Publication Details

Delahunty, J., Jones, P. & Verenikina, I. (2014). Movers and shapers: teaching in online environments. Linguistics and Education, 28 54-78.


This paper reports a study-in-progress examining interactions in the asynchronous discussions of a post-graduate TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) distance subject, focusing on the impact of scaffolding collaborative knowledge construction. Two complementary theories were used: sociocultural theory, which views interaction as essential to the knowledge building process, in particular dialogically between expert-novice, and students as equals; and Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) which highlights language asa meaning-making resource deployed in social interactions and allows insight into the unfolding construal of knowledge and the interpersonal relationships being enacted. The results confirmed the significant role of the instructor in shaping dialogic opportunities that move learners towards new understandings. Close attention to the unfolding language choices of the participants provides a logogenesis of the online discussion texts, offers fresh insights into the nature of adult learning, and into the complex relationships between the intersubjective and experiential in online learning environments



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