Conversation Partners: Work in Progress. Action Research Monograph.Report as inadecuate

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The International English Training for Adults Program is an intensive ESL (English as a Second Language) program for foreign students. Students in the program take 18 hours of classes per week, including Conversation Partners, a 3-hour course designed to give students an opportunity to practice using English with Americans in a structured, low-risk environment. Students meet for 1 or 2 hours a week with volunteer conversation partners, using suggested discussion topics for which students must prepare. Students are expected to keep a journal in which they write about what they talked about, what they learned, and what language problems they encountered during each meeting with their partners. They also tape record each meeting and write weekly in their journals about what they learn from listening to their tapes. A study was conducted with the Lancaster-Lebanon (Pennsylvania) International English Training for Adults Program, in Millersville, Pennsylvania, to improve the design of the Conversation Partners course by adding a structure that would foster learning autonomy and improve speaking and listening skills. The structure added was designed to develop language learning strategy awareness, increase the use of strategies, and encourage learners to seek new and different ways to enhance their own language learning experiences. Data collected after less than 2 months suggest that each participant met with some level of success, especially as they became more familiar with implementing the structure. Further research is needed, however, because the study was so brief. (KC)

Descriptors: Action Research, Adult Basic Education, Adult Literacy, Conversational Language Courses, Educational Change, English (Second Language), Literacy Education, Program Effectiveness, Questionnaires, Second Language Instruction, Teaching Methods, Volunteers

Author: Zangari, Lora


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