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postgraduate thesis: Classroom discourse in content-based instruction in higher education : a focus on teachers' use of metadiscourse

TitleClassroom discourse in content-based instruction in higher education : a focus on teachers' use of metadiscourse
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Lo, YYLin, AMY
Issue Date2017
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Zhang, L. [張蕾]. (2017). Classroom discourse in content-based instruction in higher education : a focus on teachers' use of metadiscourse. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractAbstract of the thesis entitled Classroom Discourse in Content-Based Instruction in Higher Education: A Focus on Teachers’ Use of Metadiscourse Submitted by Lei ZHANG (張蕾) for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong in September, 2017 As one model of bilingual education, Content-Based Instruction (CBI) provides learners with opportunities to use and learn the target language, in meaningful and more authentic contexts. While CBI enjoys increasing popularity worldwide in educational settings, it also imposes challenges on both teachers and students. For example, students face more communication unpredictability and uncertainty due to their unfamiliarity with the content knowledge and lack of proficiency in the target language, while teachers must take special care of students’ needs to ensure they provide them sufficient guidance to understand the subject matter. As an important rhetorical device, metadiscourse plays an essential role in facilitating comprehension and establishing writer/speaker and reader/listener interaction in academic settings. However, research into spoken-mode metadiscourse, especially in classroom settings, is rare. A study on content teachers’ classroom practice will reveal whether they can employ this rhetorical device to facilitate knowledge construction and classroom interaction, and to increase students’ understanding of the subject matter. Based on Systemic Functional Linguistics and genre theories, this study adopts a multi-case study design to explore classroom discourse in tertiary-level CBI settings, focusing on teachers’ use of metadiscourse and factors that may influence teachers’ linguistic choices. Five content teachers and their students from two key universities in China participated in the 16-week study. Research data were collected from multiple sources, including classroom observations, teaching materials, teacher and student interviews, and a student questionnaire survey. The study describes the frequencies and distribution patterns of metadiscourse in the observed lectures. The corpus data revealed that, despite some differences, the use of textual metadiscourse showed similar trends across disciplines, while expressions achieving interpersonal functions displayed more variations. A comparison between metadiscourse used in lectures and that used in textbooks covering the same content further revealed the characteristics of instructional language in knowledge transmission. Teachers’ recounting of their beliefs, pedagogical content knowledge, and language awareness, were found to potentially influence their instructional strategies and use of metadiscourse. Questionnaire survey data from the students confirmed the functions of metadiscourse in classroom instruction were generally well-perceived; however, how well the students perceived certain types of metadiscourse was not related to the frequency of such expressions in the lectures. This study contributes to the field of bilingual education and classroom discourse analysis in the following aspects. First, it supplements existing findings on classroom discourse studies, regarding how metadiscourse functions in CBI contexts. Second, it probes into factors that may influence content teachers’ instructional strategies and linguistic choices. Third, it is a meaningful attempt to apply research methodology and models developed from written academic discourse research to the spoken mode. It enlarges the scope of metadiscourse study, and provides insights into how this rhetoric device functions in different academic genres, which have significant implications for CBI pedagogy and teacher development programs. (460 words)
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectStudy and teaching (Higher) - Language and languages
Correlation with content subjects - Language arts (Higher)
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/261577

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorLo, YY-
dc.contributor.advisorLin, AMY-
dc.contributor.authorZhang, Lei-
dc.contributor.author張蕾-
dc.date.accessioned2018-09-21T12:01:10Z-
dc.date.available2018-09-21T12:01:10Z-
dc.date.issued2017-
dc.identifier.citationZhang, L. [張蕾]. (2017). Classroom discourse in content-based instruction in higher education : a focus on teachers' use of metadiscourse. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/261577-
dc.description.abstractAbstract of the thesis entitled Classroom Discourse in Content-Based Instruction in Higher Education: A Focus on Teachers’ Use of Metadiscourse Submitted by Lei ZHANG (張蕾) for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong in September, 2017 As one model of bilingual education, Content-Based Instruction (CBI) provides learners with opportunities to use and learn the target language, in meaningful and more authentic contexts. While CBI enjoys increasing popularity worldwide in educational settings, it also imposes challenges on both teachers and students. For example, students face more communication unpredictability and uncertainty due to their unfamiliarity with the content knowledge and lack of proficiency in the target language, while teachers must take special care of students’ needs to ensure they provide them sufficient guidance to understand the subject matter. As an important rhetorical device, metadiscourse plays an essential role in facilitating comprehension and establishing writer/speaker and reader/listener interaction in academic settings. However, research into spoken-mode metadiscourse, especially in classroom settings, is rare. A study on content teachers’ classroom practice will reveal whether they can employ this rhetorical device to facilitate knowledge construction and classroom interaction, and to increase students’ understanding of the subject matter. Based on Systemic Functional Linguistics and genre theories, this study adopts a multi-case study design to explore classroom discourse in tertiary-level CBI settings, focusing on teachers’ use of metadiscourse and factors that may influence teachers’ linguistic choices. Five content teachers and their students from two key universities in China participated in the 16-week study. Research data were collected from multiple sources, including classroom observations, teaching materials, teacher and student interviews, and a student questionnaire survey. The study describes the frequencies and distribution patterns of metadiscourse in the observed lectures. The corpus data revealed that, despite some differences, the use of textual metadiscourse showed similar trends across disciplines, while expressions achieving interpersonal functions displayed more variations. A comparison between metadiscourse used in lectures and that used in textbooks covering the same content further revealed the characteristics of instructional language in knowledge transmission. Teachers’ recounting of their beliefs, pedagogical content knowledge, and language awareness, were found to potentially influence their instructional strategies and use of metadiscourse. Questionnaire survey data from the students confirmed the functions of metadiscourse in classroom instruction were generally well-perceived; however, how well the students perceived certain types of metadiscourse was not related to the frequency of such expressions in the lectures. This study contributes to the field of bilingual education and classroom discourse analysis in the following aspects. First, it supplements existing findings on classroom discourse studies, regarding how metadiscourse functions in CBI contexts. Second, it probes into factors that may influence content teachers’ instructional strategies and linguistic choices. Third, it is a meaningful attempt to apply research methodology and models developed from written academic discourse research to the spoken mode. It enlarges the scope of metadiscourse study, and provides insights into how this rhetoric device functions in different academic genres, which have significant implications for CBI pedagogy and teacher development programs. (460 words) -
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshStudy and teaching (Higher) - Language and languages-
dc.subject.lcshCorrelation with content subjects - Language arts (Higher)-
dc.titleClassroom discourse in content-based instruction in higher education : a focus on teachers' use of metadiscourse-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2017-
dc.identifier.mmsid991043982883703414-

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