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Classroom discourse in an Arabic foreign language classroom and the perceived benefits of interactions among learners: A case study of college-level Heritage Language Learners (HLLs) and Foreign Language Learners (FLLs

Posted on:2018-06-07Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:The Ohio State UniversityCandidate:Habbal, Manal SFull Text:PDF
GTID:1475390020456696Subject:Foreign Language Education
Abstract Growing interest in Arabic language learning due to the sociopolitical climate in the United States has led to an increase in the number of Arabic language classrooms at institutions of higher learning throughout the United States. In addition to Foreign Language Learners (FLLs), Heritage Language Learners (HLLs) have been steadily enrolling in Arabic language classrooms. It is widely confirmed that these two types of learners enter the classroom with different backgrounds, language skills, and motivations. This dissertation investigates the FLLs' and HLLs' contributions to the interactions and learning that take place within the classroom context. It explores how the two types of Arabic learners and the instructor perceive the presence of FLLs vs. HLLs and how any differences influence interaction patterns and learning development.;Qualitative research, with a case study approach, was conducted for data collection and analysis. A beginner-intermediate level Arabic language classroom at a large Midwestern university was selected as a site for the study. Along with classroom observations, interviews were conducted with four students (2 HLLs and 2 FLLs) and the classroom teacher, which allowed for a better understanding of the participants' beliefs and perceptions of factors that impact the Arabic language learning experience. The theoretical framework adopted in this study is Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory (SCT), which allows for an investigation of cognition as well as social context. In addition, this research was informed by Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theories that explicitly take social context into account. These include theories of Interaction (Gass, 2003; Gass & Mackey, 2007; Long, 1996) and theories of affect and motivation (Dornyei, 1996, 2005; Gardner & Lambert, 1972; Ushioda & Dornyei, 2012).;Results of the study show different factors that influence the interaction process, and consequently the learning that develops within the classroom context. Some of the factors were context specific, while others were learner specific. The study also reveals that FLLs feel a degree of intimidation from the presence of HLLs who are native speakers of the language, although they consider them to be a valuable resource for learning the target language and culture. In addition, the findings expose the role of pedagogical methods on the interaction process and the learning that takes place within the classroom context. For language teachers, the presence of HLLs in the classroom poses an additional challenge and requires that extra effort be made to find pedagogies that suit the needs of all learners and motivate them to collaborate in the classroom.
Keywords/Search Tags:Language, Classroom, Learners, Arabic, Hlls, Interaction, Flls
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