A study of cognitive-experiential practices for promoting ELF communicative competence in Italian ELT classrooms


The increasing use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) calls for substantial changes in the English Language Teaching (ELT) pedagogy both in Italy and elsewhere. This chapter illustrates an ongoing research project aimed to explore the dynamics of ELF discourse in the educational domain, and ultimately, to devise guidelines for developing cognitive-experiential practices that enhance ELF communicative competence in ELT classrooms. The study investigates ELF communicative strategies through naturally occurring discussions in which school-age learners – ELF users – talk about a challenging topic under unconstrained conditions, namely without the supervision of their English teacher and without English as a Native Language (ENL) requirements. This experimental activity was performed by observing and audio recording natural spoken ELF interactions among Italian students and students of ten different nationalities participating in intercultural exchange programmes in three upper-secondary schools. The qualitative data analysis is conducted within a conversation analytic framework by means of a protocol based on conversational moves. It focuses on the cooperative practices that school-age ELF users enact to achieve effective communication. The analysis reveals that participants (i) generally orient to their interlocutors, employing pragmatic strategies that are commonly used in ELF communication, and (ii) implement languaging and interactional skills that show their authentic involvement in the spoken activity as it was designed. These findings demonstrate that school-age ELF users put into play their language resources, but also themselves as individuals with their own identity, cultural background and experiences. The results of this study may be translated into teaching practices that enhance ELF-mediated communication, promoting language and intercultural awareness

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v38p387


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