An Examination of Student Preferences for Pre-Discussion Planning

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Robert Stroud, Kwansei Gakuin University

Learners with low L2 proficiency can often find speaking in L2 classroom discussions challenging. Learner issues with forming and supporting opinions, responding to other viewpoints, structuring speech across time, and L2 grammar use can often result in quiet or silent group discussions. One approach to reducing such a heavy cognitive load for students is pre-discussion planning. Important design factors for discussion planning include group size and mode (spoken versus written) as well as planning focus. After having experience using differing combinations across 7 weeks of classes, 82 non-English major Japanese university students responded to a survey about combinations of planning group size and the mode they preferred to use. If given 10 minutes of planning time, the students generally preferred to plan in groups using a mixture of oral rehearsal and written planning. The reasons for preferences and the implications of the findings for teachers are discussed.