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Volume 12 Number 2, Summer 2015, Pages 1-154   

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Equalizing Classroom Participation

    Richard Day

The purpose of this study was to determine if an activity involving primary and secondary responders (PRs and SRs) would help graduate students in an English language teaching practicum participate in discussions of a particular student presentation, the rehearsal. The 15 students in the practicum, which included ten whose first languages were not English, taught eight-week intensive English as a foreign language courses at two universities in Thailand. Five questions were investigated: 1) Did the use of PRs and SRs ensure that all class members participate in discussions of rehearsals? 2) What were the students' reactions to the PR-SR activity? 3) Did being a PR help the student focus on what the presenter was saying? 4) Did the possibility of being a SR help class members focus on what the presenter was saying? 5) Did the PR-SR activity help students participate in discussions in other graduate courses? The data were collected by means of two surveys. The findings demonstrate that the students believed that the PR-SR activity equalized classroom participation, that they liked the PR-SR activity, and that it helped them to focus on the presenter. The experience of being PRs and SRs did impact some students' subsequent participation in other graduate courses.

Keywords: classroom participation, second language teacher education, student silence, English language teaching practicum