Ed.D. Students Tara Tarpey and Drew Fagan to Present at AAAL 2011

| February 22, 2011

Title of Presentation: The Influence of Nonverbal Conduct in Language Learning Environments


Using conversation analysis as a framework, this presentation investigates the range of influence that nonverbal conduct can have on interaction in two second-language education settings: a writing center and an ESL classroom. The significance of nonverbal conduct in conversation analysis has been widely acknowledged, especially given the increasing accessibility of video (Goodwin, 1980; Sacks & Schegloff, 2002). Writing centers and ESL classrooms are considered particularly apt sites for observing the functionality of nonverbal conduct, as they are what Goodwin (2007) calls “embodied participation frameworks.” That is, participants are orienting to “a relevant structure in a consequential environment… one that constitutes the distinctive locus for the work of their [context]” (pp. 57, 59).

Presenter One investigates the use of gaze as a resource for managing institutional goals in a writing center, demonstrating how one tutor negotiates between the local goal of improving the manuscript and the global goal of improving the writer. To demonstrate this phenomenon, a tutoring session between a native-English speaking peer tutor and native-Spanish speaking tutee will be analyzed.

Presenter 2 examines an ESL teacher’s verbal and nonverbal communication as it affects subsequent student talk. The findings show that when there is a mismatch between the teacher’s verbal instructions for participation and her perceived contradictory nonverbal cues (namely through her eye gaze or body torque) the students tend to respond to the latter.

These findings support the significance for analyzing nonverbal conduct within the realms of language learning as a factor in facilitating or hindering interaction.

Goodwin, C. (1980). Restarts, pauses, and the achievement of a state of mutual gaze at turn-beginning. Sociological Inquiry, 50, 272-302.

Goodwin, C. (2007). Participation, stance, and affect in the organization of activities. Discourse & Society, 18, 53-73.

Sacks, H., & Schegloff, E. A. (2002). Home position. Gesture, 2, 133-146.