Common ground and positioning in EFL classrooms : a comparison of native and non-native english-speaking teachers
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This study aimed to investigate how native (NEST) and non-native English-speaking (NNEST) teachers find common ground with their students and the ways they position themselves while establishing common ground in their social interactions. The purpose of the study was to investigate NESTs’ and NNESTs’ ways of establishing common ground with their students and positioning through common ground in their social interactions in tertiary level language classrooms in an English as a Foreign Language setting. The researcher collected data through classroom observations. Three NEST and three NNEST teaching partners who teach the same classes in turn were observed and audio recorded during the first and fifth weeks of a new course. Data were transcribed and then analyzed using an analytical framework adapted from Kecskés and Zhang’s (2009) socio-cognitive perspective on common ground and Davies and Harré’s (1990) positioning theory through discourse analysis. The findings revealed several differences in terms of the ways NESTs and NNESTs established common ground and positioned themselves in their social interactions. More specifically, NESTs’ lack of shared background with their students led to more establishment of core common ground (i.e., building new common knowledge between themselves and their students), which also positioned them as outsiders in a foreign country while NNESTs maintained the already existing core common ground with their students (i.e., activating the common knowledge they shared with their students) by positioning themselves as insiders. Moreover, the real life purpose of NESTs’ common ground building acts through L2 made their teacher-student interactions good opportunities for the use of target language to the leaners’ benefit. NNESTs’ conversations involving the activation of their shared linguistic and cultural background, however, aimed to facilitate classroom instruction. These findings helped draw the conclusion that NESTs and NNESTs differed in relation to their social interactions involving common ground and positioning. NESTs created meaningful contexts that enabled opportunities for language socialization through which students not only practiced language but also negotiated meaning. On the other hand, NNESTs activated the common knowledge they shared with their students to facilitate classroom instruction. Considering the results above, this study contributed to the literature by providing insights into the differences and similarities NESTs and NNESTs have in terms of their language socialization.
KeywordsSecond language socialization
Native English-speaking teachers
Non-native English-speaking teachers