic organizer collaboratively. The final step of the task was the independent completion of an essay. The researcher observed that in order to achieve a successful level of language use with multiple exchanges and conversations that flow smoothly, partners need to ask questions, give responses in extensive detail, and expand on subtopics with further examples and explanations. The interactions involved opportunities where students provided help for each other through various interactional roles, interactional styles, and instances of conceptual, linguistic, and strategic scaffolding. This study can help teachers understand how English language learners interact in a collaborative graphic organizer task, and it has implications for adaptations in using graphic organizers in collaborative tasks as tools for English language learners linguistic and academic development.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Berna Mutlu.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Harper, Candace.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041605:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041605/00001

Material Information

Title: A Study of English Language Learners' Second Language Use in the Context of a Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task
Physical Description: 1 online resource (277 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Mutlu, Berna
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: collaborative, constructionism, discourse, ell, english, gee, graphic, interaction, language, organizer, qualitative, second, social, sociocultural, task, vygotsky
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Curriculum and Instruction (ISC) thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This study explored how English language learners use language to interact with each other in the context of a collaborative graphic organizer task. Six adult English language learners from different cultural and language backgrounds of the same intermediate writing proficiency levels but at different levels of spoken English participated in a collaborative graphic organizer task. According to the findings from the study, the students used a large span of academic vocabulary at varying levels of difficulty and both simple and complex sentence structures. Students conversations involved multiple language functions expressed in various ways. The nature of the conversations was academic and activity-oriented, centering around the goal of completing the graphic organizer collaboratively. The final step of the task was the independent completion of an essay. The researcher observed that in order to achieve a successful level of language use with multiple exchanges and conversations that flow smoothly, partners need to ask questions, give responses in extensive detail, and expand on subtopics with further examples and explanations. The interactions involved opportunities where students provided help for each other through various interactional roles, interactional styles, and instances of conceptual, linguistic, and strategic scaffolding. This study can help teachers understand how English language learners interact in a collaborative graphic organizer task, and it has implications for adaptations in using graphic organizers in collaborative tasks as tools for English language learners linguistic and academic development.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Berna Mutlu.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Harper, Candace.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041605:00001


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A STUDY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS' SECOND LANGUAGE USE IN THE
CONTEXT OF A COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK





















By

BERNA MUTLU


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2010

































2010 Berna Mutlu
































To my Mom and to all the women who reclaimed
their independence through education









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to express my deepest appreciation to my supervisor, Dr. Candace

Harper, for her continuous support and help with my dissertation. She has always been

a true mentor with her corrective feedback and her meticulous scaffolding that helped

me meet her high standards in crafting a successful dissertation.

I would like to thank Dr. Behar-Horenstein for all her guidance about how to handle

the emotional stress during the dissertation process in a PhD. I kept carving through

my dissertation with great patience and care, repeating her motto to myself "The best

dissertation is a finished dissertation!"

I am appreciative of Dr. Pace for helping me improve my knowledge on

socicultural studies in education. She helped me enrich my thinking by pointing me in

the right direction and helped me chart the territory of sociocultural theories with great

ease.

I am grateful to Dr. Cowles for helping me understand the psychology of language.

I started the journey to academic language development in her class, and with that

great foundation, I was able to build a strong foundation for the sociocultural aspects of

language learning.

I would like to thank Dr. Mirka Koro-Ljungberg for giving me the best courses on

qualitative research methods. I would not have been able to start or complete this

dissertation if I had not taken her classes.

I am thankful to the reading/writing teachers and program coordinators at the

English Language Institute (ELI) for their cooperation as well as the students in the

intermediate reading and writing class for their participation in this study.









I would like to thank Dr. Nihal Tumer-Scarpace and Ms. Nur Erenguc for being

great role models for me about being a strong and independent Turkish woman and for

motivating me to finish my PhD degree to fulfill my career aspirations.

I would like to thank Dr. Cindy Naranjo, Dr. Bahar Otcu, and Laura Waltrip for

providing feedback during the data analysis process and going over my findings for

peer-checking. I would also like to thank Brian Slawson and Selin Ozguzer for teaching

me to think like an information designer and prompting my interest in graphic organizer

research.

Finally, I would like to thank my Mom from the bottom of my heart for raising me as

an inquisitive minded person with great ambition and for always giving me the freedom

to be myself all my life. I am so lucky that I acquired her enthusiasm about life-long

learning.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

AC KNOW LEDG M ENTS....... .. ...... ............ ........................................... .............. 4

L IS T O F T A B LE S ...................................................................................................... 9

LIS T O F F IG U R E S ................................................................................ .................... 11

A B S T R A C T ........................ ................. ............... .................................... 12

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ......................... ............................ 14

Background to the Study .................................... ................. 14
What is Academic Language? ...... ........................................... 15
Linguistic Complexity in Academic Language ..................................... 15
Teaching Academic Language and Academic Content .............................. 16
Vygotsky's Theory on Scaffolding ...................................17
Language Scaffolding in Collaborative Tasks ...... .... ................................ 18
Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers ................................. .. ............ ....... 20
Common Themes in Graphic Organizer Research ................... ............... 22
Rationale for the Study ......................... ........ .........23
Research Problem ............................................. 25
Specific Research Questions ......... ... ........... ..... ................ 26
Significance of the Study .......................... ...............26
D efin itio n of T e rm s : ............. ................. ................................... ..................................2 7

2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................. ......... .............29

W hat are Graphic Organizers? ....................................................... .......................... 29
Graphic Organizers as Tools for Content Learning ............................. 32
Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers for Content Learning ...............................34
Graphic Organizers as Tools for Second Language Acquisition .......................... 37
Research on Graphic Organizers and Second Language Learning ............42
Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers in Language Learning Tasks .................. 45
Role of Interaction in Second Language Acquisition ....................... .... ..... 46
Research on Interaction and Second Language Acquisition ..............48
Sociocultural Nature of Collaborative Communication ....... ......................... 51
Studies on Sociocultural Aspects of Second Language Acquisition .................. 55
Discourse Analysis and Studying Collaborative Classroom Interactions ...............59

3 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGY .............. .............. 66

Theoretical Framework .............. ......... ........ ................ 66
M eth o d o lo g y .................................................................................... ................ 6 7









Overview of the Dissertation and Research Problems............... ..... ......... .. 67
S e ttin g ....................... ...... .......... ...... ............................................7 0
P a rtic ip a n ts .......................................... .............................................. 7 1
T a s k D e s c rip tio n ................ ......................... .............................................. 7 6
P ilo t S tu d y ................ ............... .......... ...... ......................................... 7 8
D ata C o llectio n ............. ......... ......................................................... ........... ...... 80
D a ta A n a ly s is ...................... .. ............. .. ................................................. 8 4
Subjectivity Statement .................. .......... ............... .......... ............ 89
V a lid ity ...................... .. ............. .. ....................................................... 9 0
L im ita tio n s ...................... .. ............. .. ................................................... 9 1

4 RESEARCH RESULTS ....................................................................................... 95

Sociocultural and Structural Analyses of Students' Interactions......................... 96
Types of Scaffolding ................. ................................ 96
Linguistic scaffolding ............... ................................ 97
Conceptual scaffolding ............. ............... .............. ...........101
Strategic scaffolding ................................ ....105
Interactional Dynamics in the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task .......... 109
Academic language functions ............................ .............. ............ 111
M acrofunction Inform ing........................................ 112
M acrofunction Describing .................. ................. ...... ............... 119
Macrofunction Clarifying ............. .............. .. ......... ............... 123
M acrofunction Presenting ........ ........ ......... ................. ............... 125
Interactional roles ......................... ...... ................. ...............131
Roles for starting a task or a new topic .............. ................................ 132
Roles for continuing a task or a new topic............................. ....... 134
Roles for ending a task or a topic ...................... ................141
Interactional style ...................... ...... ....... .. ..............................143
Collaborative approach .............. ............................... ..........143
Argumentative approach ............. ... ........................ 143
Hesitant approach ................................. ......144
Pair 1- Dawud and Ayumi: Collaborative-argumentative interactional
style ..................................... ........144
Pair 2- Miguel and Hyun: Collaborative-hesitant interactional style....... 146
Pair 3- Roberto and Akram: Collaborative-collaborative interactional
style ............................. ..... ...........................14 7
Sociocultural analysis of students' writing samples ................ ................ 149
Structural Analysis of the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task as a Social
E v e n t ........... ............... ...... .. ...............................................1 5 2
T ypes of A activity S structure ........................................................ .. .......................153
Forms of Task Accomplishment .........................................155
Linguistic and Conceptual Analysis of Students' Language Use........................... 159
C choice of C content W ords........................................................................... ............. 159
Choice of Linguistic Structures .......................... ........... ............... 164
Diversity in Main Topic and Subtopics ............... ... .... .......... .... ........ 169
Participants' Perspectives about the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task......... 174


7









Support w ith Listening/S peaking Skills ............................................................ 174
Support for W writing Skills ........ .... ... .. ................ .... .. .... ........ ................ 176
Support for Reading Comprehension Skills .................................... ................ 180
Sociocultural Relations ..................................................... .. ................. 182
Sum m ary of the Results ................. ............... .... .......... ..... ................ 186

5 DISCUSSION OF RESULTS .............................. ........... ..............................210

Sociocultural Aspects of Students' Interactions ....................... ....................... 211
Successful Communication Patterns and Collaboration ............... ................ 211
Scaffolding Opportunities and Types of Scaffolding .................. ................... 216
Linguistic Scaffolding ........... ..................................................... 218
Conceptual Scaffolding .................................. .. ................ .......... .... 219
Strategic Scaffolding ..................................... ...... .. ........ .......... ....220
Linguistic Com plexity of Interactions.................................................................. 221
Students' Perspectives on Graphic Organizers and Collaborative Graphic
Organizer Task ............ ...... ..... .............. ........ .... .........222

6 CONCLUSION AND EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS................................224

Information Gap in Collaborative Activities .......................................... ........ 224
Focus on M meaning .......... ......... .. ......... .................. ... .............. 225
Focus on Language Use .............................. ................... ...... .. ........ 226
Stress Free Classroom Environment ...... .................... ................227
Open-Ended Tasks and Topics................. ..................... ................ 227
International Roles and Styles......... ............................................................ 228
Suggestions For Further Study ................. ..................... ................ 231

APPENDIX

A SAMPLE STUDENT GRAPHIC ORGANIZER I............... .... ................234

B SAMPLE STUDENT GRAPHIC ORGANIZER II .............................................. 235

C COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK WORKSHEETS-
COMPARISON/CONTRAST ................ .................................... 236

D TRA NSC R IPT SYM BO LS .......................... .................................. ................ 255

E INTERV IEW Q U ESTIO NS ......................... ......... ......................... ............... 256

F SAMPLE DATAANALYSIS CHARTS ................ ....... ...................... ............... 257

G STUDENTS' TRANSCRIBED WRITING SAMPLES....................................263

REFERENCES ............... .... .. .......... ....... ..... ....................... .. 267

BIO G RA PH ICA L SKETC H ......... .................. ....................................... ................ 277









LIST OF TABLES


Table page

2-1 Review of literature on graphic organizers and second language learning ......... 62

2-2 The knowledge framework categories................................. ............ .............. 62

2-3 Conceptual framework on collaborative use of graphic organizers with
second language learners............................................. .............................. 65

3-1 Theoretical framework of the study ................ ........................ ................ 94

3-2 Participants .............. ..... .......... ..... ................................. 94

4-1 Hierarchical taxonomy of categories formed during data analysis................ 188

4-2 Frequency of academic language functions in sample dialogues per each
p a ir .................... ................................. ......... ....... ....... 1 8 9

4-3 Frequency of academic language functions in sample student dialogues per
each participant ............. ......... ......... ............ ............... .......... 191

4-4 Academic language functions in the collaborative graphic organizer task ........192

4-5 Interactional roles during collaborative graphic organizer task ............. .......... 193

4-6 Pair 1- Ayumi and Dawud Task structure.............................. 194

4-7 Pair 2- Hyun and Miguel Task structure..... .............. ............... 195

4-8 Pair 3- Roberto and Akram Task structure.............................. 196

4-9 Sample student dialogue with example content words................ ................... 197

4-10 Sample student dialogue with example content words....... ................ 198

4-11 Sample student dialogue with example content words....... ................ 199

4-12 Ayumi from Pair 1- W written language sample...... ....... .. ................... 200

4-13 Dawud from Pair 1- W written language sample ...................... .... ...............201

4-14 Hyun from Pair 2- W written language sample .................................................... 202

4-15 Miguel from Pair 2- Written language sample............... .................... 203

4-16 Akram from Pair 3- Written language sample.................. ................ 204









4-17 Roberto from Pair 3- W written language sample.......... .. ........ ................... 205

4-18 Length of students' conversations ........ .. .................. ................206

4-19 Sample student writing Comparison/Contrast....... ............................209

4-20 Sample student writing Cause and Effect ..................... .....................209









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

2-1 Common organizational structures of information texts................................... 63

2-2 Example of a student-generated graphic organizer.................. ............. 64

2-3 German-English bilingual map............. .............. ........... ................64

4-1 Conceptual depth of subtopics in students' conversations....................................207

4-2 Sample graphic organizers Comparison/Contrast................ .............. .....208

4-3 Sample graphic organizers Cause and Effect......... ................................... 208









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

A STUDY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS' SECOND LANGUAGE USE IN THE
CONTEXT OF A COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK

By

Berna Mutlu

August 2010

Chair: Candace Ann Harper
Major: Curriculum and Instruction

This study explored how English language learners use language to interact with

each other in the context of a collaborative graphic organizer task. Six adult English

language learners from different cultural and language backgrounds of the same

intermediate writing proficiency levels but at different levels of spoken English

participated in a collaborative graphic organizer task.

According to the findings from the study, the students used a large span of

academic vocabulary at varying levels of difficulty and both simple and complex

sentence structures. Students' conversations involved multiple language functions

expressed in various ways. The nature of the conversations was academic and activity-

oriented, centering around the goal of completing the graphic organizer collaboratively.

The final step of the task was the independent completion of an essay.

The researcher observed that in order to achieve a successful level of language

use with multiple exchanges and conversations that flow smoothly, partners need to ask

questions, give responses in extensive detail, and expand on subtopics with further

examples and explanations. The interactions involved opportunities where students

provided help for each other through various interactional roles, interactional styles, and









instances of conceptual, linguistic, and strategic scaffolding. This study can help

teachers understand how English language learners interact in a collaborative graphic

organizer task, and it has implications for adaptations in using graphic organizers in

collaborative tasks as tools for English language learners' linguistic and academic

development.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Academic tasks often require students to use complex skill sets, such as

understanding printed material in textbooks across various content area topics, using

critical thinking skills when reading, and producing academic written and spoken

language. These skills can be difficult to acquire even for native speakers of the English

language. English language learners in academic settings face even greater challenges

because producing utterances and comprehending content area reading materials

written in a language other than one's own are challenging tasks for ELLs (Cummins,

2000; Snow, Met, & Genesee, 1989), but such academic tasks are one of the most

fundamental skills necessary for academic success. Academic language is needed to

actively participate in a school, where all the students are expected to be familiar with

the rules of communication and the use of language in academic settings.

Cummins (2007) defines academic language proficiency as a student's "access

and expertise in understanding and using the specific kind of language that is employed

in educational contexts and is required to complete academic tasks (p. 122)." Within the

context of this definition, academic language proficiency entails all the members of the

schooling culture to acquire the associated knowledge of this cultural context and

metacognitive strategies necessary to function effectively in the discourse domain of the

school to be able to fully participate in all the literacy events within the school setting

(Cummins, 2007).









What is Academic Language?

Throughout this document, "academic language" will be used as a general term

that refers to "the language that is used by teachers and students for the purpose of

acquiring new knowledge and skills ... imparting new information, describing abstract

ideas, and developing students' conceptual understanding" (Chamot & O'Malley, 1994,

p. 40). Academic language proficiency can be defined as students' ability to use the

language required to participate in the instructional tasks of school including

understanding as well as expressing ideas about academic content. If a student has

academic proficiency in a language, s/he can comprehend and communicate by

incorporating academic vocabulary, language functions, and discourse structures in

different subject areas in tasks that require the student to understand the topic, gain

knowledge about the topic, interact about the topic, and share his/her knowledge about

the topic with others (Butler & Bailey, 2002). Academic language functions (ALF) are on

the other hand the uses or purposes of language in academic work such as defining

classifying, and hypothesizing (Kidd, 1996). Chamot and O'Malley (1987) describe

academic language functions to have an important role in developing students'

academic language proficiency through their Cognitive Academic Language Learning

Approach (CALLA), and indicate that academic language functions are an integral part

of academic communication, such as explaining, informing, describing, classifying, and

evaluating (1987, p. 239).

Linguistic Complexity in Academic Language

In academic settings, English language learners have to deal with the complexity

of academic language at high levels of linguistic load (Meyer, 2000) and also display

academic performance that is sufficient to keep up with their peers for whom English is









their first language. Some of the issues that ELLs struggle with when it comes to

linguistic load are to be able to comprehend the structure of the language, to

understand new vocabulary and concepts and to recognize the knowledge/discourse

structure of the reading material. Academic language places different linguistic

demands on English language learners (ELLs) than social language does because it

has its own discourse structures. For instance, examine and cause are the type of

words that are often found in textbook prose and academic tests, and students are

expected to understand and use these words as part of academic tasks, whereas look

at and make would most often take place in daily speech (Cunningham & Moore, 1993).

Furthermore, academic language is decontextualized, and when students are reading

on their own, they are not able to ask questions, express confusions, and get immediate

feedback. ELLs may become overwhelmed with unknown vocabulary items in academic

texts or talk. Complicated syntactic structures and new vocabulary items can make

strings of sentences hard to understand, causing ELLs to become intimidated or

disengaged.

Academic language also requires students to communicate their messages in line

with the conventional discourse patterns and global and domain specific vocabulary

found in academic texts. Students need to be able to not only recognize these patterns

and vocabulary but also produce language that uses this type of academic discourse as

part of academic tasks at school (Cazden, 2001).

Teaching Academic Language and Academic Content

Because ELLs experience difficulty in understanding and producing the academic

language, they are more likely to fall behind in comprehending academic content.

Therefore, language instruction and content instruction at every level of education need









to go hand in hand in order for ELLs to be able to keep up with their academic

development and language development. Without tasks that are designed for active

participation and socialization into academic discourse, ELLs may not be able to reach

the level of linguistic development necessary to understand the language of school

(Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004).

All teachers who are involved in educating ELLs have a big responsibility in

applying teaching strategies that enhance not only conceptual development but also

second language acquisition. Teachers need to design their teaching around providing

opportunities to students to make the topic more comprehensible and to provide

interaction opportunities for ELLs in academic tasks.

This study has originated as an effort to improve instructional strategies that can

help ELLs' academic language proficiency, and the main focus of this study is

collaborative use of graphic organizers. In particular, this study explored English

language learners' language use in collaborative activities based on visual

representation of ideas with an emphasis on the linguistic and socicultural factors that

are involved during a collaborative meaning making process.

Vygotsky's Theory on Scaffolding

According to Vygotsky's theory (1978), language acquisition takes place through

collaborative dialogue where the learner has the motivational goal of acquiring the

necessary knowledge from the tutor in an exchange of utterances through collaborative

meaning making. Having developed the skills necessary to operate within the language

and cultural community, the learner extends this activity to the other members of the

community, and this developmental learning process is called scaffolding (Newman &

Holzman, 1993). Scaffolding is a term that originates from cognitive psychology and L1









research (Flick, 2000), but it entails a sociocultural understanding of learning where a

more skilled participant can provide a novice learner the supportive conditions by

means of speech and enable the novice learner to extend their current level to a higher

level (Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976).

The general notion of scaffolding also holds that a more knowledgeable person

can help improve a less knowledgeable person's learning by providing interaction and

modeling of the targeted behavior (Vygotsky, 1978). Within the context of second

language acquisition, the notion of scaffolding can go beyond an expert-novice

relationship. In other words, learners that are at equal level of language proficiency can

also help improve one another's linguistic development when interacting with one

another. This interaction is called "collective scaffolding" (Donato, 1994; Moll, 1990).

Students who work in collaborative tasks together can help each other become more

capable in producing utterances in the English language. Collective scaffolding differs

from Initiation-Response-Evaluation, IRE (Mehan, 1979), or as more frequently used in

second language acquisition studies, Initiation-Response-Feedback, IRF, in the sense

that IRF is teacher-driven talk (Cazden, 2001; Lemke, 1990; Sinclair and Courthard,

1975; Walqui, 2006). Therefore, rather than using language in a teacher-prompted

conversation, in collective scaffolding students go beyond IRF by using the targeted

language with one another in order to accomplish tasks with a purpose to communicate

rather than just using the language forms in a scripted setting.

Language Scaffolding in Collaborative Tasks

Language scaffolding within the context of this study can be defined as a term that

describes the modified interactions and language support provided by English language

learners when students engage in dialogue with one another in a collaborative language









learning task (Gibbons, 2002; Gibbons, 2009). The concept of language scaffolding is

elaborated in this study to describe the nature of interactions among English language

learners in that collaborative work among English language learners may provide

opportunities for language scaffolding (Foster & Ohta, 2005). The collaborative graphic

organizer task within this research study was expected to help students become familiar

with both the knowledge structure of comparison-contrast as a function and the formal

language that this function involves. The collaborative nature of the task was expected

to help students use the language of comparison-contrast and provide one another

"comprehensible input" and comprehensible output" in a social setting with enhanced

opportunities for language scaffolding. The task is designed in a way that prompts each

pair to participate and ask questions that maximize production.

According to a review of L2 acquisition/learning literature by Long and Porter

(1985), group work promotes language learning opportunities where L2 learners acquire

English with less anxiety and greater practice. A number of studies (e.g., Pica &

Doughty, 1985;Varonis & Gass, 1985) concluded that when non-native speaker pairs

participate in interactions, the conversations involve negotiations of meaning with

increased comprehensible input and modified interactions that can improve second

language acquisition.

Gibbons (2002) reports that students performed more fluently when they were

sharing their findings with the rest of the class following an initial talk in a group activity.

Also, the spoken language students performed during group reports was beginning to

sound more and more like the "written language." Within this task-based setting, after

an exposure to the targeted language forms and with the help of the teacher's modeling,









students were working together to accomplish a hands-on task that required

collaborative interaction for problem-solving within the task. Hence, Gibbons (2002)

suggests that scaffoldedd interaction among peers connects conversational language to

academic discourse, both written and spoken" (p. 20).

Negotiation of ideas during collaborative tasks gives second language learners an

opportunity to both practice the second language and be exposed to meaningful

language input in the second language. "As [second language learners] negotiate, they

work linguistically to achieve the needed comprehensibility, whether repeating a

message verbatim, adjusting its syntax, changing its words, or modifying its form and

meaning in a host of other ways" (Pica, 1994, p. 494). In other words, when English

language learners interact with one another in a dialogue, they are striving to find ways

and means of creating comprehensible input for the listeners in the conversation, which

is both a linguistic and cognitive effort to understand the topic. Dialogue provides

learners with the opportunities to manipulate words and sentences for the best possible

communication opportunities within their language development. Swain (1998) points

out, "Language is simultaneously a means of communication and a tool for thinking.

Dialogue provides both the occasion for language learning and the evidence for it.

Language is both process and product" (p. 320). In this sense, comprehensible input is

hypothesized to be a fruitful outcome of conversational and/written exchanges between

second language speakers and leads into an interaction-based second language

learning environment (Krashen, 1985; Long, 1983).

Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers

Collaborative formation of graphic organizers, such as concept maps, thinking

maps, and other types of visual tools can be used effectively as an instructional strategy









during peer-interaction (Ryve, 2004). The outcome is one or more concept maps or

other types of graphic organizers, such as KWL charts or Venn diagrams that students

create as a group that result in collective construction of knowledge in a teacher-

coordinated classroom setting.

Graphic organizers are visual tools that have a potential for increasing

comprehension of reading materials by giving students a better visual understanding of

the concepts and helping them perceive the textual structure (Novak & Govin, 1984).

During a collaborative task with graphic organizers, students are instructed to

graphically illustrate relationships between concepts and ways of how these concepts

are connected to one another. Students can organize and enhance their knowledge

about different topics when completing graphic organizers as part of an instructional

sequence. Graphic organizers may help facilitate ELLs' conceptual and linguistic

development because they can provide students with opportunities to see how already-

familiar and new concepts are connected to one another. Furthermore, when used in

collaborative tasks, graphic organizers can also serve as tools for increasing students'

awareness of academic language use and for enhancing their second language

production skills. Systematic use of collaborative tasks where students design graphic

organizers about content material collaboratively may ease linguistic load and increase

comprehension of academic discourse. Therefore, collaborative use of graphic

organizers for interaction and language scaffolding can be an effective teaching strategy

that may give ELLs opportunities to use academic language while building better

understandings of the learning material.









When students build graphic organizers, they may become more aware of their

own understanding by becoming actively involved in the meaning-making process

(Ryve, 2004). Also, graphic organizers may help learners build a stronger conceptual

framework as a foundation for new knowledge, and students' understandings of the

concepts may increase as they make an effort to communicate their own conceptions.

(Ostwald, 1996; Roth & Roychoudhury, 1994; van Boxtel, van der Linden, Roelofs, &

Erkens, 2002). Collaborative use of graphic organizers may promote deeper processing

of knowledge through explanations, justifications for thinking, and propositions as a

result of the higher quality of student interaction (Ostwald, 1996; Roth & Roychoudhury,

1994; van Boxtel, van der Linden, Roelofs, & Erkens, 2002).

Common Themes in Graphic Organizer Research

There is a large body of research on the role of comprehensible input in

improving second language acquisition (Dupuy & Krashen, 1993; Ellis, 1995; Gass,

1997; Krashen, 1988, 1989). However, there is a gap in research on the collaborative

use of graphic organizers with an emphasis on second language use. Furthermore,

research on the collaborative use of graphic organizers as effective instructional tools

even with native speakers of English in grades K-12 has been minimal. Previous studies

on graphic organizers within the context of second language learning have been rare

and have focused on quantitative accounts of second language development in a

graphic organizer-supported environment for learners (Tang, 1992). Students'

interactional discourse originating in such an environment has not been studied with an

in-depth analysis of discourse patterns generated during collaborative activities that

center around collaborative meaning making with the help of graphic organizers and/or

the collaborative formation of graphic organizers.









When individual learners are assessed for reading comprehension in an activity

that involves graphic organizers, the process typically does not involve any verbal

exchange or actual opportunities for oral language use, so there is no peer interaction

that would provide communicative language experiences. However, research shows

that co-building knowledge may enhance the activation of prior knowledge of the

members in a learning group (Ostwald, 1996; Roth & Roychoudhury, 1994; van Boxtel,

van der Linden, Roelofs, & Erkens, 2002). In a collaborative learning environment

where the task is to design a graphic organizer, learners are expected to represent their

knowledge linguistically and visually to a degree that satisfies the other group members.

This allows the learners to present their knowledge more explicitly. Learners must

deepen their understanding of the reading material in order to help peers make better

sense of it. These activities result in a better activation of prior knowledge as well as in

stronger connections between the newly learned material and background knowledge.

Therefore, collaborative knowledge construction creates opportunities for more

meaningful learning (King, 1999; Ostwald, 1996).

Rationale for the Study

Graphic organizers and concept maps may be considered particularly effective as

educational tools to increase comprehensibility of subject matter. Graphic organizers

can also increase students' higher order thinking skills because they can help students

perceive the knowledge structures and overarching relationships between ideas. Using

graphic organizers as part of classroom instruction may foster ELLs' academic

language development. Furthermore, with additional cooperative activities designed

around using graphic organizers, teachers can increase student-to-student interaction in

class. These activities can provide meaningful communication for ELLs' students and









multiple opportunities to make sense of the text as a group and scaffold each other's

learning process.

The main instructional goal of the collaborative graphic organizer task was to

create opportunities for ELLs' to listen to the English spoken by their peers and to use

English with peers where English language learners learn new vocabulary, language

structures, and language expressions from one another. Such activities provide

students with more opportunities for language input and language production, and

therefore these types of collaborative activities are commonly used in settings where

English is taught as a second language. Within the setting of this study, the focus is on

academic language, and because academic language is more formal in nature, verbal

interactions on topics in academic English can help students extend the language use

into their writing by adapting and adhering to the conventions of academic writing.

Consequently, the collaborative graphic organizer task integrates language scaffolding

opportunities with opportunities for language use with the help of graphic organizers as

tools for extended communication.

The collaborative graphic organizer task was designed to help LLC students

become aware of the academic language embedded in different types of discourse

structures and use the discourse markers that are prevalent in these discourse

structures first through conversing in English with peers and then through writing in

English individually. Each academic text involves language specific to its discourse

structure. For instance, a text written based on comparison-contrast will use language

relating comparisons and contrasts. A huge portion of academic tasks at school is

based on students being able to talk about/write about what they have read in English. If









students are familiar with discourse structures and the type of language prevalent in

each, they may have an easier time when talking about and writing about comparison

and contrast. Furthermore, students can also recognize discourse structures when they

see these discourse markers in a text, which may also increase students' reading

comprehension skills and help them become independent readers.

The collaborative graphic organizer task matches with the goals of the

reading/writing class in teaching students how to recognize comparison-contrast and

cause-and-effect discourse structures and how to write academic texts that are based

on these discourse structures, and both the teachers and the coordinators at the LLC

approve the use of the task in the LLC classroom as part of the curriculum.

As noted earlier, the main body of research on graphic organizers has not focused

on student discourse produced during their use in classroom instruction. Prior studies

on graphic organizers are mostly experimental research on the effects of an

instructional intervention on individual students' learning, and they lack an in-depth

qualitative depiction of the role of language used by students (Blachowicz & Ogle, 2001;

Hawk, 1986; Nguyen, 2009; Robinson & Kievra,1995.) This study explores the

sociocultural and linguistic nature of second language use during a collaborative graphic

organizer task with a detailed analysis of students' collaborative discourse.

Research Problem

English language learners in K-12 school settings need opportunities to use the

English language in order to improve their academic language skills. Proficiency in daily

conversational skills in English is not satisfactory for academic success. ELLs need to

participate in conversations about the academic content in order to improve their

academic language skills, and their classroom instruction needs to be supported with









instructional tools that help ELLs gain awareness of academic language. Collaborative

formation of graphic organizers can be a promising task for increasing interaction in

classrooms. This in turn would create opportunities for ELLs to receive language

scaffolding from their peers and to use their academic language skills.

Specific Research Questions

The research question guiding the discourse analysis process was explored as

part of a graphic organizer activity that involved ELLs conversing in English and

collaborating to complete graphic organizers for a text using comparison-contrast as a

language function:

SHow do English language learners use language in a collaborative graphic
organizer activity?

Significance of the Study

There is a gap in research on the use of graphic organizers in cooperative settings

with an emphasis on both language development and conceptual understanding.

Studying discourse produced in such settings can help us understand problems as well

as strengths of such learning environments and reach a better understanding of how

collaborative design and use of graphic organizers aid scaffolding language production

during cooperative meaning-making tasks.

In-depth analysis of classroom discourse generated during collaborative use of

graphic organizers can shed light onto ELLs' second language development and

illuminate the dynamics involved during linguistic and cultural exchanges between

second language speakers and their peers. Hence, we can acquire a deeper

understanding of the nature of students' thinking processes in a more communicative









setting rather than trying to study their thinking via think-aloud or recall protocols that

lack authentic conversations when exploring students' language use.

Definition of Terms:

* Academic language: Academic language refers to "the language that is used by
teachers and students for the purpose of acquiring new knowledge and
skills... imparting new information, describing abstract ideas, and developing
students' conceptual understanding" (Chamot & O'Malley, 1994, p. 40).

* Academic language functions (ALF): Academic language functions are the uses
or purposes of language in academic work such as defining classifying, and
hypothesizing (Kidd, 1996). Chamot and O'Malley (1987) describe academic
language functions to have an important role in developing students' academic
language proficiency through their Cognitive Academic Language Learning
Approach (CALLA), and indicate that academic language functions are an integral
part of academic communication, such as explaining, informing, describing,
classifying, and evaluating (p. 239).

* Comprehensible input: Comprehensible input really stands for linguistic
knowledge and how the learner makes sense of this knowledge by being exposed
to it, making sense of it, and integrating it into their present pool of rules governing
language formation (Krashen, 1994).

* Graphic organizers: Graphic organizers are visual tools for increasing
comprehension of academic language by giving students a better visual
understanding of the concepts and helping them perceive the textual structure
(Novak & Govin, 1984).

* Knowledge structures: Knowledge structures are the underlying logical
sequencing of the material based on different discourse structures, such as cause-
and effect, classifying, and comparing and contrasting for organizing a topic within
different types of academic or non-academic texts (Mohan, 1986).

* Language socialization: The process of being socialized or acculturated into a
specific community of practice such as 'academic' social practice through the use
of language and socialization to use language (Schieffelin & Ochs, 1986).

* Language scaffolding: According to Vygotsky's theory, language acquisition
takes place through collaborative dialogue where the learner has the motivational
goal of receiving the necessary knowledge from the tutor in an exchange of
utterances through collaborative meaning making. Having received the skills
necessary to operate within the language and cultural community, the learner
extends this activity to the other members of the community, and this process is
called scaffolding (Newman & Holzman, 1993). Language scaffolding is a term that
describes the modified interactions and language support provided by English









language learners when students engage in dialogue with one another in a
collaborative language learning task.

* Negotiation of meaning: Negotiation of meaning is a process that participants in
a conversation go through to reach a clear understanding of each other. In second
language acquisition studies, negotiation of meaning involves the negotiations
around the use of linguistic devices necessary to ask for clarification, rephrasing,
and confirming (Pica, 1994). Collaborative activities provide English language
learners the opportunity to improve their communicative competence and helps
them socialize into different types of social and academic discourse (Foster &
Ohta, 2007).









CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE

English language learners in academic settings have to demonstrate academic

performance sufficient to keep up with their peers who speak English fluently. Graphic

organizers can help facilitate ELLs' conceptual and linguistic development by providing

students opportunities to see how concepts are connected to one another, to

understand the discourse structures within the academic texts visually, and to increase

their awareness of academic language use. Furthermore, when used in interactive tasks

that require learners to communicate collaboratively in English, graphic organizers can

serve as tools for acquiring academic language and for enhancing ELLs' second

language production skills.

This chapter will examine related literature on the use of graphic organizers both

as an instructional tool to support student learning and as a pedagogical tool for second

language development with an emphasis on collaborative classroom discourse. Table

2.1 depicts the organizational structure of Chapter 2, starting with graphic organizers as

a general topic and leading up to discourse analysis and research in collaborative

dialogue in the classroom.

What are Graphic Organizers?

Ausubel's learning theory is one of the major contributions to the use of graphic

representation of knowledge structures enhancing student learning. According to

Ausubel (1963), we process new information under already existing more inclusive

concepts in cognitive structures called "subsumers." Meaningful learning takes place in

proportion to the strength of these anchoring ideas. If the base of this anchoring system

is clear and stable, better learning and retention takes place, as meaningful learning is









anchored and rote-learning is not. In this manner, learners with well-organized cognitive

structures successfully integrate the new information into their cognitive systems and

those with weak cognitive structures experience difficulty in retaining of the new

information. Ausubel (1960) posits that advance organizers facilitate the subsumption

that is necessary to bridge the gap between what the learner already knows and what

he/she is about to learn.

Ausubel's theory on advance organizers claimed that advance organizers would

help connect what students already knew and what they were about to learn, but the

academia was not satisfied with his explanations as to how this goal gets accomplished,

and this opened the door for criticism. Ausubel's understanding of advance organizers

was taken as a crude omission of specific detail and failure to promote critical thinking.

Barron (1984) proposed a change in the structure of the advance organizers by adding

a tree diagram to represent the concepts and named "structured overviews". With the

use of lines, arrows, and spatial arrangement techniques, Barron's organizers were able

to capture the connection within the structure of the text more visually than Ausubel's

prose in outline form.

Barron's modifications gradually took an even more pictorial and visual form,

visually representing the cognitive process of connecting new material to previously

learned concepts. Such graphic organizers involved two different forms: participatory

graphic organizers that require students to fill out the spaces that were left blank

intentionally for student participation, and a final form that has all the information already

filled in (Hawk, 1986). Today graphic organizers have evolved into more customized

forms with changes that have taken place based upon teachers' and researchers'









instructional needs and goals, and the definition of graphic organizers today is more

comprehensive and includes a multitude of different visual and auditory material, such

as slides, objects, games, videos, maps, manipulatives, and computer programs.

Paivio's (1981) Dual Coding Theory is another foundational piece in explaining

how graphic organizers can help with cognitive processing. Dual Coding Theory (DCT)

stems from cognitive memory models and is an extension of the Cognitive Information

Processing (CIP) studies of how the mind processes information. Paivio's DCT mainly

posits how visual information is processed and stored in memory with an equal

emphasis on verbal and non-verbal processing to represent human cognition. Cognition

involves two subsystems that work simultaneously, one processing visual input (i.e.

imagery) and one processing with linguistic input. The verbal subsystem is responsible

for processing and storing linguistic information. The visual subsystem is responsible for

processing and storing images and visual information. The two systems are inter-

connected and work together, hence triggering the dual coding of information. Just as

the case in Ausubel's subsumption theory, graphic organizers can serve as tools to

improve the functioning of this dual coding process with both linguistic and visual input

presented at the same time and allowing for deeper processing of both language and

content information. According to a study by Olinghouse and Graham (2009),

elementary school kids wrote essays with the help of graphic organizers for the

purposes of helping students' gain a better understanding of discourse structures, and

the study showed graphic organizers helped improve students' writing development.

According to Merkley and Jefferies (2000), teachers need to find ways to activate

students' background knowledge for learning to take place with the necessary









connections. Graphic organizers provide students with an opportunity to see the bigger

picture with such connection on how the material relates to their existing schema. Hawk

(1986) lists the following benefits for teaching and learning:

a) An overview of the material to be learned
b) A reference point for putting new vocabulary and main ideas into orderly patterns
c) A cue for important information
d) A visual stimulus for written and verbal information
e) A concise review tool.

From an instructional perspective, graphic organizers can be used as visual tools

to reveal connections between concepts that would otherwise be opaque and hard to

see for students with low levels of reading comprehension. Graphic organizers may thus

increase the quality of recall, since students learn concept relations better because of

the content structure, and in this way graphic organizers may turn out to be more

resistant to forgetting than are a collection of facts (Robinson & Kievra, 1995).

Graphic Organizers as Tools for Content Learning

Graphic organizers can serve as effective instructional tools that help students

better understand the subject matter with deeper processing of concepts. Graphic

organizers have been most commonly used to support reading comprehension

(Blachowicz & Ogle, 2001; Gunning, 2003; Hatch & Dwyer, 2006; Robinson & Kievra,

1995; Thresher, 2004). During a reading comprehension task, we process words and

their meanings in our working memory, but the capacity of our working memory is

limited, and paying attention to words may overload the capacity of the working memory

if the explicit connections are not provided. Baddeley (1986) defines "working memory"

as a limited capacity central executive system that is responsible for holding information

over a short period of time helping with cognitive activity and increasing the amount of

information for permanent storage. Hence, graphic organizers can alleviate the limited









capacity of the working memory and provide more room for the processing of the

symbols by providing a structure for nodes to connect.

In a study by Hatch and Dwyer (2006), advance organizer strategies facilitated

student achievement and enhanced the recall of previously learned information.

According to the results of the study, the three experimental treatment groups who

studied text with the help of the graphic organizers produced effective results with an

increase in students' comprehension of the study material in comparison to the control

group who studied the material with the existing visuals in the text that did not include

any graphic organizers. Hatch and Dwyer (2006) conclude that advance organizers

have a positive impact on learning outcomes since they increase comprehension by

presenting direction and focus as well as providing opportunities for learners to make

use of their already existing cognitive structures, which helps with the assimilation and

integration of the newly learned material.

In another study, Robinson and Kievra (1995) explored what types of text

information graphic organizers and outlines helped college students to learn with three

different types of study materials: text only, text plus outlines, and text plus graphic

organizers. According to the results of their research, the experimental group studying

with graphic organizers learned more and were able to apply their knowledge more

successfully in writing integrated essays than students studying with outlines or texts

alone. In other words, when a text is chapter length and well organized, and when

students are given enough time to study and review, use of graphic organizers is more

effective for reading to learn than outlines or the text alone.









In a different study by Boothby and Alvermann (1984), fourth-grade students in an

experimental group worked on graphic organizers displaying the structure of a passage

from their social studies textbook. They were tested to find out how much they could

remember of the main ideas in the text. According to the results of the study, the

experimental group who studied the text with graphic organizers scored higher on the

test than the control group who studied the text without the help of the graphic

organizers.

In light of the sample studies noted above, we can conclude that graphic

organizers have been used as instructional tools to support students' reading

comprehension skills. When given graphic organizers that support the subject matter,

students remember more from the materials, which may indicate that graphic organizers

can enhance comprehension and recall.

Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers for Content Learning

In the mainstream literature on the use of graphic organizers, individual learners

are assessed for reading comprehension in an activity that involves graphic organizers,

and the process does not involve verbal exchanges with actual opportunities for

students to use language, so there is no peer-interaction about the content material.

However, collaborative formation of graphic organizers, such as concept maps and

other types of visual display of content material can be an effective instructional strategy

based upon communicative peer interaction (Ostwald, 1996; King, 1999). Concept

maps or other types of graphic organizers, such as KWL charts or Venn diagrams that

students create as a group, can result in meaningful learning and collective construction

of knowledge in a teacher-coordinated classroom setting.









MacKinnon and Keppell's study (2005) analyzed the effectiveness of concept

mapping as a tool for negotiating meaning. In this particular study, concept mapping is

defined as a type of graphic organizer that extends beyond the simple listing of ideas,

composed of a hierarchical distribution of ideas with visible connections between

adjacent concepts. In this sense, a concept map serves as a tool for engaging students

in critical higher order thinking about the topics, increasing students' metacognitive

thinking abilities by requiring them to analyze the structure of their content learning

during the process of preparing the concept maps. Additionally there are three different

ways that MacKinnon and Keppell (2005) explain a concept-mapping program can be

used in teacher-student activities:

1. Teacher asks students to construct a concept map at the beginning
of a unit in an effort to access prior knowledge,

2. Teacher has students engage in two types of activities where they
design a pre- and post-concept map for a unit of study,

3. Teacher works with the students in an ongoing exercise that
gradually builds the map as the units unfold.

In MacKinnon and Keppell's study, graphic organizers were used more

interactively. The intervention was a structured process with multiple stages where

students received guidance from the teacher about both the technical and conceptual

aspects of creating concept maps, and the instruction involved constant negotiations of

meaning and ideas between the students and the teacher. At the end of the semester,

the students were given a survey with questions inquiring about their perspectives on

using concept mapping as an instructional strategy as part of their learning experiences.

The researchers elaborated on the data gathered from the questionnaires, conducting

an ethnographic interview with randomly selected five students from three different









sections of the same course. According to the results of the questionnaires, students

held positive attitudes towards the activity of Negotiative Concept Mapping (NCM),

where students create concept maps collaborative by interacting with each other. In

NCM, students make decisions collaboratively about the content and the layout of the

graphic organizer as well as the connections between concepts on the graphic

organizer. The interactive nature of creating the NCM helped them understand the

complexities of relationships between concepts, and helped them build their confidence

with the content.

In a qualitative study by Ryve (2004), four groups of college students in

engineering were videotaped during a concept mapping activity. The researcher

explored the characteristics of their discourse in light of the following two questions: Do

students communicate in an effective way? Do students' communications involve

mathematically productive discourse? According to the results of discourse analysis

methods, the researchers concluded that the communication among students during

collaborative concept mapping produced effective and mathematically productive

discourse.

This study was conducted with a focus on communication with the assumption that

mathematics should be learned through conversation, emphasizing the benefits of

working in groups and communicating concepts verbally for a better and deeper

understanding of the content material. The researcher intended to explore whether

creating concept maps as a group would create mathematically productive discourse in

which students are able to integrate concepts into their conversations as a result of the

requirements of the collaborative concept-mapping event. Therefore, in this study, the









role of concepts maps was based on their use as a tool for creating communication

about mathematical concepts and their interrelationships.

Rinehart and Welker (1992) found that advance organizers increased test recall

when the students receive oral presentation of the material accompanied by the

advance organizers. In this study, graphic organizers were supported by teacher-guided

discussions, and this technique increased recall more in comparison to instruction

where students were presented with a graphic organizer without any discussion. In this

study, just as in other studies where there are multiple variables affecting the end result,

using graphic organizers supported by carefully constructed participation and an

interactive environment increased student success in reading comprehension.

Graphic organizers can be used in collaborative settings for different instructional

purposes, and as the sample studies suggest, collaborative use of graphic organizers

can help students further explore the subject matter by analyzing the relationships

between the concepts. Such interaction may also help students integrate the concepts

into their vocabulary knowledge, so that they can converse or write about their

knowledge as well as comprehending the concepts.

Graphic Organizers as Tools for Second Language Acquisition

In academic settings, being proficient in conversational English may not be

adequate without the requisite academic language register, for students to participate in

academic tasks. Therefore, teaching content without making the content

comprehensible and without providing explicit instruction on academic language may

not be sufficient for second language development because content instruction and

language instruction need to go hand in hand in order for ELLs to be successful in

academic settings (Chamot & O'Malley, 1986; Mohan, 1986; Wong-Fillmore, 1989).









In order to help with ELLs academic content and language development, teachers

need to provide comprehensible instruction, so that ELLs can understand the academic

content and participate in tasks that require them to produce academic language

(Krashen, 1988). Graphic organizers can serve as visual frameworks in reading and

provide assistance for ELLs in understanding the structure of the text. Such visual tools

provide more explicit and comprehensible forms of texts in English and make the

content more meaningful for deeper processing (Pierce, 2003).

Teachers need to be able to analyze the discourse structures and rhetorical devices in

texts from different disciplines, and provide opportunities for students to become aware

of these structures and devices to be able to help them improve their academic

language skills necessary for academic success (Wong Fillmore & Snow, 2000).

Mohan (1986) states that explicit teaching of text/knowledge structures by means

of visual representation enhances the acquisition of a second language for academic

purposes. Academic language functions are associated with academic tasks and

purposes, (Bailey, Butler, Stevens, & Lord, 2007) and they provide students with the

skills for comprehending written texts, asking and answering informational questions,

asking and answering clarifying question, making connections between concepts,

relating information, comparing, contrasting, explaining cause and effect, predicting,

drawing conclusions, summarizing, persuading, etc. (Dutro & Moran, 2003, p. 233).

As can be seen in Table 2-2, Mohan's "knowledge structures" indicate the six

underlying logical structures of the content material and the corresponding discourse

structures used to express cause-effect, classification, and comparison-contrast.









By making these structures and the type of language used in expressing these

structures more explicit and visual, graphic organizers have the potential to lower the

language barrier and make the content more comprehensible (Tang, 1992). Such

visual tools foster higher levels of understanding of the content material by providing

links showing connections and relationships between different concepts presented

within the reading material. Hence, students can retain the information in their long-

term memory longer by forming associations and connections visually thanks to explicit

presentation of the information in the graphic organizer (Dye, 2000). Figure 2-1 is a

group of graphic organizers depicting how many information texts are organized:

According to Mohan (1986), becoming aware of the knowledge structure equips

students with necessary skills to manage content learning tasks more independently.

This goal can be facilitated with the use of graphic organizers. However, the graphics

should be different from the pictures that accompany almost every lesson, thereby

conveying the underlying structure of knowledge in order to help students see links

between and within subject areas. ELLs often spend a great deal of time and energy on

decoding the meaning from text, and they experience challenges in understanding the

material (Cummins, 1995). Graphic organizers can help students who are faced with

such challenges without watering down the content. They can help both ELLs' and

struggling readers' academic language development and increase their learning without

the teacher having to neglect more skillful readers (McCoy & Keeterlin-Geller, 2004;

Tang, 1992).

Using graphic organizers as tools to increase the comprehensibility of written or

spoken language is in line with input-based theories of second language acquisition,









which view language learning as a process of decoding comprehensible input with an

emphasis on the learner's receptive skills. According to Krashen (1994), language

acquisition takes place incrementally with the help of comprehensible input with the

learner processing structures that are at a slightly higher level of linguistic competence.

Graphic organizers can make the language in academic texts more comprehensible

through visual depiction of how ideas are connected and how the text is structured.

Within this framework, Mohan (1986)'s knowledge structures can also be used in

conjunction with the use of graphic organizers to help students practice academic

language associated with each knowledge structure. Graphic organizers in the following

forms fall under the main knowledge structures within Mohan's taxonomy (p. 37):

Pictures of parts of individual fruits and vegetables to be used as
flashcards (description).

Pictures of food groups (Classification)

An illustration of the digestive process (Sequence)

Instructions for testing for nutrients (e.g. for vitamins), and charts to
fill out for the text results (Cause-effect)

According to Mohan, there is a close relationship between the knowledge structure

of a topic and the questions people ask about it. Therefore, graphic organizers that are

used in a particular language learning activity can be predicted to trigger certain types of

questions from language learners, depending on the knowledge structure that is

represented. Within this framework, knowledge structures fall under two major

categories based on how specific or general the topic is. These two major categories

align with the types of questions people ask about a topic.

Mohan (1986) argues that the goal of the language teacher should be for students

to learn the language of a given topic, but the language teacher should also be









interested in students learning both the language of food classifications or insurance

classifications and the language of classification in general. When students develop the

language resources necessary to talk about description, sequence, and choice,

teachers have an opportunity to develop linguistic competency that can be used in

academic English in all content areas.

For instance, classification as a type of knowledge structure is based on the task

of organizing information. Academic situations that require classification are organizing

elements in chemistry, sorting materials for an experiment, and grouping numbers in

math. The academic language of classification involves language that is necessary for

expressing statements during the function of classifying. According to Mohan (1986),

this type of language should be taught explicitly so that students get adequate exposure

to the language of classification. Teachers need to design tasks that help students not

only hear but also practice the language patterns related to classifying. The following

conversation that is accompanied by a graphic organizer is an example of linguistic

exchanges between students and teacher where the teacher is providing students with

prompts to put use the language patterns they have learned to express classification

based on the graphic organizer that students have worked on collaboratively (Early,

1990):

T: How would you explain to someone in words the ideas displayed in the
tree?

S1: Animals can be divided into two groups, vertebrates and invertebrates.

T: What about another way? There are lots of ways to express an idea.

S2: There are two main kinds of animals, vertebrates and invertebrates.

T: What about something else?









S3: Vertebrates and invertebrates are two main types of animals.

S4: In science they divide animals into two main groups. They talk about
animals with backbones and animals with no backbones.

Graphic organizers can be used as a way to facilitate the presentation and

production of language structures more explicitly so that language learners develop a

conscious awareness of the usage of such language and start using these linguistic

expressions productively (Mohan, 1986). Providing students with opportunities to use

the linguistic expressions related to different types of graphic organizers helps students

focus on academic language directly. Graphic organizers can provide explicit

contextualized practice using linguistic forms and expressions of academic discourse

with meaningful language learning experiences rather than learning the same type of

language through mechanical grammar drills.

Research on Graphic Organizers and Second Language Learning

Graphic organizers can be promising tools for making academic language more

comprehensible through the integration of visuals, charts, and timelines embedded into

the linguistic input presented on the graphic organizer. Within this context, the focus

would rest upon the use of graphic organizers as a tool for helping second language

learners understand the meaning of the language by presenting language forms in an

understandable manner with extended contextual support so that the learner is exposed

to meaningful input. The language that is necessary to represent different knowledge

structures, such as linguistic forms and expressions for description, classification, or

cause-effect, can be pointed out and taught explicitly through the use of graphic

organizers because students may not be able to detect, learn, and practice, such

discourse without explicit instruction. Therefore, graphic organizers can be used as









tools to help students understand concepts in academic texts and participate in

academic discourse through the successful use of these linguistic devices.

Within the field of second language learning, graphic organizers are also defined

as visual representations of information that depict the conceptual relationships

between the key elements in a text (Pierce, 2003). Compared with the amount of

research that has been conducted exploring the impact of graphic organizers on reading

comprehension with a focus on native speakers of English, there has been very little

research about graphic organizers' effects on second language learners'

comprehension of academic reading materials and academic concepts with a focus on

linguistic and conceptual development.

In a quasi-experimental study involving the use of graphic organizers with ELLs,

Tang (1992) explored the effect of graphic representation of knowledge structures on 45

intermediate ESL students' comprehension of content knowledge and their academic

language learning process. According to the pre-post test results, visual representation

of the knowledge structure of a passage used as a reading strategy facilitates students'

comprehension. Students in the graphic group reported that graphical presentation of

knowledge fostered their learning of conceptual knowledge.

In addition, a task using a graphic representation of the knowledge structure of a

passage significantly increased the total amount of information that students were able

to retain in their memory. The results of the written recall protocols indicated that there

was a significant improvement in the structure of students' writing. Semi-structured

interviews also revealed that students were able to comprehend the reading passages

better with the help of graphic organizers. Some students pointed out that graphic









organizers helped them perceive the connections within the text more easily and

allowed them to recall the information more easily from memory during the recall

protocols.

Bahr and Dansereau's (2005) study of bilingual knowledge maps, which are a form

of graphic organizer and fall under the category of concept maps, to investigate the

acquisition of foreign language vocabulary. In this study, 82 undergraduates were

trained on either lists or BiK maps, and the goal was for them to study 32 German-

English word pairs with the help of BiK. The researchers traced their framework on

Paivio's dual coding theory (Paivio & Desrochers, 1989; Paivio & Lambert, 1981), which

suggests that learners form visual images of vocabulary words as well as storing their

forms and their meanings. Figure 2-3 is an example of graphic organizers designed to

increase student recall of the vocabulary.

According to the results of the study, the students who received BiK maps during

study scored higher than students who were given lists. BiK students displayed greater

use of elaborative recall strategies, such as thinking about stories, main ideas, images,

pictures, and diagrams when trying to recall vocabulary. BiK students also reported that

they were thinking more and more about how English words related to each other by

making use of the spatial locations of word pairs on the paper.

As can be seen in the sample studies, graphic organizers can be useful tools for

second language learners when they are used as part of instructions. Graphic

organizers can help second language learners remember ideas in written materials as

well as remember newly learned vocabulary. However, independent use of graphic

organizers can undermine the communicative aspect of language learning, and studies









on the collaborative use of graphic organizers are needed in the field of second

language learning.

Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers in Language Learning Tasks

An issue that has received very little attention is the use of graphic organizers in

increasing interaction and language production for second language learners. As

mentioned earlier, language generated during collaborative activities that are based on

the collaborative analysis and/or formation of graphic organizers has not been

thoroughly researched. Table 2-3 displays the gap in research on collaborative use of

graphic organizers for second language learning. Such research can help us

understand the use of graphic organizers for academic language development in a

second language.

In a collaborative learning environment where the task is to design a graphic

organizer, learners are expected to represent their knowledge linguistically as well as

visually to a degree that satisfies the other group members. This allows the learners to

present their knowledge more explicitly. The learners have to get a deeper

understanding of the content/concepts in order to be able to help peers make better

sense of it, resulting in a better activation of prior knowledge as well as in stronger

connections between the newly learned material and background knowledge.

Therefore, collaborative knowledge construction may create opportunities for more

meaningful learning (Ostwald, 1996; King, 1999).

Similarly, successful second language acquisition takes place during collaborative

interactions as opposed to form-focused language activities that neglect language

production for purposeful communication. According the results of a study by Brooks

(2009), when students' conversations were analyzed qualitatively through alternative









assessment as part of a collaborative task where they engaged in conversations with

each other, they produced more interaction and complex language as opposed to the

type of testing when students could only interact with the examiners.

Collaborative tasks where students interact with one another using the second

language for actual communicative goals can scaffold second language development

more effectively than form-focused language activities. Furthermore, activities that are

designed to get students to form graphic organizers collaboratively can increase

students' participation and help students use the academic language. Graphic

organizers depict these concepts and connections with spatial elements such as idea,

boxes, arrows, and lines. For instance, when students interact with each other by

working collaboratively on filling in or forming a graphic organizer, they not only get to

understand the layout of concepts and their connections but also get to hear and

practice the language of comparing and contrasting.

Role of Interaction in Second Language Acquisition

Interacting in English as part of an academic task is a useful tool that provides

ELLs with practice in using academic language (Gibbons, 2002). Students may ask

each other questions for clarification, and the meaning gets communicated more clearly

during the exchanges because of the contextualization of the language (Pica, 1994).

Speakers can extend their conversations by expressing their confusion and asking for

further clarification, which can lead to an increase in comprehensible input and

meaningful language learning. In this sense, interacting and negotiating meaning in the

second language is beneficial for second language learners as it allows them to revise

language, which gives them an opportunity for increased comprehension and

production (Long & Porter, 1985).









Pica (1994, p. 494) defines negotiation of meaning as "the modification and

restructuring of interaction that occurs when learners and their interlocutors anticipate,

perceive, or experience difficulties in message comprehensibility." According to Pica,

negotiation of meaning helps with second language development by facilitating learners'

comprehension and structural segmentation of L2 input, access to lexical form and

meaning, and production of modified output" (p. 493). Swain's definition of

comprehensible output is based on the same notion of interaction leading to second

language development. Swain (1985) states that comprehensible output pushes the

second language learner from comprehension into the level of communication and

production, and during the communication process, language learners become attuned

to what they know or what they do not know by responding to and resolving linguistic

problems. Long (1996) views the process of negotiation of meaning through interaction

as conducive to linguistic development. Linguistic problems that learners face during

such negotiation direct learners' attention to linguistic forms, which is beyond the level

of comprehending messages.

Long and Porter (1985) list the following reasons for group work (p. 221-222):

(1) increased quantity of practice, especially in two-way communication
tasks;

(2) increased range of language functions utilized;

(3) similar levels of accuracy in student production as in teacher-led
activities;

(4) increased error correction in group work

(5) increased negotiation of meaning.









Research on Interaction and Second Language Acquisition

A number of studies suggest that participating in conversations in the second

language leads to successful acquisition of second language competence by providing

opportunities for learners to receive comprehensible input by revising and modifying

their output, which serves as a resource for effective grammar building and exposure to

language forms (Foster, 1998; Gass, 1997; Lightbown & Spada, 1990; Long, 1983,

1996; Pica & Doughty, 1985). Pica et al.'s (1987) study shows the importance of

comprehension of clarification requests, conformation checks, and the restructuring of

contributions. When learners were free to seek clarification from each other, they were

able to retrieve a greater degree of comprehensible input for language acquisition.

Varonis and Gass (2002) found that during conversations between NNS and NS

the turn-taking sequence runs smoothly when the interlocutors have a common

background and language use. Conversations flow in a reciprocal manner with each

speaker giving responses and keeping track of the direction of the conversation. When

the speakers do not share the same background and/or language, the conversational

exchanges are interrupted preventing interlocutors from establishing "equal footing" in

the conversation. Varonis and Gass define "equal footing" within a conversation as one

interlocutor's ability to respond appropriately to another interlocutor's last utterance-in

other words, to take a turn when it becomes available with full understanding of the

preceding turn and its place in the discourse" (Varonis & Gass, 2002, p. 73). Both

native speakers and non-native speakers compensate for such breakdowns in

communication in order to keep the conversation going as smoothly as possible.

Indicators are signals of non-understanding as a response to an utterance (Varonis &









Gass, 2002, p. 76) and responses to the requests are given for additional information on

the implicitly or explicitly stated indicator.

During negotiated interaction with non-native speakers of English and native

speakers of English, language learners achieve linguistic development through negative

evidence about an utterance in terms of grammaticality and acceptability by receiving

feedback from native speakers (Long, 1996; Long & Robinson, 1998; Schachter, 1984).

Negative evidence can be in explicit or implicit form. Implicit negative evidence can be

an indirect type of form, such as asking for clarification by getting additional information

or rephrasing the original utterance to make sure that the original utterance has been

correctly interpreted with an attempt to provide the correct language forms (e.g. "She

has a dog." as a recast for "She have a dog." Explicit negative evidence is on the other

hand a direct response to the erroneous form, as the example in "No, not 'have'. It is

'has'.") Long (1996) claims that negative evidence can only lead to linguistic

development if the learner notices the negative evidence, attends to it, is able to hold it

in memory in order to compare it to the erroneous form and formulate the correct form.

In another study, Pica (1988, p. 54-55) describes NS-NNS negotiations as one-

signal negotiated interactions and as extended negotiated interactions in terms of the

length of negotiation. In this study, Pica found that, in one-signal negotiations where the

lack of comprehension gets resolved in one attempt, NNSs produced modifications on

50% of their original erroneous utterances with 91% percent native-like utterances.

Therefore, one-signal negotiations are likely to result in output with correct modifications

indicating an easier negotiation process. On the other hand, according to the results of

Pica's study, an extended negotiation resulted in fewer modifications of their original









utterances with only semantic modifications in the first attempt rather than a structural

correction in the message. The second attempt was a confirmation of the NS's

correction but did not involve modifications.

Following list is a step-by-step list of the sequence of one-signal negotiated

interactions that involve one signal of difficulty in comprehension:

1. Trigger utterance
2. Signal of lack of comprehension
3. Response to signal
4. Resolution

On the other hand, extended negotiated interactions last longer where the

interlocutor indicates more than one instance of a lack of comprehension. At the end of

the process, the conversation flows in a direction in which the participants either resolve

the miscommunication or abandon it and move on:

1. Trigger utterance

2. Signal of lack of comprehension

3. Response to signal

4. Signal of lack of comprehension

5. Response to signal

6. Resolution, continued signals of incomprehension, or abandonment of negotiation.

Pica (1998) claims that in such instances NNS either do not know the form or the

form is too complicated for their competency level. Another possible explanation is that

confirmation of the correction is necessary, but actual modifications may hinder the

fluidity of the conversation and may sound inappropriate.

As can be seen in the studies on interaction and second language acquisition,

interaction is an important aspect of second language learning, and collaborative









activities can provide opportunities for students to interact in the second language.

However, studies that emphasize interaction typically emphasize language production

from a form-focused perspective, and they neglect exploring the sociocultural aspects of

communication. Therefore, studying collaborative use of graphic organizers from an

interactionist perspective may give us a limited explanation of how students use

language.

Sociocultural Nature of Collaborative Communication

From a sociocultural perspective, graphic organizers can be valuable in helping

ELLs not only to better communicate in English for the purposes of generating linguistic

exchanges but also to build a language learning community where speakers feel

comfortable about communicating with one another. Therefore, in terms of sociocultural

aspects of language learning, graphic organizers should not be viewed in isolation

based on solely linguistic production with a focus on form, but as part of the

sociocultural context in which communication is taking place. In this sense,

sociocultural theorists understand that not all effective language learning tools function

satisfactorily in creating opportunities for students to interact and use the language

(Platt & Brooks, 2002). In other words, according to sociocultural theorists, not every

group will generate the same type of language during their use of graphic organizers as

part of their language learning process. Therefore, in terms of collaborative use of

graphic organizers, for instance, the effectiveness of graphic organizers as a language

learning tool will be determined by how the group perceives it, uses it, and collectively

makes meaning using the graphic organizer. Furthermore, collaborative learning tasks

need to involve certain elements that differentiate them from traditional group activities

for the purpose of increasing student participation in the task (Kagan, 1992). In order to









achieve positive interdependence and individual accountability, the task needs to be

structured, so that students are in smaller groups where each student gets an

opportunity to perform the task and interact with the group members, and each student

has a role in the task that s/he is accountable for.

From a sociocultural perspective of learning (Vygotsky, 1978), collaborative

environments can trigger even more complicated means for learning because such

environments allow students to get exposed to one another's experiences and

knowledge. With the help of collaborative use of graphic organizers, learning language

and learning through language becomes a simultaneous process where students can

have an opportunity to better comprehend concepts and interact with the concepts in an

effort to represent these concepts graphically. In a setting where the ELLs are all the

same level as far as English language development, there will be variations based on

background knowledge and linguistic development. Some students may have more

knowledge than others about certain concepts because of experience and exposure. In

such environments, we reorganize our mental structures based on our own meaning

making and connections. Learning is a process in which each individual builds mental

structures within his/her own unique organization. As students interact socially, their

mental structures are reorganized (Vygotsky, 1978). In this sense, collaborative use of

graphic organizers can also help with language production, so that students can

enhance their knowledge structures in light of the graphic organizers and develop their

language skills by interacting in the academic language. However, most research on

the influence of graphic organizers on learning focuses on comprehension and recall of

different types of prose and topics.









The socio-cultural nature of communication helps us understand conversations

that take place in different classroom settings where members interact with one another

to negotiate and resolve communication issues, such as misunderstanding of questions,

off-task talk, counter-questioning, and other types of activities for understanding and

using language (Markee, 2004). Donato suggests (1994) that language learning

strategies take form as a result of the socialization process in a language learning

community, unlike the cognitive approaches that claim that language learning strategies

are directly related to an individual's cognitive style, personality, or hemispheric

preference. In this sense, strategies arise out of a collaborative process where the

individual develops the skills by interacting with more competent members within the

community. Second language learners deal with a multitude of factors besides striving

to develop their ability to understand and speak another language with the appropriate

linguistic code.

Language is a socially constructed phenomenon that takes place through the daily

social interactions among members of a particular social group, and signs can only be

interpreted when their social connotations are taken into account. Any word when

analyzed as a sign in isolation will not be able to satisfactorily provide us a true

understanding of what its meaning entails. We will only be limited to the sterile

dictionary meaning of the word removed from the discourse community that uses,

defines, and redefines the word. Dialogue is an exchange of signs among participants

shaped by social interaction and constant collaborative meaning making.

Communicating messages through language helps individuals form society, which in

turn shapes individuals and allows them to exist as members of that society (Berger &









Luckmann, 1966). In this sense, meaning is a socially constructed phenomenon that

comes into existence in a social situation through an exchange of abstractions that

human beings experience and share through conversation (Holquist, 1990).

An utterance never comes into existence in isolation, as it is always a response to

another utterance or sign, so dialogue is what creates utterances and gives them a

reason to exist in different levels of connections to previous and upcoming utterances

(Holquist, 1990). "When speakers are interacting with one another in a conversation,

each person produces different utterances that may involve similar words and sentence

structures, and yet the differences become part of a mutual field of shared experiences

held together within dialogue." (Holquist, 1990, p.49)

Donato (1994) suggests that from a socio-cultural perspective, learners have

different roles in every learning situation where power relationships can differ and

influence learners' behaviors and their identities, leading to different forms of

participation. According to Donato, certain contexts allow an increased number of

possibilities for language development with equal roles and power relations within the

members of the learning community. Other contexts may devalue ELLs' identities and

their realities, including the affective factors associated with trying to communicate in

another language.

When second language learners participate in language and literacy practices,

they construct and revise their understandings and interpretations based upon the

power relations and roles within the activity both in class and in their social community

outside the classroom (Lantolf, 1996). Because of the unique demands of each cultural

activity, language learners are in a position not only to interact by verbalizing their









thinking but to take over different roles in steering the conversation as both parties

change their roles during their cultural exchanges. In this sense, each language

exchange takes place in a certain cultural setting that shapes the dynamics of the

conversation as well as the choice of words and expressions.

The way we use language shows our stance toward the interlocutors we

communicate with, indicating our social positioning within the local interaction and in

response to larger sociopolitical forces. Critical theorists see the role of power relations

as important for understanding the social world, both in broader and local context of

social practices (Zuengler & Miller, 2006).

Studies on Sociocultural Aspects of Second Language Acquisition

A growing body of second language research shows that linguistic scaffolding

leads to successful second language acquisition under circumstances where peers

provide each other opportunities for collaborative scaffolding. Collaborative activities

create opportunities for second language learners to participate in dialogue in the

second language in authentic instances of meaning making, creating hypotheses,

problem solving about language, and building social relations with one another.

Watanabe and Swain (2007) investigated the influence of the differences in

second language proficiency on the types of interaction that took place during pair work.

In this study, participants from different proficiency levels engaged in collaborative

dialogue involving pair-writing and individual writing with a stimulated recall after the

task. According to the results of the study, the patterns of interaction were influential in

students' post-test scores indicating that collaborative patterns of interaction increased

students' test scores regardless of their partners' proficiency level. In other words,









proficiency differences were not influential factors affecting the nature of peer interaction

and L2 learning in this study.

According to the findings from a task-based second language acquisition study by

Platt and Brooks (2002), given explicit instructions, language learners restructured the

communicative tasks that involved information gap and jigsaw activities, and talk took

place as a natural outcome of the core goal of problem-solving in each task. At times,

language learners produced speech that was defined as "self-regulated speech" in

Vygotskian terms with a possible indication that such talk is necessary for language

learners to better internalize the situation, the language, other members in the group,

and the requirements of the task itself. In this sense, Platt and Brooks (2002) claim that

during communicative tasks "what learners are doing is not simply rehearsing linguistic

forms for their eventual acquisition but trying to solve problems by using their language"

(p. 499). Platt and Brooks observed that learners also used language both to verbalize

their frustrations with the activity and to reach commonalities among one another in

order to understand and confirm where each member stands. Platt and Brooks explain

that "joint speech activity" not only serves the purpose of "message transfer" but helps

learners internally construct the activity collaboratively. In another study where foreign

language learners worked on an information gap task collaboratively, Walz (2008) found

that high-language-use can be achieved by structuring the task in a such a way that

students help each with their linguistic skills and as well as their cultural knowledge.

As previously mentioned, unlike sociocultural theorists, Long (1985, 1996) claims

that the comprehensible input that learners gain through interactional adjustments helps

trigger second language acquisition. These claims caused teachers to design their









classroom activities around this type of interaction based on negotiation of meaning and

modifying output to resolve communication breakdowns with the three Cs:

Comprehension Checks, Confirmation Checks, and Clarification Requests. However,

according to the results of a study on negotiation for meaning and peer assistance,

Ohta and Foster (2005) found that recordings from learners during an interactive

classroom task revealed the incidence of actual negotiating meaning was rather low.

Instead, learners actively helped each other to execute the task through co-construction

and prompting by showing interest and encouragement with several instances of asking

for and providing assistance as well as making self-repairs. All these instances of

scaffolding took place in the absence of communication breakdowns.

Ohta and Foster conclude that the number of instances of negotiation of meaning

is not an accurate depiction of the value of interactive tasks. Language learners may not

initiate negotiation of meaning as defined by Long because acknowledging a breakdown

and interrupting communication to resolve such breakdown may be discomforting and

both parties may not want to come across as pushy or needy. Ohta and Foster criticize

the fact that activities that emphasize communication breakdown invite frustration,

which may hinder successful and nurturing language learning. Furthermore, Sato (1986)

and Foster (1998) found that lexical problems related to word choice are more often the

cause for communication breakdown rather than morpho-syntactic errors.

Consequently, Ohta and Foster conclude that in contrast to all other NfM studies, from a

sociocultural perspective, the processes that support negotiation of meaning can also

be beneficial "when learners are not stuck in some comprehension-related impasse and

using a focus-on-form to get themselves out of trouble" (p. 425). In other words, the









second language learning opportunities do still exist when learners support one another

during peer interaction by communicating with and assisting a partner.

According to the results of Storch's (2002) longitudinal investigation into the nature

of pair interaction in an adult ESL classroom, four patterns of interaction amongst pairs

emerged. In these collaborative interaction patterns, both learners have equal footing

working together throughout the task by helping each other to complete the task. On the

other hand, dominant/dominant pairs are much less willing and not as capable of

engaging with other's contributions. Dominant/passive pairs have a dominant partner

who wants to be in charge of the task, and the passive partner is left to be subservient.

In expert-novice pairs, the more knowledgeable learner helps the novice to engage in

the task. The results of the study indicated that the pairs with a more collaborative

orientation displayed more knowledge transfer, and there was a greater number of

instances with no knowledge transfer or missed opportunities in pairs with a non-

collaborative orientation. According to her observations, Storch concluded that the pairs

with the highest proficiency difference tended to collaborate the most whereas the pairs

with highest degree of homogeneity of English proficiency level were non-collaborative

dominant-dominant pairs.

According to Firth and Wagner (1997), the field of SLA is highly oriented towards

psycholinguistic approaches to understanding second language development, which

places more importance on the impact of individual processes in language learning,

such as the acquisition of syntactic, morphological, and semantic rules. However,

human beings use language for collective purposes, and the goal is to share and

communicate messages and create meaning collectively rather than in isolation. Even









in individual writing, the language learner is a "participant-as-language-'user' in social

interaction" (p. 286) and is expected to produce language by himself/herself, the

presence of an invisible target audience cannot be denied as the audience is an

important factor influencing the form and content of the output.

In short, sociocultural theory helps to explain the language development process

of an individual in terms of the socialization process of language acquisition through

interactions with the members of a social group (Donato, 1994). In other words,

language learning involves participation in a social and communicative exchange of

messages where the language learner takes in and processes linguistic messages, and

then rebuilds them as part of the interaction process, and revises the language

appropriately for different social contexts. In this sense, collaborative activities involving

the use of graphic organizers need to be designed and studied carefully to better

understand the dynamics within each group provide a better picture of what types of

collaborative situations provide the best opportunities for communication and second

language development.

Discourse Analysis and Studying Collaborative Classroom Interactions

Discourse analysis is one of the most effective tools for studying classroom

language and interaction among students and teachers (Bloome et al., 2005). As a

qualitative research method, discourse analysis emphasizes daily interactions in a

classroom where teachers and students are active agents in meaning-making and

shape their own discourse community through their on-going dialogues (Bloome et al.,

2005). In this sense, studying classroom language events sheds light onto how people

use language in collaboratively constructing meaning in classrooms, and the

interactions are analyzed through sociocultural as well as linguistic lenses.









Gee makes a distinction between "discourse" with a lower case "d" and

"Discourse" with an upper case "D", the former referring to "how language is used on

site" to enact activities and identities" (Gee, 2005, p. 7) while the latter refers to

"different ways in which we humans integrate language with non-language 'stuff,' such

as different ways of thinking, acting, interacting, valuing, feeling, believing, and using

symbols, tools, and technologies to recognize yourself and others as meaning and

meaningful in certain ways" (Gee, 2005, p. 7). We can try to make sense of cultural

situations through discourse analysis with an in-depth study of Discourse that involves

the linguistic features and social structures situated in everyday life.

Language is a tool for reflecting upon the situation as well as building and shaping

the situation in which social interaction takes place. Besides linguistic resources that we

use during social meaning making, we also use cultural models as guides that shape

our language practices when forming situated meanings. We can only explain why

words have the types of meanings that they have acquired and how words gain new

meanings in every new social interaction by developing a thorough understanding of

cultural models that are held by the participants in language exchange.

Classroom discourse includes interactional units that are the smallest units of joint

social activity involving both the actions and reactions of participants toward each other.

It can be defined as a series of conversationally tied message units (Bloome et al.,

2005, p. 6). All literary practices in classroom setting involve literacy events, which can

be defined as "bounded series of actions and reactions that people make in response to

each other at the level of face-to-face interaction (Bloome et al., 2005, p. 6). In order to

study language and culture in literacy events, we need to build a better explanation of









how participants in any type of conversational discourse make meaning collectively as

well as how they understand and interpret each other's messages in different types of

situations.

In line with those few studies that integrate interaction and collaboration into the

graphic organizer research (MacKinnon & Keppell, 2005; Ryve, 2004), one way to

understand how graphic organizers actually influence student learning is by designing

activities that give students opportunities for collective meaning making where they can

voice their comments and their questions. In an effort to gain a deeper understanding of

collaborative interaction among students in classrooms and students' second language

learning, this study explores the possibilities the collaborative use of graphic organizers

can facilitate interaction in English.









Table 2-1. Review of literature on graphic organizers and second language learning
TOPICS ON GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS AND SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING
WHAT ARE GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS?
GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS AS TOOLS FOR CONTENT LEARNING
COLLABORATIVE USE OF GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS
FOR CONTENT LEARNING
GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS AS TOOLS FOR SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING

COLLABORATIVE USE OF GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS AND SECOND LANGUAGE
LEARNING

Role of Interaction in Second Language Learning
Research on Interaction and Second Language Learning

Sociocultural Nature of Collaborative Communication
Research on Sociocultural Aspects of Second Language Learning

DISCOURSE ANALYSIS AND RESEARCH ON
COLLABORATIVE CLASSROOM INTERACTION





Table 2-2. The knowledge framework categories (Mohan, 1985)
THE KNOWLEDGE FRAMEWORK
THEORETICAL
Classification Principles Evaluation
PRACTICAL
Description Sequence Choice






Chronology



E L

E4 2
\^~3


Simple Listing


Compare & Contrast


How are they similar?


How are they different?


p


Cause and Effect

I-0--1


What are the attributes of this What are the causes &
object/person? effects of this event?

Figure 2-1. Common organizational structures of information texts (Jameson, 2003)












CLASSIFICATION

ANIMALS


( VERTEBRATES



(WARM-BLOODED) C


INVERTEBRATES)


OLD-BLOODED


C BIRDS


MAMMALS


FISH


S REPTILES


Figure 2-2. Example of a student-generated graphic organizer (Early, 1991)


L- kFdi tn

T: lyT"
P"uy


Ci~


Do nai nmM this pagt please!


Figure 2-3. German-English bilingual map


AMPHIBIANS


~~~lar ~ .Irr










Table 2-3. Conceptual framework on collaborative use of graphic organizers with second language learners


Graphic Organizers as
Tools for Content
Learning)


EXAMPLE STUDIES


Blachowicz & Ogle (
2001); Gunning (2003);
Hatch & Dwyer (2006);
Robinson & Kievra
(1995); Thresher (2004


Graphic Organizers


FOUNDATIONAL
THEORIES


Subsumption Theory --
Ausubel (1960, 1963)
Dual Coding Theory -
Paivio (1980)
Learning through Concept
Mapping Novak
(1984)


Graphic Organizers as
Tools for Second
language Learning


EXAMPLE STUDIES


Tang (1992); Bahr&
Dansereau (2005)


Collaborative use
of Graphic
Organizers for
Content Learning


EXAMPLE
STUDIES


MacKinnon &
Keppell (2005);
Rinehart &
Welker (1992);
Ryve (2004)


Collaborative
Classroom Dialogue


FOUNDATIONAL
THEORIES


Collaborative
Dialogue in L2
acquisition-Swain
(1998, 1985, 1995);
Gibbons (2002,
2009); Donato
(1994); Storch
(2002); Ohta (1999)
Sociocultural
Scaffolding -
Vygotsky (1978)
Collaborative
Learning Bruner
(1986)
Social Dialogue and
Language Learning
Bakhtin (1981,
1986)
Social Construction
of Culture and
Language-- Berger
and Luckmann
(1966)


Collaborative Use
of Graphic
Organizers for L2
Learning


EXAMPLE
STUDIES


No Studies









CHAPTER 3
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGY

Theoretical Framework

This study aims at better understanding the nature of interactions in a collaborative

graphic organizer task in light of theories on academic language development in

English. This study uses discourse analysis as a research method for understanding

classroom dialogue with ELLs using graphic organizers in a collaborative task.

Classroom discourse generated during the interactions between students is the primary

data, and transcriptions of student interactions were analyzed based on Gee's (2005)

discourse analysis model according to the methodological concepts and terms

introduced by Gee, including characteristics of the language students generate, their

social roles, and other factors that are at play. Students' conversations were

constructed socially as a result of the collaborative meaning-making process during the

use of graphic organizers as part of a group activity. Table 3-1 is a depiction of the

study design based on Crotty's principles of qualitative research design from the

broadest elements to the most specific elements representing the theoretical framework

of the study (2005, p. 5).

This study followed a constructionist epistemology, according to which human

beings construct meanings in the course of a constant interaction between each other

and the world. Reality is neither objective nor subjective as it evolves and is transmitted

within a social context (Crotty, 2005). Hence, this study is based on a social

constructionist theoretical foundation with a particular focus on the social construction of

knowledge, echoing the importance of human interaction in building new









understandings and interpretations of cultural and linguistic exchanges that shape our

daily lives (Gergen, 1985).

Methodology

In line with the tenets of social constructionism emphasizing the importance of

social exchanges in building meaning, this research study involves an in-depth analysis

of student discourse generated during collaborative use of graphic organizers as part of

classroom activities. Discourse analysis is a powerful method that has been used for

identifying and studying the processes of meaning making during human interaction,

with the goal of better understanding the dynamics of conversation and the layers and

landscapes of meanings that participants create in the process of communication

(Bloome et al., 2005).

Overview of the Dissertation and Research Problems

Graphic organizers can serve as educational tools to increase comprehensibility of

subject matter. Graphic organizers can also be used as tools to trigger conversations

that include language scaffolding and negotiation of meaning. Such collaboration may

foster ESL students' conceptual and linguistic development and improve their

understanding of different language patterns associated with discourse structures such

as comparison-contrast, process, cause-effect, etc. In cooperative activities designed

around the use of graphic organizers, teachers can increase student-to-student

interaction in class. Also, collaborative study of graphic organizers may help students

learn how to recognize discourse structures and discourse markers during reading

comprehension in order to achieve higher levels of reading in English. Furthermore,

working on discourse structures and discourse markers collaboratively can also help

English language learners first converse about and then write about different types of









academic discourse as well as scaffold each other's conceptual learning and language

learning processes. In collaborative graphic organizer activities, graphic organizers can

also increase students' higher order thinking skills because students can actually

perceive the discourse structures in academic texts and the overarching relationships

between ideas during the process of studying graphic organizers and creating their own

graphic organizers. These processes may boost students' self-confidence, increase

student participation, and make way for increased language production.

In order to build a research foundation that is based on understanding the nature

of classroom dialogue as a way to improve students' academic success, it is imperative

to examine the interaction among students closely. This study explored classroom

discourse generated during a set of collaborative concept-mapping activities.

Classroom discourse is in general composed of multiple layers of meanings and varied

forms, and the diversity in students' linguistic and cultural backgrounds increases the

diversity in the linguistic and sociocultural nature of collaborative dialogue. Social

groups form situated meanings collectively, and these meanings get incorporated into

the culture of the group and shapes the group's identity on a social and individual level.

Gee (2005) defines a situated meaning as "an image or pattern that we assemble 'on

the spot' as we communicate in a given context, based on our construal of that context

and our past experiences" (p.47). When we are producing language, we are actually

gathering all the situated meanings we have formed about the world before we proceed

with our actions in the world (Gee & Green, 1998). Accumulation of situated meanings

is composed of our socioculturally shared experiences, and when we are producing

language, we refer to cultural models that have been formed during different social









practices and established by the particular social group that we are part of (Gee &

Green, 1998). In this sense, actively participating and drawing from the situated

meanings of a social group not only entails being able to produce utterances in a certain

language but also being able to recognize the words used in multiple settings and being

able to differentiate how the meaning of a word can change within different contexts.

Similarly, as the students in this study participated in the collaborative graphic organizer

task, they formed new identities, play different roles that changed at different instances

of the task, and used language in order to execute the collaborative task according to

their own situated meanings being formed during the task.

The collaborative graphic organizer task in this study involved ELLs conversing in

English and filling out graphic organizers collaboratively. The graphic organizers were

based on two textbooks used in the classroom: Making connections: A strategic

approach to academic reading, the main textbook with authentic academic texts, and

From great paragraphs to great essays, a support textbook with five paragraph essay

with a simplified structure. The first graphic organizer used in the first lesson of Week 1

was based on an essay from the supplementary textbook with the format of a simple

five-paragraph essay, and the second graphic organizer was based on a longer

passage from the main textbook that is more like authentic academic texts lacking an

explicit organizational structure that displays the discourse structure visually. The

purpose of using a simple five paragraph essay and then switching to a more

complicated academic text is to scaffold students' understanding of discourse structures

and related language first through a structurally less complicated text where both the

structures of the discourse and the language signaling that structure are more salient for









ELLs before they move into an actual academic text where the language and the

structures are more opaque. In the final stage of the task, students were assigned to fill

out a graphic organizer that lead them into a final independent writing task, so that

students can become more autonomous in producing written texts in the English

language. The graphic organizers were based on comparison-contrast and cause-and-

effect discourse structures, and the study of these structures is already integrated into

the regular classroom instruction in the intermediate reading/writing curriculum at LLC

each week. Therefore, these particular discourse structures were selected in

accordance with the existing curriculum and aimed at improving students' reading

comprehension and writing skills with academic texts that use these two discourse

structures across the curriculum. The following research questions guided the research

process in the qualitative research study:

SHow do English language learners use language in a collaborative graphic
organizer activity?

Setting

LLC (Language Learning Center) is a language school for students from around

the world who are adult learners of English as a second language at post-secondary

level. Its mission is to help students improve their English language skills with intensive

language study that addresses the linguistic needs of students at different levels of

English proficiency. The goal of the LLC Language School is not only to assist with the

learning of the English language but also the culture of the United States of America.

Students are taught to

* read university-level materials;

* write academic papers and exams;









* speak more fluently in both formal and informal settings;

* take good, clear notes at lectures;

* take timed, objective tests;

* function knowledgeably in a North American culture and,

* establish and maintain productive relations with fellow students, professors, and
other members of the host community.

Most classrooms are equipped with a computer, a DVD player, and an LCD

monitor in line with the latest technology. Students sit in chairs that can be moved

around during group work. All classrooms are sound-proof and carpeted with air-

conditioning and heating to provide a comfortable learning environment.

Participants

Students at the LLC language school come to the United States to further their

professional development by improving their English language skills, and they mostly

enroll in higher education after graduating. When students arrive to the LLC, they are

given a placement test that includes a listening section (CELT-or Comprehensive

English Language Test-section I) and a structure section (CELT II) and a writing test

using an in-house checklist that was designed by the testing coordinators at LLC. The

levels placement for listening and structure is based on a breakdown of scores. For

writing, the levels are determined based on the learning objectives that are revised and

improved every year. The listening test determines LS levels and structure, grammar

levels. An in-house writing test determines initial grouping, and then when the LLC

testing coordinators do placement based on ranges of students' scores. If a student is

Level 40, s/he may be high or low within that level. Some students may get placed in a

higher level 40 or a high 30. Then, once placed, the students take diagnostics, which









ensures if students are appropriately placed. If any changes are needed, the LLC

testing coordinators make new decisions accordingly and place the students in a

different class before the end of the second week of the term.

Three different criteria were considered for participating selection in this study.

First, the study needed to be conducted in a classroom that regularly incorporates

interaction and collaboration during instruction for the purpose of improving students'

academic proficiency in English. Second, the study needed to be conducted in a

classroom where the teacher either a) used a collaborative concept-mapping strategy

as part of the regular classroom routine or b) was willing to incorporate a collaborative

concept-mapping strategy as part of their classroom instruction. Third, the focus of the

class needed to be on the use of academic language where students were expected to

acquire a higher command of academic language in English as opposed to the more

colloquial language used in shopping or traveling. Therefore, the Reading/Writing class

was selected. The task incorporated both academic speaking and writing skills to

provide students with extensive opportunities for academic language production. Using

these criteria and with the help of the school's coordinator, the researcher recruited a

teacher of one of the Reading/Writing classes. The intermediate proficiency level was

selected because the language skills needed to recognize and produce the academic

language in academic texts would be too advanced for earlier levels.

Students at this level were not proficient in writing an essay yet, and the class

started from how to write a paragraph, gradually moving students into how to write an

essay. The students were assigned to the intermediate level of reading and writing due

to their need for improving their writing skills and for learning how to write an essay









according to the conventions of the English language. One of the main goals in this

class was learning how to write a paragraph and moving towards learning how to write a

standard five-paragraph essay. In this class, students were taught different types of

discourse structures in academic texts, so that they could recognize these structures in

reading materials and also write academic texts that reflect these structures. As can be

seen in Table 3-2, the researcher used pseudonyms for each participant in the study to

protect their anonymity.

Ayumi and Dawud were the partners in Pair 1. Ayumi was born in Japan and she

lived there all her life until she came to the United States. She has an undergraduate

degree from Japan, and she took English classes in Japan as part of her education, but

in these English classes, the emphasis was on grammar drills as opposed to

communication and listening. She was attending LLC to improve her speaking skills, so

that she could pass the Test of Spoken English and the TOEFL (Test of English as a

Foreign Language) to be able to start graduate education at the University of Florida.

Dawud was from Saudi Arabia, and he came to Gainesville with his wife to continue with

his PhD education. He had a master's degree that he completed in Saudi Arabia, and

he was attending the ELI to be able to pass the TOEFL and to get into a PhD program

at the University of Florida. He received a scholarship from the Saudi Government for

his language education with a condition to finish his PhD degree and go back and work

at a university in Saudi Arabia. Neither of the students had lived in an English speaking

country before.

Hyun and Miguel in Pair 2 had similar goals in that they both wanted to pass the

TOEFL and start a graduate program in the United States, but they were flexible with









their choice of universities. Hyun was from Korea, and Miguel was from Venezuela.

TOEFL was a big hurdle for them, and they liked the LLC because of its emphasis on

both academic language skills to pass the TOEFL and conversational skills to engage in

conversations with native speakers of English. Hyun had a very good writing teacher

when he was in Korea, but he could not improve his speaking skills because the

emphasis was mostly on writing, grammar, and vocabulary. Miguel is relatively more

fluent in English because of his American friends back in Venezuela, but his English

language skills were not high enough to be able to pass the TOEFL exam. Neither of

the students had lived in an English speaking country before.

Roberto and Akram in Pair 3 were also preparing to take the TOEFL. Roberto was

from Colombia, and he was preparing for the TOEFL, so that he could apply for a

graduate school in a good university of his choice in the United States. Akram was from

Saudi Arabia, and he needed to pass the TOEFL not only to be able to get into a

graduate program of his choice but also to able to get the funding from the Saudi

Government to pursue graduate studies. Both of these students took English language

classes in their home countries, but the emphasis was vocabulary and grammar, so

they could not improve their productive skills in English. Neither of the students had

lived in an English speaking country before.

The study took place during the regular schedules of class periods. Prior to the

study, students had been assigned to work in pairs by their teacher as part of regular

classroom instruction because pair work allows more opportunities for language

production for both parties compared with larger groups where the time and the

opportunity for interaction needs to be shared among more participants. All students in









class participated in the collaborative graphic organizer task because it was integrated

with instruction as a part of the instructional sequence, but only those six students who

had volunteer to participate in the study were recorded with an audio recorder and a

video camera. Students were paired up at the beginning of each class, and the six focal

students remained pairs for the duration of the task. The study focused on only six

participants (three pairs) in the class in anticipation of the large amount of data that

would be generated during student interactions in class, and so that the conversational

data could be analyzed in greater depth.

Because student pairing took place four weeks into the semester with the help of

the teacher, the teacher was more familiar with the students. Teachers at the LLC strive

to pair students' from different language backgrounds, because many students stay in

the USA for only two months, and LLC teachers want students to use English as much

as they can in these two months. Classroom meetings are often the only opportunity for

LLC students to communicate extensively in English. When paired with someone from

the same language background, students tend to speak in their own language.

Therefore, the researcher informed the teacher which students had agreed to

participate in the study. The researcher asked the teacher to pair up students based on

their fluency in spoken English, so that higher proficiency students were paired with

lower proficiency students. Also, both students were from different cultural and linguistic

background. Neither of these pairs may have typically sat next to each other as most

students prefer sitting by someone from their own culture. Another pairing factor was

the level of collaborative tendency among the pairs since during the pilot study some

pairs did not talk to each other at all since they were both less collaborative students









who were mostly quiet. All of these arrangements were for the purposes of increasing

opportunities for scaffolding among the partners.

Before pairing the students up, the teacher rated the students based on their

collaborative style. The teacher also rated the students in class based on their standing

within the group in terms of their speaking skills and their writing skills. After the pairing

process was complete, the researcher selected three pairs randomly by asking each

pair to draw numbers from a hat, and the pairs who picked the numbers one, two, and

three participated in the study, but the researcher recorded two additional pairs of

students just to ensure that she could fall back on a different pair who were present at

all times in case of an absence.

Task Description

The task that is studied in this dissertation is based on graphic organizers that

depict comparison-contrast and cause-and-effect discourse structures. The following is

a list of the stages and steps involved in the instructional sequence of the collaborative

graphic organizer task that the researcher and the teacher followed, and the teacher

and the researcher were to jointly decide on the timing and allocation of the stages and

the steps in fourteen class periods over seven days. During Stage 1 and Stage 2, the

researcher and the teacher selected texts from students' textbooks in order to comply

with the requirements of the reading/writing curriculum. In Stage 1, the text was taken

from a supplementary textbook with essays that follow the regular five-paragraph essay

structure. For instance, the essay for the first week was a five-paragraph essay written

in comparison-contrast genre. On the other had, in Stage 2, the text was taken from the

students' main textbook written in an authentic academic prose style where the

structure of the text does not necessarily follow the structure of a five-paragraph essay,









and the thesis statement and the topic sentences are not clearly laid out. In other words,

the structure of the text was more opaque in comparison to the essay in Stage 1. The

goal for such scaffolding was that the students were expected to learn how to write five-

paragraph essay because it was one of the objectives of this course, but they also need

to get used to the more complex structures of academic texts. In other words, not every

text they encounter in academic settings, i.e. in graduate school, will be texts that have

been adapted to their own language level, and the students need to get used to

comprehending academic texts that are written for a general audience.

STAGE 1 Discourse Structure Analysis: Simple 5 Paragraph Essay

1. Researcher explains the purpose of the study and presents graphic organizers
reflecting four different types of discourse structures: comparison-contrast genre,
cause-and-effect genre, descriptive genre, and sequence genre.

2. Researcher models how to use a graphic organizer based on the discourse
structure of a selected text from the supplementary textbook. Teacher and
researcher do a brief demonstration of the collaborative graphic organizer task on
another empty graphic organizer based on the text from the supplementary
textbook.

3. Students read the text in their supplementary textbook first for ten minutes and
they start to fill out the rest of the blank graphic organizer designed around the text
in the supplementary textbook in pairs collaboratively.

STAGE 2 Discourse Structure Analysis: Authentic Academic Texts

4. Researcher models how to use a graphic organizer based on the discourse
structure of a selected text from the main textbook. Teacher and the researcher do
a brief demonstration of the collaborative graphic organizer task on another empty
graphic organizer based on the text from the main textbook.

5. Students read the text in their main textbook first for 10 minutes and in pairs
collaboratively they start to fill out the rest of the next graphic organizer designed
around the text in the main textbook.









STAGE 3 Discourse Structure Analysis and Application:

Interaction and Essay Writing

6. Teacher assigns a new topic and the researcher presents a new graphic organizer
based on the new topic.

7. Students fill out a blank graphic organizer collaboratively by interviewing each
other based on the new topic as a preparation for the essay writing. This step
helped students to recognize the discourse structure and to produce writing that
reflects the discourse structure.

8. Students are given an assignment to write an essay based on the same topic.

9. Students are interviewed by the researcher in pairs for thirty minutes per pair.

Pilot Study

In order to prepare for the actual study, the researcher conducted a pilot study with

non-native speakers of English and native speakers of English based on similar tasks

used in this research. All the findings and experiences from the pilot study helped the

researcher to improve the design of the instructional sequencing in the collaborative

graphic organizers task by assigning roles to participants and clarifying the instructions

to the task. Furthermore, the researcher benefited greatly from the data analysis

process as it served as a simulation before the analysis of the actual data. Thanks to

the data analysis experience from the pilot study, the researcher had an opportunity to

see how Gee's framework would guide the data analysis process effectively.

The experience provided insight into the execution process of the task and

provided better understanding of the potential outcome and problems that may take

place during the implementation of the task. The researcher audio-recorded

conversations while students were filling out graphic organizers collaboratively. In the

actual study, the researcher used a video camera as well as a digital voice recorder in

order to capture the scene better and to understand how students utilize graphic









organizers during the task. The researcher compiled the following observations from the

collaborative graphic organizer task.

Contrary to the researcher's expectations, the conversations did not involve much

error correction or scaffolding around language errors. On a few instances, the native

speakers helped the non-native speaker with pronunciation and vocabulary, but the

non-native speaker did not repeat the word with the correct version. In other words, the

NS may have acknowledged the mistake but did not act upon it. For instance, in one of

these scaffolding incidents, the NS got the ELL to repeat the word "technical" a few

times, but the ELL did not integrate the correct pronunciation in his/her utterance.

There was more scaffolding towards helping the ELL produce output. NSs seemed

to make the ELL feel confident about his English language skills by giving a lot of praise

and making comments about the weakness of their own language learning experiences

and abilities. There were comments that are not always about the topic, but having to fill

out the GO (Graphic Organizer) sheet as a task seems to keep the conversation on

target. Comparison and contrast is the over all genre, but there was very little use of

signal words for comparison-contrast. Native speakers asked many questions to get the

ELLs to talk, but there were not many questions from the ELL until towards the end of

the conversations. The ELL listened to them quite a lot initially and responded to

questions. The reason for this could be cultural, for instance, he may be listening more

than talking out of respect.

Native speakers built upon ELL's conversation by commenting on what the ELL

says or by adding their own experiences about the same point with expressions such

as: same here as well, it is similar, but, etc. The researcher observed that the









participants did not talk about the graphic organizer at all until the very end, and based

on the conversations, one person (NS) had been filling it out all along the conversation.

The researcher decided that pair work could be a more effective way to make sure that

everybody in the group were conversing and engaging in discussions verbally.

The speakers did not switch to irrelevant topics or add more to a certain topic by

using signal words, conjunctions etc. They just built on each other's responses by taking

turns and adding sentences in. It seemed like the ELL did not do any type of copying of

NSs' answers onto the GO. The ELL may have been under the impression that he was

helping the NS with their task by responding to their questions and that he had the GO

sheet for extra information about the task. This result is expected because it is very hard

to achieve collaboration in classroom activities without structuring the task for positive

interdependence and individual accountability.

In the actual research study, the researcher assigned roles to each participant to

prompt collaboration. The researcher took into consideration these roles when

analyzing and interpreting discourse data from student conversations during the

collaborative graphic organizer task.

Data Collection

The researcher worked closely with the teacher at LLC by guiding the teacher

before the study early in the semester in preparing graphic organizers and designing

group activities based on the use of graphic organizers. The researcher and the teacher

worked together during the application of the stages, and they modeled the tasks within

the task so that students could have a better understanding of the instructions.

The task was designed to elicit collaborative language production, and in the final

stage of the task, for purposes of positive interdependence and individual accountability









(Kagan, 1992), students interviewed each other by asking questions about each other

while completing the graphic organizer. The final step of the task involved a take-home

essay writing assignment on the topic that students worked on during the last stage of

the collaborative graphic organizer task where they gathered all the information they

needed through the interviews in order to be able to write their essays. The students'

writing samples from the final stage of the task where students wrote essays

independently at home were collected in the following class in order to have a better

understanding of written language use following a collaborative graphic organizer task.

The researcher used these written language samples during the data analysis process

when looking for connections between students' conversations and their written

language production.

Data collection took place in fourteen class periods over nine days from

05/27/2009 until 06/12/2009 over a period of three weeks. The first week of the study

was spent piloting the task one last time and to be able to introduce graphic organizers

and the collaborative graphic organizer task, so that the students were already familiar

with the task when the researcher started collecting the data. Data collection took place

in the second and third week of the study. The classes were held every day of the week

for two fifty-minute periods with a 10-minute break in between the two sessions. Based

on the feedback from the teacher as to how to integrate the task into her pre-existing

curriculum and lesson plans, the sessions for the collaborative graphic organizer task

took place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. For the purposes of establishing a

firmer ground and adding more rigor to the study, audio and video recordings of

students' interactions were supported by data gathered from observational notes,









samples of graphic organizers produced by the students, students' writing samples

during the collaborative graphic organizer task, and interviews with students that were

conducted at the end of the three weeks.

Students' Interactions: The conversations that took place between all students in

class were recorded during the graphic organizer task, and interactions were

videotaped for a clearer understanding of the students' level of engagement and body

language during the conversations. However, only conversations from three pre-

selected pairs were transcribed in order to allow more depth in the analysis of the

discourse. The classes took place every day for two hours every day. The study took

place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for three weeks, and the researcher

took specific observational notes during the study, which took place over three weeks

from 05/27/2009 until 06/12/2009.The researcher recorded each session every

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for two weeks, but she transcribed the conversations

during the collaborative graphic organizer task prior to the independent essay writing

stage. The collaborative graphic organizer task lasted for thirty minutes every Friday for

three weeks in the first hour of the total two-hour class period. The students worked on

their essays independently in the remaining half hour and the second hour.

Graphic Organizers: The graphic organizers that students worked on during the

collaborative task were used as archival materials for the purpose of shedding further

light onto the collaborative use of graphic organizers as educational tools for academic

language socialization and use. At the end of the collaborative graphic organizer task,

the researcher collected a total of twelve graphic organizers from the six participants,

made copies of each graphic organizer, and returned them back to the teacher in the









following week. The researcher was able to collect all the graphic organizers from the

pairs each week, so the researcher collected a total number of 6 graphic organizers in

the week of the comparison/contrast genre and another 6 graphic organizers at the end

of the week of the cause and effect genre. Each of these graphic organizers were also

accompanied with students essays because the graphic organizer included two

additional blank pages for student essays, so that the students could write their essays

by following their notes on their graphic organizers.

Observational Notes: Early in the semester, the researcher began observing the

class, so that students could get used to her presence and the presence of the camera

and recording devices. She took raw pre-observational notes about the seating

arrangements, the types of activities in the classroom, the materials the teacher used in

class, and how students interacted during collaborative activities. In the first week of the

study, which was spent as a training period to help students get comfortable working

with graphic organizers collaboratively and get used to how the instructions of the task,

the researcher took observational notes on the general nature of the classroom, such as

the classroom routines, the types of collaborative and independent tasks the teacher

conducts in the classroom in general as well as students' cultural and language

backgrounds, students' interactions with each other and the teacher by observing and

conversing with the teacher and the students. This information was used to supplement

students' conversations during the collaborative graphic organizer tasks. It is important

to consider how individual student and classroom context may influence the nature of

the interactions. During the collaborative graphic organizer activities, the researcher

also took observational notes in order to better describe the events in each phase of the









task. These observational notes helped in analyzing and explaining student discourse

generated during the collaborative graphic organizer task.

Writing Samples: After each of the collaborative graphic organizer task, students

were given a writing prompt that was an extension of the topic and based on the same

discourse structure. The writing task was completed as homework, and the writing

samples were collected in the following class period. As samples of students' language

production, the graphic organizers and the written essays helped the researcher to

understand how students use the academic language after the integration of

collaborative graphic organizer task into the instruction (See Appendix G).

Interviews: As a follow-up to the task, the researcher conducted semi-structured

interviews with the students who participated in the study immediately after the final

session of the collaborative graphic organizer task. The interviews were used to shed

light onto the students' perceptions of how the collaborative graphic organizer task had

helped their academic language skills in English. Interviews were recorded with a digital

voice recorder (See Appendix E for a list of the interview questions.).

Data Analysis


The researcher analyzed the conversations, the writing samples, and the graphic

organizers collected from students together, and observational notes. All of these

components were essential to understand how graphic organizers assist students'

academic language development. The conversations provided discourse data that can

give a clearer picture of macro and micro structure with micro level tools such as

function words, content words, information, macro level tools, task buildings, connection

buildings, roles, and hierarchical setting of student conversations (Gee, 2005). The









writing samples provided insights as to how the discussion process during the task was

reflected in the students' essays as well as the nature of the academic language in their

writing samples. During the data analysis process, the researcher used Gee's (2005)

three categories: semiotic building, sociocultural identity building, and task building as a

set of lenses for analyzing the data. The researcher was able to synthesize Gee's

categories together with her research questions, and she started detecting new

categories and patterns within the data.

When she looked at the data closely, she could identify different types of

scaffolding, different types of interactional styles, and activity structures. She also

detected various interactional roles in light of the academic language functions the

students were using during their interactions. After finalizing the list of all of the

academic language functions present in students' conversations, the researcher

generated categories of interactional roles based on the patterns of academic language

functions. For instance, if the students repeatedly asked questions, the researcher

formed a functional category for asking questions and labeled the role category inquirer.

She compared the language functions represented in each role category and

constructed a definition for each category of interactional roles. Through this process

the researcher expanded upon Gee's categories of semiotic building, sociocultural

activity building, and activity building. In other words, new categories began to emerge

within Gee's three categories.

Kidd (1996) tentatively divided academic language functions into two categories

for the purposes of providing a framework for second language teachers and second

language researchers: Microfunctions and macrofunctions. Microfunctions are small-









scale functions involving the performance of a specific language task for narrow

purposes, whereas macrofunctions are large-scale uses of academic language serving

a more general purpose. Macrofunctions encompass various microfunctions. The

researcher analyzed the academic language functions in the collaborative graphic

organizer task based on this macro vs micro hierarchy.

The set of conceptual categories of academic language functions and interactional

roles was later reviewed and refined by peers experienced in discourse analysis. The

researcher benefited greatly from consulting with peers, which allowed the researcher to

filter the initial categories through multiple lenses and clarify the interactional landscape.

An explanation of how each type of data follows:

Students' Interactions: When analyzing classroom discourse collected during the

collaborative graphic organizer task in LLC Language School, the researcher took into

consideration two kinds of components: 1. linguistic structures (micro level tools such as

function words, content words, depth of concepts, sentence structure, connectors) 2.

social structure (macro level tools, task buildings, connection buildings, roles,

hierarchical setting) with the following three building tasks that students carried out.

These tasks are part of all dialogue that takes place when a group of people are

collaborating and negotiating with others in interaction. Discourse generated during the

task was analyzed using Gee's (2005) three aspects of discourse (p. 85).

Semiotic building: Using cues or clues to assemble situated meanings about

what semiotic (communicative) systems, systems of knowledge, and ways of knowing,

are here and now relevant and activated.









Activity building: Using cues or clues to assemble situated meanings about what

activity or activities are going on, composed of what specific actions.

Socioculturally-situated identity building: Using cues and clues to assemble

situated meanings about what identities and relationships are relevant to the interaction,

with their concomitant attitudes, values, ways of feeling, ways of knowing and believing,

as well as ways of acting and interacting.

Stress and intonation were not emphasized in the data transcription due to

interlanguage. Interlanguage is a term used to refer to the developmental state of

English language that English speakers from different language backgrounds speak

when learning English, and interlanguage is based on a second language system that

has not reached a level of native-language proficiency (Selinker, 1972), particularly in

patterns of intonation and stress in oral language. Because the researcher does not

speak the students' native languages, it would have difficult to make definitive

statements about these data. Instead, morpho-syntactic features, discourse features,

and the communicative functions of linguistic structures were used for the purposes of

understanding how the participants are integrating and tying in conversations.

The researcher first identified stanza lines with function words and content words,

and then she identified meaning units based on Gee's three building tasks (Gee, 2005).

Based on an in-depth analysis of the data in terms of the three building tasks (semiotic

building, activity building, and sociocultural identity building), themes began to emerge,

and the themes were organized in relation to the research questions. Micro level

language data with a focus on semiotic aspects with an emphasis on linguistic and

conceptual meanings were used to illuminate the sociocultural dimensions and uncover









the social factors that make up the macrostructure of the Discourse (Gee, 2005). This

process helped the researcher to understand how meaning was carved, formed, and

patterned within the text with emerging insights as to how meanings were designed

socially and linguistically in the data (Gee, 2005). The researcher constantly compared

the findings with the archival data involving the graphic organizers that the participants

completed. Observation notes were also used as part of data triangulation process.

Writing Samples: The researcher analyzed the writing samples from Gee's

(2005) semiotic building aspect with a focus on language use. Writing samples helped

in understanding students' awareness of discourse structures in the writing samples and

in showing how students connected their ideas with transitional phrases, the complexity

of the sentence structures, the level of the academic vocabulary about the topic, and the

visibility of the discourse structure within the essay. As the goal of the task was to

understand students' interactions, written data shed further light into the outcome of the

collaborative graphic organizer task and the partner's accomplishment of and

engagement in all the steps in the task.

Graphic Organizers: Analysis of graphic organizers helped the researcher

understand the nature of language that was generated among partners during

collaborative work and the nature of classroom discourse that took place during the

completion of these visual materials. Through graphic organizers, the researcher was

able to confirm that the participants were engaged in the task, understood the purpose

of the task, and completed the task successfully by making use of the concepts they

listed in their graphic organizers.









Observational Notes: The researcher used the observational notes to confirm the

findings from the analysis of student interactions. Observational notes helped better

explain the digital recordings of students' conversations with more visual input. The

researcher incorporated the observational notes with the video recordings of the

conversations in order to capture a more complete understanding of what was actually

happening based on factors such as the participants' body language and level of

engagement.

Interviews: Transcriptions of the interviews were analyzed in order to obtain

students' perspectives about the instructional benefits of incorporating graphic

organizers into the reading/writing classroom using a collaborative task. The researcher

used the thematic analysis method for analyzing the interview data with a constant

comparison of the themes and the data under different domains generated through the

thematic analysis method (Bogdan & Biklen, 2007; Hatch, 2002).

Subjectivity Statement

I am a second language learner of English of a Turkish origin, and I have always

been interested in studying reading comprehension processes in a second language.

During my doctoral studies, I have become more interested in studying language and

interaction as part of the interactive meaning making process. Because of the

difficulties second language learners experience with academic language, I have

become more and more interested in finding ways and means for helping students

acquire academic discourse and become active participants who function well in

academic settings. I believe that we need to find ways of tapping into students'

language use by analyzing student discourse, which may give us a deeper

understanding of students' linguistic and conceptual development and of the types of









misconceptions, self-corrections, and collaborative scaffolding that take place in group

environments. I have also been interested in visual materials for making academic

language in texts easier to understand. Over the course of my graduate studies,

gradually my knowledge of graphic organizers and my interest in collaborative work

began to merge and connect with in multiple possibilities for content and language

development for English language learners.

As a doctoral student, I worked on different research projects where I analyzed

student interviews, reading group discussions, and interactions during tutoring sessions.

I believe that discourse analysis can shed light on many aspects of student learning as

well as classroom culture. My goal as an ESL researcher is to understand more about

dialogue that is generated during the collaborative use of graphic organizers, its

contribution to content and language development, and how collaborative work can

serve as a tool for providing opportunities for ELLs both to understand content topics

better and use English language effectively with their peers.

Validity

Discourse analysis as a method within qualitative research settings from a

constructionist view is not built upon the notion that one reality exists and can be

interpreted the same way by everyone. Therefore, my goal in this study is not to make

truth claims about different categories through which student discourse can be

described. According to Stratton (1997), researchers display different characteristics in

their "motivational factors, expectations, familiarity, avoidance of discomfort" (p.116). In

this regard, the interpretation of the data within this study is subjective as it will be

filtered through the researcher's educational background and experiences. Another

researcher may interpret and label the data with different conceptual representations.









Nonetheless, in an effort to check the reliability of the research tools, the

researcher sought other researchers' perspectives on the codes and accuracy of the

conceptual representation of the codes. The codes and the conceptual representations

of concepts were reviewed by two doctoral candidates who have taken ten credit hours

of the qualitative research methods classes, and a University of Florida instructor with a

PhD, who also specialized in qualitative research methods during her doctoral

education, and the researcher made changes in her categories and added new

categories. All the reviewers have a strong understanding of the qualitative research

methods and discourse analysis in particular because they have been using qualitative

research methods in their own research.

The goal of this study was to understand the nature of student dialogue; therefore,

a discourse analytic method was a highly valid tool for the researcher as she examined

samples of actual dialogues from student interactions. The researcher triangulated the

data analysis through multiple sources of data in answering the research questions

(Bogdan & Biklen, 2007; Hatch, 2002), and so the discourse analysis method was

supported by detailed field notes taken during student interactions and samples of

student work that students completed following the graphic organizer task. The

researcher also collected different types of data sources such as interviews with

students, a collection of students' writing samples, graphic organizers created by

groups, and observational notes.

Limitations

The study has certain limitations that must be acknowledged and should be

considered in research that may build upon the findings of this study. First of all, the

data were collected in the presence of the researcher with an audio recorder and a









video camera. In spite of the fact that students typically grow accustomed to the

presence of a researcher and recording equipment over time, even after a number of

observations, their conversations may have been influenced by the presence of the

audio recorder, the video camera, and the presence of an outsider. This limitation needs

to be taken into consideration and as one of the natural consequences of conducting

discourse-based research in classrooms.

A second limitation stems from the fact that the participant population may not be

a true representation of any ELL population; therefore, the results of the study may not

be generalized to ELLs of all ages. Some ELLs can be children of migrant families who

do not speak English as their native language. Also, some ELLs come from background

with moderate means with very little exposure to print at home. The students in this

study are young adults from educated middle class families, and this group is a post-

secondary school population, so their goal in learning English is to further their

education by going to graduate school or to get promotion in their current jobs. Their

exposure to print and their prior school experience with "academic language" may have

affected the nature of the dialogue that took place during collaborative concept

mapping.

Finally, data collection period in this study had a limited duration of only three

weeks for the purposes of achieving a more in-dept analysis of students' conversations.

The researcher had to adapt the research design and data collection period to the

teacher's plans and needs. Future research may include a larger number of students

and data collection conducted over a longer period of time during which the researcher

and the teacher prepare lessons that involve more extended use of graphic organizers









in both collaborative and independent activities. The researcher could chart the

students' progress during an entire semester and include the help of the teacher and

his/her assessment tools in order to further depict and explain students' academic

language development through students' work and student dialogues collected over

time.










Table 3-1. Theoretical framework of the study
Theoretical Framework


Epistemology

Theoretical Perspective

Methodology

Methods


Constructionism

Social Constructionism

Discourse Analysis (DA)

Gee's DA Method (2005)


Table 3-2. Participants
Pairs and anCountry of Proficiency Proficiency
Pseudonyms Origin Level in Writing Level in Speaking Collaborative Style


Upper Intermediate
Lower Intermediate

Upper Intermediate
Upper Intermediate

Upper Intermediate
Intermediate


Lower Intermediate
Upper Intermediate

Intermediate
Lower Intermediate

Upper Intermediate
Intermediate


Collaborative
Collaborative

Collaborative
Less Collaborative

Collaborative
Collaborative


AYUMI
DAWUD

MIGUEL
HYUN

AKRAM
ROBERTO


Japanese
Arabic

Spanish
Korean

Arabic
Spanish


Japan
Saudi Arabia

Venezuela
South Korea

Saudi Arabia
Columbia









CHAPTER 4
RESEARCH RESULTS

This study examined ELLs' academic language use during a collaborative graphic

organizer task. The qualitative analysis of data included students' recorded

conversations supported with their completed graphic organizers, students' comments

about the task elicited in follow-up focus group interviewss, and the researcher's field

notes taken during observations of the collaborative group discussions, and students'

essays based on their completed graphic organizers written. Gee's three aspects of

discourse were used to examine student dialogues from a sociocultural and linguistic

stance. As can be seen in Table 4-1, the researcher identified and defined new

categories based on work by Gee (2005) and by Bloome et al. (2005).

The data revealed that students used a wide range of academic language

functions in their dialogues. The researcher referred to the categories of language

function created by Bloome and Egan-Robertson (1993) and labeled clusters of

repeated functions as interactional roles. Interactional roles led to a better

understanding of the participants' interactional styles and the structure of the

collaborative graphic organizer task in terms of how it was performed by each pair.

Linguistic analysis of students' dialogues informed the researcher on vocabulary use,

word and sentence structure, and topical depth explored by the students during their

interactions. The researcher expanded the categories further with peer-checks,

concluding that the collaborative discussion activity provided opportunities for different

types of scaffolding between peer partners.









Sociocultural and Structural Analyses of Students' Interactions

The research question: "How do ELLs use language in a collaborative graphic

organizer activity?" was addressed using sociocultural and structural analyses of

students' interactions during the collaborative graphic organizer task. The first part of

this section highlights the types of scaffolding in students' interactions. The subsequent

focus on language functions, interactional roles and styles, and task structure help us to

understand the dynamics of students' interactions. They illuminate the sociocultural

context of the collaborative graphic organizer task and the ways this task facilitates

language use among students.

Types of Scaffolding

After a thorough analysis of the students' interactions during the collaborative

graphic organizer task by applying Gee's concepts of semiotic, sociocultural building,

and activity building, the researcher detected three types of scaffolding that the students

provided for one another:

Linguistic scaffolding

Conceptual scaffolding

Strategic scaffolding

The linguistic and conceptual scaffolding categories stemmed directly from Gee's

semiotic building as the researcher analyzed each turn and found that the students

provided support for each other to further one another's language proficiency and

conceptual understanding. The researcher also detected a third type of scaffolding that

did not fit into either of these categories. This third category was labeled strategic









scaffolding because the type of support that the students were providing for one another

appeared to serve the purposes of executing and continuing the task.

Linguistic scaffolding

This type of scaffolding refers to peers helping one another by implicitly modeling

or explicitly pointing out the language errors of their peers. The researcher analyzed the

instances of linguistic scaffolding and decided to divide them into two sub-categories:

lexical scaffolding (focused on word meanings) and morpho-syntactic scaffolding

(focused on word and sentence structure).

Lexical scaffolding: Lexical scaffolding involves help at the vocabulary level with

an emphasis on the meaning of the word. When the intention is to provide support with

choosing a better or more correct word, peers tend to repeat or rephrase their partner's

statements. In both of the following excerpts, we can see instances of lexical scaffolding

where one partner provides language support to the other by suggesting an appropriate

vocabulary term.

In Turn 15 below, Akram asks Roberto if he can think of any examples of

traditional Colombian cuisine. His description of what he means may not be sufficient,

and he rephrases his message so that Roberto can better understand what he means.

(15) A: No. Specific (.) do you have specific food? Very popular. Something
very popular. Everyone go to Colombia to eat it in every restaurant.

(16) R: The Colombian dish?

(17) A: Yeah (.) dish.

From Roberto's response to Akram's question, we can tell that he is not only

conceptually processing the statement, but he is also linguistically analyzing Akram's

words, which may indicate that he has a critical awareness of vocabulary use in









different contexts. He may have decided that what Akram is referring to with "food" in

his statement is a actually a "dish" which is semantically narrower and more specific

than "food." Therefore, he asks for confirmation by posing the word "dish" in Turn 16. In

this sense, Turn 16 may serve as a language support to scaffold Akram's description

with a more appropriate word in English.

In the following excerpt, Akram provides lexical scaffolding for Roberto as Roberto

did for Akram in the previous excerpt when they were talking about traditional cuisine. In

this excerpt, the pair is talking about the political systems in their respective countries.

Roberto is explaining the system in Colombia. In Turn 14 he is listing all the positions in

the parliament and asks for help with a word. In Turn 15 Akram provides lexical support

with the word "minister," helping Roberto to continue with his statement in Turn 16.

(14) R: We have senator and camera (.) same as the United States. Two
cameras, senator and representer camera, senator represents two
cameras. We have other things, how can I say it in English? We have what
do you say (.) they are meeting to decide (.)

(15) A: Minister.

(16) R: Yeah, minister, thank you, we have ministers. Yeah, we have the
same, like the United States. We have representers, they call two cabinets,
we have senators and representatives, 200, 205 something like that. The
law goes here, and after that, it goes to the senator. OK, in the kingdom, the
king does not have a minister.

Morpho-syntactic scaffolding: Structural scaffolding refers to assistance with the

structure of words and sentences. This type of scaffolding is often accomplished

through rephrasing or repeating as partners give implicit support to their peers. In the

following excerpt, Ayumi is talking about the traffic lights in Japan and uses an incorrect

form of the word automatic. Dawud appears to be paying attention to both the content

and form of the message because in Turn 6 (below), he uses the word correctly in a









sentence without singling out Ayumi's error, and in Turn 8 he asks a confirmation

question again using the correct form of the word. We cannot be certain of Dawud's

intentions and whether he is consciously correcting the error, but in Turn 8, he uses the

word correctly again. In Turn 11, Ayumi has integrated the correct form into her

response, which may mean that she has noticed her error. Typically English language

learners may take some time to make such corrections in their speech, so Ayumi's

prompt use of the correct form may indicate that she is already familiar with the correct

form, but the word has not localized in her lexicon with the correct morphological form.

Dawud's scaffolding may provide her with the input she needs to use the word with

accuracy.

(5) A: Because the signal is not automatical, you have to push the button,
and then yeah (.) because in Japan everywhere is automatical (.) here you
have to push the button.

(6) D: Everything automatic in Japan (.) yeah yeah (.) I know it.

(7) A: So I didn't know that.

(8) D: How it's automatic when you want to cross the road?

(9) A: I didn't know it.

(10) D: Here?

(11) A: Here. Yeah (.) yeah (.) yeah. Only automatic and if the signal is
blue, you can go.

In the following excerpt, Miguel poses a question to Hyun about his religion. Hyun

seems initially confused by the question, which is similar in structure to other personal

information questions, such as "Where are you from?" or "What city are you from?"

Possibly to make sure that Miguel is asking where he is from or about his religion, Hyun

asks for clarification and Miguel rephrases his question in a more standard form. Hyun









responds by giving a definitive answer to Miguel's question. In this instance, we can

say that both Miguel and Hyun are providing language support to one another. In asking

for clarification, Hyun may be providing support for Miguel by having Miguel restructure

his question grammatically, and Miguel may be benefiting from this signal by trying to

find a better way to verbalize his question so that it can be better understood by his

partner. If both partners were unaware of the linguistic structure of their statements,

Miguel would have repeated his question using the same words, thinking that Hyun

could not hear him clearly. Also,

(1) M: What religion are you from?

(2) H: What?

(3) M: (.) What is your religion?

(4) H: No religion.

In the following excerpt, Miguel is talking about his challenges when he came to

the United States the first time. Hyun is asking for confirmation by posing a question

about Miguel's speaking skills when he first came to the United States. Miguel seems to

be aware of Hyun's error, and he restates Hyun's question with a long sentence instead

of a yes/no type of confirmatory statement. In Excerpt 6, Miguel is forming a sentence

that corrects Hyun's mistake by adding a verb and a preposition to the noun that Hyun

used as a verb by mistake. Miguel seems to already know that conversation is not a

verb, and he is aware that he cannot correct Hyun's statement by simply turning the

noun into a verb since the verb is a transitive verb that is always used with a direct

object. Therefore, Miguel's structured correction provides structural scaffolding for

Hyun.

(2) M: Because I speak Spanish, English was very difficult the first time.


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(5) H: So it was difficult to conversation?

(6) M: Yeah, it was difficult to have conversation with people.

Conceptual scaffolding

Conceptual scaffolding refers to the type of help that partners provide for one

another to help the partner understand a concept or an issue by providing further

explanations and examples. Instances of conceptual scaffolding during students'

interactions fell under two different categories: topic choice and exploration / discussion

of concepts. The two categories derived from the students' decisions on the types of

subtopics they chose to discuss as well as the depth of these discoveries during the

interactions.

Topic choice: Pairs provide each other scaffolding by choosing topics that both

partners can discuss by exchanging information about each other. Choosing a topic

helps the other partner start pondering all the possible options and examples to talk

about and prompts multiple questions that they could ask their partner. Furthermore,

once one partner picks a topic, both partners participate in the exchanges, and each

partner starts assuming several of the interactional roles, such as Inquirer, Topic

Expander, Clarifier, Information Seeker, etc. As can be seen in the following excerpt,

Ayumi announces the main topic by posing a question and asking for confirmation.

Dawud answers her question partially by giving the location of the Arabic food store in

Tampa, but indicates that he has never been there. He may have thought of Ayumi's

question as a general question seeking information about how Arabic people in

Gainesville have access to food from their own culture, so he lets Ayumi know that there

is an Arabic store in Tampa, but he also adds that he has never been to that store.

(1) A: How do you get Arabic food? Arabic store is in Gainesville?










(2) D: In Tampa. There is one in Tampa. In Tampa, there is an Arab store, but I
haven't been there.

(3) A: But what do you get at the Arabic store?

(4) D: We buy rice.

In the following excerpt, Hyun and Miguel 's turns focus on food, and the pair is

working on their graphic organizers for differences of cultural background within the

genre of comparison-contrast. In Turn 1, Hyun seems to be thinking aloud and then

raises a question about the main food in Miguel's country. Miguel seems to be confused

about the question, so Hyun seems to interpret Miguel's response as a clarification

request, so he rephrases the question.

(1) H: Cultural background? Cultural background? What is your main food?

(2) M: Uhm (.) wait a minute.

(3) H: The most common food you usually eat?

(4) M: Arepas.

In the following excerpt, Roberto asks Akram whether he can think of another

subtopic under the main topic of challenges that they experienced when they came to

the United States for the first time. After Akram's response, Roberto builds on the same

topic by indicating some of the difficulties he experienced about food.

(1) R: Do you have another challenge?

(2) A: Yeah when I came here, I didn't have enough time (.) so I couldn't
learn new culture. This was a challenge for me.

(3) R: When I first came here (.) I ate strange things (.) German style (.)
food (.) it tastes very sour (.) but I tried. Bad taste for me (.) but I tried.


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Exploration and discussion of concepts: During the collaborative organizer

task, pairs chose different sub-topics within the main topic, and they chose to explore

the subtopics in different directions based on the mutual decision of the group. Students

assumed roles such as Roles such as Topic Expander, Inquirer, Responder, and

Proposer, etc. to extend the depth of the discussion of topics. In the following excerpt,

Dawud is clarifying that, although finding an apartment was easy, he had challenges

with furnishing the apartment. Ayumi seems to be confused about Dawud's statements

perhaps based on her own experiences. For clarification, she expands the topic with

additional questions. Dawud provides conceptual scaffolding for her by clarifying what

he means, adding further depth to the topic.

(40) D: No no (.) it is not hard to find the apartment (.) it is hard to furnish
the apartment and hard to make contract to the electric because I have to
go there to pay deposit (.) to the department of electric GRE.

(41) A: It is hard to find a good apartment.

(42) D: Uhm let me explain (.) Ayumi (.) Ayumi?

(43) A: It was hard for you to make a contract?

(44) D: It was easy.

(45) A: But you said it was difficult.

(46) D: To find furniture and bring the furniture to my apartment because I
didn't...

(47) A: Where did you buy?

(48) D: From somewhere.

(49) A: Wal-Mart?

(50) D: No (.) from somewhere on the main street (.) on thirteenth.

(51) A: It is a shop?


103









(52) D: Yeah. And I didn't have a car (.) that's why it was hard for me.

(53) A: Oooohhhh.

Hyun and Miguel talk about language when talking about the challenges they

experienced when they came to the USA for the first time. In the following segment from

their dialogue, Hyun may be asking for help from Miguel to introduce another subtopic.

In Turn 1, Hyun asks a question that invited Miguel to expand the main topic of cultural

challenges with another subtopic. Miguel responds, but Hyun poses another question

asking information on a particular aspect of English, which extends the depth of the

subtopic.

(1) H: Yeah. What is your challenge?

(2) M: Because I speak Spanish, English was very difficult the first time.

(3) H: Listening, when you are listening, you can't understand?

(4) M: Uhm.... I can understand a little bit.

In the following excerpt, Roberto is extending the depth of the topic by asking

which of the king's sons qualify to be the king in Saudi Arabia. Akram expands the topic

by providing further examples, which enhances Roberto's understanding of the

complexity of the monarch system in the royal family in Saudi Arabia.

(12) R: Which one is the? (.) I don't know. (.) Richest one?

(13) A: Yeah. Between themselves they change. Before it was King Abdul
Aziz, King Abdul Aziz have thirteen child, so some of them become a king,
some of them die already. Now it may change, for the son, I don't know.

As can be seen in the previous examples, partners explore the subtopics through

different language functions by asking each other questions and by responding with

explanations and examples. Partners achieve extended interactions through the roles of


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Proposer, Inquirer, Responder, etc. Such interactions may not occur in tasks that do not

allow sufficient opportunities for extended interaction.

Strategic scaffolding

Strategic scaffolding is the type of help that peers provide to one another in order

to successfully execute the task together. Through strategic scaffolding partners get the

task started, keep each other on task, and find ways of continuing the task for

successful completion. Instances of strategic scaffolding have been grouped into two

categories: task initiation and task continuity. Both of these categories are important

operational factors that help the task to take place.

Task initiation: This type of strategic scaffolding stems from the motivation to get

the task started. As the name suggests, the Initiator role is the most common role that

associated with strategic scaffolding. In the following exchange, Dawud begins the task

by announcing the task goal and the main topic, and Ayumi responds by making a

factual statement about the place of religion in her country. Both partners seem to be

engaged in the task, and they seem to be aware of the need to start the task. They

scaffold each other by following the directions together and finding a subtopic.

(1) D: We are going to write about your culture.

(2) A: In Japan, religion is not important, (.2) it is not important.

In the following exchange, Miguel starts the task by sharing one of his challenges

regarding language, and then assumes the role of Inquirer by inviting Hyun to speak up

about his challenges regarding language. Hyun responds with a different subtopic, but

provides no elaboration. Miguel assumes the role of Topic Expander and he asks why

weather was a challenge for Hyun in Gainesville. Turn 3 in the following excerpt


105









involves the academic language function for asking for a reason. Hyun provides two

reasons and takes on the role of Topic Expander.

(1) M: I couldn't understand language, it was challenge. What about you?

(2) H: Weather.

(3) M: Weather? Why?

(4) H: Because it is too hot here and daytime is too long.

In the following excerpt, Akram introduces the topic of politics and poses a

question. Roberto and Akram's manner of initiating the topic differ from the other two

pairs. However, unlike Hyun and Miguel, Akram poses a question to his partner without

introducing any information about himself on this chosen topic. Unlike Dawud who

announces the topic by stating a decision he has made on behalf of himself and partner,

Akram simply poses a question. Roberto answers this question and extends the topic,

and Akram asks another question to get more information about the topic.

(1) A: What about politics? (.) Do you have presidents?

(2) R: Yeah, presidents, separate government system.

(3) A: Political system, you have presidents and do you change the president

every four years?

(4) R: Every four years. You select the government. So the political system is

democracy. So we have an election for every four years (.) election for the

president.

Task continuity: Topic Expander and Inquirer are the roles that support task

continuity. The Topic Expander provides in-depth information with examples and

explanations that extend the length of conversations and the amount of information that

the partner needs to be able to write a well-informed essay at the end of the task. The


106









Topic Switcher is another role that provides strategic scaffolding for task initiation. When

a conversation runs out, Topic Switcher initiates a new subtopic to keep the

conversation going.

Dawud and Ayumi also maintain the dialogue in the task and explore the topics by

posing questions and providing extended answers. For instance, in the following

dialogue, Dawud poses a question to Ayumi, and she responds, but she does not

provide an example. Akram introduces the topic with a question, and he starts

describing traditional women's clothes in Saudi Arabia.

(4) D: You have traditional clothes?

(5) A: Yeah (.) yeah we have traditional clothes.

(6) D: We also have traditional clothes.

(7) A: Yeah yeah sure.

(8) D: Yeah, we wear black and black (laughing) yeah (.) girl wear black. This is
called Abaya. Outdoor clothes (.) but indoors, it is just the same.

In Hyun and Miguel's conversation below, Hyun informs Miguel that Korean people

eat rice. Miguel asks him to provide additional information, probing for details and

extending the reasons for it. Miguel assumes the role of Inquirer by asking questions,

and Hyun assumes the role of Topic Expander by providing further answers. Miguel's

questions create an opportunity for a quiet person like Hyun to use the English

language for communication purposes and they complete the task successfully. If Hyun

had been paired with another person like himself, both partners may have given one-

word answers and not even asked questions seeking further information.

(23) H: We eat rice.

(24) M: Rice. Rice and finish?










(25) H: We always eat rice but we eat rice with many kinds of dishes like, not just
dishes, everyday it's different so.

(26) M: OK. What do you put on rice?

(27) H: Rice with something, but I can say our main food is rice because everyday
we eat rice.

(28) M: OK, so the main food is rice.

As can be seen in both of the following excerpts, Roberto is achieving task

continuity by offering a topic as well as reminding that they are switching from one topic

to another. Akram is adding fluidity to conversations by introducing a new topic, and in

Exchange 24, Roberto is letting Akram know that they are now starting a new topic for

discussion. Both partners are making an effort to maintain task continuity successfully.

(1) A: Another main idea. What is it? What is it? How about food?

(2) R: Food...

(22) R: In my country, everything is with popular election, everything,
senator, represents, governor, government position is with popular election.

(23) A: Free hospitals, free schools?

(24) R: Wait (.) that's another topic. Free School? Free for everybody?

During the collaborative graphic organizer task, the partners supported each

other's learning in different ways. They provided linguistic scaffolding for one another,

which created opportunities for language development at a lexical and morpho-syntactic

level. They provided conceptual scaffolding by elaborating explanations and provided

additional examples that got the partner to think about the topics from different

perspectives. They also scaffolded for one another in terms of the logistics of the task,

making sure that each partner was engaged in the task and that each partner got the

necessary information during the collaborative graphic organizer task to be able to


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complete the independent writing portion of the task. The task structure as well as the

sociocultural context created among partners in each pair allowed for these scaffolding

opportunities. Through the discussion of topics and extended interactions, the partners

discussed more topics, which provided more opportunities to talk and exchange new

information and ideas. During these exchanges, partners experienced confusion

surprise. As the task was set up to trigger academic language, the partners achieved

opportunities for academic language use and they formed a sociocultural context that

allowed for such interactions to take place. In other words, the sociocultural context of

the interactions among the pairs supported the main purpose of the task, which was to

provide the students with opportunities to use language for conversing, exchanging

ideas, and improving their academic language skills.

Interactional Dynamics in the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task

Sociocultural analysis of interactions is necessary in order to be able to

understand the dynamics among the participants because the activity itself is a social

event in which the members create certain patterns of interaction as well as a system of

roles and rules. This system is created as the activity is taking place, and the system is

shaped in accordance with the members' identities and their relationships as well as

their concomitant attitudes, values, ways of feeling, ways of knowing and believing, as

well as ways of acting and interacting (Gee, 2005). A close analysis of the dialogues

helped the researcher understand the sociocultural aspects of the collaborative graphic

organizer task. The researcher was able to identify successful collaboration patterns

among pairs as well as the dynamics in communication that may fail to take place as

collaboratively.


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Table 4-2 and Table 4-3 display the patterns of students' use of academic

language functions detected in each partners' language during the collaborative graphic

organizer task. The data depict the number of instances that the researcher identified as

representing samples from dialogues of comparable length from each pair. The first

dialogue for example is based on a comparison-contrast knowledge structure, and the

second dialogue is based on a cause and effect knowledge structure.

Table 4-2 presents each pair's use of academic language functions during these

sample dialogues. This information was used to generate the categories of interactional

roles and to better understand the task structure. Repeated occurrence of academic

language functions revealed the interactional roles that the students assumed during

the graphic organizer tasks. Based on these patterns of language use, the researcher

was able to identify interactional styles of students. Identification of interactional roles

also shed light on the structure of the collaborative graphic organizer task. According to

the results of the task structure analysis, pairs used different interactional roles to start

the task, to continue the task, and to finish the task

Table 4-3 depicts the frequency of each partner's use of academic language

functions. The degree of the frequency that the participants used each academic

language function revealed information about the types of interactional roles assumed

by the participant. Based on the interactional roles frequently assumed by participants,

the researcher was able to identify the interactional style of each partner.

Analysis of the participants' dialogues through the lens of language functions

revealed different sociocultural elements shaping dialogue on the partners' interactions

during the collaborative graphic organizer task. In light of the academic language


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functions, the researcher was able to take a closer look at the different sociocultural

elements that shape the dialogue. The following section of Chapter 4 will focus on these

elements starting with academic language functions and moving into interactional roles,

interactional styles, and task structure.

Academic language functions

Academic language functions are necessary for academic success in that students

need to be familiar with the type of language required at school for comprehending

written texts, asking and answering informational questions, asking and answering

clarifying questions, making connections between concepts, relating information,

comparing, contrasting, explaining cause and effect, predicting, drawing conclusions,

summarizing, persuading, etc. (Dutro & Moran, 2003, p. 233). The researcher analyzed

students' interactions in terms of the purposes of language use and was able to identify

different academic language functions in students' conversations.

Academic language functions helped the researcher detected different patterns of

language use, and the researcher labeled the interactional roles based on these

repeating patterns (See Table 4-2 and Table 4-3). For instance, asking questions is a

very important academic language function, and when a speaker used this function

repeatedly, the researcher associated this behavior with an interactional role and

labeled it as an Inquirer. In other words, academic language functions helped the

researcher analyze the socicultural dynamics within the collaborative graphic organizer

task at a deeper level, and the range of language functions in the task helped the

researcher understand the extent of purposes for which the students used language

during the task. As can be seen in Table 4-4, the researcher grouped the academic









language functions used in the collaborative graphic organizer task into two categories

according to these macro vs micro levels.

The concept of macrofunctions and microfunctions furthered the researcher's

understanding of each academic language function. The academic language functions

listed under each macrofunction were categorized based on the language samples and

the overall purposes of each function. In the following section, each (micro)function is

defined and illustrated with an example from the students' conversations to show how

each falls under Kidd's (1996) four macrofunctions.

Macrofunction Informing

Informing is a very broad category that includes functions such asking for

information, giving information, and asking for further information. The language that the

partners used under this particular category of macro functions served to seek

information and to give information without getting into details about the characteristics

and examples, etc. Informing included the following academic language functions:

Asking for information
Giving information
Asking for further information
Giving further information
Asking for a reason
Giving a reason
Presenting contrary evidence
Predicting
Reporting others' words

Asking for information: Asking for information is a basic requirement for

participating in conversations in academic settings. We raise questions to find out about

a concept, an experience, a phenomenon, or an event, etc. Students ask for information

from their peers as well as from the teacher in academic settings, students are expected


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to raise questions about different topics. Being able to ask questions to request

information is therefore a very important academic language function. As can be seen in

the following excerpt between Akram and Roberto, the pair is exploring the topic of

politics and posing questions to one another in order to understand how the government

systems in their home countries are similar or different. During the exchanges, they

discover that the government systems in the two countries are similar in certain aspects

and different in others. The conversation progresses smoothly as the partners ask each

other for more information, as can be seen in the excerpt below.

(1) A: What about politics? (.) Do you have presidents?

(2) R: Yeah, presidents (.) separate government system.

(3) A: Political system (.) you have presidents and do you change the
president every four years?

(4) R: Every four years. You select the government. So the political system
is democracy. So we have an election for every four years (.) election for
the president.

(5) A: And that's for men? Your president?

(6) R: Could be woman or man.

(7) A: For us (.) it is the kingdom and the justice of men. Only men can be.
Only the son of the king.

(8) R: How many son have the king? Only one son?

(9) A: Oh no.

(10) R: A few sons?

(11) A: Many.

Giving information: Being able to provide relevant information when posed with a

question is a necessary skill in participating in classroom conversations and

discussions. As can be seen in the excerpt under "Asking Questions" as well as in the


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following excerpt, Roberto and Akram are exchanging information about different

aspects of their countries, such as weddings and politics. Both are practicing their

questioning skills as well as gaining experience in answering questions correctly.

(3) R: Wedding separate?

(4) A: Yes (.) women alone (.) men alone.

(5) R: How are they separate?

(6) A: There is a party for women (.) and there is a party for men.

Asking for further information: Academic tasks often require students to obtain

further information about topics or events beyond the answers given to an initial

question. Therefore, being able to request further information is an important skill in

furthering students' understanding of academic content. As can be seen in the following

excerpt, Hyun is trying to find out more about arepas, and he is requesting further

information by raising multiple questions about the topic. We can see that he is

interested in this particular food from his partner's cultural background because in Turn

13 he asks if there is a similar food in the United States. He also repeats the word to

himself several times as he asks the questions.

(3) H: The most common food you usually eat?

(4) M: Arepas.

(5) H: Arepa? What is this?

(6) M: It is uhmmmmmm it is something like (.) it is some kind of bread but it
is not bread?

(7) H: What is it from?

(8) M: It is from corn. And you can put inside cheese or ham or whatever
you want, you put inside something.

(9) H: Inside where?


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(10) M: Inside the arepa.

(11) H: Oh (.) arepa (.) so it look like bread?

(12) M: Yeah (.) it look like bread but it is more strong (.) it's like uhmmm...

(13) H: Is there a similar food in the United States?

Giving further information: Being able to provide further information about a

certain topic as a response to a question or a comment is another important academic

language function. Students who are not able to perform this academic function may

simply repeat what they have already stated, but such repetition would not satisfy the

expectations of most conversation partners. As can be seen in Turn 23, Roberto's

questions for confirmation is a characteristic of the Inquirer role. Akram confirms that he

likes eggs, and he can eat eggs as part of his religion. Through Roberto's questions for

further information, Akram gives additional information about the subtopic.

(23) R: You like eggs?

(24) A: Eggs?

(25) R: Eggs.

(26) A: Yeah.

(27) R: No holy animals?

(27) A: No, there is some rules. For example, we can't eat the three kinds of
seafood. We can't eat, crabs, we can't eat gators.

(28) R: No gators?

(29) A: No gators. A lot of other things.

(30) R: OK no holy animals like in India?

(31) A: Not because they are holy (.) but because there are some rules about
eating. For example, gators eat any kind of animal. If it eats meat, we don't eat it.
For example, gators eat meat, so we don't eat it. One example.


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Asking for a reason: During academic conversations, continuous participation

and engagement can take place when the speakers raise questions to explore the

reasons behind the presented facts and shared opinions. This particular language

function promotes more in-depth discussions and students make use of their critical

thinking skills when forming questions of reason. In the following exchange between

Dawud and Ayumi, Ayumi would like to find out why Dawud found it hard to make a

payment for his power bill for the GRU. She not only asks for a reason but also

suggests an explanation for why he may have experienced difficulty. Her proposal may

be based on her own difficulty in setting up a payment for her power bill because of her

limited English language ability.

(56) D: GRU (.) yeah (.) I have to go there to pay deposit and the contact (.)
and the Internet I have to go to Cox and pay deposit and make contract (.)
horrible. My life was, and also my challenge...

(57) A: Why it was hard for you? Because you can't speak English or?

(58) D: No no (.) I have to go there to pay deposit, deposit, because I don't
have social security and I have to go there to pay deposit to the electric.

Giving a reason: Being able to provide reasons is another important language

function. When faced with a question that explores reasoning, the speaker is required to

support their statements with reasons, which will help maintain the flow of the

conversation. As can be seen in the following excerpt, Dawud's first question seeking

confirmation prompts Ayumi to talk more about the difficulties she experienced when

crossing the street in Gainesville for the first time. She gives reasons why it was

different and difficult for her. She uses the connector "because" correctly. Dawud's

questions give her an opportunity to express reason and to use the language for

expressing reason.


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(2) D: Cross the road?

(3) A: Yeah (.) yeah (.) across the road, but I didn't know how to across the road.

(4) D: Ohh (.) OK.

(5) A: Because the signal is not automatical (.) you have to push the button, and
then yeah (.) because in Japan everywhere is automatical (.) here you have to
push the button.

Predicting: Thinking of how an event may take place, what may have caused an

event, or the outcome of an event is an important academic skill that involves critical

thinking skills. For instance, students may be asked to predict the results of an

earthquake or the effects of sun exposure or smoking. Predicting the ending of a novel

or a story is a common academic task in English. In the following dialogue between

Dawud and Ayumi, in Line 28, Ayumi is trying to predict the reason why the dealers in

Gainesville would charge a higher rate to a foreign person.

(27) D: I found lots but the dealers, you know, the problem, here my problem,
dealers rise the price, and...

(28) A: Because you are foreign?

(29) D: Yeah, dealers rise their price also I know it is cheaper than what dealer
told me.

Presenting contrary evidence: Academic settings may require one to support

his/her stance with contrary evidence. For instance, the partner may hold a firm belief

about a topic that the other partner may not necessarily find persuasive or valid.

Presenting contrary evidence strengthens one's position. In the following excerpt, Ayumi

is answering Dawud's questions, but Dawud is presenting contrary evidence based on

his general knowledge about Japan, and she is refuting his contrary evidence based on

her own knowledge of her own country. When Ayumi indicates that religion is not

important in Japan, Dawud reminds her that there are Christians as well as Buddhists in









Japan, which he sees as an indication that people in Japan do have religion, which may

mean that he does not understand how Ayumi can claim that religion is not important in

Japan for everybody in Japan.

(1) D: We are going to write about your culture.

(2) A: In Japan, religion is not important (.) it is not important.

(3) D: Yeah, but you have Christians.

(4) A: Yeah yeah (.) but it is only one percent we have Christians [in Japan.

(5) D: The majority Buddhist?]

(6) A: Maybe (.) but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very
important for your country (.) but it is not very important in Japan.

Reporting others' words: Reporting others' words is an important academic

language function in any class since students will need to refer to a writer's words, the

teacher's words, or a peer's words. Students should also be able to report ideas or

words from other resources. Being able to transmit the message correctly and indicate

that the message is not theirs but another person's are important skills in academic

settings as well as in daily life. In the following excerpt, Miguel reports another person's

words by using the correct sentence structure to be able to express this particular

academic language function. The tense is not correct in the second part of the

sentence, but he is practicing the use of reported speech successfully by reporting the

information that he acquired from a different source.

(19) H: I should try Latin Cafe?

(20) M: I don't know it's good arepa, but some people told me they sell
arepas. I don't eat arepa too much, not my favorite food.


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Macrofunction Describing

Partners used this macro function in order to provide detailed information on a

process, characteristics of a place or food with specific examples, and to express

frequency of certain events or to indicate quantities, etc. The following are a list of

academic language functions that serve the macro category of describing:

Describing a process
Describing characteristics
Describing a location
Comparing/Contrasting
Providing an example
Expressing frequency
Expressing quantity

Describing a process: Classes in the natural and social studies involve academic

language for describing a process step by step. For instance, in social studies, students

will need to describe the process of how a bill becomes law. In the following excerpt in

Turn 4, Roberto describes the election process in Colombia. He is responding to a

question from Akram. In Colombia, because of the democratic political system, there

are elections every four years whereas in Saudi Arabia the king decides which one of

his sons come to power next.

(3) A: Political system, you have presidents and do you change the president
every four years?

(4) R: Every four years. You select the government. So the political system is
democracy. So we have an election for every four years (.) election for the
president.

Describing characteristics: Describing the characteristics of a city, an object, or

a person is very important in academic settings. For example, students need to know

how to form statements that involve adjectives and relative clauses in order to express

the descriptive features. In the following excerpt, Hyun tries to understand the texture


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and form of arepas, and Miguel describes the characteristics of arepas. In Turn 6, he

explains that it resembles bread, and in Turn 8, he is explaining what it is made of and

how it can be served.

(3) H: The most common food you usually eat?

(4) M: Arepas.

(5) H: Arepa? What is this?

(6) M: It is uhmmmmmm it is something like (.) it is some kind of bread but it
is not bread?

(7) H: What is it from?

(8) M: It is from corn. And you can put inside cheese or ham or whatever
you want, you put inside something.

Describing a location: Being able to describe a location of a place or an object

can be an important academic language function in classes such as geography or

biology. Students need to be able to understand and use expressions that indicate

where a certain country or organ are located by using language such as "on, next to,

across from, above, adjacent to, etc." As can be seen in the following excerpt between

Ayumi and Dawud, the collaborative graphic organizer task provides an opportunity to

practice the use of prepositions describing a location.

(23) A: You live in a house or apartment?

(24) D: Apartment, but it is kind of a house yeah.

(25) A: Where, where?

(26) D: You know Butler Plaza?

(27) A: Yeah. Behind Butler Plaza?

(28) D: No, in Butler Plaza, you know Regal Cinema?


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(29) A: Yeah, I know.

(30) D: In front of Regal Cinema.

Comparing/Contrasting: In order to fully understand the characteristics of a

certain object, it is sometimes necessary to compare or contrast that object with a

different one. Academic tasks often require students to make comparisons and

contrasts between different events, processes, or concepts. In order to successfully

participate in academic discussions, students need to be able to make such

comparisons in both oral and written language. As can be seen in the excerpt below,

Ayumi compares and contrasts the traffic lights in Japan and the United States. She

points out that the signal automatically changes in Japan when pedestrians walk up to a

traffic light, whereas in the United States one has to press the button. She uses the

academic language function of comparing and contrasting successfully in spite of a

word form error.

(5) A: Because the signal is not automatical, you have to push the button,
and then yeah, but in Japan everywhere is automatical, here you have to
push the button.

Providing an example: Giving an example to support one's stance is a necessary

academic language function. Classroom participation may require students to give

specific examples when they describe a concept or present their opinions. In the

following excerpt, Akram provides examples to further Roberto's understanding of his

cultural traditions, speculating related to the types of meat that Muslim people are

allowed to eat. Akram's use of the connector "for example" is a sign that he is able to

use the languages for expressing the academic language function of giving an example.

(27) A: No, there is some rules. For example, we can't eat the three kinds
of seafood. We can't eat, crabs, we can't eat gators.









(28) R: No gators?

(29) A: No gators. A lot of other things.

Expressing frequency: In classes such as social studies and science, students

are expected to express how often certain events take place. Being proficient in the

language of expressing frequency helps ELLs to talk about the occurrence of actions

and events. In the following excerpt, we see that Ayumi expresses frequency by using

the word "every" as an indicator. Dawud also expresses frequency in this way. His

language may be scaffolded through Ayumi's earlier question.

(70) D: And when I wanted to OK to set the bill by my name, to my name,
they told me you have to come to pay.

(71) A: In every month?

(72) D: No, now every month I pay my bill by Internet.

Expressing quantity: Students will need to indicate the number of certain objects

or the amount of substances with language such as a few of, a lot of, a little bit of, and a

couple of. Without the language necessary to expressing quantity, students will have to

use numbers, and numbers may not work in every situation. Effective use of language

to express quantities will help students participate in academic conversations more

confidently. In the following excerpt, Ayumi uses this academic language function

successfully even though she uses "much" instead of "many" with the count noun

"people."

(11) M: In my country, there are other religion, but the majority, the big
religion in my country is Catholic, maybe you can find not too much people
from other religion.


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Macrofunction Clarifying

The partners' dialogues included academic language functions that served the

purpose of seeking or giving clarification. When the partners were confused about

something or wanted to make sure that they were on the same page as their partner,

they used language that served the macro function of clarifying. Following is a list of

micro functions that fall under clarifying:

Asking for clarification
Giving clarification
Asking for confirmation
Giving confirmation

Asking for clarification: Asking for clarification is another important academic

language function required in classroom work. Knowing the language of asking for

clarification will help students express themselves more clearly and seek clarification

when they are confused about an issue. Clarification questions typically involve "how"

statements, as can be seen in the following excerpt. Dawud is asking Ayumi to clarify

what she means when she says "many women." In his later exchanges, he provided

Ayumi with a detailed answer as to why men are allowed to marry more than one

woman.

(3) A: Yeah, it is one guy one girl, but in your country it is one guy and it's
many women.

(4) D: Yeah one guy. What? I didn't understand you, what did you want to
ask me?

(5) A: In your country one guy have many wives.

Giving clarification: The language of clarification can be required during

academic activities when peers are confused. Expressions such as "What I really meant

was," "I was actually trying to let you know," "what I was trying to say was" can be used


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in order to provide clarification for what one has just said. Being able to use such

expressions could enable partners to overcome misunderstandings more easily. As can

be seen in the following excerpt between Ayumi and Dawud, Ayumi is expecting Dawud

to give clarification about how Dawud can be the only Arabic person living in that

apartment complex when she knows of another Arabic person who lives there. Dawud

provides the correction and resolves her confusion.

(31) A: Ohhhhhh (.) it's many Arabic live there?

(32) D: N (.) no (.)just me.

(33) A: No no (.) but you know Magrip?

(34) D: Yeah he lives in front of my apartment (.) yeah only me and him but he left.

Asking for confirmation: Asking for confirmation helps us to get the speaker

confirm what s/he has just uttered perhaps to check for any misunderstandings.

Questions such as "Is it really?", "Are you sure?", "Did I hear you say?" trigger a

repetition or paraphrasing of the response typically starting with a yes/no statement.

Academic discussions involve confirmation statements that serve the purpose of

keeping the partners on the same page and making sure that there are no

misunderstandings. In the exchange below, Hyun is trying to understand the linguistic

challenges Miguel experienced when he came to the United States for the first time. In

Turn 5, Hyun poses a question of confirmation to clearly express Miguel's challenges in

the essay that he is supposed to write at the end of the collaborative graphic organizer

task.

(3) H: Listening, when you are listening, you can't understand.

(4) M: No, uhm (.) I can understand a little bit.

(5) H: So it was difficult to conversation?


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(6) M: Yeah, it was difficult to have a conversation with people.

Giving confirmation: Giving confirmation is another common language function

that takes place in academic settings. When a group partner or the teacher asks for

confirmation, s/he expects an answer that indicates approval or correction. A simple yes

or no may be enough, but in certain cases, a one-word answer such as yes or no can

be limited, and the speaker may need to rephrase or restate the original statement. In

the following excerpt, Roberto is asking for confirmation from Akram. He is trying to

understand if he heard it correctly, and he may be posing this question as a

confirmation combined with an intent to understand the reasoning behind not eating

alligators. Therefore, Akram is confirming that alligators are not allowed as food, but he

also indicates that they are allowed to eat several other types of animals other than

gators and crabs.

(27) A: No, there is some rules. For example, we can't eat the three kinds
of seafood. We can't eat crabs, we can't eat gators.

(28) R: No gators?

(29) A: No gators. A lot of other things.

Macrofunction Presenting

When students' academic language served the purpose of presenting a new idea

or a new plan or emphasizing a point, etc., the researcher categorized it as presenting.

The language that the students used for presenting involved the meaning of sharing and

seeking information that was based on personal opinions or ideas that were generated

by the students rather than facts. The following is a list of academic functions classified

as types of presenting:

Proposing an idea or plan
Rejecting an idea or a plan


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Conceding a point
Emphasizing a point
Presenting opinions
Agreeing
Disagreeing
Asking for advice
Giving advice
Showing preference

Proposing an idea or plan: Collaborative projects involve negotiating ideas and

strategies as to how to complete a task together as a group. Students will need to know

how to propose idea during a collaborative task. Therefore, the language of proposing

an idea is useful for complete participation from the group. Expressions such as "Why

don't we? I think we should. Shouldn't we?" can be very effective when proposing new

ideas in a collaborative group task. ELLs may not be able to verbalize the ideas that

they would like to propose in the same way that native speakers of English would. As

can be seen in the exchange below, Roberto is proposing that they talk about marriage,

and as soon as he presents the idea, Akram picks it up and comes up with a subtopic.

Through his statement, Akram signals his partner that he would like to discuss the

separate weddings in his country. Both partners agree and continue a discussion about

how weddings are practiced in the two cultures.

(1) R: Culture. What can we talk about? What can we talk about? Maybe (.)
marriage.

(2) A: Marriage (.) in our society (.) it is separate. Weddings are separate.

Rejecting an idea or a plan: Rejecting is an important language function in

academic discussions. The language of rejecting can help language learners argue

against what they do not accept. Students may not feel comfortable rejecting due to

their cultural background, and they may accept decisions or propositions if they are not


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able to reject an idea in a culturally appropriate or linguistically correct manner. As can

be seen below, Ayumi is implicitly rejecting Dawud's stance for the importance of

religion in Japan by indicating that Japan is different from Saudi Arabia. In Turn 6, she

indicates that just because religion is given great importance in Saudi Arabia, it is not

the same everywhere. Japan is one of those countries where religion is not very

important, and it is accepted for people not to be religious.

(4) A: Yeah yeah, (.) but it is only one percent we have Christians [in Japan.

(5) D: The majority Buddhist?]

(6) A: Maybe (.) but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very
important for your country (.) but it is not very important in Japan.

Conceding a point: During academic conversations, students may find

themselves in partial agreement with their peers. Expressing partial agreement can be

challenging. Expressions such as "I can almost agree that, I agree to a certain extent

but" etc. are commonly used among native speakers of English to express partial

agreement. However, even without use of these words, ELLs in this task are able to

express partial agreement. As can be seen in the following exchange between Ayumi

and Dawud, from Ayumi's perspective as a woman, the fact that the groom takes care

of all the wedding expenses makes the process very easy for females. Dawud points

this out this type of an arrangement makes it hard on men since they handle all the

expenses. Ayumi laughs and disagrees her that it is easy. In Turn 24, Dawud comments

that the wedding process may be easy for her, but maintain that it is difficult for him.

(21) A: Yeah yeah yeah both, parents, some people by themselves.

(22) D: Because in my country the groom, the man pay for everything and
pay for wedding everything, that's why I am asking you. I think we have to
change this because it is difficult.









(23) A: Easy (laughter).

(24) D: Yeah, easy for you but difficult for me.

Emphasizing a point: When conversing about academic topics, it may be

necessary to emphasize certain points in order to indicate that they are important and

need to be remembered. For instance, "It is critical to..." and "I really think that it is

important" signals that the speaker is going to make a significant point that is significant

and expects the listeners to take note. Dawud emphasizes his point through repetition

and paraphrase. In the excerpt below, Dawud places an emphasis on the wedding

expenses by repeating the statement.

(14) D: So what we have to talk about (.) who pay money for wedding?

(15) A: Wedding?

(16) D: How can they get married? This is very important.

Presenting opinions: In academic settings, students may be expected to give

their opinions. The language of presenting an idea varies, but certain expressions such

as "I think, I believe, as far as I'm concerned, etc." more explicitly announce that the

speaker is going to present an opinion as opposed to a fact or someone else's

viewpoint. In the following excerpt, Ayumi uses "I think" to successfully present her

opinion about how people view religion in Dawud's country and to contrast the two

cultures.

(6) A: Maybe (.), but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very
important for your country, but it is not very important in Japan.

Agreeing: Agreeing is an academic language function that would typically be

necessary in a discussion/debate setting observed with classroom participation. ELLs

may agree with other speakers, and they may want to express their standing regarding


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the speakers' position. In the following excerpt, after a brief misunderstanding between

Dawud and Ayumi, in Turn 41, Ayumi agrees with Dawud that it is difficult to find a good

apartment in Gainesville by repeating Dawud's initial statement with an additional

adjective indicating that finding a desirable apartment is difficult process.

(39) A: It is hard to find the apartment?

(40) D: No no, it is not hard to find the apartment, it is hard to furnish the
apartment and hard to make contract to the electric because I have to go
there to pay deposit, to the department of electric GRE.

(41) A: It is hard to find a good apartment.

Disagreeing: In academic settings, students may hold different opinions on topics

and find themselves in disagreement with their peers or their teacher. Students need to

be familiar with the language necessary to express their disagreements in order to

continue participating in conversations. In the following excerpt, Ayumi disagrees with

Dawud's misperception about the existence of other religions in Japan as a sign that

Japanese people give importance to religion.

(6) A: Maybe (.), but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very
important for your country, but it is not very important in Japan.

Asking for advice: In academic settings, students will want to ask for advice from

one another in accomplishing academic tasks. As can be seen below, Akram is trying to

understand whether Colombian food is spicy. He indicates that he does not like spicy

food and he asks for Roberto's advice as to whether he should try it. Roberto seems to

understand that Akram is referring to hot and spicy food, and he explains that eating

Colombian food is safe for Akram because the food is not hot in general. He gives

additional information as to what other types of food are available that Akram could eat.


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(19) A: Is this spicy food? I don't like spicy. Can I try?

(20) R: No, no spicy. For Colombian no spicy. No spicy food. Sometimes. Spicy

but not hot, a lot of the spices but not hot. That's called Mayan food, Maya. And

there is also American food like McDonald's, Kentucky.

Giving advice: Students need to learn the language of giving advice in order to

successfully collaborate with their partners in group activities. Language forms such as

"You should," "You may need to," "You may want to think about," or "You should really

consider" will be necessary to be able to give advice without causing misunderstanding.

In the following excerpt, Hyun is seeking advice, and Miguel explains that Latin Cafe

does have arepas, but they may not be the best arepas.

(19) H: I should try Latin Cafe?

(20) M: I don't know it's good arepa, but some people told me they sell
arepas. I don't eat arepa too much, not my favorite food.

Showing preference: The language of expressing preferences is a necessary

component of academic language and daily language in general, and expressing

preferences may be useful in collaborative activities as well. Students will need to let

other members of their group know their preferences when decisions are made on

behalf of the whole group. Expressions such as "I would prefer," I would rather," I would

really like to," and "I would not be with," will allow the student to put forth his/her own

preferences comfortably and appropriately. In Turn 18, Dawud expresses his preference

using a complicated sentence structure: "It's not this one (that) I like."

(14) D: This kind of rice in the bazaar, we use it in Saudi Arabia, and it's
OK. There is rice, and it is called Indian Gait. Indian Gait (writes it down)
The brown this rice.

(15) A: Similar?


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(16) D: This one we have the same in Saudi Arabia.

(17) A: Same? (Laughing)

(18) D: Yeah, but it's not this one I like.

The English language learners in this study used all four macrofunctions

(informing, describing, clarifying, and presenting) with 30 different microfunctions while

participating in the collaborative graphic organizer task. Results indicate that the

participants in this study used a variety of academic language functions for multiple

communicative purposes. This wide range of functions illustrates that the collaborative

graphic organizer task provides broad opportunities for academic language use. The

partners' interactive use of academic language functions can shed light into the nature

of collaborative activities that promote academic language use.

Interactional roles

The researcher identified the interactional role categories through an in-depth

analysis of the frequently-used patterns for starting the task and different subtopics and

how the partners continued the task and the subtopics as well as how certain academic

language functions were used repeatedly by the partners. During the collaborative

graphic organizer task, the patterns of language functions use informed the researcher

about the types of roles the partners assumed. The researcher was able to detect and

identify these roles in light of prior studies exploring the sociocultural nature of student

interactions in school settings (Bloome et al. 2005; Gee, 2005). These roles served to

start a new topic under the main topic, continue speaking in-depth about this new topic,

and end the topic to start a different topic. As can be seen in Table 4-5, the researcher

identified and labeled each interactional role based on repeating patterns of language

functions use. The partners for instance used certain roles to start the task e.g. Initiator









or Inquirer. With this list, the researcher wanted to identify and understand interactional

roles that students assume in a collaborative graphic organizer task. The list may not be

inclusive of all the possible roles, and some of the roles may occasionally fall under a

different category. Rather, the roles may be useful as a tool for researchers and

practitioners in making sense of student interactions in collaborative activities.

Roles for starting a task or a new topic

Partners assumed roles such as Initiator or Topic Switcher, and the language they

used when they adopted these roles served to start the task or start a new subtopic.

Initiator Introducing a new topic, a new subtopic, or starting the task: One

or both of the partners take over the Initiator role at the beginning of each task. Initiators

use different strategies to start the conversation. Some partners raise questions that pull

the other partner into the task with an answer, and some partners utter statements that

are in the form of announcements and plans. The following excerpt involves an example

of mutual initiation where one partner explicitly announces the goal and topic of the task

Ayumi accepts the task and topic proposed indicating by supplying the subtopic with

statement about her country.

(1) D: We are going to write about your culture.

(2) A: In Japan (.) religion is not important, (.) it is not important.

In the next excerpt, Miguel initiates the task by posing a question. He may be

assuming that the partner is already familiar with the topic and the task, and he attempts

to directly engage his partner in the task. His partner answers his question and provides

the reason for his challenge.

(1) M: What is your challenge?


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(2) H: When I came to Gainesville, I met my host family and I lived with
them and I think it is kind of challenging because I never live with another
family.

Topic switcher Changing the topic: Some partners changed the topic or the

subtopic by using different techniques. In the following excerpt, Roberto tries to

understand if the education system in Saudi Arabia is similar to the ones in Venezuela

by describing certain characteristics of the dorms in his country. In Turn 21, he

introduces the topic of high schools. Also, in Turn 23, he adds a new dimension to the

subtopic of university education. Roberto is steering the conversation and expanding

the subtopics with his questions.

(20) A: You know (.) in universities men can teach women, but only by camera.

(21) R: What about in high schools?

(22) A: Never.

(23) R: Do students live in the university? You know (.) the dorms. Student dorms,
(.) where students asleep.

(24) A: No no no. never. Everybody go home.

(25) R: My country the same, you know, no dorms, this is popular here. Everybody go
home. Everybody go home.

Proposer Introducing a topic for further conversation: During the

collaborative graphic organizer task, partners propose new topics. Proposers, just as

the title indicates, suggest new topics and facilitates the process of carrying out the task

for their partners. Partners who take over the Proposer role speed up the process of

executing the task and leave more time for in-depth coverage of the subtopics. As can

be seen in the following excerpt, as they begin the task, Roberto tentatively proposes a

topic by presenting the idea of marriage as an option. Roberto is very direct in his style


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of proposing an idea, and his proposal resembles thinking aloud or conversing with his

partner.

R: Culture. What can we talk about? What can we talk about? Maybe (.)
marriage.

Roles for continuing a task or a new topic

The collaborative graphic organizer task continued for 20 to 30 minutes. The

researcher did not provide any guidelines as to how much time the pairs needed to

devote to each topic, so the partners made decisions on their own. The researcher

observed certain roles that helped extend the duration of student interactions on

different topics of their choice, such as Responder, Inquirer, and Topic Expander, and

the researcher observed that the task may not have created opportunities for language

use if the partners had not assumed the roles that helped continue the discussions

during interactions.

Inquirer Asking questions to further explore the topic: Some of the partners

posed several questions to their partners and did not talk much about themselves.

Ayumi is one of these partners whose goal was to elicit information about her partner,

Dawud. All of her questions were relevant to the sub-topic, but she did not give her

partner much opportunity to ask questions about her. She generated all the questions

during the task while interacting with her partner.

(1) A: You came here in March.

(2) D: Yeah.

(3) A: And then you find an apartment.

(4) D: It was easy when I found apartment, but uhm I have to...

(5) A: How did you get to your apartment?


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(6) D: Someone helped me.

(7) A: Who is someone?

(8) D: Someone I know helped me.

(9) A: Some Arabic boy?

(10) D: Yeah.

(11) A: You have friend in Gainesville?

(12) D: No, no, the ELI told me the guy, man, Saudi....

Responder Answering questions without changing the topic: Responders

make the collaborative task a successful one by giving in-depth responses without

changing the topic or posing more questions. They continue answering questions even

when they are interacting with an inquirer who poses multiple questions. As can be

seen in the following excerpt, Ayumi keeps asking questions one after the other. Dawud

responds to her questions without changing the topic or complaining about the number

of questions.

(1) A: When you want to buy a car, difficult?

(2) D: Yeah.

(3) A: Why?

(4) D: Because I have to buy a good car and low price.

(5) A: At low price? How much?

(6) D: I was looking for a car 2000 dollars.

Topic expander Expanding the topic by giving additional information: When

partners welcome questions, they extend upon these questions and comments with

further explanations and examples. While a partner could choose to give one simple

word or sentence as an answer to the question, he/she gives extra information to help


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the other partner get a better understanding of his/her meaning. As can be seen in the

following exchanges, Hyun asks a question to which a one-word answer would suffice,

but Miguel embellishes the answer with further explanations about what exactly can be

put inside the arepa. His explanation serve to correct the confusion about the arepa by

explaining that arepa is a kind of bread.

(7) H: What is it from?

(8) M: It is from corn. And you can put inside cheese or ham or whatever
you want, you put inside something.

Reorienter Returning to the original topic after discussing a different

subtopic: This particular role serves to steer the conversation back to a topic that

needs to be discussed further. This role is a strategic role that is important in in-depth

discussion of topics, and during the collaborative graphic organizer task the partners

were cooperative in reorienting to the topic. In the following excerpt, Dawud poses a

question in Turn 14 about the parties who are expected to pay for the wedding

expenses in Japan. He may have thought that this was a potential area where the two

countries may be similar or may differ. He rephrases his question in Turn 16, but Ayumi

does not understand his first question and gives a different response. Therefore, in Turn

20, he brings up the same topic again to be able to get the answer to his question.

(14) D: So what we have to talk about. Who pay money for wedding?

(15) A: Wedding?

(16) D: How can they get married? This is very important.

(17) A: Just go to Law office (.) and paper and write down and then marry. Of
course some people have wedding party (.) but some people just marry without
wedding party. Everyone have wedding party?

(18) D: Most of them.


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(19) A: We don't have religion (.) so some people have wedding party (.) but they
are not Christian.

(20) D: But I mean if they have wedding party (.) who will pay? Who is going to
pay? Both?

(21) A: Yeah yeah yeah both (.) parents (.) some people by themselves.

(22) D: Because in my country the groom (.) the man pay for everything and pay
for wedding everything (.) that's why I am asking you.

Restater Repeating one's words for emphasis or for better understanding:

The Restater role involves the act of repeating one's words for emphasis or for better

understanding if the partner was not able to catch a certain word on the first attempt. As

can be seen in the following excerpt, Akram repeats the fact that there is a separate

part of the wedding for men and women in Saudi Arabia, and Roberto attempts to

change the topic in Turn 7, but upon Akram's responses, he stays within the same topic

for a little longer, giving Akram an opportunity to clarify what he means.

(3) R: Wedding separate?

(4) A: Yes (.) women alone (.) men alone.

(5) R: How are they separate?

(6) A: There is a party for women (.) and there is a party for men.

(7) R: Oh really (.) no party together? Society (.) it is about schools and
marriage.

(8) A: Wedding, wedding separate (.) but just the groom come to the
women party.

Corrector Correcting the partner's statements for grammar and content:

Correctors add more information to make sure that their partner is exposed to the

correct use of a word. Correctors can provide corrections explicitly or implicitly, but

participants in this task typically provided corrections implicitly. They do not typically

interrupt the partner's statement. Instead, they either use the word in another sentence









if they catch an incorrect use of a word, or they. Correctors are typically at a slightly

higher level of English proficiency than their partners, and when they detect their

partner's errors, they tend to model the correct form implicitly. As can be seen in the

following exchange between Ayumi and Dawud, Dawud may implicitly be attempting to

point out and correct Ayumi's mistake, and thus he provides linguistic support for Ayumi.

This modeling may serve as opportunity for Ayumi to improve her English language

skills.

(5) A: Because the signal is not automatical (.) you have to push the button
(.) and then yeah (.) because in Japan everywhere is automatical (.) here
you have to push the button.

(6) D: Everything automatic in Japan (.) yeah yeah (.) I know it.

Confirmer Providing confirmation for questions from the partner: The

Confirmer role involves the act of affirming the partner's statements. This role often co-

occurs with the Inquirer role. The Confirmer is an important role that helps extend the

conversations. Partners may ask for confirmation for different reasons, such as to

indicate surprise, confusion, or misunderstanding. Pairs may also use this role as a way

to indicate that they are following the other person's conversations carefully. Partners

who respond to such confirmation requests typically provide the confirmation, such as in

the example below.

(8) H: In the summer, it is usually set like 5:00 o'clock.

(9) M: Five?

(10) H: Yeah.

Clarifier: Explaining one's words in a different way for better understanding:

Clarifying is a strategy used when partners want to rephrase their statements or provide

examples so that the other partner gains a better understanding of their prior statement.


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Peers may provide help for one another through clarifying. Clarifications may also be

response to a request for clarification. In Turn 42, Dawud attempts to clarify what he

means. Ayumi asks confirmation questions to understand what he means, but she is

confused, so Dawud clarifies what he means in Turn 47. Ayumi seems to understands

what he means. She then moves forward and continues asking questions about the

same subtopic.

(42) D: Uhm let me explain (.) Ayumi (.) Ayumi?

(43) A: It was hard for you to make a contract?

(44) D: It was easy.

(45) A: But you said it was difficult.

(46) D: To find furniture and bring the furniture to my apartment because I
didn't...

(47) A: Where did you buy?

(48) D: From somewhere.

Opposer Disagreeing with statements and answers: The Opposer role can be

defined as the pattern of communication in which one partner constantly comes up with

statements that negate their partner's statements. As can be seen in the following

exchanges, Dawud's responses are contrary to Ayumi's answers. When Ayumi says

that religion is not very important in her country, Dawud points out that there is a

Christian population in Japan. He probably means that having Christians is a sign that

religion is not unimportant, but Ayumi maintains her stance, and Dawud continues

raising objections. He mentions that there are also Buddhists in Japan, which could

make Japan a somewhat religious country. Ayumi seems to continually disregard his

comments as she keeps repeating that no matter how many religions are represented in


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Japan, it is not a religious country, unlike Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the

population is Muslim.

(1) D: We are going to write about your culture.

(2) A: In Japan, religion is not important, (.) it is not important.

(3) D: Yeah, but you have Christians.

(4) A: Yeah yeah, (.) but it is only one percent we have Christians [in Japan.

(5) D: The majority Buddhist?]

(6) A: Maybe (.), but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very
important for your country, but it is not very important in Japan.

Interrupter Interrupting the partner's conversations: The partners who act as

Interrupters display a pattern of interrupting the conversation with questions or other

types of statements. Such interruptions do not typically bring the topic to an end, and

partners do not get offended or angry, but signs of frustration can be observed when the

partner continues to interrupt. As can be seen in the following dialogue, Ayumi poses a

question, but she does not give Dawud enough time to answer the question before she

asks another question and interrupts Dawud in Turn. Ayumi's interruptions get Dawud to

provide more explanations and clarifications, and her interruptions help Dawud to give

more information about the subtopic.

(15) A: You find the apartment was easy.

(16) D: It was easy, but I have to...

(17) A: Better than your country?

(18) D: It is easy when I found apartment, but it is hard to furniture.

(19) A: Furniture?

(20) D: Yeah. it was...

(21) A: But they have furniture, no?


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(22) D: I have to buy, no, no, I have to buy, it is hard, when I contact electric
department, I have to wait...

(23) A: You live in a house or apartment?

(24) D: Apartment, but it is kind of a house yeah.

(25) A: Where, where?

Roles for ending a task or a topic

Students assumed different roles when they were ending the task or ending their

discussion about a topic. These roles typically served to finish the task or end the

discussion of a certain topic.

Finalizer Finishing the task or topic: Finalizers typically end the task with a

concluding question or a remark. They also give the signal that a topic has fully been

discussed. Based on signals from a Finalizer, a partner often changes the topic, so a

finalizer and a topic switcher may work well together unless the topic switcher changes

the topics at points when the finalizer did not really intend to finalize the topic. As can be

seen in the following excerpt, Ayumi finalizes the topic of transportation in Turn 11 after

going over the list and looking at what they have covered before. Not only does she end

the topic, but she also proposes another topic related to fashion.

(7) D: Only transport cars (.) trains.
(8) A: Bus (.) train (.) taxi?
(10) D: No no no (.) we don't have bus, car, train. Train (.) not for (.) between two
city only. We use our own car (.) private car.
(11) A: Religion (.) transport (.) what about clothes?
(12) D: Fashion?
(13) A: Fashion, fashion.
Bypasser Not acknowledging partner's comments: In certain instances

during the collaborative graphic organizer task, the partners ignore their partners'









comments and carry on with a subtopic of their own choice changing the topic and

creating the impression that they are not really listening to their partners. The Bypasser

role occurs when the speaker is mainly focused on his/her own statements. The

exchanges are typically short, and the proposed subtopic is either not covered or is

superficially covered. In the following excerpt in Turn 7, Miguel is talking about the

challenge he experienced when he was away from his family, and in Turn 8, instead of

asking further questions about Miguel's challenges when far away from home, Hyun

shifts the focus to himself, bypasses Miguel's point, and talks about the language

problems he experienced when he started living with his host family for the first time.

(1) M: What is your challenge?

(2) H: When I came to Gainesville (.) I met my host family and I lived with them
and (.) I think it is kind of challenging because I never live with another family.

(3) M: You just came to Gainesville?

(4) H: And I lived with family, host family.

(5) M: What?

(6) H: Host family.

(7) M: When I just came here, it was a big challenge because I was away
from my family.

(8) H: When I first came here, it was difficult talking with my family because
I didn't understand English, but I tried to talking with my family.

During the collaborative graphic organizer task, partners assumed various

interactional roles. When the researcher detected certain academic language functions

being repeatedly used, she started assigning labels for the most frequently occurring

functions, and she built categories of interactional roles. These roles further improved

her understand of the collaborative graphic organizer task as a communicative task, and

ways the partners influenced the structure of the task based on the roles they assumed


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during their interactions. Interactional roles helped the researcher further understand the

types of roles that are associated with are influential for extended opportunities to use

the language.

Interactional style

The researcher analyzed student interactions in terms of the interactional styles

that each student displayed during the collaborative graphic organizer task. According

to the researcher's observations, during their interactions, the participants interacted

with each other in one of three different ways: a collaborative approach, an

argumentative approach, and a hesitant approach. The researcher strived to

understand how the partners interacted with each other in interactions that allowed

continuous language production over an extended period of time, as opposed to

interactions with only a few exchanges.

Collaborative approach

Extending the partner's responses by providing further information about a topic.

When partners approach one another in a collaborative manner during the collaborative

task, each partner responds to the other partner's questions and extends the idea with

further examples and explanations. This type of interaction lengthens the duration of the

exchanges and increases the interaction between the partners. In response to the

partner's further elaborated information about a topic, the other partner comments and

poses questions to explore the topic further.

Argumentative approach

Continuing the conversation by giving controversial examples or disagreeing with

the partner. During the task, certain partners had a style of engaging their partners in

the conversation by raising up controversial topics or questions and posing controversial


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statements. In certain cases, the partner's goal was quite apparent in the sense that the

questions were carefully selected to touch upon an issue that would make room for

further questions. The partner may or may not intentionally bring up these topics, and in

certain cases, the reason for such a style may be to avoid giving information about

oneself because question statements are shorter strings of sentences than explanations

and examples. Whatever the intention may be, we can observe in-depth exploration of

topics, extensive use of academic vocabulary, and many questions to find out more

about these issues with the help of the partner.

Hesitant approach

Completing the requirements of the task with the initiation of the partner without a

participation interest in the task. In the hesitant approach, the partners fulfilled the

requirement of the task to collaborate with the minimum effort possible. They do not ask

further questions about the topics, and they do not extend questions with multiple

examples or further explanations. The statements are relatively short, and the time

spent on each topic is also very short. Since the partners do not delve deeply into the

topics, the concepts are much general, and the topics are covered at a superficial level.

In the following section, each pair's interactional style is described according to

the three types of interactional styles noted above.

Pair 1- Dawud and Ayumi: Collaborative-argumentative interactional style

Ayumi's interactional style can be defined as "argumentative" since she poses

several controversial questions during the conversations. Dawud's style on the other

hand can be described as collaborative as he responds to all her questions patiently

and gives extensive information about each question as best as he can.

Argumentative-Collaborative partnering seemed to work successfully in this particular


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situation. A number of factors can be influential in Ayumi's preference for posing

multiple questions as opposed to extending topics by adding examples about herself.

First of all, at first sight, she seems shy in class, but her shyness may stem from her

English language proficiency. Since her spoken English is at lower intermediate level,

she may feel self-conscious about producing long strings of utterances in English due to

a fear of making mistakes. Forming short sentences with questions may be easier for

her because it generally results in language used by her partner. Another factor can be

that her conversational style in general may be based on asking interesting questions to

enrich conversations. She may also be more interested in hearing about others as

opposed to talking about herself.

Dawud on the other hand has a truly "collaborative" conversational style. He

patiently listens to Ayumi's questions. He is fully engaged in the task, and he provides

extensive information in response each question posed by his partner. He provides

further explanations when Ayumi is confused about the information he has provided.

Since he is talkative, he answers Ayumi's questions easily. On occasions when she

asks questions about sensitive issues, he steers the conversation in such a way that

she gets the information she seeks without any conflict. Dawud's patient, engaging, and

collaborative style may be supported by the fact that he is talkative person in general.

His spoken English is fluent, and his proficiency level is at the intermediate level. He

feels confident in his responses, and he makes jokes during the conversations. Ayumi's

questioning style may have worked well thanks to Dawud's relaxed personality. If

Dawud were a quiet person who was not very motivated to fully participate in the task,

Ayumi's questions may have been bothersome and the conversations may not have


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taken place at such an in-depth level. For example, in the following excerpt, Ayumi

brings up a controversial topic, polygamy in Saudi Arabia, and she tries to elicit answers

from Dawud about this sensitive issue.

(1) A: Marriage (.) it is one guy one girl (.) but in your country it is one guy
and it's many women.

(2) D: Yeah (.) one guy.

(3) A: No no no no (.) in your country one guy have many wives.

(4) D: The law allow to have...

(5) A: And the law so you can marry many?

(6) D: You can marry four () just four.

(7) A: But most people are like that?

(8) D: But but but (.) if he is able to give every woman the same (.) if he
able to. If he is able to offer life for woman (.) the same house the same
everything (.) if he is able to do that.

Pair 2- Miguel and Hyun: Collaborative-hesitant interactional style

Hyun is hesitant most likely because he is a quiet person, and he is not the kind of

communicator who would ask multiple questions or talk extensively about himself in any

situation. He did not seem to be very motivated or excited about the task, but he would

typically like to participate in class and be present. However, Miguel is talkative and he

enjoys steering the conversations by asking questions. Hyun gradually became

relatively more participatory as the dialogues progressed. In other words, he started to

emulate his partner's style of communication. Miguel would start the task, pose a

question, and raise several other questions while Hyun gave fairly short answers

initially. After he answered Miguel's questions, he would pose the same question to

Miguel and even ask questions that required further information about the same topic,

as illustrated in the segment below.


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(1) M: I couldn't understand language (.) it was challenge. What about
you?

(2) H: Weather.

(3) M: Weather? Why?

(4) H: Because it is too hot here and daytime is too long.

(5) M: It is too long today?

(6) H: It is sunset (.) too late.

(7) M: Ohhhh (.) what is different in your country? Is it at 6:00 o'clock 6:30?

(8) H: In the summer (.) it is usually set like 5:00 o'clock.

(9) M: Five?

(10) H: Yeah. What is your challenge?

Pair 3- Roberto and Akram: Collaborative-collaborative interactional style

Roberto is a quiet person in general. During the task, he communicated in a

"collaborative" style. He was able to initiate the start of the task and steer the task by

proposing different topics and raising questions for his partner Akram to answer.

However, he did not ask multiple questions sequentially. He gave enough time for his

partner to respond, and very often he presented information about himself related the

same question without even waiting for the same question to come from his partner. He

was focused on the task, and he did not pay much attention to what was happening in

the rest of the classroom. From his body language and posture, he appeared to be

focused on his partner and the collaborative graphic organizer task. Akram also has a

talkative communication style, often laughing and joking, and he was frequently the

center of attention in class. However, he was slightly disengaged in the task relative to

Roberto. He followed what the other pairs were talking about, and occasionally he made

comments about the neighboring pairs' conversations. However, analysis of









conversations between Akram and Roberto revealed that he was able to focus on the

task and carry out conversations with Roberto. Akram would not initiate new topics, but

he asked questions about the topics that Roberto introduced and he gave extensive

details and examples in response to Roberto's questions, as illustrated below.

(8) R: How many son have the king? Only one son?

(9) A: Oh no.

(10) R: A few sons?

(11) A: Many.

(12) R: Which one is the (.) I don't know the word (.) Richest one?

(13) A: Yeah. Between themselves they change. Before it was King Abdul
Aziz, King Abdul Aziz have thirteen child, so some of them become a king
() some of them die already. Now it may change (.) for the son (.) I don't
know.

As can be seen in the examples above, the partners pursued different interactional

styles based on factors that may stem from their personality, culture, and comfort with

spoken English. However, the researcher avoided making generalizations based on

cultural background in order to avoid stereotyping. Collaborative-argumentative style

partnership as in the case of Dawud and Ayumi triggers the most opportunities for

language use and in-depth discussion of topics. However, the researcher does not base

the reason for extended language use solely on interactional style. The type of bonding

that partners feel towards each other can stem from other factors such as how

approachable the partner may seem, how compatible partners feel when working

together towards a task, and how they view each other as colleagues or friends. These

interpersonal factors are beyond the scope of this study, yet based on discourse data

and observational notes, the researcher tentatively suggests that teachers consider


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interactional style as a possible factor influencing the degree of collaboration during

academic tasks.

Sociocultural analysis of students' writing samples

Finally, when we look at their essays from a sociocultural perspective, the essays

were written based on the requirements of the TOEFL exam. Because this course

prepares students for the reading and writing portion of the TOEFL exam, each essay

was supposed to follow the five-paragraph essay format. The students were familiar

with the expectations of the standards they were expected to meet, and the standards

were driven by the requirements of the TOEFL exam. Among the six participants, as the

students were adult learners and they all aimed at registering at a higher education

institution, they followed the rules for writing a five-paragraph essay in TOEFL.

Nonetheless, the essays are not an objective listing of all the information the students

gathered from their partners. (See Appendix G for each of six sample student essays,

one from each participant.) Participants include their own personal opinions when

presenting the information to the audience, which may indicate the clear presence of the

writer. This type of clear presence of the writers' opinions may not work well in

academic writing, but the participants are not at a stage yet where they are expected to

support a reference for their statements, which gave the students more room for self-

expression.

For instance in the following sentences from Ayumi's essay, we can see that she

is expressing her own personal opinion about how foreign people feel when they come

to the United States for the first time. As the topic was the challenges experienced by

those who come to the United States for the first time, she made a general statement as


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to how people from different countries have their own cultures, and having to follow

another country's customs may be difficult.

Different country has different culture to own country. So it is difficult that
foreign come to the U.S. and foreigners have to follow the U.S. culture,
habit, and rule.

In another example from Hyun's essay on comparing and contrasting cultural

differences between the partners' home countries, Hyun also expresses personal

opinions about how advanced cultures can be created. Hyun makes his stance clear

about accepting and valuing cultural differences. He may want to indicate his presence

in his writing rather than writing a voiceless essay without any subjective statements.

In conclusion, we are doing many common things as a human, however,
there are a lot of differences in cultural background between Korea and
Venezuela such as religion, main food and place of celebration. If we
accept each cultural difference, it is going to be helpful for development of
each culture. And as the culture develops, we can create various kinds of
advanced culture.

Dawud's essay also indicates that he is aware of the audience because his essay

follows the rules of a typical five-paragraph TOEFL essay. He ends his essay with a

positive stance about cultural diversity, which clarifies his presence as a writer.

However, it is hard to detect his personal style in this limited amount of writing where he

knows he is supposed to adhere to certain expectations put forth by the teacher.

In the end, there are big differences between Saudi Arabia and Japan. Our
cultures are different, food, clothes and marriage. I believe that difference
make our live enjoyable.

Miguel's voice in his essay is also present. He indicates that living abroad is just

as difficult as learning a foreign language. In the following conclusion statement, we can

see how he adheres to the topic of challenges more closely. He may have done so

because he does not want to introduce a new aspect to the topic, but his style is


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different from Akram, who perceives such first-time cultural experiences in a positive

manner.

For any partner learn English was difficult, but learn and living outside your
country, it's always difficult.

Akram is also aware of the audience in the sense that he adheres to the rules of

the five-paragraph essay. He ends his essay with a positive stance, adding a different

dimension to the topic about living abroad in spite of the difficulties. His voice is clearly

present in his essay because he also poses opinions about how it is necessary to live

abroad just to be able to gain experience.

In conclusion, living outside of your comfort zone is something that
everybody have to experience it. Dispite its defecalties, but is comes back
to the person with great benefits, as a result of his hard life.

Roberto also has a writing style where we can detect his own presence through

his personal stance on the topic. Even though the topic focuses on challenges, he starts

his essay with a positive attitude. Roberto mentions that living abroad for the first time

can be difficult initially, but this experience makes people stronger. He is also adding

that such experience can lead to a better life. These statements are his own additions,

and they enrich the essay even though such opinions may not be appropriate in

academic writing. As long as the message is in sync with the general topic, TOEFL

exam allows such ideas, which may also be why the students are not afraid of adding a

subjective dimension to the essay rather than a listing of facts about the partner's

background and experiences.

Going abroad to study, work, and to live can be hard sometimes at begin or
during the first month, but as a result of be strong and keeping in the new
country can be successful and get a new and better life.









In conclusion, the collaborative graphic organizer task provided the students with

opportunities to use the English language both in spoken interaction and in writing. The

study focused on the oral interactions between students, so the essays were used as

secondary data. The collaborative graphic organizer task helped students generate

ideas that were necessary to write an essay. When writing an academic paper, they

may not have been allowed to voice their opinions, and they would have been expected

to cite different studies or resources. However, in this case, they had the flexibility to

add their own opinions and enrich the essay with their own perspectives and voice.

Nonetheless, the task imposed certain rules and expectations, which may be limiting for

their critical thinking skills. However, the purpose of the essay had to align with the

typical TOEFL essays. As stated by Mohan (1986) and Wong Fillmore & Snow (2000),

students need to be made aware of the rules of writing in English, so that they can be

more creative once they know how to follow the rules. Without such explicit teaching,

expecting non-native speakers of English to write as well as native speakers of English

would be unfair and unjustly because non-native speakers of English are at a

disadvantageous position as they are already frustrated with acquiring the basic

knowledge about the mechanics of the English language.

Structural Analysis of the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task as a Social Event

Collaborative graphic organizer task in this study is a social event, and each pair

pursued the task in their own way and in their own style. The ELLs who participated in

the study differed in terms of their interactional styles and assumed different

interactional roles. Therefore, they pursued the task in their own way. When they were

carrying out the task, they knew that they were supposed to complete the task by


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interacting with each other for the purposes of gathering information from their partner,

but each pair followed a different pattern in achieving this goal.

Types of Activity Structure

During the collaborative graphic organizer task series, each pair completed the

task in their own way. The task involves certain steps, but the steps are flexible enough

to allow room for variety in the way pairs start the task, continue the task, and to finalize

it. For example, some partners chose to start the task with a question while others

proposed an idea in the form of a statement. Another pair proposed a plan as to what

the main topic would be. Pairs have different styles of communicating, and these

different patterns of conducting the task may stem from personality differences and prior

experiences with or observations of the way collaborative activities work. Personal

styles, experiences, and observations are also a product of the socialization process in

school or in other settings where such collaborative tasks take place.

In Tables 4-6, 4-7, and 4-8, you can see the task structure that the partners in Pair

1, Pair 2, and Pair 3 pursued while they were working on the collaborative graphic

organizer task. In Table 4-6, Ayumi and Dawud are discussing food as a problem when

a person moves to a new country. Ayumi initiates the task with a question, and Dawud

ends the topic by presenting his preference for food. Ayumi is asking Dawud different

questions about how he finds Arabic food in Gainesville. In his responses, Dawud is

giving information about how he handles problems related with not being able to find

Arabic food in Gainesville. Their exchanges abound in the following roles: Inquirer,

Topic Expander, and Confirmer. Ayumi poses several questions that serve different

functions, and her role as an Inquirer and Dawud's role as a Topic Expander are the

most prominent roles.


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Table 4-7 depicts the task structure in Pair 2 with Hyun and Miguel. Miguel

assumes the role of Initiator and starts the task with a question inviting Hyun to give

information, but his question may have confused Hyun, so he asks for clarification.

Miguel may have also realized that his question had a problem because he rephrases it.

This time, Hyun accepts his invitation and starts giving more information about his

religion and the religious composition of Korea. As both partners learn from each other

about their religious background, the task progresses, and Miguel ends the topic by

describing the religious composition of his own country, which also serves as the

academic function of comparing and contrasting.

In Table 4-8, Roberto and Akram are discussing the main topic of culture, and

after Roberto's suggestion, they decide to focus on marriage in particular. As can be

seen in Table 4-8, the partners took over different roles at every exchange and used

different types of academic language functions. This figure displays the dynamics within

the task setting formed by Roberto and Akram. Roberto gets ready to start the task with

a general question, but then he proposes a topic: marriage. Akram assumes the role of

Topic Expander and proposes a subtopic under the topic of marriage as he focuses on

wedding ceremonies. Roberto finalizes the task by labeling the topic and announces

this information verbally as well.

As can be seen in Figures 4-6, 4-7, and 4-8, no two pairs executed the task in the

same way. Each pair displayed a different pattern of communication in terms of

interactional roles, how they start the task, how they continue the task, and how they

end the task. However, successful interactions that flow smoothly and achieve in-depth


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discussions typically involve very frequent adoption of the roles of Inquirer and Topic

Expander.

Forms of Task Accomplishment

Pairs pursued different strategies for continuing the conversation during the

collaborative task. Partners were able to accomplish on-going academic conversations

with minimum diversion from the topic, and even in such instances, one of the pair

members managed to steer the conversation back to the topic. The structure of the

collaborative graphic organizer task allowed the students to use English because of the

specific guidelines in student pairing in terms of their interactional style and differences

in their language proficiency within the intermediate level. Pairs kept each other

engaged by asking questions, making comments, and expressing opinions at times as

they continued the flow of exchanges. For example, the following dialogue between

Ayumi and Dawud is full of questions by Ayumi, and Dawud answers all of her

questions in spite of her occasional interruptions. Dawud's topic expansions with details

and examples, and Ayumi's curiosity expressed through questions make the task a

successful process with topical depth and multiple opportunities to use academic

language skills.

(1) A: Yeah. Arabic food. How do you get Arabic food? Arabic store is in
Gainesville?

(2) D: In Tampa. There is one in Tampa. In Tampa there is an Arab store
() but I haven't been there.

(3) A: But what do you get at the Arabic store?

(4) D: We buy rice.

(5) A: Rice?

(6) D: Yeah. From Publix or from....


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(7) A: But different yeah.

(8) D: But if you go to Indian Bazaar.

(9) A: Indian Bazaar (.) yeah yeah, (.) I know Indian Bazaar.

(10) D: Similar (.) in Indian Bazaar (.) there is rice (.) the kind of rice () not
the best but the rice.

(11) A: [A little bit different?

(12) D: This kind of rice (.) we use it in Saudi Arabia.]

During Miguel and Hyun's interactions, each turn was relatively shorter because

Miguel and Hyun did not spend a lot of time extending on each topic. They were able to

complete the task successfully by interacting with each other and getting the information

related to fill out their graphic organizers. In the following excerpt, Miguel proposes a

topic, but he does not elaborate on his own challenge further. He simply mentions it and

opens the floor for Hyun to talk. He introduces two topics: weather and duration of

daylight. From Hyun's very first statement, we get the impression that he is not going to

extend the topic, but with Miguel's prompting question asking for a reason, Hyun gives

more information. Miguel may have found the issue of daylight being longer in Korea

more intriguing as he focuses on this topic rather than the hot climate in Gainesville.

Also, the task required the participants to go beyond collecting information on the

challenges and get into details, which later would be used as the details and examples

in the body paragraphs of their essays. This may have prompted Miguel to get Hyun to

extend on the topic. However, the task structure cannot be the only factor for Miguel's

questions because when he is seeking confirmation in his question "It is too long

today?" he seems to be asking out of his own curiosity as this piece of information may


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not be the best supporting detail in his body paragraph. Hyun's response triggers a

question in Miguel's mind, and he verbalizes his curiosity.

(1) M: I couldn't understand language, it was challenge. What about you?

(2) H: Weather.

(3) M: Weather? Why?

(4) H: Because it is too hot here and daytime is too long.

(5) M: It is too long today?

(6) H: It is sunset, too late.

(7) M: Ohhhh, what is different in your country? Is it at 6:00 o'clock or 6:30?

(8) H: In the summer (.) it is usually set like 5:00 o'clock.

(9) M: Five?

(10) H: Yeah.

In the following excerpt, Akram is bringing up a new topic and Roberto realizes this

situation and is pointing that out, but he accepts the new subtopic and they continue the

task in this direction based on mutual agreement. As Akram shares information about

the education system in his country, without waiting to be asked question by Akram,

Roberto is presenting information about the education system in his country by pointing

out differences and similarities, and in this way, both Akram and Roberto are

maintaining the task successfully and they are exchanging in-depth information about

each other's countries.

(1) R: Wait (.) that's another topic. Free School? Free for everybody?

(2) A: Yeah. There are Islam universities (.) but many universities are
government universities and separate.









(3) R: In my country (.) some of the universities free. Some free some
public. Mixed people. Universities just mixed. Some high schools (.)
[sometimes mixed.

(4) A: No mixed.] Separate all the time. What else about schools?

(5) R: University used to take five years.

(6) A: We have three kinds (.) elementary school and middle school.

(7) R: How many years?

(8) A: Elementary school (.) six years.

(9) R: High school?

(10) A: High school three years. We have another school before high
school (.) three years.

(11) R: University five years?

(12) A: Four years (.) yeah.

(13) R: In my country (.) elementary five year (.) high school six years.

Excerpts from each pair indicate that each pair differed in how they interacted and

gathered information from each other. While Dawud and Akram extended topics on their

own and through questions from their partners, Hyun needed prompts from Miguel. The

sociocultural context of the task and the structuring of the task allowed for all kinds of

questions and comments helping students use English to communicate on different

topics and prepare for academic discourse. Conversations involved questions that

asked for specific information that could be used as content material for the essay as

well as questions that originated out of their own curiosity. Pairs achieved collaboration

and interaction in unique ways, and they were able to gather enough information to

write a final essay.


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Linguistic and Conceptual Analysis of Students' Language Use

The researcher analyzed the spoken and written language samples from the

students to be able to answer the research question of the study with a focus on

linguistic and conceptual aspects of students' language use: How do English language

learners use language in a collaborative graphic organizer activity? In order to explore

the students' language use as part of the collaborative graphic organizer task, the

researcher looked at the spoken and written data through Gee's semiotic building lens

(2005) with a focus on content words, grammar structures, and conceptual depth of the

conversations.

As the partners in this study interacted with each other, the topics expanded and

the partners steered the conversations towards different sub-topics of their own choice.

Since they determined the extent of their conversations, each pair varied in terms of

their choice of subtopics. This type of open-endedness may have increased the amount

of interaction because the partners may not feel limited to a certain number of aspects

to be discussed. As they filled out the graphic organizer, they brainstormed about the

possibilities and went beyond a listing of what to talk about. They did not list the topics

but instead spent time on each topic finding examples, asking for reasons depending on

the targeted topic and the targeted knowledge structure. Similarly, semiotic analysis of

students' essays indicated that students' written language involved content vocabulary

and grammatical structures with complicated morphological and syntactic formations.

Choice of Content Words

Analyzing the content words used by the pairs can inform us about the word

choice during the conversations. As partners share and discuss different topics, their

choices of vocabulary vary. For instance, in Table 4-9, during the exchanges between


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Ayumi and Dawud about religion in Japan, the partners use the following words: culture,

Japan, religion, Christians, percent, majority, Buddhists, religious, Islam, important,

country. In other words, the task allows the partners to use content words at differing

levels of complexity during their interactions. All of these words are used during the

collaborative graphic organizer task for the purposes of exchanging information and

completing the task. If we take closer look at the words in Tables 4-9, we can see that

the Ayumi and Dawud used language by using words that express percentages, relative

degree of importance, and different types of religions.

In Table 4-10, Hyun and Miguel also cover the topic of religion. During their

exchanges, the pair uses various content vocabulary on religion. Although some of the

word usage is incorrect, we can observe several attempts to describe facts, and the

concepts are represented correctly in his statements. For instance, in Turn 8, as can be

seen in his utterance, Hyun knows the meaning of the word "religion," but he needs

more opportunities in using the word in multiple contexts, so that he can improve his

knowledge on various uses of the word with correct qualifiers and put this knowledge

into practice through collaborative language use. The collaborative graphic organizer

task may provide him to use language, which may allow him to further his vocabulary

knowledge through both exposure and use.

In Table 4-11, Roberto starts the conversation, but Akram is the one who steers

the dialogue. Roberto's questions indicate that he is quite puzzled, and he would like to

understand how this type of an arrangement works out in practice. Following are some

of the content words they use during their conversations: culture, marriage, society,

wedding, separate, and celebrations. The same topic was discussed with the use of


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different content words in another group, but based on the proficiency level of this group

and its impact on vocabulary choice, Akram and Roberto utilized more complicated

content words listed in Table 4-11 as opposed to others. In Turn 11, Roberto labels the

difference between the two cultures, and he is completing his graphic organizer, but as

he is filling it in, he thinks of better words that express the same notion, and he

rephrases his label on Turn 13. In other words, he may be conceptualizing the category

in his mind, so that the phrases sound more scholarly, which may be an indication that

he is aware of the difference between written and spoken academic English. Akram

may be on the other hand trying to help Roberto understand his culture better by

emphasizing the fact that men and women do not socialize together in Saudi Arabia.

Akram may have also emphasized this particular information since he finds it to be a

very important difference between his culture and Roberto's culture.

Students' writing samples reflect successful language use for intermediate level

ELLs. For instance, Ayumi's essay in Table 4-12 involves a multitude of content

vocabulary, reflecting the density of her lexical knowledge. The writing portion of the

task provided an opportunity for her to use language in writing. Each word adds a

different aspect to the bundles of meaning created in her essay and represents the

semantic aspect of her language proficiency. In the first paragraph, she is introducing

the topic and uses a large variety of words to express her message. The word challenge

that she used in the title of her essay is a word that she most likely acquired from the

reading material she worked on with her partner during Stage 2 during the third week of

the study when the focus was on the cause-and-effect genre and the topic of the









reading was the challenges immigrants experienced when they first came to the United

States.

In the Table 4-13 with a written language sample from Dawud, we can see that

Dawud writes about the differences between Japan and Saudi Arabia. He chooses to

focus on three different aspects: food, clothes, and marriage. He uses relevant content

words in the correct forms. He also adds complex content words such as major, debate,

and variety. He has a strong command over the vocabulary that is necessary to express

the differences between the two cultures. He is able to label the concepts represented

under each subtopic, and he lists the relevant examples from each culture. He is also

aware of the appropriate use of complex vocabulary, such as variety, as he uses it

appropriately: a variety of.

Hyun's essay in Table 4-14 also involves diverse content vocabulary with a focus

on cultural differences between his culture and his partner Miguel's culture. Hyun starts

his first paragraph with lexical items that transmit a general idea about the topic, and as

he moves onto his second paragraph, the complexity of his vocabulary increases. He is

using architecture-related words probably because in Stage 1 of this task, he and his

partner worked on an essay that focused on the differences of architectural styles with

the word cathedral and temple. The third paragraph mainly focuses on food as Hyun

lists a new vocabulary item arepa that he acquired during his interaction with Miguel. He

also provides a detailed description of this particular word in his writing. In the fourth

paragraph, he is using the words celebration and party interchangeably, which may be

an indication of his attempt to vary his word choice.


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As can be seen in Table 4-15, Miguel's use of content vocabulary is diverse and

successful. He chose to focus on communication, food, and weather as the three

difficulties that his partner experienced when he came to the United States for the very

first time. Miguel uses a variety of adjectives, verbs, and adverbs to express himself in

writing. He uses the words in the appropriate forms, but he needs support with

grammar. His paragraphs involve complex vocabulary such as communication problems

and he uses compound expressions such as gain weight successfully. He uses

vocabulary items successfully throughout his essays without unnecessary repetition. It

is clear that he tries to add variety to his expressions by using synonyms such as

contact with others and communication problems.

Akram's essay in Table 4-16 also involves complex vocabulary items such as

communication, encounter, time-consuming, regulation, immigration. He may have

acquired some of these words from the reading material in Stage 2 in which the topic

was the challenges of the early immigrants in the United States. The text involved words

such as immigration, regulation, foreign, etc. His essay reflects that he has a strong

command of the topic and his lexical knowledge is highly sufficient for writing about this

particular topic. Similar to Hyun's essay, his first paragraph starts with well-chosen

vocabulary that present the main topic. His second paragraph involves vocabulary

related to food, but the complexity of words on this particular topic is less in comparison

to the third paragraph when he starts writing about communication. His lexicon may

involve more diverse vocabulary items on this particular topic.

Roberto's essay in Table 4-17 involves different types of content vocabulary that

add further depth to the topic. He gathered information about his partner's difficulties in


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terms of food, transportation, and weather in Gainesville when he came here for the first

time. He is also following the template for writing a five-paragraph essay. However, he

did not provide enough examples for each paragraph, so his vocabulary is somewhat

less dense compared with that of other pairs. He starts well in the first paragraph, but

the following paragraphs could be improved by adding further dimensions to the topic.

He may need support with vocabulary and expression of different ideas within the same

topic in different sentences with specific examples.

The collaborative graphic organizer task was able to provide the partners with

multiple opportunities for language use in both written and spoken English. Both their

conversations and their writing samples depict the variety in their word choice while the

partners expressing their messages during their interactions with each other as well as

during the independent writing portion of the task. The partners were also able to

integrate some of the vocabulary items that they acquired in the course of the

collaborative graphic organizer task. Such lexical integration can be an indication that

the interactions during the collaborative graphic organizer task allow students acquire

new vocabulary items and incorporate them into their spoken language and written

language.

Choice of Linguistic Structures

Linguistic structures can inform us about the syntactic complexity of students'

language use during the academic exchanges. Pairs' conversations varied in terms of

their choice of linguistic structures during their conversations. For instance, some

partners were able to use connectors that directly reflect the nature of the

knowledge/discourse structure covered in the graphic organizer during that particular

session. Furthermore, depending on the proficiency level of the partners, some partners


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used a variety of different tenses and sentences with different types of adverbial or

adjective clauses as well as multiple sentences combined with connectors.

H: When I came to Gainesville (.) I met my host family and I lived with them
and I think it is kind of challenging because I never live with another family.

In this excerpt, Hyun is talking about the challenges he experienced when he

came to Gainesville/United States for the first time. Since the knowledge structure for

that week was cause-and-effect, the researcher presented topics to the teacher that

would lend themselves to the production of sentences expressing cause-and-effect

relations. Hyun uses complex sentences (Complex sentences with subordinate clauses

are linked by subordinating conjunctions such as because, when, since. etc.

Subordinating suggests the second clause depends upon the first for its meaning.) that

indicate time with the use of the conjunction "when" and reason with the use of the

conjunction "because." His sentences are grammatically accurate except for his lack of

use of the past perfect tense in his last sentence "because I never live with another

family." Second language learners who typically experience problems with the present

perfect and past perfect tenses in general have problems with this type of a tense

structure because their first language does not involve these tenses. Nonetheless, his

statements are fairly grammatical, and he is able to express a reason in English, which

is an important academic language function prevalent in essays with a cause-and-effect

knowledge structure.

A: Maybe (.) but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very
important for your country (.) but it is not very important in Japan.

In this excerpt, Ayumi is talking about the differences between her culture in her

home country, Japan, and her partner's culture in his home country, Saudi Arabia. For

the purposes of the collaborative graphic organizer task, Ayumi and Dawud are


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comparing and contrasting the two cultures and filling out their graphic organizer based

on the information they gather from one another. We can easily observe the

comparison-contrast academic function in Ayumi's words. In other words, she is

following the conventions of comparing and contrasting in the language she uses when

communicating with her partner. She is forming a compound sentence using the

coordinating conjunction "but" in order to express how Japan is not a religious country

unlike Saudi Arabia. (Compound sentences have clauses linked by coordinating

conjunctions such as and, or, but, etc. Coordinating suggests a balance of equal weight

between the two clauses.) She does not form any grammatical sentences. In general

she keeps the structure and the length of her statements fairly short and prefers forming

questions as opposed to giving further information about herself. In this particular

statement, among other features of her language, we can tell that she is able to express

opinions in the correct form with an "I think" statement. From this excerpt, we can tell

that she is aware of the academic language of comparing and contrasting, and she is

able to use her academic language skills during this task.

(13) H: Is there a similar food in the United States?

(14) M: Somebody told me that you can eat arepas in Latin Cafe (.) you
know Latin Cafe? It is in 34th avenue.

In this excerpt, in response to Hyun's question whether one can find food similar to

arepas in the USA, Miguel is sharing with Hyun that Latin Cafe has arepas. Latin Cafe is

a well-known place, but Miguel wants to make sure that Hyun knows this place, so he is

describing the location. When we analyze his language use, we can see that he is using

a complex sentence structure with a relative clause, and he is also using reported

speech grammatical structure: "Somebody told me that..." He is supposed to use


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"could" instead of "can" in the relative clause due to the tense marker in the firsts

sentence, but the structure of the sentence is intact. He is also familiar with the

preposition markers, but as several English language learners do, he is confusing "on"

and "in." Nonetheless, he is able to participate in academic conversations with his

partner, and he is able to fulfill the requirements of the task. In this pair, the interaction

does not flow as predictably as with the other two pairs. Hyun and Miguel were either

hesitant or collaborative at different instances of their dialogue, but they do make an

attempt to complete the task. Miguel is able to describe a location, report conversations,

and use relative clauses fairly successfully.

Students' writing samples reflect successful language use for intermediate level

English language learners. In the following writing sample from Hyun, we can see that

he is using connectors quite successfully. He is starting the paragraph with an

appropriate connector. His writing involves multiple connectors such as on the other

hand, therefore, but, as. The majority of his sentences in his essay are compound

sentences as can be seen in the following paragraph. This may be because he is

becoming more aware of the connectors thanks to the sample texts he covered with his

partner as part of the first two stages of the collaborative graphic organizer task, and he

would like to show off his knowledge on different types of connectors that connect ideas

in a paragraph for a smooth transition between the ideas.

First, our religions differ in main belief in each country. Majority of Korean
usually believe in Christian, Catholic, and Buddhism. Of course, our origin
religion is Buddhism, but as time passes on, the rate of people who believe
in God has been increased. And usually Christians go to church, catholic go
to Cathedral and Buddhists go to the temple to pray. On the other hand,
almost every Venezuelan believe in Catholic and they usually go to church
for praying. And also their religion is Catholic. But Catholic usually go to









church to pray differently from Catholic in Korea. Therefore, Korean believe
in more kinds of religion than Venezuelan.

Ayumi's essay involves successful use of complex sentence structures. Unlike

Hyun, she has a better command on complex sentence formation. As can be seen in

the following paragraph, which is the third paragraph in her essay, she is using a

relative clause in her first sentence: "He felt bad that he didn't have a car" which

indicates her awareness of how to form complex sentences. She is continuing the same

statement with a compound sentence with the use of the conjunction so, which indicates

that she is also able to form compound sentences. However, she created more

opportunities to use complex sentences as opposed to compound sentences in her

essays. Ayumi's focus on compound sentence formation may improve with more

exposure to the knowledge structures and the language related with each knowledge

structure after collaborative use of graphic organizers with a different partner, such as

Hyun.

He felt bad that he didn't have a car, so he decided to but a car. But, now
the U.S. economic is bad, so when he bought a car, his dealer was mean.
His dealer went up the car price, because he is foreigner and he is rich. And
then he gave up his favorite car and he bought a cheap car. He couldn't
discount the car price.

Akram's essay is different from both Ayumi and Hyun's essays in the sense that

his sentences involve both complex and compound sentences. He is able to form

relative clauses as the subject of a sentence as can be seen in the following statement:

"Maybe the hardest thing anyone could encounter is communication with other native

speakers." He is also able to drop "that" in his relative clause, which requires a mastery

of relative clauses. He is also using a number of compound sentences: "He gets

frustrated when they (native speakers) don't understand him." He has well-command on


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word structures, and he uses each word appropriately in his sentences. For instance,

the word encounter is a complex word for a second language learner as he may have

chosen a simpler word such as come across, and Akram is able to use this word

correctly with a past tense modal could, increasing the grammatical complexity of his

sentence even further.

Maybe the hardest thing anyone could encounter is communication with
other native speakers. Using different language to speak and listen
sometime is hard especially when doing important things like asking for
information, things that deal with money, housing and immigration
regulations. Sometime Michael can't express his feeling well or what he
wants. He gets frustrated when they (native speakers) don't understand
him. It's really though but as a result, he is learning by the time goes by.

During the collaborative graphic organizer task, students used language in various

manners with complex sentence structures. They also used the vocabulary items

correctly. We may detect certain instances of mistakes, but such mistakes are beyond

the scope of this paper. The collaborative graphic organizer task can be a useful tool in

creating contexts for language use when students interact on different topics with their

partners in an effort to complete the requirements of the task by speaking and writing in

English.

Diversity in Main Topic and Subtopics

Since there were no guidelines as to which subtopics to discuss, pairs chose

different subtopics based on their own mutual decision and the dynamics of the task.

The decision was based on each partner's willingness to pursue a certain subtopic and

to switch to a different subtopic. For instance, a partner may have intended to change

the topic by asking a question or making a statement, but if the other partner is

determined to stick with the same topic, he/she may pose further questions about the

same topic instead of answering the partner's question or commenting on his/her new


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subtopic. Partners were at times influenced by the subtopics covered by the other pairs

as it was rather easy to overhear the conversation taking place among the other pairs,

and they chose to pursue similar topics, but even within the same subtopics, the

examples and the explanations were completely different as each individual came from

a different cultural background.

Table 4-18 depicts the depth of the conversations between Ayumi and Dawud

within a subtopic of the main topic of the task. Ayumi and Dawud's dialogues involved

in-depth discussion of topics with the use of multiple roles and academic language

functions. Both partners were able to steer the task appropriately, so that they can

acquire maximum amount of knowledge about their partners in order to be able to

complete the task successfully and to write a well-formed essay with enough subtopics

and examples. Ac can be seen in Table 4-18, Ayumi and Dawud chose to talk about

marriage as a subtopic for cultural differences between their home countries. Both

Ayumi and Dawud asked questions and gave information about their cultural

background regarding marriage, such as style of marriage, wedding ceremonies, age,

and wedding expenses and persons responsible for paying these expenses, etc.

Ayumi's questions helped increase the depth during the dialogues, and Dawud's

motivation to help Ayumi understand his cultural background with detailed information

enriched the task with a multitude of new information for Ayumi.

As can be seen in the Figure 4-1, Ayumi and Dawud display a true collaborative

dialogue with multiple exchanges, and in their case, the task presents itself as an

effective opportunity for exploring their subtopic in depth. Ayumi asks questions, and

Dawud provides information for Ayumi's questions. She does bring up controversial


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issues, but Dawud does not hesitate and answers all of Ayumi's questions. The

compatibility between the partners in this pair in terms of collaborative dialogue may

have helped them achieve extensive depth in their conversations.

In Figure 4-1, the depth of Miguel and Hyun's conversations are relatively shallow.

The pair chose to talk about religion, but they were not able to achieve a significant

depth when exchanging information about religion in one another' countries. Several

factors could be at play at the setting of their interactions during the collaborative

graphic organizer task. First of all, Hyun has a quiet style of communication, and he

does not like talking very much. He is not introverted, but he is mostly serious and quiet.

When he does speak up, his statements are very straight-forward. He never makes any

tentative statements, and he does not ask a lot of questions. Miguel on the hand talks

more, and he does his best to learn more about Hyun's religious background by asking

questions. Hyun and Miguel gather information from each other by asking questions and

providing detailed answers, which helps increase the conceptual depth of their

conversations.

As can be seen in Figure 4-1, Akram and Roberto's discussions also remain at a

shallow level similar to Hyun and Miguel's conversations because Akram and Roberto

focus on one aspect of the topic and talk about that particular aspect for a period of time

as opposed to further exploring the main topic with a different subtopic. Akram's role as

Clarifier and Restater may have kept their conversations during this particular instance

somewhat shallow because he may have sensed a need for conceptual scaffolding in

Roberto's thinking and he may have wanted to provide more support for Roberto to

better understand what exactly he means with the concept of separate wedding









ceremonies. Therefore, he devotes more time on making sure that Roberto understands

this concept well. Roberto did not elaborate on the same topic with examples from his

background or he did not ask further questions about the other aspects of weddings or

marriages in Saudi Arabia, which are also reasons for why Roberto and Akram could

not cover this topic in depth unlike how Dawud and Ayumi did during their interactions.

Conceptual depth of students' essay reflected the content of their conversations

closely. As students conversed with one another, they filled out their own graphic

organizers based on the information they gathered from their partners, and they used

this information when writing their essays. Students' graphic organizers typically

involved three levels mostly because each person was required to write a five-

paragraph essay. The conversations more inclusive in terms of details for each

subtopic, but the goal of the task was to be able to find enough content for the

independent writing task, and the students succeeded in accomplishing this particular

goal.

Figure 4-2 is an example of Dawud's graphic organizer. Dawud has more

information on the left had column about his own cultural background, and he has three

items on the right hand column because he needs three subtopics to be able to write a

five-paragraph essay. In Table 4-19, His first body paragraph is about food, and he is

providing different examples from his own culture and from Japanese culture, and he is

also deepening the subtopic by mentioning Saudi rules for what not to eat or drink. In

the second body paragraph, he is comparing the traditional clothes by providing specific

examples from each culture. The third body paragraph focuses on marriage in Saudi

culture and in Japanese culture. He gives detailed information on the aspects of


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marriage that differ in both cultures. His essay involves more information than what he

listed on his graphic organizer. He may have incorporated more information from his

metal notes because he may not have been able to include all the information during

the collaborative discussion stage of the task.

As can be seen in Figure 4-3, Miguel gathered more information than necessary

for his essay while he was interviewing his partner on the challenges he experienced

when he came to the United States for the first time. He then focused on three of these

aspects to be able to write a five-paragraph essay. In his essay in Table 4-20, he

focuses on language difficulties in the first body paragraph. He focuses on food as a

source of adaptation problems in the second body paragraph. In the third body

paragraph, he focuses on weather. He supports each paragraph with examples and

details he gathered during his interactions with his partner as they were collaboratively

working together and filling out their own graphic organizers with the information he

gathered by asking questions to his partner. His essay is slightly shorter in length with

fewer words per sentence, but it is comprehensive enough to communicate all the

necessary points to communicate his notes on his partner's challenges when he came

to the United States for the first time.

As can be seen in the above examples and explanations regarding the semiotic

analysis of students' interactions and essays, during the collaborative graphic organizer

task, students used various complex vocabulary and sentence structures. Both their

interaction and their essays informed us on the nature of nature of language that ELLs

use when communicating about their understandings and interpretations of the topic,

graphic organizers, and the task. The students deeply explored the topics as well, and


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they achieved a high level of conceptual density during their discussions of the topics.

Their graphic organizers and their essays reflected the depth of the topics through

detailed explanations and examples.

Participants' Perspectives about the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task

The researcher analyzed the interview data gathered from the students for the

purposes of understanding their perspectives on the collaborative graphic organizer

task. After a thematic analysis of the interview data, the researcher was able to identify

that the students' responses centered around certain themes such as support with

productive and receptive language skills, opportunities for vocabulary learning, support

with sociocultural connections among the partners. Gee's tools for analyzing discourse

data also supported the researcher 's data analysis process as the researcher was well-

informed about semiotic building, sociocultural building, and task building. The

researcher formed a taxonomy based on the students' perspective. Each participant

made different comments regarding how s/he viewed the collaborative graphic

organizer task. The following section describes each category with the subcategories

along with quotations from students' interviews.

Support with Listening/Speaking Skills

Provides opportunities to ask one's partner to repeat words. During the

collaborative graphic organizer task, the partners were able to ask one another to

repeat the words or sentences when necessary. Ayumi in particular indicated that her

listening comprehension skills were weak. Ayumi indicates, "Hearing, yeah, I think my

weak point is hearing, so I couldn't understand what did he say, what did she say, so I

asked him to repeat." She greatly benefited from being able to ask her partner Dawud to

give further explanation when necessary and even ask him to repeat what he said if she


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was not able to capture what he meant. These types of collaborative activities provide

opportunities for English language learners with developing listening skills to be able to

ask their partner to repeat words or sentences when necessary. Such students may not

be able to ask questions during the class since they may not want to attract attention or

they may not want to disturb the flow of conversations, and unfortunately they may miss

out on important messages during classroom instruction.

Provides opportunities to solicit partner's help with vocabulary. During the

collaborative graphic organizer task, the pairs were able to ask each other the meanings

of new vocabulary items that their partners may use or any new vocabulary items they

are not familiar with in general. Ayumi was pleased that she could ask her partner the

meanings of some words she was not able to comprehend, "if I don't know some words,

I asked him and he described what this means." This task may have provided her with

an opportunity to learn new vocabulary along with the information as to how the word is

pronounced. Therefore, students like Ayumi may benefit from this task greatly for

practicing their listening comprehension skills.

Provides practice with speaking skills. Because of the ample opportunities for

interaction, several participants in the study mentioned that the collaborative graphic

organizer task gave them a chance to speak in English. The topic was based on their

own culture, so they got a chance to talk about a familiar topic. Dawud mentions that

the collaborative graphic organizer task helped him both to practice his English

language skills and to find ideas to talk about "Actually, it has helped me, yeah. I like

talking, it gave me some ideas to talk about." Similarly, Ayumi also mentioned that the

task required the partners to interact, "It is very helpful because you need to speak a lot


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of times." Interaction was necessary for the partners to be able to complete the task

successfully, and Ayumi may not have been able to obtain as much practice with her

spoken English skills if the same task took place independently as opposed to

collaboratively. Roberto also mentioned that speaking about culture allowed them to find

multiple subtopics, and they were able to speak about these topics extensively, "When

we speak about our culture, we speak about a lot of topics, so it is good, we speak

more, so it was good."

Support for Writing Skills

Working with a partner may reduce the time needed to complete the essay.

Essay writing can be an overwhelming task for English Language Learners because of

the thinking and planning process involved in writing an essay as well as the actual

writing process. The collaborative graphic organizer task may help students prepare a

well-thought plan collaboratively, so that they already have all the ideas necessary to be

able to write an essay. For example, pairs can collaboratively come up with the

subtopics as well as the main points and the examples. Individual configuration and

planning of both the ideas and the writing of the essay may take a very long time,

causing students feel overwhelmed about the task of essay writing n general. In this

sense, collaborative graphic organizer task can prepare students for the individual

writing process and gradually help them become independent writers. As Hyun

indicates, "I think alone I will take a long time, longer than if I am someone with me,

share me my idea, it saved time to write the essay." As can be gathered from Hyun's

words, Hyun feels more comfortable preparing to write the essay together with his

partner. We can see his positive experiences about essay writing in his words. We may

infer that the collaborative graphic organizer task may motivate students to write an


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essay as it makes essay writing appear to be a less overwhelming task thanks to the

initial collaborative planning of the content of the essay.

Helps improve the organization of ideas in the essay. One of the problems of

English language learners is the organization of ideas in an essay. Different cultures

have different ways of writing. Not in every culture essays are organized in the way they

are organized in English. The materials used in the collaborative graphic organizer task

helped the pairs analyze the structure of essays together and collaboratively fill out

graphic organizers that depicted the structure of sample reading materials before they

started preparing to write their essays. Miguel commented, "For me, it was very good

because I have a problem to organize my ideas. I am like disorganized. I have a lot of

ideas, but I don't know how to organize my ideas, and this one is very good for me, now

I know how to organize my ideas." Dawud's words also echo Miguel's comments,

"Actually it organized my ideas, actually it has helped me this graphic and this class

yeah, with writing, before when I want to write paragraph, only paragraph, I found that

difficult to write, because my ideas not organized, but with this graphic organized my

mind." As can be seen in Dawud's comments, he used to have a difficult time even with

writing a paragraph because the structure of a paragraph or an essay can remain

mysterious for English language learners even after multiple examples as they may

need more visual materials that clarify the technique as opposed to verbal and abstract

explanations. (See Appendix A and B for example student work graphic organizer as an

output of the collaborative graphic organizer task prior to independent writing.)

Improves their writing skills and makes writing an easier process. The

collaborative graphic designer task is based on the study of the discourse structure of









an essay in pairs, ending with an independent essay-writing task. During the

collaborative phase of the task, students get a lot of practice in first exploring the

structure of an essay and later filling out a graphic organizer that helps them prepare

the structure of their essay that the will compose in the upcoming phase of the task.

Once they understand how the essays are laid out, English language learners can gain

more confidence and feel more comfortable when writing their essays. Students may

have been able to benefit from the collaborative graphic organizer task in improving

their academic writing skills and also they may have started viewing the task of writing

an essay a less overwhelming task. As Roberto puts it, "We can write good essays

more easily, it's well-organized for college level, for academic writings. I think we are

improving." As can be seen in Roberto's words, Roberto thinks that he can write well-

organized essays with more ease and comfort since he is more familiar with the

structure of an essay, and he can see the improvement in his essays. Miguel echoes

Roberto's words, "For me, I like this task because it organize my thinking, it is step-by-

step, and I do much better in this kind of task about writing, I like this process, it's more

easy, make you're writing more easy." Roberto finds merit in this task due to the fact

that the task presents a system that helps the student organize their essays better and

helps them manage the task of writing essays more comfortably. (See Appendix G for

example student essays following the collaborative graphic organizer task during

independent writing.)

Provides opportunity to plan before writing. During the collaborative graphic

organizer task, students analyzed the structure of an essay depending on how it is laid

out based on the specific knowledge structure in focus for that week, such as


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comparison-contrast and cause-and effect. As they were analyzing the essays

collaboratively with their partners, they were referring to a complete essay and they

were filling out a graphic organizer that showed the structure of this essay. The visual

tool may have helped them see the structure of the essay more clearly, and the act of

analyzing the structure of the essay more critically through this visual tool with the help

their partners may have helped them become more aware of the steps involved in

writing a well-organized essay. Furthermore, in the following phase of the task when

they were brainstorming for ideas to write about, the graphic organizer was leading

them to see the purpose of all these ideas and exactly where they are going to take

place when they start writing their essays. In other words, the task provided them with

intensive practice in preparing to write an essay, so that when students started the

actual task of independent writing, all the pieces of information were available for them,

and all they had to do was to form sentences that would make up the body of the essay

with an introductory paragraph, developmental paragraphs and a conclusion paragraph.

As Ayumi indicates, "It is very useful because brainstorm is very important before the

writing, so it is important for planning." Dawud also mentions, "Now I think in an

organized way, so before I write an essay, I will think, not write, I will think only, I will

plan, but before I just take my pencil and start writing, actually if I write an essay in the

future, I am going to use the graphic organizer, plan the main ideas and the details." As

can be seen in both Ayumi's and Dawud's words, collaborative use of graphic

organizers may prepare students to write well-organized essays by emphasizing the

initial planning phase and helping students transition into essay writing more

comfortably with structurally intact essays that are successful end-products of the whole


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process of collaborative work on graphic organizers. (See Appendix A for example

student work for brainstorming ideas on the graphic organizer collaboratively before

independent writing.)

Support for Reading Comprehension Skills

Facilitates the reading process by directs attention to main ideas and

supporting ideas. After the collaborative analyses of the essays through the use of

graphic organizers, students were able to see the structure of the essay more clearly.

Being able to detect how the essay is laid out may help students comprehend reading

materials better and become more aware of the internal structure of reading materials

with more attention to how each paragraph and example function in the whole essay.

Miguel comments how he benefited from the collaborative graphic organizer task, "I

think it is good because you can have a clean idea about the paper." Hyun also

mentions, "When we read some article, we can recognize the topic and the other parts

more easier." As the participants indicate, they can transfer their knowledge of the

structure of essays to other reading materials, and they can capture the general topic of

a reading material as well as the sub topics more easily. As Dawud put it, "I think

organizer is kind of a technique, so you teach technique, how to read, how to find main

idea, how to write things, I think very useful, so we are learning another language not

our own language, so it is good, you teach technique and I can understand, oh this is

main topic so what this article say to us so it's very convenient." As can be seen in

Dawud's words, the collaborative graphic organizer task teaches a technique that

students can acquire during the task through collaborative practice, and they can extend

this technique and use it in every situation where they are required to read materials

and process information. The fact that they have to comprehend materials in English


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places more load on students due to the language barrier, but through this technique,

reading comprehension may be easier for them as the language load may decrease.

Helps locate the structure of the reading material. One of the goals of the

preparation session in the collaborative graphic organizer task was to help the students

see the structure of the reading material and be able to visualize the structure even after

the task is over. This type of top-down approach can help students go from whole to the

parts in reading comprehension as opposed to going from parts to the whole. In the

absence of knowledge as to how the essay is structured, the students may rely on bits

and pieces of information they can understand in the essay and may get lost when

putting together all the pieces and fail to be able to reach a clear understanding the

whole meaning of the essay. Especially the new vocabulary items and complicated

sentence structures in a reading material can cause difficulty for students for perceiving

the essay as a whole where each point and each example is there to support a bigger

idea. Miguel also comments on the benefits of the graphic organizers in reading

comprehension, "You have a graphic organizer, you can see the topic and the other

parts, it's helping for the people for reading, for organizing the idea what the paper is

talking about, it is easier for reading because you can see the paper but it is more

clear." Furthermore, collaborative analysis of reading materials with the help of graphic

organizers can help students improve their reading comprehension skills by allowing

them to acquire habits of seeing the main point and sub-points in any reading material.

As Hyun indicates, "H: I like pair graphic organizer because I could not recognize what

is the topic or the main idea, I couldn't recognize that even in Korean, so it is hard for

me, it was easy." Hyun appreciates the collaborative graphic organizer task for its









collaborative nature, and he admits that he was not even able to recognize the structure

of reading materials in his native language. This task may have helped him acquire a

top-down analysis skill in reading comprehension both in his native language and in

English.

Sociocultural Relations

Provides opportunities for extended interactions between pairs. The

collaborative graphic organizer task may be able to help partners interact with one

another about different topics of their choice. As one of the participants in this study

indicated, "For me, it's good, it's not like a regular class, it's more like relaxed, I talk with

my partner about topics, I like it a lot." When each partner feels comfortable to share

information with one another, which was mostly the case among pairs in this study,

partners can ask in-depth questions to each other about a few topics or ask multiple

questions about different topics. These types of activities where students can interact

with their partners usually take place in Spoken English classes. However, in

elementary and secondary school settings, English language learners may not have the

opportunity to speak with their peers and practice their English language skills. The

collaborative graphic organizer task can provide a purpose and time for focused yet

flexible interactions where students can practice their English language skills as well as

well as fulfill the academic requirements of the course by completing the task based on

the topics teachers assign them to talk about.

Allows an exchange of in-depth information about partners' cultural

background and experiences. The collaborative graphic designer task was based on

topics about partners' cultural backgrounds for the purposes of allowing partners to find

out more about each other by exploring different aspects of their cultural background.


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For instance, during the comparison-contrast graphic organizer portion, the partners

were assigned to interview one and find out as much about the other person's culture as

possible, so that they could write a complete essay comparing and contrasting the two

cultures. Hyun indicates, "When we speak about our culture, we speak about a lot of

topics, so it is good." In his statement, Hyun seems to appreciate the fact that the task

allows him and his partner to be able to speak about topics of their choice as long as it

is related with their cultural background. As Ayumi mentions, "Culture is a big topic and

there is a lot of stuff we can talk about." The researcher purposefully chose culture as

the common theme in all the activities, because the partners were in a different country,

interacting with people from different cultures, and they might have felt more motivated

to share about their cultural background due to the fact that they are far away from

home and they miss home. During all the interactions, the participants proudly talk

about their own culture and are intrigued to find out about another culture and how

people from different cultures have different styles and outlooks on the same topic.

Fosters stronger connections and bonding between partners. The

collaborative graphic organizer task may have allowed people who would not otherwise

interact with one another warm up to each other and become friends. The task prompts

the partners to share a lot of information about each other. The topic of culture triggers

conversations about eating preferences, customs, family, challenges experienced

during their visit to the United States, etc. The task did work very well because the

teacher assigned collaborative people with collaborative people, but not all pairs were

matched based on this characteristic because not everybody in the classroom had a

collaborative communication style. Surprisingly though, even those individuals who


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have a less collaborative communication style worked well possibly because they were

asked to speak about topics that they are very familiar with about their own culture. In

response to the question as to whether he had any prior experiences with graphic

organizers, Dawud uttered "Yeah, yeah, it was to do some exercise, just like this one,

but this study had more than that, we do everything in this task, we are like friends, now

I know everything about her and about her country." As can be seen in his response,

when left on his own devices, Dawud and Ayumi may not have not have sat next to

each other or interacted a lot because Dawud is from a culture where men and women

are mostly segregated. However, Dawud and Ayumi were one of the most successful

pairs who participated in the collaborative graphic organizer task with full attention,

enthusiasm, and energy. The teacher paired them based on their personal

communication style, but if Dawud's cultural background was more pronounced than his

personal communication style, the task may not have worked among the partners in this

pair.

Provides opportunities for reciprocal help and support regarding possible

mistakes. The partners provided support for another during the collaborative graphic

organizer task. The collaborative nature of the task may have prompted such support.

The partners provided conceptual, linguistic, and strategic support for one another.

They helped each other with the understanding of the topics they were discussing. For

instance, if Partner A was having a difficult time following Partner B's explanations,

Partner B provided examples or clarified the wording by rephrasing his/her sentences.

Also, the partners helped each other with the completion of the task by helping each

other find new subtopics, asking one another questions for in-depth coverage of the


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sub-topics, and also by keeping the conversations focused on the task through small

reminder statements. As Akram expresses, "Actually, when we work in pairs, it's, you

know, two minds better than one. You help your partner fix your mistakes and you fix

her mistakes, and we share our idea, it's very helpful." Akram's words indicate the

benefits of the collaborative nature of the task for both language support and conceptual

support for finding new topics to talk about. If the same task were done individually,

students would not only be unable to get to practice the language, but they would not

also be able to get exposed to different ideas, expressions, and sentences structures.

When asked what he likes best about the collaborative graphic organizer task, Roberto

also emphasized the importance of collaborative work as well as all the other aspects of

the task as a whole, "I don't have an exact part, because I think all is important, the

graphic organizer and the group, you work with some body in this case, you need all the

parts together for it to work better." Miguel also appreciated the collaborative nature of

the task as he expressed the following words "I think I like it in pairs because you can

come up with very good ideas because two people thinking better than one."

Having a better understanding of the students' perspectives about the

collaborative graphic organizer task helped the researcher view the study from the

participants' perspective. The participants made comments about the task from different

aspects. Akram emphasized the collaborative nature of the task with an emphasis on

their writing skills while Ayumi focused more on how the task helped with her speaking

and listening skills. The general consensus was that the participants benefited from

collaborating with each other during the task, and both the task and the independent


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writing portion of the task would have taken much longer time if they were working on

their own.

Summary of the Results

The findings from the discourse analysis data indicate that the collaborative

graphic organizer task provides students opportunities to engage in extended

interactions with an opportunity for extensive language use. The data illuminated the

sociocultural and linguistic nature of students' interactions and how such increased

language use was achieved.

First of all, during the collaborative graphic organizer task, the partners provided

different types of scaffolding to each other with linguistic and conceptual support as well

as support for starting and continuing the activity. Furthermore, students' conversations

involved uses of different types of academic language functions. The frequency of

functions depicted what type of interactional roles the participants assumed when

engaging in conversations with each other during paired discussions.

Also, participants' Interactional roles helped us understand each participants'

interactional style. A close analysis of interactional styles informed us of the types of

pairing that can be more conducive to interaction.

Additionally, interactional roles such as topic expander and inquirer were of

primary importance in increased interaction and language use as such roles extended

the conversations, which promoted further opportunities for language use. Interactional

roles conducive to language use can shed further light on how to structure collaborative

graphic organizers tasks for increased language use.

According to the interview results, the participants found different benefits in the

collaborative graphic organizer task in terms of their language development. In addition


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to several other outcomes of the collaborative graphic organizer task, participants

expressed that the collaborative use of graphic organizers helped them write well-

structured essays, and working with a partner on a graphic organizer as a brainstorming

device helped them find better ideas to write in their essays. They also indicated that

the collaborative graphic organizer task helped them understand the structure of

reading materials through collaborative analysis of knowledge structures. Still another

comment was that the task provides opportunities for help and support regarding

possible mistakes in their language.

Finally, the findings also indicate that the interactions among the partners and their

writing samples involved complex vocabulary and language structures. In other words,

the participants were using academic discourse and discussing abstract topics such as

cultural differences between different countries and challenges of moving into a new

culture. When structured properly, collaborative graphic organizer task may allow

extensive discussions on abstract concepts more common in academic discourse. The

degree of depth achieved in each pair's conversations varied depending on the types of

interactional roles they engage in, and this information can be useful in not only with the

collaborative use of graphic organizers for increased language use opportunities but

also for understanding what type of factors can be involved when tasks do not achieve

the expected degree of interaction among partners.










Table 4-1. Hierarchical taxonomy of categories formed during data analysis
Sociocultural Analysis Linguistic Analysis

Sociocultural Identity Building Activity Building Semiotic Building


CATEGORIES
Types of scaffolding
Linguistic
Conceptual
Strategic


CATEGORIES
Patterns of activity
structure
Forms of task
accomplishment


Academic language functions
Interactional roles
Interactional style


CATEGORIES
Choice of content words

Choice of linguistic
structures

Diversity in main topics
and subtopics


Cooperative
Argumentative
Hesitant


188










Table 4-2. Frequency of academic language functions in sample dialogues per each
pair
Pair 1 Pair 2 Pair 3
Roberto- Roberto-
Ayumi- Ayumi- Hyun- Hyun- Roberto- Roberto-
Academic Language Dawud Dawud Miguel Miguel Akram Akram
Functions Task 1* Task2* Task 1* Task2* Task 1* Task 2* Total
Giving further
information 1 2 2 3 4 6 18
Asking for confirmation 1 3 1 3 3 2 13
Giving confirmation 1 5 2 0 3 1 12
Asking for information 3 2 1 1 1 1 9
Asking for further
information 0 2 2 2 2 1 9
Giving information 1 0 1 2 3 1 8
Describing
characteristics 1 1 3 2 1 0 8
Giving a reason 0 1 0 2 0 4 7
Giving clarification 0 0 1 2 2 1 6
Asking for clarification 0 0 1 2 0 1 4
Comparing/Contrasting 1 2 1 0 0 0 4
Presenting contrary
evidence 3 0 0 0 0 0 3
Describing a process 0 2 0 0 1 0 3
Providing an example 0 1 0 0 0 2 3
Proposing an idea or
plan 1 0 0 0 2 0 3
Emphasizing a point 1 0 0 1 1 0 3
Expressing quantity 0 0 2 0 0 0 2
Rejecting an idea or
plan 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Agreeing 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
Disagreeing 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Conceding a point 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Presenting opinions 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Asking for reason 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Predicting 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Reporting others'
words 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
Describing a location 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
Expressing frequency 0 0 0 0 1 0 1


189











Table 4-2. Continued
Pair 1 Pair 2 Pair 3
Roberto- Roberto-


Academic Language
Functions
Asking for advice
Giving advice
Showing preference
* C-C: Comparison-Contrast


Ayumi- Ayumi-
Dawud Dawud
Task1* Task2*
0 0
0 0
0 0
C-E: Cause and Effect


Hyun-
Miguel
Task 1*
1
1
0


Hyun-
Miguel
Task 2*
0
0
0


Akram
Task 1*
0
0
1


Akram
Task 2*
0
0
0


Total
1
1
1


190










Table 4-3. Frequency of academic language functions in sample student dialogues per


each participant

Academic Language Functions

Giving further information
Asking for confirmation
Giving confirmation
Asking for information
Asking for further information
Giving information
Describing characteristics
Giving a reason
Giving clarification
Asking for clarification
Comparing/Contrasting
Presenting contrary evidence
Describing a process
Providing an example
Proposing an idea or plan
Emphasizing a point
Expressing quantity
Rejecting an idea or plan
Agreeing
Disagreeing
Conceding a point
Presenting opinions
Asking for reason
Predicting
Reporting others' words
Describing a location
Expressing frequency
Asking for advice
Giving advice
Showing preference


Pair 1
Ayumi Dawud
Total Total
1 2
0 4
3 3
4 1
1 1
1 0
2 0
1 0
0 0
0 0
2 1
2 1
1 1
1 0
0 1
1 0
0 0
1 1
1 1
1 1
1 0
0 1
1 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0


Pair 2
Hyun Miguel
Total Total
4 1
1 3
1 1
0 2
0 4
1 2
2 3
2 0
2 1
1 2
0 1
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 1
1 1
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
1 0
0 1
0 1
0 1
1 0
0 1
0 0


Pair 3
Roberto Akram
Total Total
2 8
4 1
0 4
2 0
2 1
2 2
0 1
2 2
1 2
1 0
0 0
0 0
0 1
1 1
1 1
0 1
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
1 0









Table 4-4. Academic language functions in the collaborative graphic organizer task
ACADEMIC LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS


Macrofunctions


Informing


Describing


Microfunctions


Asking for information
Giving information
Asking for further information
Giving further information
Asking for a reason
Giving n a reason
Presenting contrary evidence
Predicting
Reporting others' words

Describing a process
Describing characteristics
Describing a location
Comparing/Contrasting
Providing an example
Expressing frequency
Expressing quantity

Asking for clarification
Giving clarification
Asking for confirmation
Giving confirmation

Proposing an idea or plan
Rejecting an idea or a plan
Conceding a point
Emphasizing a point
Presenting an opinion
Agreeing
Disagreeing
Asking for advice
Giving advice
Showing preference


Clarifying


Presenting


192










Table 4-5. Interactional roles during collaborative graphic organizer task
INTERACTIONAL ROLES DURING COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASKS


Roles for starting a task or a
new topic


Roles for continuing a task or
a new topic













Roles for ending a task or a
topic


Initiator Introducing a new topic, a new subtopic, or starting the task
Topic switcher Changing the topic
Proposer Introducing a topic for further conversation

Inquirer Asking questions to further explore the topic
Responder Answering questions without changing the topic
Topic expander Expanding the topic by giving further information than
what the partner has asked
Reorienter Returning to the original topic after discussing a side-topic
Restater Repeating one's words for emphasis or for better
understanding
Corrector Correcting the partner's statements for grammar and
content
Confirmer Providing confirmation for questions from the partner
Clarifier Rephrasing one's words for better understanding
Opposer- Disagreeing with statements and answers
Interrupter- Interrupting the partner's conversations


Finalizer Finishing the task or topic
Bypasser- Not acknowledging partner's comments


193










Table 4-6. Pair 1- Ayumi and Dawud Task structure
EXPLORATION OF TASK STRUCTURE THROUGH
INTERACTIONAL ROLES AND ACADEMIC LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS


INITIATION
TURN

CONTINUATION
TURNS


Interactional
Role
Initiator


Topic expander


Inquirer


Responder

Inquirer

Confirmer


Academic Language
Function
Asking for information,
asking for confirmation

Giving information,
describing characteristic


Asking for further information


Giving information

Asking for confirmation

Giving confirmation


Language

(1) A: How do you get Arabic food?
Arabic store is in Gainesville?

(2) D: In Tampa. There is one in
Tampa. In Tampa, there is an Arab
store, but I haven't been there.

(3) A: But what do you get at the
Arabic store?

(4) D: We buyrice.

(5) A: Rice?

(6) D: Yeah. From Publix or from....


Asking for confirmation


(7) A: But different yeah?


Topic expander

Topic expander


Confirmer


Inquirer


Topic expander


Inquirer

Topic expander




Inquirer

Topic expander


FINALIZATION
TURN


Inquirer

Finalizer


Giving further information,
describing a process
Giving further information


Giving confirmation,
providing an example

Asking for further
information, asking for
confirmation
Giving information,
describing characteristics

Asking for clarification

Giving information,
describing characteristic,
comparing/contrasting


Asking for further information

Giving information

Asking for confirmation

Giving information, showing
preference


(8) D: But if you go to Indian Bazaar.

(9) A: Indian Bazaar, yeah yeah, I
know Indian Bazaar.

(10) D: Similar, in Indian Bazaar,
there is rice, the kind of rice, not the
best but the rice.
(11) A: A little bit different?


(12) D: This kind of rice, we use itin
Saudi Arabia.

(13) A: Huh?

(14) D: This kind of rice in the
bazaar, we use it in Saudi Arabia,
and it's OK There is rice, and it is
called Indian Gait. Indian Gait (.) the
brown this rice.
(15) A: Similar?

(16) D: This one we have the same
in Saudi Arabia.
(17) A: Same? (Laughing)

(18) D: Yeah, butit's not this one I
like.


194


Inquirer










Table 4-7. Pair 2- Hyun and Miguel Task structure
EXPLORATION OF TASK STRUCTURE THROUGH
INTERACTIONAL ROLES AND ACADEMIC LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS


INITIATION
TURN


CONTINUATION
TURNS


FINALIZATION
TURN


Interactional
Role
Initiator


Inquirer

Inquirer/Clarifier

Responder
Inquirer

Topic expander


Topic expander



Topic expander


Inquirer

Confirmer


Finalizer


Academic Language
Function
Asking for information


Asking for clarification

Asking for information,
giving clarification
Giving information
Asking for further
information
Giving further
information, describing
characteristics,
comparing/contrasting


Giving confirmation,
giving further
information

Describing quantities,
describing
characteristics


Asking for confirmation

Giving confirmation


Giving information,
describing,
characteristics,
comparing/contrasting,
describing quantity


Language

(1) M: What religion are you
from?


(2) H: What?

(3) M: (.) What is your
religion?
(4) H: No religion.
(5) M: How about your family?
(.) Do they have a religion?
(6) H: Yeah (.) my family have
religions, but my father's
different (.) my father's
Buddhism and my mother is
Catholic.

(7) M: Yeah, I am Catholic
too.


(8) H: OK, I am going to tell
you, in Korea, the most
religion that people believe is
Catholic and Buddhist, [these
two.

(9) M: Catholic and Buddhist?]

(10) H: Yeah.


(11) M: In my country, there
are other religion, but the
majority, the big religion in my
country is Catholic, maybe
you can find not too much
people from other religion.


195










Table 4-8. Pair 3- Roberto and Akram Task structure

EXPLORATION OF TASK STRUCTURE THROUGH
INTERACTIONAL ROLES AND ACADEMIC LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS


INITIATION
TURN


CONTINUATION
TURNS




























FINALIZATION
TURN


Interactional Role

Initiator



Topic Expander


Inquirer
Topic expander

Inquirer

Topic expander

Inquirer, Topic
switcher


Reorienter



Inquirer

Topic expander




Repharaser

Topic expander

Finalizer


Academic Language
Function
Proposing an idea



Proposing an idea


Asking for conformation
Giving confirmation,
Giving further information
Asking for further
information
Giving further information

Asking for confirmation
Proposing an idea


Giving further information



Asking for confirmation

Giving confirmation,
giving further information,
Describing
characteristics, giving an
example
Giving further information

Giving confirmation

Giving confirmation,
giving information


Language

(1) R: Culture. What can we talk
about? What can we talk about?
Maybe (.) marriage.

(2) A: Marriage (.) in our society (.)
it is separate. Weddings are
separate.
(3) R: Wedding separate?
(4) A: Yes (.) women alone, men
alone.
(5) R: How are they separate?

(6) A: There is a party for women
(.) and there is a party for men.
(7) R: Oh really (.) no party
together? Society (.) it is about
schools and marriage.

(8) A: Wedding, wedding separate
(.) but just the groom come to the
women party.

(9) R: Are they separated?

(10) A: Yeah, just the groom come
to take his wife (.) so he come with
just his father or brother. They pick
up his wife (.) and then "Go home!
Go home!"
(11) R: Wedding separate.

(12) A: Yeah (.) separate.

(13) R: Separate celebrations.


196









Table 4-9. Sample student dialogue with example content words


Ayumi and Dawud
(1) D: We are going to write about your
culture.
(2) A: In Japan (.) religion is not important (.)
it is not important.
(3) D: Yeah, but you have Christians.
(4) A: Yeah yeah, (.) but it is only one percent
we have Christians [in Japan.
(5) D: The majority Buddhist?]
(6) A: Maybe (.) but we are not. We are not
religious. I think Islam is very important for
your country (.) but it is not very important in
Japan.


Content Words
(1) D: Culture

(2) A: Japan, religion,
important
(3) D: Christians
(4) A: Percent, Christians,
Japan
(5) D: Majority, Buddhist
(6) A: Religious, Islam,
important, country, Japan









Table 4-10. Sample student dialogue with example content words
Hyun and Miguel Content Words


(1) M: What religion are you from?

(2) H: What?


(3) M: (.) What is your religion?

(4) H: No religion.

(5) M: How about your family? (.) Do they
have a religion?

(6) H: Yeah my family have religions, but my
father's different (.) my father's Buddhism
and my mother is Catholic.

(7) M: Yeah, I am Catholic too.

(8) H: OK, I am going to tell you, in Korea, the
most religion that people believe is Catholic
and Buddhist, [these two.

(9) M: Catholic and Buddhist?]

(10) H: Yeah.

(11) M: In my country, there are other
religion, but the majority, the big religion in
my country is Catholic, maybe you can find
not too much people from other religion.


(1) M: Religion
(3) M: Religion
(4) H: Religion
(5) M: Family, religion
(6) H: family, religion,
father, different, Buddhism,
mother, Catholic
(7) M: Catholic
(8) H: tell, Korea, religion,
people, believe, Catholic,
Buddhist
(9) M: Catholic, Buddhist
(11) M: Country, religion,
majority, Catholic, find,
people


198









Table 4-11. Sample student dialogue with example content words
Akram and Roberto Content Words
(1) R: Culture. What can we talk about? What (1) R: Culture, marriage
can we talk about? Maybe (.) marriage.
(2) A: Marriage (.) in our society (.) it is (2) A: Marriage, society,
separate. Weddings are separate. separate, wedding
(3) R: Wedding separate? (3) R: Wedding, separate
(4) A: Yes (.) women alone, men alone.
(5) R: How are they separate? (4) A: Women, alone, men
(6) A: There is a party for women (.) and (5) R: Separate
there is a party for men. (6) A: Party, women, men
(7) R: Oh really (.) no party together? Society
(.) it is about schools [and marriage. (7) R: Party, together,
(8) A: Wedding, wedding] separate (.) but just society, schools, marriage
the groom come to the women party. (8) A: Wedding, separate,
(9) R: Are they separated? groom, women, party
(10) A: Yeah, just the groom come to take his (9) R: Separated
wife (.) so he come with just his father or (10) A: Groom, come, take,
brother. They pick up his wife (.) and then wife, father, brother, pick
"Go home! Go home!" up, go, home
(11) R: Wedding separate.
(12) A: Yeah (.) separate. (11) R: Wedding, separate
(13) R: Separate celebrations. (12) A: Separate
(13) R: Separate,
celebrations


199










Table 4-12. Avumi from Pair 1- Written language sample


Written Language Sample
Pair 1 -Ayumi

CHALLENGES OF LIVING IN A DIFFERENT
COUNTRY FOR THE FIRST TIME
Different country has different culture to own
country. So it is difficult that foreign come to the
U.S. and foreigners have to follow the U.S. culture,
habit, and rule. Dawud also had some
uncomfortable thing when he came here. He is
from Saudi Arabia, so they have different language,
transportation, religion, and foods. He has to follow
the U.S. culture until he leaves the U.S. Now he
lives in the U.S. for about three months, so his
feeling is better than he came here soon.
The car is the main transportation in Saudi
Arabia. In Gainesville, however, the car and the
bus are the main transportation. When he came
here soon, he didn't have a car. So, his feeling was
bad because he had to take the bus and had to
wait for the bus. The car is very convenient
because he doesn't need to wait for the bus. And
then he sometimes rented the car.
He felt bad hat he didn't have a car, so he
decided to but a car. But, now the U.S. economic is
bad, so when he bought a car, his dealer was
mean. His dealer went up the car price, because he
is foreigner and he is rich. And then he gave up his
favorite car and he bought a cheap car. He couldn't
discount the car price.
It is difficult that find the Arabic foods.
There aren't many Arabic in Gainesville, so he
couldn't find Arabic foods. Now, he get Arabic
foods in Indian market, because Indian foods and
Arabic foods are similar, and Indian market has
some Arabic foods.
It is difficult that foreigner accept own
country culture and habit in the other country. But
now, in the world is progressing the diversity, so we
who are Japanese and Saudi can enjoy our life
style that are own country life style in the other
country. When we came here soon, we couldn't
accept our life style because we didn't know
anything. We spent more than one month in
Gainesville, so we can accept our life style here. It
is difficult that our lifestyle accept own country life
style, but we can make our country life style in the
other county.


Content words

PARAGRAPH 1: Different, culture, country, difficult,
foreign, come, foreigners, follow, habit, rule,
uncomfortable, come, Saudi Arabia, language,
transportation, religion, food, leave, month, feeling,
soon

PARAGRAPH 2: car, main, transportation, come,
feeling, bad, take, bus, wait, convenient, need, rent

PARAGRAPH 3: Feel, bad, buy, car, economy,
bad, buy, dealer, mean, go up, price, foreigner,
rich, give up, cheap, discount

PARAGRAPH 4: Difficult, find, Arabic, food,
Gainesville, get, Indian, market, similar

PARAGRAPH 5: Difficult, foreigner, accept,
country, culture, habit, world, progress, diversity,
Japanese, Saudi, enjoy, life, style, Soon, accept,
know, spend, month, accept, difficult, county


200










Table 4-13. Dawud from Pair 1- Written language sample


Written Language Sample
Pair 1 -Dawud

MY PARTNER'S CULTURE AND MY CULTURE
This world is rich of various culture. There are
differences in culture between east and west. Each
country has own culture. In fact, I have a friend
from Japan and we talked about our culture. Are
they similar or not. We talked about our culture in
three major: food, clothes, and marriage.
Our first debate is food in our countries.
Rice is important, it is common in both country. In
Saudi Arabia we have rice only on lunch. However,
they have rice in Japan in every meal, even in
breakfast. Food in Saudi Arabia based on rice with
meat or chicken is called Kabsa. There are also
Jeresh, Margog and Gorson. And Saudis do not eat
pork or drink alcohol. Japan, on the other hand, has
a variety of dishes. They use rice almost with every
meal. And they have sushi the most popular dish,
also they have domburi and wasabi. In addition,
Japanese can eat pork and drink alcohol.
We also have different clothes. In Saudi
Aabia, men wear thoub with shomagh. But women
wear black cloth it called Abayah. It's just for
outdoor. However, in Japan, they have kimono. It is
very formal and it is worn by men and women.
Finally, marriage in both countries is
different. In Saudi Arabia, there is no specific age
to get married. Also, Saudis can get married from
any of their relatives except their families. In
addition, men can get married of more than one
women. Otherwise, in Japan, there are specific age
to get married. Guys suppose to be above 18 years
old and girl above 16 years old. Also, in Japan
people related by blood cannot get married.
In the end, there are big differences
between Saudi Arabia and Japan. Our cultures are
different, food, clothes and marriage. I believe that
difference make our live enjoyable.


Content words

PARAGRAPH 1: World, rich, various, culture,
difference, east, west, country, friend, Japan, talk,
similar, major, food, cloth, marriage

PARAGRAPH 2: debate, food, country, rice,
important, common, Saudi Arabia, lunch, Japan,
meal, breakfast, meat, chicken, Kabsa, Jeresh,
Margog, Gorson, eat, pork, drink, alcohol, variety,
dish, sushi, domburi, wasabi

PARAGRAPH 3: Different, clothe, Saudi Arabia,
men, wear, thoub, shomagh, women, black,
abayah, outdoor, Japan, kimono, formal

PARAGRAPH 4: marriage, different, Saudi Arabia,
specific, age, get, married, relatives, family, above,
related, blood

PARAGRAPH 5: Big, difference, Saudi Arabia,
Japan, culture, different, food, clothe, marriage,
believe, make, enjoyable


201










Table 4-14. Hvun from Pair 2- Written language sample


Written Language Sample
Pair 2 Hyun
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
Even though I and my partner Miguel are studying
in same place, eating same food, wearing same
clothes and enjoying same thing, there are many
differences in cultural background between Korea
and Venezuela.
First, our religions differ in main belief in
each country. Majority of Korean usually believe in
Christian, Catholic, and Buddhism. Of course, our
origin religion is Buddhism, but as time passes on,
the rate of people who believe in God has been
increased. And usually Christians go to church,
Catholic go to Cathedral and Buddhists go to the
temple to pray. On the other hadn, almost every
Venezuelan believe in Catholic and they usually go
to church for praying. And also their religion is
Catholic. But Catholic usually go to church to pray
differently from Catholic in Korea. Therefore,
Korean believe in more kinds of religion than
Venzuelan.
Second difference is the main food. In
Korean, we usually cook rice every meal. Rice is
our traditional food and various kinds of dishes are
served with rice such as meat, fish, kimchi, etc.
However, Venezuelan's main food is Arepa, which
is made of corn. When they eat arepa, they cut it in
half and put various sorts of food such as pork,
beef, and vegetable in between each cut. As a
result, we are same when adding many kinds of
food when eating, but our main food is totally
different.
Third, the place of celebration is different. Korean
usually hold a celebration inside like wedding in
wedding hall, concert in concert hall and birthday
party in karaoke. But in Venezuela, they hold
concert, wedding, and every kinds of party at the
beach.
In conclusion, we are doing many common
things as a human, however, there are a lot of
differences in cultural background between Korea
and Venezuela such as religion, main food and
place of celebration. If we accept each cultural
difference, it is going to be helpful for development
of each culture. And as the culture develops, we
can create various kinds of advanced culture.


Content words

PARAGRAPH 1: partner, same, study, place, eat,
food, wear, clothe, enjoy, difference, cultural,
background, Korea, Venezuela

PARAGRAPH 2: religion, differ, main, belief,
country, majority, Korean, believe, Christian,
Catholic, Buddhism, origin religion, pass, rate,
people, God, increase, usually, go, church,
cathedral, temple, pray, almost, differently, kind

PARAGRAPH 3: Difference, main, food, Korean,
usually, cook, rice, meal, traditional, various, kind,
dish, serve, meat, fish, kimchi, Venezuelan, arepa,
make, corn, eat, cut, half, put, various, pork, beef,
vegetable, add, totally

PARAGRAPH 4: Place, celebration, different,
Korean, usually, hold, wedding, hall, concert,
birthday, party, karaoke, Venezuela, beach

PARAGRAPH 5: do, common, thing, human,
difference, cultural, background, Korea, Venezuela,
religion, main, food, place, celebration, accept,
helpful, development, develop, create, various,
kind, advanced


202










Table 4-15. Micuel from Pair 2- Written language sample


Written Language Sample
Pair 2 Miguel
WHEN MY PARTNER CAME TO U.S.
The difficult things for a Korean guy in the United
States. Living outside your country is not easy. For
my partner, it was difficult too, he had problems for
his English, the American food, also, with the
weather.
Everybody know how difficult it is the first
contact with others language. My partners had the
same problems when he came to the United
States, he could not speak and understand when
somebody talked or spoke with him. The
communication problems make you feel lonely in
others country.
Others problems for my partner was the
food. The Asian food, it's very different. As a result
he had food problems, he gain weight. He said the
serving are very biggest than Korea.
Also, the Florida weather is very hot for
him. As you know, we're in summer now. The
summer in Florida is very hot and humidity more
than Korea.
For any partner learn English was difficult,
but learn and living outside your country, it's always
difficult.


Content words

PARAGRAPH 1: Difficult, Korean, guy, United
States, live, outside, country, easy, partner

PARAGRAPH 2: Everybody, know, difficult, first,
contact, language, partner, have, problem, United
States, speak, understand, talk, speak,
communication, problem, make, feel, lonely,
country

PARAGRAPH 3: Other, problem, partner, food,
Asian, different, result, problem, gain, weight,
serve, big, Korea

PARAGRAPH 4: Florida, weather, hot, know,
summer, Florida, humidity, Korea

PARAGRAPH 5: Partner, learn, English, difficult,
learn, live, outside, country, always, difficult


203










Table 4-16. Akram from Pair 3-Written language sample


Written Language Sample Akram

LIVING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Studing overseas could be hard sometimes. It's a
new challenge for everyone who venture this step.
Some people can endure all the defaculties that
occurs. While others cannot. It's usually depend
how much intention and time person has to live
away from everything he knows and used to do
regelurly. One of those is Michael. He is now study
in the United State. There had some problems that
he encountered while studying in the US, the food,
communication with other native speakers and
being away from his family and friends.
Usually food is a major problem that
persons have to deal with while living in a foreign
country, especially if it comes to men, because
men usually don't know how to cook for example,
Michael. He has to cook by himself while doesn't
cook very well. It's a time-consuming, he spend a
lot of time cooking and cleaning after it and that is
taken from his study time.
Maybe the hardest thing anyone could
encounter is communication with other native
speakers. Using different language to speak and
listen sometime is hard especially when doing
important things like asking for information, things
that deal with money, housing and immigration
regulations. Sometime Michael can't express his
feeling well or what he wants. He gets frustrated
when they (native speakers) don't understand him.
It's really tough but as a result, he is learning by the
time goes by.
Being away from family and friends is
always the biggest challenge anyone may have to
deal with. Missing your beloved once and your
backlade could be difficult. Therefore, a person has
to learn how to depend on himself, which is a good
thing. In Michael's case, he misses hanging out
with family and friends. As a consequence, he has
to meet with new people and friends.
In conclusion, living outside of your
comfort zone is something that everybody have to
experience it. Dispite its defecalties, but is comes
back to the person with great benefits, as a result
of his hard life.


Content words

PARAGRAPH 1: Study, overseas, hard, new,
challenge, venture, step, people, endure,
difficulties, occur, usually, depend, intention, live,
know, be used to, regularly, problems, encounter,
food, communication, native, speakers, family,
friends

PARAGRAPH 2: Usually, food, major, problem,
person, deal with, live, foreign, country, especially,
men, know, cook, time-consuming, spend, clean,
study, time

PARAGRAPH 3: Maybe, hard, encounter,
communication, native, speakers, use, different,
language, speak, listen, especially, important, ask,
information, deal, money, housing, immigration,
regulation, express, feeling, want, frustrated,
understand, tough, learn

PARAGRAPH 4: Away, family, friend, big,
challenge, deal, miss, beloved, background,
person, learn, depend, good, hang out,
consequence, meet, new, people

PARAGRAPH 5: Live, comfort, zone, experience,
despite, difficulty, come back, great, benefits,
result, hard


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Table 4-17. Roberto from Pair 3- Written language sample


Written Language Sample Roberto

CHALLENGES OF LIVING IN A DIFFERENT
COUNTRY
Going abroad to study, work, and to live can be
hard sometimes at begin or during the first month,
but as a result of be strong and keeping in the new
country can be successful and get a new and better
life. In the case of my partner, he has to get used to
somethings like to cook, get used to transportation
and get used to the weather.
He doesn't know how to cook, as a
consequence of that, he has to buy fast food or eat
only eggs at home.
The second thing is he doesn't have a car,
consequently, he depend on the bus to go any
where and the bus schedule is not good at all. He
has to wait for long period to go out at night and
weekend.
The third thing is the weather, he is get
used to the hot weather, but in Gainesville, very
cold sometimes, and it is hard for him to go out,
because in his country there is only one season all
year, hot.
My partner wants to study at UF, but first
he is getting used to three important things and
then finally he can be very happy and glad of to be
in Gainesville.


Content words

PARAGRAPH 1: Go, abroad, study, work, live,
hard, begin, month, result, strong, keep, new,
country, successful, get, new, better, life, case,
partner, have, get, use, cook, transportation,
weather

PARAGRAPH 2: Know, cook, consequence, have,
buy, fast, food, eat, eggs, home

PARAGRAPH 3: Thing, have, car, depend on, bus,
schedule, good, wait, for, long, period, go, night,
weekend

PARAGRAPH 4: Weather, get, used to, hot,
weather, Gainesville, very, cold, sometimes, hard,
go, country, season, year

PARAGRAPH 5: Partner, want, study, get, used to,
important, happy, glad, be Gainesville


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Table 4-18. Length of students' conversations


PAIR 1: AYUMI AND DAWUD

1) A: Marriage.
(2) D: What (.) marriage?
(3) A: Yeah, it is one guy one girl, but in your
country it is one guy and [it's many women.
(4) D: Yeah one guy.] What? I didn't understand you
(.) what did you want to ask me?
(5) A: In your country one guy have many wives.
(6) D: The law allow to have.
(7) A: And the law so you can marry many?
(8) D: You can marry four (.) just four.
9) A: But most people are like that?
(10) D: But if he is able to give every woman the
same (.) if he able to. If he is able to offer life for
woman (.) the same house the same everything (.) if
he is able to do that, he can get married (.) if he
doesn't able, he cant get married (.) just one.
(11) A: It is the law decide the age also? [Until
eighty?
(12) D: No until whatever.] If you are age one
hundred years old (.) you can get married, no
problem.
(13) A: It is the same in my country also.
(14) D: So what we have to talk about (.) who pay
money for wedding?
(15) A: Wedding?
(16) D: How can they get married? This is very
important.
(17) A: Just go to Law office (.) and paper and write
down and then marry. Of course some people have
wedding party (.) but some people just marry
without wedding party. Everyone have wedding
party?
(18) D: Most of them.
(19) A: We don't have religion, so some people
have wedding party (.) but they are not Christian.
(20) D: But I mean if they have wedding party (.)
who will pay? Who is going to pay? Both?
(21) A: Yeah yeah yeah both, parents, [some people
by themselves.
(22) D: Because] in my country the groom (.) the
man pay for everything and pay for wedding
everything (.) that's why I am asking you. I think we
have to change this because it is difficult.
(23) A: Easy.
(24) D: Yeah, easy for you but difficult for me.


PAIR 2: HYUN AND MIGUEL

(1) M: What religion are you
from?
(2) H: What?
(3) M: (.) What is your religion?
(4) H: No religion.
(5) M: How about your family?
(.) Do they have a religion?
(6) H: Yeah (.) my family have
religions (.) but my father's
different (.) my father's
Buddhism and my mother is
Catholic.
(7) M: Yeah (.) I am Catholic
too.
(8) H: OK, I am going to tell you
(.) in Korea (.) the most religion
that people believe is Catholic
and Buddhist, [these two.
(9) M: Catholic and Buddhist?]
(10) H: Yeah.
(11) M: In my country (.) there
are other religion, but the
majority, the big religion in my
country is Catholic (.) maybe
you can find not too much
people from other religion.


PAIR 3: ROBERTO AND
AKRAM
(1) R: Culture. What can
we talk about? What can
we talk about? Maybe (.)
marriage.
(2) A: Marriage (.) in our
society (.) it is separate.
Weddings are separate.
(3) R: Wedding separate?
(4) A: Yes (.) women
alone, men alone.
(5) R: How are they
separate?
(6) A: There is a party for
women (.) and there is a
party for men.
(7) R: Oh really (.) no
party together? Society (.)
it is about schools and
marriage.
(8) A: Wedding, wedding
separate (.) but just the
groom come to the women
party.
(9) R: Are they separated?
(10) A: Yeah, just the
groom come to take his
wife (.) so he come with
just his father or brother.
They pick up his wife (.)
and then "Go home! Go
home!"
(11) R: Wedding separate.
(12) A: Yeah (.) separate.
(13) R: Separate
celebrations.


206













PAIR 1 AYUMI AND DAWUD


MAIN TOPIC: CULTURE


SUBTOPIC: MARRIAGE


JAPAN LEVELS SAUDI
ARABIA
Monogamy LEVEL 1 Polygamy
Style of
marriage
After 16 LEVEL 2 No age
Age limit
Optional LEVEL 3 Almost
Wedding always
Ceremon
y
Parents or LEVEL 4 Always
bride and Who groom
groom paysfor
together wedding
expenses


PAIR 2 HYUN AND MIGUEL


PAIR 3 ROBERTO AND AKRAM


MAIN TOPIC: CULTURE


SUBTOPIC: MARRIAGE


COLOMBIA LEVELS SAUDI
ARABIA
Together LEVEL 1 Separate
Wedding
Ceremony


Figure 4-1. Conceptual depth of subtopics in students' conversations


207


MAIN TOPIC: CULTURE


SUBTOPIC: RELIGION


KOREA LEVELS VENEZUELA

Majority LEVEL 1 Majority
Catholic Types of Catholic
and religion
Buddhist
Father LEVEL 2 Catholic
Buddhist Parents' parents
-Mother religion
Catholic








COLLABORHAIlE ACTIVITY III- COMPA ION4 CONMi1ST TEXTS
STEP I TET SIFRI lTilR AIMAt[ Wthl r prnerj fill talt inOwlrogtlJdPeri~ In erli im il IIh, n bll ral tr let en hLw n r Atinal aiagrq ndr A r
pYrrumtRlblIPIurl, *;E(IMial ieIlia sinraen thUalTaUA BAiCnfsiUnDt hfil PARTNtRhlid at RleBAKraeRUlN.)
YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND YOUR PARTNER'S CULTURAL BACKGROUND

I* )


Figure 4-2. Sample graphic organizers Comparison/Contrast


J EFFECTIRESULT I

LIVING IN A DIFFELNT COUNTRYr/NTHE USA FOR THE FIRST TME CAN BE CHALLENGING.


+


i


-K%

+.

i1.V ; i
i \rT / *I r'


4- -
5. ^-J^C. : >


Figure 4-3. Sample graphic organizers Cause and Effect


208


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Tl$riy













Table 4-19. Sample student writing Comparison/Contrast
ESSAY TITLE:
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN SAUDI ARABIA AND JAPAN

This world is rich of various culture. There are differences in culture between east and west. Each country
has own culture. In fact, I have a friend from Japan and we talked about our culture. Are they similar or
not. We talked about our culture in three major: food, clothes, and marriage.
Our first debate is food in our countries. Rice is important, it is common in both country. In Saudi
Arabia we have rice only on lunch. However, they have rice in Japan in every meal, even in breakfast.
Food in Saudi Arabia based on rice with meat or chicken is called Kabsa. There are also Jeresh, Margog
and Gorson. And Saudis do not eat pork or drink alcohol. Japan, on the other hadn, has a variety of
dishes. They use rice almost with every meal. And they have sushi the most popular dish, also they have
domburi and wasabi. In addition, Japanese can eat pork and drink alcohol.
We also have different clothes. In Saudi Aabia, men wear thoub with shomagh. But women wear
black cloth it called Abayah. It's just for outdoor. However, in Japan, they have kimono. It is very formal
and it is worn by men and women.
Finally, marriage in both countries is different. In Saudi Arabia, there is no specific age to get
married. Also, Saudis can get married from any of their relatives except their families. In addition, men
can get married of more than one women. Otherwise, in Japan, there are specific age to get married.
Guys suppose to be above 18 years old and girl above 16 years old. Also, in Japan people related by
blood cannot get married.
In the end, there are big differences between Saudi Arabia and Japan. Our cultures are different,
food, clothes and marriage. I believe that difference make our live enjoyable.



Table 4-20. Sample student writing Cause and Effect
ESSAY TITLE:
WHEN MY PARTNER CAME TO U.S.
The difficult things for a Korean guy in the United States. Living outside your country is not easy. For my
partner, it was difficult too, he had problems for his English, the American food, also, with the weather.
Everybody know how difficult it is the first contact with others language. My partners had the
same problems when he came to the United States, he could not speak and understand when somebody
talked or spoke with him. The communication problems make you feel lonely in others country.
Others problems for my partner was the food. The Asian food, it's very different. As a result he
had food problems, he gain weight. He said the serving are very biggest than Korea.
Also, the Florida weather is very hot for him. As you know, we're in summer now. The summer in
Florida is very hot and humidity more than Korea.
For any partner learn English was difficult, but learn and living outside your country, it's always
difficult.


209









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION OF RESULTS

The development of academic language is critical for ELLs' success at school, and

instructional activities such as the collaborative graphic organizer task that promote

opportunities for academic language use should be analyzed. This study examines

ELLs' academic language use from the perspective of sociocultural theory as they

participate in a collaborative graphic organizer task. It also examines students'

perspectives on the task. Three pairs of adult ELLs from different cultural and linguistic

backgrounds participated in conversational exchanges in a collaborative graphic

organizer task. The study focuses on the types of linguistic, conceptual, and strategic

support these students provided for one another and on the sociocultural nature of the

academic language used during their interactions.

In this study, the researcher analyzed the structure of the graphic organizer task

as a social event and identified the linguistic functions and student roles during the task.

The researcher aimed to understand the collaborative nature of the graphic organizer

task as a potential instructional tool that may facilitate language scaffolding. The

researcher examined the discourse data gathered from students' interactions during the

collaborative graphic organizer task to understand how the ELLs used academic

language to complete the task. The researcher analyzed the data based on semiotic,

sociocultural, and task structure aspects of academic discourse with a focus on the

macro and micro level tools, such as students' social roles and interactional motives

during the task as well as the grammatical structure, indicators of content density, and

transitional discourse markers (Gee, 2005).


210









Sociocultural Aspects of Students' Interactions

The researcher explored the sociocultural nature of dialogic interactions as the

task was constructed by each pair. Gee's (2005) sociocultural and activity aspects of

discourse (p. 85) helped illuminate the opportunities generated by the task that are

conducive to language use and that potentially support language development.

According to the findings of this study, each pair constructed a different sociocultural

context in which they engaged in the collaborative graphic organizer task in different

ways. Instead of following the task instructions verbatim, learners established their own

strategies for conducting the task and engaged in the task activity in varying ways (Platt

& Brooks, 2002). Partners transformed the task as well as the social organization of

their interactions as they continuously renegotiated their relationship after each turn

(Wells, 1999). For instance, one pair discussed fewer topics at greater length while the

other two pairs discussed multiple topics without delving deeply into any of them. In Pair

1, Ayumi, who often assumed the role of Inquirer, was able to explore topics in depth

with Dawud who was willing to carry out the roles of Responder and Topic Expander. In

Pair 3, Akram often assumed the role of Inquirer, but Roberto was a quiet student who

did not readily assume the Topic Expander role, so that pair's discussion of topics

typically remained at a surface level. In Pair 2, neither Miguel nor Hyun took on the role

of Inquirer, so that pair frequently switched topics and failed to explore topics sufficiently

to complete the final writing task with specific information on the designated topics.

Successful Communication Patterns and Collaboration

Student discourse and observational data from this study revealed that student

participation in the collaborative graphic organizer task was influenced by individual

roles and interactional styles. According to the results of a study by Watanabe and


211









Swain (2007), collaborative patterns of interaction increased students' test scores.

Similarly, the researcher found that the pairs with collaborative interactional styles were

able to achieve extended language use for both themselves and their partners in

comparison to those pairs with less collaborative interactional styles. Sociocultural

theorists in second language studies have argued that not all group work is conducive

for language use (Platt & Brooks, 2002). The collaborative graphic organizer task in this

study provided opportunities for extended language use. In an effort to identify how

such increased language use may be achieved in other collaborative tasks with graphic

organizers, the researcher suggests that teachers pay attention to students'

interactional styles when pairing their students.

Although students' roles and communication styles are constructed in the context

of their social interactions, students' personality differences and background experiences

also contribute. However, generalizations based on a student's ethnicity or cultural

membership can be misleading when applied to an individual student. For example,

because Saudi Arabia is a male-dominated society, Saudi men might be expected to

assume a dominant conversational role. However, Dawud did not lead the conversations

with his partner Ayumi, a young Japanese woman. In fact, Ayumi was the Topic Shifter,

leading throughout the task with questions in spite of the fact that her spoken English

proficiency was much lower than Dawud's. If she had allowed her English language

skills to diminish her communicative confidence, or if she'd had a less collaborative

attitude or a different interactional style, Dawud may have dominated the task. Instead,

Ayumi directed the discussion and used a questioning strategy to limit Dawud's tendency

to extend his turns with additional information. In this study as in Watanabe (2008) and


212









in Storch (2002), the interaction patterns formed among partners had an important effect

on successful peer assistance in the collaborative task.

Collaborative dialogue provides opportunities for English language learners to

use language, and collaborative tasks at school can help ELLs improve their academic

language skills (Gibbons, 2002; Gibbons 2009). The sociocultural nature of

communication allows students to better understand each other through questions,

clarifications, and counter questions as they construct and share meanings together

(Markee, 2004). However, collaborative tasks vary in terms of their success in achieving

increased language use (Platt & Brooks, 2002). According to the findings from this study,

the structure of the task and the open-endedness of the conversational topics allowed

continuous interaction and mutual construction of new meanings as each partner

explored aspects of a new culture. When both partners assumed the roles of Inquirer,

Responder, Topic Expander, the conversations consisted of multiple exchanges and

smooth transitions. In the follow-up interview, Dawud indicated that thanks to this task,

he had learned much about his partner and his partner's cultural background. There may

be a possible connection between partners' bonding and task engagement and

recommends further research on pair bonding as a construct in task engagement.

According to Platt & Brooks (2002), task engagement is an important factor in achieving

successful learning outcomes when designing collaborative tasks for second language

learners.

Analysis of the student discourse during participation in the collaborative graphic

organizer task, supported by the researchers' field notes from observations of students'

conversations, revealed that although the three student pairs collaborated at varying


213









degrees and in different ways, the graphic organizer successfully served as a tool to

encourage communication. For instance, when the topic focused on differences

between their cultural experiences, each partner was required to interview the other to

find out about these differences. Similarly, when the topic centered on difficulties

students experienced when living in a new culture for the first time, pairs had to

interview each other in order to fill out the (cause-effect) graphic organizer on this topic,

Research by Veronis and Gass (2002) found that students from similar cultural

backgrounds interacted more in the second language than students from different

backgrounds, presumably because of their shared background. Contrary to that finding,

evidence from the current study indicates that the information gap between partners

likely contributed to the successful continuous interaction between partners., In addition,

the discussion topics may have been a factor in the high level of task engagement.

Because the students were conceptually familiar with the main topics, they were able to

ask relevant questions and provide specific examples and explanations in response to

their partners' questions. ELLs may be particularly sensitive to the effects of topic

familiarity on their ability to label new concepts and elaborate on experiences in a

second language.

According to other research on interaction and collaboration in language learning

(Brooks, 2009; Clark & Clark, 2008; Platt & Brooks, 2002), not all collaborative tasks

produce opportunities for interaction. The collaborative graphic organizer tasks used in

this study were designed to require that pairs interview each other in order to complete

the final (writing) stage of the tasks. As a result, these tasks meet Kagan's (1992) two

essential criteria for true cooperative learning activities: positive interdependence and


214









individual accountability. Cooperative activities intended to increase student interaction

may not succeed unless each participant is required to contribute to a shared outcome.

Structuring students' active participation in collaborative activities is especially important

for ELLs because many ELLs prefer to remain passive and silent in groups due in part

to their limited communication skills in the second language.

Although this collaborative task was uniformly structured for all three pairs, the

partners shaped each task in their own ways and took on their own roles in the unique

sociocultural settings that each pair co-constructed. As a result, each task assumed a

new form depending on how the student partners interacted and made the task their

own. From a semiotic and sociocultural perspective, students appeared to create a new

culture within the macroculture of the classroom, and the sociocultural features of the

new environment were reflected in their interactions. Each pair differed in the ways they

initiated and continued the task, and each partner used different language and assumed

different roles during their interactions.

Although collaborative task design is important, the structure of a task may not

guarantee its success because of the diversity in learners' reconstructions of the activity

and based on their own unique ways of relating to each other.. Teachers need to

consider the sociocultural contexts that group members create during classroom tasks

and incorporate this awareness into their planning (Brooks, 2009; Clark & Clark, 2008;

Platt & Brooks, 2006; Zuengler & Miller, 2006). For example, two non-collaborative

partners may be unable to engage successfully in a task. Similarly, a hesitant partner

may not work well with an argumentative partner who disagrees with or rejects their

suggestions. Therefore, pairing students who have a non-collaborative or hesitant


215









interactional style with students who are more collaborative may support their task

participation and interaction. In addition, hesitant students may be scaffolded into

collaborative work by a partner who has a more collaborative interactional style.

Scaffolding Opportunities and Types of Scaffolding

A number of researchers have argued that both first and second language

acquisition occurs through dialogue where the learners acquire the necessary

knowledge through interaction and collaborative meaning making (Donato, 1994, Foster

& Ohta, 2005; Vygotsky, 1978). In this study, ELL student dialogue produced in the

context of a collaborative graphic organizer task was explored from a sociocultural

perspective. Scaffolding opportunities in the task were explored through the activity

aspect with a focus on how partners may be helping each other in terms of continuing

the task and a discourse analysis applied macro level tools such as interactional roles

and instances of linguistic, conceptual, and strategic scaffolding.

The collaborative graphic organizer task was designed to help ELLs transition

from collaborative verbal language production through spoken English to independent

language production through academic writing. In the dialogues between partners,

instances of scaffolding with potential for language development were observed,

although the benefits of such language scaffolding were not formally assessed within

the short duration of the study. In a study by Brooks (2009), qualitative analysis of

students' conversations indicate that when students were conversing with each other in

a collaborative dialogue format of testing, they produced more interaction and more

complex language than in testing in which students could only interact with the

examiners. Similarly, interactions between paired partners are full of examples of


216









academic vocabulary and concepts with intricate language structures as ELLs interact

in academic English.

According to Gibbons (2002, 2009), interacting in English through academic

tasks gives students an opportunity to use the English language for academic purposes.

Similarly, during the collaborative graphic organizer task, students were able to use the

English language and scaffold each other collectively in different aspects for linguistic

support, conceptual support, and strategic support. For example, they asked each other

questions and provided further information about the topics. As they were interacting,

they responded to each other's language use with implicit forms of feedback related

with language, possibly indicating their awareness of their partner's language use. They

also shared their experiences using explanations and examples, which helped extend

their knowledge about one another's cultural background, which extended the amount

of their interactions and helped them carry out the task through different strategies by

initiating, maintaining, and completing the task with necessary amount of information to

be able to write an essay.

According to the results of a study by Watanabe (2008), the interaction patterns

that language learners constructed collaboratively during problem solving tasks were

more influential in their second language development than their pairing with higher or

lower English proficiency peers. In the current study, ELLs with roughly the same levels

of English proficiency provided scaffolding opportunities for each other. As with

Watanabe's (2008) findings, students' interactional styles enabled their linguistic,

conceptual, and activity support for other students and were key to their extended

interactions in the collaborative graphic organizer task.


217









Linguistic Scaffolding

In her earlier work, Ohta (2001) noted that ELLs have different strengths and

weaknesses, and such differences exist even among learners at the same general level

of English proficiency. Therefore, pairing students with different levels of English ability

(e.g., "high" and "low" proficiency) will not guarantee that language support will be

provided by more proficient students to their less proficient peers. Unlike native

speakers of English who draw upon a common base of lexical and syntactic resources

in English, ELLs vary in terms of their vocabulary knowledge and grammatical

competence in English. For instance, due to different experiences and levels of

exposure to specific vocabulary, a highly proficient ELL may not know certain words that

another student with a lower level of English proficiency does know. A student who

excels in writing in English may not be able to perform as well in speaking, while

another student who speaks English fluently in social contexts may fail to apply this

ability in more formal writing tasks. The findings of this study indicate that in

collaborative activities ELLs draw on their unique repertoires of linguistic resources to

provide scaffolding for each other.

According to Foster and Ohta (2005), if ELLs are able to communicate

successfully with each other and if their interactions take place in a supportive

environment, learners will not focus on linguistic form. The researcher's field notes

based on observations of task interactions as well as samples of student discourse

reveal that although participants did not focus explicitly on language forms, they did

seem to be aware of the language forms used by their partners, and they did provide

them with scaffolding in the form of indirect feedback.


218









Scaffolding opportunities provide partners with feedback on their English

language use and can help ELLs develop academic English skills (Donato, 1994; Foster

& Ohta, 2005; Gibbons, 2009; Watanabe & Swain, 2008). For example, after Ayumi

used the word automatical, Dawud used the correct form of the word in recasting his

partner's sentence as a confirmation check. Also, when Ayumi used the verb phrase to

across the street, Dawud indirectly corrected Ayumi's error by using the correct form of

the verb to cross the street. In these and other instances in which Dawud assumed the

roles of Clarifier and Inquirer, he provided lexical and structural scaffolding for his

partner, During their participation in the collaborative graphic organizer task, all three

pairs provided scaffolding in the form of indirect feedback on the formal and functional

features of their partners' language production and task performance.

Conceptual Scaffolding

Pair members in the study gave each other help in extending their understanding

of concepts that they discussed during the task. Such attempts of furthering partners'

understanding of concepts may indicate that collaborative work among English language

learners may provide opportunities not only for interaction but also for comprehension

(Echevarria et al., 2004; Foster & Ohta, 2005; Gibbons, 2009; Platt & Brooks, 2002;

Watanabe & Swain, 2007).

When Ayumi attempted to change the topic abruptly, Dawud insisted on

continuing their discussion of the same topic, possibly to clear up his partner's confusion

and reinforce her understanding of the concepts he had been explaining. Dawud

pursued this goal through the Clarifier role, rephrasing Ayumi's statements and

prompting her to ask further questions about the subtopic. In a number of similar

instances, students were able to provide conceptual scaffolding for one another with the


219









apparent goal of improving their partner's understanding of a specific point or an

example.

Strategic Scaffolding

Pairs also supported one another in completing the task through the different

interactional roles assumed by students. Task engagement is an important factor in

successful collaborative work with increased language use opportunities (Platt & Brooks,

2002; Watanabe & Swain, 2007), and participants in this study kept each other engaged

and focused on the task through different strategies of their own. For instance, when one

partner veered off topic, the other pointed out that they needed to remain focused on the

topic to complete the task. Partners asked each other for further information about the

subtopics, which extended the opportunities for collaborative dialogue. Partners in each

pair covered a variety of different subtopics by asking each other different questions to

be able to have enough information to write about their partner.

According to Kowal and Swain (1994), ELL student pairs with large differences in

their English language proficiency levels resulted in decreased levels of collaboration.

Kowal and Swain observed that in such pairs, stronger students dominated the task

while weaker students remained passive, reportedly due to their concern about making

errors in English. In this study, participants' use of their own strategies kept the partners

focused on the task, and they were able to help each other use the English language

extensively. Students with less collaborative style were mostly initiated into conversing

more with the help of a more collaborative partner. For example, Hyun, although he had

a less collaborative interactional style, did not remain quiet because Miguel kept asking

him questions in order to be able to retrieve all the information that he needs from Hyun

to be able to write his essay. Therefore, Miguel's role as Inquirer was also a strategic


220









asset for successful completion of the task, and the partners were able to meet the

fundamental goal of the task: increasing interaction and language use among English

language learners.

Linguistic Complexity of Interactions

Students' choice of vocabulary and sentence structures during the task shed light

on the nature of language that ELLs use in order to communicate about the topic, the

graphic organizer, and the task. According to the interaction data from the study, the

students fully explored the topics within the limited amount of time allocated to complete

the task. They used familiar discourse connectors such as because, so, but, and they

performed a variety of academic language functions expressed in multiple linguistic

forms for each.

Academic language functions play an important role in students' academic

language development (Chamot & O'Malley, 2002), and students must acquire and

control the structural complexity and lexical specificity of academic language (Cummins,

2007; Meyer, 2000). As Echevarria et al. (2004) mention, ELLs may only able to

achieve this level of linguistic development by participating in the language of school.

This study showed that the collaborative graphic organizer activity has a strong potential

to provide opportunities for ELLs to use academic language with their peers as part of

the conversations that take place when they are completing the activity.

Furthermore, similar to the findings in the study by Ohta and Foster (2005), the

nature of the task allowed students to engage in dialogues and provide one another with

implicit linguistic support when necessary. The content emphasis of the task may have

given them more opportunities to focus on meaning rather than on task structure in

which students get immediate feedback on errors that interfere with communication


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(Lee, 2008). In the interaction data the students used a large array of academic

vocabulary at varying levels of lexical complexity as well as both simple and complex

sentence structures with different types of logical discourse connectors. Their

conversations typically lacked the types of filler expressions that native speakers of

English use, such as kind of, sort of, I mean, you know. Rather, the nature of the

conversations were academic and task-oriented, centering around the goal of

completing the graphic organizer collaboratively in order to complete the independent

written essay, which was the final step of the task, and in this step, the teacher asked

students to write an essay about a topic that was thematically related to the text they

had read in the textbook prior to the collaborative graphic organizer task.

Students' Perspectives on Graphic Organizers and Collaborative Graphic
Organizer Task

According to the student interview data, the collaborative graphic organizer task

may have the potential to assist language learners in improving their English language

skills. Thematic categories were generated by coding the transcripts of students'

responses to interview questions, and these categories helped the researcher explore

students' perspectives on the collaborative graphic organizer task. Through the interview

questions, students were prompted to think metacognitively about the collaborative

graphic organizer task as a language learning strategy. The students agreed that both

working with the graphic organizers and working collaboratively helped them with their

second language learning. They found the topics interesting because they were

exploring each other's cultural background when improving their academic language

skills. However, because the course was a reading/writing class, the students focused

on the benefits of the graphic organizers and of collaboration for their writing and reading


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skills. In line with other studies on the use of graphic organizers for language teaching

(Tang, 1992) and content learning (Novak & Govin, 1984; Olinghouse & Graham, 2009;

Ostwald, 1996; Roth & Roychoudhury, 1994; Ryve, 2004; van Boxtel, van der Linden,

Roelofs, & Erkens, 2002) the interviews results indicated that students held positive

views of the value of the collaborative graphic organizer task.

The teacher's perspectives were not explored formally, but the teacher

commented in informal conversations during the study that the students who participated

in this study were able to move more quickly from paragraph writing to essay writing than

the students in previous semesters. She explained that students were typically able to

understand the structure of a paragraph, but they found it much more difficult to apply

the same knowledge in writing an essay. She commented that the graphic organizers

provided a visual tool for students to see the conceptual layout of an essay and helped

them understand how ideas could be developed into paragraphs, and paragraphs into a

full-bodied essay.


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CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION AND EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS

This study explored the interactions among English language learners who were

participating in a collaborative graphic organizer task. The collaborative graphic

organizer task created opportunities for language use and different types of scaffolding.

The interactions between partners during the task involved multiple language functions,

which helped the researcher identify the types of scaffolding opportunities, interactional

roles, and interactional styles. During the collaborative graphic organizer task, partners

did comprehension checks to see if their partner was able to understand the topic.

Partner were able to seek clarification or further explore topics by asking specific

questions that they may not have been able to ask during other forms of collaborative

classroom tasks or whole-class discussion. This study may help teachers of ELLs as

well as second language researchers design collaborative tasks with graphic organizers

as instructional tools that can be used for facilitating language use.

Information Gap in Collaborative Activities

A key feature of the collaborative graphic organizer task was paired interaction in

order to exchange personal information. The task was designed to create opportunities

for conversation in English as partners interviewed each other. Both students needed to

ask each other questions in order to be able to gather sufficient information to complete

the independent assignment to write an essay. For educators to use collaborative

graphic organizer tasks successfully in other contexts, it may be necessary to design

collaborative activities involving graphic organizers in such a way that students find the

topics interesting and learn about them as they complete the task. In the current study,

such collaborative conversations may not have occurred if there had not been an


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information gap between partners because information gap activities tend to allow more

opportunities for increased language use and participation (Platt & Brooks, 2002; Walz,

2008). Collaborative tasks, as with cooperative learning activities, may not be truly

collaborative if they fail to require participation from all members of the group (Kagan,

1992). Therefore, integrating information gap features with collaborative tasks can

generate both the opportunity and the motivation for learners to communicate to learn

and to use their developing language skills simultaneously (Platt & Brooks, 2002; Walz,

2008).

Focus on Meaning

Analysis of the task interaction data revealed that students frequently

paraphrased their partners' and their own statements and questions in their attempts to

communicate. They clarified meaning by providing further examples, alternative

explanations, and more detailed descriptions. There was, however, very little evidence

that they focused on the form and accuracy of their language, and there were no

instances of talk about their language use (Leese, 2004), as in the following example by

Swain and Lapkin (2002, p. 292):

Gou: [.. .] diminish, deplete like decreased? But not decreased.

Jun: Reduced?

Gou: Reduced, yes. [.. .]

The data did reflect occasional attempts to correct errors implicitly by

paraphrasing and modeling the correct form of a word or grammatical structure, but

these attempts did not interfere with the flow of the conversations. According to Foster

and Ohta (2005), a possible reason for the absence of explicit correction may be the

partners' ability to understand each other in spite of their errors, or because they


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preferred to avoid "discouraging detours from the subject of the interaction" (p. 425).

The collaborative graphic organizer task did not require students to pay attention to the

accuracy of language forms. Similar to the results in Ohta's study, the paired partners in

this study communicated with each other in the target language by sharing meanings

and continuing their conversations with minimum communication breakdowns and

maximum language production.

Focus on Language Use

According to the interaction data collected during the collaborative graphic

organizer task, students used a broad range of academic language functions. They did

not, however, use the types of common colloquial expressions such as "Exactly!,

Absolutely!, Not necessarily." or fillers that native English speakers typically use when

performing these language functions such as "Kind of, you know what I mean, well."

Furthermore, the data revealed that students did not use a wide range of discourse

markers reflecting the knowledge structures targeted by the graphic organizer task (i.e.

cause/effect, comparison/contrast). For instance, they used "because" as opposed to

"therefore" or they used "but" instead of "on the other hand."

Teachers can use collaborative graphic organizer tasks as alternative assessment

tools in order to determine what aspects of English students need to improve in order to

participate in academic discussions and debates and complete the written work required

in school. Teachers can also use collaborative graphic organizer activities to

individualize instruction for ELLs and provide the structured opportunities that students

need to develop the complex academic language of school (Cazden, 2001; Echevarria,

Vogt, & Short, 2004; Meyer, 2000).


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Stress Free Classroom Environment

The classroom in which this task took place was a low-stress environment where the

students were motivated by the instruction and were not expected to speak English

perfectly or to monitor each other's errors. In order to provide a stress-free language

learning environment in which students can interact and use English, teachers should

design instructional activities that focus on meaningful language use and that

deemphasize error correction. The lack of explicit focus on accuracy should not be

interpreted as a lack of opportunity for language development. Foster and Ohta (2005)

list the following task components that promote second language development: a desire

to express oneself, a supportive listener, and a friendly, low-risk environment in which to

monitor one's own output. Students can also provide their peers with implicit language

support, and teachers can paraphrase student language forms and model correct

language use in the context of conversations.

Students may not initially attend to language modeling; however, a positive

learning environment that provides rich exposure to comprehensible but authentic

language, instructional tasks that structure authentic language use, and scaffolded

language support over time can help ELLs develop academic language skills in English.

Open-Ended Tasks and Topics

In the collaborative graphic organizer task in this study, students were held

accountable for completing a specific, prescribed task, but they had the opportunity to

shape the task and the topics according to their interests and needs. Allowing students

to select topics that are relevant to them and to co-construct tasks in their own ways can

create extended opportunities for learner engagement, interaction, and learning

(Brooks, 2009; Coughlin & Doug, 1996; Gibbons, 2002).


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Analyzing the structure of the collaborative graphic organizer task can help us

understand how each pair participated in the task in their own style that they co-

constructed during the task. According to the results from a task-based second

language acquisition study by Platt and Brooks (2002), in spite of the given explicit

instructions, the way language learners restructured the communicative task differed

among groups. The instructions do provide a certain plan to follow to be able to

accomplish the end-goals of the task, but similar to the results of the study by Platt and

Brooks, the structure of each task was different in each pair. The partners were not

given a list of roles they needed to play out, and the structure of the task is in close

connection with the structure of the task. For instance, the person who is the initiator of

the task is usually the person who also takes over the role of asking questions or topic

expanders. Topic expanders usually suggest a topic in the form of a statement, and

inquirers usually pose a question to get the task started. Also, pairs have different ways

of continuing the task, such as raising questions, presenting ideas, giving examples,

and at time presenting contrary examples or disagreeing with the partner, etc. As

sociocultural theory explains (Donato, 1994; Zuengler & Miller, 2006), language learning

is an interactive process where individuals interact to share meanings together, and

each language event is shaped by the members who gather together to participate in

that event to be able to communicate messages. Looking at how each pair applies the

task can help us understand how the pairs interpret the task in their own way and make

it their own.

Interactional Roles and Styles

Interaction among students is facilitated if collaborative tasks are designed so

that all members of the group assume active roles (Kagan, 1992). Roles for student


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participation may be predetermined and assigned to individual learners in systematic

ways for specific purposes, as with the reading strategy roles used in Reciprocal

Teaching groups (Palincsar & Brown, 1984). Interactional roles for discussion tasks are

more variable and can be more flexible, as with the roles assumed by students

participating in paired or group discussions. Interactional roles can be used for

instructional purposes or for research purposes (Bloome, et al., 2005; Kagan, 1992;

Platt & Brooks, 2002; Storch, 2002). In this study the construct of interactional roles has

been used as an analytic tool to help understand ELL discourse in successful

collaborative activities such as the graphic organizer task.

Results of this research reveal an important function of the Inquirer role in

extending a discussion topic. By asking multiple questions, the Inquirer permits the

discussion to cover a variety of topics in some depth. The Topic expander is another

important role because the Topic expander provides detailed information about a topic,

typically when prompted by questions. Topic switcher is also an important role that can

help a task reach its instructional purpose, and a Clarifier is especially important for

language learning tasks. The Clarifier may paraphrase or provide additional examples

to scaffold a partner's understanding. Understanding the interactional roles that ELLs

assume in a collaborative task can help us understand their interactional styles, which

then can help us form groups accordingly for providing better opportunities for language

use. Also, teachers can structure the task and try to diversify the types of interactional

roles frequently assumed by students. Through such opportunities, students who

always take over the role of Inquirer may also develop their language use in how to give

extensive information and better elaborate on their answers.


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Interactional roles helped the researcher identify students' interactional styles.

For example, if a student assumes the role of Topic expander and gives additional

information to support or elaborate on his answers, he has a collaborative style of

communication, and he can be paired with a person who has an argumentative style of

communication who asks questions and even brings up controversial issues for

discussion. However, if the person has a hesitant style of communication, s/he may not

feel comfortable when interacting with a person who has argumentative style, and s/he

may prefer to remain mostly quiet in a collaborative task. Additionally, two students with

hesitant styles may not result in increased language use, whereas pairing a student who

has a hesitant style with another student who has a collaborative style may be more

productive in terms of facilitating interaction in English. Interactional styles are not strict

categories, and they were not formed to label and define each student within a rigid

category. Students may adopt different interactional styles at different stages of their

participation in the second language culture and community. Being informed of our

students' most common instructional styles can give us a chance to understand

students' patterns of communication. Understanding students' preferred interactional

styles and pairing students accordingly can support language use during collaborative

graphic organizer tasks and in other types of instructional tasks (Donato, 1994; Platt &

Brooks, 2002; Storch, 2002, Watanabe & Swain, 2007). This study merely suggests that

teachers need to be aware of their students' interactional styles in order to provide

better opportunities for productive language use with English language learners.


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Suggestions For Further Study

This study was conducted in a post secondary language school where teachers

focused on language teaching (as opposed to a content curriculum). For a more

thorough understanding of how the collaborative use of graphic organizers can help with

students' academic language development, the same study could be replicated in

different content area classrooms. For instance, a study in a secondary school setting

where ELLs regularly engage in collaborative graphic organizer activities could help us

to better understand how context students engage in the task and what type of contexts

affects opportunities for academic language use. Additionally, a study focusing on

teachers' perspectives on the collaborative use of graphic organizers could inform our

understanding of the task in terms of its potential benefit for academic language

development for ELLs.

Academic language is an important skill that can be difficult for both native and

non-native speakers of English to achieve. Academic language use can be more difficult

for English language learners due to the differences between formal and informal

language patterns (Butler & Bailey, 2002; Cummins, 2007; Gibbons, 2009). For

instance, English language learners from different language backgrounds often

experience difficulty in understanding and replicating the structure of an essay in

English. Graphic organizers may make this process much easier for English language

learners by visually depicting the structures of different genres for students before they

begin writing essays.

During the collaborative graphic organizer task, students participated in learning

activities in which they cooperatively constructed meanings, instructional roles, and

social relationships. Students scaffolded each other's language skills with a possibility of


231









adopting correct language forms and improving their language skills (Donato, 1994;

Gibbons, 2009; Vygotsky, 1978; Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976). They supported each

other's participation by providing further explanations, asking questions, and presenting

opinions. Such communication strategies are considered "attempts of scaffolding"

although the potential benefits were not easily observable in a short time frame. The

consequences of such scaffolding attempts are beyond the scope of this study.

However, future research that explores the quantitative achievement results of a

collaborative graphic organizer task implemented over a longer period of time and with

a larger student population would help provide a different perspective on the effects of

such instruction.

Collaborative graphic organizer task may allow new learning opportunities for

pre-service teachers. Another study can be conducted with pre-service teachers in

which they can either apply or participate in the collaborative graphic organizer tasks

with ELLs. Such a study can explore the collaborative graphic organizer task with a

focus on understanding pre-service teachers' knowledge on ELLs' second language use

and alternative assessment tools, such as the collaborative graphic organizer task, for

measuring ELLs' second language skills.

This study focused on students' collaborative construction of the task and their

negotiation of meaning. In another study, students could be asked to design their own

graphic organizers collaboratively (in pairs) using a variety of knowledge structures. In

this way, students can create their own graphic organizers in meaningful forms. This

type of creative co-construction may increase students' engagement with the task and

provide further opportunities for engaging in academic conversations. The language


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used during the collaborative tasks and the graphic organizers themselves can shed

light into students' understandings of knowledge structures and into the language

learning opportunities inherent in this task.


233









APPENDIX A
SAMPLE STUDENT GRAPHIC ORGANIZER I


YOURNAME: ROBERTO YOUR PARTNER'S NAME: AKRAM
COLLABORATIVE ACTIVITY III- COMPARISON-CONTRASTTEXTS
STEPI :TEXTSTRUITIR ANALYSIS -Withyourpartner,fillout the following graphicorganizerlisting al the cultural diferences betwe yourcultural background and your
partner' culturalbaagrund. (Educational style at school, nrles in the family, favorite foods in the family, how holidays are celebrated. etcl


YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND


( per
( j:c : T j
/Vc ic '. ,; ".______






\ 4 Jt. : "



7-----'----
iico g rj 'T 'W if'- i <' --i .i^',

f i


DIFFERENCES
IN CULTURAL
BACKGROUND
K G R OUCC" S1'"


YOUR PARTNER'S CULTURAL BACKGROUND

l;(.- --' C b:,,)



( )
(------


i7ArycV/


234


/c~ i-l:l
j~:~.C'';u ii]~"~


: )j e,











APPENDIX B
SAMPLE STUDENT GRAPHIC ORGANIZER II




YVOul NAME: HYUN Y oUR PARTNER'S lAMF- MIGUEL

COLABURAIIVI GRAFPH I( OiAIZERMACT'IVY lnrl
STEF I IET STRITFURE ANALYSIS

JNSTtUCTIDNS: ntl.r mn p p lr niai-.fgutlrjo itrltd.ur dill .ge 4 .le011Kpe+lie rient LA- Imi qu l.th I a f thl, it
ia* rilfrawrtI ie kewHin grphicjOqyzrlt idllh hhtlblranwnr

SAMPLE CAU sr-AID-EFFECT GRAPHIC ORGANIZER

EFFECTRSEULT

LIVING IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY 'INTHE USA FOR THE FIRST TPME CAN BE C IA.LLNGING |
\ .. ..._______ ___________ /




SCAUSESREASONS

/ 1. //r f 6/ c. c-.L^rc5ii







F3. ;^--" / ^





7.







.\ .


235









APPENDIX C
COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK WORKSHEETS-
COMPARISON/CONTRAST


Partner A Partner B
Name: Name:


COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK -I-


COMPARISON -CONTRAST
STEP I: READING COMPREHENSION
Instructions:
1. Read the essay below and underline vocabulary items you are not familiar with.
2. Check your dictionary or/and ask your teacher to clarify the meaning of the new
vocabulary.


THE WEATHER IN CHICAGO AND MIAMI*

People usually have very strong opinions about what constitutes good weather,
and one person's idea of good weather may easily be another person's weather
nightmare. In fact, my cousin and I recently had a discussion about whether his
hometown, Chicago, or my hometown, Miami, has better weather. Our discussion
centered on three differences between the weather in our two hometowns.
Our first point of discussion was the number of seasons. Chicago is located in
the Midwestern part of the United States. It is also much farther north than Miami is.
Chicago has four seasons: summer, fall, winter, and spring. These four seasons are
clearly marked by distinct weather changes. Miami, on the other hand, is in the
southeastern corner of the United States. Because it is much farther south, near the
Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Miami is much warmer. Miami has two seasons: A very
mild winter and a long summer.
We also considered the worst temperatures in both cities. The worst weather in
Chicago occurs in winter. On average, the high temperature only reaches around 32
degrees and the low in each night goes down to about 20 degrees. In addition, frequent
high winds drive the perceived temperature down even more. This combination of cold
and wind, called the wind chill factor, can make life almost unbearable in Chicago
during the Winter months. The problem in Miami is not the cold but rather the heat. In
the summer, the temperature reaches 95 degrees in the daytime and drops only to 75
or so at night. Combined with a constant humidity of 90 percent or more, the
temperature actually feels significantly warmer.
Finally, our two hometowns have different kinds of bad weather. Chicagoans'
biggest weather fear is a blizzard. Blizzard can occur frequently during the frigid winter
months. When a blizzard hits the city, it can dump up to five or six feet of snow in


236









certain areas. The cold and snow paralyze the city, making it impossible for people to
go to school or work. While blizzards affect Chicago, the biggest weather problem for
people in Miami is a hurricane. Hurricanes are possible from May through November.
While hurricanes occur less frequently than blizzards, they can cause much more
damage. For instance, Hurricane Andrew destroyed large parts of the city of Miami in
1992.
In the end, my cousin and I learned that each of our climates has its unique
characteristics. Chicagoans have to live with extreme cold and frequent blizzards that
can upset their daily routines. Conversely, Miami enjoys warm temperatures while
having to deal with the threat of hurricanes. Deciding which is city has better weather
proved to be more difficult than we anticipated. My cousin does not like hot weather,
and I can't stand cold. Thus, we believe that the definition of perfect weather depends
largely in each person's preference.


Constitutes: Equals, makes up
Nightmare: a bad dream
In fact: really, truly, for example
Centered on: focused on
Farther: more distant (far farther the
farthest)
Distinct: clearly different
Mild: not very hot and not very cold
Perceived: Felt by the senses
Unbearable: cannot bear, cannot stand
Drops: goes down
Humidity: water in the air
Significantly: much, considerably
Blizzard: A severe winter storm marked by
very strong winds and heavy snowfall
Dump: drop, usually in a pile


Up to: as much, as high as
Paralyze: Cause to be unable to move
Hurricane: A severe tropical storm marked
by very strong winds and heavy rainfall
While: although, though (shows contrast)
For instance: for example
Destroyed: Completely ruined
In the end: the final result
Upset: bother, force out of the usual position
Daily routine: what we do every day
Deal with: handle, cope with
Threat: a danger, a potential problem
Anticipated: believed possible, expected
Stand: Tolerate, put up with
Largely: Mostly


237


* Adapted from From great paragraphs to great essays by Folse, Solomon, and Clabeaux.












YOUR PARTNER'S NAME:


STEP II:TEXT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS SAMPLE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER FOR COMPARISON-CONTRAST TEXTS
INSTRUCTIONS: Read the text on the first page. With your partner, fill out the following graphic organizer with information from the text. Present orally each of the three
differences in sentences by using a connector.


CHICAGO WEATHER IN CHICAGO AND MIAMI MIAMI


238


YOUR NAME:









Partner A Partner B
Name:
Name:



COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK -II-


COMPARISON -CONTRAST
STEP I: READING COMPREHENSION
Instructions:
3. Read the essay below and underline vocabulary items you are not familiar with.
4. Check your dictionary or/and ask your teacher to clarify the meaning of the new
vocabulary.

THEORIES OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION*
The Drecedina (following) description has identified some of the clear properties of child
language and caregiver speech during the acquisition (learning) process. The discussion
enables (helps) us to list some of the phenomena that an adequate theory of language
acquisition must account for (explain).
Children are not good conscious (aware) imitators of grammar or phonology.
Children create original linguistic (language) forms that are not present in their linguistic
environment (the place where they learn a language).
Children's utterances (sayings) are rule-governed(basedon rules).
Children's speech grows in phonological (related with sound) and grammatical complexity
until it matches the speech of their community.
Caregivers generally do not correct phonological and grammatical errors in children's
developing English.
Caregivers respond positively to children's attempts to communicate even though the
utterances are often linguistically incorrect.
For the purpose of this introduction to early child language acquisition, we will
distinguish two theories that seek to account for language acquisition. The first of these is the
behaviorist theory, often referred to as the imitation-reinforcement theory, or I-R theory. It
claims that children imitate what they hear; when they say something that is correct, they
receive a reward from the caregiver (e.g., they are understood and perhaps praised (rewarded),
and the caregiver may do what they want). By reinforcing (encouraging) the connection in the
child's mind between the utterance and the situation for which it was appropriate, the reward
increases the likelihood (possibility)that the child will use this correct example of language again.
Similarly, when children make a linguistic error, according to the theory, they receive a
correction from their caregivers. This makes it more likely that the child will use the correct
form in future utterances.


239









It seems clear that imitation and reinforcement are factors in language acquisition.
Imitation explains why children brought up in an English speaking environment learn English as
their native language, why Japanese children acquire Japanese, and so on. Reinforcement also
plays a role, but probably a different one than behaviorist researchers once thought. If
caregivers signal that they do not understand an utterance, for example, studies have
established that children will attempt to change that utterance.
There are, however, a number of major flaws (weaknesses, errors) in the I-R theory,
shortcomings that are serious enough to invalidate (cancel) its claim to be an adequate account
of how a native language is acquired. First, many examples of early child language, including
data presented in the preceding sections, show that children are not good imitators. They are,
on the other hand, wonderful creators of original language forms, forms they could have never
heard in their linguistic environment. An insistence on imitation as the major acquisition
strategy makes the theory incapable of accounting for this obvious property of child language.
A second problem for the theory is the fact that the creativity, or originality, evident in
child language is not random (by chance). In fact, as we established earlier, it is systematic and
rule-governed. However, there is nothing in the imitation-reinforcement theory that can
account for this rule-governed creativity.
Third, empirical research (scientificresearch with experiments, etc.) has not confirmed the
assumption that reinforcement plays the central role in language acquisition that behaviorist
theories claim. From observing child-caregiver interaction, it is clear that caregivers rarely
attempt to correct children's pronunciation and grammar. When such corrections do occur, as
in the spoon conversation cited (mentioned) earlier, children appear unable or reluctant to repeat
the model they are given.
The I-R theory, because it relies heavily on reinforcement, also has a problem
accounting for the fact that children's grammar and phonology continue to develop. The
example of the caregiver replying to the thirsty child shows that caregivers understand
children's English and react positively to it even though it is far from perfect. According to the
theory, successful outcomes like these provide positive reinforcement, which should cause
children to stop trying to perfect their pronunciation and grammar. In actual practice, however,
the halt (stop) in linguistic development predicted by the I-R theory does not occur. Instead,
children continue developing their language and, as they do, their English increasingly
resembles (be similar) the English of their environment.
A more recent theory offers a very different approach to language acquisition. The
creative construction theory, or CC theory, focuses on the central and crucial (important) role of
the child in the language acquisition process. It argues that humans are born with an innate
capacity (born with a talent) for language in their environment. The innateness hypothesis, as it is
called, explains why language, under normal circumstances, emerges at more or less the same
time in all children. It also explains why all children, apparently with no special effort, attain
(gain)a uniformly high level of ability in the spoken language of their environment during the first
five years, in spite of a wide range of living conditions and intellectual abilities. Neither of these
aspects of child language acquisition is addressed by the I-R theory.
Because of the innateness hypothesis, the CC theory can argue that children themselves
make a massive contribution to the language acquisition process. Their innate capacity for
language acquisition first enables them unconsciously to look for patterns in the language they
hear. Then it enables them, again unconsciously, to formulate rules (put together rules), which
they apply to the production of utterances. Finally it permits them gradually to add complexity


240









to these rules so that they increasingly resemble the rules of the adult speech in their
environment.
By arguing that children use this innate ability to acquire language, CC theory can
account for much of the data left unexplained by the I-R theory. It explains children's creativity
- i.e., their use of forms they have never heard in mature English. It explains the rule-
governed nature of children's language, which is revealed, for example, in the errors of
overgeneralization (making general conclusions for every case) we have already seen namely, the use
of the -s and -d endings for irregular plurals and for the past tense of irregular verbs. It is also
consistent with the fact that children continue to develop their language in spite of frequent
feedback (correction, response) from caregivers that their imperfect English has been understood.
The CC theory, therefore, is generally a much more complete account of language
acquisition than the I-R theory. However, there are many crucial (important) questions still to be
answered before a fully adequate theory of language acquisition can be developed. Some of
the questions focus on the child's contribution to the acquisition process. For example, what
does the innate capacity of the human mind to learn language consist of? To what extent (to
whatdegree, level) is it an ability that is designed exclusively (totally) to process language data?
Other questions focus on the contribution of the environment. For example, are there any
normal caregiver behaviors that can help or hinder (prevent, make itdifficult) language acquisition?
At present, language acquisition researchers are offering sometimes conflicting (not
matching ornotagreeing), answers to such questions. At the same time, as more research is
conducted all over the world, evidence is accumulating (collecting)that the language produced
by children during the acquisition process contains a great deal of individual variation. To what
extent does such variation reflect differences in children's acquisition processes? These and
other unanswered questions make it clear that much of the process of first language acquisition
remains to be unexplained.


* Adapted from Making connections: A strategic approach to academic writing by Pakenham.


241












YOUR PARTNER'S NAME:


STEP II: TEXT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS SAMPLE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER FOR COMPARISON-CONTRAST TEXTS
INSTRUCTIONS: Read the text on the first page. With your partner, fill out the following graphic organizer with information from the text. Present orally each of the three
differences in sentences by using a connector.


IMITATION-REINFORCEMENT THEORY CREATIVE CONSTRUCTION THEORY


242


YOUR NAME:















YOUR PARTNER'S NAME:


COLLABORATIVE ACTIVITY III- COMPARISON-CONTRAST TEXTS
STEP I: TEXT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS With your partner, fill out the following graphic organizer listing all the cultural differences between your cultural background and your
partner's cultural background. (Educational stylesat school, rules in the family, favorite foods in the family, how holidays are celebrated, etc.)


YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND


YOUR PARTNER'S CULTURAL BACKGROUND


DIFFERENCES

IN CULTURAL

BACKGROUND


243


r


r


r


r


YOUR NAME:










STEP II: TEXT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS AND OUTLINING


PARTNER A NAME:


PARTNER B NAME:


INSTRUCTIONS: Select three of the aspects from the graphic organizer and ask your partner more questions about those three aspects.
When talking with your partner, try to use at least 3 of the connectors/markers on your handout. Since you will write an essay on your
own, try to get as much information from your partner as possible.
STRUCTURE OF A COMPARISON-CONTRAST ESSAY
TITLE:

THESIS STATEMENT


MAIN IDEA


SUPPORTING DETAILS I EXAMPLES SUPPO







PARAGRAPH I


MAIN IDEA


RATING DETAILS EX







PARAGRAPH I


MAIN IDEA


SAMPLES SUPPORTING DETAILS I EXAMPLES







I PARAGRAPH III


CONCLUDING STATEMENT


244


C=


9D









STEP III. WRITING YOUR ESSAY
Instructions: Finish your essay and bring it to class on the due date.


245









COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK WORKSHEETS-
CAUSE AND EFFECT


STEP I: READING COMPREHENSION

Instructions:

5. Read the essay below and underline vocabulary items you are not familiar with.

6. Check your dictionary or/and ask your teacher to clarify the meaning of the new

vocabulary.

CLINICAL DEPRESSION*

How many times have you heard the phrase "I am feeling depressed today"? People tend to

use the term depression to refer to the normal ups and downs of daily life. In reality, depression

is a serious illness. A clinically depressed person is in a constant state of sadness because of

three main factors: genetics, substance abuse (drug/alcohol misuse), or environment.

Perhaps the most common cause of depression is genetics. People who are born with

low levels of serotonin and dopamine (a chemical in the brain that controls happiness) in their

brains cannot experience pleasure in the same way that balanced people can. As a result,

these people do not experience from normal happy events. They require extreme

circumstances (situations) to experience the same level of happiness that a balanced person

would experience from a lesser event. For example, a clinically depressed person might derive

(get) less satisfaction from earning an "A" for a course than a balanced person would

experience from earning an "A" for an individual assignment.

Another cause of depression is alcohol or drug abuse. When drugs enter the bloodstream

(the blood in your body), they alter the brain's normal chemical balance. Afterward, people who

use these chemical substances (drugs, alcohol, etc.) may experience short-term or long-term

depression due to inadequate (not enough) levels of these chemicals. As a case in point (for

example), an alcoholic can develop depression because of the constant altering of the levels of


246









dopamine in his/her brain. Similarly, when a person uses cocaine, he or she experiences an

intense, short-term "high" followed by an equally intense, short-term "low."

Finally, environmental factors can trigger (start, cause) clinical depression. Failed

relationships, such as a divorce or a falling out (serious argument) between family members,

can leave a person in a state of depression in which the person is unable to handle himself or

herself. Traumatic events, such as death of a family member or the witnessing of a murder, are

environmental factors that can send a person into depression. Likewise, an abusive childhood

often leads to bouts (serious bouts) of clinical depression as an adult.

Depression can be caused by factors such as genetics, substance abuse, or environment

(surroundings). Regardless of its cause, depression is a serious illness that afflicts (bother)

millions of people throughout the world. Fortunately, it can be treated through various forms of

counseling (therapy) and/or modification, but for this to happen, it is essential that one be able

to recognize the symptoms.

* Adapted from From great paragraphs to great essays by Folse, Solomon, and Clabeaux.


247












YOUR NAME: YOUR PARTNER'S NAME:



INSTRUCTIONS: Readthe tezt o. the first prt i ot age. fWth yo rtr i a h fllwirg graphic organizer with infrmaion l h
*nf

SAMPLE CAUSE-AND-EFFECT GRAPHIC ORGANIZER


EFFECT RESULT)


CLINICAL DEPRESSION








CAUSES (REASONS)



.............................................................................................................................................

Examples:






1. .............................................................................................................................................

Examples:






3.Examples..............................................................................................................................................

Examples:


248









Partner A Partner B

Name:
Name:




CAUSE-AND-EFFECT

STEP I: READING COMPREHENSION

Instructions:

1. Read the essay below and underline vocabulary items you are not familiar with.

2. Check your dictionary or/and ask your teacher to clarify the meaning of the new

vocabulary.

CHALLENGES OF DIVERSITY*

It would be a mistake to assume that cultural diversity is problem free. The truth is that

immigration, as well as being of long-term benefit to U.S. society, has the potential to create its

own immediate problems or to worsen existing ones. Immigration raises complex issues that

must be considered and brings real challenges that must be addressed.

One of these issues is how to avoid the unintended (unplanned) consequences of

admitting skilled and unskilled workers from overseas in order to satisfy the immediate demands

of the country's economy. The United States has large numbers of people living in poverty

because they are poorly educated, sometimes illiterate (unable to read and write), and without

marketable skills. Resentment (anger) among members of this group, sometimes called

underclass, will increase as they watch immigrants achieve what they cannot success and

acceptance into mainstream society. This despair (hopelessness) and resentment can only hurt

the nation.

A second problem results from the tendency of immigrants to settle disproportionately

(every where without any particular plan or order) in a few areas of the United States. As a

consequence of this tendency, the cost of providing services to immigrants falls


249









disproportionately on a limited number of communities. To cover the costs of providing the

additional services, the local or state government in one or both of two ways: raise taxes and/or

reduce the level of the services enjoyed by the community. Either response has the potential to

create a negative reaction against immigrants. By 202, for example, citizens in three states had

voted to end state and local funding for bilingual education, which serves mostly the children of

first-generation immigrants.

A third problem is that the number of illegal immigrants into the United States has been

growing since the late 1970s. By 2000, according to government estimates (guesses), there

were 6 million illegal immigrants in the country and the number was increasing by 275,000 per

year. The publicity given to illegal (against the law) immigration affects American perceptions

(opinion) of immigration. In a poll conducted in 2001, 53 percent of those responding

mistakenly believed that most people entering the United States did so illegally. Such a belief

must inevitably (certainly) affect public attitudes toward legal immigrants.

What these three problems have in common is their obvious potential to produce, in the

native-born population, hostility (anger), and resentment toward immigrants. In the past, such

feelings have led to violence between native-born and foreign-born groups, especially in places

where immigrant numbers were high and during times of economic hardship (difficulty).

Violence between native-born Americans and immigrants, for example, broke out in New York

City in the 1850s after a rapid increase in the Irish population of the city. Such reactions could

occur again if we do nothing to address the circumstances that produce them.

* Adapted from Making connections: A strategic approach to academic writing by Pakenham.


250











PARTNER A NAME:


STEP II: TET STRUCTURE ANALYSIS

INSTRUCTIONS:: The fAllowinfigure presents thestrnture f a basic ause-and-effet essay. Aademnk exts m t y not always fAllw his
sticture. For example. some Ifer may net have a regular thesis statement that ir fduces the man idea of each paragraph. the) may
inolwv more than I ra1is Ir fllfrt ideapangnraphi ard they ray involve multiple discourse strctures wfitn the ame ltet, such as
compariasn-onlrastand ause-and-eff c

Read set ir IV in your tenbook. With yaw partner. fill ut the foloirqg grplhic organier Mith ionfrmatlor Ifrm the test Whir talking
withyor pdrtrw. us me of the o nrtcs mjrlarkmar r anar e dout to exprks the rasuses. Shar theinfornmalin anyaur gaphk
orgnaier with thepar closes ttoyou. Us connectolrsfnrkes b yDiur lil


CHALLENGES OF DIVERSITY

CAUSE


SUPPORTING DETAILS EXAMPLES













EFFECT I
PARAGRAPH I


SUPPORTiNG DETAILS EXAMPLES













EFFECT II
PARAGRAPH II


SUPPORTING DETAILS EXAMPLES













EFFECT III
PARAGRAPH III


251


PARTNER B NAME:


----------------------------------------


-------------


--


----------------------------------------


MAIN IDEA


__,MAIN IDEA












YOUR PARTNER'S NAME:


COLLABORATIVE GRAPH IC ORGANIZER ACTIVITY -III-
STTE I :EXT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS

INSTRUCTIONS: Interview your partner and ind aout about the challenges s/ ezperienced when s/he cam to the USA for the lint
thne. Fil out the flowing graphic organizer with hshir answers.

SAMPLE CAUSE-AND-EFFECT GRAPHIC ORGANIZER

I EFFECT/RESULT


LIVING IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY/IN THE USA FOR THE FIRST TIME CAN BE CHALLENGING.


CAUSESmREASONS


252


"


YOUR NAME:










STEP II. TEXT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS AND OUTLINING


PARTNER A NAME:


PARTNER B NAME:


INSTRUCIONS: The following figure present the purture t a baric atu-ard-eleft estsa. Aademki tens may not always fellow this
structure. For example, same ters may not hane a regular theis statement that Introduca the mai idea t each paragraph, they may
invihre fewer nore than I cause r .ffert id avparagraphs, and they may irmolm w multlpl+ cicurn structures win ti@e same ert
such as comparion-contrast and ause-and-effeat.

In thi trak, you ail llit te ldh llawing grphi( organizer by inlnwnirg yaur parlin about hisiT clhallges of Imnig in a different
country for the frt time such as their experience in the USA. Each perwn wil fill out the graphic organizrwith infonaltian about
higher partner. When talking wnth yur partner, use 3 of the annretor makers on your handaut to press the cusea Shaere the
infnnamtion on year graphic ognaizer with the pair doset to you. Use conedctrs/rmadren in your talk.



STRUCTURE OF A CAUSE-AND-EFFECT ESSAY

TITLE:
.....CHALLENGES OF LIVING IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY FOR THE FIRST TIME ....
THESIS STATEMENT


(A


MAIN IDEA




SUPPORTING DETAILS EXAMPLES
V.






CAUSE I|
PARAGRAPH


MAI IDEA


SUPPORTING DETAILS EXAMPLES
1 .






CAUSE RAGRAPHII
PARAGRAPH iI


MAIN DEA


SUPPORTING DETAILS EXAMPLES
1.

2.




AAGRAPH IIl
PARAGRAPH III


CONCLUDING STATEMENT


253


C


D









STEP III. WRITING YOUR ESSAY

Instructions: Finish your essay and bring it to class on the due date.


254










APPENDIX D
TRANSCRIPT SYMBOLS


Meaning


Symbol


Pause
End of an incomplete
statement
Words/phrases
spoken at the same
time

Illegible
Transcriber's
uncertainty of the
transcribed word
Transcriber's
descriptions of events,
including non-vocal
conduct


A: I think that (.) it's possible
B: No, I haven't um...

A: Finding a place to stay was very
difficult because [I didn't have a car.
B: I thought] somebody helped you.
A: I was counting [---]
B: Where's Joshua [Joshua?]


A: I see. {A is taking notes on the paper.}
B: I know what you mean {Laughter}


A question A: Is it cold in your country?
A complete statement A: I have always wanted to visit Taiwan.


255


Example









APPENDIX E
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

1. What do you know about discourse structures such as comparison-contrast and

cause-and-effect?

2. Did you study discourse structures before this class? If so, please describe how

the teacher presented discourse structures.

3. Have you used graphic organizers before this task? If so, how?

4. Have you participated in group/pair work before this task? If so, how?

5. Describe how you used the graphic organizers during the task?

6. Has the paired graphic organizer task helped your written English proficiency? If

so, how?

7. Has the paired graphic organizer task helped your spoken English proficiency? If

so, how?

8. What aspect of the paired graphic organizer task did you like the most? Why?

9. What are some aspects of the paired graphic organizer task that you like the

least? Why?

10. How would you improve this paired graphic organizer task so that it improves

your English learning more?

11. What are the benefits of graphic organizers for language learning?

12. Do you have anything else that you would like to share about graphic organizers

and pair/group work?


256









APPENDIX F
SAMPLE DATA ANALYSIS CHARTS


Sociocultural-ldentity Building
Ayumi and Dawud Interactional Academic Language
6/12/2009 Roles Functions
(1) A: How do you get Arabic food? Initiator Asking for information, asking for
Arabic store is in Gainesville? confirmation
(2) D: In Tampa. There is one in Topic expander Giving information, describing
Tampa. In Tampa, there is an Arab characteristic
store, but I haven't been there.
(3) A: But what do you get at the Inquirer/ Asking for further information
Arabic store?
(4) D: We buy rice. Responder Giving information
(5) A: Rice? Inquirer Asking for confirmation

(6) D: Yeah. From Publix or Confirmer Giving confirmation
from....
(7) A: But different yeah? Inquirer Asking for confirmation
(8) D: But if you go to Indian Topic expander Giving further information,
Bazaar. describing a process
(9) A: Indian Bazaar, yeah yeah, I Topic expander Giving further information
know Indian Bazaar.
(10) D: Similar, in Indian Bazaar, Confirmer Giving confirmation, providing an
there is rice, the kind of rice, not the example
best but the rice.
(11) A: A little bit different? Inquirer Asking for further information,
asking for confirmation
(12) D: This kind of rice, we use it Topic expander Giving information, describing
in Saudi Arabia. characteristics
(13) A: Huh? Inquirer Asking for further information
(14) D: This kind of rice in the Topic expander Giving information, describing
bazaar, we use it in Saudi Arabia, characteristic,
and it's OK. There is rice, and it is comparing/contrasting
called Indian Gait. Indian Gait (.)
the brown this rice.
(15) A: Similar? Inquirer Asking for further information
(16) D: This one we have the same Topic expander Giving information
in Saudi Arabia.
(17) A: Same? (Laughing) Inquirer Asking for confirmation

(18) D: Yeah, but it's not this one I Finalizer Giving information, showing
like. preference


257










Hyun and Miguel Sociocultural-ldentity Building
6/5/2009
Language Interactional Academic Language
Role Function
(1) M: What religion Initiator Asking for information
are you from?
(2) H: What? Inquirer Asking for clarification
(3) M: (.) What is your Inquirer/Clarifier Asking for information, giving
religion? clarification
(4) H: No religion. Responder Giving information
(5) M: How about your Inquirer Asking for further information
family? (.) Do they
have a religion?
(6) H: Yeah (.) my Topic expander Giving further information,
family have religions, describing characteristics,
but my father's different comparing/contrasting
(.) my father's
Buddhism and my
mother is Catholic.
(7) M: Yeah, I am Topic expander Giving confirmation, giving
Catholic too. further information

(8) H: OK, I am going Topic expander Describing quantities,
to tell you, in Korea, describing characteristics
the most religion that
people believe is
Catholic and Buddhist,
[these two.

(9) M: Catholic and Inquirer Asking for confirmation
Buddhist?]
(10) H: Yeah. Confirmer Giving confirmation

(11) M: In my country, Finalizer Giving information,
there are other religion, describing, characteristics,
but the majority, the big comparing/contrasting,
religion in my country is describing quantity
Catholic, maybe you
can find not too much
people from other
religion.


258










Roberto and Akram Sociocultural Identity Building
6/5/2009
Language Interactional Academic Language
Role Function
(1) R: Culture. What can we talk Initiator Proposing an idea
about? What can we talk
about? Maybe () marriage.
(2) A: Marriage (.) in our society Topic Proposing an idea
(.) it is separate. Weddings are Expander
separate.
(3) R: Wedding separate? Inquirer Asking for
conformation
(4) A: Yes (.) women alone, Topic Giving confirmation,
men alone, expander Giving further
information
(5) R: How are they separate? Inquirer Asking for further
information
(6) A: There is a party for Topic Giving further
women (.) and there is a party expander information
for men.
(7) R: Oh really (.) no party Inquirer, Topic Asking for confirmation
together? Society (.) it is about switcher
schools and marriage.

(8) A: Wedding, wedding Reorienter Giving further
separate (.) but just the groom information
come to the women party.

(9) R: Are they separated? Inquirer Asking for confirmation

(10) A: Yeah, just the groom Topic Giving confirmation,
come to take his wife (.) so he expander giving further
come with just his father or information,
brother. They pick up his wife Describing
(.) and then "Go home! Go characteristics, giving
home!" an example
(11) R: Wedding separate. Repharaser Giving further
information
(12) A: Yeah (.) separate. Topic Giving confirmation
expander
(13) R: Separate celebrations. Finalizer Giving confirmation,
giving information


259









Data Analysis of students' conversations -
Sample data spreadsheets for semiotic building


Hyun and Miguel Semiotic Building
Com parison/Contrast
6/5/2009
Interactions Content words Function words


(1) M: What religion are you
from?
(2) H: What?
(3) M: (.) What is your
religion?
(4) H: No religion.
(5) M: How about your
family? (.) Do they have a
religion?
(6) H: Yeah (.) my family have
religions, but my father's
different (.) my father's
Buddhism and my mother is
Catholic.
(7) M: Yeah, I am Catholic
too.
(8) H: OK, I am going to tell
you, in Korea, the most
religion that people believe is
Catholic and Buddhist, [these
two.
(9) M: Catholic and
Buddhist?]
(10) H: Yeah.
(11) M: In my country, there
are other religion, but the
majority, the big religion in my
country is Catholic, maybe
you can find not too much
people from other religion.


(1) M: Religion
(5) M: Family's religion
(6) H: Father, mother,
Buddhist, Catholic
(8) H: Most popular
religions in Korea,
Catholic, Buddhist
(11) M: Multiple religions
in Venezuela, majority
Catholic


(6) H: Connector: but
(8) M: Relative clauses
(11) M: Connector: but


260









Ayumi Dawud Semiotic Analysis
(Cause and Effect)
6/12/2009
Interactions Content words Function words


(1) A: If you are going for?
How do you across the road
(.) how to across the road (.) I
don't know (.) we have signal
over there on the 13th Street
(.) I don't know (.) architecture
(.) we have to across the road
(.) thirteen street (.) thirteen
street (.) I don't know (.)
architecture (.) we have to
across the road (.) Norman
Hall to architecture (.) and
then we have to across the
road (.) across the road.
(2) D: Cross the road?
(3) A: Yeah (.) yeah (.) across
the road (.) but I didn't know
how to across the road.
(4) D: Ohh () OK.
(5) A: Because the signal is
not automatical (.) you have
to push the button (.) and
then yeah (.) because in
Japan everywhere is
automatical (.) here you have
to push the button.
(6) D: Everything automatic in
Japan (.) yeah yeah. (.) I
know it.
(7) A: So I didn't know that.
(8) D: How it's automatic
when you want to cross the
road?
(9) A: I didn't know it.
(10) D: Here?
(11) A: Here. Yeah (.) yeah (.)
yeah. Only automatical and if
the signal is blue (.) you can
go.
(12) D: Green (.) green.
(13) A: Yeah (.) green green.
And here. Here you press the
button (.) and it is flashing
and you say oooh I can't go
there.


(1) A: go, across the
road, signal, 13th street,
architecture, Norman
Hall

(2) D: Cross, road

(3) A: Across, road

(4) D: OK

(5) A: Signal,
automatical, push,
button, Japan, automatic

(6) D: everything,
automatic, Japan

(7) A: Not know

(8) D: Automatic, want,
cross, road

(9) A: Not know

(10) D: Here

(11) A: Here, only,
automatical, signal, blue

(12) D: Green

(13) A: Green, here,
press, button, flash, not
go


(1) A: If, how, have to,
then
(2) D: the
(3) A: but, how
(4)
(5) A: Because, have
to, then
(6) D: In
(7) didn't, that
(8) how, when
(9) didn't
(10) Here
(11) only, if, and
(12)
(13)and, here, can't


261









Roberto Akram Semiotic Analysis
(Comparison/Contrast)
6/5/2009
Interactions Content words Function words


(1) R: Culture. What can we
talk about? What can we talk
about? Maybe (.) marriage.

(2) A: Marriage (.) in our
society (.) it is separate.
Weddings are separate.

(3) R: Wedding separate?

(4) A: Yes (.) women alone,
men alone.

(5) R: How are they
separate?

(6) A: There is a party for
women (.) and there is a party
for men.

(7) R: Oh really (.) no party
together? Society () it is
about schools and marriage.

(8) A: Wedding, wedding
separate (.) but just the
groom come to the women
party.

(9) R: Are they separated?

(10) A: Yeah, just the groom
come to take his wife (.) so he
come with just his father or
brother. They pick up his wife
(.) and [then "Go home! Go
home!"

(11) R: Wedding separate.]

(12) A: Yeah (.) separate.

(13) R: Separate celebrations.


Culture, marriage



Marriage, society,
wedding, separate


Wedding, separate

Women, men, alone


Separate


Party, women, men



Really, party, society,
school ma
rriage


Wedding, separate,
groom, come, party


Separated

Groom, come, wife,
father, brother, pick up,
go, home




Wedding, separate

Separate

Separate, celebrations


What, can, we, about,
maybe


In, our, it, is, are





Yes


How, are, they


There, is, a, for, and



No, together, it, is,
about


But, just, the, to



Are, they

Just, the, to, so, he,
with, his, or, they, his,
and, then


262









APPENDIX G
STUDENTS' TRANSCRIBED WRITING SAMPLES

AKRAM: CAUSE AND EFFECT

LIVING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Studing overseas could be hard sometimes. It's a new challenge for everyone
who venture this step. Some people can endure all the defaculties that occurs. While
others cannot. It's usually depend how much intention and time person has to live away
from everything he knows and used to do regelurly. One of those is Michael. He is now
study in the United State. There had some problems that he encountered while studying
in the US, the food, communication with other native speakers and being away from his
family and friends.
Usually food is a major problem that persons have to deal with while living in a
foreign country, especially if it comes to men, because men usually don't know how to
cook for example, Michael. He has to cook by himself while doesn't cook very well. It's a
time-consuming, he spend a lot of time cooking and cleaning after it and that is taken
from his study time.
Maybe the hardest thing anyone could encounter is communication with other
native speakers. Using different language to speak and listen sometime is hard
especially when doing important things like asking for information, things that deal with
money, housing and immigration regulations. Sometime Michael can't express his
feeling well or what he wants. He gets frustrated when they (native speakers) don't
understand him. It's really though but as a result, he is learning by the time goes by.
Being away from family and friends is always the biggest challenge anyone may
have to deal with. Missing your beloved once and your backlade could be difficult.
Therefore, a person has to learn how to depend on himself, which is a good thing. In
Michael's case, he misses hanging out with family and friends. As a consequence, he
has to meet with new people and friends.
In conclusion, living outside of your comfort zone is something that everybody have to
experience it. Dispite its defecalties, but is comes back to the person with great benefits,
as a result of his hard life.

AYUMI: CAUSE AND EFFECT
CHALLENGES OF LIVING IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY FOR THE FIRST TIME
Different country has different culture to own country. So it is difficult that foreign
come to the U.S. and foreigners have to follow the U.S. culture, habit, and rule. Dawud
also had some uncomfortable thing when he came here. He is from Saudi Arabia, so
they have different language, transportation, religion, and foods. He has to follow the
U.S. culture until he leaves the U.S. Now he lives in the U.S. for about three months, so
his feeling is better than he came here soon.
The car is the main transportation in Saudi Arabia. In Gainesville, however, the car and
the bus are the main transportation. When he came here soon, he didn't have a car. So,
his feeling was bad because he had to take the bus and had to wait for the bus. The car
is very convenient because he doesn't need to wait for the bus. And then he sometimes
rented the car.


263









He felt bad hat he didn't have a car, so he decided to but a car. But, now the U.S.
economic is bad, so when he bought a car, his dealer was mean. His dealer went up the
car price, because he is foreigner and he is rich. And then he gave up his favorite car
and he bought a cheap car. He couldn't discount the car price.
It is difficult that find the Arabic foods. There aren't many Arabic in Gainesville, so
he couldn't find Arabic foods. Now, he get Arabic foods in Indian market, because
Indian foods and Arabic foods are similar, and Indian market has some Arabic foods.
It is difficult that foreigner accept own country culture and habit in the other
country. But now, in the world is progressing the diversity, so we who are Japanese and
Saudi can enjoy our life style that are own country life style in the other country. When
we came here soon, we couldn't accept our life style because we didn't know anything.
We spent more than one month in Gainesville, so we can accept our life style here. It is
difficult that our lifestyle accept own country life style, but we can make our country life
style in the other county.

DAWUD
MY PARTNER'S CULTURE AND MY CULTURE
This world is rich of various culture. There are differences in culture between east
and west. Each country has own culture. In fact, I have a friend from Japan and we
talked about our culture. Are they similar or not. We talked about our culture in three
major: food, clothes, and marriage.
Our first debate is food in our countries. Rice is important, it is common in both
country. In Saudi Arabia we have rice only on lunch. However, they have rice in Japan
in every meal, even in breakfast. Food in Saudi Arabia based on rice with meat or
chicken is called Kabsa. There are also Jeresh, Margog and Gorson. And Saudis do not
eat pork or drink alcohol. Japan, on the other hadn, has a variety of dishes. They use
rice almost with every meal. And they have sushi the most popular dish, also they have
domburi and wasabi. In addition, Japanese can eat pork and drink alcohol.
We also have different clothes. In Saudi Aabia, men wear thoub with shomagh.
But women wear black cloth it called Abayah. It's just for outdoor. However, in Japan,
they have kimono. It is very formal and it is worn by men and women.
Finally, marriage in both countries is different. In Saudi Arabia, there is no
specific age to get married. Also, Saudis can get married from any of their relatives
except their families. In addition, men can get married of more than one women.
Otherwise, in Japan, there are specific age to get married. Guys suppose to be above
18 years old and girl above 16 years old. Also, in Japan people related by blood cannot
get married.
In the end, there are big differences between Saudi Arabia and Japan. Our
cultures are different, food, clothes and marriage. I believe that difference make our live
enjoyable.


264









HYUN
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
Even though I and my partner Miguel are studying in same place, eating same
food, wearing same clothes and enjoying same thing, there are many differences in
cultural background between Korea and Venezuela.
First, our religions differ in main belief in each country. Majority of Korean usualls
believe in Christian, Catholic, and Buddhism. Of course, our origin religion is Buddhism,
but as time passes on, the rate of people who believe in God has been increased. And
usually Christians go to church, catholic go to Cathedral and Buddhists go to the temple
to pray. On the other hadn, almost every Venezuelan believe in Catholic and they
usually go to church for praying. And alos their religion is Catholic. But Catholic usually
go to church to pray differently from Catholic in Korea. Therefore, Korean believe in
more kinds of religion than Venzuelan.
Second difference is the main food. In Korean, we usually cook rice every meal. Rice is
our traditional food and various kinds of dishes are served with rice such as meat, fish,
kimchi, etc. However, Venezuelan's main food is Arepa, which is mad eof corn. When
they eat arepa, they cut it in half and put various sorts of food such as pork, beef, and
vegetable in between each cut. As a result, we are same when adding many kinds of
food when eating, but our main food is totally different.
Third, the place of celebration is different. Korean usually hold a celebration inside like
wedding in wedding hall, concert in concert hall and birthday party in karaoke. But in
Venezuela, they hold concert, wedding, and every kinds of party at the beach.
In conclusion, we are doing many common things as a human, however, there
are a lot of differences in cultural background between Korea and Venezuela such as
religion, main food and place of celebration. If we accept each cultural difference, it is
going to be helpful for development of each culture. And as the culture develops, we
can create various kinds of advanced culture.

MIGUEL
WHEN MY PARTNER CAME TO U.S.
The difficult things for a Korean guy in the United States. Living outside your
country is not easy. For my partner, it was difficult too, he had problems for his English,
the American food, also, with the weather.
Everybody know how difficult it is the first contact with others language. My
partners had the same problems when he came to the United States, he could not
speak and understand when somebody talked or spoke with him. The communication
problems make you feel lonely in others country.
Others problems for my partner was the food. The Asian food, it's very different.
As a result he had food problems, he gain weight. He said the serving are very biggest
than Korea.
Also, the Florida weather is very hot for him. As you know, we're in summer now.
The summer in Florida is very hot and humidity more than Korea.
For any partner learn English was difficult, but learn and living outside your
country, it's always difficult.


265









ROBERTO
CHALLENGES OF LIVING IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY
Going abroad to study, work, and to live can be hard sometimes at begin or
during the first month, but as a result of be strong and keeping in the new country can
be successful and get a new and better life.
In the case of my partner, he has to get used to somethings like to cook, get
used to transportation and get used to the weather.
He doesn't know how to cook, as a consequence of that, he has to buy fast food
or eat only eggs at home.
The second thing is he doesn't have a car, consequently, he depend on the bus
to go any where and the bus schedule is not good at all. He has to wait for long period
to go out at night and weekend.
The third thing is the weather, he is get used to the hot weather, but in
Gainesville, very cold sometimes, and it is hard for him to go out, because in his country
there is only one season all year, hot.
My partner wants to study at UF, but first he is getting used to three important
things and then finally he can be very happy and glad of to be in Gainesville.


266









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Berna Mutlu was born in Bursa, Turkey. She received her bachelor's degree in

Teaching English as a Foreign Language and her first master's degree in English

Language Teaching from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. She

received a second master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in

ESL and Educational Technologies from the University of Florida. She taught English as

a Second Language in Turkey for three years. She currently teaches graduate level

courses on ESL Methods and Strategies in the College of Education at the University of

Florida. Her research interests include sociocultural aspects of second language

learning with an emphasis on interaction, collaborative dialogue, and academic

language use.


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1 A STUDY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS SECOND LANGUAGE USE IN THE CONTEXT OF A COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK By BERNA MUTLU A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010

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2 2010 Berna Mutlu

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3 To my Mom and to all the women who reclaimed their independence through education

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to express my deepest appreciation to my supervisor, Dr. Candace Harper, for her continuous support and help with my dissertation. She has always been a true mentor with her corrective feedback and her meticulous scaffolding that helped me meet her high standards in crafting a successful dissertation. I would like to thank Dr. Behar -Horenstein for all her guidance about how to handle the emotional stress during the dissertation process in a PhD. I kept carving through my dissertat ion with great patience and care repeating her motto to myself The best dissertation is a finished dissertation! I am appreciative of Dr. Pace for helping me improve my knowledge on socicultural studies in education. She helped me enrich my thinking by pointing me in the right direction and helped me chart the territory of sociocultural theories with great ease. I am grateful to Dr. Cowles for helping me understand the psychology of language. I started the journey to academic language development in her class, and with that great foundation, I was able to build a strong foundation for the sociocultural aspects of language learning. I would like to thank Dr. Mirka Koro-Ljungberg for giving me the best courses on qualitative research methods. I would not h ave been able to start or complete this dissertation if I had not taken her classes. I am thankful to the reading/writing teachers and program coordinators at the English Language Institute (ELI) for their cooperation as well as the students in the interm ediate reading and writing class for their participation in this study.

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5 I would like to thank Dr. Nihal Tumer -Scarpace and Ms. Nur Erenguc for being great role models for me about being a strong and independent Turkish woman and for motivating me to finish my PhD degree to fulfill my career aspirations. I would like to thank Dr. Cindy Naranjo, Dr Bahar Otcu, and Laura Waltrip for providing feedback during the data analysis process and going over my findings for peer -checking. I would also like to thank Brian Slawson and Selin Ozguzer for teaching me to think like an information designer and prompting my interest in graphic organizer research. Finally, I would like to thank my Mom from the bottom of my heart for raising me as an inquisitive minded person with great ambition and for always giving me the freedom to be myself all my life. I am so lucky that I acquired her enthusiasm about life long learning.

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6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................................ 9 LIST OF FIGURES ............................................................................................................ 11 ABSTRACT ........................................................................................................................ 12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................ 14 Background to the Study ............................................................................................ 14 What is Academic Language? ................................................................................... 15 Linguistic Complexity in Academic Language ........................................................... 15 Teaching Academic Language and Academic Content ............................................ 16 Vygotskys Theory on Scaffolding .............................................................................. 17 Language Scaffolding in Collaborative Tasks ........................................................... 18 Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers .................................................................. 20 Common Themes in Graphic Organizer Research ................................................... 22 Rationale for the Study ............................................................................................... 23 Research Problem ...................................................................................................... 25 Specific Research Questions ..................................................................................... 26 Significance of the Study ............................................................................................ 26 Definition of Terms: ..................................................................................................... 27 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ........................................................................................ 29 What are Graphic Organizers? .................................................................................. 29 Graphic Organizers as Tools for Content Learning ................................................... 32 Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers for Content Learning ............................... 34 Graphic Organizers as Tools for Second Language Ac quisition .............................. 37 Research on Graphic Organizers and Second Language Learning ......................... 42 Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers in Language Learning Tasks .................. 45 Role of Interaction in Second Language Acquisition .......................................... 46 Research on Interaction and Second Language Acquisition ............................. 48 Sociocultural Nature of Collaborative Communication ....................................... 51 Studies on Sociocultural Aspects of Second Language Acquisition .................. 55 Discourse Analysis and Studying Collaborative Classroom Interactions ................. 59 3 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGY .......................................... 66 Theoretical Framework ............................................................................................... 66 Methodology ............................................................................................................... 67

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7 Overview of the Dissertation and Research Problems .............................................. 67 Setting ......................................................................................................................... 70 Participants ................................................................................................................. 71 Task Description ......................................................................................................... 76 Pilot Study ................................................................................................................... 78 Data Collection ............................................................................................................ 80 Data Analysi s .............................................................................................................. 84 Subjectivity Statement ................................................................................................ 89 Validity ......................................................................................................................... 90 Limitations ................................................................................................................... 91 4 RESEARCH RESULTS .............................................................................................. 95 Sociocultural and Structural Analyses of Students Interactions ............................... 96 Types of Scaffolding ............................................................................................ 96 Linguistic scaffolding ..................................................................................... 97 Conceptual scaffolding ................................................................................ 101 Strategic scaffolding .................................................................................... 105 Interactional Dynamics in the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task ............. 109 Academic language functions ..................................................................... 111 Macrofunction Informing ........................................................................... 112 Macrofunction Describing ........................................................................ 119 Macrofunction Clarifying ........................................................................... 123 Macrofunction Presenting ........................................................................ 125 Interactional roles ........................................................................................ 131 Roles for starting a task or a new topic ...................................................... 132 Roles for continuing a task or a new topic .................................................. 134 Roles for ending a task or a topic ............................................................... 141 Interactional style......................................................................................... 143 Collaborative approach ............................................................................... 143 Argumentative approach ............................................................................. 143 Hesi tant approach ....................................................................................... 144 Pair 1 Dawud and Ayumi: Collaborativeargumentative interactional style .......................................................................................................... 144 Pair 2 Miguel and Hyun: Collaborative-hesitant interactional style .......... 146 Pair 3 Roberto and Akram: Collaborative-collaborative interactional style .......................................................................................................... 147 Sociocultural analysis of students writing samples ................................... 149 Structural Analysis of the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task as a Social Event ...................................................................................................................... 152 Types of Activity Structure ................................................................................. 153 Forms of Task Accomplishment ........................................................................ 155 Linguistic and Conceptual Analysis of Students Language Use ............................ 159 Choice of Content Words ................................................................................... 159 Choice of Linguistic Structures .......................................................................... 164 Diversity in Main Topic and Subtopics .............................................................. 169 Participants Perspectives about the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task ......... 174

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8 Support with Listening/Speaking Skills ............................................................. 174 Support for Writing Skills ................................................................................... 176 Support for Reading Comprehension Skills ...................................................... 180 Sociocultural Relations ...................................................................................... 182 Summary of the Results ........................................................................................... 186 5 DI SCUSSION OF RESULTS ................................................................................... 210 Sociocultural Aspects of Students Interactions ....................................................... 211 Successful Communication Patterns and Collaboration ......................................... 211 Scaffolding Opportunities and Types of Scaffolding ................................................ 216 Linguistic Scaffolding ......................................................................................... 218 Conceptual Scaffolding ...................................................................................... 219 Strategic Scaffolding .......................................................................................... 220 Linguistic Complexity of Interactions ........................................................................ 221 Students Perspectives on Graphic Organizers and Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task ...................................................................................................... 222 6 CONCLUSION AND EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS ........................................... 224 Information Gap in Collaborative Activities .............................................................. 224 Focus on Meaning .................................................................................................... 225 Focus on Language Use .......................................................................................... 226 Stress Free Classroom Environment ....................................................................... 227 Open-Ended Tasks and Topics ................................................................................ 227 Interactional Roles and Styles .................................................................................. 228 Suggestions For Further Study ................................................................................ 231 APPENDIX A SAMPLE STUDENT GRAPHIC ORGANIZER I ...................................................... 234 B SAMPLE STUDENT GRAPHIC ORGANIZER II ..................................................... 235 C COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK WORKSHEETS COMPARISON/CONTRAST .................................................................................... 236 D TRANSCRIPT SYMBOLS ........................................................................................ 255 E INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ....................................................................................... 256 F SAMP LE DATA ANALYSIS CHARTS ..................................................................... 257 G STUDENTS TRANSCRIBED WRITING SAMPLES ............................................... 263 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................ 267 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................. 277

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9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 -1 Review of literature on graphic organizers and second language learning ......... 62 2 -2 The knowledge framework categories ................................................................... 62 2 -3 Conceptual framework on collaborative use of graphic organizers with second language learners ...................................................................................... 65 3 -1 Theoretical framework of the study ....................................................................... 94 3 -2 Participants ............................................................................................................. 94 4 -1 Hierarchical taxonomy of categories formed during data analysis ..................... 1 88 4 -2 Frequency of academic language functions in sample dialogues per each pair ........................................................................................................................ 189 4 -3 Frequency of academic language functions in sample student dialogues per each participant .................................................................................................... 191 4 -4 Academic language functions in the collaborative graphic organizer task ........ 192 4 -5 Interactional roles during collaborative graphic organizer task .......................... 193 4 -6 Pair 1 Ayumi and Dawud Task structure ......................................................... 194 4 -7 Pair 2 Hyun and Miguel Task structure ........................................................... 195 4 -8 Pair 3 Roberto and Akram Task structure ....................................................... 196 4 -9 Sample student dialogue with example content words ....................................... 197 4 -10 Sample student dialogue with example content words ....................................... 198 4 -11 Sample student dialogue with example content words ....................................... 199 4 -12 Ayumi from Pair 1Written language sample ...................................................... 200 4 -13 Dawud from Pair 1Written language sample .................................................... 201 4 -14 Hyun from Pair 2Written language sample ....................................................... 202 4 -15 Miguel from Pair 2 Written language sample ..................................................... 203 4 -16 Akram from Pair 3Written language sample ..................................................... 204

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10 4 -17 Roberto from Pair 3Written language sample ................................................... 205 4 -18 Length of students conversations ....................................................................... 206 4 -19 Sample student writing Comparison/Contrast .................................................. 209 4 -20 Sample student writing Cause and Effect ........................................................ 209

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11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 -1 Common organizational structures of information texts ........................................ 63 2 -2 Example of a stu dent generated graphic organizer .............................................. 64 2 -3 GermanEnglish bilingual map ............................................................................... 64 4 -1 Conceptual depth of subtopics in students conversations ................................. 207 4 -2 Sample graphic organizers Comparison/Contrast ........................................... 208 4 -3 Sample graphic organizers Cause an d Effect .................................................. 208

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12 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy A STUDY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS SECOND LANGUAGE USE IN THE CONTEXT OF A COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK By Berna Mutlu Au g u s t 2010 Chair: Candace Ann Harper Major: Curriculum and Instruction This study explored how English language learners use language to interact with each other in the context of a collaborative graphic organizer task. Six adult English language learners from different cultural and language backgrounds of the same intermediate writing proficiency levels but at different levels of spoken English participated in a collaborative graphic organizer task. According to the findings from the study, the students used a large span of academic vocabulary at varying levels of difficulty and both simple and complex sentence structures. Students conversations involved multiple language functions expressed in various ways. The nature of the conversations was academic and activity oriented, centering around the goal of completing the graphic organizer collaboratively. The final step of the task was the independent completion of an essay. The researcher observed that in order to achieve a successful level of language use with multiple exchanges and conversations that flow smoothly, par tners need to ask questions, give responses in extensive detail, and expand on subtopics with further examples and explanations. The interactions involved opportunities where students provided help for each other through various interactional roles, intera ctional styles, and

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13 instances of conceptual, linguistic, and strategic scaffolding. This study can help teachers understand how English language learners interact in a collaborative graphic organizer task, and it has implications for adaptations in using g raphic organizers in collaborative tasks as tools for English language learners linguistic and academic development.

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14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background to the Study Academic tasks often require students to use complex skill sets, such as understanding printed material in textbooks across various content area topics, using critical thinking skills when reading, and producing academic written and spoken language. These skills can be difficult to acquire even for native speakers of the English language. English language learners in academic settings face even greater challenges because producing utterances and comprehending content area reading materials written in a lang uage other than ones own are challenging tasks for ELLs ( Cummins, 2000; Snow, Met, & Genesee, 1989 ), but such academic tasks are one of the most fundamental skills necessary for academic success. Academic language is needed to actively participate in a sc hool, where all the students are expected to be familiar with the rules of communication and the use of language in academic settings. Cummins (2007) defines academic language proficiency as a students access and expertise in understanding and using the specific kind of language that is employed in educational contexts and is required to complete academic tasks (p. 122). Within the context of this definition, academic language proficiency entails all the members of the schooling culture to acquire the a ssociated knowledge of this cultural context and metacognitive strategies necessary to function effectively in the discourse domain of the school to be able to fully participate in all the literacy events within the school setting (Cummins, 2007).

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15 What is Academic Language? Throughout this document, academic language will be used as a general term that refers to the language that is used by teachers and students for the purpose of acquiring new knowledge and skills imparting new information, describing abstract ideas, and developing students conceptual understanding (Chamot & OMalley, 1994, p. 40). Academic language proficiency can be defined as students ability to use the language required to participate in the instructional tasks of school including understanding as well as expressing ideas about academic content. If a student has academic proficiency in a language, s/he can comprehend and communicate by incorporating academic vocabulary, language functions, and discourse structures in different subject areas in tasks that require the student to understand the topic, gain knowledge about the topic, interac t about the topic, and share his/her knowledge about the topic with others (Butler & Bailey, 2002). Academic language functions (A LF ) are on the other hand the uses or purposes of language in academic work such as defining classifying, and hypothesizing (Kidd, 1996). Chamot and O'Malley (1987) describe academic language functions to have an important role in developing students academic language proficiency through their Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA), and indicate that academic language functions are an integral part of academic communication, such as explaining, informing, describing, classifying, and evaluating (1987, p. 239). Linguistic Complexity in Academic Language In academic settings, English language learners have to deal with the complexity of academic language at high levels of linguistic load (Meyer, 2000) and also display academic performance that is sufficient to keep up with their peers for whom English is

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16 their first language. Some of the issues that ELLs struggle w ith when it comes to linguistic load are to be able to comprehend the structure of the language, to understand new vocabulary and concepts and to recognize the knowledge/discourse structure of the reading material. Academic language places different lingui stic demands on English language learners (ELLs) than social language does because it has its own discourse structures. For instance, examine and cause are the type of words that are often found in textbook prose and academic tests, and students are expected to understand and use these words as part of academic tasks, whereas look at and make would most often take place in daily speech (Cunningham & Moore, 1993). Furthermore, academic language is decontextualized, and when students are reading on their own, they are not able to ask questions, express confusions, and get immediate feedback. ELLs may become overwhelmed with unknown vocabulary items in academ ic texts or talk. Complicated syntactic structures and new vocabulary items can make strings of sentences hard to understand, causing ELLs to become intimidated or disengaged. Academic language also requires students to communicate their messages in line with the conventional discourse patterns and global and domain specific vocabulary found in academic texts. Students need to be able to not only recognize these patterns and vocabulary but also produce language that uses this type of academic discourse as part of academic tasks at school (Cazden, 2001). Teaching Academic Language and Academic Content Because ELLs experience difficulty in understanding and producing the academic language, they are more likely to fall behind in comprehending academic content Therefore, language instruction and content instruction at every level of education need

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17 to go hand in hand in order for ELLs to be able to keep up with their academic development and language development. Without tasks that are designed for active part icipation and socialization into academic discourse, ELLs may not be able to reach the level of linguistic development necessary to understand the language of school (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004) All teachers who are involved in educating ELLs have a big responsibility in applying teaching strategies that enhance not only conceptual development but also second language acquisition. Teachers need to design their teaching around providing opportunities to students to make the topic more comprehensible and to provide interaction opportunities for ELLs in academic tasks. This study has originated as an effort to improve instructional strategies that can help ELLs academic language proficiency, and the main focus of this study is collaborative use of grap hic organizers. In particular, this study explored English language learners language use in collaborative activities based on visual representation of ideas with an emphasis on the linguistic and socicultural factors that are involved during a collaborative meaning making process. Vygotskys Theory on Scaffolding According to Vygotskys theory (1978), language acquisition takes place through collaborative dialogue where the learner has the motivational goal of acquiring the necessary knowledge from the tutor in an exchange of utterances through collaborative meaning making. Having developed the skills necessary to operate within the language and cultural community, the learner extends this activity to the other members of the community, and th is developmental learning process is called scaffolding (Newman & Holzman, 1993). Scaffolding is a term that originates from cognitive psychology and L1

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18 research (Flick, 2000), but it entails a sociocultural understanding of learning where a more skilled p articipant can provide a novice learner the supportive conditions by means of speech and enable the novice learner to extend their current level to a higher level (Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976). The general notion of scaffolding also holds that a more knowl edgeable person can help improve a less knowledgeable persons learning by providing interaction and modeling of the targeted behavior (Vygotsky, 1978). Within the context of second language acquisition, the notion of scaffolding can go beyond an expert no vice relationship. In other words, learners that are at equal level of language proficiency can also help improve one anothers linguistic development when interacting with one another. This interaction is called collective scaffolding (Donato, 1994; Mol l, 1990). Students who work in collaborative tasks together can help each other become more capable in producing utterances in the English language. Collective scaffolding differs from Initiation-Response Evaluation IRE ( Mehan, 1979) or as more frequently used in second language acquisition studies, Initiation-Response Feedback IRF, in the sense that IRF is teacher driven talk (Cazden, 2001; Lemke, 1990; Sinclair and Courthard, 1975; Walqui, 2006). Therefore, rather than using language in a teacher prompted conversation, in collective scaffolding students go beyond IRF by using the targeted language with one another in order to accomplish tasks with a purpose to communicate rather than just using the language forms in a scripted setti ng. Language Scaffolding in Collaborative Tasks Language scaffolding within the context of this study can be defined as a term that describes the modified interactions and language support provided by English language learners when students engage in dialogue with one another in a collaborative language

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19 learning task (Gibbons, 2002; Gibbons, 2009 ). The concept of language scaffolding is elaborated in this study to describe the nature of interactions among English language learners in that collaborative work among English language learners may provide opportunities for language scaffolding (Foster & Ohta, 2005). The collaborative graphic organizer task within this research study was expected to help students become familiar with both the knowledge structure o f comparison-contrast as a function and the formal language that this function involves. The collaborative nature of the task was expected to help students use the language of comparison-contrast and provide one another comprehensible input and comprehensible output in a social setting with enhanced opportunities for language scaffolding. The task is designed in a way that prompts each pair to participate and ask questions that maximize production. According to a review of L2 acquisition/learning literat ure by Long and Porter (1985), group work promotes language learning opportunities where L2 learners acquire English with less anxiety and greater practice. A number of studies (e.g., Pica & Doughty, 1985;Varonis & Gass, 1985) concluded that when nonnative speaker pairs participate in interactions, the conversations involve negotiations of meaning with increased comprehensible input and modified interactions that can improve second language acquisition. Gibbons (2 002) reports that students performed more fluently when they were sharing their findings with the rest of the class following an initial talk in a group activity. Also, the spoken language students performed during group reports was beginning to sound more and more like the written language. Within this task -based setting, after an exposure to the targeted language forms and with the help of the teachers modeling,

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20 students were working together to accomplish a hands on task that required collaborative in teraction for problem -solving within the task. Hence, Gibbons (2002) suggests that scaffolded interaction among peers connects conversational language to academic discourse, both written and spoken (p. 20). Negotiation of ideas during collaborative tasks gives second language learners an opportunity to both practice the second language and be exposed to meaningful language input in the second language. As [second language learners] negotiate, they work linguistically to achieve the needed comprehensibil ity, whether repeating a message verbatim, adjusting its syntax, changing its words, or modifying its form and meaning in a host of other ways (Pica, 1994, p. 494). In other words, when English language learners interact with one another in a dialogue, they are striving to find ways and means of creating comprehensible input for the listeners in the conversation, which is both a linguistic and cognitive effort to understand the topic. Dialogue provides learners with the opportunities to manipulate words an d sentences for the best possible communication opportunities within their language development. Swain (1998) points out, Language is simultaneously a means of communication and a tool for thinking. Dialogue provides both the occasion for language learning and the evidence for it. Language is both process and product (p. 320). In this sense, comprehensible input is hypothesized to be a fruitful outcome of conversational and/written exchanges between second language speakers and leads into an interaction -based second language learning environment (Krashen, 1985; Long, 1983). Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers Collaborative formation of graphic organizers, such as concept maps, thinking maps, and other types of visual tools can be used effectively as an instructional strategy

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21 during peer -interaction (Ryve, 2004). The outcome is one or more concept maps or other types of graphic organizers, such as KWL charts or Venn diagrams that students create as a group that result in collective construction of know ledge in a teacher coordinated classroom setting. Graphic organizers are visual tools that have a potential for increasing comprehension of reading materials by giving students a better visual understanding of the concepts and helping them perceive the textual structure (Novak & Govin, 1984). During a collaborative task with graphic organizers, students are instructed to graphically illustrate relationships between concepts and ways of how these concepts are connected to one another. Students can organize and enhance their knowledge about different topics when completing graphic organizers as part of an instructional sequence. Graphic organizers may help facilitate ELLs conceptual and linguistic development because they can provide students with opportunit ies to see how already familiar and new concepts are connected to one another. Furthermore, when used in collaborative tasks, graphic organizers can also serve as tools for increasing students awareness of academic language use and for enhancing their sec ond language production skills. Systematic use of collaborative tasks where students design graphic organizers about content material collaboratively may ease linguistic load and increase comprehension of academic discourse. Therefore, collaborative use of graphic organizers for interaction and language scaffolding can be an effective teaching strategy that may give ELLs opportunities to use academic language while building better understandings of the learning material.

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22 When students build graphic organiz ers, they may become more aware of their own understanding by becoming actively involved in the meaningmaking process (Ryve, 2004 ). Also, graphic organizers may help learners build a stronger conceptual framework as a foundation for new knowledge, and st udents understandings of the concepts may increase as they make an effort to communicate their own conceptions. (Ostwald, 1996; Roth & Roychoudhury, 1994; van Boxtel van der Linden, Roelofs, & Erkens, 2002) Collaborative use of graphic organizers may promote deeper processing of knowledge through explanations, justifications for thinking, and propositions as a result of the higher quality of student interaction ( Ostwald, 1996; Roth & Roychoudhury, 1994; van Boxtel van der Linden, Roelofs, & Erkens, 2002 ) Common Themes in Graphic Organizer Research There is a large body of research on the role of comprehensible input in improving second language acquisition (Dupuy & Krashen, 1993; Ellis, 1995; Gass, 1997; Krashen, 1988, 1989). However, there is a gap in research on the collaborative use of graphic organizers with an emphasis on second language use. Furthermore, research on the collaborative use of graphic organizers as effective instructional tools even with native speakers of English i n grades K 12 has been minimal. Previous studies on graphic organizers within the context of second language learning have been rare and have focused on quantitative accounts of second language development in a graphic organizer -supported environment for l earners (Tang, 1992) Students interactional discourse originating in such an environment has not been studied with an in depth analysis of discourse patterns generated during collaborative activities that center around collaborative meaning making with the help of graphic organizers and/or the collaborative formation of graphic organizers.

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23 When individual learners are assessed for reading comprehension in an activity that involves graphic organizers, the process typically does not involve any verbal exchange or actual opportunities for oral language use, so there is no peer interaction that would provide communicative language experiences. However, research shows that co building knowledge may enhance the activation of prior knowledge of the members in a learning group (Ostwald, 1996; Roth & Roychoudhury, 1994; van Boxtel van der Linden, Ro elofs, & Erkens, 2002 ). In a collaborative learning environment where the task is to design a graphic organizer, learners are expected to represent their knowledge linguistically and visually to a degree that satisfies the other group members. This allows the learners to present their knowledge more explicitly. Learners must deepen their understanding of the reading material in order to help peers make better sense of it. These activities result in a better activation of prior knowledge as well as in strong er connections between the newly learned material and background knowledge. Therefore, collaborative knowledge construction creates opportunities for more meaningful learning (King, 1999; Ostwald, 1996). Rationale for the Study Graphic organizers and concept maps may be considered particularly effective as educational tools to increase comprehensibility of subject matter. Graphic organizers can also increase students higher order thinking skills because they can help students perceive the knowledge struc tures and overarching relationships between ideas. Using graphic organizers as part of classroom instruction may foster ELLs academic language development. Furthermore, with additional cooperative activities designed around using graphic org anizers, teachers can increase student to -student interaction in class. These activities can provide meaningful communication for ELLs students and

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24 multiple opportunities to make sense of the text as a group and scaffold each others learning process. The main instructional goal of the collaborative graphic organizer task was to create opportunities for ELLs to listen to the English spoken by their peers and to use English with peers where English language learners learn new vocabulary, language structures, and language expressions from one another. Such activities provide s tudents with more opportunities for language input and language production, and therefore these types of collaborative activities are commonly used in settings where English is taught as a second language. Within th e setting of this study the f ocus is on academic language, and because academic language is more formal in nature, verbal interactions on topics in academic English can help students extend the language use into their writing by adapting and adhering to the conventions of academic writing. Consequently, the collaborative graphic organizer task integrates language scaffolding opportunities with opportunities for language use with the help of graphic organizers as tools for extended communication The collaborative graphic organizer task was designed to help LLC students become aware of the academic language embedded in different types of discourse structures and use the discourse markers that are prevalent in these discourse structures first through conversing in English with peers and then through writing in En glish individually. Each academic text involves language specific to its discourse structure. For instance, a text written based on comparison-contrast will use language relating comparisons and contrasts. A huge portion of academic tasks at school is b ased on students being able to talk about/write about what they have read in English. If

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25 students are familiar with discourse structures and the type of language prevalent in each, they may have an easier time when talking about and writing about compariso n and contrast. Furthermore, students can also recognize discourse structures when they see these discourse markers in a text, which may also increase students reading comprehension skills and help them become independent readers. The collaborative graphi c organizer task matches with the goals of the reading/writing class in teaching students how to recognize comparison-contrast and cause andeffect discourse structures and how to write academic texts that are based on these discourse structures, and both the teachers and the coordinators at the LLC approve the use of the task in the LLC classroom as part of the curriculum. As noted earlier, the main body of research on graphic organizers has not focused on student discourse produced during their use in classroom instruction. Prior studies on graphic organizers are mostly experimental research on the e ffects of an instructional intervention on individual students learning, and they lack an indepth qualitative depiction of the role of language used b y students (Blachowicz & Ogle, 2001; Hawk, 1986; Nguyen, 2009; Robinson & Kievra,1995. ) This study explore s the sociocultural and linguistic nature of second language use during a collaborative graphic organizer task with a detailed analysis of students collaborative discourse. Research Problem English language learners in K 12 school settings need opportunities to use the English language in order to improve their academic language skills. Proficiency in daily conversational skills in English is not satisfactory for academic success. ELLs need to participate in conversations about the academic content in order to improve their academic language skills, and their classroom instruction needs to be supported with

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26 instructional tools that help ELLs gain awareness of academic language. Collaborative formation of graphic organizers can be a promising task for increasing interaction in classrooms. Th is in turn would create opportunities for ELLs to receive language scaffolding from their peers and to use their academic language skills. Specific Research Questions The research question guiding the discourse analysis process was explored as part of a graphic organizer activity that involved ELLs conversing in English and collaborating to complete graphic organizers for a text using comparison-contrast as a language function: How do English language learners use language in a coll aborative graphic organizer activity? Significance of the Study There is a gap in research on the use of graphic organizers in cooperative settings with an emphasis on both language development and conceptual understanding. Studying discourse produced in such settings can help us understand problems as well as strengt hs of such learning environments and reach a better understanding of how collaborative design and use of graphic organizers aid scaffolding language production during cooperative meaningmaking tasks. In -depth analysis of classroom discourse generated duri ng collaborative use of graphic organizers can shed light onto ELLs second language development and illuminate the dynamics involved during linguistic and cultural exchanges between second language speakers and their peers. Hence, we can acquire a deeper understanding of the nature of students thinking processes in a more communicative

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27 setting rather than trying to study their thinking via think aloud or recall protocols that lack authentic conversations when exploring students language use. Definition of Terms: Academic language: Academic language refers to the language that is used by teachers and students for the purpose of acquiring new knowledge and skillsimparting new information, describing abstract ideas, and developing students conceptual understanding (Chamot & OMalley, 1994, p. 40). Academic language functions (A LF) : Academic language functions are the uses or purposes of language in academic work such as defining classifying, and hypothesizing (Kidd, 1996). Chamot and O'Malley (1987) describe academic language functions to have an important role in developing students academic language proficiency through their Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA), and indicate that academic language functions are an integral part of academic communication, such as explaining, informing, describing, classifying, and evaluating ( p. 239). Comprehensible input: Comprehensible input really stands for linguistic knowledge and how the learner makes sense of t his knowledge by being exposed to it, making sense of it, and integrating it into their present pool of rules governing language formation (Krashen, 1994). Graphic organizers: Graphic organizers are visual tools for increasing comprehension of academic lan guage by giving students a better visual understanding of the concepts and helping them perceive the textual structure (Novak & Govin, 1984). Knowledge structures: Knowledge structures are the underlying logical sequencing of the material based on different discourse structures, such as cause and effect, classifying, and comparing and contrasting for organizing a topic within different types of academic or nonacademic texts (Mohan, 1986). Language socialization: The process of being socialized or acculturated into a specific community of practice such as academic social practice through the use of language and socialization to use language (Schieffelin & Ochs, 1986). Language scaffolding: According to Vygotskys theory, language acquisition takes place t hrough collaborative dialogue where the learner has the motivational goal of receiving the necessary knowledge from the tutor in an exchange of utterances through collaborative meaning making. Having received the skills necessary to operate within the language and cultural community, the learner extends this activity to the other members of the community, and this process is called scaffolding (Newman & Holzman, 1993). Language scaffolding is a term that describes the modified interactions and language support provided by English

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28 language learners when students engage in dialogue with one another in a collaborative language learning task. Negotiation of meaning: Negotiation of meaning is a process that participants in a conversation go through to reach a clear understanding of each other. In second language acquisition studies, negotiation of meaning involves the negotiations around the use of linguistic devices necessary to ask for clarification, rephrasing, and confirming (Pica, 1994). Collaborative activit ies provide English language learners the opportunity to improve their communicative competence and helps them socialize into different types of social and academic discourse (Foster & Ohta, 2007).

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29 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE English language learners in academic settings have to d emonstrate academic performance sufficient to keep up with their peers who speak English fluently Graphic organizers can help facilitate ELL s conceptual and linguistic development by providing students opportunities to see how concepts are connected to one another, to understand the discourse structures within the academic texts visually, and to increase their awareness of academic language use. Furthermore, when used in interactive tasks that requir e learners to communicate collaboratively in English, graphic organizers can serve as tools for acquiring academic language and for enhancing ELLs second language production skills. This chapter will examine related literature on the use of graphic organizers both as an instructional tool to support student learning and as a pedagogical tool for second language development with an emphasis on collaborative classroom discourse. Table 2.1 depicts the organizational structure of Chapter 2, starting with grap hic organizers as a general topic and leading up to discourse analysis and research in collaborative dialogue in the classroom What are Graphic Organizers? Ausubels learning theory is one of the major contributions to the use of graphic representation of knowledge structures enhancing student learning. According to Ausubel (1963), we process new information under already existing more inclusive concepts in cognitive structures called subsumers. Meaningful learning takes place in proportion to the stren gth of these anchoring ideas. If the base of this anchoring system is clear and stable, better learning and retention takes place, as meaningful learning is

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30 anchored and rote-learning is not. In this manner, learners with well organized cognitive structure s successfully integrate the new information into their cognitive systems and those with weak cognitive structures experience difficulty in retaining of the new information. Ausubel (1960) posits that advance organizers facilitate the subsumption that is n ecessary to bridge the gap between what the learner already knows and what he/she is about to learn. Ausubels theory on advance organize rs claimed that advance organizers would help connect what students already knew and what they were about to learn, but the academia was not satisfied with his explanations as to how this goal gets accomplished, and this opened the door for criticism. Ausu bels understanding of advance organizers was taken as a crude omission of specific detail and failure to promote critical thinking. Barron (1984) proposed a change in the structure of the advance organizers by adding a tree diagram to represent the concep ts and named structured overviews. With the use of lines, arrows, and spatial arrangement techniques, Barrons organizers were able to capture the connection within the structure of the text more visually than Ausubels prose in outline form. Barrons m odifications gradually took an even more pictorial and visual form, visually representing the cognitive process of connecting new material to previously learned concepts. Such graphic organizers involved two different forms: participatory graphic organizer s that require students to fill out the spaces that were left blank intentionally for student participation and a final form that has all the information already filled in (Hawk, 1986). Today graphic organizers have evolved into more customized forms with changes that have taken place based upon teachers and researchers

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31 instructional needs and goals, and the definition of graphic organizers today is more comprehensive and includes a multitude of different visual and auditory material, such as slides, obj ects, games, videos, maps, manipulatives, and computer programs. Pa i vios (1981) Dual Coding Theory is another foundational piece in explaining how graphic organizers can help with cognitive processing. Dual Coding Theory (DCT) stems from cognitive memory models and is an extension of the Cognitive Information Processing ( CIP) studies of how the mind processes information. Pai vios DCT mainly posits how visual information is processed and stored in memory with an equal emphasis on verbal and nonverbal processing to represent human cognition. Cognition involves two subsystems that work simultaneously, one processing visual input (i.e. imagery) and one processing with linguistic input. The verbal subsystem is responsible for processing and storing linguistic information. The visual subsystem is responsible for processing and storing images and visual information. The two systems are inter connected and work together, hence triggering the dual coding of information. Just as the case in Ausubels subsumption theory, graphic organizers can serve as tools to improve the functioning of this dual coding process with both linguistic and visual input presented at the same time and allow ing for deeper processing of both language and content information. According to a study by Olinghouse and Graham (2009), elementa ry school kids wrote essays with the help of graphic organizers for the purposes of helping students gain a better understanding of discourse structures, and the study showed graphic organizers helped improve students writing development. According to Merkley and Jefferies (2000), teachers need to find ways to activate students background knowledge for learning to take place with the necessary

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32 connections. Graphic organizers provide students with an opportunity to see the bigger picture with such connec tion on how the material relates to their existing schema. Hawk (1986) lists the following benefits for teaching and learning: a) An overview of the material to be learned b) A reference point for putting new vocabulary and main ideas into orderly patter ns c) A cue for important information d) A visual stimulus for written and verbal information e) A concise review tool. From an instructional perspective, graphic organizers can be used as visual tools to reveal connections between concepts that would otherwise be opaque and hard to see for students with low levels of reading comprehension. Graphic organizers may thus increase the quality of recall, since st udents learn concept relations better because of the content structure, and in this way graphic organizers may turn out to be more resistant to forgetting than are a collection of facts (Robinson & Kievra,1995). Graphic Organizers as Tools for Content Learning Graphic organizers can serve as effective instructional tools that help students better understand the subject matter with deeper processing of concepts. Graphic organizers have been most commonly used to support reading comprehension (Blachowicz & O gle, 2001; Gunning, 2003; Hatch & Dwyer, 2006; Robinson & Kievra, 1995; Thresher, 2004). During a reading comprehension task, we process words and their meanings in our working memory, but the capacity of our working memory is limited, and paying attention to words may overload the capacity of the working memory if the explicit connections are not provided. Baddeley (1986) defines working memory as a limited capacity central executive system that is responsible for holding information over a short period of time helping with cognitive activity and increasing the amount of information for permanent storage. Hence, graphic organizers can alleviate the limited

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33 capacity of the working memory and provide more room for the processing of the symbols by providing a structure for nodes to connect. In a study by Hatch and Dwyer (2006), advance organizer strategies facilitated student achievement and enhanced the recall of previously learned information. According to the results of the study, the three experimental treatment groups who studied text with the help of the graphic organizers produced effective results with an increase in students comprehension of the study material in comparison to the control group who studied the material with the existing visuals in the text that did not include any graphic organizers. Hatch and Dwyer (2006) conclude that advance organizers have a positive impact on learning outcomes since they increase comprehension by presenting direction and focus as well as providing opportunities for learners to make use of their already existing cognitive structures, which helps with the assimilation and integration of the newly learned material. In another study, Robinson and Kievra (1995) explored what types of text information graphic organizers and outlines helped college students to learn with three different types of study materials: text only, text plus outlines, and text plus graphic organizers. According to the results of their research, the experimental group studying with graphic organizers learned more and were able to apply their knowledge more successfully in writing integrated essays than students studying with outlines or texts alone. In other words, when a text is chapter length and well organized, and when students are given enough time to study and review, use of graphic organizers is more effective for reading to learn than outlines or the text alone.

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34 In a different study by Boothb y and Alvermann (1984), fourthgrade students in an experimental group worked on graphic organizers displaying the structure of a passage from their social studies textbook. They were tested to find out how much they could remember of the main ideas in the text. According to the results of the study, the experimental group who studied the text with graphic organizers scored higher on the test than the control group who studied the text without the help of the graphic organizer s. In light of the sample studies noted above, we can conclude that graphic organizers have been used as instructional tools to support students reading comprehension skills. When given graphic organizers that support the subject matter, students remember more from the materials, which may indicate that graphic organizers can enhance comprehension and recall. Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers for Content Learning In the mainstream literature on the use of graphic organizers, individual learners are assessed for reading comprehension in an activity that involves graphic organizers, and the process does not involve verbal exchange s with actual opportunities for students to use language, so there is no peer interaction about the content material. However, collaborative for mation of graphic organizers, such as concept maps and other types of visual display of content material can be an effective instructional strategy based upon communicative peer interaction (Ostwald, 1996; King, 1999). C oncept maps or other types of graphi c organizers, such as KWL charts or Venn diagrams that students create as a group, can result in meaningful learning and collective construction of knowledge in a teacher -coordinated classroom setting.

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35 MacKinnon and Keppells study (2005) analyzed the ef fectiveness of concept mapping as a tool for negotiating meaning. I n this particular study, concept mapping is defined as a type of graphic organizer that extends beyond the simple listing of ideas composed of a hierarchical distribution of ideas with visible connections between adjacent concepts. In this sense, a concept map serves as a tool for engaging students in critical higher order thinking about the topics, increasing students metacognitiv e thinking abilities by requiring them to analyze the structure of their content learning during the process of preparing the concept maps. Additionally there are three different ways that MacKinnon and Keppell (2005) explain a concept mapping program can be used in teacher -student activities : 1 Teacher asks students to construct a concept map at the beginning of a unit in an effort to access prior knowledge, 2 Teacher has students engage in two types of activities where they design a preand post -concept map for a unit of study, 3 Teacher works with the students in an ongoing exercise that gradually builds the map as the units unfold. In MacKinnon and Keppells study, graphic organizers were used more interactively. The intervention was a structured process wit h multiple stages where students received guidance from the teacher about both the technical and conceptual aspects of creating concept maps, and the instruction involved constant negotiations of meaning and ideas between the students and the teacher. At the end of the semester, the students were given a survey with questions inquiring about their perspectives on using concept mapping as an instructional strategy as part of their learning experiences. The researchers elaborated on the data gathered from t he questionnaires, conducting an ethnographic interview with randomly selected five students from three different

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36 sections of the same course According to the results of the questionnaires, students held positive attitudes towards the activity of Negotiat ive Concept Mapping (NCM) where students create concept maps collaborative by interacting with each other In NCM, students make decisions collaboratively about the content and the layout of the graphic organizer as well as the connections between concepts on the graphic organizer The interactive nature of creating the NCM helped them understand the complexities of relationships between concepts, and helped them build their confidence with the content. In a qualitative study by Ryve (2004), four groups of college students in engineering were videotaped during a concept mapping activity. The researcher explored the characteristics of their discourse in light of the following two questions: Do students communicate in an effective way? Do students c ommunications involve mathematically productive discourse? According to the results of discourse analysis methods, the researchers concluded that the communication among students during collaborative concept mapping produced effective and mathematically pr oductive discourse. This study was conducted with a focus on communication with the assumption that mathematics should be learned through conversation, emphasizing the benefits of working in groups and communicating concepts verbally for a better and deep er understanding of the content material. The researcher intended to explore whether creating concept maps as a group would create mathematically productive discourse in which students are able to integrate concepts into their conversations as a result of the requirements of the collaborative concept -mapping event. Therefore, in this study, the

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37 role of concepts maps was based on their use as a tool for creating communication about mathematical concepts and their inter relations hips Rinehart and Welker (1992) found that advance organizers increased test recall when the students receive oral presentation of the material accompanied by the advance organizers. In this study, graphic organizers were supported by teacher guided discussions, and this technique inc reased recall more in comparison to instruction where students were presented with a graphic organizer without any discussion. In this study, just as in other studies where there are multiple variables affecting the end result, using graphic organizers sup ported by carefully constructed participation and an interactive environment increased student success in reading comprehension. Graphic organizers can be used in collaborative settings for different instructional purposes, and as the sample studies suggest collaborative use of graphic organizers can help students further explore the subject matter by analyzing the relationships between the concepts. Such interaction may also help students integrate the concepts into their vocabulary knowledge, so that they can converse or write about their knowledge as well as comprehending the concepts. Graphic Organizers as Tools for Second Language Acquisition In academic settings, being proficient in conversational English may not be adequate without the requisite academic language register for students to participate in academic tasks. Therefore teaching content without making the content comprehensible and without providing explicit instruction on academic language may not be sufficient for second language development because content instruction and language instruction need to go hand in hand in order for ELLs to be successful in academic settings (Chamot & OMalley, 1986; Mohan, 1986; Wong-Fillmore, 1989).

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38 In order to help with ELLs academic content and language development, teachers need to provide comprehensible instruction, so that ELLs can understand the academic content and participate in tasks that require them to produce academic language (Krashen, 1988). Graphic organizers can serve as visual frameworks in reading and provide assistance for ELLs in understanding the structure of the text. Such visual tools provide more explicit and comprehensible forms of texts in English and make the content more meaningf ul for deeper processing (Pierce, 2003). Teachers need to be able to analyze the discourse structures and rhetorical devices in texts from different disciplines, and provide opportunities for students to become aware of these structures and devices to be able to help them improve their academic language skills necessary for academic success (Wong Fillmore & Snow, 2000). Mohan (1986) states that explicit teaching of text/knowledge structures by means of visual representation enhances the acquisition of a se cond language for academic purposes. Academic language functions are associated with academic tasks and purposes, (Bailey, Butler, Stevens, & Lord, 2007) and they provide students with the skills for comprehending written texts, asking and answering inform ational questions, asking and answering clarifying question, making connections between concepts, relating information, comparing, contrasting, explaining cause and effect, predicting, drawing conclusions, summarizing, persuading, etc. (Dutro & Moran, 2003, p. 233). As can be seen in Table 2 2 Mohans knowledge structures indicate the six underlying logical structures of the content material and the corresponding discourse structures used to express cause effect, classification, and comparison-contrast.

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39 By making these structures and the type of language used in expressing these structures more explicit and visual, graphic organizers have the potential to lower the language barrier and make the content more comprehensible (Tang, 1992). Such visual tools foster higher levels of understanding of the content material by providing links showing connections and relationships between different concepts presented within the reading material. Hence, students can retain the information in their longterm memory l onger by forming associations and connections visually thanks to explicit presentation of the information in the graphic organizer (Dye, 2000). Figure 21 is a group of graphic organizers depicting how many information texts are organized: According to Mohan (1986), becoming aware of the knowledge structure equips students with necessary skills to manage content learning tasks more independently. This goal can be facilitated with the use of graphic organizers. However, the graphics should be different from the pictures that accompany almost every lesson, thereby conveying the underlying structure of knowledge in order to help students see links between and withi n subject areas. ELLs often spend a great deal of time and energy on decoding the meaning from text, and they experience challenges in understanding the material ( Cummins, 1995). Graphic organizers can help students who are faced with such challenges wit hout watering down the content. They can help both ELLs and struggling readers academic language development and increase their learning without the teacher having to neglect more skillful readers (McCoy & Keeterlin-Geller, 2004; Tang, 1992). Using graphic organizers as tools to increase the comprehensibility of written or spoken language is in line with input -based theories of second language acquisition,

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40 which view language learning as a process of decoding comprehensible input with an emphasis on the learners receptive skills. According to Krashen (1994) language acquisition takes place incrementally with the help of comprehensible input with the learner processing structures that are at a slightly higher level of linguistic competence. Graphic o rganizer s can make the language in academic texts more comprehensible through visual depiction of how ideas are connected and how the text is structured. Within this framework, Mohan (1986)s knowledge structures can also be used in conjunction with the use of graphic organizers to help students practice academic language associated with each knowledge structure. Graphic organizers in the following forms fall under the main knowledge structures within Mohans taxonomy (p. 37): Pictures of parts of individ ual fruits and vegetables to be used as flashcards (description). Pictures of food groups (Classification) An illustration of the digestive process (Sequence) Instructions for testing for nutrients (e.g. for vitamins), and charts to fill out for the text r esults (Cause effect) According to Mohan, there is a close relationship between the knowledge structure of a topic and the questions people ask about it. Therefore, graphic organizers that are used in a particular language learning activity can be predict ed to trigger certain types of questions from language learners, depending on the knowledge structure that is represented. Within this framework, knowledge structures fall under two major categories based on how specific or general the topic is. These two major categories align with the types of questions people ask about a topic. Mohan (1986) a rgues that the goal of the language teacher should be for students to learn the language of a given topic, but the language teacher should also be

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41 interested in stu dents learning both the language of food classifications or insurance classifications and the language of classification in general. When students develop the language resources necessary to talk about description, sequence, and choice, teachers have an op portunity to develop linguistic competency that can be used in academic English in all content areas. For instance, classification as a type of knowledge structure is based on the task of organizing information. Academic situations that require classification are organizing elements in chemistry, sorting materials for an experiment, and grouping numbers in math. The academic language of classification involves language that is necessary for expressing statements during the function of classifying. According to Mohan (1986), this type of language should be taught explicitly so that students get adequate exposure to the language of classification. Teachers need to design tasks that help students not only hear but also practice the lan guage patterns related to classifying. The following conversation that is accompanied by a graphic organizer is an example of linguistic exchanges between students and teacher where the teacher is providing students with prompts to put use the language pat terns they have learned to express classification based on the graphic organizer that students have worked on collaboratively (Early, 1990): T: How would you explain to someone in words the ideas displayed in the tree? S1: Animals can be divided into two groups, vertebrates and invertebrates. T: What about another way? There are lots of ways to express an idea. S2: There are two main kinds of animals, vertebrates and invertebrates. T: What about something else?

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42 S3: Vertebrates and invertebrates are two main types of animals. S4: In science they divide animals into two main groups. They talk about animals with backbones and animals with no backbones. Graphic organizers can be used as a way to facilitate the presentation and production of language structures more explicitly so that language learners develop a conscious awareness of the usage of such language and start using these linguistic expressions productively (Mohan, 1986). Providing students with opportunities to use the linguistic expressions related to different types of graphic organizers helps students focus on academic language directly. Graphic organizers can provide explicit contextualized practice using linguistic forms and expressions of academic discourse with meaningful language learning experi ences rather than learning the same type of language through mechanical grammar drills. Research on Graphic O rganizers and Second Language Learning Graphic organizers can be promising tools for making academic language more comprehensible through the integration of visuals, charts, and timelines embedded into the linguistic input presented on the graphic organizer. Within this context, the focus would rest upon the use of graphic organizers as a tool for helping second language learners understand the mean ing of the language by presenting language forms in an understandable manner with extended contextual support so that the learner is exposed to meaningful input. The language that is necessary to represent different knowledge structures, such as linguistic forms and expressions for description, classification, or cause effect, can be pointed out and taught explicitly through the use of graphic organizers because students may not be able to detect, learn, and practice, such discourse without explicit instruc tion. Therefore, graphic organizers can be used as

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43 tools to help students understand concepts in academic texts and participate in academic discourse through the successful use of these linguistic devices. Within the field of second language learning, graphic organizers are also defined as visual representations of information that depict the conceptual relationships between the key elements in a text (Pierce, 2003). Compared with the amount of research that has been conducted exploring the impact of graphi c organizers on reading comprehension with a focus on native speakers of English, there has been very little research about graphic organizers effects on second language learners comprehension of academic reading materials and academic concepts with a fo cus on linguistic and conceptual development. In a quasi experimental study involving the use of graphic organizers with ELLs Tang (1992) explored the effect of graphic representation of knowledge structures on 45 intermediate ESL students comprehension of content knowledge and their academic language learning process. According to the pre-post test results visual representat ion of the knowledge structure of a passage used as a reading strategy facilitates students comprehension. Students in the graphic group reported that graphical presentation of knowledge fostered their learning of conceptual knowledge. In addition, a tas k using a graphic representation of the knowledge structure of a passage significantly increased the total amount of information that students were able to retain in their memory. The results of the written recall protocols indicated that there was a sign ificant improvement in the structure of students writing. Semi -structured interviews also revealed that students were able to comprehend the reading passages better with the help of graphic organizers. Some students pointed out that graphic

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44 organizers h elped them perceive the connections within the text more easily and allowed them to recall the information more easily from memory during the recall protocols. Bahr and Dansereaus (2005) study of bilingual knowledge maps, which are a form of graphic organizer and fall under the category of concept maps, to investigate the acquisition of foreign language vocabulary. In this study, 82 undergraduate s were trained on either lists or BiK maps, and the goal was for them to study 32 GermanEnglish word pairs wit h the help of BiK. The researchers traced their framework on Pa i vios dual coding theory (Paivio & Desrochers, 1989; Paivio & Lambert, 1981), which suggests that learners form visual images of vocabulary words as well as storing their forms and their meani ngs. Figure 23 is an example of graphic organizers designed to increase student recall of the vocabulary. According to the results of the study, the students who received BiK maps during study scored higher than students who were given lists. BiK students displayed greater use of elaborative recall strategies, such as thinking about stories, main ideas, images, pictures, and diagrams when trying to recall vocabulary. BiK students also reported that they were thinking more and more about how English words related to each other by making use of the spatial locations of word pairs on the paper. As can be seen in the sample studies, graphic organizers can be useful tools for second language learners when they are used as part of instructions. Graphic organizers can help second language learners remember ideas in written materials as well as remember newly learned vocabulary However, independent use of graphic organizers can undermine the communicative aspect of language learning, and studies

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45 on the collaborative use of graphic organizers are needed in the field of second language learning. Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers in La nguage Learning Tasks An issue that has received very little attention is the use of graphic organizers in increasing interaction and language production for second language learners. As mentioned earlier, language generated during collaborative activities that are based on the collaborative analysis and/or formation of graphic organizers has not been thoroughly researched. Table 2-3 displays the gap in research on collaborative use of graphic organizers fo r second language learning. Such research can help us understand the use of graphic organizers for academic language development in a second language. In a collaborative learning environment where the task is to design a graphic organizer, learners are expected to represent their knowledge linguistically as well as visually to a degree that satisfies the other group members. This allows the learners to p resent their knowledge more explicitly. The learners have to get a deeper understanding of the content /concepts in order to be able to help peers make better sense of it, resulting in a better activation of prior knowledge as well as in stronger connections between the newly learned material and background knowledge. Therefore, collaborative knowledge construction may create opportunities for more meaningful learning (Ostwald, 1996; King, 1999). Similarly, successful second language acquisition takes place during c ollaborative interactions as opposed to form -focused language activities that neglect language production for purposeful communication. According t he results of a study by Brooks (2009), when students conversations were analyzed qualitatively through alternative

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46 assessment as part of a collaborative task where they engaged in conversations with each ot her, they produced more interaction and complex language as opposed to the type of testing when students could only interact with the examiners. Collaborative tasks where students interact with one another using the second language for actual communicative goals can scaffold second language development more effectively than form -focused language activities. Furthermore, activities that are desig ned to get students to form graphic organizers coll aboratively can increase students participation and help students use the academic language. Graphic organizers depict these concepts and connections with spatial elements such as idea, boxes, arrows, and lines. For instance, when students interact with e ach other by working collaboratively on filling in or forming a graphic organizer, they not only get to understand the layout of concepts and their connections but also get to hear and practice the language of comparing and contrasting. Role of Interactio n in Second Language Acquisition Interacting in English as part of an academic task is a useful tool that provides ELLs with practice in using academic language (Gibbons, 2002). Students may ask each other questions for clarification, and the meaning gets communicated more clearly during the exchanges because of the contextualization of the language ( Pica, 1994). Speakers can extend their conversations by expressing their confusion and asking for further clarification, which can lead to an increase in comprehensible input and meaningful language learning In this sense, interacting and negotiating meaning in the second language is beneficial for second language learners as it allows them to re vise language, which gives them an opportunity for increased comprehension and production (Long & Porter, 1985)

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47 Pica (1994, p. 494) defines negotiation of meaning as the modification and restructuring of interaction that occurs when learners and their interlocutors anticipate, perceive, or experience difficulties in message comprehensibility. According to Pica, negotiation of meaning helps with second language development by facilitating learners comprehension and structural segmentation of L2 input, access to lexical form and meaning, and production of modified output (p. 493). Swains definition of comprehensible output is based on the same notion of interaction leading to second language development. Swain (1985) states that comprehensible output p ushes the second language learner from comprehension into the level of communication and production, and during the communication process, language learners become attuned to what they know or what they do not know by responding to and resolving linguistic problems. Long (1996) views the process of negotiation of meaning through interaction as conducive to linguistic development. Linguistic problems that learners face during such negotiation direct learners attention to linguistic forms, which is beyond th e level of comprehending messages. Long and Porter (1985) list the following reasons for group work (p. 221 222): (1) increased quantity of practice, especially in twoway communication tasks; (2) increased range of language functions utilized; (3) similar levels of accuracy in student production as in teacher led activities; (4) increased error correction in group work (5) increased negotiation of meaning.

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48 Research on Interaction and Second Language Acquisition A number of studies suggest that participating in conversations in the second language lead s to successful acquisition of second language competence by providing opportunities for learners to receive comprehensible input by revising and modifying their output, which serves as a resource for effective grammar building and exposure to language forms (Foster, 1998; Gass, 1997; Lightbown & Spada, 1990; Long, 1983, 1996; Pica & Doughty, 1985). Pica et al. s (1987) study shows the importance of comprehension of clarification requests, conformat ion checks and the restructuring of contributions. When learners were free to seek clarification from each other, they were able to retrieve a greater degree of comprehensible input for language acquisition. Varonis and Gass (2002) found that during conversations between NNS and NS the turn-taking sequence runs smoothly when the interlocutors have a common background and language use. Conversations flow in a reciprocal manner with each speaker giving responses and keeping track of the direction of the conversation. When the speakers do not share the same background and/or language, the conversational exchanges are interrupted preventing interlocutors from establishing equal footing in the conversation. Varonis and Gass define equal footing within a conversation as one interlocutors ability to respond appropriately to another interlocutors last utterance in other words, to take a turn when it becomes available with full understanding of the preceding turn and its place in the discourse (Varonis & Gass, 2002, p. 73). Both native speakers and nonnative speakers compensate for such breakdowns in communication in order to keep the conversation going as smoothly as possible. Indicators are signals of non-understanding as a response to an utterance (Va ronis &

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49 Gass, 2002, p. 76) and responses to the requests are given for additional information on the implicitly or explicitly stated indicator. During negotiated interaction with non -native speakers of English and native speakers of English, language learners achieve linguistic development through negative evidence about an utterance in terms of grammaticality and acceptability by receiving feedback from native speakers (Long, 1996; Long & Robinson, 1998; Schachter, 1984). Negative evidence can be in explicit or implicit form. Implicit negative evidence can be an indirect type of form, such as asking for clarification by getting additional information or rephrasing the original utterance to make sure that the original utterance has been correctly interpreted with an attempt to provide the correct language forms (e.g. She has a dog. as a recast for She have a dog. Explicit negative evidence is on the other hand a direct response to the erroneous form, as the example in No, not have. It is has.) Long (1996) claims that negative evidence can only lead to linguistic development if the learner notices the negative evidence, attends to it, is able to hold it in memory in order to compare it to the erroneous form and formulate the correct form. In anot her study, Pica (1988, p. 54-55) describes NS -NNS negotiations as one signal negotiated interactions and as extended negotiated interactions in terms of the length of negotiation. In this study, Pica found that, in one -signal negotiations where the lack o f comprehension gets resolved in one attempt, NNSs produced modifications on 50% of their original erroneous utterances with 91% percent native-like utterances. Therefore, one-signal negotiations are likely to result in output with correct modifications in dicating an easier negotiation process. On the other hand, according to the results of Picas study, an extended negotiation resulted in fewer modifications of their original

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50 utterances with only semantic modifications in the first attempt rather than a st ructural correction in the message. The second attempt was a confirmation of the NSs correction but did not involve modifications. Following list is a stepby -step list of the sequence of one-signal negotiated interactions that involve one signal of diff iculty in comprehension: 1 Trigger utterance 2 Signal of lack of comprehension 3 Response to signal 4 Resolution On the other hand, extended negotiated interactions last longer where the interlocutor indicates more than one instance of a lack of comprehension. At the end of the process, the conversation flows in a direction in which the participants either resolve the miscommunication or abandon it and move on: 1 Trigger utterance 2 Signal of lack of comprehension 3 Response to signal 4 Signal of lack of comprehension 5 Response to signal 6 Resolution, continued signals of incomprehension, or abandonment of negotiation. Pica (1998) claims that in such instances NNS either do not know the form or the form is too complicated for their competency level. Another possible explan ation is that confirmation of the correction is necessary, but actual modifications may hinder the fluidity of the conversation and may sound inappropriate. As can be seen in the studies on interaction and second language acquisition, interaction is an important aspect of second language learning, and collaborative

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51 activities can provide opportunities for students to interact in the second language. However, studies that emphasize interaction typically emphasize language production from a form -focused perspective, and they neglect exploring the sociocultural aspects of communication. Therefore, studying collaborative use of graphic organizers from an interactionist perspective may give us a limited explanation of how students use language. Sociocultural Nature of Collaborative Communication From a sociocultural perspective, graphic organizers can be valuable in helping ELLs not only to better communicate in English for the purposes of generating linguis tic exchanges but also to build a language learning community where speakers feel comfortable about communicating with one another. Therefore, in terms of sociocultural aspects of language learning, graphic organizers should not be viewed in isolation bas ed on solely linguistic production with a focus on form but as part of the sociocultural context in which communication is taking place. In this sense, sociocultural theorists understand that not all effective language learning tools function satisfactor ily in creating opportunities for students to interact and use the language (Platt & Brooks, 2002). In other words, according to sociocultural theorists, not every group will generate the same type of language during their use of graphic organizers as part of their language learning process. Therefore, in terms of collaborative use of g raphic organizers, for instance, the effectiveness of graphic organizers as a language learning tool will be determined by how the group perceives it, uses it, and collectively makes meaning using the graphic organizer. Furthermore, collaborative learning tasks need to involve certain elements that differentiate them from traditional group activities for the purpose of increasing student participation in the task (Kagan, 1992) In order to

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52 achieve positive interdependence and individual accountability, the task needs to be structured, so that students are in smaller groups where each student gets an opportunity to perform the task and interact with the group members, and each student has a role in the task that s/he is accountable for. From a sociocultural perspective of learning (Vygotsky, 1978), collaborative environments can trigger even more complicated means for learning because such environments allow students to get exposed to one anothers experiences and knowledge. With the help of collaborative use of graphic organizers, learning language and learning through language becomes a simultaneous process where students can have an opportunity to better comprehend concepts and interact with the concepts in an effort to represent these concepts graphicall y. In a setting where the ELLs are all the same level as far as English language development, there will be variations based on background knowledge and linguistic development. Some students may have more knowledge than others about certain concepts because of experience and exposure. In such environments, we reorganize our mental structures based on our own meaning making and connections. Learning is a process in which each individual builds mental structures within his/her own unique organization. As students interact socially, their mental structures are reorganized (Vygotsky, 1978). In this sense, collaborative use of graphic organizers can also help with language production, so that students can enhance their knowledge structures in light of the graphic organizers and develop their language skills by interacting in the academic language. However, most research on the influence of graphic organizers on learning focuses on comprehension and recall of different types of prose and topics.

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53 The socio -cultural nature of communication helps us understand conversations that take place in different classroom settings where members interact with one another to negotiate and resolve communication issues, such as misunderstanding of questions, off -task talk, counter questioning, and other types of activities for understanding and using language (Markee, 2004). Donato suggests (1994) that language learning strategies take form as a result of the socialization process in a language learning community, unl ike the cognitive approaches that claim that language learning strategies are directly related to an individuals cognitive style, personality, or hemispheric preference. In this sense, strategies arise out of a collaborative process where the individual develops the skills by interacting with more competent members within the community. S econd language learners deal with a multitude of factors besides striving to develop their ability to understand and speak another language with the appropriate linguistic code. Language is a socially constructed phenomenon that takes place through the daily social interactions among members of a particular social group, and signs can only be interpreted when their social connotations are taken into account. Any word when analyzed as a sign in isolation will not be able to satisfactorily provide us a true understanding of what its meaning entails We will only be limited to the sterile dictionary meaning of the word removed from the discourse community that uses, defines, a nd redefines the word. Dialogue is an exchange of signs among participants shaped by social interaction and constant collaborative meaning making. Communicating messages through language helps individuals form society, which in turn shapes individuals and allows them to exist as members of that society (Berger &

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54 Luckmann, 1966) In this sense, meaning is a socially constructed phenomenon that comes into existence in a social situation through an exchange of abstractions that human beings experience and shar e through conversation (Holquist, 1990). An utterance never comes into existence in isolation, as it is always a response to another utterance or sign, so dialogue is what creates utterances and gives them a reason to exist in different levels of connecti ons to previous and upcoming utterances (Holquist, 1990). When speakers are interacting with one another in a conversation, each person produces different utterances that may involve similar words and sentence structures, and yet the differences become pa rt of a mutual field of shared experiences held together within dialogue. (Holquist, 1990, p.49) Donato (1994) suggests that from a socio -cultural perspective, learners have different roles in every learning situation where power relationships can differ and influence learners behaviors and their identities, leading to different forms of participation. According to Donato, certain contexts allow an increased number of possibilities for language development with equal roles and power relations within the m embers of the learning community. Other contexts may devalue ELLs identities and their realities, including the affective factors associated with trying to communicate in another language. When second language learners participate in language and literac y practices, they construct and revise their understandings and interpretations based upon the power relations and roles within the activity both in class and in their social community outside the classroom (Lantolf, 1996). Because of the unique demands o f each cultural activity, language learners are in a position not only to interact by verbalizing their

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55 thinking but to take over different roles in steering the conversation as both parties change their roles during their cultural exchanges. In this sens e, each language exchange takes place in a certain cultural setting that shapes the dynamics of the conversation as well as the choice of words and expressions. The way we use language show s our stance toward the interlocutors we communicate with, indicating our social positioning within the local interaction and in response to larger sociopolitical forces. Critical theorists see the role of power relations as important for understanding the social world, both in broader and local context of social practices (Zuengler & Miller, 2006). Studies on Sociocultural A spects of Second Language Acquisition A growing body of second language research shows that linguistic scaffolding leads to successful second language acquisition under circumstances where peers provide each other opportunities for collaborative scaffolding. Collaborative activities create opportunities for second language learners to participate in dialogue in the second language in au thentic instances of meaning making, creating hypotheses, problem solving about language, and building social relations with one another. Watanabe and Swain (2007) investigated the influence of the differences in second language proficiency on the types of interaction that took place during pair work. In this study, participants from different proficiency levels engaged in collaborative dialogue involving pair writing and individual writing with a stimulated recall after the task. According to the r esults of the study, the patterns of interaction were influential in students post -test scores indicating that collaborative patterns of interaction increased students test scores regardless of their partners proficiency level. In other words,

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56 proficiency differences were not influential factors affecting the nature of peer interaction and L2 learning in this study According to the findings from a task based second language acquisition study by Platt and Brooks (2002), given explicit instructions, langu age learners restructured the communicative tasks that involved information gap and jigsaw activities, and talk took place as a natural outcome of the core goal of problem -solving in each task. At times, language learners produced speech that was defined a s self -regulated speech in Vygotskian terms with a possible indication that such talk is necessary for language learners to better internalize the situation, the language, other members in the group, and the requirements of the task itself. In this sense, Platt and Brooks (2002) claim that during communicative tasks what learners are doing is not simply rehearsing linguistic forms for their eventual acquisition but trying to solve problems by using their language (p. 499). Platt and Brooks observed that learners also used language both to verbalize their frustrations with the activity and to reach commonalities among one another in order to understand and confirm where each member stands. Platt and Brooks explain that joint speech activity not only ser ves the p urpose of message transfer but helps learners internally construct the activity collaboratively. In another study where foreign language learners worked on an information gap task collaboratively, Walz (2008) found that high -language use can be achieved by structuring the task in a such a way that students help each with their linguistic skills and as well as their cultural knowledge. As previously mentioned, unlike sociocultural theorists, Long (1985, 1996) claims that the comprehensible input that learners gain through interactional adjustments helps trigger second language acquisition. These claims caused teachers to design their

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57 classroom activities around this type of interaction based on negotiation of meaning and modifying output to resolv e communication breakdowns with the three Cs: Comprehension Checks, Confirmation Checks, and Clarification Requests. However, according to the results of a study on negotiation for meaning and peer assistance, Ohta and Foster (2005) found that recordings f rom learners during an interactive classroom task revealed the incidence of actual negotiating meaning was rather low. Instead, learners actively helped each other to execute the task through co-construction and prompting by showing interest and encouragem ent with several instances of asking for and providing assistance as well as making self -repairs. All these instances of scaffolding took place in the absence of communication breakdowns. Ohta and Foster conclude that the number of instances of negotiation of meaning is not an accurate depiction of the value of interactive tasks. Language learners may not initiate negotiation of meaning as defined by Long because acknowledging a breakdown and interrupting communication to resolve such breakdown may be disc omforting and both parties may not want to come across as pushy or needy. Ohta and Foster criticize the fact that activities that emphasize communication breakdown invite frustration, which may hinder successful and nurturing language learning. Furthermore, Sato (1986) and Foster (1998) found that lexical problems related to word choice are more often the cause for communication breakdown rather than morpho-syntactic errors. Consequently, Ohta and Foster conclude that in contrast to all other NfM studies, f rom a sociocultural perspective, the processes that support negotiation of meaning can also be beneficial when learners are not stuck in some comprehension-related impasse and using a focus on-form to get themselves out of trouble (p. 425). In other wor ds, the

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58 second language learning opportunities do still exist when learners support one another during peer interaction by communicating with and assisting a partner. According to the results of Storchs (2002) longitudinal investigation into the nature of pair interaction in an adult ESL classroom, four patterns of interaction amongst pairs emerged. In these collaborative interaction patterns, both learners have equal footing working together throughout the task by helping each other to complete the task. On the other hand, dominant/dominant pairs are much less willing and not as capable of engaging with others contributions. Dominant/passive pairs have a dominant partner who wants to be in charge of the task, and the passive partner is left to be subservi ent. In expert -novice pairs, the more knowledgeable learner helps the novice to engage in the task. The results of the study indicated that the pairs with a more collaborative orientation displayed more knowledge transfer, and there was a greater number of instances with no knowledge transfer or missed opportunities in pairs with a noncollaborative orientation. According to her observations, Storch concluded that the pairs with the highest proficiency difference tended to collaborate the most whereas the p airs with highest degree of homogeneity of English proficiency level were non-collaborative dominant dominant pairs. According to Firth and Wagner (1997), the field of SLA is highly oriented towards psycholinguistic approaches to understanding second langu age development, which places more importance on the impact of individual processes in language learning, such as the acquisition of syntactic, morphological, and semantic rules. However, human beings use language for collective purposes, and the goal is to share and communicate messages and create meaning collectively rather than in isolation. Even

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59 in individual writing, the language learner is a participant as -language -user in social interaction (p. 286) and is expected to produce language by himself /herself, the presence of an invisible target audience cannot be denied as the audience is an important factor influencing the form and content of the output. In short, sociocultural theory helps to explain the language development process of an individual in terms of the socialization process of language acquisition through interactions with the members of a social group (Donato, 1994). In other words, language learning involves participation in a social and communicative exchange of messages where the la nguage learner takes in and processes linguistic messages, and then rebuilds them as part of the interaction process, and revises the language appropriately for different social contexts. In this sense, collaborative activities involving the use of graphic organizers need to be designed and studied carefully to better understand the dynamics within each group provide a better picture of what types of collaborative situations provide the best opportunities for communication and second language development. Discourse Analysis and Studying Collaborative Classroom Interactions Discourse analysis is one of the most effective tools for studying classroom language and interaction among students and teachers (Bloome et al., 2005). As a qualitative research method, discourse analysis emphasizes daily interactions in a classroom where teachers and students are active agents in meaning-making and shape their own discourse community through their ongoing dialogues (Bloome et al., 2005). In this sense, studying classroom language events sheds light onto how people use language in collaboratively constructing meaning in classrooms, and the interactions are analyzed through sociocultural as well as linguistic lens es

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60 Gee makes a distinction between discourse with a lower case d and Discourse with an upper case D, the former referring to how language is used on site to enact activities and identities (Gee, 2005, p. 7) while the latter refers to different ways in which we humans integrate language with non-langua ge stuff, such as different ways of thinking, acting, interacting, valuing, feeling, believing, and using symbols, tools, and technologies to recognize yourself and others as meaning and meaningful in certain ways (Gee, 2005, p. 7). We can try to make sense of cultural situations through discourse analysis with an in-depth study of Discourse that involves the linguistic features and social structures situated in everyday life. Language is a tool for reflecting upon the situation as well as building and shaping the situation in which social interaction takes place. Besides linguistic resources that we use during social meaning making, we also use cultural models as guides that shape our language practices when forming situated meanings. We can only explain why words have the types of meanings that they have acquired and how words gain new meanings in every new social interaction by developing a thorough understanding of cultural models that are held by the participants in language exchange. Classroom dis course includes interactional units that are the smallest units of joint social activity involving both the actions and reactions of participants toward each other. It can be defined as a series of conversationally tied message units (Bloome et al., 2005, p. 6). All literary practices in classroom setting involve literacy events, which can be defined as bounded series of actions and reactions that people make in response to each other at the level of faceto -face interaction (Bloome et al., 2005, p. 6). In order to study language and culture in literacy events, we need to build a better explanation of

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61 how participants in any type of conversational discourse make meaning collectively as well as how they understand and interpret each others messages in diffe rent types of situations. In line with those few studies that integrate interaction and collaboration into the graphic organizer research (MacKinnon & Keppell, 2005; Ryve, 2004), one way to understand how graphic organizers actually influence student learn ing is by designing activities that give students opportunities for collective meaning making where they can voice their comments and their questions. In an effort to gain a deeper understanding of collaborative interaction among students in classrooms and students second language learning this study explores the possibilities the collaborative use of graphic organizers can facilitate interaction in English.

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62 Table 2 1. Review of literature on graphic organizers and second language learning TOPICS ON GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS AND SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING WHAT ARE GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS? GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS AS TOOLS FOR CONTENT LEARNING COLLABORATIVE USE OF GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS FOR CONTENT LEARNING GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS AS TOOLS FOR SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING COLLABORATIVE USE OF GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS AND SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING Role of Interaction in Second Language Learning Research on Interaction and Second Language Learning Sociocultural Nature of Collaborative Communication Research on Sociocultural Aspects of Second Language Learning DISCOURSE ANALYSIS AND RESEARCH ON COLLABORATIVE CLASSROOM INTERACTION Table 2 2 The knowledge framework categories (Mohan, 1985) THE KNOWLEDGE FRAMEWORK THEORETICAL Classification Principles Evaluation PRACTICAL Description Sequence Choice

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63 Figure 21. Common organizational structures of information texts (Jameson, 2003)

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64 Figure 22. Example of a student -generated graphic organizer (Early, 1991) Figure 23. German-English bilingual map

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65 Table 2 3 Conceptual framework on collaborative use of graphic organizers with second language learners Graphic Organizers as Tools for Content Learning) Graphic Organizers Graphic Organizers as Tools for Second language Learning Collaborative use of Graphic Organizers for Content Learning Collaborative Classroom Dialogue Collaborative Use of Graphic Organizers for L2 Learning EXAMPLE STUDIES Blachowicz & Ogle ( 2001); Gunning (2003); Hatch & Dwyer (2006); Robinson & Kievra (1995); Thresher (2004 FOUNDATIONAL THEORIES Subsumption Theory -Ausubel (1960, 1963) Dual Coding Theory Paivio (1980) Learning through Concept Mapping Novak (1984) EXAMPLE STUDIES Tang (1992); Bahr & Dansereau (2005) EXAMPLE STUDIES MacKinnon & Keppell (2005); Rinehart & Welker (1992); Ryve (2004) FOUNDATIONAL THEORIES Collaborative Dialogue in L2 acquisition Swain (1998, 1985, 1995); Gibbons (2002, 2009); Donato (1994); Storch (2002); Ohta (1999) Sociocultural Scaffolding Vygotsky (1978) Collaborative Learning Bruner (1986) Social Dialogue and Language Learning Ba khtin (1981, 1986) Social Construction of Culture and Language -Berger and Luckmann (1966) EXAMPLE STUDIES No Studies

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66 CHAPTER 3 THEORETICAL FRAMEWOR K AND METHODOLO G Y Theoretical Framework This study aims at better understanding the nature of interactions in a collaborative graphic organizer task in light of theories on academic language development in English. This study uses discourse analysis as a research method for understanding classro om dialogue with ELLs using graphic organizers in a collaborative task. Classroom discourse generated during the interactions between students is the primary data, and transcriptions of student interactions were analyzed based on Gees (2005) disco urse analysis model according to the methodological concepts and terms introduced by Gee, including characteristics of the language students generate, their social roles, and other factors that are at play. Students conversations were constructed socially as a result of the collaborative meaning making process during the use of graphic organizers as part of a group activity. Table 3-1 is a depiction of the study design based on Crottys principles of qualitative research design from the broadest elements to the most specific elements representing the theoretical framework of the study (2005, p. 5) This study follow ed a constructionist epistemology, according to which human beings construct meanings in the course of a constant interaction between each other and the world. Reality is neither objective nor subjective as it evolves and is transmitted within a social conte xt (Crotty, 2005). Hence, this study is based on a social constructionist theoretical foundation with a particular focus on the social construction of knowledge, echoing the importance of human interaction in building new

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67 understandings and interpretations of cultural and linguistic exchanges that shape our daily lives (Gergen, 1985). Methodology In line with the tenets of social constructionism emphasizing the importance of social exchanges in building meaning, this research study involves an in -depth analysis of student discourse generated during collaborative use of graphic organizers as part of classroom activities. Discourse analysis is a powerful method that has been used for identifying and studying the processes of meaning making during human int eraction, with the goal of better understanding the dynamics of conversation and the layers and landscapes of meanings that participants create in the process of communication (Bloome et al., 2005). Overview of the Dissertation and Research Problems Graphi c organizers can serve as educational tools to increase comprehensibility of subject matter. Graphic organizers can also be used as tools to trigger conversations that include language scaffolding and negotiation of meaning. Such collaboration may foster ESL students conceptual and linguistic development and improve their understanding of different language patterns associated with discourse structures such as comparison-contrast, process, cause effect, etc. In cooperative activities designed around the use of graphic organizers, teachers can increase student to -student interaction in class. Also, collaborative study of graphic organizers may help students learn how to recognize discourse structures and discourse markers during reading comprehension in order to achieve higher levels of reading in English. Furthermore, working on discourse structures and discourse markers collaboratively can also help English language learners first converse about and then write about different types of

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68 academic discourse as well as scaffold each others conceptual learning and language learning processes. In collaborative graphic organizer activities, graphic organizers can also increase students higher order thinking skills because students can actually perceive the di scourse structures in academic texts and the overarching relationships between ideas during the process of studying graphic organizers and creating their own graphic organizers. These processes may boost students self -confidence, increase student partici pation, and make way for increased language production. In order to build a research foundation that is based on understanding the nature of classroom dialogue as a way to improve students academic success, it is imperative to examine the interaction among students closely. This study explored classroom discourse generated during a set of collaborative concept mapping activities. Classroom discourse is in general composed of multiple layers of meanings and varied forms, and the diversity in students linguistic and cultural backgrounds increases the diversity in the linguistic and sociocultural nature of collaborative dialogue. Social groups form situated meanings collectively, and these meanings get incorporated into the culture of the group and shapes the groups identity on a social and individual level. Gee (2005) defines a situated meaning as an image or pattern that we assemble on the spot as we communicate in a given context, based on our construal of that context and our past experiences (p.47). When we are producing language, we are actually gathering all the situated meanings we have formed about the world before we proceed with our actions in the world (Gee & Green, 1998). Accumulation of situated meanings is composed of our sociocultur ally shared experiences, and when we are producing language, we refer to cultural models that have been formed during different social

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69 practices and established by the particular social group that we are part of (Gee & Green, 1998). In this sense, activel y participating and drawing from the situated meanings of a social group not only entails being able to produce utterances in a certain language but also being able to recognize the words used in multiple settings and being able to differentiate how the me aning of a word can change within different contexts. Similarly, as the students in this study participated in the collaborative graphic organizer task, they formed new identities, play different roles that changed at different instances of the task, and used language in order to execute the collaborative task according to their own situated meanings being formed during the task. The collaborative graphic organizer task in this study involved ELLs conversing in English and filling out graphic organizers co llaboratively. The graphic organizers were based on two textbooks used in the classroom: Making connections: A strategic approach to academic reading the main textbook with authentic academic texts, and From great paragraphs to great essays a support tex tbook with five paragraph essay with a simplified structure. The first graphic organizer used in the first lesson of Week 1 was based on an essay from the supplementary textbook with the format of a simple five -paragraph essay, and the second graphic organizer was based on a longer passage from the main textbook that is more like authentic academic texts lacking an explicit organizational structure that displays the discourse structure visually. The purpose of using a simple five paragraph essay and then s witching to a more complicated academic text is to scaffold students understanding of discourse structures and related language first through a structurally less complicated text where both the structures of the discourse and the language signaling that s tructure are more salient for

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70 ELLs before they move into an actual academic text where the language and the structures are more opaque. In the final stage of the task, students were assigned to fill out a graphic organizer that lead them into a final independent writing task, so that students can become more autonomous in producing written texts in the English language. The graphic organizers were based on comparison-contrast and cause andeffect discourse structures, and the study of these structures is already integrated into the regular classroom instruction in the intermediate reading/writing curriculum at LLC each week. Therefore, these particular discourse structures were selected in accordance with the existing curriculum and aimed at improving students reading comprehension and writing skills with academic texts that use these two discourse structures across the curriculum. The following research questions guided the research process in the qualitative research study: How do Engl ish language learners use language in a collaborative graphic organizer activity? Setting LLC (Language Learning Center) is a language school for students from around the world who are adult learners of English as a second language at post -secondary level. Its mission is to help students improve their English language skills with intensive language study that addresses the linguistic needs of students at different levels of English proficiency. The goal of the LLC Language School is not only to assist with the learning of the English language but also the culture of the United States of America. Students are taught to read university -level materials; write academic papers and exams;

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71 speak more fluently in both formal and informal settings; take good, clear notes at lectures; take timed, objective tests; function knowledgeably in a North American culture and, establish and maintain productive relations with fellow students, professors, and other members of the host community. Most classrooms are equipped with a computer, a DVD player, and an LCD monitor in line with the latest technology. Students sit in chairs that can be m oved around during group work. All classrooms are sound-proof and carpeted with air conditioning and heating to provide a comfortable learning environment. Participants Students at the LLC language school come to the United States to further their professional development by improving their English language skills, and they mostly enroll in higher education after graduating. When students arrive to the LLC they are given a placement tes t that includes a listening section (CELT or Comprehensive English Language Test -section I) and a structure section (CELT II) and a writing test using an inhouse checklist that was designed by the testing coordinators at LLC The levels placement for l istening and structure is based on a breakdown of scores. For writing, the levels are determined based on the learning objectives that are revised and improved every year. The listening test determines LS levels and structure, grammar levels. An in -house w riting test determines initial grouping, and then when the LLC testing coordinators do placement based on ranges of students scores. If a student is Level 40, s/he may be high or low within that level. Some students may get placed in a higher level 40 or a high 30. Then, once placed, the students take diagnostics, which

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72 ensures if students are appropriately placed. If any changes are needed, the LLC testing coordinators make new decisions accordingly and place the students in a different class before the end of the second week of the term. Three different criteria were considered for participating selection in this study. First, the study needed to be conducted in a classroom that regularly incorporates interaction and collaboration during instruction for the purpose of improving students academic proficiency in English. Second, the study needed to be conducted in a classroom where the teacher either a) used a collaborative concept mapping strategy as part of the regular classroom routine or b) was willing to incorporate a collaborative concept mapping strategy as part of their classroom instruction. Third, the focus of the class needed to be on the use of academic language where students were expected to acquire a higher command of academic language in English as opposed to the more colloquial language used in shopping or traveling. Therefore, the Reading/Writing class was selected. The task incorporated both academic speaking and writing skills to provide students with extensive opportunities for ac ademic language production. Using these criteria and with the help of the school s coordinator, the researcher recruited a teacher of one of the Reading/Writing classes. The intermediate proficiency level was selected because the language skills needed t o recognize and produce the academic language in academic texts would be too advanced for earlier levels. Students at this level were not proficient in writing an essay yet, and the class start ed from how to write a paragraph, gradually moving students i nto how to write an essay. The students were assigned to the intermediate level of reading and writing due to their need for improving their writing skills and for learning how to write an essay

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73 according to the conventions of the English language. One of the main goals in this class was learning how to write a paragraph and moving towards learning how to write a standard five -paragraph essay. In this class, students were taught different types of discourse structures in academic texts, so that they could recognize these structures in reading materials and also write academic texts that reflect these structures. As can be seen in Table 3 2, the researcher used pseudonyms for each participant in the study to protect their anonymity. Ayumi and Dawud were the partners in Pair 1. Ayumi was born in Japan and she lived there all her life until she came to the United States. She has an undergraduate degree from Japan, and she took English classes in Japan as part of her education, but in th ese English classes, the emphasis was on grammar drills as opposed to communication and listening. She was attending LLC to improve her speaking skills, so that she could pass the Test of Spoken English and the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreig n Language) to be able to start graduate education at the University of Florida. Dawud was from Saudi Arabia, and he came to Gainesville with his wife to continue with his PhD education. He had a masters degree that he completed in Saudi Arabia, and he wa s attending the ELI to be able to pass the TOEFL and to get into a PhD program at the University of Florida. He received a scholarship from the Saudi Government for his language education with a condition to finish his PhD degree and go back and work at a university in Saudi Arabia. Neither of the students had lived in an English speaking country before. Hyun and Miguel in Pair 2 had similar goals in that they both wanted to pass the TOEFL and start a graduate program in the United States, but they were flexible with

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74 their choice of universities. Hyun was from Korea, and Miguel was from Venezuela. TOEFL was a big hurdle for them, and they liked the LLC because of its emphasis on both academic language skills to pass the TOEFL and conversational skills to engage in conversations with native speakers of English. Hyun had a very good writing teacher when he was in Korea, but he could not improve his speaking skills because the emphasis was mostly on writing, grammar, and vocabulary. Miguel is relatively more fluent in English because of his American friends back in Venezuela, but his English language skills were not high enough to be able to pass the TOEFL exam. Neither of the students had lived in an English speaking country before. Roberto and Akram in Pair 3 were also preparing to take the TOEFL. Roberto was from Colombia, and he was preparing for the TOEFL, so that he could apply for a graduate school in a good university of his choice in the United States. Akram was from Saudi Arabia, and he needed to pass the TOEFL not only to be able to get into a graduate program of his choice but also to able to get the funding from the Saudi Government to pursue graduate studies. Both of these students took English language classes in their home countries, but the emph asis was vocabulary and grammar, so they could not improve their productive skills in English. Neither of the students had lived in an English speaking country before. The study took place during the regular schedules of class periods. Prior to the study, students had been assigned to work in pairs by their teacher as part of regular classroom instruction because pair work allows more opportunities for language production for both parties compared with larger groups where the time and the opportunity for interaction needs to be shared among more participants. All students in

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75 class participated in the collaborative graphic organizer task because it was integrated with instruction as a part of the instructional sequence, but only those six students who had volunteer to participate in the study were recorded with an audio recorder and a video camera. Students were paired up at the beginning of each class, and the six focal students remained pairs for the duration of the task. The study focused on only six part icipants (three pairs) in the class in anticipation of the large amount of data that would be generated during student interactions in class, and so that the conversational data could be analyzed in greater depth. Because student pairing took place four w eeks into the semester with the help of the teacher, the teacher was more familiar with the students. Teachers at the LLC strive to pair students from different language backgrounds, because many students stay in the USA for only two months, and LLC teachers want students to use English as much as they can in these two months. Classroom meetings are often the only opportunity for L LC students to communicate extensively in English. When paired with someone from the same language background, students tend to speak in their own language. Therefore, the researcher informed the teacher which students had agreed to participate in the stu dy. The researcher asked the teacher to pair up students based on their fluency in spoken English, so that higher proficiency students were paired with lower proficiency students. Also, both students were from different cultural and linguistic background. Neither of these pairs may have typically sat next to each other as most students prefer sit ting by someone from their own culture. Another pairing factor was the level of collaborative tendency among the pairs since during the pilot study some pairs did not talk to each other at all since they were both less collaborative students

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76 who were mostly quiet. All of these arrangements were for the purposes of increasing opportunities for scaffolding among the partners. Before pairing the students up, the teache r rated the students based on their collaborative style. The teacher also rated the students in class based on their standing within the group in terms of their speaking skills and their writing skills. After the pairing process was complete, the researcher selected three pairs randomly by asking each pair to draw numbers from a hat, and the pairs who picked the numbers one, two, and three participated in the study, but the researcher recorded two additional pairs of students just to ensure that she could f all back on a different pair who were present at all times in case of an absence. Task Description The task that is studied in this dissertation is based on graphic organizers that depict comparison -contrast and cause andeffect discourse structures. The f ollowing is a list of the stages and steps involved in the instructional sequence of the collaborative graphic organizer task that the researcher and the teacher followed, and the teacher and the researcher were to jointly decide on the timing and allocati on of the stages and the steps in fourteen class periods over seven days. During Stage 1 and Stage 2, the researcher and the teacher selected texts from students textbooks in order to comply with the requirements of the reading/writing curriculum. In Stag e 1, the text was taken from a supplementary textbook with essays that follow the regular five-paragraph essay structure. For instance, the essay for the first week was a fiveparagraph essay written in comparison -contrast genre. On the other had, in Stage 2, the text was taken from the students main textbook written in an authentic academic prose style where the structure of the text does not necessarily follow the structure of a five -paragraph essay,

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77 and the thesis statement and the topic sentences are n ot clearly laid out. In other words, the structure of the text was more opaque in comparison to the essay in Stage 1. The goal for such scaffolding was that the students were expected to learn how to write fiveparagraph essay because it was one of the obj ectives of this course, but they also need to get used to the more complex structures of academic texts. In other words, not every text they encounter in academic settings, i.e. in graduate school, will be texts that have been adapted to their own language level, and the students need to get used to comprehending academic texts that are written for a general audience. STAGE 1 Discourse Structure Analysis: Simple 5 Paragraph Essay 1 Researcher explains the purpose of the study and presents graphic organizer s reflecting four different types of discourse structures: comparison-contrast genre, cause andeffect genre, descriptive genre, and sequence genre. 2 Researcher models how to use a graphic organizer based on the discourse structure of a selected text from the supplementary textbook. Teacher and researcher do a brief demonstration of the collaborative graphic organizer task on another empty graphic organizer based on the text from the supplementary textbook. 3 Students read the text in their supplementary textbook first for ten minutes and they start to fill out the rest of the blank graphic organizer designed around the text in the supplementary textbook in pairs collaboratively. STAGE 2 Discourse Structure Analysis: Authentic Academic Texts 4 Researcher mo dels how to use a graphic organizer based on the discourse structure of a selected text from the main textbook. Teacher and the researcher do a brief demonstration of the collaborative graphic organizer task on another empty graphic organizer based on the text from the main textbook. 5 Students read the text in their main textbook first for 10 minutes and in pairs collaboratively they start to fill out the rest of the next graphic organizer designed around the text in the main textbook.

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78 STAGE 3 Discourse Structure Analysis and Application: Interaction and Essay Writing 6 Teacher assigns a new topic and the researcher presents a new graphic organizer based on the new topic. 7 Students fill out a blank graphic organizer collaboratively by i nterviewing each other based on the new topic as a preparation for the essay writing. This step helped students to recognize the discourse structure and to produce writing that reflects the discourse structure. 8 Students are given an assignment to write an essay based on the same topic. 9 Students are interviewed by the researcher in pairs for thirty minutes per pair. Pilot Study In order to prepare for the actual study, the researcher conducted a pilot study with non-native speakers of Englis h and native speakers of English based on similar tasks used in this research. All the findings and experiences from the pilot study helped the researcher to improve the design of the instructional sequencing in the collaborative graphic organizers task by assigning roles to participants and clarifying the instructions to the task. Furthermore, the researcher benefited greatly from the data analysis process as it served as a simulation before the analysis of the actual data. Thanks to the data analysis exp erience from the pilot study, the researcher had an opportunity to see how Gees framework would guide the data analysis process effectively. The experience provided insight into the execution process of the task and provided better understanding of the p otential outcome and problems that may take place during the implementation of the task. The researcher audio -recorded conversations while students were filling out graphic organizers collaboratively. In the actual study, the researcher used a video camer a as well as a digital voice recorder in order to capture the scene better and to understand how students utilize graphic

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79 organizers during the task. The researcher compiled the following observations from the collaborative graphic organizer task. Contrary to the researchers expectations, the conversations did not involve much error correction or scaffolding around language errors. On a few instances, the native speakers helped the nonnative speaker with pronunciation and vocabulary, but the non-native sp eaker did not repeat the word with the correct version. In other words, the NS may have acknowledged the mistake but did not act upon it. For instance, in one of these scaffolding incidents, the NS got the ELL to repeat the word technical a few times, but the ELL did not integrate the correct pronunciation in his/her utterance. There was more scaffolding towards helping the ELL produce output. NSs seemed to make the ELL feel confident about his English language skills by giving a lot of praise and making comments about the weakness of their own language learning experiences and abilities. There were comments that are not always about the topic, but having to fill out the GO (Graphic Organizer) sheet as a task seems to keep the conversation on target. Comparison and contrast is the over all genre, but there was very little use of signal words for comparison-contrast. Native speakers asked many questions to get the ELLs to talk, but there were n ot many questions from the ELL until towards the end of the conversations. The ELL listened to them quite a lot initially and responded to questions. The reason for this could be cultural, for instance, he may be listening more than talking out of respect Native speakers built upon ELLs conversation by commenting on what the ELL says or by adding their own experiences about the same point with expressions such as: same here as well, it is similar, but, etc. The researcher observed that the

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80 participants did not talk about the graphic organizer at all until the very end, and based on the conversations, one person (NS) had been filling it out all along the conversation. The researcher decided that pair work could be a more effective way to make sure that ev erybody in the group were conversing and engaging in discussions verbally. The speakers did not switch to irrelevant topics or add more to a certain topic by using signal words, conjunctions etc. They just built on each others responses by taking turns an d adding sentences in. It seemed like the ELL did not do any type of copying of NSs answers onto the GO. The ELL may have been under the impression that he was helping the NS with their task by responding to their questions and that he had the GO sheet fo r extra information about the task. This result is expected because it is very hard to achieve collaboration in classroom activities without structuring the task for positive interdependence and individual accountability. In the actual research study, the researcher assigned roles to each participant to prompt collaboration. The researcher took into consideration these roles when analyzing and interpreting discourse data from student conversations during the collaborative graphic organizer task. Data Collection The researcher worked closely with the teacher at LLC by guiding the teacher before the study early in the semester in preparing graphic organizers and designing group activities based on the use of graphic organizers. The researcher an d the teacher worked together during the application of the stages, and they modeled the tasks within the task so that students could have a better understanding of the instructions. The task was designed to elicit collaborative language production, and in the final stage of the task, for purposes of positive interdependence and individual accountability

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81 (Kagan, 1992), students interviewed each other by asking questions about each other while completing the graphic organizer. The final step of the task in volved a takehome essay writing assignment on the topic that students worked on during the last stage of the collaborative graphic organizer task where they gathered all the information they needed through the interviews in order to be able to write their essays. The students writing samples from the final stage of the task where students wrote essays independently at home were collected in the following class in order to have a better understanding of written language use following a collaborative graph ic organizer task The researcher used these written language samples during the data analysis process when looking for connections between students conversations and their written language production. Data collection took place in fourteen class periods over nine days from 05/27/2009 until 06/12/2009 over a period of three weeks. The first week of the study was spent piloting the task one last time and to be able to introduce graphic organizers and the collaborative graphic organizer task, so that the students were already familiar with the task when the researcher started collecting the data. Data collection took place in the second and third week of the study. The classes were held every day of the week for two fifty minute periods with a 10 -minute br eak in between the two sessions. Based on the feedback from the teacher as to how to integrate the task into her preexisting curriculum and lesson plans, the sessions for the collaborative graphic organizer task took place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fr idays. For the purposes of establishing a firmer ground and adding more rigor to the study, audio and video recordings of students interactions were supported by data gathered from observational notes,

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82 samples of graphic organizers produced by the students, students writing samples during the collaborative graphic organizer task, and interviews with students that were conducted at the end of the three weeks. Students Interactions: The conversations th at took place between all students in class were recorded during the graphic organizer task, and interactions were videotaped for a clearer understanding of the students level of engagement and body language during the conversations. However, only convers ations from three preselected pairs were transcribed in order to allow more depth in the analysis of the discourse. The classes took place every day for two hours every day. The study took place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for three weeks, and t he researcher took specific observational notes during the study, which took place over three weeks from 05/27/2009 until 06/12/2009. The researcher recorded each session every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for two weeks, but she transcribed the conversat ions during the collaborative graphic organizer task prior to the independent essay writing stage. The collaborative graphic organizer task lasted for thirty minutes every Friday for three weeks in the first hour of the total two-hour class period. The stu dents worked on their essays independently in the remaining half hour and the second hour. Graphic Organizers: The graphic organizers that students worked on during the collaborative task were used as archival materials for the purpose of shedding further light onto the collaborative use of graphic organizers as educational tools for academic language socialization and use. At the end of the collaborative graphic organizer task, the researcher collected a total of twelve graphic organizers from the six pa rticipants, made copies of each graphic organizer, and returned them back to the teacher in the

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83 following week. The researcher was able to collect all the graphic organizers from the pairs each week, so the researcher collected a total number of 6 graphic organizers in the week of the comparison/contrast genre and another 6 graphic organizers at the end of the week of the cause and effect genre. Each of these graphic organizers were also accompanied with students essays because the graphic organizer included two additional blank pages for student essays, so that the students could write their essays by following their notes on their graphic organizers. Observational Notes: Early in the semester, the researcher began observing the class, so that students coul d get used to her presence and the presence of the camera and recording devices. She took raw preobservational notes about the seating arrangements, the types of activities in the classroom, the materials the teacher used in class, and how students intera cted during collaborative activities. In the first week of the study, which was spent as a training period to help students get comfortable working with graphic organizers collaboratively and get used to how the instructions of the task, the researcher took observational notes on the general nature of the classroom, such as the classroom routines, the types of collaborative and independent tasks the teacher conducts in the classroom in general as well as students cultural and language backgrounds, students interactions with each other and the teacher by observing and conversing with the teacher and the students. This information was used to supplement students conversations during the collaborative graphic organizer tasks. It is important to consider how individual student and classroom context may influence the nature of the interactions. During the collaborative graphic organizer activities, the researcher also took observational notes in order to better describe the events in each phase of the

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84 task. These observational notes helped in analyzing and explaining student discourse generated during the collaborative graphic organizer task. Writing Samples: After each of the collaborative graphic organizer task, students were given a writing prompt that was an extension of the topic and based on the same discourse structure. The writing task was completed as homework, and the writing samples were collected in the following class period. As samples of students language production, the graphic organizers and the written essays helped the researcher to understand how students use the academic language after the integration of collaborative graphic organizer task into the instruction (See Appendix G ). Interviews: As a follow -up to the task, the research er conducted semi -structured interviews with the students who participated in the study immediately after the final session of the collaborative graphic organizer task. The interviews were used to shed light onto the students perceptions of how the collaborative graphic organizer task had helped their academic language skills in English. Interviews were recorded with a digital voice recorder (See Appendix E for a list of the interview questions.). Data Analysis The researcher analyzed the conversations, the writing samples, and the graphic organizers collected from students together, and observational notes. All of these components were essential to understand how graphic organizers assist students academic language development. The conversations provided discourse data that can give a clearer picture of macro and micro structure with micro level tools such as function words, content words, information, macro level tools, task buildings, connection buildings, rol es, and hierarchical setting of student conversations (Gee, 2005). The

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85 writing samples provided insights as to how the discussion process during the task was reflected in the students essays as well as the nature of the academic language in their writing samples. During the data analysis process, the researcher used Gees (2005) three categories: semiotic building, sociocultural identity building, and task building as a set of lenses for analyzing the data. The researcher was able to synthesize Gees categ ories together with her research questions, and she started detecting new categories and patterns within the data. When she looked at the data closely, she could identify different types of scaffolding, different types of interactional styles, and activity structures She also detected various interactional roles in light of the academic language functions the students were using during their interactions. After finalizing the list of all of the academic language functions present in students conversations, the researcher generated categories of interactional roles based on the patterns of academic language functions. For instance, if the students repeatedly asked questions, the researcher forme d a functional category for asking questions and labeled the role category inquirer She compared the language functions represented in each role category and constructed a definition for each category of interactional roles Th rough this process the researcher expanded upon Gees categories of semiotic building, sociocultural activity building, and activity building. In other words, new categories began to emerge within Gees three categories. Kidd (1996) tentatively divided ac ademic language functions into two categories for the purposes of providing a framework for second language teachers and second language researchers: Microfunctions and macrofunctions. Microfunctions are small -

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86 scale functions involving the performance of a specific language task for narrow purposes, whereas macrofunctions are large-scale uses of academic language serving a more general purpose. Macrofunctions encompass various microfunctions. The researcher analyzed the academic language functions in the co llaborative graphic organizer task based on this macro vs micro hierarchy. The set of conceptual categories of academic language functions and interactional roles was later reviewed and refined by peers experienced in discourse analysis. The researcher ben efited greatly from consulting with peers which allowed the researcher to filter the initial categories through multiple lenses and clarify the interactional landscape. An explanation of how each type of data follows: Students Interactions: When analyzin g classroom discourse collected during the collaborative graphic organizer task in LLC Language School, the researcher took into consideration two kinds of components: 1. linguistic structures (micro level tools such as function words, content words, depth of concepts, sentence structure, connectors) 2. social structure (macro level tools, task buildings, connection buildings, roles, hierarchical setting) with the following three building tasks that students carried out. These tasks are part of all dialogue that takes place when a group of people are collaborating and negotiating with other s in interaction. Discourse generated during the task was analyzed using Gees (2005) three aspects of discourse (p. 85). Semiotic building: Using cues or clues to assemble situated meanings about what semiotic (communicative) systems, systems of knowledge, and ways of knowing, are here and now relevant and activated.

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87 Activity building: Using cues or clues to assemble situated meanings about what activity or activities are going on, composed of what specific actions. Socioculturally situated identity building: Using cues and clues to assemble situated meanings about what identities and relationships are relevant to the interaction, with their concomitant attitudes, values, ways of feeling, ways of knowing and believing, as well as ways of acting and interact ing. Stress and intonation were not emphasized in the data transcription due to interlanguage. Interlanguage is a term used to refer to the developmental state of English language that English speakers from different language backgrounds speak when learning English, and interlanguage is based on a second language system that has not reached a level of native -language proficiency (Selinker, 1972), particularly in patterns of intonation and stress in oral language. Because the researcher does not speak the students native languages, it would have difficult to make definitive statements about these data. Instead, morpho-syntactic features, discourse features, and the communicative functions of linguistic structures were used for the purposes of understandin g how the participants are integrating and tying in conversations. The researcher first identified stanza lines with function words and content words, and then she identified meaning units based on Gees three building tasks (Gee, 2005). Based on an inde pth analysis of the data in terms of the three building tasks (semiotic building, activity building, and sociocultural identity building), themes began to emerge, and the themes were organized in relation to the research questions. Micro level language dat a with a focus on semiotic aspects with an emphasis on linguistic and conceptual meanings were used to illuminate the sociocultural dimensions and uncover

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88 the social factors that make up the macrostructure of the Discourse (Gee, 2005). This process helped the researcher to understand how meaning was carved, formed, and patterned within the text with emerging insights as to how meanings were designed socially and linguistically in the data (Gee, 2005). The researcher constantly compared the findings with the archival data involving the graphic organizers that the participants completed. Observation notes were also used as part of data triangulation process. Writing Samples: The researcher analyzed the writing samples from Gees (2005) semiotic building aspect with a focus on language use. Writing samples helped in understanding students awareness of discourse structures in the writing samples and in showing how students con nected their ideas with transitional phrases, the complexity of the sentence structures, the level of the academic vocabulary about the topic, and the visibility of the discourse structure within the essay. As the goal of the task was to understand studen ts interactions, written data shed further light into the outcome of the collaborative graphic organizer task and the partners accomplishment of and engagement in all the steps in the task. Graphic Organizers: Analysis of graphic organizers helped the re searcher understand the nature of language that was generated among partners during collaborative work and the nature of classroom discourse that took place during the completion of these visual materials. Through graphic organizers, the researcher was abl e to confirm that the participants were engaged in the task, understood the purpose of the task, and completed the task successfully by making use of the concepts they listed in their graphic organizers.

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89 Observational Notes: The researcher used the observational notes to confirm the findings from the analysis of student interactions. Observational notes helped better explain the digital recordings of students conversations with more visual input. The researcher incorporated the observational notes with the video recordings of the conversations in order to capture a more complete understanding of what was actually happening based on factors such as the participants body language and level of engagement. Interviews: Transcriptions of the interviews were anal yzed in order to obtain students perspectives about the instructional benefits of incorporating graphic organizers into the reading/writing classroom using a collaborative task. The researcher used the thematic analysis method for analyzing the interview data with a constant comparison of the themes and the data under different domains generated through the thematic analysis method (Bogdan & Biklen, 2007; Hatch, 2002). Subjectivity Statement I am a second language learner of English of a Turkish origin, and I have always been interested in studying reading comprehension processes in a second language. During my doctoral studies, I have become more interested in studying language and interaction as part of the interactive meaning making process. Because of the difficulties second language learners experience with academic language, I have become more and more interested in finding ways and means for helping students acquire academic discourse and become active participants who function well in academic sett ings. I believe that we need to find ways of tapping into students language use by analyzing student discourse, which may give us a deeper understanding of students linguistic and conceptual development and of the types of

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90 misconceptions, self -correction s, and collaborative scaffolding that take place in group environments. I have also been interested in visual materials for making academic language in texts easier to understand. Over the course of my graduate studies, gradually my knowledge of graphic or ganizers and my interest in collaborative work began to merge and connect with in multiple possibilities for content and language development for English language learners. As a doctoral student, I worked on different research projects where I analyzed stu dent interviews, reading group discussions, and interactions during tutoring sessions. I believe that discourse analysis can shed light on many aspects of student learning as well as classroom culture. My goal as an ESL researcher is to understand more ab out dialogue that is generated during the collaborative use of graphic organizers, its contribution to content and language development, and how collaborative work can serve as a tool for providing opportunities for ELLs both to understand content topics b etter and use English language effectively with their peers. Validity Discourse analysis as a method within qualitative research settings from a constructionist view is not built upon the notion that one reality exists and can be interpreted the same w ay by everyone. Therefore, my goal in this study is not to make truth claims about different categories through which student discourse can be described. According to Stratton (1997), researchers display different characteristics in their motivational fa ctors, expectations, familiarity, avoidance of discomfort (p.116). In this regard, the interpretation of the data within this study is subjective as it will be filtered through the researchers educational background and experiences. Another researcher ma y interpret and label the data with different conceptual representations.

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91 Nonetheless, in an effort to check the reliability of the research tools, the researcher sought other researchers perspectives on the codes and accuracy of the conceptual represent ation of the codes. The codes and the conceptual representations of concepts were reviewed by two doctoral candidates who have taken ten credit hours of the qualitative research methods classes, and a University of Florida instructor with a PhD, who also s pecialized in qualitative research methods during her doctoral education, and the researcher made changes in her categories and added new categories. All the reviewers have a strong understanding of the qualitative research methods and discourse analysis i n particular because they have been using qualitative research methods in their own research. The goal of this study was to understand the nature of student dialogue; therefore, a discourse analytic method was a highly valid tool for the researcher as sh e examined samples of actual dialogues from student interactions. The researcher triangulated the data analysis through multiple sources of data in answering the research questions (Bogdan & Biklen, 2007; Hatch, 2002), and so the discourse analysis method was supported by detailed field notes taken during student interactions and samples of student work that students completed following the graphic organizer task. The researcher also collected different types of data sources such as interviews with students a collection of students writing samples, graphic organizers created by groups, and observational notes. Limitations The study has certain limitations that must be acknowledged and should be considered in research that may build upon the findings of this study. First of all, the data were collected in the presence of the researcher with an audio recorder and a

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92 video camera. In spite of the fact that students typically grow accustomed to the presence of a researcher and recording equipment over time, even after a number of observations, their conversations may have been influenced by the presence of the audio recorder, the video camera, and the presence of an outsider. This limitation needs to be taken into consideration and as one of the natural consequences of conducting discourse-based research in classrooms. A second limitation stems from the fact that the participant population may not be a true representation of any ELL population; therefore, the results of the study may not be generalized to ELLs of all ages. Some ELLs can be children of migrant families who do not speak English as their native language. Also, some ELLs come from background with moderate means with very little exposure to print at home. The students in this study are young adults from educated middle class families, and this group is a post secondary school population, so their goal in learning English is to further their education by going to graduate school or to get promotion in their current jobs. Their exposure to print and their prior school experience with academic language may have affected the nature of the dialogue that took place during collaborative concept mapping. Finally, data collection period in this study had a limited duration of only three weeks for the purposes of achieving a more indept analysis of students conversations. The researcher had to adapt the research design and data collection period to the teachers plans and needs. Future research may include a larger number of students and data collecti on conducted over a longer period of time during which the researcher and the teacher prepare lessons that involve more extended use of graphic organizers

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93 in both collaborative and independent activities. The researcher could chart the students progress d uring an entire semester and include the help of the teacher and his/her assessment tools in order to further depict and explain students academic language development through students work and student dialogues collected over time.

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94 Table 3 1. Theoreti cal framework of the study Theoretical Framework Epistemology Constructionism Theoretical Perspective Social Constructionism Methodology Discourse Analysis (DA) Methods Gees DA Method (2005) Table 3 2. Participants Pairs and Pseudonyms Language Country of Origin Proficiency Level in Writing Proficiency Level in Speaking Collaborative Style AYUMI DAWUD MIGUEL HYUN AKRAM ROBERTO Japanese Arabic Spanish Korean Arabic Spanish Japan Saudi Arabia Venezuela South Korea Saudi Arabia Columbia Upper Intermediate Lower Intermediate Upper Intermediate Upper Intermediate Upper Intermediate Intermediate Lower Intermediate Upper Intermediate Intermediate Lower Intermediate Upper Intermediate Intermediate Collaborative Collaborative Collaborative Less Collaborative Collaborative Collaborative

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95 CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH RESULTS This study examined ELLs academic language use during a collaborative graphic organizer task. The qualitative analysis of data included students recorded conversations supported with their completed graphic organizers, students comments about the task elicited in follow up focus group interview(s), and the researchers field notes taken during observations of the collaborative group discussions, and students essays based on their completed graphic organizers written. Gees three aspects of discourse were used to examine student dialogues from a sociocultural and linguistic stance. As can be seen in Table 41, the researcher identified and defined new categories based on work by Gee (2005) and by Bloome et al. (2005). The data revealed that students used a wide range of academic language functions in their dialogues. The researcher referred to the categories of language function created by Bloome and Egan-Robertson (1993) and labeled clusters of repeated functions as interactional roles. Interactional roles led to a better understanding of the participants interactional styles and the structure of the collaborative graphic organizer task in terms of how it was performed by each pair. Linguistic analysis of students dialogues informed the researcher on vocabulary use word and sentence structure, and topical depth explored by the students during their interactions. The researcher expanded the categories further with peer -checks concluding that the collaborative discussion activity provided opport unit ies for different types of scaffolding between peer partners.

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96 Sociocultural and Structural Analyses of Students Interactions The research question: How do ELLs use language in a collaborative graphic organizer activity? was addressed using sociocultural and structural analyses of students interactions during the collaborative graphic organizer task. The first part of this section highlights the types of scaffolding in students interactions. The subsequent focus on lang uage functions, interactional roles and styles, and task structure help us to understand the dynamics of students interactions. They illuminate the sociocultural context of the collaborative graphic organizer task and the ways this task facilitates langua ge use among students. Types of S caffolding After a thorough analysis of the students interactions during the collaborative graphic organizer task by applying Gees concepts of semiotic, sociocultural building, and activity building, the researcher detected three types of scaffolding that the students provided for one another: Linguistic scaffolding Conceptual scaffolding Strategic scaffolding The linguistic and conceptual scaffolding categories stemmed directly from Gees semiotic building as the researcher analyzed each turn and found that the students provided support for each other to further one anothers language proficiency and conceptual understanding. The researcher also detected a third type of scaffolding that did not fit into either of t hese categories. This third category was labeled strategic

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97 scaffolding because the type of support that the students were providing for one another appeared to serve the purposes of executing and continuing the task. Linguistic scaffolding This type of scaffolding refers to peers helping one another by implicitly modeling or explicitly pointing out the language errors of their peers. The researcher analyzed the instances of linguistic scaffolding and decided to divide them into two sub-categ ories: lexical scaffolding (focused on word meanings) and morpho -syntactic scaffolding (focused on word and sentence structure). Lexical scaffolding: Lexical scaffolding involves help at the vocabulary level with an emphasis on the meaning of the word. When the intention is to provide support with choosing a better or more correct word, peers tend to repeat or rephrase their partners statements. In both of the following excerpts, we can see instances of lexical scaffolding where one partner provides language support to the other by suggesting an appropriate vocabulary term. In Turn 15 below, Akram asks Roberto if he can think of any examples of traditional Colombian cuisine. His description of what he means may not be sufficient, and he rephrases his mes sage so that Roberto can better understand what he means. (15) A: No. Specific (.) do you have specific food? Very popular. Something very popular. Everyone go to Colombia to eat it in every restaurant. (16) R: The Colombian dish? (17) A: Yeah (.) dish. From Robertos response to Akrams question, we can tell that he is not only conceptually processing the statement, but he is also linguistically analyzing Akrams words, which may indicate that he has a critical awareness of vocabulary use in

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98 different co ntexts. He may have decided that what Akram is referring to with food in his statement is a actually a dish which is semantically narrower and more specific than food. Therefore, he asks for confirmation by posing the word dish in Turn 16. In this sense, Turn 16 may serve as a language support to scaffold Akrams description with a more appropriate word in English. In the following excerpt, Akram provides lexical scaffolding for Roberto as Roberto did for Akram in the previous excerpt when they were talking about traditional cuisine. In this excerpt, the pair is talking about the political systems in their respective countries. Roberto is explaining the system in Colombia. In Turn 14 he is listing all the positions in the parliament and asks for help with a word. In Turn 15 Akram provides lexical support with the word minister, helping Roberto to continue with his statement in Turn 16. (14) R: We have senator and camera (.) same as the United States. Two cameras, senator and representer camera, senator represents two cameras. We have other things, how can I say it in English? We have what do you say (.) they are meeting to decide (.) (15) A: M inister. (16) R: Yeah, minister, thank you, we have ministers. Yeah, we have the same, like the United States. We have representers, they call two cabinets, we have senators and representatives, 200, 205 something like that. The law goes here, and after that, it goes to the senator. OK, in the kingdom, the king does not have a minister. Morpho-syntactic scaffolding : Structural scaffolding refers to assistance with the structure of words and sentences. This type of scaffolding is often accomplished throu gh rephrasing or repeating as partners give implicit support to their peers. In the following excerpt, Ayumi is talking about the traffic lights in Japan and uses an incorrect form of the word automatic. Dawud appears to be paying attention to both the content and form of the message because in Turn 6 (below), he uses the word correctly in a

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99 sentence without singling out Ayumis error, and in Turn 8 he asks a confirmation question again using the correct form of the word. We cannot be certain of Dawuds intentions and whether he is consciously correcting the error, but in Turn 8, he uses the word correctly again. In Turn 11, Ayumi has integrated the correct form into her response, which may mean that she has noticed her error. Typically English language learners may take some time to make such corrections in their speech, so Ayumis prompt use of the correct form may indicate that she is already familiar with the correct form, but the word has not localized in her lexicon with the correct morphological form. Dawuds scaffolding may provide her with the input she needs to use the word with accuracy. (5) A: Because the signal is not automatical, you have to push the button, and then yeah (.) because in Japan everywhere is automatical (.) here you have to push the button. (6) D: Everything automatic in Japan (.) yeah yeah (.) I know it. (7) A: So I didnt know that. (8) D: How its automatic when you want to cross the road? (9) A: I didnt know it. (10) D: Here? (11) A: Here. Yeah (.) yeah (.) yeah. Only automatic and if the signal is blue, you can go. In the following excerpt, Miguel poses a question to Hyun about his religion. Hyun seems initially confused by the question, which is similar in structure to other personal information questions, such as Where are you from? or What city are you from? Pos sibly to make sure that Miguel is asking where he is from or about his religion, Hyun asks for clarification and Miguel rephrases his question in a more standard form. Hyun

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100 responds by giving a definitive answer to Miguels question. In this instance, we can say that both Miguel and Hyun are providing language support to one another. In asking for clarification, Hyun may be providing support for Miguel by having Miguel restructure his question grammatically, and Miguel may be benefiting from this signal by trying to find a better way to verbalize his question so that it can be better understood by his partner. If both partners were unaware of the linguistic structure of their statements, Miguel would have repeated his question using the same words, thinking that Hyun could not hear him clearly. Also, (1) M: What religion are you from? (2) H: What? (3) M: (.) What is your religion? (4) H: No religion. In the following excerpt, Miguel is talking about his challenges when he came to the United States the first time. Hyun is asking for confirmation by posing a question about Miguels speaking skills when he first came to the U nited States. Miguel seems to be aware of Hyuns error, and he restates Hyuns question with a long sentence instead of a yes/no type of confirmatory statement. In Excerpt 6, Miguel is forming a sentence that corrects Hyuns mistake by adding a verb and a preposition to the noun that Hyun used as a verb by mistake. Miguel seems to already know that conversation is not a verb, and he is aware that he cannot correct Hyuns statement by simply turning the noun into a verb since the verb is a transitive verb th at is always used with a direct object. Therefore, Miguels structured correction provides structural scaffolding for Hyun. (2) M: Because I speak Spanish, English was very difficult the first time.

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101 (5) H: So it was difficult to conversation? (6) M: Yeah, it was difficult to have conversation with people. Conceptual s caffolding Conceptual scaffolding refers to the type of help that partners provide for one another to help the partner understand a concept or an issue by providing further explanations and examples. Instances of conceptual scaffolding during students interactions f ell under two different categories: topic choice and exploration / discussion of concepts. The two categories derived from the students decisions on the types of subtopics they chose to discuss as well as the depth of these discoveries during the interact ions. Topic choice : Pairs provide each other scaffolding by choosing topics that both partners can discuss by exchanging information about each other. Choosing a topic helps the other partner start pondering all the possible options and examples to talk about and prompts multiple questions that they could ask their partner. Furthermore, once one partner picks a topic, both partners participate in the exchanges and each partner starts assuming several of the interactional roles, such as I nquirer, T opic Expander, C larifier, I nformation Seeker etc. As can be seen in the following excerpt, Ayumi announces the main topic by posing a question and asking for confirmation. Dawud answers her question partially by giving the location of the Arabic food store in Tampa but indicates that he has never been there. He may have thought of Ayu mis question as a general question seeking information about how Arabic people in Gainesville have access to food from their own culture, so he lets Ayumi know that there is an Arabic store in Tampa, but he also adds that he has never been to that store. (1) A: How do you get Arabic food? Arabic store is in Gainesville?

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102 (2) D: In Tampa. There is one in Tampa. In Tampa, there is an Arab store, but I havent been there. (3) A: But what do you get at the Arabic store? (4) D : We buy rice. In the following excerpt, Hyun and Miguel s turns focus on food, and the pair is working on their graphic organizers for differences of cultural background within the genre of comparison-contrast. In Turn 1, Hyun seems to be thinking aloud and then raises a question about the main food in Miguel s country. Miguel seems to be confused about the question, so Hyun seems to interpret Miguel s response as a clarification request, so he rephrases the question. (1) H: Cultural background? Cultural background? Wha t is your main food? (2) M: Uhm (.) wait a minute. (3) H: The most common food you usually eat? (4) M: Arepas. In the following excerpt Roberto asks Akram whether he can think of another subtopic under the main topic of challenges that they experienced when they came to the United States for the first time. After Akrams response, Roberto builds on the same topic by indicating some of the difficulties he experienced about food. (1) R: Do you have another challenge? (2) A: Yeah when I came he re, I didnt have enough time (.) so I couldnt learn new culture. This was a challenge for me. (3) R: When I first came here (.) I ate strange things (.) German style (.) food (.) it tastes very sour (.) but I tried. Bad taste for me (.) but I tried.

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103 Exploration and discussion of concepts : During the collaborative organizer task, pairs chose different sub-topics within the main topic, and they chose to explore the subtopics in different directions based on the mutual decision of the group. Students assumed roles such as Roles such as T opic E xpander, I nquirer, R esponder, and Proposer, etc. to extend the depth of the discussion of t opics In the following excerpt, Dawud is clarifying that although finding an apartment was easy he had challenges with furnishing the apartment Ayumi seems to be confused about Dawud s statements perhaps based on her own experiences. For clarification, she expand s the topic with additional questions Dawud provides conceptual scaffolding for her by clarifying what he means, adding further depth to the topic. (40) D: No no (.) it is not hard to find the apartment (.) it is hard to furnish the apartment and hard to make contract to the electric because I have to go there to pay deposit (.) to the department of electric GRE. (41) A: It is hard to find a good apartment. (42) D: Uhm let me explain (.) Ayumi (.) Ayumi ? (43) A: It was hard for you to make a contract? (44) D: It was easy. (45) A: But you said it was difficult. (46) D: To find furniture and bring the furniture to my apartment because I didnt (47) A: Where did you buy? (48) D: From somewhere. (49) A: Wal Mart? (50) D: N o (.) from somewhere on the main street (.) on thirteenth. (51) A: It is a shop?

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104 (52) D: Yeah. And I didnt have a car (.) thats why it was hard for me. (53) A: Oooohhhh. Hyun and Miguel talk about language when talking about the challenges they experienced when they came to the USA for the first time. In the following segment fr om their dialogue, Hyun may be asking for help from Miguel to introduce another sub topic In Turn 1 Hyun asks a question that invited Miguel to expand the main topic of cultural challenges wi th another subtopic. Miguel responds, but Hyun poses another question asking information on a particular aspect of English which extends the depth of the subtopic. (1) H: Yeah. What is your challenge? (2) M: Because I speak Spanish, English was very difficult the first time. (3) H: Listening, when you are listening, you cant understand? (4) M: Uhm.I can understand a little bit. In the following excerpt, Roberto is extending the depth of the topic by asking which of the kings sons qualify to be the kin g in Saudi Arabia. Akram expands the topic by providing further examples, which enhances Robertos understanding of the complexity of the monarch system in the royal family in Saudi Arabia. (12) R: Which one is the? (.) I dont know. (.) Richest one? (13) A: Yeah. Between themselves they change. Before it was King Abdul Aziz, King Abdul Aziz have thirteen child, so some of them become a king, some of them die already. Now it may change, for the son, I dont know. As can be seen in the previous examples, pa rtners explore the subtopics through different language functions by asking each other questions and by responding with explanations and examples. Partners achieve extended interactions through the roles of

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105 Proposer, Inquirer, Responder etc. Such interactions may not occur in task s that do not allow sufficient o pportunities for extended interaction. Strategic scaffolding Strategic scaffolding is the type of help that peers provide to one another in order to successfully execute the task tog ether. Through strategic scaffolding partners get the task started, keep each other on task, and find ways of continuing the task for successful completion. Instances of strategic scaffolding have been grouped into two categories: task initiation and task continuity. Both of these categories are important operational factors that help the task to take place. Task initiation : This type of strategic scaffolding stems from the motivation to get the task started. As the name suggests, the I nitiator role is the most common role that associated with strategic scaffolding. In the following exchange, Dawud begins the task by announcing the task goal and the main topic and Ayumi responds by making a factual statement about the place of religion in her country. Both partners seem to be engaged in the task and they seem to be aware of the need to start the task They scaffold each other by following the directions together an d finding a subtopic. (1) D: We are going to write about your culture. (2) A: In Japan, religion is not important, (.2) it is not important. In the following exchange, Miguel starts the task by sharing one of his challenges regarding language and then assumes the role of I nquirer by inviting Hyun to speak up about his challenges regarding language Hyun responds with a different subtopic but provides no elaboration Miguel assumes the role of T opic Expander and he asks why weather was a challenge for Hyun in Gainesville. Turn 3 in the following excerpt

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106 involves the academic language function for asking for a reason. Hyun provide s two reasons and takes on the role of T opic Expander (1) M: I couldnt understand language, it was challenge. What about you? (2) H: Weather. (3) M: Weather? Why? (4) H: Because it is too hot here and daytime is too long. In the following excerpt, Akram introduces the topic of politics and poses a question. Roberto and Akram s manner of initiating the topic differ from the other two pairs. However, unlike Hyun and Miguel, Akram poses a question to his partner without introducing any information about himself on this chosen topic U nlike Dawud who announce s the topic by stating a decision he has made on behalf of himself and partner Akram simply poses a question. Roberto answers t his question and extends the topic and Akram asks another question to get more information about the topic (1) A: What about politics? (.) Do you have presidents? (2) R: Yeah, presidents, separate government system. (3) A: Political system, you have presidents and do you change the president every four years? (4) R: Every four years. You select the government. So t he political system is democracy. So we have an election for every four years (.) election for the president. Task continuit y: Topic Expander and I nquirer are the roles that support task continuity. The Topic Expander provides in -depth information with examples and explanations that extend the length of conversations and the amount of information that the partner needs to be able to write a well informed essay at the end of the task. The

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107 Topic Switcher is another role that provide s strategic scaffolding for task initiation. W hen a conversation runs out T opic Switcher initiates a new subtopic to keep the conversation going. Dawud and Ayumi also maintain the dialogue in the task and explore the topics by posing questions and providing extended answers. For instance, in the following dialogue, Dawud poses a question to Ayumi, and she responds, but she does not provide an example. Akram introduces the topic with a question and he starts describing traditional womens clothe s in Saudi Arabia. (4) D: You have traditional clothes? (5) A: Yeah (.) yeah we have traditional clothes. (6) D: We also have traditional clothes. (7) A: Yeah yeah sure. (8) D: Yeah, we wear black and black (laughing) yeah (.) girl wear black. This is called Abaya. Outdoor clothes (.) but indoors, it is just the same. In Hyun and Miguels conversation below Hyun informs Miguel that Korean people eat rice. Miguel asks him to provide additional information, probing for details and extending the reasons for it Miguel assumes the role of Inquirer by asking questions, and Hyun assumes the role of Topic Expander by providing further answers. Miguels questions create an opportunit y for a quiet person like Hyun to use the English language for communication purposes and they complete the task successfully. If Hyun had been paired with another person like himself, both partners may have given oneword answers and not even asked questions seeking further information (23) H: We eat rice. (24) M: Rice. Rice and finish?

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10 8 (25) H: We always eat rice but we eat rice with many kinds of dishes like, not just dishes, everyday its different so. (26) M: OK. What do you put on rice? (27) H: Rice with something, but I can say our main food is rice because everyday we eat rice. (28) M: OK, so the main food is rice. As can be seen in both of the following excerpts, Roberto is achieving task continuity by offering a topic as well as reminding that they are switching from one topic to another. Akram is adding fluidity to conversations by introducing a new topic, and in Exchange 24, Roberto is letting Akram know that they are now starting a new topic for discussion. Both partners are making an effort to maintain task continuity successfully. (1) A: Another main idea. What is it? What is it? How about food? (2) R: Food (22) R: In my country, everything is with popular election, everything, senator, represents, governor, government position is with popular election. (23) A: Free hospitals, free schools? (24) R: Wait (.) thats another topic. Free School? Free for everybody? During the collaborative graphic organizer task, the partners supported each others learning in different ways. The y provided linguistic scaffolding for one another, which created opportunities for language development at a lexical and morpho-syntactic le vel. They provided conceptual scaffolding by elaborating explanations and provided additional examples that got the partner to think about the topics from different perspectives. They also scaffolded for one another in terms of the logistics of the task, making sure that each partner was engaged in the task and that each partner got the necessary information during the collaborative graphic organizer task to be able to

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109 complete the independent writing portion of the task. The task structure as well as the sociocultural context created among partners in each pai r allowed for these scaffolding opportunities. Through the discussion of topics and extended interactions the partners discussed more topics, which provided more opportunities to talk and exchange new informatio n and ideas. During these exchanges, partners experienced confusion surprise. As the task was set up to trigger academic language the partners achieved opportunities for academic language use and they formed a sociocultural context that allowed for such interactions to take place. In other words, the sociocultural context of the interactions among the pairs supported the main purpose of the task, which was to provide the students with opportunities to use language for conversing exchanging ideas and improving their academic language skills. Interactional D ynamics in the C ollaborative G raphic O rganizer T ask Sociocultural analysis of interactions is necessary in order to be able to understand the dynamics among the participants because the activity itself is a social event in which the member s create certain patterns of interaction as well as a system of roles and rules. This system is created as the activity is taking place, and the system is shaped in accordance with the members identities and their relationships as well as their concomitant attitudes, values, ways of feeling, ways of knowing and believing, as well as ways of acting and interacting (Gee, 2005). A close analysis of the dialogues helped the researcher understand the sociocultural aspects of the collaborative graphic organizer task. The researcher was able to identify successful collaboration patterns among pairs as well as the dynamics in communication that may fail to take place as collaboratively

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110 Table 4 2 and Table 43 display the patterns of students use of academic language functions detected in each partners language during the collaborative graphic organizer task. The data depict the number of instances that the researcher identified as representing samples from dialogues of comparable length from each pair. The first dialogue for example is based on a comparison -contrast knowledge structure, and the second dialogue is based on a cause and effect knowledge structure. Tabl e 42 presents each pairs use of academic language functions during these sample dialogues. This information was used to generate the categories of interactional roles and to better understand the task structure. Repeated occurrence of academic language function s revealed the interactional roles that the students assumed during the graphic organizer tasks. Based on these patterns of language use, the researcher was able to identify interactional styles of students Identification of int eractional roles also shed light on the structure of the collaborative graphic organizer task. According to the results of the task structure analysis, pairs used different interactional roles to start the task, to continue the task, and to finish the task Table 4 3 depicts the frequency of each partners use of academic language functions. The degree of the frequency that the participants used each academic language function revealed information about the types of interactional roles assumed by the partici pant. Based on the interactional roles frequently assumed by participants, the researcher was able to identify the interactional style of each partner. Analysis of the partic i pants dialogues through the lens of language functions revealed different sociocultural elements shaping dialogue on the partners interactions during the collaborative graphic organizer task. In light of the academic language

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111 functions, the researcher was able to take a closer look at the different sociocultural elements that shape the dialogue. The following section of Chapter 4 will focus on these elements starting with academic language functions and moving into interactional roles, interactional styles, and task structure. Academic language functions Academic language functions are necessary for academic success in that students need to be familiar wi th the type of language required at school for comprehending written texts, asking and answering informational questions, asking and answering clarifying question s making connections between concepts, relating information, comparing, contrasting, explaini ng cause and effect, predicting, drawing conclusions, summarizing, persuading, etc. (Dutro & Moran, 2003, p. 233). The researcher analyzed students interactions in terms of the purposes of language use and was able to identify different academic language functions in students conversations. Academic language functions helped the researcher detected different patterns of language use, and the researcher labeled the interactional roles based on these repe ating patterns (See Table 4-2 and Table 4-3). For instance, asking questions is a very important academic language function, and when a speaker used this function repeatedly the researcher associated this behavior with an i nteractional role and labeled it as an I nquirer In other words, academic language functions helped the researcher analyze the socicultural dynamics within the collaborative graphic organizer task at a deeper level, and the range of language functions in the task helped the researcher understand the extent of purposes for which the students used language during the task. As can be seen in Table 4-4, the researcher grouped the academic

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112 language functions used in the collaborative graphic organi zer task into two categories according to th ese macro vs micro levels The concept of macrofunctions and microfunctions furthered the researchers understanding of each academic language function. The academic language functions listed under each macrofunction were categorized based on the language samples and the overall purposes of each function. In the following section, each (micro)function is d efined and illustrated with an example from the students conversations to show how each falls under Kidds (1996) four macrofunctions. Macrofunction Informing Informing is a very broad category that includes functions such asking for information, giv ing information, and asking for further information. The language that the partners used under this particular category of macro functions served to seek information and to give information without getting into details about the characteristics and examples, etc. Informing included the following academic language functions: Asking for information Giving information Asking for further information Giving further information Asking for a reason Giving a reason Presenting contrary evidence Predicting Reporting others words Asking for information: Asking for information is a basic requirement for participating in conversations in academic settings. We raise questions to find out about a concept, an experience, a phenomenon, or an event, etc. Students ask for information from their peers as well as from the teacher in academic settings, students are expected

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113 to raise questions about different topics Being able to ask questions to request information is therefore a very important academic language function. As can be seen in the following excerpt between Akram and Roberto, the pair is exploring the topic of politics and posing questions to one another in order to understa nd how the government systems in their home countries are similar or different. During the exchanges, they discover that the government systems in the two countries are similar in certain aspects and different in others. The conversatio n progresses smoothly as the partners ask each other for more information as can be seen in the excerpt below. (1) A: What about politics? (.) Do you have presidents? (2) R: Yeah, presidents (.) separate government system. (3) A: Political system (.) you have presidents and do you change the president every four years? (4) R: Every four years. You select the government. So the political system is democracy. So we have an election for every four years (.) election for the president. (5) A: And thats for men? Your president? (6) R: Could be woman or man. (7) A: For us (.) it is the kingdom and the justice of men. Only men can be. Only the son of the king. (8) R: How many son have the king? Only one son? (9) A: Oh no. (10) R: A few sons? (11) A: Many. Giving information: Being able to provide relevant information when posed with a question is a necessary skill in participating in classroom conversations and discussions As can be seen in the excerpt under Asking Questions as well as in the

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114 following excerpt, Roberto and Akram are exchanging information about different aspects of their countries, such as weddings and politics Both are practicing their questioning skills as well as gaining experience in answering questions corre ctly. (3) R: Wedding separate? (4) A: Yes (.) women alone (.) men alone. (5) R: How are they separate? (6) A: There is a party for women (.) and there is a party for men. Asking for further information: Academic tasks often require students to obtain further information about topics or events beyond the answers given to an initial question. Therefore, being able to request further information is an important skill in furthering students u nderstanding of academic content. As can be seen in the following excerpt, Hyun is trying to find out more about arepas and he is requesting further information by raising multiple questions about the topic. We can see that he is interested in this particular food from his partners cultural background because in Turn 13 he asks if there is a similar food in the United States. He also repeats the word to himself several times as he asks the questions. (3) H: The most common food you usually eat? (4) M: Arepas. (5) H: Arepa? What is this? (6) M: It is uhmmmmmm it is something like (.) it is some kind of bread but it is not bread? (7) H: What is it from? (8) M: It is from corn. And you can put inside cheese or ham or whatever you want, you put inside something. (9) H: Inside where?

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115 (10) M: Inside the arepa. (11) H: Oh (.) arepa (.) so it look like bread? (12) M: Yeah (.) it look like bread but it is more strong (.) its like uhmmm (13) H: Is there a similar food in the United States? Giving further information: Being able to provide further information about a certain topic as a response to a question or a comment is another important academic language function. S tudents who are not able to perform this academic function may simply repeat what they have already stated but such repetition would not satisfy the expectations of most conversation partner s As can be seen in Turn 23, Robertos questions for confirmation is a characteristic of the Inquirer role Akram confirms that he likes eggs, and he can eat eggs as part of his religion. Through Roberto s questions for further information, Akram gives additional information about the subtopic. (23) R: You like eggs? (24) A : Eggs ? (25) R : Eggs. (26) A : Yeah. (27) R: No holy animals? (27) A: No, there is some rules. For example, we cant eat the three kinds of seafood. We cant eat, crabs, we cant eat gators. (28) R: No gators? (29) A: No gators. A lot of other things. (30) R: OK no holy animals like in India? (31) A: Not because they are holy (.) but because there are some rules about eating. For example, gators eat any kind of animal. If it eats meat, we dont eat it. For example, gators eat meat, so we dont eat it. One example.

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116 Asking for a reason: During academic conversations, continuous participation and engagement can take place when the speakers raise questions to explore the reasons behind the presented facts and shared opinions. This particular language function promotes more indepth discussi ons and students make use of their critical thinking skills when forming questions of reason. In the following exchange between Dawud and Ayumi, Ayumi would like to find out why Dawud found it hard to make a payment for his power bill for the GRU. She not only asks for a reason but also suggests an explanation for why he may have experienced difficulty. Her proposal may be based on her own difficulty in setting up a payment for her power bill because of her limited English language ability. (56) D: GRU (.) yeah (.) I have to go there to pay deposit and the contact (.) and the Internet I have to go to Cox and pay deposit and make contract (.) horrible. My life was, and also my challenge (57) A: Why it was hard for you? Because you cant speak Engl ish or? (58) D: No no (.) I have to go there to pay deposit, deposit, because I dont have social security and I have to go there to pay deposit to the electric. Giving a reason: Being able to provide reasons is another important language function. When f aced with a question that explores reasoning the speaker is required to support their statements with reasons, which will help maintain the flow of the conversation. As can be seen in the following excerpt, Dawuds first question seeking confirmation prompts Ayumi to talk more about the difficulties she experienced when crossing the street in Gainesville for the first time She gives reasons why it was different and difficult for her. She uses the connector because correctly. Dawuds questions give her an opportunity to express reason and to use the language for express ing reason.

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117 (2) D: Cross the road? (3) A: Yeah (.) yeah (.) across the road, but I didnt know how to across the road. (4) D: Ohh (.) OK. (5) A: Because the signal is not automatical (.) you have to push the button, and then yeah (.) because in Japan everywhere is automatical (.) here you have to push the button. Predicting: Thinking of how an event may take place, what may have caused an event, or the outcome of an event is an important academic skill that involves critical thinking skills. For instance, students may be as ked to predict the results of an earthquake or the effects of sun exposure or smoking. Predicting the ending of a novel or a story is a common academic task in English In the following dialogue between Dawud and Ayumi, in Line 28, Ayumi is trying to predict the reason why the dealers in G ainesville would charge a higher rate to a foreign person. (27) D: I found lots but the dealers, you know, the problem, here my pro blem, dealers rise the price, and (28) A: Because you are foreign? (29) D: Yeah, dealers rise their price also I know it is cheaper than what dealer told me Presenting contrary evidence: Academic settings may require one to support his/her stance with contrary evidence. For instance, the partner may hold a firm belief about a topic that the other partner may not necessarily find persuasive or valid. Presenting contrary evidence strengthens ones position. In the following excerpt, Ayumi is answering Dawuds questions, but Dawud is presenting contrary evidence based on his general knowledge about Japan, and she is refuting his contrary evidence based on her own knowledge of her own country. When Ayumi indicates that religion is not important in Japan, Dawud reminds her that there are Christians as well as Buddhists in

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118 Japan, which he sees as an indication that people in Japan do have religion, which m ay mean that he does not understand how Ayumi can claim that religion is not important in Japan for everybody in Japan. (1) D: We are going to write about your culture. (2) A: In Japan, religion is not important (.) it is not important. (3) D: Yeah, but you have Christians. (4) A: Yeah yeah (.) but it is only one percent we have Christians [in Japan. (5) D: The majority Buddhist?] (6) A: Maybe (.) but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very important for your country (.) but it is not very important in Japan. Reporting others words: Reporting others words is an important academic language function in any class since students will need to refer to a writers words, the teachers words, or a peers words. Students s hould also be able to report ideas or words from other resources. Being able to transmit the message correctly and indicat e that the message is not their s but another persons are important skills in academic settings as well as in daily life. In the following excerpt, Miguel report s another persons words by using the correct sent ence structure to be able to express this particular academic language function. The tense is not correct in the second part of the sentence, but he is practicing the use of reported speech successfully by reporting the information that he acquired from a different source. (19) H: I should try Latin Caf? (20) M: I dont know its good arepa, but some people told me they sell arepas. I dont eat arepa too much, not my favorite food.

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119 Macro function Describing Partners used this macro function in order to provide detailed information on a process, characteristics of a place or food with specific examples, and to express frequen cy of certain events or to indicat e quantities, etc. The f ollowing are a list of academic language functions that serve the macro category of describing: Describing a process Describing characteristics Describing a location Comparing/Contrasting Providing an example Expressing frequency Expressing quantit y Describing a process: Classes in the natural and social studies involve academic language for describing a process step by step. For instance, in social studies, students will need to describe the process of how a bill becomes law In the following excerpt in Turn 4 Roberto describes the elec tion process in Colombia. He is responding to a question from Akram In Colombia, because of the democratic political system, there are elections every four years whereas in Saudi Arabia the king decides which one of his sons come to power next. (3) A: Political system, you have presidents and do you change the president every four years? (4) R: Every four years. You select the government. So the political system is democracy. So we have an election for every four years (.) election for the president. Describing characteristics: D escrib ing the characteristics of a city, an object, or a person is very important in academic settings. For example, students need to know how to form statements that involve adjectives and relative clauses in order to express the descriptive features In the following excerpt, Hyun tries to understand the texture

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120 and form of arepas and Miguel describ es the characteristics of arepas In Turn 6, he explains that it resembles bread, and in Turn 8, he is explaining what it is made of and how it can be served (3) H: The most common food you usually eat? (4) M: Arepas. (5) H: Arepa? What is this? (6) M: It is uhmmmmmm it is something like (.) it is some kind of bread but it is not bread? (7) H: What is it from? (8) M: It is from corn. And you can put inside cheese or ham or whatever you want, you put inside something. Describing a location: Being able to describe a location of a place or an object can be an important academic language function in classes such as geography or biology. Students need to be able to understand and use expressions that indicate where a certain country or organ are located by using language such as on, next to, across from, above, adjacent to, etc. As can be seen in the following excerpt between Ayumi and Dawud the collaborative graphic organizer task provides an opportunity to practice the use of prepositions describing a location. (23) A: You live in a house or apartment? (24) D: Apartment, but it is kind of a house yeah. (25) A: Where, where? (26) D: You know Butler Plaza? (27) A: Yeah. Behind Butler Plaza? (28) D: No, in Butler Plaza, you know Regal Cinema?

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121 (29) A: Yeah, I know. (30) D : In front of Regal Cinema. Comparing/Contrasting: In order to fully understand the characteristic s of a certain object, it is sometimes necessary to compare or contrast that object with a different one. Academic t asks often require students to make comparisons and contrasts between different events, processes, or concepts. In order to successfully participate in academic discussions, students need to be able to make such comparisons in both oral and written language. As can be seen in the excerpt below, Ayumi compar es and contrast s the traffic lights in Japan and the United States. She point s out that the signal automatically changes in Japan when pedestrians walk up to a traffic light, whereas in the United States one has to press the button. She uses the academic language function of comparing and contrasting successfully in spite of a word form error (5) A: Because the signal is not automatical, you have to push the button, and then yeah, but in Japan everywhere is automatical, here you have to push the button. Providing an example: Giving an example to support ones stance is a necessary academic language f unction. Classroom participation may require students to give specific examples when they describe a concept or present their opinions. In the following excerpt Akram provid es examples to further Robertos understanding of his cultural traditions speculating related to the types of meat that Muslim people are allowed to eat. Akrams use of the con nector for example is a sign that he is able to use the language s for expressing the academic language function of giving an example. (27) A: No, there is some rules. For example, we cant eat the three kinds of seafood. We cant eat, crabs, we cant eat gators.

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122 (28) R: No gators? (29) A: No gators. A lot of other things. Expressing frequency: In classes such as social studies and science, students are expected to express how often certain events take place. Being proficient in the language of expressing frequency help s ELLs to talk about the occurrence of actions and events. In the following excerpt, we see that Ayumi express es frequency by using the word every as an indicator Dawud also express es frequency in this way His language may be scaffolded through Ayumis earlier question (70) D: And when I wanted to OK to set the bill by my name, to my name, they told me you have to come to pay. (71) A: In every month? (72) D: No, now every month I pay my bill by Internet. Expressing quantity: Students will need to indicate the number of certain objects or the amount of substances with language such as a few of, a lot of, a little bit of, and a couple of. Without the language necessary to expressi ng quantity, students will have to use numbers, and numbers may not work in every situation. Effective use of language to express quantities will help students participate in academic conversations more confidently. In the following excerpt, Ayumi uses this academic language function successfully even though she uses much instead of many with the count noun people. (11) M: In my country, there are other religion, but the majority, the big religion in my country is Catholic, maybe you can find not too much people from other religion.

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123 Macro function Clarifying The partners dialogues included academic language functions that served the purpose of seeking or giving clarification. When the partners were confused about something or wanted to make sure that they were on the same page as their partner, they used language that serv ed the macro function of clarifying. Following is a list of micro functions that fall under clarifying: Asking for clarification Giving clarification Asking for confirmation Giving confirmation Asking for clarification: Asking for clarification is another important academic language function required in classroom work. Knowing the language of asking for clarification will help students express themselves more clearly and seek clarification when they are confused about an issue. Clarification questions typically involve how statements, as can be seen in the following excerpt. Dawud is asking Ayumi to clarify what she means when she says many women. In his later exchanges, h e provided Ayumi with a detailed answer as to why men are allowed to marry more than one woman. (3) A: Yeah, it is one guy one girl, but in your country it is one guy and its many women. (4) D: Yeah one guy. What? I didnt understand you, what did you wa nt to ask me? (5) A: In your country one guy have many wives. Giving clarification: The language of clarification can be required during academic activities when peers are confused. Expressions such as What I really meant was, I was actually trying to let you know, what I was trying to say was can be used

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124 in order to provide clarificati on for what one has just said. Being able to use such expressions could enable partners to overcome misunderstandings more easily. As can be seen in the following excerpt between Ayumi and Dawud, Ayumi is expecting Dawud to give clarification about how Daw ud can be the only Arabic person living in that apartment complex when she knows of another Arabic person who lives there Dawud provides the correction and resolves her confusion. (31) A: Ohhhhhh (.) its ma ny Arabic live there? (32) D: N (.) no (.) just me. (33) A: No no (.) but you know Magrip? (34) D: Yeah he lives in front of my apartment (.) yeah only me and him but he left. Asking for confirmation: Asking for confirmation helps us to get the speaker confirm what s/he has just uttered perhaps to check for any misunderstandings. Questions such as Is it really?, Are you sure?, Did I hear you say? trigger a repetition or paraphrasing of the response typically starting with a yes/no statement. Academic discussions involve confirmation statements that serve the purpose of keeping the partners on the same page and making sure that there are no misunderstandings. In the exchange below, Hyun is trying to understand the linguistic challenges Miguel experienced when he came to the United States for the first time. In Turn 5, Hyun poses a question of c onfirmation to clearly express Miguels challenges in the essay that he is supposed to write at the end of the collaborative graphic organizer task. (3) H: Listening, when you are listening, you cant understand. (4) M: No, uhm (.) I can understand a litt le bit. (5) H: So it was difficult to conversation?

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125 (6) M: Yeah, it was difficult to have a conversation with people. Giving confirmation: Giving confirmation is another common language function that takes place in academic settings. When a group partner or the teacher asks for confirmation, s/he expects an answer that indicates approval or correction. A simple yes or no may be enough, but in certain cases, a oneword answer such as yes or no can be limited, and the speaker may need to rephrase or restate the original statement. In the following excerpt, Roberto is asking for confirmation from Akram. He is trying to understand if he heard it correctly, and he may be posing this question as a confirmation combined with an intent to understand the reasoning behind not eating alligators. Therefore, Akram is confirming that alligators are not allowed as food, but he also indicates that they are allowed to eat several other types of animals other than gators and crabs. (27) A: No, there is some rules. For example, we cant eat the three kinds of seafood. We cant eat crabs, we cant eat gators. (28) R: No gators? (29) A: No gators. A lot of other things. Macro function Presenting When students academic language served the purpose of presenting a new idea or a new plan or emphasizing a point, etc., the researcher categorized it as presenting. The language that the students used for presenting involved the meaning of sharing and seeking information that was based on personal opinions or ideas that were generated by the students rather than facts. The following is a list of academic functions classified as types of presenting: Proposing an idea or plan Rejecting an idea or a plan

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126 Conceding a point Emphasizing a point Presenting opinions Agreeing Disagreeing Asking for advice Giving advice Showing preference Proposing an idea or plan: Collaborative projects involve negotiating ideas and strategies as to how to complete a task together as a group. Students will need to know how to propose idea during a collaborative task. Therefore, the language of proposing an idea is useful for complete participation from the group. Expressions such as Why dont we? I think w e should. Shouldnt we? can be very effective when proposing new ideas in a collaborative group task. ELLs may not be able to verbalize the ideas that they would like to propose in the same way that native speakers of English woul d. As can be seen in the exchange below, Roberto is proposing that they talk about marriage, and as soon as he presents the idea, Akram picks it up and comes up with a subtopic. Through his statement, Akram signals his partner that he would like to discuss the separate weddings in his country. Both partners agree and continue a discussion about how weddings are practiced in the two cultures. (1) R: Culture. What can we talk about? What can we talk about? Maybe (.) marriage. (2) A: Marriage (.) in our society (.) it is separate. Weddings are separate. Rejecting an idea or a plan: Rejecting is an important language function in academic discussions. The language of rejecting can help language learners argue against what they do not accept. Students may not feel comfortable rejecting due to their cultural background, and they may accept decisions or propositions if they are not

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127 able to reject an idea in a culturally appropriate or linguistically correct manner. As can be seen below, Ayumi is implicitly rejecting Dawuds stance for the importance of religion in Japan by indicating that Japan is different from Saudi Arabia. In Turn 6, she indicates that just because religion is given great importance in Saudi Arabia, it is not the same everywhere. Japan is one of those countries where religion is not very important, and it is accepted for people not to be religious. (4) A: Yeah yeah, (.) but it is only one percent we have Chris tians [in Japan. (5) D: The majority Buddhist?] (6) A: Maybe ( .) but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very important for your country (.) but it is not very important in Japan. Conceding a point: During academic conversations, students may find themselves in partial agreement with their peers. Expressing partial agreement can be challenging Expressions such as I can almost agree that, I agree to a certain extent but etc. ar e commonly used among native speakers of English to express partial agreement However, even without use of these words, ELLs in this task are able to express partial agreement. As can be seen in the following exchange between Ayumi and Dawud, from Ayumis perspective as a woman, the fact that the groom takes care of all the wedding expenses makes the process very easy for femal es. Dawud points this out this type of an arrangement makes it hard on men since they handle all the expenses. Ayumi laughs and disagrees her that it is easy. In Tur n 24, Dawud comments that the wedding process may be easy for her, but maintain that it is difficult for him (21) A: Yeah yeah yeah both, parents, some people by themselves. (22) D: Because in my country the groom, the man pay for everything and pay for wedding everything, thats why I am asking you. I think we have to change this because it is difficult.

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128 (23) A: Easy (laughter). (24) D: Yeah, easy for you but difficult for me. Emphasizing a point: When conversing about academic topics, it may be necessary to emphasize certain points in order to indicate that they are important and need to be remembered. For instance, It is critical to and I really think that it is important signals that the speaker is going to make a significant point that is significant and expects the listeners to ta ke note. Dawud emphasize s his point through repetition and paraphrase. In the excerpt below, Dawud places an emphasis on the wedding expenses by repeating the statement. (14) D: So what we have to talk about (.) who pay money for wedding? (15) A: Wedding? (16) D: How can they get married? This is very important. Presenting opinions: In academic settings, students may be expected to give their opinions. The language of presenting an idea varies, but certain expressions such as I think, I believe, as far as Im concerned, etc. more explicitly announce that the speaker is going to present an opinion as opposed to a fact or someone elses vie wpoint. In the following excerpt, Ayumi uses I think to successfully present her opinion about how people view religion in Dawuds country and to contrast the two cultures. (6) A: Maybe (.), but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very important for your country, but it is not very important in Japan. Agreeing: Agreeing is an academic language function that would typically be necessary in a discussion/debate setting observed with classroom participation. ELLs may agree with other speakers, and they may want to express their standing regarding

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129 the speakers position. In the following excerpt, after a brief mi sunderstanding between Dawud and Ayumi, in Turn 41, Ayumi agree s with Dawud that it is difficult to find a good apartment in Gainesville by repeating Dawuds initial statement with an additional adjective indicating that finding a desirable apartment is difficult process. (39) A: It is hard to find the apartment? (40) D: No no, it is not hard to find the apartment, it is hard to furnish the apartment and hard to make contract to the electric because I have to go there to pay deposit, to the department of electric GRE. (41) A: It is hard to find a good apartment. Disagreeing: In academic settings students may hold different opinions on topics and find themselves in disagreement with their peers or their teacher. Students need to be familiar with the language necessary to express their disagreements in order to continue participating in conversations. In the following excerpt, Ayumi disagrees with Dawud s misperception about the existence of other religions in Japan as a sign that Japanese people give importance to religion. (6) A: Maybe ( ), but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very important for your country, but it is not very important in Japan. Asking for advice: In academic settings, students will want to ask for advice from one another in accomplishing academic tasks. As can be seen below, Akram is trying to understand whether Colombian food is spicy. He indic a tes that he does not like spicy food and he asks for Robertos advice as to whether he should try it. Roberto seems to understand that Akram is referring to hot and spicy food, and he explains that eating Colombian food is safe for Akram because the food is not hot in general. He gives additional information as to what other types of food are available that Akram could eat

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130 (19) A: Is this spicy food? I dont like spicy. Can I try? (20) R: No, no spicy. For Colombian no spicy. No spicy food. Sometimes. Spicy but not hot, a lot of the spices but not hot. Thats called Mayan food, Maya. And there is also American food like McDonalds, Kentucky. Giving advice: Students need to learn the language of giving advice in order to successfully collaborate with their partners in group activities. Language forms such as You should, You may need to, You may want to think about, or You should really consider will be necessary to be able to give advice wit hout causing misunderstanding. In the following excerpt Hyun is seeking advice, and Miguel explains that Latin Caf does have arepas, but they may not be the best arepas (19) H: I should try Latin Caf? (20) M: I dont know its good arepa, but some people told me they sell arepas. I dont eat arepa too much, not my favorite food. Showing preference: The language of expressing preferences is a necessary component of academic language and daily language in general, and expressing preferences may be useful in collaborative activities as well. Students will need to let other members of their group know their preferences when decisions are made on behalf of the whole group. Expressions such as I would prefer, I would rather, I would really like to, and I would not be with, will allow the student to put forth his/her own preferences comfortably and appropriately In Turn 18, Dawud express es his preference using a complicated sentence structure: Its not this one (that) I like. (14) D: This kind of rice in the bazaar, we use it in Saudi Arabia, and its OK. There is rice, and it is called Indian Gait. Indian Gait (writes it down) The br own this rice. (15) A: Similar?

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131 (16) D: This one we have the same in Saudi Arabia. (17) A: Same? (Laughing) (18) D: Yeah, but its not this one I like. The English language learners in this study used all four macrofunctions (informing, describing, clarifying, and presenting) with 30 different microfunctions while participating in the collaborative graphic organizer task. Results indicate that the partic ipants in this study used a variety of academic language functions for multiple communicative purposes. This wide range of functions illustrates that the collaborative graphic organizer task provides broad opportunities for academic language use. The partn ers interactive use of academic language functions can shed light into the nature of collaborative activities that promote academic language use Interactional roles The researcher identified the inter actional role categories through an indepth analysis of the frequently -used patterns for starting the task and different subtopics and how the partners continued the task and the subtopics as well as how certain academic language functions were used repeatedly by the partners. During the collaborative graphic organizer task, the patterns of language functions use informed the researcher about the types o f roles the partners assumed The researcher was able to detect and identify these role s in light of prior studies exploring the sociocultural nature of student interactions in school settings (Bloome et al. 2005; Gee, 2005). These roles served to start a new topic under the main topic, continue speaking indepth about this new topic, and end the topic to start a different topic. As can be seen in Table 4 5, the researcher identified and labeled each interactional role based on repeating patterns of language functions use. The partners for instance us ed certa in roles to start the task e.g. I nitiator

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132 or I nquirer With this list, the researcher wanted to identify and understand interactional roles that students assume in a collaborative graphic organizer task The list may not be inclusive of all the possible roles and some of the roles may occasionally fall under a different category. Rather, the roles may be useful as a tool for researchers and practitioners in making sense of student interactions in collaborative activities. Roles for starting a task or a new topic Partners assumed roles such as I nitiator or T opic Switcher and the language they used when they adopted these roles served to start the task or start a new sub topic Initiator Introducing a new topic, a new subtopic, or starting the task: One or both of the partners take over the I nitiator role at the beginning of each task. Initiators use different strategies to start the conversation. Some partners raise questions that pull the other partner into the task with an answer, and some partners utter statements that are in the form of a nnouncements and plans. The following excerpt involves an example of mutual initiation where one partner explicitly announces the goal and topic of the task Ayumi accepts the task and topic proposed indicating by supplying the subtopic with statement about her country. (1) D: We are going to write about your culture. (2) A: In Japan (.) religion is not important, (. ) it is not important. In the next excerpt, Miguel initiates the task by posing a question. He may be assuming that the partner is already familiar with the topic and the task, and he attempts to directly engage his partner in the task. His partner answers his question and provides t he reason for his challenge. (1) M: What is your challenge?

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133 (2) H: When I came to Gainesville, I met my host family and I lived with them and I think it is kind of challenging because I never live with another family. Topic switcher Changing the topic: Some partners changed the topic or the subtopic by using different techniques. In the following excerpt, Roberto tries to understand if the education system in Saudi Arabia is similar to the ones in Venezuela by describing certain characteristics of the dorms in his country. In Turn 21, he introduces the topic of high schools. Also, in Turn 23, he adds a new dimension to the subtopic of university education. Roberto is steering the conversation and expanding the subtopic s w ith his questions. (20) A: You know (.) in universities men can teach women, but only by camera. (21) R: What about in high schools? (22) A: Never. (23) R: Do students live in the university? You know (.) the dorms. Student dorms, (.) where students asleep. (24) A: No no no. never. Everybody go home. (25) R: My country the same, you know, no dorms, this is popular here. Everybody go home. Everybody go home. Proposer Introducing a topic for further conversation: During the collaborative graphic organizer task, partners propose new topics. Proposers just as the title indicates, suggest new topic s and facilitate s the process of carrying out the task for the ir partner s Partners who take over the Proposer role speed up the process of executing the task and leave more time for indepth coverage of the subtopics. As can be seen in the following excerpt, as they begin the task, Roberto tentatively propos es a topic by presenting the idea of marriage as an option. Roberto is very direct in his style

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134 of proposing an idea, and his proposal resembles thinking aloud or conversing with his partner. R: Culture. What can we talk about? What can we talk about? Maybe (.) marriage. Roles for continuing a task or a new topic The collaborative graphic organizer task continued for 20 to 30 minutes The researcher did not provide any guidelines as to how much time the pairs needed to devote to each t opic, so the partners made decisions on their own. The researcher observed certain roles that helped extend the duration of student interactions on different topics of their choice, such as R esponder I nquirer and T opic Expander and the researcher observed that the task may not have created opportunities for language use if the partners had not assumed the roles that helped continue the discussions during interactions. Inquirer Asking questions to further explore the topic: Some of the partners posed several questions to their partners and did not talk much about themselves. Ayumi is one of these partners whose goal was to elicit information about her partner, Dawud All of her questions were relevant to the sub-topic, but she did not give her partner much opportunity to ask questions about her. She generated all the questions during the task while interacting with her partner. (1) A: You came here in March. (2) D: Yeah. (3) A: And then you find an apartment. (4) D: It was easy when I found apartment, but uhm I have to (5) A: How did you get to your apartment?

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135 (6) D: Someone helped me. (7) A: Who is someone? (8) D: Someone I know helped me. (9) A: Some Arabic boy? (10) D: Yeah. (11) A: You have friend in Gainesville? (12) D: No, no, the ELI told me the guy, man, Saudi Responder Answering questions without changing the topic: Responders make the collaborative task a successful one by giving indepth responses without changing the topic or posing more questions. They continue answering questions even when they are interacting with an inquirer who poses multiple questions As can be seen in the following excerpt, Ayumi keeps asking questions one after the other. Dawud responds to her questions without changing the topic or complaining about the number of questions (1) A: When you want to buy a car, difficult? (2) D: Yeah. (3) A: Why? (4) D: Because I have to buy a good car and low price. (5) A: At low price? How much? (6) D: I was looking for a car 2000 dollars. Topic expander Expanding the topic by giving addi tional information: When partners welcome questions they extend upon these questions and comments with further explanations and examples. While a partner could choose to give one simple word or sentence as an answer to the question, he/she gives extra information to help

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136 the other partner get a better understanding of his/her meaning. As can be seen in the following exchanges, Hyun asks a question to which a oneword answer would suffice, but Miguel embellishes the answer with further explanations about what exactly ca n be put inside the arepa. His explanation serve to correct the confusion about the arepa by explaining that arepa is a kind of bread. (7) H: What is it from? (8) M: It is from corn. And you can put inside cheese or ham or whatever you want, you put inside something. Reorienter Returning to the original topic after discussing a different subtopic: This particular role serves to steer the conversation back to a topic that needs to be discussed further. This role is a strategic role that is important in in -depth discussion of topics, and during the collaborative graphic organizer task the partners were cooperative in reorienting to the topic In the following excerpt Dawud poses a qu estion in Turn 14 about the parties who are expected to pay for the wedding expenses in Japan. He may have thought that this was a potential area where the two countries may be similar or may differ. He rephrases his question in Turn 16, but Ayumi does not understand his first question and gives a different response. Therefore, in Turn 20, he brings up the same topic again to be able to get the answer to his question. (14) D: So what we have to talk about. Who pay money for wedding? (15) A: Wedding? (16) D: How can they get married? This is very important. (17) A: Just go to Law office (.) and paper and write down and then marry. Of course some people have wedding party (.) but some people just marry without wedding party. Everyone have wedding party? (18) D: Most of them.

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137 (19) A: We dont have religion (.) so some people have wedding party (.) but they are not Christian. (20) D: But I mean if they have wedding party (.) who will pay? Who is going to pay? Both? (21) A: Yeah yeah yeah both (.) parents (.) some people by themselves. (22) D: Because in my country the groom (.) the man pay for everything and pay for wedding everything (.) that s why I am asking you. Restater Repeating ones words for emphasis or for better understanding: The R estater role involves the act of repeating ones words for emphasis or for better understanding if the partner was not able to catch a certain word on the first attempt. As can be seen in the following excerpt, Akram repeats the fact that there is a separate part of the wedding for men and women in Saudi Arabia, and Roberto attempts to change the topic in Turn 7, but upon Akrams responses, he stays within the same topic for a little longer giving Akram an opportunity to clarify what he means (3) R: Wedding separate? (4) A: Yes (.) women alone (.) men alone. (5) R: How are they separate? (6) A: There is a party for women (.) and there is a party for men. (7) R: Oh really (.) no party together? Society (.) it is about schools and marriage. (8) A: Wedding, wedding separate (.) but just the groom come to the women party. Corrector Correcting the partners statements for grammar and content: Corrector s add more information to make sure that their partner is exposed to the correct use of a word. Correctors can provide corrections explicitly or implicitly, but participants in this task typically provided corrections implicitly. They do not typically interrupt the partners statement Instead, t hey either use the word in another sentence

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138 if they catch an incorrect use of a word, or they Correctors are typically at a slightly higher level of English proficiency than their partners, and when they detect their partners errors, they tend to model the correct form implicitly. As can be seen in the following exchange between Ayumi and Dawud, Dawud may implicitly be attempting to point out and correct Ayumis mistake, and thus he provides linguisti c support for Ayumi. This modeling may serve as opportunity for Ayumi to improve her English language skills. (5) A: Because the signal is not automatical (.) you have to push the button (.) and then yeah (.) because in Japan everywhere is automatical (.) here you have to push the button. (6) D: Everything automatic in Japan (.) yeah yeah (.) I know it. Confirmer Providing confirmation for questions from the partner: The C onfirmer role involves the act of affirming the partners statements This role often cooccurs with the I nquirer role. The C onfirmer is an important role that helps extend the conversat ions. P artners may ask for confirmation for different reasons, such as to indicat e surprise, confusion, or misunderstanding. Pairs may also use this role as a way to indicate that they are following the other persons conversations carefully P artners who respond to such confir mation requests typically provide the confirmation, such as in the example below (8) H: In the summer, it is usually set like 5:00 oclock. (9) M: Five? (10) H: Yeah. Clarifier: Explaining ones words in a different way for better understanding: Clarifying is a strategy used when partners want to rephrase their statements or provide examples so that the other partner gains a better understanding of their prior statement.

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139 Peers may provide help for one another through cl arifying. Clarifications may also be response to a request for clarification. In Turn 42, Dawud attempts to clarify what he means. Ayumi asks confirmation questions to understand what he means, but she is confused, so Dawu d clarifies what he means in Turn 47 Ayumi seems to understands what he means. She then moves f orward and continues asking questions about the same subtopic. (42) D: Uhm let me explain (.) Ayumi (.) Ayumi? (43) A: It was hard for you to make a contract? (44) D: It was easy. (45) A: But you said it was difficult. (46) D: To find furniture and bring the furniture to my apartment because I didnt (47) A: Where did you buy? (48) D: From somewhere. Opposer Disagreeing with statements and answers: The O pposer role can be defined as the pattern of communication in which one partner constantly comes up with statem ents that negate their partners statements. As can be seen in the following exchanges, Dawud s responses are contrary to Ay umis answers. Wh en Ayumi says that religion is not very important in her country, Dawud points out that there is a Christian population in Japan. He probably means that having Christians is a sign that religion is not unimportant but Ayumi maintains her stance and Dawud continues raising objections He mentions that there are also Buddhists in Japan, which c ould make Japan a somewhat religious country. Ayumi seems to continually disregard his comments as she keeps repeating that no mat ter how many religions are represented in

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140 Japan, it is not a religious country unlike Saudi Arabia where the majority of the population is Muslim. (1) D: We are going to write about your culture. (2) A: In Japan, religion is not important, (.) it is not important. (3) D: Yeah, but you have Christians. (4) A: Yeah yeah, (.) but it is only one percent we have Christians [in Japan. (5) D: The majority Buddhist?] (6) A: Maybe (.), but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very important for your country, but it is not very important in Japan. Interrupter Interrupting the partners conversations: The partners who act as I nterrupters display a pattern of interrupting the conversation with questions or other types of statements. Such interruptions do not typically bring the topic to an end, and p artners do not get offended or angry, but signs of frustration can be observed when the partner continues to interrupt. As can be seen in the following dialogue, Ayumi poses a question, but s he does not give Dawud enough time to answer the question before she asks another question and interrupts Dawud in Turn. Ayumis interruptions get Dawud to provide more explanations and clarifications, and her interruptions help Dawud to give more informat ion about the subtopic. (15) A: You find the apartment was easy. (16) D: It was easy, but I have to (17) A: Better than your country? (18) D: It is easy when I found apartment, but it is hard to furniture. (19) A: Furniture? (20) D: Yeah. it was (21) A: But they have furniture, no?

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141 (22) D: I have to buy, no, no, I have to buy, it is hard, when I contact electric department, I have to wait (23) A: You live in a house or apartment? (24) D: Apartment, but it is kind of a house yeah. (25) A: Where, where? Roles for ending a task or a topic Students assumed different roles when they were ending the task or ending their discussion about a topic. These roles typically served to finish the task or end the discussion of a certain topic. Finalizer Finishing the task or topic: Finalizers typically end the task with a concluding question or a remark. They also give the signal that a topic has fully been discussed. Based on signals from a F inalizer a partner often changes the topic, so a finalizer and a topic s w itcher may work well together unless the topic switcher changes the topics at points when the finalizer did not really intend to finalize the topic. As can be seen in the following excerpt, Ayumi finalizes the topic of transportation in Turn 11 after going over the list and looking at what they have covered before Not only does she end the topic, but she also proposes another topic related to fashion (7) D: Only transport cars (.) trains. (8) A: Bus (.) train (.) taxi? (10) D: No no no (.) we dont have bus, car, train. Train (.) not for (.) between two city only. We use our own car (.) pri vate car. (11) A: Religion (.) transport (.) what about clothes? (12) D: Fashion? (13) A: Fashion, fashion. Bypasser Not acknowledging partners comments: In certain instances during the collaborative graphic organizer task, the partners ignore the ir partners

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142 comments and carry on with a subtopic of their own choice changing the topic and creating the impression that they are not really listening to the ir partner s The Bypasser role occurs when the speaker is mainly focused on his/her own statements The exchanges are typically short, and the proposed subtopic is either not covered or is superficially covered. In the following excerpt in Turn 7, Miguel is talking about the challenge he experienced when he was away from his family, and in Turn 8, instead of asking further questions about Miguels challenges when far away from home, Hyun shifts the focus to himself, bypasses Miguels point, and talks about the language problems he experienced when he started living with his host family for the first time. (1) M: What is your challenge? (2) H: When I came to Gainesville (.) I met my host family and I lived with them and (.) I think it is kind of challenging because I never live with another family. (3) M: You just came to Gainesville? (4) H: And I lived with family, host family. (5) M: What? (6) H: Host family. (7) M: When I just came here, it was a big challenge because I was away from my family. (8) H: When I first came here, it was difficult talking with my family because I didnt understand English, but I tried to talking with my family. During the collaborative graphic organizer task, partners assumed various interactional roles. When the researcher detected certain academic language functions being repeatedly used, she started assigning labels for the most frequently occurring functions, and she built categories of interactional roles. These roles further improved her understand of the collaborative graphic organizer task as a communicative task, and ways the partners influenced the structure of the task based on the roles they assumed

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143 during their interactions. Interactional roles helped the researcher further understand the types of roles that are associated with are influential for extended opportunities to use the language. Interactional style The researcher analyzed student interactions in terms of the interactional styles that each student displayed during the collaborative graphic organizer task. Acc ording to the researchers observations, during their interactions, the participants interacted with each other in one of three different ways : a c ollaborative approach, an argumentative approach, and a hesitant approach. The researcher strived to understand how the partners interacted with each other in interactions that allow ed continuous language production over an extended period of time as opposed to interactions with only a few exchanges Collaborative approach Extending the partners responses by providing further information about a topic. When partners approach one another in a collaborative manner during the collaborative task, each partner responds to the other partners questions and extends the idea with f urther examples and explanations. This type of interaction lengthens the duration of the exchanges and increases the interaction between the partners. In response to the partners further elaborated information about a topic, the other partner comments and poses questions to explore the topic further. Argumentative approach Continuing the conversation by giving controversial examples or disagreeing with the partner. During the task, certain partners had a style of engaging their partner s in the conversation by raising up controversial topics or questions and posing controversial

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144 statements In certain cases, the partners goal was quite apparent in the sense that the questions were carefully selected to touch upon an issue that would make room for further questions. The partner may or may not intentionally bring up these topics, and in certain cases, the reason for such a style may be to avoid giving information about oneself because question statements are shorter strings of sentences than explanations and examples. Whatever the intention may be, we can observe indepth exploration of topics, extensive use of academic vocabulary, an d many questions to find out more about these issues with the help of the partner. Hesitant approach Completing the requirements of the task with the initiation of the partner without a participation interest in the task. In the hesitant approach, the partners fulfill ed the requirement of the task to collaborate with the minimum effort possible. They do not ask further questions about the topics, and they do not extend questions with multiple examples or further explanations. The statements are relatively short, and the time spent on each topic is also very short. Since the partners do not delve deeply into the topics, the concepts are much general and the topics are covered at a superficial level. In the following section, each pairs interactional style is described according to the three types of interactional styles noted above. Pair 1Dawud and Ayumi: Collaborative -argumentative interactional style Ayumis interactional style can be defined as argumentative since she poses several controversial questions during the conversations. Dawuds style on the other hand can be described as collaborative as he responds to all her questions patiently and gives extensive information about each question as best as he can. Argumentative-Collaborative partnering seemed to work successfully in this particular

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145 s ituation. A number of factors can be influential in Ayumis preference for posing multiple questions as opposed to extending topics by adding examples about herself. First of all, at first sight, she seems shy in class, but her shyness may stem from her English language proficiency. Since her spoken English is at lower intermediate level, she may feel self -consci ous about producing long strings of utterances in English due to a fear of making mistakes. Forming short sentences with questions may be easier for her because it generally results in language used by her partner Another f actor can be that her conversational style in general may be based on asking interesting questions to enrich conversations She may also be more interested in hearing about others as opposed to talking about herself. Dawud on the other han d has a truly collaborative conversational style. He patiently listens to Ayumis questions. He is fully engaged in the task, and he provides extensive information in response each question posed by his partner. He provides further explanations when Ayumi is confused about the information he has provided. Since he is talkative, he answers Ayumis questions easily. On occasions when she asks questions about sensitive iss ues, he steers the conversation in such a way that she gets the information she seeks without any conflict Dawuds patient, engaging, and collaborative style may be supported by the fact that he is talkative person in general. His spoken English is fluent, and his proficiency level is at the intermediate level. He feels confident in his responses, and he makes jokes during the conversations. Ayumis questioning style may have worked well thanks to Dawuds relaxed pers onality. If Dawud were a quiet person who was not very motivated to fully participate in the task, Ayumis questions may have been bothersome and the conversations may not have

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146 taken place at such an in-depth level. For example, in the following excerpt, A yumi brings up a controversial topic, polygamy in Saudi Arabia, and she tries to elicit answers from Dawud about this sensitive issue. (1) A: Marriage (.) it is one guy one girl (.) but in your country it is one guy and its many women. (2) D: Yeah (.) one guy. (3) A: No no no no (.) in your country one guy have many wives. (4) D: The law allow to have (5) A: And the law so you can marry many? (6) D : You can marry four (.) just four. (7) A: But most people are like that? (8) D: But but but (.) if he is able to give every woman the same (.) if he able to. If he is able to offer life for woman (.) the same house the same everything (.) if he is able to do that. Pair 2Miguel and Hyun: Collaborative hesitant interactional style Hyun is hesitant most likely because he is a quiet person, and he is not the kind of communicator who would ask multiple questions or talk extensively about himself in any situation. He did not seem to be very motivated or excited about the task, but he woul d typically like to participate in class and be present. However, Miguel is talkative and he enjoys steering the conversations by askin g questions. Hyun gradually became relatively more participatory as the dialogues progressed. In other words, he started to emulate his partners style of communication. Miguel would start the task, pose a question, and raise several other questions while Hyun gave fairly short answers initially. After he answered Miguels questions, he would pose the same question to Miguel and even ask questions that required further information about the same topic as illustrated in the segment below

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147 (1) M: I couldnt understand language (.) it was challenge. What about you? (2) H: Weather. (3) M: Weather? Why? (4) H: Because it is too hot here and daytime is too long. (5) M: I t is too long today? (6) H : It is sunset (.) too late. (7) M: Ohhhh (.) what is different in your country? Is it at 6:00 oclock 6:30? (8) H: In the summer (.) it is usually set like 5:00 oclock. (9) M: Five? (10) H: Yeah. What is your challenge? Pair 3Roberto and Akram: Collaborative collaborative interactional style Roberto is a quiet person in general. During the task, he communicated in a collaborative style. He was able to initiate the start of the task and steer the task by proposing different topics and raising questions for his partner Akram to answer. However, he did not ask multiple questions sequentially He gave enough time for his partner to respond and very often he presented information about himself related the same question without even waiting for the same question to come from his partner. He was focused on the task, and he did not pay much attention to what was happening in the rest of the classroom. From his body language and posture, he appeared to be focused on his partner and the collaborative graphic organizer task. Akram also has a talkative communication style, often laughing and joking, and h e was frequently the center of attention in class. However, he was slightly disengaged in the task relative to Roberto. He followed what the other pairs were talking about, and occasionally he made comments about the neighboring pairs conversations. However, analysis of

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148 conversations between Akram and Roberto revealed that he was able to focus on the task and carry out conversations with Roberto. Akram would not initiate new topics, but he asked questio ns about the topics that Roberto introduced and he gave extensive details and examples in response to Robertos questions as illustrated below (8) R: How many son have the king? Only one son? (9) A: Oh no. (10) R: A few sons? (11) A: Many. (12) R: Which one is the (.) I dont know the word (.) Richest one? (13) A: Yeah. Between themselves they change. Before it was King Abdul Aziz, King Abdul Aziz have thirteen child, so some of them become a king (.) some of them die already. Now it may change (.) for the son (.) I dont know. As can be seen in the examples above, the partners pursued different interactional styles based on factors that may stem from their personality, culture, and comfort with spoken English. However, t he research er avoided making generalizations based on cultural background in order to avoid stereotyping. Collaborative argumentative style partnership as in the case of Dawud and Ayumi triggers the most opportunities for language use and in dept h discussion of topics. However, the researcher does not base th e reason for extended language use solely on interactional style. The type of bonding that partners feel towards each other can stem from other factors such as how approachable the partner may seem, how compatible partners feel when working tog ether towards a task, and how they view each other as colleagues or friends. T hese interpersonal factors are beyond the scope of this study yet b ased on discourse data and observational notes, the researcher tentatively suggests that teachers consider

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149 interactional style as a possible factor influencing the degree of collaboration during academic tasks. Sociocultural analysis of students writing samples Finally, when we look at their essays from a sociocultural perspective, the essays were written based on the requirements of the TOEFL exam. Because this course prepares students for the reading and writing portion of the TOEFL exam, each essay was supposed to follow the fiveparagraph essay format. The students were familiar with the expectations of the standards they were expected to meet, and the standards were driven by the requirements of the TOEFL exam. Among the six participants, as the students were adult learners and they all aimed at registering at a higher education institution, they followed the rules for writing a five-paragraph essay in TOEFL. Nonetheless, the essays are not an objective listing of all the information the students gathered from their partners. (See Appendix G for each of six sample student essays, one from each participant.) Participants include their own personal opinions when presenting the information to the audience, which may indicate the clear presence of the writer. This type of clear presence of the writers opinions may not work well in academic writing, but the participants are not at a stage yet where they are expected to support a reference for their statements, which gave the students more room for self expression. For instance in the following sentences from A yumis essay, we can see that she is expressing her own personal opinion about how foreign people feel when they come to the United States for the first time. As the topic was the challenges experienced by those who come to the United States for the first time, she made a general statement as

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150 to how people from different countries have their own cultures, and having to follow another countrys customs may be difficult. Different country has different culture to own country. So it is difficult that foreign c ome to the U.S. and foreigners have to follow the U.S. culture, habit, and rule. In another example from Hyuns essay on comparing and contrasting cultural differences between the partners home countries, Hyun also expresses personal opinions about how ad vanced cultures can be created. Hyun makes his stance clear about accepting and valuing cultural differences. He may want to indicate his presence in his writing rather than writing a voiceless essay without any subjective statements. In conclusion, we are doing many common things as a human, however, there are a lot of differences in cultural background between Korea and Venezuela such as religion, main food and place of celebration. If we accept each cultural difference, it is going to be helpful for development of each culture. And as the culture develops, we can create various kinds of advanced culture. Dawuds essay also indicates that he is aware of the audience because his essay follows the rules of a typical five -paragraph TOEFL essay. He ends his es say with a positive stance about cultural diversity, which clarifies his presence as a writer. However, it is hard to detect his personal style in this limited amount of writing where he knows he is supposed to adhere to certain expectations put for th by the teacher. In the end, there are big differences between Saudi Arabia and Japan. Our cultures are different, food, clothes and marriage. I believe that difference make our live enjoyable. Miguels voice in his essay is also present. He indicates that living abroad is just as difficult as learning a foreign language. In the following conclusion statement, we can see how he adheres to the topic of challenges more closely. He may have done so because he does not want to introduce a new aspect to the topic, but his style is

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151 different from Akram, who perceives such first -time cultural experiences in a positive manner. For any partner learn English was difficult, but learn and living outside your country, its always difficult. Akram is also aware of the a udience in the sense that he adheres to the rules of the five -paragraph essay. He ends his essay with a positive stance, adding a different dimension to the topic about living abroad in spite of the difficulties. His voice is clearly present in his essay because he also poses opinions about how it is necessary to live abroad just to be able to gain experience. In conclusion, living outside of your comfort zone is something that everybody have to experience it. Dispite its defecalties, but is comes back to the person with great benefits, as a result of his hard life. Roberto also has a writing style where we can detect his own presence through his personal stance on the topic. Even though the topic focuses on challenges, he starts his essay with a positive attitude. Roberto mentions that living abroad for the first time can be difficult initially, but this experience makes people stronger. He is also adding that such experience can lead to a better life. These statements are his own additions, and they enric h the essay even though such opinions may not be appropriate in academic writing. As long as the message is in sync with the general topic, TOEFL exam allows such ideas, which may also be why the students are not afraid of adding a subjective dimension to the essay rather than a listing of facts about the partners background and experiences. Going abroad to study, work, and to live can be hard sometimes at begin or during the first month, but as a result of be strong and keeping in the new country can be successful and get a new and better life.

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152 In conclusion, the collaborative graphic organizer task provided the students with opportunities to use the English language both in spoken interaction and in writing. The study focused on the oral interactions bet ween students, so the essays were used as secondary data. The collaborative graphic organizer task helped students generate ideas that were necessary to write an essay. When writing an academic paper, they may not have been allowed to voice their opinions, and they would have been expected to cite different studies or resources. However, in this case, they had the flexibility to add their own opinions and enrich the essay with their own perspectives and voice. Nonetheless, the task imposed certain rules and expectations, which may be limiting for their critical thinking skills. However, the purpose of the essay had to align with the typical TOEFL essays. As stated by Mohan (1986) and Wong Fillmore & Snow (2000), students need to be made aware of the rules of writing in English, so that they can be more creative once they know how to follow the rules. Without such explicit teaching, expecting non -native speakers of English to write as well as native speakers of English would be unfair and unjustly because nonnative speakers of English are at a disadvantageous position as they are already frustrated with acquiring the basic knowledge about the mechanics of the English language. Structural Analysis of the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task as a Social Event Collaborative graphic organizer task in this study is a social event, and each pair pursued the task in their own way and in their own style. The ELLs who participated in the study differed in terms of their interactional styles and assumed different in teractional roles. Therefore, they pursued the task in their own way. When they were carrying out the task, they knew that they were supposed to complete the task by

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153 interacting with each other for the purposes of gathering information from their partner but each pair followed a different pattern in achieving this goal. Types of A ctivity Structure During the collaborative graphic organizer task series, each pair completed the task in their own way. The task involves certain steps, but the steps are flexible enough to allow room for variety in the way pairs start the task, continue the task, and to finalize it. For example, some partners chose to s tart the task with a question while others proposed an idea in the form of a statement. Another pair proposed a plan as to what the main topic w ould be Pairs have different styles of communicating, and these different patterns of conducting the task may stem from personality differences and prior experiences with or observations of the way collaborative activities work. P ersonal styles, experi ences, and observations are also a product of the socialization process in school or in other settings where such collaborative tasks take place. In Tables 4 6 4 -7 and 48 you can see the task structure that the partners in Pair 1, Pair 2, and Pair 3 pursued while they were working on the collaborative graphic organizer task. In Table 46 Ayumi and Dawud are discussing food as a problem when a person moves to a new country. Ayumi initiates the task with a question, and Dawud ends the topic by presenting his preference for food. Ayumi is asking Dawud different questions about how he finds Arabic food in Gainesville. In his responses, Dawud is giving information about how he handles problems related with not being able to find Arabic food in Gainesvi lle. Their exchanges abound in the following roles: I nquirer, T opic Expander and C onfirmer Ayumi poses several questions that serve different functions, and her role as an I nquirer and Dawuds role as a T opic Expander are the most prominent roles.

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154 Table 4 7 depicts the task structure in Pair 2 with Hyun and Miguel. Miguel assumes the role of I nitiator and starts the task with a question inviting Hyun to give information, but his question may have confused Hyun, so he asks for clarification. Miguel may have also realized that his question had a problem because he rephrases it This time, Hyun accepts his invitation and starts giving more information about his religion and the religious composition of Korea. As both partners learn from each other about their religious background, the task progresses, and Miguel ends the topic by describing the religious composition of his own country, which also serves as the acade mic function of comparing and contrasting. In Table 48 Roberto and Akram are discussing the main topic of culture, and after Robertos suggestion, they decide to focus on marriage in particular As can be seen in Table 4 8 the partners took over different roles at every exchange and used different types of academic language functions. This figure displays the dynamics within the task setting formed by Roberto and Akram. Roberto gets ready to start the task with a general question, but then he proposes a topic: marriage. Akram assumes the role of T opic Expander and proposes a subtopic under the topic of marriage as he focuses on wedding ceremonies. Roberto finalizes the task by labeling the topic and announces this information verbally as well. As can be seen in Figures 46, 4-7, and 48, no two pairs executed the task in the same way. Each pair displayed a different pattern of communication in terms of interactional roles, how they start the task, how they continue the task, and how they end the task. However, successful interactions that flow smoothly and achieve indepth

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155 discussions typically involve very frequent adoption of the roles of I nquirer and T opic Expander Forms of T ask A ccomplishment Pairs pursued different strategies for continuing the conversation during the collaborative task. Partners were able to accomplish ongoing academic conversations with minimum diversion from the topic, and even in such instances, one of the pair members managed to steer the conversation back to the topic. The structure of the collaborative graphic organizer task allowed the students to use English because of the specific guideli nes in student pairing in terms of thei r interactional style and differences in their language proficiency within the intermediate level. Pairs kept each other engaged by asking questions, making comments, and expressing opinions at times as they continued the flow of exchanges. For example, the following dialogue between Ayumi and Dawud is full of questions by Ayumi, and Dawud answers all of her questions in spite of her occasional interruptions Dawuds topic expansions with details and examples and Ayumis curiosity expressed through questions make the task a successful process with topical depth and multiple opportunities to use academic language skills. (1) A: Yeah. Arabic food. How do you get Arabic food? Arabic store is in Gainesville? (2) D: In Tampa. There is one in Tampa. In Tampa there is an Arab store (.) but I havent been there. (3) A: But what do you get at the Arabic store? (4) D: We buy rice. (5) A: Rice? (6) D: Yeah. From Publix or from.

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156 (7) A: But different yeah. (8) D : But if you go to Indian Bazaar. (9) A: Indian Bazaar (.) yeah yeah, (.) I know Indian Bazaar. (10) D: Similar (.) in Indian Bazaar (.) there is rice (.) the kind of rice (.) not the best but the rice. (11) A: [ A little bit different? (12) D: This kind of rice (.) we use it in Saudi Arabia.] During Miguel and Hyuns interactions, each turn was relatively shorter because Miguel and Hyun did not spend a lot of time extending on each topic. They were able to complete the task successfully by interacting with each other and getting the information related to fill out their graphic organizers. In the following excerpt, Miguel proposes a topic, but he does not elaborate on his own challenge further. He simply mentions it and opens the floor for Hyun to talk. He introduces two topics: weather and duration of daylight. From Hyuns very first statement, we get the impression that he is not going to extend the topic, but with Miguels prompting question as king for a reason, Hyun giv es more information. Miguel may have found the issue of daylight being longer in Korea more intriguing as he focuses on this topic rather than the hot climate in Gainesville. Also, the task required the participants to go beyond collecting information on the challenges and get into details, which later would be used as the details and examples in the body paragraphs of their essays. This may have prompted Miguel to get Hyun to extend on the topic. However, the task struc ture cannot be the only factor for Miguels questions because when he is seeking confirmation in his question It is too long today? he seems to be asking out of his own curiosity as this piece of information may

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157 not be the best supporting detail in his body paragraph. Hyuns response triggers a question in Miguels mind, and he verbaliz es his curiosity. (1) M: I couldnt understand language, it was challenge. What about you? (2) H: Weather. (3) M: Weather? Why? (4) H: Because it is too hot here and daytime is too long. (5) M: It is too long today? (6) H: It is sunset, too late. (7) M: Ohhhh, what is different in your country? Is it at 6:00 oclock or 6:30? (8) H: In the summer (.) it is usually set like 5:00 oclock. (9) M: Five? (10) H: Yeah. In the following excerpt, Akram is bringing up a new topic and Roberto realizes this situation and is pointing that out, but he accepts the new subtopic and they continue the task in this direction based on mutual agreement. As Akram shares inf ormation about the education system in his country, without waiting to be asked question by Akram, Roberto is presenting information about the education system in his country by pointing out differences and similarities, and in this way, both Akram and Rob erto are maintaining the task successfully and they are exchanging in-depth information about each others countries. (1) R: Wait (.) thats another topic. Free School? Free for everybody? (2) A: Yeah. There are Islam universities (.) but many universities are government universities and separate.

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158 (3) R: In my country (.) some of the universities free. Some free some public. Mixed people. Universities just mixed. Some high schools (.) [sometimes mixed. (4) A: No mixed.] Separate all the tim e. What else about schools? (5) R: University used to take five years. (6) A: We have three kinds (.) elementary school and middle school. (7) R: How many years? (8) A: Elementary school (.) six years. (9) R: High school? (10) A: High school three years. We have another school before high school (.) three years. (11) R: University five years? (12) A: Four years (.) yeah. (13) R: In my country (.) elementary five year (.) high school six years. Excerpts from each pair indicate that each pair differed in how they interacted and gathered information from each other. While Dawud and Akram extended topic s on their own and through questions from their partners, Hyun needed prompts from Miguel The sociocultural context of the task and the structuring of the task allowed for all kinds of questions and comments helping students use English to communicate on different topics and prepare for academic discourse Conversations involved questions that asked for specific infor mation that could be used as content material for the essay as well as questions that originated out of their own curiosity. Pairs achieved collaboration and interaction in unique ways, and they were able to gather enough information to write a final essay

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159 Linguistic and Conceptual Analysis of Students Language Use The researcher analyzed the spoken and written language samples from the students to be able to answer the research question of the study with a focus on linguistic and conceptual aspects of students language use: How do English language learners use language in a collaborative graphic organizer activity? In order to explore the students language use as part of the collaborative graphic organizer task, the researcher looked at the spoken and written data through Gees semiotic building lens (2005) with a focus on content words, grammar structures, and conceptual depth of the conversations. As the partners in this study interacted with each other, the topics expanded and the partners steered the conversations towards different subtopics of their own choice. Since they determined the extent of their conversations, each pair varied in terms of their choice of subtopics. This type of openendedness may have increased the amount of interaction because the partners may not feel limited to a certain number of aspects to be discussed. As they filled out the graphic organi zer, they brainstormed about the possibilities and went beyond a listing of what to talk about. They did not list the topics but instead spent time on each topic finding examples, asking for reasons depending on the targeted topic and the targeted knowledg e structure. Similarly, semiotic analysis of students essays indicated that students written language involved content vocabulary and grammatical structures with complicated morphological and syntactic formations. Choice of C ontent W ords Analyzing the content words used by the pairs can inform us about the word choice during the conversations. As partners share and discuss different topics, their choices of vocabulary vary. For instance, in Table 4-9, during the exchanges b etween

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160 Ayumi and Dawud about religion in Japan, the partners use the following words: culture, Japan, religion, Christians, percent, majority, Buddhists, religious, Islam, important, country. In other words, the task allows the partners to use content words at differing levels of complexity during their interactions. All of these words are used during the collaborative graphic organizer task for the purposes of exchanging information and completing the task. If we take closer look at the words in Tables 49 we can see that the Ayumi and Daw ud used language by using words that express percentages, relative degree of importance, and different types of religions. In Table 410, Hyun and Miguel also cover the topic of religion. During their exchanges, the pair uses various content vocabulary on religion. Although some of the word usage is incorrect, we can observe several attempts to describe facts, and the concepts are represented correctly in his statements For instance, in Turn 8, as can be seen in his utterance, Hyun knows the meaning of the word religion but he needs more opportunities in using the word in multiple contexts, so that he can improve his knowledge on various uses of the word with correct qualifiers and put this knowledge into practice through collaborative language use The collaborative graphic organizer task may provide him to use language, which may allow him to further his vocabulary knowledge through both exposure and use. In Table 411, Ro berto starts the conversation, but Akram is the one who steers the dialogue. Robertos questions indicate that he is quite puzzled, and he would like to understand how this type of an arrangement works out in practice. Following are some of the content wor ds they use during their conversations: culture, marriage, society, wedding, separate, and celebrations. The same topic w as discussed with the use of

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161 different content words in another group, but based on the proficiency level of this group and its impact on vocabulary choice Akram and Roberto utilized more complicated content words listed in Table 411 as opposed to ot hers. In Turn 11, Roberto labels the difference between the two cultures and he is completing his graphic organizer, but as he is filling it in, he thinks of better words that express the same notion, and he rephrases his label on Turn 13. In other words, he may be conceptualizing the category in his mind, so that the phrases sound mor e scholarly, which may be an indication that he is aware of the difference between written and spoken academic English. Akram may be on the other hand trying to help Roberto understand his culture better by emphasizing the fact that men and women do not so cialize together in Saudi Arabia. Akram may have also emphasized this particular information since he finds it to be a very important difference between his culture and Robertos culture. Students writing samples reflect successful language use for interm ediate level ELLs For instance, Ayumis essay in Table 4 12 involves a multitude of content vocabulary, reflecting the density of her lexical knowledge. The writing portion of the task provided an opportunity for her to use language in writing. Each word adds a different aspect to the bundles of meaning created in her essay and represents the semantic aspect of her language proficiency In the first paragraph, she is introducing the topic and uses a large variety of words to express her message. The word challenge that she used in the title of her essay is a word that she most likely acquired from the reading material she worked on with her partner during Stage 2 during the third week of the study when the focus was on the cause andeffect genre and the topic of the

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162 reading was the challenges immigrants experienced when they first came to the United States. In the Table 4-13 with a written language sample from Dawud, we can see that Dawud writes about the differences between Japan and Saudi Arabia. He chooses to focus on three different aspects: food, clothes, and marriage. He uses relevant content words in the correct forms. He also adds complex content words such as major, debate, and variety. He has a strong command over the vocabulary that is necessary to express the differences between the two cultures. He is able to label the concepts represented under each subtopic, and he lists the relevant examples from each culture. He is also aware of the appropriate use of complex vocabulary, such as variety as he uses it appropriately: a variety of. Hyuns essay in Table 4-14 also involves diverse content vocabulary with a focus on cultural differences between his culture and his partner Miguels culture. Hyun starts his first p aragraph with lexical items that transmit a general idea about the topic, and as he moves onto his second paragraph, the complexity of his vocabulary increases. He is using architecture -related words probably because in Stage 1 of this task, he and his par tner worked on an essay that focused on the differences of architectural styles with the word cathedral and temple. The third paragraph mainly focuses on food as Hyun lists a new vocabulary item arepa that he acquired during his interaction with Miguel He also provides a detailed description of this particular word in his writing. In the fourth paragraph, he is using the words celebration and party interchangeably, which may be an indication of his attempt to vary his word choice

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163 As can be seen in Table 415, Miguel s use of content vocabulary is diverse and successful. He chose to focus on communication, food, and weather as the three difficulties that his partner experienced when he came to the United States for the very first time. Miguel uses a variety of adjectives, verbs, and adverbs to express himself in writing. He uses the words in the appropriate forms, but he needs support with grammar His paragraphs involve compl e x vocabulary such as communication problems and he uses compound expressions such as gain weight successfully. He uses vocabulary items successfully throughout his essays without unnecessary repetition. It is clear that he tries to add variety to his expressions by using synonyms such as contact with others and communication problems Akrams essay in Table 416 also involves c omplex vocabulary items such as communication, encounter, time -consuming, regulation, immigration. He may have acquired some of the se words from the reading material in Stage 2 in which the topic was the challenges of the early immigrants in the United States. The text involved words such as immigration, regulation, foreign, etc. His essay reflects that he has a strong command o f the topic and his lexical knowledge is highly sufficient for writing about this particular topic. Similar to Hyuns essay, his first paragraph starts with well -chosen vocabulary that present the main topic His second par agraph involves vocabulary related to food, but the complexity of words on this particular topic is less in comparison to the third paragraph when he starts writing about communication. His lexicon may involve more diverse vocabulary items on this particular topic. Robertos essay in Table 4 -17 involves different types of content vocabulary that add further depth to the topic. He gathered information about his partner s difficulties in

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164 terms of food, transportation, and weather in Gainesville when he came here for the first time. He is also following the template for writing a fiveparagraph essay. However, he did not provide enough examples for each paragraph, so his vocabulary is somewhat less dense compared with that of other pairs. He starts well in the first paragraph, but the following paragraphs could be improved by adding further dimensions to the topic. He may need support with vocabulary and expression of different ideas within the same topic in different sentences with specific examples. The collaborative graphic organizer task was able to provide the partners with multiple opportunities for language use in both written and spoken English. Both their conversations and their writing samples depict the variety in their word choice while the partners expressing their messages during their interactions with each other as well as during the independent writing portion of the task. The partners were also able to integrate some of the vocabulary items that they acquired in the course of the collaborative graphic organizer task. Such lexical integration can be an indication that the interactions during the collaborative graphic organizer task allow students acquire new vocabulary items and incorporate them into their spoken language and written language. Choice of L inguistic Struc tures Linguistic structures can inform us about the syntactic complexity of students language use during the academic exchanges. Pairs conversations varied in terms of their choice of linguistic structures during their conversations. For instance, some partners were able to use connectors that directly reflect the nature of the knowledge/discourse structure covered in the graphic organizer during that particular session. Furthermore, depending on the proficiency level of the partners, some partners

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165 used a variety of different tenses and sentences with different types of adverbial or adjective clauses as well as multiple sentences combined with connectors. H: When I came to Gainesville (.) I met my host family and I lived with them and I think it is kind of challenging because I never live with another family. In this excerpt, Hyun is talking about the challenges he experienced when he came to Gainesville/United States for the first time. Since the knowledge structure for that week was cause andeffect, t he researcher presented topics to the teacher that would lend themselves to the production of sentences expressing cause and effect relations. Hyun uses complex sentences (Complex sentences with subordinate clauses are linked by subordinating conjunctions such as because, when, since. etc. Subordinating suggests the second clause depends upon the first for its meaning.) that indicate time with the use of the conjunction when and reason with the use of the conjunction because. His sentences are grammatic ally accurate except for his lack of use of the past perfect tense in his last sentence because I never live with another family. Second language learners who typically experience problems with the present perfect and past perfect tenses in general have problems with this type of a tense structure because their first language does not involve these tenses. Nonetheless, his statements are fairly grammatical, and he is able to express a reason in English, which is an important academic language function prevalent in essays with a cause and effect knowledge structure. A: Maybe (.) but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very important for your country (.) but it is not very important in Japan. In this excerpt, Ayumi is talking about the differences between her culture in her home country, Japan, and her partners culture in his home country, Saudi Arabia. For the purposes of the collaborative graphic organizer task, Ayumi and Dawud are

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166 comparing and contrasting the two cultures and filling out t heir graphic organizer based on the information they gather from one another. We can easily observe the comparison-contrast academic function in Ayumis words. In other words, she is following the conventions of comparing and contrasting in the language sh e uses when communicating with her partner. She is forming a compound sentence using the coordinating conjunction but in order to express how Japan is not a religious country unlike Saudi Arabia. (Compound sentences have clauses linked by coordinating co njunctions such as and, or, but, etc. Coordinating suggests a balance of equal weight between the two clauses.) She does not form any grammatical sentences. In general she keeps the structure and the length of her statements fairly short and prefers formin g questions as opposed to giving further information about herself. In this particular statement, among other features of her language, we can tell that she is able to express opinions in the correct form with an I think statement. From this excerpt, we can tell that she is aware of the academic language of comparing and contrasting, and she is able to use her academic language skills during this task. (13) H: Is there a similar food in the United States? (14) M: Somebody told me that you can eat arepas in Latin Caf (.) you know Latin Caf? It is in 34th avenue. In this excerpt, in response to Hyuns question whether one can find food similar to arepas in the USA, Miguel is sharing with Hyun that Latin Caf has arepas. Latin Caf is a well known place, but Miguel wants to make sure that Hyun knows this place, so he is describing the location. When we analyze his language use, we can see that he is using a complex sentence structure with a relative clause, and he is also using reported speech grammatical s tructure: Somebody told me that He is supposed to use

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167 could instead of can in the relative clause due to the tense marker in the firsts sentence, but the structure of the sentence is intact. He is also familiar with the preposition markers, but as s everal English language learners do, he is confusing on and in. Nonetheless, he is able to participate in academic conversations with his partner, and he is able to fulfill the requirements of the task. In this pair, the interaction does not flow as predictably as with the other two pairs. Hyun and Miguel were either hesitant or collaborative at different instances of their dialogue, but they do make an attempt to complete the task. Miguel is able to describe a location, report conversations, and use r elative clauses fairly successfully. Students writing samples reflect successful language use for intermediate level English language learners. In the following writing sample from Hyun, we can see that he is using connectors quite successfully. He is sta rting the paragraph with an appropriate connector. His writing involves multiple connectors such as on the other hand, therefore, but, as. The majority of his sentences in his essay are compound sentences as can be seen in the following paragraph. This may be because he is becoming more aware of the connectors thanks to the sample texts he covered with his partner as part of the first two stages of the collaborative graphic organizer task, and he would like to show off his knowledge on different types of co nnectors that connect ideas in a paragraph for a smooth transition between the ideas. First, our religions differ in main belief in each country. Majority of Korean usually believe in Christian, Catholic, and Buddhism. Of course, our origin religion is Bud dhism, but as time passes on, the rate of people who believe in God has been increased. And usually Christians go to church, catholic go to Cathedral and Buddhists go to the temple to pray. On the other hand, almost every Venezuelan believe in Catholic and they usually go to church for praying. And also their religion is Catholic. But Catholic usually go to

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168 church to pray differently from Catholic in Korea. Therefore, Korean believe in more kinds of religion than Ven e zuelan. Ayumis essay involves successful use of complex sentence structures. Unlike Hyun, she has a better command on complex sentence formation. As can be seen in the following paragraph, which is the third paragraph in her essay, she is using a relative clause in her first sentence: He felt bad that he didnt have a car which indicates her awareness of how to form complex sentences. She is continuing the same statement with a compound sentence with the use of the conjunction so which indicates that she is als o able to form compound sentences. However, she created more opportunities to use complex sentences as opposed to compound sentences in her essays. Ayumis focus on compound sentence formation may improve with more exposure to the knowledge structures and the language related with each knowledge structure after collaborative use of graphic organizers with a different partner, such as Hyun. He felt bad that he didnt have a car, so he decided to but a car. But, now the U.S. economic is bad, so when he bough t a car, his dealer was mean. His dealer went up the car price, because he is foreigner and he is rich. And then he gave up his favorite car and he bought a cheap car. He couldnt discount the car price. Akrams essay is different from both Ayumi and Hyuns essays in the sense that his sentences involve both complex and compound sentences. He is able to form relative clauses as the subject of a sentence as can be seen in the following statement: Maybe the hardest thing anyone could encounter is communicat ion with other native speakers. He is also able to drop that in his relative clause, which requires a mastery of relative clauses. He is also using a number of compound sentences: He gets frustrated when they (native speakers) dont understand him. He has well -command on

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169 word structures, and he uses each word appropriately in his sentences. For instance, the word encounter is a complex word for a second language learner as he may have chosen a simpler word such as come across, and Akram is able to use this word correctly with a past tense modal could increasing the grammatical complexity of his sentence even further. Maybe the hardest thing anyone could encounter is communication with other native speakers. Using different language to speak and listen sometime is hard especially when doing important things like asking for information, things that deal with money, housing and immigration regelations. Sometime Michael cant express his feeling well or what he wants. He gets frustrated when they (native speakers) dont understand him. Its really though but as a result, he is learning by the time goes by. During the collaborative graphic organizer task, students used language in various manners with complex sentence structures. They also used the vocabul ary items correctly. We may detect certain instances of mistakes, but such mistakes are beyond the scope of this paper. The collaborative graphic organizer task can be a useful tool in creating contexts for language use when students interact on different topics with their partners in an effort to complete the requirements of the task by speaking and writing in English. Diversity in M ain T opic and Subtopics Since there were no guidelines as to which subtopics to discuss, pairs chose different subtopics based on their own mutual decision and the dynamics of the task. The decision was based on each partners willingness to pursue a certain subtopic and to switch to a different subtopic. For instance, a partner may have intended to change the topic by aski ng a question or making a statement, but if the other partner is determined to stick with the same topic, he/she may pose further questions about the same topic instead of answering the partners question or commenting on his/her new

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170 subtopic. Partners wer e at times influenced by the subtopics covered by the other pairs as it was rather easy to overhear the conversation taking place among the other pairs, and they chose to pursue similar topics, but even within the same subtopics, the examples and the explanations were completely different as each individual came from a different cultural background. Table 4 18 depicts the depth of the conversations between Ayumi and Dawud within a subtopic of the main topic of the task. Ayumi and Dawuds dialogues involv ed in depth discussion of topics with the use of multiple roles and academic language functions. Both partners were able to steer the task appropriately, so that they can acquire maximum amount of knowledge about their partners in order to be able to compl ete the task successfully and to write a well -formed essay with enough subtopics and examples. Ac can be seen in Table 41 8 Ayumi and Dawud chose to talk about marriage as a subtopic for cultural differences between their home countries. Both Ayumi and Dawud asked questions and gave information about their cultural background regarding marriage, such as style of marriage, wedding ceremonies, age, and wedding expenses and persons responsible for paying these expenses, etc. Ayumis questions helped increas e the depth during the dialogues, and Dawuds motivation to help Ayumi understand his cultural background with detailed information enriched the task with a multitude of new information for Ayumi. As can be seen in the Figure 41 Ayumi and Dawud display a true collaborative dialogue with multiple exchanges, and in their case, the task presents itself as an effective opportunity for exploring their subtopic in depth. Ayumi asks questions, and Dawud provides information for Ayumis questions. She does bring up controversial

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171 issues, but Dawud does not hesitate and answers all of Ayumis questions. The compatibility between the partners in this pair in terms of collaborative dialogue may have helped them achieve extensive depth in their conversations. In Figure 41 the depth of Miguel and Hyuns conver sations are relatively shallow. The pair chose to talk about religion, but they were not able to achieve a significant depth when exchanging information about religion in one another countries. Several factors could be at play at the setting of their int eractions during the collaborative graphic organizer task. First of all, Hyun has a quiet style of communication, and he does not like talking very much. He is not introverted, but he is mostly serious and quiet. When he does speak up, his statements are v ery straight -forward. He never makes any tentative statements, and he does not ask a lot of questions. Miguel on the hand talks more, and he does his best to learn more about Hyuns religious background by asking questions. Hyun and Miguel gather informati on from each other by asking questions and providing detailed answers, which helps increase the conceptual depth of their conversations. As can be seen in Figure 4 -1 Akram and Robertos discussions also remain at a shallow level similar to Hyun and Miguel s conversations because Akram and Roberto focus on one aspect of the topic and talk about that particular aspect for a period of time as opposed to further exploring the main topic with a different subtopic. Akrams role as C larifier and R estater may ha ve kept their conversations during this particular instance somewhat shallow because he may have sensed a need for conceptual scaffolding in Robertos thinking and he may have wanted to provide more support for Roberto to better understand what exactly he means with the concept of separate wedding

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172 ceremonies. Therefore, he devotes more time on making sure that Roberto understands this concept well. Roberto did not elaborate on the same topic with examples from his background or he did not ask further questi ons about the other aspects of weddings or marriages in Saudi Arabia, which are also reasons for why Roberto and Akram could not cover this topic in depth unlike how Dawud and Ayumi did during their interactions. Conceptual depth of students essay reflect ed the content of their conversations closely. As students conversed with one another, they filled out their own graphic organizers based on the information they gathered from their partners, and they used this information when writing their essays. Students graphic organizers typically involved three levels mostly because each person was required to write a fiveparagraph essay. The conversations more inclusive in terms of details for each subtopic, but the goal of the task was to be able to find enough c ontent for the independent writing task, and the students succeeded in accomplishing this particular goal. Figure 42 is an example of Dawuds graphic organizer. Dawud has more information on the left had column about his own cultural background, and he has three items on the right hand column because he needs three subtopics to be able to write a five -paragraph essay. In Table 419, His first body paragraph is about food, and he is providing different examples from his own culture and from Japanese culture, and he is also deepening the subtopic by mentioning Saudi rules for what not to eat or drink. In the second body paragraph, he is comparing the traditional clothes by providing specific examples from each culture. The third body paragraph focuses on marriage in Saudi culture and in Japanese culture. He gives detailed information on the aspects of

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173 marriage that differ in both cultures. His essay involves more information than what he listed on his graphic organizer. He may have incorporated more information from his metal notes because he may not have been able to include all the information during the collaborative di scussion stage of the task. As can be seen in Figure 4 -3 Miguel gathered more information than necessary for his essay while he was interviewing his partner on the challenges he experienced when he came to the United States for the first time. He then focused on three of these aspects to be able to write a fiveparagraph essay. In his essay in Table 420 he focuses on language difficulties in the first body paragraph. He focuses on food as a source of adaptation problems in the sec ond body paragraph. In the third body paragraph, he focuses on weather. He supports each paragraph with examples and details he gathered during his interactions with his partner as they were collaboratively working together and filling out their own graphic organizers with the information he gathered by asking questions to his partner. His essay is slightly shorter in length with fewer words per sentence, but it is compreh ensive enough to communicate all the necessary points to communicate his notes on his partners challenges when he came to the United States for the first time. As can be seen in the above examples and explanations regarding the semiotic analysis of students interactions and essays, during the collaborative graphic organizer task, students used various complex vocabulary and sentence structures. Both their interaction and their essays informed us on the nature of nature of language that ELLs use when communicating about their understandings and interpretations of the topic, graphic organizers, and the task. The students deeply explored the topics as well, and

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174 they achieved a high level of conceptual density during their discussions of the topics. Their graphic organizers and their essays reflected the depth of the topics through detailed explanations and examples. Participants Perspectives about the Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task The researcher analyzed the interview data gathered from the students for the purposes of understanding their perspectives on the collaborative graphic organizer task. After a thematic analysis of the interview data, the researcher was able to identify that the students responses centered around certain t hemes such as support with productive and receptive language skills, opportunities for vocabulary learning, support with sociocultural connections among the partners. Gees tools for analyzing discourse data also supported the researcher s data analysis process as the researcher was well informed about semiotic building, sociocultural building, and task building. The researcher formed a taxonomy based on the students perspective. Each participant made different comments regarding how s/he viewed the collaborative graphic organizer task. The following section describes each category with the subcategories along with quotations from students interviews. Support with L istening/ Speaking Skills Provides opportunities to ask ones partner to repeat words. During the collaborative graphic organizer task, the partners were able to ask one another to repeat the words or sentences when necessary. Ayumi in particular indicated that her listening comprehension skills were weak. Ayumi indicates, Hearing, yeah, I think my weak point is hearing, so I couldnt understand what did he say, what did she say, so I asked him to repeat. She greatly benefited from being able to ask her partner Dawud to give further explanation when necessary and even ask him to repeat what he said if she

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175 was not able to capture what he meant. These types of collaborative activities provide opportunities for English language learners with developing listening skills to be able to ask their partner to repeat words or sentences when necessary. Such students may not be able to ask questions during the class since they may not want to attract attention or they may not want to disturb the flow of conversations, and unfortunately they may miss out on important messages during classroom instruction. Provides opportunities to solicit partners help with vocabulary. During the collaborative graphic organizer task, the pairs were able to ask each other the meanings of new vocabulary items that their partners may use or any new vocabulary items they are not familiar with in general. Ayumi was pleased that she could ask her partner the meanings of some words she was not able to comprehend, if I dont know some words, I asked him and he described what this means. This task may have provided her with an op portunity to learn new vocabulary along with the information as to how the word is pronounced. Therefore, students like Ayumi may benefit from this task greatly for practicing their listening comprehension skills. Provides practice with speaking skills. Be cause of the ample opportunities for interaction, several participants in the study mentioned that the collaborative graphic organizer task gave them a chance to speak in English. The topic was based on their own culture, so they got a chance to talk about a familiar topic. Dawud mentions that the collaborative graphic organizer task helped him both to practice his English language skills and to find ideas to talk about Actually, it has helped me, yeah. I like talking, it gave me some ideas to talk about. Similarly, Ayumi also mentioned that the task required the partners to interact, It is very helpful because you need to speak a lot

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176 of times. Interaction was necessary for the partners to be able to complete the task successfully, and Ayumi may not hav e been able to obtain as much practice with her spoken English skills if the same task took place independently as opposed to collaboratively. Roberto also mentioned that speaking about culture allowed them to find multiple subtopics, and they were able to speak about these topics extensively, When we speak about our culture, we speak about a lot of topics, so it is good, we speak more, so it was good. Support for W riting Skills Working with a partner may reduce the time needed to complete the essay. Es say writing can be an overwhelming task for English Language Learners because of the thinking and planning process involved in writing an essay as well as the actual writing process. The collaborative graphic organizer task may help students prepare a well -thought plan collaboratively, so that they already have all the ideas necessary to be able to write an essay. For example, pairs can collaboratively come up with the subtopics as well as the main points and the examples. Individual configuration and planning of both the ideas and the writing of the essay may take a very long time, causing students feel overwhelmed about the task of essay writing n general. In this sense, collaborative graphic organizer task can prepare students for the individual writing p rocess and gradually help them become independent writers. As Hyun indicates, I think alone I will take a long time, longer than if I am someone with me, share me my idea, it saved time to write the essay. As can be gathered from Hyuns words, Hyun feels more comfortable preparing to write the essay together with his partner. We can see his positive experiences about essay writing in his words. We may infer that the collaborative graphic organizer task may motivate students to write an

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177 essay as it makes e ssay writing appear to be a less overwhelming task thanks to the initial collaborative planning of the content of the essay. Helps improve the organization of ideas in the essay. One of the problems of English language learners is the organization of ideas in an essay. Different cultures have different ways of writing. Not in every culture essays are organized in the way they are organized in English. The materials used in the collaborative graphic organizer task helped the pairs analyze the structure of es says together and collaboratively fill out graphic organizers that depicted the structure of sample reading materials before they started preparing to write their essays. Miguel commented, For me, it was very good because I have a problem to organize my i deas. I am like disorganized. I have a lot of ideas, but I dont know how to organize my ideas, and this one is very good for me, now I know how to organize my ideas. Dawuds words also echo Miguels comments, Actually it organized my ideas, actually it has helped me this graphic and this class yeah, with writing, before when I want to write paragraph, only paragraph, I found that difficult to write, because my ideas not organized, but with this graphic organized my mind. As can be seen in Dawuds comments, he used to have a difficult time even with writing a paragraph because the structure of a paragraph or an essay can remain mysterious for English language learners even after multiple examples as they may need more visual materials that clarify the tec hnique as opposed to verbal and abstract explanations. (See Appendix A and B for example student work graphic organizer as an output of the collaborative graphic organizer task prior to independent writing.) Improves their writing skills and make s writing an easier process. The collaborative graphic designer task is based on the study of the discourse structure of

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178 an essay in pairs, ending with an independent essay writing task. During the collaborative phase of the task, students get a lot of pra ctice in first exploring the structure of an essay and later filling out a graphic organizer that helps them prepare the structure of their essay that the will compose in the upcoming phase of the task. Once they understand how the essays are laid out, English language learners can gain more confidence and feel more comfortable when writing their essays. Students may have been able to benefit from the collaborative graphic organizer task in improving their academic writing skills and also they may have star ted viewing the task of writing an essay a less overwhelming task. As Roberto puts it, We can write good essays more easily, its well organized for college level, for academic writings. I think we are improving. As can be seen in Robertos words, Robert o thinks that he can write well organized essays with more ease and comfort since he is more familiar with the structure of an essay, and he can see the improvement in his essays. Miguel echoes Robertos words, For me, I like this task because it organize my thinking, it is stepby step, and I do much better in this kind of task about writing, I like this process, its more easy, make youre writing more easy. Roberto finds merit in this task due to the fact that the task presents a system that helps the student organize their essays better and helps them manage the task of writing essays more comfortably. (See Appendix G for example student essays following the collaborative graphic organizer task during independent writing.) Provides opportunity to plan before writing. During the collaborative graphic organizer task, students analyzed the structure of an essay depending on how it is laid out based on the specific knowledge structure in focus for that week, such as

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179 comparison-contrast and cause and effect As they were analyzing the essays collaboratively with their partners, they were referring to a complete essay and they were filling out a graphic organizer that showed the structure of this essay. The visual tool may have helped them see the structure o f the essay more clearly, and the act of analyzing the structure of the essay more critically through this visual tool with the help their partners may have helped them become more aware of the steps involved in writing a well organized essay. Furthermore, in the following phase of the task when they were brainstorming for ideas to write about, the graphic organizer was leading them to see the purpose of all these ideas and exactly where they are going to take place when they start writing their essays. In other words, the task provided them with intensive practice in preparing to write an essay, so that when students started the actual task of independent writing, all the pieces of information were available for them, and all they had to do was to form sent ences that would make up the body of the essay with an introductory paragraph, developmental paragraphs and a conclusion paragraph. As Ayumi indicates, It is very useful because brainstorm is very important before the writing, so it is important for plan ning. Dawud also mentions, Now I think in an organized way, so before I write an essay, I will think, not write, I will think only, I will plan, but before I just take my pencil and start writing, actually if I write an essay in the future, I am going to use the graphic organizer, plan the main ideas and the details. As can be seen in both Ayumis and Dawuds words, collaborative use of graphic organizers may prepare students to write well organized essays by emphasizing the initial planning phase and helping students transition into essay writing more comfortably with structurally intact essays that are successful endproducts of the whole

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180 process of collaborative work on graphic organizers. (See Appendix A for example student work for brainstorming idea s on the graphic organizer collaboratively before independent writing.) Support for R eading C omprehension Skills Facilitates the reading process by directs attention to main ideas and supporting ideas. After the collaborative analyses of the essays through the use of graphic organizers, students were able to see the structure of the essay more clearly. Being able to detect how the essay is laid out may help students comprehend reading materials better and become more aware of the internal structure of reading materials with more attention to how each paragraph and example function in the whole essay. Miguel comments how he benefited from the collaborative graphic organizer task, I think it is good because you can have a clean idea about the paper. Hyun also mentions, When we read some article, we can recognize the topic and the other parts more easier. As the participants indicate, they can transfer their knowledge of the structure of essays to other reading materials, and they can capture the general topic of a reading material as well as the sub topics more easily. As Dawud put it, I think organizer is kind of a technique, so you teach technique, how to read, how to find main idea, how to write things, I think very useful, so we are learning another language not our own language, so it is good, you teach technique and I can understand, oh this is main topic so what this article say to us so its very convenient. As can be seen in Dawuds words, the collaborative graphic organizer task teaches a technique that students can acquire during the task through collaborative practice, and they can extend this technique and use it in every situation where they are required to read materials and process information. The fact that they have to comprehend materials in English

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181 places more load on students due to the language barrier, but through this technique, reading comprehension may be easier for them as the language load may decrease. Helps locate the structure of the reading material. One of the goals of the preparation session in the collaborative graphic organizer task was to help the students see the structure of the reading material and be able to visualize the structure even after the task is over. This type of top -down approach can help students go from whole to the parts in reading comprehension as opposed to going from parts to the whole. In the absence of knowledge as to how the essay is structured, the students may rely on bits and pieces of information they can understand in the essay and may get los t when putting together all the pieces and fail to be able to reach a clear understanding the whole meaning of the essay. Especially the new vocabulary items and complicated sentence structures in a reading material can cause difficulty for students for perceiving the essay as a whole where each point and each example is there to support a bigger idea. Miguel also comments on the benefits of the graphic organizers in reading comprehension, You have a graphic organizer, you can see the topic and the other p arts, its helping for the people for reading, for organizing the idea what the paper is talking about, it is easier for reading because you can see the paper but it is more clear. Furthermore, collaborative analysis of reading materials with the help of graphic organizers can help students improve their reading comprehension skills by allowing them to acquire habits of seeing the main point and subpoints in any reading material. As Hyun indicates, H: I like pair graphic organizer because I could not rec ognize what is the topic or the main idea, I couldnt recognize that even in Korean, so it is hard for me, it was easy. Hyun appreciates the collaborative graphic organizer task for its

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182 collaborative nature, and he admits that he was not even able to reco gnize the structure of reading materials in his native language. This task may have helped him acquire a top down analysis skill in reading comprehension both in his native language and in English. Sociocultural R elations Provides opportunities for extended interactions between pairs. The collaborative graphic organizer task may be able to help partners interact with one another about different topics of their choice. As one of the participants in this study indicated, For me, its good, its not li ke a regular class, its more like relaxed, I talk with my partner about topics, I like it a lot. When each partner feels comfortable to share information with one another, which was mostly the case among pairs in this study, partners can ask in -depth questions to each other about a few topics or ask multiple questions about different topics. These types of activities where students can interact with their partners usually take place in Spoken English classes. However, in elementary and secondary school se ttings, English language learners may not have the opportunity to speak with their peers and practice their English language skills. The collaborative graphic organizer task can provide a purpose and time for focused yet flexible interactions where student s can practice their English language skills as well as well as fulfill the academic requirements of the course by completing the task based on the topics teachers assign them to talk about. Allows an exchange of indepth information about partners cultur al background and experiences. The collaborative graphic designer task was based on topics about partners cultural backgrounds for the purposes of allowing partners to find out more about each other by exploring different aspects of their cultural background.

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183 For instance, during the comparison-contrast graphic organizer portion, the partners were assigned to interview one and find out as much about the other persons culture as possible, so that they could write a complete essay comparing and contrasting the two cultures. Hyun indicates, When we speak about our culture, we speak about a lot of topics, so it is good. In his statement, Hyun seems to appreciate the fact that the task allows him and his partner to be able to speak about topics of their choic e as long as it is related with their cultural background. As Ayumi mentions, Culture is a big topic and there is a lot of stuff we can talk about. The researcher purposefully chose culture as the common theme in all the activities, because the partners were in a different country, interacting with people from different cultures, and they might have felt more motivated to share about their cultural background due to the fact that they are far away from home and they miss home. During all the interactions, the participants proudly talk about their own culture and are intrigued to find out about another culture and how people from different cultures have different styles and outlooks on the same topic. Fosters stronger connections and bonding between partner s. The collaborative graphic organizer task may have allowed people who would not otherwise interact with one another warm up to each other and become friends. The task prompts the partners to share a lot of information about each other. The topic of cultu re triggers conversations about eating preferences, customs, family, challenges experienced during their visit to the United States, etc. The task did work very well because the teacher assigned collaborative people with collaborative people, but not all p airs were matched based on this characteristic because not everybody in the classroom had a collaborative communication style. Surprisingly though, even those individuals who

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184 have a less collaborative communication style worked well possibly because they w ere asked to speak about topics that they are very familiar with about their own culture. In response to the question as to whether he had any prior experiences with graphic organizers, Dawud uttered Yeah, yeah, it was to do some exercise, just like this one, but this study had more than that, we do everything in this task, we are like friends, now I know everything about her and about her country. As can be seen in his response, when left on his own devices, Dawud and Ayumi may not have not have sat next to each other or interacted a lot because Dawud is from a culture where men and women are mostly segregated. However, Dawud and Ayumi were one of the most successful pairs who participated in the collaborative graphic organizer task with full attention, e nthusiasm, and energy. The teacher paired them based on their personal communication style, but if Dawuds cultural background was more pronounced than his personal communication style, the task may not have worked among the partners in this pair. Provides opportunities for reciprocal help and support regarding possible mistakes. The partners provided support for another during the collaborative graphic organizer task. The collaborative nature of the task may have prompted such support. The partners provided conceptual, linguistic, and strategic support for one another. They helped each other with the understanding of the topics they were discussing. For instance, if Partner A was having a difficult time following Partner Bs explanations, Partner B provided examples or clarified the wording by rephrasing his/her sentences. Also, the partners helped each other with the completion of the task by helping each other find new subtopics, asking one another questions for in-depth coverage of the

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185 sub-topics, and als o by keeping the conversations focused on the task through small reminder statements. As Akram expresses, Actually, when we work in pairs, its, you know, two minds better than one. You help your partner fix your mistakes and you fix her mistakes, and we share our idea, its very helpful. Akrams words indicate the benefits of the collaborative nature of the task for both language support and conceptual support for finding new topics to talk about. If the same task were done individually, students would n ot only be unable to get to practice the language, but they would not also be able to get exposed to different ideas, expressions, and sentences structures. When asked wh at he likes best about the collaborative graphic organizer task, Roberto also emphasized the importance of collaborative work as well as all the other aspects of the task as a whole, I dont have an exact part, because I think all is important, the graphic organizer and the group, you work with some body in this case, you need all the parts together for it to work better. Miguel also appreciated the collaborative nature of the task as he expressed the following words I think I like it in pairs because you can come up with very good ideas because two people thinking better than one. Having a better understanding of the students perspectives about the collaborative graphic organizer task helped the researcher view the study from the participants perspectiv e. The participants made comments about the task from different aspects. Akram emphasized the collaborative nature of the task with an emphasis on their writing skills while Ayumi focused more on how the task helped with her speaking and listening s kills. The general consensus was that the participants benefited from collaborating with each other during the task, and both the task and the independent

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186 writing portion of the task would have taken much longer time if they were working on their own. Sum mary of the Results The findings from the discourse analysis data indicate that the collaborative graphic organizer task provides students opportunities to engage in extended interactions with an opportunity for extensive language use. The data illuminated the sociocultural and linguistic nature of students interactions and how such increased language use was achieved. First of all, during the collaborative graphic organizer task, the partners provided different types of scaffolding to each other with linguistic and conceptual support as well as support for starting and continuing the activity. Furthermore, students conversations involved uses of different types of academic language functions. The frequency of functions depicted what type of interactional roles the participants assumed when engaging in conversations with each other during paired discussions. Also, participants Interactional roles helped us understand each participants interactional style. A close analysis of interactional styles informed us of the types of pairing that can be more conducive to interaction. Additionally, interactional roles such as topic expander and inquirer were of primary importance in increased interaction and language use as such roles extended the conversations, whi ch promoted further opportunities for language use. Interactional roles conducive to language use can shed further light on how to structure collaborative graphic organizers tasks for increased language use. According to the interview results, the partici pants found different benefits in the collaborative graphic organizer task in terms of their language development. In addition

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187 to several other outcomes of the collaborative graphic organizer task, participants expressed that the collaborative use of graph ic organizers helped them write well structured essays, and working with a partner on a graphic organizer as a brainstorming device helped them find better ideas to write in their essays. They also indicated that the collaborative graphic organizer task he lped them understand the structure of reading materials through collaborative analysis of knowledge structures. Still another comment was that the task provides opportunities for help and support regarding possible mistakes in their language. Finally, the findings also indicate that the interactions among the partners and their writing samples involved complex vocabulary and language structures. In other words, the participants were using academic discourse and discussing abstract topics such as cultural di fferences between different countries and challenges of moving into a new culture. When structured properly, collaborative graphic organizer task may allow extensive discussions on abstract concepts more common in academic discourse. The degree of depth ac hieved in each pairs conversations varied depending on the types of interactional roles they engage in, and this information can be useful in not only with the collaborative use of graphic organizers for increased language use opportunities but also for u nderstanding what type of factors can be involved when tasks do not achieve the expected degree of interaction among partners.

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188 Table 4 1. Hierarchical taxonomy of categories formed during data analysis Sociocultural Analysis Linguistic Analysis Sociocultural Identity Building Activity Building Semiotic Building CATEGORIES Types of scaffolding Linguistic Conceptual Strategic Academic language functions Interactional roles Interactional style Cooperative Argumentative Hesitant CATEGORIES Patterns of activity structure Forms of task accomplishment CATEGORIES Choice of content words Choice of linguistic structures Diversity in main topics and subtopics

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189 Table 4 2. Frequency of academic language functions in sample dialogues per each pair Pair 1 Pair 2 Pair 3 Academic Language Functions Ayumi Dawud Task 1* Ayumi Dawud Task 2* Hyun Miguel Task 1* Hyun Miguel Task 2* Roberto Akram Task 1* Roberto Akram Task 2* Total Giving further information 1 2 2 3 4 6 18 Asking for confirmation 1 3 1 3 3 2 13 Giving confirmation 1 5 2 0 3 1 12 Asking for information 3 2 1 1 1 1 9 Asking for further information 0 2 2 2 2 1 9 Giving information 1 0 1 2 3 1 8 Describing characteristics 1 1 3 2 1 0 8 Giving a reason 0 1 0 2 0 4 7 Giving clarification 0 0 1 2 2 1 6 Asking for clarification 0 0 1 2 0 1 4 Comparing/Contrasting 1 2 1 0 0 0 4 Presenting contrary evidence 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 Describing a process 0 2 0 0 1 0 3 Providing an example 0 1 0 0 0 2 3 Proposing an idea or plan 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 Emphasizing a point 1 0 0 1 1 0 3 Expressing quantity 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 Rejecting an idea or plan 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 Agreeing 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 Disagreeing 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 Conceding a point 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 Presenting opinions 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 Asking for reason 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 Predicting 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 Reporting others' words 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 Describing a location 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 Expressing frequency 0 0 0 0 1 0 1

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190 Table 4 2. Continued Pair 1 Pair 2 Pair 3 Academic Language Functions Ayumi Dawud Task 1* Ayumi Dawud Task 2* Hyun Miguel Task 1* Hyun Miguel Task 2* Roberto Akram Task 1* Roberto Akram Task 2* Total Asking for advice 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 Giving advice 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 Showing preference 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 C C: ComparisonContrast C E: Cause and Effect

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191 Table 4 3. Frequency of academic language functions in sample student dialogues per each participant Pair 1 Pair 2 Pair 3 Academic Language Functions Ayumi Total Dawud Total Hyun Total Miguel Total Roberto Total Akram Total Giving further information 1 2 4 1 2 8 Asking for confirmation 0 4 1 3 4 1 Giving confirmation 3 3 1 1 0 4 Asking for information 4 1 0 2 2 0 Asking for further information 1 1 0 4 2 1 Giving information 1 0 1 2 2 2 Describing characteristics 2 0 2 3 0 1 Giving a reason 1 0 2 0 2 2 Giving clarification 0 0 2 1 1 2 Asking for clarification 0 0 1 2 1 0 Comparing/Contrasting 2 1 0 1 0 0 Presenting contrary evidence 2 1 0 0 0 0 Describing a process 1 1 0 0 0 1 Providing an example 1 0 0 0 1 1 Proposing an idea or plan 0 1 0 0 1 1 Emphasizing a point 1 0 0 1 0 1 Expressing quantity 0 0 1 1 0 0 Rejecting an idea or plan 1 1 0 0 0 0 Agreeing 1 1 0 0 0 0 Disagreeing 1 1 0 0 0 0 Conceding a point 1 0 0 0 0 0 Presenting opinions 0 1 0 0 0 0 Asking for reason 1 0 0 0 0 0 Predicting 0 0 1 0 0 0 Reporting others words 0 0 0 1 0 0 Describing a location 0 0 0 1 0 0 Expressing frequency 0 0 0 1 0 0 Asking for advice 0 0 1 0 0 0 Giving advice 0 0 0 1 0 0 Showing preference 0 0 0 0 1 0

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192 Table 4 4. Academic language functions in the collaborative graphic organizer task ACADEMIC LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS Macrofunctions Microfunctions Informing Asking for information Giving information Asking for further information Giving further informatio Asking for a reason Giving n a reason Presenting contrary evidence Predicting Reporting others words Describing Describing a process Describing characteristics Describing a location Comparing/Contrasting Providing an example Expressing frequency Expressing quantity Clarifying Asking for clarification Giving clarification Asking for confirmation Giving confirmation Presenting Proposing an idea or plan Rejecting an idea or a plan Conceding a point Emphasizing a point Presenting an opinion Agreeing Disagreeing Asking for advice Giving advice Showing preference

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193 Table 4 5. Interactional roles during collaborative graphic organizer task INTERACTIONAL ROLES DURING COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASKS Roles for starting a task or a new topic Initiator Introducing a new topic, a new subtopic, or starting the task Topic switcher Changing the topic Proposer Introducing a topic for further conversation Roles for continuing a task or a new topic Inquirer Asking questions to further explore the topic Responder Answering questions without changing the topic Topic expander Expanding the topic by giving further information than what the partner has asked Reorienter Returning to the original topic after discussing a sidetopic Restater Repeating ones words f or emphasis or for better understanding Corrector Correcting the partners statements for grammar and content Confirmer Providing confirmation for questions from the partner Clarifier Rephrasing ones words for better understanding Opposer Disagre eing with statements and answers Interrupter Interrupting the partners conversations Roles for ending a task or a topic Finalizer Finishing the task or topic Bypasser Not acknowledging partners comments

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194 Table 4 6. Pair 1Ayumi and Dawud Task structure EXPLORATION OF TASK STRUCTURE THROUGH INTERACTIONAL ROLES AND ACADEMIC LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS Interactional Role Academic Language Function Language INITIATION TURN Initiator Asking for information, asking for confirmation (1) A: How do you get Arabic food? Arabic store is in Gainesville? CONTINUATION TURNS Topic expander Giving information, describing characteristic (2) D: In Tampa. There is one in Tampa. In Tampa, there is an Arab store, but I havent been there. Inquirer Asking for further information (3) A: But what do you get at the Arabic store? Responder Giving information (4) D: We buy rice. Inquirer Asking for confirmation (5) A: Rice? Confirmer Giving confirmation (6) D: Yeah. From Publix or from. Inquirer Asking for confirmation (7) A: But different yeah? Topic expander Giving further information, describing a process (8) D : But if you go to Indian Bazaar. Topic expander Giving further information (9) A: Indian Bazaar, yeah yeah, I know Indian Bazaar. Confirmer Giving confirmation, providing an example (10) D: Similar, in Indian Bazaar, there is rice, the kind of rice, not the best but the rice. Inquirer Asking for further information, asking for confirmation (11) A: A little bit different? Topic expander Giving information, describing characteristics (12) D: This kind of rice, we use it in Saudi Arabia. Inquirer Asking for clarification (13) A: Huh? Topic expander Giving information, describing characteristic, comparing/contrasting (14) D: This kind of rice in the bazaar, we use it in Saudi Arabia, and its OK. There is rice, and it is called Indian Gait. Indian Gait (.) the brown this rice. Inquirer Asking for further information (15) A: Similar? Topic expander Giving information (16) D: This one we have the same in Saudi Arabia. Inquirer Asking for confirmation (17) A: Same? (Laughing) FINALIZATION TURN Finalizer Giving information, showing preference (18) D: Yeah, but its not this one I like.

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195 Table 4 7. Pair 2Hyun and Miguel Task structure EXPLORATION OF TASK STRUCTURE THROUGH INTERACTIONAL ROLES AND ACADEMIC LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS Interactional Role Academic Language Function Language INITIATION TURN Initiator Asking for information (1) M: What religion are you from? CONTINUATION TURNS Inquirer Asking for clarification (2) H: What? Inquirer/Clarifier Asking for information, giving clarification (3) M: (.) What is your religion? Responder Giving information (4) H: No religion. Inquirer Asking for further information (5) M: How about your family? (.) Do they have a religion? Topic expander Giving further information, describing characteristics, comparing/contrasting (6) H: Yeah (.) my family have religions, but my fathers different (.) my fathers Buddhism and my mother is Catholic. Topic expander Giving confirmation, giving further information (7) M: Yeah, I am Catholic too. Topic expander Describing quantities, describing characteristics (8) H: OK, I am going to tell you, in Korea, the most religion that people believe is Catholic and Buddhist, [these two. Inquirer Asking for confirmation (9) M: Catholic and Buddhist?] Confirmer Giving confirmation (10) H: Yeah. FINALIZATION TURN Finalizer Giving information, describing, characteristics, comparing/contrasting, describing quantity (11) M: In my country, there are other religion, but the majority, the big religion in my country is Catholic, maybe you can find not too much people from other religion.

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196 Table 4 8. Pair 3Roberto and Akram Task structure EXPLORATION OF TASK STRUCTURE THROUGH INTERACTIONAL ROLES AND ACADEMIC LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS Interactional Role Academic Language Function Language INITIATION TURN Initiator Proposing an idea (1) R: Culture. What can we talk about? What can we talk about? Maybe (.) marriage. CONTINUATION TURNS Topic Expander Proposing an idea (2) A: Marriage (.) in our society (.) it is separate. Weddings are separate. Inquirer Asking for conformation (3) R: Wedding separate? Topic expander Giving confirmation, Giving further information (4) A: Yes (.) women alone, men alone. Inquirer Asking for further information (5) R: How are they separate? Topic expander Giving further information (6) A: There is a party for women (.) and there is a party for men. Inquirer, Topic switcher Asking for confirmation Proposing an idea (7) R: Oh really (.) no party together? Society (.) it is about schools and marriage. Reorienter Giving further information (8) A: Wedding, wedding separate (.) but just the groom come to the women party. Inquirer Asking for confirmation (9) R: Are they separated? Topic expander Giving confirmation, giving further information, Describing characteristics, giving an example (10) A: Yeah, just the groom come to take his wife (.) so he come with just his father or brother. They pick up his wife (.) and then Go home! Go home! Repharaser Giving further information (11) R: Wedding separate. Topic expander Giving confirmation (12) A: Yeah (.) separate. FINALIZATION TURN Finalizer Giving confirmation, giving information (13) R: Separate celebrations.

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197 Table 4 9. Sample student dialogue with example content words Ayumi and Dawud Content Words (1) D: We are going to write about your culture. (2) A: In Japan (.) religion is not important (.) it is not important. (3) D: Yeah, but you have Christians. (4) A: Yeah yeah, (.) but it is only one percent we have Christians [in Japan. (5) D: The majorit y Buddhist?] (6) A: Maybe (.) but we are not. We are not religious. I think Islam is very important for your country (.) but it is not very important in Japan. (1) D: Culture (2) A: Japan, religion, important (3) D: Christians (4) A: Percent, Christians, Japan (5) D: Majority, Buddhist (6) A: Religious, Islam, important, country, Japan

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198 Table 4 10. Sample student dialogue with example content words Hyun and Miguel Content Words (1) M: What religion are you from? (2) H: What? (3) M: (.) What is your religion? (4) H: No religion. (5) M: How about your family? (.) Do they have a religion? (6) H: Yeah my family have religions, but my fathers different (.) my fathers Buddhism and my mother is Catholic. (7) M: Yeah, I am Cat holic too. (8) H: OK, I am going to tell you, in Korea, the most religion that people believe is Catholic and Buddhist, [these two. (9) M: Catholic and Buddhist?] (10) H: Yeah. (11) M: In my country, there are other religion, but the majority, the big religion in my country is Catholic, maybe you can find not too much people from other religion. ( 1 ) M: Religion (3) M: Religion (4) H: Religion (5) M: Family, religion (6) H: family, religion, father, different, Buddhism, mother, Catholic (7) M: Catholic (8) H: tell, Korea, religion, people, believe, Catholic, Buddhist (9) M: Catholic, Buddhist (11) M: Country, religion, majority, Catholic, find, people

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199 Table 4 11. Sample student dialogue with example content words Akram and Roberto Content Words (1) R: Culture. What can we talk about? What can we talk about? Maybe (.) marriage. (2) A: Marriage (.) in our society (.) it is separate. Weddings are separate. (3) R: Wedding separate? (4) A: Yes (.) women alone, men alone. (5) R: How are they separate? (6) A: There is a party for women (.) and there is a party for men. (7) R: Oh really (.) no party together? Society (.) it is about schools [and marriage. (8) A: Wedding, wedding] separate (.) but just the groom come to the women party. (9) R: Are they separated? (10) A: Yeah, just the groom come to take his wife (.) so he come with just his father or brother. They pick up his wife (.) and then Go home! Go home! (11) R: Wedding separate. (12) A: Yeah (.) separate. (13) R: Separate celebrations. (1) R: Culture, marriage (2) A: Marriage, society, separate, wedding (3) R: Wedding, separate (4) A: Women, alone, men (5) R: Separate (6) A: Party, women, men (7) R: Party, together, society, schools, marriage (8) A: Wedding, separate, groom, women, party (9) R: Separated (10) A: Groom, come, take, wife, father, brother, pick up, go, home (11) R: Wedding, separate (12) A: Separate (13) R: Separate, celebrations

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200 Table 4 12. Ayumi from Pair 1 Written language sample Written Language Sample Pair 1 Ayumi Content words CHALLENGES OF LIVING IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY FOR THE FIRST TIME Different country has different culture to own country. So it is difficult that foreign come to the U.S. and foreigners have to follow the U.S. culture, habit, and rule. Dawud also had some uncomfortable thing when he came here. He is from Saudi Arabia, so they have different language, transportation, religion, and foods. He has to follow the U.S. culture until he leaves the U.S. Now he lives in the U.S. for about three months, so his feeling is better than he came here soon. The car is the main transportation in Saudi Arabia. In Gainesville, however, the car and the bus are the main transportation. When he came here soon, he didnt have a car. So, his feeling was bad becau se he had to take the bus and had to wait for the bus. The car is very convenient because he doesnt need to wait for the bus. And then he sometimes rented the car. He felt bad hat he didnt have a car, so he decided to but a car. But, now the U.S. econom ic is bad, so when he bought a car, his dealer was mean. His dealer went up the car price, because he is foreigner and he is rich. And then he gave up his favorite car and he bought a cheap car. He couldnt discount the car price. It is difficult that fin d the Arabic foods. There arent many Arabic in Gainesville, so he couldnt find Arabic foods. Now, he get Arabic foods in Indian market, because Indian foods and Arabic foods are similar, and Indian market has some Arabic foods. It is difficult that fore igner accept own country culture and habit in the other country. But now, in the world is progressing the diversity, so we who are Japanese and Saudi can enjoy our life style that are own country life style in the other country. When we came here soon, we couldnt accept our life style because we didnt know anything. We spent more than one month in Gainesville, so we can accept our life style here. It is difficult that our lifestyle accept own country life style, but we can make our country life style in t he other county. PARAGRAPH 1: Different, culture, country, difficult, foreign, come, foreigners, follow, habit, rule, uncomfortable, come, Saudi Arabia, language, transportation, religion, food, leave, month, feeling, soon PARAGRAPH 2: car, main, transportation, come, feeling, bad, take, bus, wait, convenient, need, rent PARAGRAPH 3: Feel, bad, buy, car, economy, bad, buy, dealer, mean, go up, price, foreigner, rich, give up, cheap, discount PARAGRAPH 4: Difficult, find, Arabic, food, Gainesville get, Indian, market, similar PARAGRAPH 5: Difficult, foreigner, accept, country, culture, habit, world, progress, diversity, Japanese, Saudi, enjoy, life, style, Soon, accept, know, spend, month, accept, difficult, county

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201 Table 4 13. Dawud from Pair 1Written language sample Written Language Sample Pair 1 Dawud Content words MY PARTNERS CULTURE AND MY CULTURE This world is rich of various culture. There are differences in culture between east and west. Each country has own culture. In fact, I have a friend from Japan and we talked about our culture. Are they similar or not. We talked about our culture in three major: food, clothes, and marriage. Our first debate is food in our countries. Rice is important, it is common in both country. In Saudi Arabia we have rice only on lunch. However, they have rice in Japan in every meal, even in breakfast. Food in Saudi Arabia based on rice with meat or chicken is called Kabsa. There are also Jeresh, Margog and Gorson. And Saudis do not eat pork or dri nk alcohol. Japan, on the other hand, has a variety of dishes. They use rice almost with every meal. And they have sushi the most popular dish, also they have domburi and wasabi. In addition, Japanese can eat pork and drink alcohol. We also have different clothes. In Saudi Aabia, men wear thoub with shomagh. But women wear black cloth it called Abayah. Its just for outdoor. However, in Japan, they have kimono. It is very formal and it is worn by men and women. Finally, marriage in both countries is diffe rent. In Saudi Arabia, there is no specific age to get married. Also, Saudis can get married from any of their relatives except their families. In addition, men can get married of more than one women. Otherwise, in Japan, there are specific age to get marr ied. Guys suppose to be above 18 years old and girl above 16 yars old. Also, in Japan people related by blood cannot get married. In the end, there are big differences between Saudi Arabia and Japan. Our cultures are different, food, clothes and marriage. I believe that difference make our live enjoyable. PARAGRAPH 1: World, rich, various, culture, difference, east, west, country, friend, Japan, talk, similar, major, food, cloth, marriage PARAGRAPH 2: debate, food, country, rice, important, common, Saudi Arabia, lunch, Japan, meal, breakfast, meat, chicken, Kabsa, Jeresh, Margog, Gorson, eat, pork, drink, alcohol, variety, dish, sushi, domburi, wasabi PARAGRAPH 3: Different, clothe, Saudi Arabia, men, wear, thoub, shomagh, women, black, abayah, outdoor, Japan, kimono, formal PARAGRAPH 4: marriage, different, Saudi Arabia, specific, age, get, married, relatives, familiy, above, related, blood PARAGRAPH 5: Big, difference, Saudi Arabia, Japan, culture, different, food, clothe, marriage, believe, make, enjoyable

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202 Table 4 14. Hyun from Pair 2Written language sample Written Language Sample Pair 2 Hyun Content words CULTURAL DIFFERENCES Even though I and my partner Miguel are studying in same place, eating same food, wearing same clothes and enjoying same thing, there are many differences in cultural background between Korea and Venezuela. First, our religions differ in main belief in each country. Majority of Korean usually believe in Christian, Catholic, and Buddhism. Of course, our origin religion is Buddhism, but as time passes on, the rate of people who believe in God has been increased. And usually Christians go to church, Catholic go to Cathedral and Buddhists go to the temple to pray. On the other hadn, almost every Venezuelan believe in Catholic and they usually go to church for praying. And also their religion is Catholic. But Catholic usually go to church to pray differently from Catholic in Korea. Therefore, Korean believe in more kinds of religion than Venzuelan. Secon d difference is the main food. In Korean, we usually cook rice every meal. Rice is our traditional food and various kinds of dishes are served with rice such as meat, fish, kimchi, etc. However, Venezuelans main food is Arepa, which is made of corn. When they eat arepa, they cut it in half and put various sorts of food such as pork, beef, and vegetable in between each cut. As a result, we are same when adding many kinds of food when eating, but our main food is totally different. Third, the place of celebr ation is different. Korean usually hold a celebration inside like wedding in wedding hall, concert in concert hall and birthday party in karaoke. But in Venezuela, they hold concert, wedding, and every kinds of party at the beach. In conclusion, we are doing many common things as a human, however, there are a lot of differences in cultural background between Korea and Venezuela such as religion, main food and place of celebration. If we accept each cultural difference, it is going to be helpful for devel opment of each culture. And as the culture develops, we can create various kinds of advanced culture. PARAGRAPH 1: partner, same, study, place, eat, food, wear, clothe, enjoy, difference, cultural, background, Korea, Venezuela PARAGRAPH 2: religion, differ, main, belief, country, majority, Korean, believe, Christian, Catholic, Buddhism, origin religion, pass, rate, people, God, increase, usually, go, church, cathedral, temple, pray, almost, differently, kind PARAGRAPH 3: Difference, main, food, Korean, usually, cook, rice, meal, traditional, various, kind, dish, serve, meat, fish, kimchi, Venezuelan, arepa, make, corn, eat, cut, half, put, various, pork, beef, vegetable, add, totally PARAGRAPH 4: Place, celebration, different, Korean, usually, hold, wedding, hall, concert, birthday, party, karaoke, Venezuela, beach PARAGRAPH 5: do, common, thing, human, difference, cultural, background, Korea, Venezuela, religion, main, food, place, celebration, accept, helpful, development, develop, create, various, kind, advanced

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203 Table 4 15. Miguel from Pair 2Written language sample Written Language Sample Pair 2 Miguel Content words WHEN MY PARTNER CAME TO U.S. The difficult things for a Korean guy in the United States. Living outside your country is not easy. For my partner, it was difficult too, he had problems for his English, the American food, also, with the weather. Everybody know how difficult it is the first contact with others language. My partners had the same problems when he came to the United States, he could not speak and understand when somebody talked or spoke with him. The communication problems make you feel lonely in others country. Others problems for my partner was the food. The Asian food, its very different. As a result he had food problems, he gain weight. He said the serving are very biggest than Korea. Also, the Florida weather is very hot for him. As you know, were in summer now. The summer in Florida is very hot and humidity more than Korea. For any partner learn English was difficult, but learn and living outside your country, its always difficult PARAGRAPH 1: Difficult, Korean, guy, United States, live, outside, country, easy, partner PARAGRAPH 2: Everybody, know, difficult, first, contact, language, partner, have, problem, United States, speak, understand, talk, speak, communication, problem, make, feel, lonely, country PARAGRAPH 3: Other, problem, partner, food, Asian, different, result, problem, gain, weight, serve, big, Korea PARAGRAPH 4: Florida, weather, hot, know, summer, Florida, humidity, Korea PARAGRAPH 5: Partner, learn, English, difficult, learn, live, outside, country, always, difficult

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204 Table 4 16. Akram from Pair 3Written language sample Written Language Sample Akram Content words LIVING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE Studing overseas could be hard sometimes. Its a new challenge for everyone who venture this step. Some people can endure all the defaculties that occurs. While others cannot. Its usually depend how much intention and time per son has to live away from everything he knows and used to do regelurly. One of those is Michael. He is now study in the United State. There had some problems that he encountred while studying in the US, the food, communication with other native speakers an d being away from his family and friends. Usually food is a major problem that persons have to deal with while living in a foreign country, especially if it comes to men, because men usually dont know how to cook for example, Michael. He has to cook by h imself while doesnt cook very well. Its a timeconsuming, he spend a lot of time cooking and cleaning after it and that is taken from his study time. Maybe the hardest thing anyone could encounter is communication with other native speakers. Using diffe rent language to speak and listen sometime is hard especially when doing important things like asking for information, things that deal with money, housing and immigration regelations. Sometime Michael cant express his feeling well or what he wants. He gets frustrated when they (native speakers) dont understand him. Its really tough but as a result, he is learning by the time goes by. Being away from family and friends is always the biggest challenge anyone may have to deal with. Missing your beloved on ce and your backlade could be difficult. Therefore, a person has to learn how to depend on himself, which is a good thing. In Michaels case, he misses hanging out with family and friends. As a consequence, he has to meet with new people and friends. In conclusion, living outside of your comfort zone is something that everybody have to experience it. Dispite its defecalties, but is comes back to the person with great benefits, as a result of his hard life. PARAGRAPH 1: Study, overseas, hard, new, challenge, venture, step, people, endure, difficulties, occur, usually, depend, intention, live, know, be used to, regularly, problems, encounter, food, communication, native, speakers, family, friends PARAGRAPH 2: Usually, food, major, problem, pers on, deal with, live, foreign, country, especially, men, know, cook, timeconsuming, spend, clean, study, time PARAGRAPH 3: Maybe, hard, encounter, communication, native, speakers, use, different, language, speak, listen, especially, important, ask, inform ation, deal, money, housing, immigration, regulation, express, feeling, want, frustrated, understand, tough, learn PARAGRAPH 4: Away, family, friend, big, challenge, deal, miss, beloved, background, person, learn, depend, good, hang out, consequence, meet new, people PARAGRAPH 5: Live, comfort, zone, experience, despite, difficulty, come back, great, benefits, result, hard

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205 Table 4 17. Roberto from Pair 3Written language sample Written Language Sample Roberto Content words CHALLENGES OF LIVING IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY Going abroad to study, work, and to live can be hard sometimes at begin or during the first month, but as a result of be strong and keeping in the new country can be successful and get a new and better life. In the case of my partner he has to get used to somethings like to cook, get used to transportation and get used to the weather. He doesnt know how to cook, as a consequence of that, he has to buy fast food or eat only eggs at home. The second thing is he doesnt have a car, consequently, he depend on the bus to go any where and the bus schedule is not good at all. He has to wait for long period to go out at night and weekend. The third thing is the weather, he is get used to the hot weather, but in Gainesville, very cold sometimes, and it is hard for him to go out, because in his country there is only one season all year, hot. My partner wants to study at UF, but first he is getting used to three important things and then finally he can be very happy and glad of to be in Gain esville. PARAGRAPH 1: Go, abroad, study, work, live, hard, begin, month, result, strong, keep, new, country, successful, get, new, better, life, case, partner, have, get, use, cook, transportation, weather PARAGRAPH 2: Know, cook, consequence, have, buy, fast, food, eat, eggs, home PARAGRAPH 3: Thing, have, car, depend on, bus, schedule, good, wait, for, long, period, go, night, weekend PARAGRAPH 4: Weather, get, used to, hot, weather, Gainesville, very, cold, sometimes, hard, go, country, season, year PARAGRAPH 5: Partner, want, study, get, used to, important, happy, glad, be Gainesville

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206 Table 4 18. Length of students conversations PAIR 1: AYUMI AND DAWUD PAIR 2: HYUN AND MIGUEL PAIR 3: ROBERTO AND AKRAM 1) A: Marriage. (2) D: What (.) marriage? (3) A: Yeah, it is one guy one girl, but in your country it is one guy and [its many women. (4) D: Yeah one guy.] What? I didnt understand you (.) what did you want to ask me? (5) A: In your country one guy have many wives. (6) D: The law allow to have. (7) A: And the law so you can marry many? (8) D: You can marry four (.) just four. 9) A: But most people are like that? (10) D: But if he is able to give every woman the same (.) if he able to. If he is able to offer life for woman (.) the same h ouse the same everything (.) if he is able to do that, he can get married (.) if he doesnt able, he cant get married (.) just one. (11) A: It is the law decide the age also? [Until eighty? (12) D: No until whatever.] If you are age one hundred years ol d (.) you can get married, no problem. (13) A: It is the same in my country also. (14) D: So what we have to talk about (.) who pay money for wedding? (15) A: Wedding? (16) D: How can they get married? This is very important. (17) A: Just go to Law office (.) and paper and write down and then marry. Of course some people have wedding party (.) but some people just marry without wedding party. Everyone have wedding party? (18) D: Most of them. (19) A: We dont have religion, so some people have wedding part y (.) but they are not Christian. (20) D: But I mean if they have wedding party (.) who will pay? Who is going to pay? Both? (21) A: Yeah yeah yeah both, parents, [some people by themselves. (22) D: Because] in my country the groom (.) the man pay for ev erything and pay for wedding everything (.) thats why I am asking you. I think we have to change this because it is difficult. (23) A: Easy. (24) D: Yeah, easy for you but difficult for me. (1) M: What religion are you from? (2) H: What? (3) M: (.) What is your religion? (4) H: No religion. (5) M: How about your family? (.) Do they have a religion? (6) H: Yeah (.) my family have religions (.) but my fathers different (.) my fathers Buddhism and my mother is Catholic. (7) M: Yeah (.) I am Cat holic too. ( 8) H: OK, I am going to tell you (.) in Korea (.) the most religion that people believe is Catholi c and Buddhist, [these two. (9) M: Catholic and Buddhist?] (10) H: Yeah. (11) M: In my country (.) there are other religion, but the majority, th e big religion in my country is Catholic (.) maybe you can find not too much people from other religion. (1) R: Culture. What can we talk about? What can we talk about? Maybe (.) marriage. (2) A: Marriage (.) in our society (.) it is separate. Weddings ar e separate. (3) R: Wedding separate? (4) A: Yes (.) women alone, men alone. (5) R: How are they separate? (6) A: There is a party for women (.) and there is a party for men. (7) R: Oh really (.) no party together? Society (.) it is about schools and marriage. (8) A: Wedding, wedding separate (.) but just the groom come to the women party. (9) R: Are they separated? (10) A: Yeah, just the groom come to take his wife (.) so he come with just his father or brother. They pick up his wife (.) and then Go home! Go home! (11) R: Wedding separate. (12) A: Yeah (.) separate. (13) R: Separate celebrations.

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207 PAIR 1 AYUMI AND DAWUD PAIR 2 HYUN AND MIGUEL PAIR 3 ROBERTO AND AKRAM MAIN TOPIC: CULTURE SUBTOPIC: MARRIAGE JAPAN LEVELS SAUDI ARABIA Monogamy LEVEL 1 Style of marriage Polygamy After 16 LEVEL 2 Age No age limit Optional LEVEL 3 Wedding Ceremon y Almost always Parents or bride and groom together LEVEL 4 Who pays for wedding expenses Always groom MAIN TOPIC: CULTURE SUBTOPIC: RELIGION KOREA LEVELS VENEZUELA Majority Catholic and Buddhist LEVEL 1 Types of religion Majority Catholic Father Buddhist Mother Catholic LEVEL 2 Parents religion Catholic parents MAIN TOPIC: CULTURE SUBTOPIC: MARRIAGE COLOMBIA LEVELS SAUDI ARABIA Together LEVEL 1 Wedding Ceremony Separate Figure 41. Conceptual depth of subtopics in students conversations

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208 F igure 42. Sample graphic organizers Comparison/Contrast Figure 43. Sample graphic organizers Cause and Effect

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209 Table 4 19. Sample student writing Comparison/Contrast ESSAY TITLE: CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN SAUDI ARABIA AND JAPAN This world is rich of various culture. There are differences in culture between east and west. Each country has own culture. In fact, I have a friend from Japan and we talked about our culture. Are they similar or not. We talked about our culture in three major: food, clothes, and marriage. Our first debate is food in our countries. Rice is important, i t is common in both country. In Saudi Arabia we have rice only on lunch. However, they have rice in Japan in every meal, even in breakfast. Food in Saudi Arabia based on rice with meat or chicken is called Kabsa. There are also Jeresh, Margog and Gorson. A nd Saudis do not eat pork or drink alcohol. Japan, on the other hadn, has a variety of dishes. They use rice almost with every meal. And they have sushi the most popular dish, also they have domburi and wasabi. In addition, Japanese can eat pork and drink alcohol. We also have different clothes. In Saudi Aabia, men wear thoub with shomagh. But women wear black cloth it called Abayah. Its just for outdoor. However, in Japan, they have kimono. It is very formal and it is worn by men and women. Finally, mar riage in both countries is different. In Saudi Arabia, there is no specific age to get married. Also, Saudis can get married from any of their relatives except their families. In addition, men can get married of more than one women. Otherwise, in Japan, th ere are specific age to get married. Guys suppose to be above 18 years old and girl above 16 years old. Also, in Japan people related by blood cannot get married. In the end, there are big differences between Saudi Arabia and Japan. Our cultures are diffe rent, food, clothes and marriage. I believe that difference make our live enjoyable. Table 4 20. Sample student writing Cause and Effect ESSAY TITLE: WHEN MY PARTNER CAME TO U.S. The difficult things for a Korean guy in the United States. Living outside your country is not easy. For my partner, it was difficult too, he had problems for his English, the American food, also, with the weather. Everybody know how difficult it is the first contact with others language. My partners had the same problem s when he came to the United States, he could not speak and understand when somebody talked or spoke with him. The communication problems make you feel lonely in others country. Others problems for my partner was the food. The Asian food, its very differ ent. As a result he had food problems, he gain weight. He said the serving are very biggest than Korea. Also, the Florida weather is very hot for him. As you know, were in summer now. The summer in Florida is very hot and humidity more than Korea. For any partner learn English was difficult, but learn and living outside your country, its always difficult.

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210 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION OF RESULT S The development of a cademic language is critical for ELL s success at school, and instructional activities such as the collaborative graphic organizer task that promote opportunities for academic language use should be analyzed. This study examines ELLs academic language use from the perspective of sociocultural theory as they participate in a collaborative graphic organizer task. It also examines students perspectives on the task. Three pairs of adult E LL s from different cultural and l inguistic backgrounds participated in conversational exchanges in a collaborative graphic organizer task. The study focuses on the types of linguistic, conceptual, and strategic support these students provided for one another and on the sociocultural nature of the academic language used during the ir interactions. In this study, the researcher analyzed the structure of the graphic organizer task as a social event and identified the linguistic functions and student roles during the task. The researcher aimed to understand the collaborative nature of the graphic organizer task as a potential instructional tool that may facilitate language scaffolding. The researcher examined the discourse data gathered from students interactions during the collaborative graphic organizer task to understand how the E LLs used academic language to complete the task. The researcher analyzed the data based on semiotic, sociocultural, and task structure aspects of academic discourse with a focus on the macro and micro level tools, such as students social roles and interactional motives during the task as well as the grammatical structure, indicators of content density and transitional discourse markers (Gee, 2005).

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211 Sociocultural Aspects of Students Interactions The researcher explored the sociocultural nature of dialogic interactions as the task was construc ted by each pair Gees (2005) sociocultural and activity aspect s of discourse (p. 85) helped illuminate the opportunities generated by the task that are conducive to language use and that potentially support language development According to the findings of this study, each pair constructed a different sociocultural context in wh ich they engaged in the collaborative graphic organizer task in different ways. In stead of following the task instructions verbatim learners established their own strategies for conducting the task and engaged in the task activity in varying ways (Platt & Brooks, 2002). Partners transform ed the task as well as the social organization of the ir interactions as they continuously re negotiated their relationship after each turn (Wells, 1999). For instance, one pa ir discussed few er topics at greater length while the other two pairs discussed multiple topics without delving deeply into any of them In Pair 1, Ay u mi, who often assumed the role of Inquirer was able to explore topics in depth with Dawud who was willing to carry out the role s of Responder and Topic Expander In Pair 3, Akram often assumed the role of Inquirer but Roberto was a quiet student who did not readily a ssume the Topic Expander role, so that pairs discussion of topics typically remained at a surface level. In Pair 2, neither Miguel nor Hyun took on the role of I nquirer so that pair frequently switched topic s and failed to explore topics sufficiently to complete the fi n al writing task with specific information on the designated topic s Successful Communication Patterns and Collaboration Student discourse and observational data from this study revealed that student participation in the collaborative graphic organizer task was influenced by individual roles and interactional styles. According to the results of a study by Watanabe and

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212 Swain (2007), collaborative patterns of interaction increased students test scores. Similarly, the researcher found that the pairs with collaborative interactional styles were able to achieve extended language use for both themselves and their partners in compa rison to those pairs with less collaborative interactional styles. Sociocultural theorists in second language studies have argued that not all group work is conducive for language use (Platt & Brooks, 2002). The collaborative graphic organizer task in this study provided opportunities for extended language use. In an effort to identify how such increased language use may be achieved in other collaborative tasks with graphic organizers, the researcher suggests that teachers pay attention to students interac tional styles when pairing their students. Although students roles and communication styles are constructed in the context of their social interactions, students personality differences and background experiences also contribute. However, generalizations based on a students ethnicity or cultural membership can be misleading when applied to an individual student. For example, because Saudi Arabia is a male -dominated society, Saudi men might be expected to assume a dominant conversational role. However, Dawud did not lead the conversations with his partner Ayumi, a young Japanese woman. In fact, Ayumi was the Topic Shifter, leading throughout the task with questions in spite of the fact that her spoken English proficiency was much lower than Dawuds. If she had allowed her English language skills t o diminish her communicative confidence, or if shed had a less collaborative attitude or a different interactional style, Dawud may have dominated the task. Instead, Ayumi directed the discussion and used a questioning strategy to limit Dawuds tendency t o extend his turns with additional information. In this study as in Watanabe (2008) and

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213 in Storch (2002), the interaction patterns formed among partners had an important effect on successful peer assistance in the collaborative task. Collaborative dialo gue provides opportunities for English language learners to use language and collaborative tasks at school can help E LLs improve their academic language skills (Gibbons, 2002 ; Gibbons 2009 ). The s ociocultural nature of communication allows students to better understand each other through questions, clarifications, and counter questions as they construct and share meanings together (Markee, 2004). However, collaborative tasks vary in terms of their success in achieving increased language use (Platt & Brooks, 2002). According to the findings from this study, the structur e of the task and the openendedness of the conversational topics allowed continuous interaction and mutual construction of new meanings as each partner explored aspects of a new culture. W hen both partners assumed the role s of Inquirer Responder Topic Expander the conversations consisted of multiple exchanges and smooth transitions I n the follow -up interview, Dawud indicated that thanks to this task, he had learned much about his partner and his partners cultural background. There may be a possible connection between partners bonding and task engagement and recommends further research on pair bonding as a construct in task engagement According to Platt & Brooks (2002), task engagement is an important factor in achieving successful learning outcomes when designing collaborative tasks for second language learners. Analysis of the student discourse d uring participation in the collaborative graphic organizer task, supported by the researchers field notes from observations of students conversations revealed that although the three student pairs collaborated at varying

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214 degrees and in different ways the graphic organizer succes sfully served as a tool to encourage communication. For instance, when the topic focused on differences between their cultural experiences each partner was required to interview the other to find out about these differences. Similarly, when the topic centered on difficulties students experienced when living in a new culture for the first time, pairs had to interview each other in order to fill out the (cause effect) graphic organizer on this topic, Research by Veronis and Gass (2002) found that students from similar cultural backgrounds interact ed more in the second language than students from different backgrounds presumably because of their shared background. Contrary to th at finding evidence from t he current study indicates that t he information gap between partners likely contributed to the successful continuous interaction between pa rtners. In addition, the discussion topic s may have been a factor in the high level of task engagement. Because the s tudents were conceptually familiar with the main topics, they were able to ask relevant questions and provide specific examples and explanations in response to their partners questions. ELLs may be particular ly sensitive to the effects of topic familiarity on their ability to label new concepts and elaborate on experiences in a second language. According to other research on interaction and collaboration in language learning (Brooks, 2009; Clark & Clark, 2008; Platt & Brooks 2002), not all collaborative tasks produce opportunities for interaction. The collaborative graphic organizer task s used in this study were designed to require that pairs interview each other in order to complete the final (writing) stage of the task s As a result, the se task s meet Kagans ( 1992) two essential criteria for true cooperative learning activities: positive interdependence and

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215 individual accountability. Cooperative activities intended to increase student interaction may not succeed unless each participant is required to contribute to a shared outcome. Structuring students active participation in collaborative activities is especially important for ELLs because many ELLs prefer to remain passive and silent in groups due in part to their limited communication skills in the second language. Although this collaborative task was uniformly structured for all three pairs the partners shaped each task in their own ways and took on their own roles in the unique sociocultural setting s that each p air co-constructed. As a result, each task assumed a new form depending on how the student partners interacted and made the task their own. From a semiotic and sociocultural perspective, students appeared to create a new culture within the macroculture of the classroom, and the sociocultural features of the new environment were reflected in their interactions. E ach pair differed in the ways they initiated and continued the task, and each partner used different language and assumed different roles during their interactions. Although collaborative task design is important, the structure of a task may not guarantee its success because of the diversity in learners reconstruct ions of the activity and based on their own unique ways of relating to each other Teachers need to consider the sociocultural context s that group members create during classroom tasks and incorporate this awareness into their planning (Brooks, 2009; Clark & Clark, 2008; Platt & Brooks, 2006 ; Zuengler & Miller, 2006 ). For example, two non -collaborative partners may be unable to engage successfully in a task. S i milarly, a hesitant partner may not work well with an argumentative partner who disagrees with or rejects their suggestions. There fore, pairing students who have a non-collaborative or hesitant

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216 interactional style with students who are more collaborative may support their task participation and interaction. In addition, hesitant students may be scaffolded into collaborative work by a partner who has a more collaborative interactional style. Scaffolding Opportunities and Types of Scaffolding A number of researchers have argued that both first and second language acquisition occurs through dialogue where the learners acquire the necessary knowledge through interaction and collaborative meaning making (Donato, 1994, Foster & Ohta, 2005; Vygotsky 1978). In this study, ELL student dialogue produced in the context of a collaborative graphic organizer task was explored from a sociocultural perspective Scaffolding opportunities in the task were explored through the activity aspect with a focus on how partners may be helping each other in terms of continuing the task and a discourse analysis applied macro level tools such as interactional roles and instances of linguistic, conceptual, and strategic scaffolding The collaborative gr aphic organizer task was designed to help ELLs transition from collaborative verbal language production through spoken English to independent language production through academic writing. In the dialogues between partners, instances of scaffolding with potential for language development were observed, although the benefits of such language scaffolding were not formally assessed within the short duration of the study. In a study by Brooks (2009), qualitative analysis of students conversations indicate that when students were conversing with each other in a collaborative dialogue format of testing, they produced more interaction and more complex language than in testing in which students could only interact with the examiners. Similarly, interactions between paired partners are full of examples of

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217 academic vocabulary and concepts with intricate language structures as ELLs interact in academic English According to Gibbons (2002, 2009 ), interacting in English through academic tasks gives students an opportunity to use the English language for academic purposes. Similarly, during the collaborative graphic organizer task, students were able to use the English language and sc affold each other collectively in different aspects for linguistic support, conceptual support, and strategic support. For example, they asked each other questions and provided further information about the topics. As they were interacting, they responded to each others language use with implicit forms of feedback related with language, possibly indicating their awareness of their partners language use. They also shared their experiences using explanations and examples, which helped extend their knowledge about one anothers cultural background, which extended the amount of their interactions and helped them carry out the task through different strategies by initiating, maintaining, and completing the task with necessary amount of information to be able to write an essay. According to the results of a study by Watanabe (2008), the interaction patterns that language learners constructed collaboratively during problem solving tasks were more influential in their second language development than their pairing with higher or lower English proficiency peers. In the current study, ELLs with roughly the same levels of English proficiency provided scaffolding opportunities for each other. As with Watanabes (2008) findings, students interactional styles enabled their linguistic, conceptual, and activity support for other students and were key to their extended interactions in the collaborative graphic organizer task.

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218 Linguistic Scaffolding In her earlier work, Ohta (2 001) noted that ELLs have different strengths and weaknesses, and such differences exist even among learners at the same general level of English proficiency. Therefore, pairing students with different levels of English ability (e.g., high and low proficiency ) will not guarantee that language support will be provided by more proficient students to their less proficient peer s Unlike native speak ers of English who draw upon a common base of lexical and syntactic resources in English, ELLs vary in terms of their vocabulary knowledge and grammatical competence in English. For instance, due to different experiences and levels of exposure to specific vocabulary a highly proficient ELL may not know certain words t hat another student with a lower level of English proficiency does know A student who excel s in writing in English may not be able to perform as well in speaking, while another student who speaks English fluently in social contexts may fail to apply this ability in more formal writing tasks. The findings of this study indicate that in collaborative activities ELLs draw on their unique repertoires of linguistic resources to provi de scaffolding for each other. According to Foster and Ohta (2005), if ELLs are able to communicate successfully with each other and if their int eractions take place in a supportive environment, learners will not focus on linguistic form. The researcher s field notes based on observations of task interactions as well as samples of student discourse reveal that although participants did not focus explicitly on language forms, they did seem to be a ware of t he language forms used by their partners and they did provide them with scaffolding in the form of indirect feedback

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219 Scaffolding opportunities provide partners with feedback on their English language use and can help ELLs develop academic English skills (Donato, 1994; Foster & Ohta, 2005; Gibbons, 2009; Watanabe & Swain, 2008) For example, after Ayumi use d the word automatical Dawud used the correct form of the word in recasting his partners sentence as a confirmation check Also, when Ayumi used the verb phrase to across the street Dawud indirectly corrected Ayumis error by using the correct form of the verb to cross the street In these and other instances in which Dawud assumed the roles of Clarifier and Inquirer he provided lexical and structural scaffolding for his partner During their participation in the collaborative graphic organizer task, all three pairs provided scaf folding in the form of indirect feedback on the formal and functional features of their partners language production and task performance. Conceptual Scaffolding Pair members in the study gave each other help in extending their understanding of concepts that they discussed during the task. Such attempts of furthering partners understanding of concepts may indicate that collaborative work among English language learners may provide opportunities not only for interaction but also for comprehension (Ech e varria et al. 2004; Foster & Ohta, 2005; Gibbons, 2009; Platt & Brooks, 2002; Watanabe & Swain, 2007). When Ayumi attempted to change the topic abruptl y Dawud insisted on continu ing the ir discussion of the same topic possibly to clear up his partners confusion and reinforce h er understanding of the concepts he had been explaining Dawud pursued this goal through the Clarifier role, rephrasing Ayumis statements and prompting her to ask further questions about the subtopic. In a number of similar instances, students were able to provide conceptual scaffolding for one another with the

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220 apparent goal of improving their partner s understanding of a specific point or an example. Strategic S caffolding Pairs also supported one another in completing the task through the different interactional roles assumed by students. Task engagement is an important factor in successful collaborative work with increased language use opportunities (Platt & Brooks, 2002; Watanabe & Swain, 2007), and participants in this study kept each other engaged and f ocused on the task through different strategies of their own. For instance, when one partner veered off topic, the other pointed out t hat they needed to remain focused on the topic to complete the task Partners asked each other for further information about the subtopics which extended the opportunities for collaborative dialogue. Partners in each pair covered a variety of different sub topics by asking each other different questions to be able to have enough information to write about their partner. According to Kowal and Swain (1994), ELL student pairs with large differences in their English language proficiency levels resulted in decreased levels of collaboration. Kowal and Swain observed that in such pairs, stronger students dominated the task while weaker students remained passive, reportedly due to their concern about making errors in English. In t his study, participants use of their own strategies kept the partners focused on the task, and they were able to help each other use the English language extensively. Students with less collaborative style were mostly in i tiated into conversing more with the help of a more collaborative partner. For example, Hyun although he had a less collaborative interactional style, did not remain quiet because Miguel kept asking him questions in order to be able to retrieve all the information that he needs from Hyun to be able to write his essay. Therefore, Miguels role as Inquirer was also a strategic

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221 asset for successful completion of the task and the partners were able to meet the fundamental goal of the task: increasing interaction and language use among Englis h language learners. Linguistic Complexity of Interactions Students choice of vocabulary and sentence structures during the task shed light on the nature of language that E LLs use in order to communicate about the topic, the graphic organizer, and the task. According to the interaction data from the study, the students fully explored the topics within the limited amount of time allocated to complete the task. T hey used familiar discourse connectors such as because, so, but and t he y performed a variety of academic language functions expressed in multiple linguistic f orms for each. Academic language functions play an important role in students academic language development (Chamot & OMalley, 2002), and students must acquire and control the structural complexity and lexical specificity of academic language ( Cummins, 2007; Meyer, 2000). As Echevarria et al. (2004) mention, E LLs may only able to achieve this level of lingu istic development by participating in the language of school. Th is study showed that t he collaborative graphic organizer activity has a strong potential to provide opportunities for E LLs to use academic language with their peers as part of the conversations that take place when they are completing the activity. Furthermore, similar to the findings in the study by Ohta and Foster (2005), the nature of the task allowed student s to engage in dialogues and provide one another with implicit linguistic support when necessary The content empha sis of the task may have given them more opportunities to focus on meaning rather than on task structure in which students get immediate feedback on errors that interfere with communication

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222 (Lee, 2008). In the interaction data t he students used a large array of academic vocabulary at vary ing levels of lexical complexity a s well as both simple and complex sentence structures with different types of logical discourse connectors. The ir conversations typically lack ed the types of filler expressions that native speakers of English use, such as kind of, sort of, I mean, you know Rather, the nature of the conversations were academic and task oriented, centering around the goal of completing the graphic organizer collaboratively in order to complete the independent written essay, which was the final step of the task and in this step, the teacher asked students to write an essay about a topic that was thematically related to the text they had read in the textbook prior to the collaborative graphic organizer task Students Perspectives on Graphic Organizers and Collaborative Graphic Organizer Task According to the student interview data, the collaborative graphic organizer task may have the potential to assist language learners in improving their English language skills Thematic categories were generated by coding the transcripts of students responses to interview questions, and these categories helped the researcher explore students per spectives on the collaborative graphic organizer task Through the interview questions, students were prompted to think metacognitively about the collaborative graphic organizer task as a language learning strategy T he students agreed that both working with the graphic organizers and working collaboratively helped them with their second language learning. They found the topics interesting because they were exploring each others cultural background when improving their academic language skills. However, because the course was a reading/writing class, the students focused on the benefits of the graphic organ izers and of collaboration for their writing and reading

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223 skills. In line with other studies o n the use of graphic organizers for language teaching (Tang, 1992) and content learning ( Novak & Govin, 1984; Olinghouse & Graham, 2009; Ostwald, 1996; Roth & Roychoudhury, 1994; Ryve, 2004; van Boxtel van der Linden, Roelofs, & Erkens, 2002) the interviews results indicated that students held positive views of the value of the collaborative graphic organizer task T he teachers perspectives were not explored formally but the teacher commented in informal conversations during the study that the students who participated in this study were able to move more quickly from paragraph writing to essay writing than the students in pr evious semesters. She explained that students were typically able to understand the structure of a paragraph, but they found it much more difficult to apply the same knowledge in writing an essay She commented that the graphic organizers provided a visual tool for students to see the conceptual layout of an essay and helped them understand how ideas could be developed into paragraphs and paragraphs into a full -bodied essay.

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224 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION AND EDUCATIONAL IMPL ICATIONS This study explored the interactions among English language learners who were participating in a collaborative graphic organizer task. The collaborative graphic organizer task created opportunities for language use and different types of scaffolding. The i nteractions between partners during the task involved multiple language functions, which helped the researcher identify the types of scaffolding opportunities, interactional roles, and interactional styles. During the collaborative graphic organizer task, partners did comprehension checks to see if their partner was able to understand the topic. Partner were able to seek clarification or further explore topics by asking specific questions that they may not have been able to ask during other forms of collaborative classroom tasks or whole -class discussion. This study may help teachers of ELLs as well as second language researchers design collaborative tasks with graphic organizers as instructional tools that can be used for facilitating language use. Information G ap in C ollaborative A ctivities A key feature of the collaborative graphic organizer task was paired interaction in order to exchange personal information. The task was designed to create opportunities for conversation in English as partners interviewed each other B oth students needed to ask each other questions in order to be able to gather sufficient information to complete the independent as signment to write an essay. For educators to use collaborative graphic organizer tasks successfully in other contexts it may be necessary to design collaborative activities involving graphic organizers in such a way that students find the topics interesti ng and learn about them as they complete the task. In the current study, such collaborative conversations may not have occurred if there had not been an

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225 information gap between partners because information gap activities tend to allow more opportunities for increased language use and participation (Platt & Brooks, 2002; Walz, 2008) Collaborative tasks as with cooperative learning activities, may no t be truly collaborative if they fail to require participation from all members of the group (Kagan, 1992). Therefore, integrating i nformation gap features with collaborative task s can generate both the opportunity and the motivation for learners to communicate to learn and to use their developing language skills simultaneously (Platt & Brooks, 2002; Walz, 2008). Focus on M eaning Analysis of the task interaction data revealed that students frequently paraphrase d their partners and their own statements and questions in their attempts to communicate They clarified meaning by providing further examples, alternative explanations, and more detailed descriptions There was however, very little evidence that they focused on the form and accuracy of their language and t here were no instances of talk about their language use (Leese, 2004) as in the following example by Swain and Lapkin ( 2002, p. 292): Gou: [. .] diminish, deplete like decreased? But not decreased. Jun: Reduced? Gou: Reduced, yes. [. .] The data did reflect occasional attempts to correct errors implicit ly by paraphrasing and modeling the correct form of a word or grammatical structure, but these attempts did not interfere with the flow of the conversations. According to Foster and Ohta (2005), a possible reason for the absence of explicit correction may be the partners ability to understand each other in spite of their errors or because they

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226 preferred to avoid discouraging detours from the subject of the interaction (p. 425). The collaborative graphic organizer task did not require students to pay attention to the accuracy of language forms. Similar to the results in Ohtas study the paired partners in this study communicated with each other in the target language by sharing meanings and continuing their conversations with minimum communication breakdowns and maximum language production. Focus on L anguage U se According to the interaction data collected during the collaborative graphic organizer task students use d a broad range of academic language functions. They did not however, use the types of common colloquial expressions such as Exactly! Absolutely!, Not necessarily. or filler s that native English speaker s typically use when performing these language functions such as Kind of, you know what I mean, well Furthermore, the data revealed that students did not use a wide range of discourse markers reflecting the knowledge structures targeted by the graphic organizer task (i.e. cause/effect, comparison/contrast) For instance, they used because as opposed to therefore or they used but instead of on the other hand Teachers can use collaborative graphic organizer tasks as alternative assessment tools in order to de termine what aspects of English students need to improve in order to participate in academic discussions and debates and complete the writ ten work required in school Teachers can also use collaborative graphic organizer activit ies to individualize instruction for ELLs and provide the structured opportun i ties that students need to develop the complex academic language of school (Cazden, 2001; Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004; Meyer 2000)

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227 Stress F ree Classroom E nvironment T he classroom in which t his task took place was a low -stress environment where the students were motivated by the instruction and were not expected to speak English perfectly or to monitor each others errors. In order to provide a stress -free language learning environment in whi ch students can interact and use English, teachers should design instructional activities that focus on meaningful language use and that deemphasize error correction. The l ack of explicit focus on accuracy should not be interpreted as a lack of opportunit y for language development. Foster and Ohta (2005) list the following task components that promote second language development: a desire to express oneself, a supportive listener, and a friendly, low -risk environment in which to monitor ones own output. St udents can also provide their peers with implicit language support, and teachers can paraphrase student language forms and model correct language use in the context of conversations Students may not initially atten d to language modeling ; however, a positive learning environment that provides rich exposure to comprehensible but authentic language, instructional task s that structure authentic language use, and scaffolded language support over time can help ELLs develop academic langu a ge skills in En glish. Open Ended T asks and T opics In the collaborative graphic organizer task in this study, students were held accountable for completing a specific, prescribed task, but they had the opportunity to shape the task and the topics according to their interests and needs Allowing students to select topics that are relevant to them and to co -construct task s in the ir own way s can create extended opportunities for learner engagement, interaction and learning (Brooks, 2009; Coughlin & Doug, 1996; Gibbons, 2002 ).

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228 Analyzing the structure of the collaborative graphic organizer task can help us understand how each pair participated in the task in their own style that they coconstructed during the task. According to the results from a task based second language acquisition study by Platt and Brooks (2002), in spite of the given explicit instructi ons, the way language learners restructured the communicative task differed among groups. The instructions do provide a certain plan to follow to be able to accomplish the endgoals of the task, but similar to the results of the study by Platt and Brooks, the structure of each task was different in each pair. The partners were not given a list of roles they needed to play out, and the structure of the task is in close connection with the structure of the task. For instance, the person who is the initiator o f the task is usually the person who also takes over the role of asking questions or topic expanders. Topic expanders usually suggest a topic in the form of a statement, and inquirers usually pose a question to get the task started. Also, pairs have differ ent ways of continuing the task, such as raising questions, presenting ideas, giving examples, and at time presenting contrary examples or disagreeing with the partner, etc. As sociocultural theory explains (Donato, 1994; Zuengler & Miller, 2006), language learning is an interactive process where individuals interact to share meanings together, and each language event is shaped by the members who gather together to participate in that event to be able to communicate messages. Looking at how each pair applie s the task can help us understand how the pairs interpret the task in their own way and make it their own. I nteractional R oles and Styles Interaction among students is facilitated if collaborative tasks are designed so that all members of the group assume active roles (Kagan, 199 2 ). Roles for student

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229 participation may be predetermined and assigned to individual learners in systematic ways for specific purposes as with the reading strategy roles used in Reciprocal Teaching groups (Palincsar & Brown, 1984). Interactional roles for discussion tasks are more variable and can be more flexible, as with the roles assumed by students participating in paired or group di s cussions Interactional roles can be used for instructional purposes or for research purposes (Bloome, et al. 2005; Kagan, 1992; Platt & Brooks, 2002; Storch, 2002) In this study the construct of interactional roles has been used as an analytic tool to help understand ELL discourse in successful collaborative activities such as the graphic organizer task Results of this research reveal an important function of the I nquirer role in extending a discussion topic By asking multiple questions the Inquirer permits the discussion to cover a variety of topics in some de pth. The T opic expander is another important role because the T opic expander provides detailed information about a topic, typically when prompted by questions Topic switcher is also an important role that can help a task reach its instructional purpose and a Clarifier is especially important for language learning tasks The C larifier may paraphrase or provid e additional examples t o scaffold a partners understanding. Understanding the interactional roles that ELLs assume in a collaborative task can help us understand their interactional styles which then can help us form groups accordingly for providing better opportunities for language use. Also, teachers can struct ure the task and try to diversify the types of interactional roles frequently assumed by students. Through such opportunities, students who always take over the role of Inquirer may also develop their language use in how to give extensive information and better elaborate on their answers.

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230 Interactional roles helped the researcher identify students interactional styles. For example, if a student assumes the role of Topic expander and gives additional information to support or elaborate on his answers he h as a collaborative style of communication, and he can be paired with a person who has an argumentative style of communication who asks questions and even brings up controversial issues for discussion. However, if the person has a hesitant style of communic ation, s/he may not feel comfortable when interacting with a person who has argumentative style, and s/he may prefer to remain mostly quiet in a collaborative task Additionally, two students with hesitant styles may not result in increased language use, w hereas pairing a student who has a hesitant style with another student who has a collaborative style may be more productive in terms of facilitating interaction in English. Interactional styles are not strict categories, and they were not formed to label and define each student within a rigid category. Students may adopt different interactional styles at different stages of their participation in the second language culture and community Being informed of our students most common instructional styles can give us a chance to understand students patterns of communication. Understanding students preferred i nteractional styles and pairing students accordingly can support language use during collaborative graphic organizer tasks and in other types of instructional tasks (Donato, 1994; Platt & Brooks, 2002; Storch, 2002, Watanabe & Swain, 2007). This study merely suggests that teachers need to be aware of their students interactional styles in order to provid e better opportunities for productive langua ge use with English language learners.

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231 Suggestions For Further Study This study was conducted in a post secondary language school where teachers focused on language teaching (as opposed to a content curriculum) For a more thorough understanding of how the collaborative use of graphic organizers can help with students academic language development, the same study could be replicated in different content area classrooms. For instance, a study in a secondary school setting where ELLs regularly engage in c ollaborative graphic organizer activities could help us to better understand how context students engage in the task and what type of contexts a ffects opportunities for academic language use. Additionally, a study focusing on teachers perspectives on the collaborative use of graphic organizers could inform our understanding of the task in terms of its potential benefit for academic language development for ELLs Academic language is an important skill that can be difficult for both native and non-native speakers of English to achieve. Academic language use can be more difficult for English language learners due to the differences between formal and informal language patterns (Butler & Bailey, 2002; Cummins, 2007; Gibbons, 2009) For instance, English language learners from different language backgrounds often experience difficulty in understanding and replicating the structure of an essay in English. Graphic organizers may make this process much easier for English language learners by visually depicting the structure s of different genres for students before they begin writing essays During the collaborative graphic organizer task, students participated in learning activities in which they cooperatively constructed meanings, instructional roles, and social relationships. Students scaffolded each others language skills with a possibility of

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232 adopting correct language forms and improving their language skills ( Donato, 1994; Gibbons, 2009; Vygotsky, 1978; Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976). They supported each others participation by providing further explanations, asking questions, and presenting opinions. Such communication strategies are considered attempts of scaffolding although the potential benefits we re not easily observable in a short time frame. The consequences of such scaffolding attempts are beyond the scope of this study. However f uture research that explores the quantitative achievement results of a collaborative graphic organizer task implemented over a longer period of time and with a larger student population would help provide a different perspective on the effects of such instruction. Collaborative graphic organizer task may allow new learning opportunities for pre -service teachers. Another study can be conducted with pre-service teachers in which they can either apply or participate in the collaborative graphic organizer tasks with ELLs. Such a study can explore the collaborative graphic organizer task with a focus on understanding pre-service teachers knowledge on ELLs second language use and alternative assessment tools such as the collaborative graphic organizer task, for measuring ELLs second language skills This study focused on students collaborative construction of the task and their negotiation of meaning. In another study, students c ould be asked to design their own graphic organizers collaboratively ( in pairs ) using a variety of knowledge structures In this way, students can create their own graphic organizers in meaningful forms. This type of creative co-construction may increase students engagement with the task and provide further opportunities for engaging in academic conversations The l anguage

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233 use d during the collaborative task s a nd the graphic organizers themselves can shed light into students understanding s of knowledge structures and into the language learning opportunities inherent in this task.

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234 APPENDIX A SAMPLE STUDENT GRAPH IC ORGANIZER I

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235 APPENDIX B SAMPLE STUDENT GRAPH IC ORGANIZER II

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236 APPENDIX C COLLABORATIVE GRAPHI C ORGANIZER TASK WOR KSHEETS COMPARISON/CONTRAST Partner A Name: Partner B Name: COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK I COMPARISON CONTRAST STEP I: READING COMPREHENSION Instructions: 1 Read the essay below and underline vocabulary items you are not familiar with. 2 Check your dictionary or/and ask your teacher to clarify the meaning of the new vocabulary. THE WEATHER IN CHICAGO AND MIAMI* People usually have very strong opinions about what constitutes good weather, and one persons idea of good weather may easily be another persons weather nightmare In fact my cousin and I recently had a discussion about whether his hometown, Chicago, or my hometown, Miami, has better weather. Our discussion centered on three differences between the weather in our two hometowns. Our first point of discussion was the number of seasons. Chicago is located in the Midwestern part of the United States. It is also much farther north than Miami is. Chicago has four seasons: summer, fall, winter, and spring. These four seasons are clearly marked by distinct weather changes. Miami, on the other hand, is in the southeastern corner of the United States. Because it is much farther south, near the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Miami is much warmer. Miami has two seasons: A very mild winter and a long summer. We also considered the worst temperatures in both cities. The worst weather in Chicago occurs in wint er. On average, the high temperature only reaches around 32 degrees and the low in each night goes down to about 20 degrees. In addition, frequent high winds drive the perceived temperature down even more. This combination of cold and wind, called the w ind chill factor, can make life almost unbearable in Chicago during the Winter months. The problem in Miami is not the cold but rather the heat. In the summer, the temperature reaches 95 degrees in the daytime and drops only to 75 or so at night. Combin ed with a constant humidity of 90 percent or more, the temperature actually feels significantly warmer. Finally, our two hometowns have different kinds of bad weather. Chicagoans biggest weather fear is a blizzard Blizzard can occur frequently during t he frigid winter months. When a blizzard hits the city, it can dump up to five or six feet of snow in

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237 certain areas. The cold and snow paralyze the city, making it impossible for people to go to school or work. While blizzards affect Chicago, the bigges t weather problem for people in Miami is a hurricane Hurricanes are possible from May through November. While hurricanes occur less frequently than blizzards, they can cause much more damage. For instance, Hurricane Andrew destroyed large parts of the city of Miami in 1992. In the end my cousin and I learned that each of our climates has its unique characteristics. Chicagoans have to live with extreme cold and frequent blizzards that can upset their daily routines Conversely, Miami enjoys warm temp eratures while having to deal with the threat of hurricanes. Deciding which is city has better weather proved to be more difficult than we anticipated My cousin does not like hot weather, and I cant stand cold. Thus, we believe that the definition of perfect weather depends largely in each persons preference. Constitutes: Equals, makes up Nightmare: a bad dream In fact: really, truly, for example Centered on: focused on Farther: more distant (far farther the farthest) Distinct: clearly different Mild: not very hot and not very cold Perceived: Felt by the senses Unbearable: cannot bear, cannot stand Drops: goes down Humidity: water in the air Significantly: much, considerably Blizzard: A severe winter storm marked by very strong winds and heavy snowfall Dump: drop, usually in a pile Up to: as much, as high as Paralyze: Cause to be unable to move Hurricane: A severe tropical storm marked by very strong winds and heavy rainfall While: although, though (shows contrast) For instance: for example Destroyed: Completely ruined In the end: the final result Upset: bother, force out of the usual position Daily routine: what we do every day Deal with: handle, cope with Threat: a danger, a potential problem Anticipated: believed possible, expected Stand: Tolerate, put up with Largely: Mostly Adapted from From great paragraphs to great essays by Folse, Solomon, and Clabeaux.

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239 Partner A Name: Partner B Name: COLLABORATIVE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TASK II COMPARISON CONTRAST STEP I: READING COMPREHENSION Instructions: 3 Read the essay below and underline vocabulary items you are not familiar with. 4 Check your dictionary or/and ask your teacher to clarify the meanin g of the new vocabulary. THEORIES OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION* The preceding (following) description has identified some of the clear properties of child language and caregiver speech during the acquisition (learning) process. The discussion enables (helps) us to list some of the phenomena that an adequate theory of language acquisition must account for (explain). Children are not good conscious (aware) imitators of grammar or phonology. Children create original linguistic (language) forms that are not pres ent in their linguistic environment (the place where they learn a language). Childrens utterances (sayings) are rule governed (based on rules). Childrens speech grows in phonological (related with sound) and grammatical complexity until it matches the spe ech of their community. Caregivers generally do not correct phonological and grammatical errors in childrens developing English. Caregivers respond positively to childrens attempts to communicate even though the utterances are often linguistically incorr ect. For the purpose of this introduction to early child language acquisition, we will distinguish two theories that seek to account for language acquisition. The first of these is the behaviorist theory, often referred to as the imitation reinforcement t heory, or I R theory. It claims that children imitate what they hear; when they say something that is correct, they receive a reward from the caregiver (e.g., they are understood and perhaps praised (rewarded), and the caregiver may do what they want). B y reinforcing (encouraging) the connection in the childs mind between the utterance and the situation for which it was appropriate, the reward increases the likelihood (possibility) that the child will use this correct example of language again. Similarly, when children make a linguistic error, according to the theory, they receive a correction from their caregivers. This makes it more likely that the child will use the correct form in future utterances.

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240 It seems clear that imitation and reinforce ment are factors in language acquisition. Imitation explains why children brought up in an English speaking environment learn English as their native language, why Japanese children acquire Japanese, and so on. Reinforcement also plays a role, but probab ly a different one than behaviorist researchers once thought. If caregivers signal that they do not understand an utterance, for example, studies have established that children will attempt to change that utterance. There are, however, a number of major f laws (weaknesses, errors) in the I R theory, shortcomings that are serious enough to invalidate (cancel) its claim to be an adequate account of how a native language is acquired. First, many examples of early child language, including data presented in th e preceding sections, show that children are not good imitators. They are, on the other hand, wonderful creators of original language forms, forms they could have never heard in their linguistic environment. An insistence on imitation as the major acquis ition strategy makes the theory incapable of accounting for this obvious property of child language. A second problem for the theory is the fact that the creativity, or originality, evident in child language is not random (by chance). In fact, as we estab lished earlier, it is systematic and rule governed. However, there is nothing in the imitation reinforcement theory that can account for this rule governed creativity. Third, empirical research (scientific research with experiments, etc.) has not confirme d the assumption that reinforcement plays the central role in language acquisition that behaviorist theories claim. From observing child caregiver interaction, it is clear that caregivers rarely attempt to correct childrens pronunciation and grammar. Wh en such corrections do occur, as in the spoon conversation cited (mentioned) earlier, children appear unable or reluctant to repeat the model they are given. The I R theory, because it relies heavily on reinforcement, also has a problem accounting for the fact that childrens grammar and phonology continue to develop. The example of the caregiver replying to the thirsty child shows that caregivers understand childrens English and react positively to it even though it is far from perfect. According to the theory, successful outcomes like these provide positive reinforcement, which should cause children to stop trying to perfect their pronunciation and grammar. In actual practice, however, the halt (stop) in linguistic development predicted by the I R theo ry does not occur. Instead, children continue developing their language and, as they do, their English increasingly resembles (be similar) the English of their environment. A more recent theory offers a very different approach to language acquisition. Th e creative construction theory, or CC theory, focuses on the central and crucial (important) role of the child in the language acquisition process. It argues that humans are born with an innate capacity (born with a talent) for language in their environme nt. The innateness hypothesis, as it is called, explains why language, under normal circumstances, emerges at more or less the same time in all children. It also explains why all children, apparently with no special effort, attain (gain) a uniformly high level of ability in the spoken language of their environment during the first five years, in spite of a wide range of living conditions and intellectual abilities. Neither of these aspects of child language acquisition is addressed by the I R theory. Because of the innateness hypothesis, the CC theory can argue that children themselves make a massive contribution to the language acquisition process. Their innate capacity for language acquisition first enables them unconsciously to look for patterns in the language they hear. Then it enables them, again unconsciously, to formulate rules (put together rules), which they apply to the production of utterances. Finally it permits them gradually to add complexity

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241 to these rules so that they increasingly re semble the rules of the adult speech in their environment. By arguing that children use this innate ability to acquire language, CC theory can account for much of the data left unexplained by the I R theory. It explains childrens creativity i.e., their use of forms they have never heard in mature English. It explains the rule governed nature of childrens language, which is revealed, for example, in the errors of overgeneralization (making general conclusions for every case) we have already seen name ly, the use of the s and d endings for irregular plurals and for the past tense of irregular verbs. It is also consistent with the fact that children continue to develop their language in spite of frequent feedback (correction, response) from caregivers that their imperfect English has been understood. The CC theory, therefore, is generally a much more complete account of language acquisition than the I R theory. However, there are many crucial (important) questions still to be answered before a fully a dequate theory of language acquisition can be developed. Some of the questions focus on the childs contribution to the acquisition process. For example, what does the innate capacity of the human mind to learn language consist of? To what extent (to wh at degree, level) is it an ability that is designed exclusively (totally) to process language data? Other questions focus on the contribution of the environment. For example, are there any normal caregiver behaviors that can help or hinder (prevent, make it difficult) language acquisition? At present, language acquisition researchers are offering sometimes conflicting (not matching or not agreeing), answers to such questions. At the same time, as more research is conducted all over the world, evidence is accumulating (collecting) that the language produced by children during the acquisition process contains a great deal of individual variation. To what extent does such variation reflect differences in childrens acquisition processes? These and other un answered questions make it clear that much of the process of first language acquisition remains to be unexplained. Adapted from Making connections: A strategic approach to academic writing by Pakenham.

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245 STEP III. WRITING YOUR ESSAY Instructions: Finish your essay and bring it to class on the due date.

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246 COLLABORATIVE GRAPHI C ORGANIZER TASK WOR KSHEETS CAUSE AND EFFECT STEP I: READING COMPREHENSION Instructions: 5 Read the essay below and underline vocabulary items you are not familiar with. 6 Check your dictionary or/and ask your teacher to clarify the meaning of the new vocabulary. CLINICAL DEPRESSION* How many times have you heard the phrase I am feeling depress ed today? People tend to use the term depression to refer to the normal ups and downs of daily life. In reality, depression is a serious illness. A clinically depressed person is in a constant state of sadness because of three main factors: genetics, s ubstance abuse (drug/alcohol misuse), or environment. Perhaps the most common cause of depression is genetics. People who are born with low levels of serotonin and dopamine (a chemical in the brain that controls happiness) in their brains cannot experience pleasure in the same way that balanced people can. As a result, these people do not experience from normal happy events. They require extreme circumstances (situations) to experience the same level of happiness that a balanced person would experience from a lesser event. For example, a clinically depressed person might derive (get) less satisfaction from earning an A for a course than a balanced person would experience from earning an A for an individual assignment Another cause of depression is alcohol or drug abuse. When drugs enter the bloodstream (the blood in your body), they alter the brains normal chemical balance. Afterward, people who use these chemical substances (drugs, alcohol, etc.) may experience short term or long term depression due to inadequate (not enough) levels of these chemicals. As a case in point (for example) an alcoholic can develop depression because of the constant altering of the levels of

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247 dopamine in his/her brain. Similarly, whe n a person uses cocaine, he or she experiences an intense, short term high followed by an equally intense, short term low. Finally, environmental factors can trigger (start, cause) clinical depression. Failed relationships, such as a divorce or a fal ling out (serious argument) between family members, can leave a person in a state of depression in which the person is unable to handle himself or herself. Traumatic events, such as death of a family member or the witnessing of a murder, are environmental factors that can send a person into depression. Likewise, an abusive childhood often leads to bouts (serious bouts) of clinical depression as an adult. Depression can be caused by factors such as genetics, substance abuse, or environment (surroundings) Regardless of its cause, depression is a serious illness that afflicts (bother) millions of people throughout the world. Fortunately, it can be treated through various forms of counseling (therapy) and/or modification, but for this to happen, it is esse ntial that one be able to recognize the symptoms. Adapted from From great paragraphs to great essays by Folse, Solomon, and Clabeaux.

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249 Partner A Name: Partner B Name: CAUSE AND EFFECT STEP I: READING COMPREHENSION Instructions: 1 Read the essay below and underline vocabulary items you are not familiar with. 2 Check your dictionary or/and ask your teacher to clarify the meaning of the new vocabulary. CHALLENGES OF DIVERSITY* It would be a mistake to assume that cultural diversity is problem free. The truth is that immigration, as well as being of long term benefit to U.S. society, has the potential to create its own immediate problems or to worsen existing ones. Immigration raises complex issues that must be considered and brings r eal challenges that must be addressed. One of these issues is how to avoid the unintended (unplanned) consequences of admitting skilled and unskilled workers from overseas in order to satisfy the immediate demands of the countrys economy. The United States has large numbers of people living in poverty because they are poorly educated, sometimes illitera te (unable to read and write) and without marketable skills. Resentment (anger) among members of this group, sometimes called underclass, will increase as they watch immigrants achieve what they cannot success and acceptance into mainstream society. T his despair (hopelessness) and resentment can only hurt the nation. A second problem results from the tendency of immigrants to settle disproportionately (every where without any particular plan or order) in a few areas of the United States. As a consequ ence of this tendency, the cost of providing services to immigrants falls

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250 disproportionately on a limited number of communities. To cover the costs of providing the additional services, the local or state government in one or both of two ways: raise taxes and/or reduce the level of the services enjoyed by the community. Either response has the potential to create a negative reaction against immigrants. By 202, for example, citizens in three states had voted to end state and local funding for bilingual education, which serves mostly the children of first generation immigrants. A third problem is that the number of illegal immigrants into the United States has been growing since the late 1970s. By 2000, according to government estimates (guesses) there w ere 6 million illegal immigrants in the country and the number was increasing by 275,000 per year. The publicity given to illegal (against the law) immigration affects American p erceptions (opinion) of immigration. In a poll conducted in 2001, 53 percent of those responding mistakenly believed that most people entering the United States did so illegally. Such a belief must inevitably (certainly) affect public attitudes toward legal immigrants. What these three problems have in common is their obvious p otential to produce, in the nativeborn population, hostility (anger) and resentment toward immigrants. In the past, such feelings have led to violence between nativeborn and foreign born groups, especially in places where immigrant numbers were high an d during times of economic hardship (difficulty). Violence between nativeborn Americans and immigrants, for example, broke out in New York City in the 1850s after a rapid increase in the Irish population of the city. Such reactions could occur again if we do nothing to address the circumstances that produce them. Adapted from Making connections: A strategic approach to academic writing by Pakenham.

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253 STEP II. TEXT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS AND OUTLINING

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254 STEP III. WRITING YOUR ESSAY Instructions: Finish your essay and bring it to class on the due date.

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255 APPENDIX D TRANSCRIPT SYMBOLS Symbol Meaning Example (.) Pause A: I think that (.) it's possible End of an incomplete statement B: No, I haven't um [ ] Words/phrases spoken at the same time A: Finding a place to stay was very difficult because [I didnt have a car. B: I thought] somebody helped you. [ --] Illegible A: I was counting [ --] [?] Transcribers uncertainty of the transcribed word B: Where's Joshua [Joshua?] {} Transcribers descriptions of events, including nonvocal conduct A: I see. {A is taking notes on the paper.} B: I know what you mean {Laughter} ? A question A: Is it cold in your country? A complete statement A: I have always wanted to visit Taiwan.

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256 APPENDIX E INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 1 What do you know about discourse structures such as comparison-contrast and cause andeffect? 2 Did you study discourse structures before this class? If so, please describe how the teacher presented discourse structures. 3 Have you used graphic organizers before this task? If so, how? 4 Have you participated in group/pair work before this task? If so, how? 5 Describe how you used the graphic organizers during the task? 6 Has the paired graphic organizer task helped your written English proficiency? If so, how? 7 Has the paired graphic organizer task helped your spoken English proficiency? If so, how? 8 What aspect of the paired graphic organizer task did you like the most? Why? 9 What are some aspects of the paired graphic organizer task that you like the least? Why? 10. How would you improve this paired graphic organizer task so that it improves your English learning more? 11. What are the benefits of graphic organizers for language learning? 12. Do you have anything else that you would like to share about graphic organizers and pair/group work?

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257 APPENDIX F SAMPLE DATA ANALYSIS CHARTS Sociocultural Identity Building Ayumi and Dawud 6/12/2009 Interactional Roles Academic Language Functions (1) A: How do you get Arabic food? Arabic store is in Gainesville? Initiator Asking for information, asking for confirmation (2) D: In Tampa. There is one in Tampa. In Tampa, there is an Arab store, but I havent been there. Topic expander Giving informatio n, describing characteristic (3) A: But what do you get at the Arabic store? Inquirer/ Asking for further information (4) D: We buy rice. Responder Giving information ( 5) A: Rice? Inquirer Asking for confirmation (6) D: Yeah. From Publix or from. Confirmer Giving confirmation (7) A: But different yeah? Inquirer Asking for confirmation (8) D : But if you go to Indian Bazaar. Topic expander Giving further information, describing a process (9) A: Indian Bazaar, yeah yeah, I know Indian Bazaar. Topic expander Giving further information (10) D: Similar, in Indian Bazaar, there is rice, the kind of rice, not the best but the rice. Confirmer Giving confirmation, providing an example (11) A: A little bit different? Inquirer Asking for further information, asking for confirmation (12) D: This kind of rice, we use it in Saudi Arabia. Topic expander Giving information, describing characteristics (13) A: Huh? Inquirer Asking for further information (14) D: This kind of rice in the bazaar, we use it in Saudi Arabia, and its OK. There is rice, and it is called Indian Gait. Indian Gait (.) the brown this rice. Topic expander Giving information, describing characteristic, comparing/contrasting (15) A: Similar? Inquirer Asking for further information (16) D: This one we have the same in Saudi Arabia. Topic expander Giving information (17) A: Same? (Laughing) Inquirer Asking for confirmation (18) D: Yeah, but its not this one I like. Finalizer Giving information, showing preference

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258 Hyun and Miguel 6/5/2009 Sociocultural Identity Building Language Interactional Role Academic Language Function (1) M: What religion are you from? Initiator Asking for information (2) H: What? Inquirer Asking for clarification (3) M: (.) What is your religion? Inquirer/Clarifier Asking for information, giving clarification (4) H: No religion. Responder Giving information (5) M: How about your family? (.) Do they have a religion? Inquirer Asking for further information (6) H: Yeah (.) my family have religions, but my fathers different (.) my fathers Buddhism and my mother is Catholic. Topic expander Giving further information, describing characteristics, comparing/contrasting (7) M: Yeah, I am Catholic too. Topic expander Giving confirmation, giving further information ( 8) H: OK, I am going to tell you, in Korea, the most religion that people believe is Catholic and Buddhist, [these two. Topic expander Describing quantities, describing characteristics (9) M: Catholic and Buddhist?] Inquirer Asking for confirmation (10) H: Yeah. Confirmer Giving confirmation (11) M: In my country, there are other religion, but the majority, the big religion in my country is Catholic, maybe you can find not too much people from other religion. Finalizer Giving information, describing, characteristics, comparing/contrasting, describing quantity

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259 Roberto and Akram 6/5/2009 Sociocultural Identity Building Language Interactional Role Academic Language Function (1) R: Culture. What can we talk about? What can we talk about? Maybe (.) marriage. Initiator Proposing an idea (2) A: Marriage (.) in our society (.) it is separate. Weddings are separate. Topic Expander Proposing an idea (3) R: Wedding separate? Inquirer Asking for conformation (4) A: Yes (.) women alone, men alone. Topic expander Giving confirmation, Giving further information (5) R: How are they separate? Inquirer Asking for further information (6) A: There is a party for women (.) and there is a party for men. Topic expander Giving further information (7) R: Oh really (.) no party together? Society (.) it is about schools and marriage. Inquirer, Topic switcher Asking for confirmation (8) A: Wedding, wedding separate (.) but just the groom come to the women party. Reorienter Giving further information (9) R: Are they separated? Inquirer Asking for confirmation (10) A: Yeah, just the groom come to take his wife (.) so he come with just his father or brother. They pick up his wife (.) and then Go home! Go home! Topic expan der Giving confirmation, giving further information, Describing characteristics, giving an example (11) R: Wedding separate. Repharaser Giving further information (12) A: Yeah (.) separate. Topic expander Giving confirmation (13) R: Separate celebrations. Finalizer Giving confirmation, giving information

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260 Data Analysis of students conversations Sample data spreadsheets for semiotic building Hyun and Miguel Comparison/Contrast 6/5/2009 Semiotic Building Interactions Content words Function words 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 (1) M: What religion are you from? (2) H: What? (3) M: (.) What is your religion? (4) H: No religion. (5) M: How about your family? (.) Do they have a religion? (6) H: Yeah (.) my family have religions, but my fathers different (.) my fathers Buddhism and my mother is Catholic. (7) M: Yeah, I am Catholic too. ( 8) H: OK, I am going to tell you, in Korea, the most religion that people believe is Catholic and Buddhist, [these two. (9) M: Catholic and Buddhist?] (10) H: Yeah. (11) M: In my country, there are other religion, but the majority, the big religion in my country is Catholic, maybe you can find not too much people from other religion. (1) M: Religion (5) M: Familys religion (6) H: Father, mother, Buddhist, Catholic (8) H: Most popular religions in Korea, Catholic, Buddhist (11) M: Multiple religions in Venezuela, majority Catholic (6) H: Connector: but (8) M: Relative clauses (11) M: Connector: but

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261 Ayumi Dawud (Cause and Effect) 6/12/2009 Semiotic Analysis Interactions Content words Function words 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 (1) A: If you are going for? How do you across the road (.) how to across the road (.) I dont know (.) we have signal over there on the 13th Street (.) I dont know (.) architecture (.) we have to across the road (.) thi rteen street (.) thirteen street (.) I dont know (.) architecture (.) we have to across the road (.) Norman Hall to architecture (.) and then we have to across the road (.) across the road. ( 2) D: Cross the road? (3) A: Yeah (.) yeah (.) across the road ( .) but I didnt know how to across the road. (4) D: Ohh (.) OK. (5) A: Because the signal is not automatical (.) you have to push the button (.) and then yeah (.) because in Japan everywhere is automatical (.) here you have to push the button. (6) D: Every thing automatic in Japan (.) yeah yeah. (.) I know it. (7) A: So I didnt know that. (8) D: How its automatic when you want to cross the road? (9) A: I didnt know it. (10) D: Here? (11) A: Here. Yeah (.) yeah (.) yeah. Only automatical and if the signal is blue (.) you can go. (12) D: Green (.) green. (13) A: Yeah (.) green green. And here. Here you press the button (.) and it is flashing and you say oooh I cant go there. (1) A: go, acros s the road, signal, 13th street, architecture, Norman Hall (2) D: Cross, road (3) A: Across road (4) D: OK (5) A: Signal, automatical, push, button, Japan, automatic (6) D: everything, automatic, Japan (7) A: Not know (8) D: Automatic, want, cross road (9) A: Not know (10) D: Here (11) A: Here, only, automatical, signal, blue (12) D: Green (13) A: Green, here, press, button, flash, not go (1) A: If, how, have to, then (2) D: the (3) A: but, how (4) (5) A: Because, have to, then (6) D: In (7) didnt, that (8) how, when (9) didnt (10) Here (11) only, if, and (12) (13)and, here, cant

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262 Roberto Akram (Comparison/Contrast) 6/5/2009 Semiotic Analysis Interactions Content words Function words 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 (1) R: Culture. What can we talk about? What can we talk about? Maybe (.) marriage. (2) A: Marriage (.) in our society (.) it is separate. Weddings are separate. (3) R: Wedding separate? (4) A: Yes (.) women alone, men alone. (5) R: How are they separate? (6) A: There is a party for women (.) and there is a party for men. (7) R: Oh really (.) no party together? Society (.) it is about schools and marriage. (8) A: Wedding, wedding separate (.) but just the groom come to the women party. (9) R: Are they separated? (10) A: Yeah, just the groom come to take his wife (.) so he come with just his father or brother. They pick up his wife (.) and [then Go home! Go home! (11) R: Wedding separate. ] (12) A: Yeah (.) separate. (13) R: Separate celebrations. Culture, marriage Marriage, society, wedding, separate Wedding, separate Women, men, alone Separate Party, women, men Really, party, society, school ma rriage Wedding, separate, groom, come, party Separated Groom, come, wife, father, brother, pick up, go, home Wedding, separate Separate Separate, celebrations What, can, we, about, maybe In, our, it, is, are Yes How, are, they There, is, a, for, and No, together, it, is, about But, just, the, to Are, they Just, the, to, so, he, with, his, or, they, his, and, then

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263 APPENDIX G STUDENTS TRANSCRIBE D WRITING SAMPLES AKRAM: CAUSE AND EFFECT LIVING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE Studing overseas could be hard sometimes. Its a new challenge for everyone who venture this step. Some people can endure all the defaculties that occurs. While others cannot. Its usually depend how much intention and time per son has to live away from everything he knows and used to do regelurly. One of those is Michael. He is now study in the United State. There had some problems that he encountred while studying in the US, the food, communication with other native speakers an d being away from his family and friends. Usually food is a major problem that persons have to deal with while living in a foreign country, especially if it comes to men, because men usually dont know how to cook for example, Michael. He has to cook by h imself while doesnt cook very well. Its a time -consuming, he spend a lot of time cooking and