ELICITING AND LADDERING PROSPECTIVE LANGUAGE TEACHERS’ CLASSROOM-RELATED CONSTRUCTS

Wilfred Greyling

Abstract


This article has a dual aim. First, the author reports on how two techniques were used from personal construct psychology, dyadic elicitation and laddering (Fransella, Bell & Bannister, 2004:27-34, 39-43) to raise a cohort of prospective teachers’ awareness of their classroom-related constructs (N = 21). Second, the process for elicitation of the constructs depended on the trainees’ ability to deal with the cognitive and the social-interactive demands of the elicitation tasks. These demands were enacted in a discursive process which conversation analysts refer to as ‘sequential organisation’; in addition, participants followed the rules that govern sequence organisation typical of the interview (Schegloff, 2007: 231). Using 12 random combinations of 10 classroom-based scenarios, which served as elements for the elicitation process, the researcher elicited approximately 800 constructs from the group of prospective teachers. A matrix-based summary of 48 constructs elicited from 10 teacher-trainees for the first scenario combination are presented. In addition, how one of the teachers responded to the full range of scenario-based elements is outlined briefly. The conclusion is drawn that the attaching of verbal labels to their meaning-making constituted deliberate and conscious thinking by prospective teachers about their experience, which is typical of awareness-raising activity. Moreover, the social-interactive demands of this interview type, requiring the prospective teachers to follow the rules of interaction in this context to explore and label their personally held constructs, served to reinforce the awareness-raising process. A further conclusion was that the matrix-based analysis was contentious: Although students may use the same labels to refer to a construct, the meanings they attach to those labels may vary.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5785/28-1-121

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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