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Research shows the power of collaborative interaction in supporting the cognitive, linguistic and social development of L2 learners (Bunch, Kibler, & Pimentel, 2012; DiCamilla, & Antón, 2004; Nassaji & Swain, 2000). However, establishing successful, autonomous groups poses challenges (Cockrell et al, 2000; Garmston & Wellman, 2016). The Instructional Conversation (IC) pedagogy emphasizes hands-on connections with content (Mellom, Hixon & Weber 2017; Portes et. al 2018; Gallimore and Tharp 2004; Dalton 2007). Rather than relying heavily on lectures, IC allows students to discuss relevant topics with peers, make real-world connections, and better understand classroom material, helping multilingual students academically and simultaneously developing their English-language skills. Engaging in collaborative conversation requires clear instruction to support student autonomy, which we define as students’ ability to work collaboratively in groups with other students, independent from the teacher. This study investigates the role of "task cards," written lesson instructions, in promoting student autonomy. As part of a larger study, researchers collected IC task cards (TCs) and videos of students engaged in the corresponding lessons from classrooms in K-12 districts across Georgia. This study analyzed connections between TCs and student autonomy, as shown in the related videos. We collected and analyzed a corpus of over 100 TCs, as well as videos of the implementation of some of the TCs. Each TC was rated for Lexile appropriateness, use of directive language, and use of collaborative language. A high TC score signified that the task card was written well and was expected to effectively promote student autonomy. A low TC score signified the opposite. The 10 highest and 10 lowest scoring TCs and their corresponding videos were evaluated (using a validated Classroom Observation Rubric) to test the correlation between “successful” and “unsuccessful” TCs and the respective levels of student autonomy that resulted. The results of this study offer evidence for the effectiveness of Instructional Conversation and task cards, with a correlation between a high task card score and a high student autonomy score for the related video.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3110

  • Event date
    • 3 November 2018

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022