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Discourse Socialization through Oral Classroom Activities in a TESL Graduate Program

Naoko Morita
TESOL Quarterly
Vol. 34, No. 2 (Summer, 2000), pp. 279-310
DOI: 10.2307/3587953
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3587953
Page Count: 32
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Discourse Socialization through Oral Classroom Activities in a TESL Graduate Program
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Abstract

This article explores the discourse socialization of nonnative- and native-English-speaking graduate students through their engagement in one type of classroom speech event, oral academic presentations (OAPs). From a language socialization perspective, an 8-month ethnographic study investigated how students were expected to speak in two graduate courses in a TESL program and how they acquired the oral academic discourses required to perform successful OAPs. Data were collected mainly from classroom observations, video recordings of OAPs, interviews, and questionnaires. The OAP discourse was analyzed as embedded in the local culture of the graduate courses, being linked with ethnographically derived information. Findings suggest that both nonnative and native speakers gradually became apprenticed into oral academic discourses through ongoing negotiations with instructors and peers as they prepared for, observed, performed, and reviewed OAPs. OAPs, which are commonplace, seemingly straightforward activities, were also found to be complex cognitive and sociolinguistic phenomena. Based on these findings, this article argues that academic discourse socialization should be viewed as a potentially complex and conflictual process of negotiation rather than as a predictable, unidirectional process of enculturation. Implications for L2 pedagogy and future research are discussed.

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