Lecture by Merrill Swain, October 27, 2000

Collaborative Dialogue and Second Language Learning

by Merrill Swain, Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of The University of Toronto

This talk will focus on our recent research designed to explore the role of collaborative dialogue in second language learning.  Collaborative dialogue is dialogue in which speakers are engaged in problem-solving and knowledge building – in this case, solving linguistic problems and building knowledge about language. Our research has been conducted, in part, to demonstrate that collaborative dialogue provides opportunities for second language learning.  The theoretical rationale for this individual mental resources develop from collective behavior.
Stories that grade eight French immersion students have written jointly in pairs, and the dialogue they engaged in while writing those stories, constitute the main data to be discussed.  Issues to be addressed include collaborative dialogue as cognitive and strategic activity, and as a source of learning; the influence of tasks on collaborative dialogue; and the use of L1 in these learning contexts.

Friday, October 27, 2000