A Co-construction of Space Trilogy: Examining How ESL Teachers, English Language Learners, and Classroom Designs Interact

by Pierce, Janet L.

Abstract (Summary)
My English language learners (ELLs) called my ESL classroom a “galley” and “hell”, as they perceived actions enacted within the room and their perceptions of their learning processes. Their classroom space names raised questions that I answer in this microethnographic case study: 1. How do the ESL teacher, the ELLs and the classroom space co–construct the cultural and literacy practices experienced in the classroom? 2. What is the consequence of the interaction of classroom space with teacher and student interaction in L2 learning? To examine classroom space use, I reviewed educational discourse studies (Adger, 2001), research methods (Streeck and Mehus, 2005), architectural impact on teacher use of space (Bissell, 2002), classroom organization on student achievement (Duncanson, 2003), and teachers’ effective use of environment (Chacon, 2005). No study considered how geography of space and place impacts ESL classroom interaction. This study applied a geosemiotic analysis framework (Scollon and Scollon, 2003) to teacher, student and space interaction, analyzing the interaction order of class instruction, visual semiotics of visual materials in the ESL classroom, and place semiotics of the ESL classroom. This analysis incorporates an ecological paradigm, which considers how the surroundings and signs in the ESL classroom impact and interact recursively with ESL teachers, ELLs, and their cultural and literacy practices. Data includes interviews, participant observations, photographs and journals. The research illumines three broad resultant concepts. First, the ESL classroom is an active C3 space impacted by teacher actions and what learners bring to their learning environment. Teachers and students enact L2 learning activities interacting with classroom space and material use to recursively co–construct their cultural and literacy practices. Second, administrative allotment of materials and classroom space impacts teacher’s material emplacement as well as teacher’s perceptions of material use and planning of ELL activities, impacting how the cultural and literacy practices are co–constructed. Third, the ESL teacher’s classroom design structures item emplacement and embodiment of discourse, which recursively impacts student interaction with materials, other students and the teacher. Thus, the ESL classroom design does structure the interaction the participants have with each other and their cultural and literacy practices.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Indiana University of Pennsylvania

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:ecology geosemiotic analysis interaction order second language acquisition tesol visual and space semiotics


Date of Publication:05/06/2009

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