Readers' Forum: EFL Literature Circles: Collaboratively Acquiring Language and Meaning

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Kevin M. Maher, University of Macau

Literature circles have many advantages for acquiring a foreign language, particularly due to their collaborative nature. Students work together, and increase cultural awareness, critical thinking skills, reading comprehension abilities, and inference skills. Additionally, they search for meaning, examine the text, and increase their vocabulary and idiom awareness by seeing those respective items in context. Their collaborative nature can bring a classroom of students together with the teacher as facilitator. For the structure of literature circles to work, each student is assigned a role. These may include Discussion Leader, Real-Life Connector, Passage Person, Summarizer, Graphic Organizer, The If Person, Character Creator, among others. Each of these roles will be addressed, and what is expected of each literature circle member. With each role, they challenge the group members to discuss and examine the text more fully, and therefore collaboratively learn together. This method closely follows Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) model.

Literature Circles(LC)は、特に協働的なので、外国語の習得に役立つ多くの利点がある。学生達はLC内で一緒に取り組むことで文化的意識、批判的思考技能、読解力や推理力を高める。さらに、意味を検索し、本文を調べ、文脈の中で各項目を見て語彙・熟語の理解を深める。LCの協調的特質によって教師は教室の進行役的存在となり、学生は各自の役割を与えられる。例えば、ディスカッションを主導する者、実生活との連結者、読解する段落を決める者、要約する者、関連画像を探す者、仮定の提案をする者、登場人物を創案する者、などである。このように役割をLCグループ内で割り当てることで協力的な学習ができて、本文について徹底的に討論し検証することができる。これは、VygotskyのZPD(最近接発達領域)とも強く関連している。