Discourse Analysis in an ESL Community of Practice

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Akiko Nagao, Ritsumeikan University


In this study I examined the process of ESL learners joining different academic learning communities in Australia. Using a sociocultural lens and Lave and Wenger’s (1991) communities of practice model, I investigated how newcomers became experienced learners through interactions by documenting their engagement. Participants’ classroom interactions were observed and recorded once a week for over 6 months. Discourse analysis, self-reflection, and rhetorical units analysis were used to examine their evolving roles. One implication is that the model of education should shift from knowledge transmission attribution to participant attribution in order to explain how learning takes place within classrooms.