ERIC Number: ED222067
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: N/A
The Effect of Group Size on Students' Opportunity to Learn in the Second-Language Classroom.
Nerenz, Anne G.; Knop, Constance K.
Research on the effect of small-group instruction on students' second language classroom experience, as well as strategies for teachers, are examined. Eight foreign language teachers observed their student teachers an average of 11 times each on randomly-selected days over an 8-week observation period, generating a total of 5,288 "snapshots" of teacher-student interaction. It was found that the total amount of speech was greater during large-group activities; however, teachers spoke more than students during individualized and large-group activities, while students were involved orally more than teachers during pair and small-group activities. The data indicate that pair and small-group settings provide the most efficient settings for language learning when the absolute frequency of oral production is considered. Students' active learning time was highest for large-group activities (87 percent), slightly lower for individualized and pair activities (80 and 78 percent), and considerably lower for small-group activities (67 percent). Two sets of teaching strategies that might facilitate the use of pairs or small groups are discussed. The first deals with formal and informal pairs, the membership of such groups, and the role of the teacher in maintaining a high level of engagement and use of the target language. The second focuses on classroom activities that teachers might conduct in pair or small-group settings. The development of skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and cultural awareness is also addressed. (SW)
Descriptors: Class Activities, Class Size, Classroom Observation Techniques, Elementary Secondary Education, Group Activities, Higher Education, Individualized Instruction, Instructional Design, Language Skills, Large Group Instruction, Listening Skills, Participation, Peer Influence, Reading Skills, Second Language Instruction, Small Group Instruction, Speech Communication, Student Teacher Relationship, Teaching Methods, Writing Skills
Not available separately; see FL 013 228.
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (Louisville, KY, April 22-24, 1982). In: ESL and the Foreign Language Teacher.