Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 07/29/2021

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Second Language Acquisition

First Advisor

Liskin-Gasparro, Judith E.

Second Advisor

Destruel Johnson, Emilie

First Committee Member

Severino, Carol

Second Committee Member

Paesani, Kate

Third Committee Member

Thoms, Joshua J.

Fourth Committee Member

Ke, Chuanren

Fifth Committee Member

Wesely, Pamela M.


Several researchers (e.g., Allen & Paesani, 2010; Maxim, 2009; MLA Report, 2007) argue that the language-literature divide limits language development in many foreign language departments and that the speaking skill is the most affected by this common two-tiered curriculum (Swender, 2003). This study investigates the implementation of the concept of collaborative dialogues in an upper-division Francophone literature and culture course to support the oral proficiency skills of the participants. It addresses research questions pertaining to (1) how they constructed their group conversations in terms of language and content, (2) the connections between their dialogues and whole-class discussions, and (3) their perspectives about their group conversations.

Both whole-class discussions and weekly group dialogues, which took place outside of class, were video-recorded. The participants took an oral proficiency test at the beginning and at the end of the study and shared their opinions about the dialogues in two questionnaires and in stimulated recalls.

The analysis of the data sources shows that the majority of participants focused heavily on content during their conversations. This finding differs from previous research on collaborative dialogues, which hosted many interactions about language and supported language learning. Based on their analytical abilities and proficiency levels, the participants of this study either reviewed previous class discussions or extended them by exploring additional material and adding prior knowledge to their arguments. Extending class discussions during outside-of-class dialogues was a scaffolding activity which better prepared the participants to contribute to subsequent class discussions. Questionnaires and stimulated recalls suggest that the participants enjoyed participating in weekly group conversations because it supported their comprehension of difficult class concepts and materials and helped them develop confidence speaking.


Advancedness, Collaborative Dialogue, Language–Literature Divide, Literature and Culture Course, Speaking


xxi, 320 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 280-295).


Copyright © 2018 Céline G. Rose

Available for download on Thursday, July 29, 2021